I'm at our old house in Boyd, the one on the half-acre lot in the subdivision where they'd mowed a field and built a dozen houses. I'm standing out there, about a quarter of a mile from the house when my wife arrives on bicycle, jumps off it and yells, "WHY ARE YOU OUT HERE SO LONG ALL BY YOURSELF?" I quietly reply, "To get away from all the screaming and yelling."
"NO ONE IS SCREAMING OR YELLING," she shrieks, "IN FACT THE ONLY ONE YELLING RIGHT NOW IS YOU!"
She drops the bike and runs back to the house. Then its night and I am on my military cot in the backyard with my son and his friend. They're both dressed in camouflage and soon leave their cots to adventure into the night commando-style.
I am looking up into the night sky, only its filled with puffy gray clouds so thick one can only see the tendrils reaching down...following Iraqi missiles falling from the sky! I am frozen with fear.
As the projectiles drop around me I realize most are duds and do do not explode, merely thumping into the earth with a mute thud. I can see they're only six to eight inches in length, yet look like small scale Saturn-V stage rockets. Suddenly, there's a small explosion where one went off - the rest bury into the ground as the the initial volley halts.
My heart is racing and I try to leave the cot, only...I see more cots, more people, civilians mostly, watching the sky as if this were some sort of magical light show. I endeavor to warn them of the danger but they're only amused at my terror, turning their gaze heavenward hoping for another show.
I fear being killed or disfigured by either initial or secondary explosions, or even killed or maimed by the duds which are still deadly in their own right, were I to be hit by one hurling from the sky. A little girl runs around pulling unexploded ones from the ground, playing with them like toys. I try to explain they're not inert. No one cares. Someone remembers I was in Saudi, and assumes I was subject to nightly SCUD attacks, which is fueling my fear, so now my behavior can be easily explained away. Then the tiny missiles start to fall again from the sky.
Moving in slow motion I move from the back yard to the screened-in porch knowing the protection of the roof is only perceived - it won't help an iota. My father is there with my daughter - they're playing together as I watch, horrified. It starts to rain.
My son and his friends check in, fascinated by the "light show." I try to explain how deadly it is and what is actually happening, but they have no sense of proportion and run off again. I open the back door to the house and go inside, knowing I am no safer here but determined to continue retreating.
Watching all the activity outside I recognize a coworker as having once served himself. He's doing the backstroke in the street which just flooded from the impromptu rainstorm. I wave nervously and he lifts a hand back in reply.
The adults think it would be fun to make a picnic meal, still staring up in fascination as the missiles continue to fall from the sky. I remain frozen in terror. Someone notices me and suggests its PTSD, ambivalent of the threat around them.
I awake 30-seconds before my alarm.