War Journal 53: No Titles for Gluttons

They've turned Afghanistan into Viet-nom nom nom

They’ve turned Afghanistan into Viet-nom nom nom

One of the guys here, Andrew, strolls casually into the room, a smug grin on his face.

“Guess what they got at the PX.”

It didn’t really matter.  The Post Exchange never has anything.  These folks are selling juice at 50% off cause it expired back in December ’12.  Yes, it’s that old.  Have any of you ever seen expired Twizzlers?  I have.  I even bought ’em.  Can you imagine how old a Twizzler has to be to reach a date so far in the future that the company has deemed it past its shelf life?  Until now, the Twizzler expiration date was only a theory.

I shrug, not even bothering to unslouch myself from the seat.  His grin deepens.

“Candy bars.”

Now I sit up, erect like I’m in the hotseat on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  You guys don’t understand.  They haven’t had candy bars in months… I’m talking more than half a year, so long ago you forget there’s such a thing as a candy bar type long ago.  They could’ve been selling unicorns at the PX for all the likelihood of candy bars.

“What kinds?” I ask.

Andrew’s list is extensive. Rolo, Reese’s cups, Snickers, M&Ms, Cookies and Cream Hershey Bars.  Dude, Cookies and Cream!  They not only have the most common bars, they’ve got speciality bars!  I think my eyes glazed over as I imagined how each and every one of those bars would taste.  Andrew has my attention and he knows it.

“I’m going after I finish at the gym.  Stock up.”

He was going to give them a good hour or so, so they could finish stocking the shelves.  Me, I had already had my gym time today… I wasn’t gonna wait that long.  I made tracks.  When I got there, I found everything he spoke of and more, not just a promise but a chocolatey, nougaty reality.  And not just me.  People were taking boxes, as in the whole box of say 48 king sized bars, off the shelves as the employees were stocking.  Y’all know this ain’t the first trench I’ve been in.  I got in it.  I spent thirty cents short of 20 bucks on candy bars.  These aren’t movie prices.  1.45 per bar on average.  The cashier had to double bag me cause he questioned the integrity of the plastic to support the load.  And if he hadn’t I would’ve asked him to.

So far, I’ve had one Cookies and Cream bar, a York peppermint patty, and as I finish this post out I’m working on an Almond Joy.  I’ve been feeling like crap ever since I bought this stuff.  Every twenty minutes or so “I shouldn’t have done it” flits across my mind.  I’m not the only one.  Half the dudes in my shop did the same thing.  Any other day of the week, we’re talking about what we did at the gym, our fitness goals, what have you.  We eschew empty calories like the Amish eschew ABC’s fall lineup.

Would I do it again, if half-a-day-later me could go back in time?  Bet your ass I would.

ETA: I actually had to go back and put a title on it… I had forgotten looking at my shiny pack of Almond Joy.



Filed under War Journals

2 responses to “War Journal 53: No Titles for Gluttons

  1. Hi James,
    On a few occasions, we have sent care packages to soldiers overseas and they always say, “Don’t send candy bars or chocolate because it melts.” Is this valid advice or should folks at home risk a meltdown and send a good ole’ Hershey bar or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with our packages of Ramen and socks?

    Gotta know!


    PS.. got my own WordPress page now! Hoping you’ll be my first fan!

    • Hey Stacey,

      You can ship candy and chocolate. But it MUST be winter. It gets hot in Iraq and Afghanistan. Really hot, really soon. If you’re going to send anything to anyone and it’s got any kind of melting point, now is the time. It’s starting to warm out here where I am, and I imagine it’s a few degrees hotter in Iraq right now. No time to waste if you want folks to enjoy their favorite chocolatey goodness.

      Grats on your short story sells and a place to broadcast it!!

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