Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Over the Wall?

28 November 2007

Still working midnights, it didn’t help any that my start time was slipping up earlier from 2100 up to 1900. Then I didn’t get into bed until noon and had trouble falling asleep. When the alarm went off at 1700, allowing me my normal routine of shower, coffee and walking to work, it took everything within me not to roll over and fall back to sleep.

Rolled out of bed, made the bed, laid out clothes and off to the showers which is probably a 150 yards away, which by the way feels like miles when you really have to hit the head in a hurry! Just as I was walking out the door is really when I noticed the shooting. It was still light, so who knows? Maybe it was just late range shooting for all I know. Slayer has a range, but that is on the northwest side not the northeast where all the noise was coming from. Oh well, anything is possible? Normally, I’m still fast asleep at this hour.

But you know what? These shots are sounding awfully close…like maybe another firefight at the highway. Considering we are only about 1/3 of a mile from the highway (separated by a wall of course) it wouldn’t be the first time we have heard gunfire from the highway. It wasn’t all that long ago last year that the trailer walls were breathing from the impact of a couple of car/truck bombs.

As I was walking to the shower, the gunfire was becoming increasingly heavier. In twenty minutes after the shower, on the walk back, the gunfire was without doubt a full-fledged gunfight. A couple of times, the loudness of the shots I was hearing made me wonder if more than a couple of the shots weren’t originating on this side of the wall. I ducked into my trailer and figured if it was *that* bad, we’d see and hear more support from our side come to their assistance. Plus, my trailer has 12 foot T-walls on the south side which is the highway side so with any luck, I’d not have anything come through the trailer on the east or south side.

I dressed and gathered my book and backpack to get over to the coffee shop. My 20 minutes or so at the coffee shop is my chance to read and get caffeinated up before facing people and work. I was staying on schedule so far and without a second thought, bolted out the door over to get my coffee fix. The need for caffeine must dull any common sense brain cells! By this time, constant volleys of gunfire were ringing off in the direction of the highway. What I didn’t know was that while I was in my caffeine-deprived stupor, people over by the Palace were running for cover from rounds skipping off the lake toward the Palace.

A couple of the guys over there had to hit the deck in the Palace parking lot behind the cover of parked vehicles because the air was fairly populated with flying metal coming in from the highway firefight. People crossing the bridge to and from the Palace were making a mad dash across hoping not to get hit by all the flying metal. At one point, the giant 20 foot tall doors to the Palace were shut and locked in case of attack. Hard to believe the rounds would travel that far, but take my word for it, they do! What goes up must come down.

To my relief, me and my coffee-deprived brain made it to the coffee shop still rather oblivious of the seriousness of the goings-on over at the highway and the Palace. Sitting outside at the coffee shop area there were others there having coffee and others eating their food from Subway and Pizza Hut, so I really didn’t feel like I was in danger. Although maybe “the blonde” in me might have gotten a clue when I started hearing repeated rounds of automatic gunfire. “Helloooo…McFly!” Certainly not anything like hearing a few shots in the distance during dear hunting season.

I looked up from the pages of my book as an ambulance went past. I followed the screaming green vehicle with my eyes figuring that it would turn right out to the south entrance to the gunfight, but it went straight ahead to the medical clinic up the road. That could only mean that someone had been hit on the base by something from all this stuff going on.

It wasn’t until I was at work that I’d found out that someone had been hit from the stray rounds. Rest of paragraph omitted for the time being…

By the time I finished my coffee, things quieted down some on the southern front. Ended as quickly as it started. The last time I can remember an assault on the south side with this much gunfire inside the camp was back three years ago when we’d heard that five or six slipped over the wall and were gunned down before they hit the ground. Sounds like this was a pretty organized attack but details are still sketchy at best...and will remain so unless we can get Jeraldo to blurt them out on TV!
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