“Don’t Worry About it…”
Short Story – Fiction
By HJ Ruiz
Two American soldiers are sitting in an abandoned semi destroyed country house somewhere in Afghanistan. Sergeant Baker and Private Ramos have been separated from their platoon for the past twelve hours. They have been under attack by Taliban forces for the past two hours. The Taliban have seen them going in the abound one house and they have been attacking with rockets at first and automatic rifles fire.
The last time that the enemy fired a rocket was very close of where the soldiers were hiding and it was devastating for them especially to sergeant Baker who was hit by shrapnel in the abdomen and Private Ramos was bruised up but wasn’t anything serious.
Pvt. – Don’t worry Sarge, hang on, let me clean up the wound and patch you up. Ramos said looking at the wound, he didn’t like what he saw, the shrapnel had made a
large hole and was serious, he thought he would need to have surgery soon. He took the Sgt. First Aid kit and prepared to treat the wound which was bleeding.
Pvt. – Don’t worry Sarge I’ll take care of this. He reassured his friend.
Sgt. -Ramos, am I hurt bad?, it hurts too much, oh! Ohhhh! It hurts! Sgt.Baker was in terrible pain while Ramos cleaned the wound, then took a unit of Morphine and injected him.
Pvt. This should make you feel less pain Sarge. He applied some medicine in powder form and dressed the wound; It wasn’t bleeding much.
Shots were heard continuously, they were hoping that their platoon might be looking for them.
Pvt. – Sarge, just rest or sleep if you can, I’ll keep those guys away from here! If they want to try coming in here, I’ll shoot their asses! I wish I had a radio to call our buddies and take care of you! Ramos wanted to keep his friend in high spirit.
Sgt. – Oh! I don’t know if I can take this kind of pain! Ohh! Despite the morphine he was feeling intense pain!
Ramos was thinking that he must have the shrapnel still stuck in his body and giving him so much pain. He took a look inside the First Aid Kit and found surgical gloves, scissors, tongues, clamps, morphine and antibiotics, gauze, sterile pads and other useful items.
Pvt. – Sarge, I’ll try to get the shrapnel out of your body, I’ll inject you again with morphine to knock you out and I’ll do my best to get it out, then you’ll feel less pain. I think. He sounded hopeful but not sure if that would work.
Sgt. – Ramos, do whatever is necessary but quick because I can’t take so much suffering, I’d rather be dead!
Ramos got all things ready and set for the operation. First he went to look and shoot some rounds to the enemy and let them know that they were alive and had weapons ready for them.
He moved quickly and when his friend was knocked out by the morphine he, cleared all the bandaging, dressings and cleaned the wound the best he could and proceeded to explore inside the wound, he clamped some bleeding veins and use the tongues to probe and felt something hard that was most likely the metal shrapnel and tried several time to grip it with the tongues until he finally had a good grip and proceeded to pull slowly but with enough force to remove the shard of burned metal, he pulled it out and probed again and did not find anything but soft tissue and proceeded to clean and stop the bleeding which started to subside. He applied some anti bacteria and antibiotic and then dressed the wound quickly. He was done with the hard part.
Suddenly he saw a Taliban man come in the room where they hid.
Pvt, – What the… Hey!
Ramos dropped everything quickly and jumped to grab his rifle while he rolled on the floor and the intruder was really surprised to see him too!. He had thought that the Americans where hidden in the back of the house. And he had just walked in the room thinking that. Ramos fired from the floor level and the Taliban man fired high above the American. One of the two men fell dead instantly! Ramos got up and checked the man he just killed and shook his head!
Ramos went to his friend and he was just waking up and opened his eyes, not knowing what was going on. He asked with sleepy voice.
Sgt. – What happened? Are our friends here? He’s confused and looked around, then he realized that he’s back to the same situation he was before, he lifted his head and saw the Taliban man dead on the floor in a pool of blood.
Sgt. – What had just happened Ramos? He is concerned because he doesn’t remember well after being under the morphine.
Pvt.- This SOB just tried to surprise us and I shot his ass! How are you feeling Sarge? Do you have any pain?
Ramos asked anxious to know if his actions had helped him any.
Sgt.- I feel pain but I think I can handle it. What did you do? Did you give me another shot of morphine? I’m trying to remember but I can’t! He didn’t know what had happened. Ramos picked up something from the floor and handed it to his friend.
Sgt. – What’s that? He looks at the piece of metal and then looks at Ramos Sgt.- No! You pulled this thing out of me? You’re a crazy SOB Ramos!
Pvt. – You asked me to do it, I just followed orders Sarge!
Sgt. – Thanks Ramos I owe you my life. By the way the pain is still there but not
as bad as it was before. He smiled a bit and winced at the pain. Pvt. – Yes Sir! He answered and blinked an eye.
Ramos knew that he’d just relieved some of the pain but there was much more damage caused by the shrapnel that only a Surgeon Doctor would have to do; in order to get a recovery. Their situation was really desperate because they were pinned down by the enemy. It was matter of time before Ramos and his friend would run out of luck. He figured that by the next day they more likely be surrounded and they could not survive that kind of attack.
These two friends met long time ago in California where they grew up and got to be friends when Baker was a Corporal and convinced him to join the Army.
Now they are here in a far away foreign Country waging a war together, trapped in a very tough situation that they might never get out of it.
Suddenly all hell broke loose! Shots were coming from every side, the thick adobe walls protected them from bullets.
The Sergeant was almost in no condition to fight, his wounds had deteriorated and he was now running a fever and pain only had increased to debilitate him. Ramos was making every shot count because he did not have unlimited ammo, he knew their time was short.
Pvt.- Don’t worry Sarge, I’m here, let those f—ing guys come and get it!
Ramos kept shooting at anything that moved. Then he heard a rocket hit the next room and exploded. He yelled!.
Pvt.- Sarge cover yourself! They got rockets now! He finished the sentence and a rocket hit their room and exploded violently!
What continued was a tremendous amount of shots being fired and more explosions but not in the house but in the perimeter. Where the Taliban positions were there was high columns of black smoke and fire, the automatic rifles kept firing. A man entered the damaged house and yelled loud.
Man – Sergeant Baker, Private Ramos are you there? The man was another Sergeant from their US Army platoon.
Six months later, a civilian is sitting in the Military Hospital waiting room. A nurse approaches him and asks him to follow her. They walk a long hallway and get to a room where another man is sitting in bed propped up with pillows.
The visitor approaches the man in bed and they embrace for a few seconds.
Pvt. – How are you Sarge? Long time no see! He smiled broadly. Sgt.- I’m fine Ramos, I’m glad to see you my friend.
They embraced again and shed a tear or two. They made it!
Sergeant Baker was flown back to USA and underwent extensive surgery, he recovered from the surgery and was released from the Hospital after three months. He retired from the Army, lives in Los Angeles with his wife.
Private Ramos was also flown back to USA, while he was in a coma for five and a half months due to a severe concussion but he has recovered his memory up to the moment of the rocket explosion. Unfortunately, he has also lost both of his legs up to his knees.