On our side of the HESCOs, the party was in full swing. We were on our second day back in Ramadi. Our platoon leader had just earned his promotion to 1st Lieutenant, and we were celebrating as hard as you can in Iraq. The humidors full of cigars were out, and melting ice leaked across the deck from open cases of non-alcoholic beer. Wood scraps sent twisting flames aloft from our fire pit set into the patio built of metal airlift pallets. Many members of the platoon made use of our most obscene amenity- an 8x6’ pool built by our predecessors out of a water tank that was hit by shrapnel during a rocket attack. We spent the afternoon cleaning the accumulation of dust and sand out of the bottom, and sent someone running after the water truck in anticipation of the evening.Mama put my guns in the ground
I can't shoot them any more
That cold black cloud is comin' down
Feels like I'm knockin' on heavens door
Now the porch and patio dance with flames that cut through the swirling cigar smoke- the smoke that moves and throbs in time with the bass from the portable speakers. Members of other platoons in the company drift in to congratulate the LT, while our soldiers split off into groups and talk. In the back there's the shatter of glass and a brief curse- no worries, there's plenty more near-beer on ice. Ramadi's partying, and it's jumping for us.