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By Tom Maremaa

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I caught M E T A L H E A D S n 59 myself in mid-sentence: since the war ended. Did it? That’s what I hear from one side but still more soldiers are coming in, wounded, crippled, in desperate need of repair. Like me. I’m in need of gulliver repair. I’m not quite right in the gulliver. This war’s one that’ll never end, because it doesn’t deserve to, because as long as it keeps going on you can’t say we failed; it keeps going on because we want it to, we can’t go on, we will go on. There’s too much at stake to pull out now; it’s easier to send the metalheads home and replenish their numbers with new recruits who, if the stats are right, will also become metalheads.

He got attacked when his convoy of Humvees approached Baghdad. The man was going for some kind of conference; he was this idealist type of guy, always planning for the future, willing to negotiate with different factions, settle any and all disagreements by working out some kind of compromise. Ricki, of course, is a warrior woman, more powerful than any woman I’ve met in my short and stupid life. Evidently, he got hit badly, his legs shattered by the blast. The smell of it was foul, according to those who witnessed the explosion.

Ricki looks young as can be. She’s brightened herself up, dabbed lots of makeup on her face, dyed her hair blonde, and lightened her step. She’s agile, thin as a matchstick (I guess she stopped eating completely two weeks ago, except for occasional snacks and lots of water). Ricki greets all the new 32 n T O M M A R E M A A guys, all the TBIs coming into the ward, with a polite hello and a big welcoming smile. She even shakes their hands. I viddy it happen with the new dudes. A little charm goes a long way, much longer than anybody knows.

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