No Alarms and No Surprises

Mickey watched the busy to-ing and fro-ing of daily life keenly as he sat on the ground with his back against the wall, resting his aching feet. He laid his rifle across his knees and risked slipping off his helmet and scratching his scalp. A pair of women swathed in grey burkas washed clothes and rugs outside a house further down the road. One of them was particularly young and moved like an athlete, her step as light as a cat. Most of the local men were off working at Coalition bases; he wondered what temptations there were for pretty young girls here in their absence.

The problem for Mickey and the others was that they were sitting targets. Any lunatic with a rifle could be drawing a bead on them at any moment and the longer this waiting went on, the twitchier they got. Every village or town had its "dickers", the ones who watched and recorded their movements, passing them on to the insurgents who could then prime their rockets and lay their ambushes. Sometimes they sat there brazenly with a mobile phone, watching them.

Everyone moving through the little square kept their distance and traveled slowly. With the omnipresent threat of suicide bombers, and too many soldiers with itchy trigger fingers, the locals were eager not to make any mistakes.

Dook arrived just then and sat down next to him, kicking up a small cloud of dust with his customary puppy-like energy.

A tall, thin young Pushtun rode by on a sad looking donkey pulling a small cart which bumped along behind it on a pair of car tires. He had a dun-coloured pakol hat perched on his head and wore the ubiquitous white dish-dash with a black waistcoat. His sandaled feet skimmed the stony road and he looked completely out of proportion to the little beast which bore him. His straggling black hair and face put Mickey in mind of Grace Jones sucking a wasp.

Dook spat in the direction of the Pushtun and smiled. "Wonder if he plays football like Drogba too."





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This is me: home-writer, book-reader, dog-lover and occasional poet. I make this website to share my and my friends texts with You, dear Reader. Please: read carefully, don't be scary, upgrade your mood and be king and leave your comment. :)