The Fianna

Hi, my name is Brendan. I’ve been a lurker for quite some time, and I also have been having a hard time finding a site which will just let me post a story without having 80 million admins turn it down for being too long or something dumb like that. Anyway, I’d love any feedback, just be nice, most of this actually happened to me, so….yeah. BTW: Daideo is irish for grandpa, so there’s no confusion.

The Fianna

Chapter 1: Fionn Maguire

Shit. I should have known I couldn’t dodge it. Of course, in the moment, you don’t think about the physics. You don’t say to yourself, “Hey, buddy, that bullet’s traveling at over 2,000 feet per second, there’s no chance in hell you’ll make it”. But I guess I should start at the beginning, right? I was born in a town called Canandaigua, it’s a suburb of Rochester, NY. When I was about 10 years old my dad lost his job in the city, and we were forced to move. I guess that’s where I got the idea that I would never be stable in my adult life. It got me to thinking that it was normal to lose your job for no reason, that was just the way it was. I used to play soldiers in the backyard. All of the neighborhood kids would get together and have a huge battle every summer with water balloons. It was always a big deal over who got to be the Americans and who had to be the Iraqis, whom we lovingly called towelheads. When we were hit we’d always make a dramatic death dive, crying out and throwing our arms in the air.

Childhood games, when looked back upon, were some of the most sadistic and cruel portrayals of adult life ever. We never associated our friends cries with them not getting up again. They always brushed themselves off and respawned 10 minutes later. No one ever had to go to their parents house and tell them their son was never coming home. No one ever had to look into their eyes and see the pain in them, as if you had just severed their aorta. After we moved, it was as if someone had just cut mine. I was alone again. I gradually gained friends and kept my sanity, but I never felt like I was home. I would pace my house, looking for nothing in particular. I’d open the fridge, find nothing appetizing, and come back 30 seconds later, hoping something delicious magically appeared in that time.

When I was 15 I started having nightmares. I would wake up screaming whenever I fell asleep. They seemed so real. They always ended with me dying. I became more and more paranoid everyday. I’d come home from school and have pugilistic struggles with the wall in my room. No matter how many times my hands were broken, no matter how many times they were bloodied, I always won. I had sex for the first time at a Dropkick Murphys concert in the bathroom. Not the most sanitary of places, I’ll admit. But when you’re 17, you’re desperate.

High school was the best and worst 4 years of my life. I had some amazing teachers, the best teaching history. I always loved history. Julius Caesar was my personal hero, alongside Leonidas of Sparta. The man held off an army of a million men with just 300. When the Persian commander sent a messenger to Leonidas, he was told that the Persian archers were so numerous that their arrows blocked out the sun. Leonidas thought for a moment, then responded to the messenger, “All the better, for we will fight them in the shade.” I had always hoped to utter such words. In freshmen year, the Trade Center fell. I remember it well, I was outside for gym when the announcement was made. If you had a free period, you could watch the news in the auditorium. I didn’t have one, so I went to class. When I got home, I remember turning on my tv and seeing footage. I was disgusted, but it seemed familiar to me. I asked my dad about terrorism that night. That was the night I learned of what Daideo did back in Ireland. Dad told me of the struggle for freedom from England, and the sacrifices that were made. He told me of The Troubles, and how Daideo had blown up buildings for the IRA. The way he explained it to me, it didn’t sound like a terrorist act, it sounded like a legitimate war for independence. No children died, or women. The casualties were all British soldiers. We never gained independence. To this day, our once proud fortress at Enniskillen is a barracks for the British Royal Fusiliers. That never sat well with me, I knew one day, I would save our homeland.

For awhile, life was alright for me. Then junior year hit. My guidance counselor called me down just about every week, wondering if I had chosen a college. He’d say, “Fionn, what are you doing with your life? You need to go to college” I always told him where he could stick it. I was a born fighter, like my father before me. The tradition went back to the old country, our beloved Éiru. We had come from a great line of kings in Fermanagh. It wasn’t a choice, it was a sacred need. My Daideo told me on his deathbed that I would be a great fighter and uphold the family honor. I was amazed Mr. Stevens had pronounced my name right. Nobody, not even my best friends knew that. “You know I’ve made my choice, not everybody goes to college”. It was the same answer I gave every time he called me down. That always pissed me off. He never recognized the military as being a legitimate choice. But I had made up my mind, and he wasn’t going to change it anytime soon. If only I knew what was in store for me.

I enlisted in the Army in Boston, and was sent to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. We affectionately called our new home “Lost in the Woods”. If there was a pimple on God’s ass, it’d be in Missouri. The temperature during the day was enough to dissolve flesh, and the nights were in the low 30’s. It reminded me of Rochester. We always made the joke that you could wear shorts one day, and the next you could be shoveling your driveway. That’s got to be saying something about the state of our environment, but I’m no weatherman. When I arrived in The Woods, the DI’s took one look at me and decided that my striking features would make me a good platoon leader. I was 5’11, and 185 pounds. You could still see my ribs when I sucked in, and I’d seen teenage girls with more muscle mass than I. In reception we got our shots and our uniforms. I was stoked that at least I didn’t get stuck with ACUs, those things were and still are the most hideous piece of cloth our troops have ever died in. If the enemy got close enough to us, they’d die of laughter before any rounds went downwind. Reception was also the place I got the nickname McCool. It was a play on the legend of Fionn McCumhail, one of the great heroes of Irish Mythology. He was actually the reason my name was Fionn.

When the cadre picked us up to take us to our new barracks, I did as I was told and never made eye contact. Things just went better that way. We ran off the bus, rucksacks in our outstretched arms, running blindly towards the noise of the DI’s, trying desperately to see over them.

“Move your ass you disgusting degenerate!”. Dsgt. Sanchez. My memories included his amazing stories about how we should feel bad that because we f*cked up, he was dragged from his beautiful wife, kicking and screaming, and the time he sat in the latrine for 73 hours to find out who was smoking after lights out. Nobody noticed him. That guy had to be a scout sniper or something. He never told us.

In the movies they always show the Senior Drill Instructor as being a hard ass, but my cadre was rougher on us than the Senior was. My Senior was pretty laid back, he’d wake us by simply turning on the lights, and let the cadre come in screaming. I hated it when they used the whistles. I used to fall asleep as a kid watching Vietnam movies, and from then on despised the sound of whistles.

I graduated in August, and was sent to Advanced training. I had chosen 31B, Military Police. Huge mistake, I was sprayed and maced and gassed much more than I had imagined. I’m not going to continue about that, it’s too painful. When asked where I would like to be assigned, I requested Okinawa. What I got was Fort McPherson, Georgia. I knew that the next step would be Fort Doha, Kuwait. After several months of training, the day had come. We were loaded onto a troop ship bound for the Persian Gulf. I still remember the feeling, like cattle being led to slaughter. I rejoined some old battle-buddies from The Woods.

First there was Ronin. He came from Fort Worth, Texas, and can be seen on certain episodes of Cops. He was my bunk mate and had become my closest friend. Then there was Morna. He had caused most of the platoon to become incredibly strong, simply by his being so stupid. Every time he did something wrong, we paid for it. I guess you could call him Gomer Pyle, except that he didn’t kill anyone and became one of our own about midway through Basic. He was quite the portly gentleman, and most of our jokes revolved around that. Dunn “The Gun” was from Maryland, and didn’t talk about home much. He was a ladies man, and had 4 back home with engagement rings on their fingers. Strong was from New York City, and was our platoon medic. I guess he learned how to patch up fellow gang members on the streets and stuck with it.

“Sup f@gs?” we always affectionately referred to each other as gays, it was just funnier that way. Dunn spoke for the others, who were too busy staring at pictures of their girls. Who knows what kinds of sick shit they were imagining. “Not much Cool, but why the f*ck are we on this ship? You’d think with modern technology we could at least get a fuxxing plane.” I had thought about that myself, and the best I could come up with was that the budget was distributed mostly to the Chair Force, and the remaining branches got the shit end of the stick. My mother always said I should join the Air Force, then I wouldn’t end up in some desert. Maybe I should have listened. I was young, I wanted excitement. I wanted combat. I was a fool.

Like I said, any feedback would be awesome. Admins, if there’s a problem with any cuss words, just let me know, I’ll change them.