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Narratives: Death, Hunger, And A Subaru

Portrait of Army Sgt. Alex Flynn
Portrait of Army Sgt. Alex Flynn

Army Sgt. Alex Flynn remembers the deaths in Afghanistan that follow him home

Warning: This story contains graphic content that might not be suitable for everyone.

Narratives: Death, Hunger, And A Subaru
Narratives: Death, Hunger, And A Subaru

ALEX FLYNN: My name is Alex Flynn and this is my story, Narratives. I’m standing in the frozen food section of Sam’s Club and I hear the beeping sound of a forklift and I close my eyes and I’m back. Back in Afghanistan. In freezing rain, lighting a cigarette and the second I spark my lighter, I’m standing in a cloud of dust. I can’t breathe because my mouth is filled with grit and I can’t hear anything except a high-pitched ringing, and my cigarette is still burning on my lips and the 13 year old boy I was following around a corner is convulsing on the ground in front of me. The nearby Afghan national army soldiers are gone, presumably blown apart. I notice bits of their uniform stuck in a nearby tree, fluttering in the breeze, which for a moment is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. But the kid. That poor kid. His legs, jaw and left arm are gone and I’m giggling because I’m in shock and it looks like the kid is doing the worm but he’s not. He’s in his death throes. It’s dead quiet because the kid can’t do anything but make gurgling sounds as he fades and I hear one of our vehicles reversing to pick him up and check on me and it sounds just like the forklift at Sam’s Club and my girlfriend says, “Baby, are you all right?” And I shake it off and walk toward the automotive section and buy new tires for my Subaru. Nice tires. The most expensive of all weather tires I can buy because I’m not dying in a car accident.

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ALEX FLYNN: My name is Alex Flynn and this is my story, Narratives.

I’m standing in the frozen food section of Sam’s Club and I hear the beeping sound of a forklift and I close my eyes and I’m back. Back in Afghanistan. In freezing rain, lighting a cigarette and the second I spark my lighter, I’m standing in a cloud of dust. I can’t breathe because my mouth is filled with grit and I can’t hear anything except a high-pitched ringing, and my cigarette is still burning on my lips and the 13 year old boy I was following around a corner is convulsing on the ground in front of me.

The nearby Afghan national army soldiers are gone, presumably blown apart. I notice bits of their uniform stuck in a nearby tree, fluttering in the breeze, which for a moment is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

But the kid. That poor kid. His legs, jaw and left arm are gone and I’m giggling because I’m in shock and it looks like the kid is doing the worm but he’s not. He’s in his death throes. It’s dead quiet because the kid can’t do anything but make gurgling sounds as he fades and I hear one of our vehicles reversing to pick him up and check on me and it sounds just like the forklift at Sam’s Club and my girlfriend says, “Baby, are you all right?”

And I shake it off and walk toward the automotive section and buy new tires for my Subaru. Nice tires. The most expensive of all weather tires I can buy because I’m not dying in a car accident.