Mortar Prayers

Nobody pays attention to my bad dream, my outburst. Everybody’s tending their own crop of horrors.” A short work of fiction that acts a reminder of the hell that is war, and of the sacrifice made by the brave souls set forth to fight for the powers that be…

by: Frederick Foote

I‘m wearing a United States Army uniform, carryin’ a rifle and cowerin’ in a ditch. I’ve come a long ways from back home where I would have been uniform-less, shovel in hand, digging a ditch for three dollars an hour and glad to get it.

I don’t know a hell of a lot about this godforsaken country. I know the people here look more like me. Feel more like me than the white soldiers in my unit from the U.S. of Arrogance.

I know we’re turning these people into sand niggers in their own country. In their own homes. I see that much in their eyes. I see they hate me. That’s for sure. They hate me for being one of them, and for murdering and getting paid for it. Getting medals for it and going home to the, “I thank you for your service” pious hymn bullshit.

They pity me. I’m lost in a way they ain’t. Fuck you and your pity. I’ll blow your fuckin’ pity sky-high, motherfuckers.

The burnt, blasted, bombed babies that have been our collateral damage for eighteen years whisper, scream, and pray to me in my wild, murky, mad, buckin’ nightmares, “Why you here? What did we do to you? We are now your unborn babies. Come home to us before the SWAT team does. Meet us again fresh from the womb.”

I explode awake screaming.

“Goddamn! Motherfucker! Goddamn.”

Nobody pays attention to my bad dream, my outburst. Everybody’s tending their own crop of horrors.


Mortars! “Fuck! You fuckin’ cocksuckers! Shit!”


I’m eatin’ the fuckin’ bitterdirt. Prayin’ to I don’t know who. “Goddamn, whatever you are take the white troops first. They believe in country, the U.S. Army, Trump — that deranged cocksucker.”


Walkin’ them mortars, baby steps right towards me. Right to motherfuckin’ me!


Mama, I should have listened. Fuck! Right in front of me. I’m next! Oh, fuck me to death!

Nothin’! What? What the fuck! A fuckin’ trick question? They stopped? The earth still shakin’. My ears ringin’.’

The screamin’ starts.

I done pissed myself.

I crawl to the wounded. I try to help the medic. “Put pressure here!” “Draw that tight.” “Bandage.”

Air support. Now? What the fuck! Fuckin’ late out the gate assholes.

Two closed coffins, meat burgers to go. Three mix and match amputees to Walter Reed and direct on to homelessness.

Nobody says anything about my pissed pants.

I don’t change.

I don’t care anymore.

Fuck me. Fire me. Light me up firing-squad style.

I’m not going to sleep! Fuck that. No more livin’-dead babies being reborn.

Mama, what the fuck am I doing here? You was right. This ain’t about shit. I’m wrong. Wrong. But not dead wrong. Not yet.

Why the fuck am I laughin’? What’s wrong with me? I can’t stop laughin.’

A Joint. The medic gives me a joint. Bandages my fuckin’ Purple Heartless necklace wound. Stitches. Five or six.

Five of us watch the home-side, home-sick, sickin’ action news, “We’re winnin’. We’re being blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel. Unconditional victory is near. We’ll be home for Christmas.” Re-recycled bullshit.

One troop packs her bags. Goes to sit by the runway. Wants to be first on the plane home.

I don’t want to go to fuckin’ sleep. I can’t. I won’t.

Where the fuck is the mortar guy now when I really need him?

God, you cruel motherfucker. Send a mortar round. A direct hit on me and anybody else ready to check out of this shithole. Do this for me and I will kiss your lily-white ass for the rest of eternity.

I’m sleepy. So fuckin’ tired. I can’t…I can’t…please…please…help me please…Mama…



Read more of Frederick Foote’s novel and engaging brand of Fiction here.

Header art conceptualized by the inimitable street artist Banksy.

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