Pride. They say pride comes before the fall. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:5, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.” Pride is even defined by Merriam-Webster as “A feeling that you are more important or better than other people.” It is pride exactly why the world suffered the tragedies during what we now call The Blue Dawn when we battled against the Smurfs. Tragedy is a soft word compared to the horrendous nature of the event, and only those who fought, survived, and are now haunted by the event can tell the true nature of what actually happened.
Recounted here is but one soldier’s experience during the war. Yes, it is heavily abridged, as the tale is long and melts the iciest of hearts. The information comes from many points of view and are woven together in this yarn as one cohesive piece told from the first person. As the dawn gives way to the twilight, so to does the darkness give way to light, even if the soothing morning light feels more distant and slower to come than the blanketing of darkness. We will live. We will heal. We must never forget.
Blue on Black: When it began
BRRZ! BRRZ! BRRZ! The alarm set on my cell phone next to my bed screamed as though it were a banshee alerting the world to its arrival, while the vibration function I always had set caused the phone to dance on the wireless charging port. Groaning, I turned and picked the wicked thing up, desperately trying to slide the screen to “off”. With so much fog in my head and blurring in my eyes, my phone fought with me all the way to the bathroom. I swear, this damned device knew me too well to simply be allowed to shut off right away.
Managing to silence this accursed device, I looked down as I began to brush my teeth. 4:01 AM Central European Time Zone (GMT+1). Formation would be at 5:00 AM and I couldn’t be late. I was never late. I’m sure everyone wants to know…and yes…I was stuck with a “bad company”, but not because I was a screw up or a criminal. Don’t get me wrong, most of the people I served with were. I just had a “bad attitude” and pissed off the wrong people enough times to end up here. They thought it would be hilarious to make me a corporal instead of a sergeant and put me in charge of a squad of people who were both accused and convicted of crimes, but their efficiency and penchant for acceptable violence would have been wasted in the stockade over in Leavenworth. The one blessing, however, is I was at Caserma Del Din, attached as back up for the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
I had just jumped into the shower and allowed the warm water to massage my body, washing away the previous day and cleansing me for the new to day to come, when I first felt it.
Rattle. Rattle. Small shake.
At first I payed little attention to it, rationalizing it as me being still in the process of waking up.
Rattle. Stronger shake. Rattle. Rattle.
There it was again. This time, a little heavier and more obnoxious. I stepped forward in the shower, the water still hitting my back, and touched the wall. Maybe it was just the water heater or the pipes?
Boom followed by an extremely large tremor then rattling and shaking. I heard the sirens going off, so I swiped the razor down my face one last time and leapt out of the shower with the fury of a honey badger. I had never dressed so fast in my life and I left the house with such fever that I didn’t even bother to lock my door.
My god. The world was on fire! Explosions rocked the area not far from me and the smoke was filling the sky. Many of the families were screaming and making their way to the designated safe zones.
“Calahan! WAIT UP!” I called out to one of my platoon mates and jumped into the street as I saw him rushing up in a jeep.
“Abromoff! You’re alive!” Calahan screamed after his vehicle came to a screeching halt, “Get the fuck in!!!” I didn’t need any convincing, and I jumped into his HMVEE. I was barely inside when he took off down the street. Looking around, I saw several of my squad mates in the vehicle as well, looking as confused and amped up as I was.
“God damn Muslim invasion?!” Murai asked, looking around at the chaos outside.
“No fucking way, dude!” Garney stated, as if he already knew, “There’s no way they could catch us that off guard! Not here, man!”
“Then what the hell is going on? Who’s attacking us?!” I asked, knowing full well no one else knew, but I couldn’t help it. I was nervous and angry. Calahan was doing one hell of a job as he drove through the bits of upturned asphalt and pot holes. There was suddenly flash of light and pressure. I remember hearing Calahan say, “Oh sh..” before the noise deafened me.
What is it like to be in an explosion? Pressure, heat, and chaos. It is all pressure, heat and chaos my dear friends. If ever in my life I had known I was to avoid Hell at all costs, this was it. The ringing in my ears was unbearable and I was so disoriented I couldn’t even understand that I was still alive, and relatively unhurt. I crawled several feet through the wreckage before having enough strength to push myself up onto my knees, belly down. Strange how in these moments you can remember some things so clearly and focus on something that seems so irrelevant… Below me was a piece of yellow paper. I reached down and picked it up.
“Wrapping paper?” I thought as I wrinkled it in my fist. I must have blacked out at that moment, because the next thing I remember is being draped across Captain Santos’ shoulder as he ran down the street and into a building. Guess I made some kind of noise, because he set me down gently in a chair and knelled in front of me.
“Abromoff? You with me? Hey! You with me soldier?” Santos asked, gently slapping me on the face. I could hear again. Thank God. Still, I could only nod in affirmative and weakly salute.
“Good!” he stated and stood up, and looked around the room, “Now listen up, assholes. We’re obviously being invaded. Every major military installation across the world is being hit right now.”
“God damn sand niggers!” I heard a voice in the back call out.
“Shut your god damn cock holster, private! This is no Islamic Jihad! When I say EVERY major military installation across the world is being hit, I mean EVERY nation and EVERY military is being hit! Terrorist training camps are being wiped out left and right,” Captain Santos informed everyone. There was a hush which actually helped me snap out of my daze.
“If it’s not a Jihad, what is this, sir?” I asked, finally able to speak and sitting up straighter.
“I saw it,” I heard Calahan say. He was alive? Oh thank god…so was Murai and Garney! Those three were always the luckiest sons of bitches I had ever known. Their luck must have rubbed off on me.
“What did you see, private?” Captain Santos asked with absolute interest.
“What’s attacking us. Well, I didn’t see it really clearly, but, I swear to you god…Look, I’m not trying to get a fucking section 8 here, okay?” Calahan stated, waiving his hands at everyone, “I’m not a fucking lunatic, got it?”
“Well, what the hell did you see?!” Winther, one of our sergeants asked, “That’s an order. OUT WITH IT!”
“Okay, look…it was small so I didn’t see it all that well, but it right before the explosion I swear I saw something blue running away just before from where the explosion happened,” Calahan told him.
“What?!!” a voice I didn’t recognize at the time shouted from behind me.
“That’s all I’m saying!” Calahan stated and sat back down.
“Right. At least it’s something. We’re two blocks from the armory. Everyone stick together and move like a god damn trained platoon of soldiers, got it?!” Captain Santos shouted and moved toward the back door indicating everyone to follow him.
Truth is a Stranger Thing Than Fiction
Two months. It had been two months since the start of the attack and we still couldn’t believe what was happening. The Smurfs. The god damn fucking Smurfs were attacking us all around the world. Many people didn’t even believe they existed, or even knew, kind of how some people thought Narwhals are mythical creatures, even in this modern day. What did we really know about them anyway? The information we had said there was only one village in a place called The Forbidden Forest, either in France or England. Story goes only the Smurfs and Mother Nature knew the actual location. There was a place in Juzcar, Spain nicknamed The Smurf Village because of the blue houses. We thought they were doing it as a joke and a simple reference. No one thought it was to appease the ever growing angry and violent Smurfs in the area. How were we supposed to know there was more than one Smurf village?
We had been moved to RAF Lakenheath to get briefed on a counter attack in order to take back London. This entire thing was a shit show from the beginning. We had been caught with our pants down because we thought the Smurfs were beneath us, in stature, in resourcefulness, and in technology. Smurfs are 3 inches to 7.5 inches tall? My ass. These things were proportioned like the cartoon drawings of them, but stood on average four feet tall. Strong as hell, too. What they lacked in pure military training they made up for in pure aggression. No idea how many of these things they were. They seemed endless.
All said and done, my battalion had lost over 100 men and we were nearing bare bones in supplies. This was going to be one last ditch effort to get a supply line back as well as take back a major city. We were beginning to see success in many locations by changing our tactics. War was never going to be the same, because if World War II didn’t end all wars, this was simply teaching every military regime in the world a different way to fight…and human nature always proves we’ll use it against each other rather than a realization we need to stop fighting all together.
Every time we had a briefing it was depressing. We were being told we were going to fight, but then we never would. Every briefing ended the same: Promises of action followed by waiting around. The Army motto really should just officially change to “Hurry and Wait!”
“Something has been bothering me,” Garney stated as we made our way to the briefing room.
“Just one thing?” I asked mockingly.
“Oh, fuck you,” Garney said in defense, “Remember when this all started and Calahan said he saw something small run away from where the explosion happened? Then why are we fighting Smurfs the size of middle school kid?” This was a fair question, and one no one even seemed to consider or bring up. Why were the Smurfs so tall? Did we just have the wrong information? Were there smaller Smurfs sent out for recon? If so, then how could we ever know if we were being watched? They’d be like rats sneaking in to the pantry through the tiniest hole.
“Look, what I saw was small. I don’t know why these ones are big, okay?” Calahan stated flatly.
“Who cares. Just let me kill more. I haven’t killed enough of those peyos!” Murai stated and pounded his chest. It was a sentiment I agreed with, but never actually said out loud. We had taken to offensively naming them peyo after the scientist who first recorded them back in the 1950’s and published the earliest research papers about them. Before that, they were either considered extinct or a myth. Like the coelacanth.
We reached the briefing room and took our usual seats. That’s strange…leading today’s briefing was as colonel leading the briefing today. Colonel Finch, actually. She had earned a reputation for going out into the field and fighting, actually leading charges, rather than sitting back and drinking while wondering if there really was a battle even actually going on. This woman had bigger and badder balls than most of the people I knew. Probably even myself.
“No way!” I heard Murai whisper as he saw the colonel standing at the front and beginning the presentation, “If she’s here…we might actually get to do something.”
“Alright. Everyone shut up and listen because this is important, I out rank you, and we’re going full battle rattle after this!” Colonel Finch belted out. It was like she was wearing a microphone with how powerful her voice projected, “We’re taking London back. TODAY. I will not settle for anything less than complete victory and no casualties. This is a four part strike mission. You are part three of this four part attack and we don’t have much time for me to go over this. Starting at 0200 this morning and continuing on was the first part of the campaign. Leading the attack was the 302d Fighter Squadron, The Red Devils, accompanied by the 77th Fighter Squadron, The Gamblers to take down the outside air patrols. At 0300 this morning the 6th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, North Field, started a two hour bombing campaign to take out strategic locations around London. Yes, we did confirm the use of portals by the Smurfs, however, it seems these portals are tied to specific locations and if the integrity is not maintained, the portals shut down…seemingly for good. Now it’s your turn, soldiers. You’re all going in with heavy ground support to mop up any left over resistance. Report to your commanding officers for deployment order and what armor division you will be escorted by. MOVE YOUR ASSES OUT NOW!!!”
Everyone leapt from their seat and began to file out. We already had our gear ready for us, so it was a simple matter of picking it all up, getting hemmed up and in line. We were greeted by Captain Santos ordering everyone as close to him as possible instead of us getting to formation.
“Listen up, you sacks! We’re moving in first. That’s what being in a bad company means! I have been informed once this is all over, anyone surviving this bullshit is getting a full pardon and an honorable discharge…if they want to leave. Just remember that if you’re thinking about dying! Die and you’re still a criminal, got that?!” he shouted out. Everyone shouted a loud, “Yes, sir!” and he continued, “Alright, we’re moving out with the 40th Armor Division. They’ll watch our asses, so you make sure they don’t get blown to shit, got that?! NOW MOVE!!!”
We all ran to the APC closest to us and crammed in.
“God damn…we’re really putting our trust in a bunch of weekend warriors form California?!” I heard a familiar voice ask.
“When was the last time any of us had time off? Do you really think people are only here on the fucking weekends now? Shut the fuck up!” I heard Sargent Winther shout out from somewhere in the APC.
“Point taken!” the voice familiar voice said again. This time, I had peeked around Garney and saw who was talking. God damn…it was Sergeant Bennett. He was smiling like a maniac and holding his M24. We had a sniper on our team and it was one of the best I had ever known. I felt better.
The entire ride into London was silent. At least inside the APC. Outside, explosions and gun fire rank out like it was a birthday party gone crazy. Once the doors opened, the silence was shattered with screams and the thunder of foot steps as we piled out and made our way to cover. Captain Santos gave the orders on where each squad was to move into and we moved without question. We were going to clear standing buildings looking for surviving peyo…I mean Smurfs and either take them out or capture them. It was our discretion. We knew no one in my squad was doing to take anything alive. I wasn’t about to make them and I had no desire to.
For hours we cleared the way and killed any Smurf we came across. All around us the sound of gun fire became more and more sparse and the skies were cleared of any opposition. Silence was once again beginning to become normal until an explosion rocked on of our HMVEE ahead of us, killing everyone inside. Was it a mortar? No…we didn’t hear it fall…and the blast had been directed toward the car…this was an IED. God damn Smurfs were starting to play dirty again.
“Fuck, man! What the fuck!” Murai shouted, as we hunkered behind some rubble, regrouping.
“Anyone see who did it? Anything?!” I shouted at my squad. No one had seen anything except the explosion. Fluttering down like a peaceful snowflake in front of me was something yellow on one side and white on another. I reached out and grabbed it. “Wrapping paper?” I asked out loud in thought. Suddenly the memory of the beginning of the war spring board to the front of my mind.
“It’s what?” Garney asked, reaching for the paper, “It is wrapping paper…”
“This is the same thing I saw back when we were hit in Italy…must be the same mother fucker!” I seethed in anger, gripping my weapon.
“There! Off to the side! Two blocks up!” one of my squad mates shouted. I looked over the rubble pile and saw a Smurf running down the road carrying a yellow box with a red bow. He placed it down at the side of the road and began running toward us again…reaching behind him and producing another box of the same nature. He must have been using some kind of portal to bring the boxes to him, because there’s no way he was carrying these things in a pocket.
“That’s the son of a bitch putting down IEDs!” I said and grabbed the radio, “Hey, Sargent Bennett! About two blocks up! Smurf running with an IED! Yellow box and red bow! WE gotta stop him!” I didn’t receive a response on radio, instead, I heard the report of a rifle followed by a large explosion from where the Smurf was. Pieces of blue flesh rained down on us for a few seconds.
“I got that joker. Thought he was fucking funny, did he?” I heard Sargent Bennett report over the radio. After that…everything went quiet and we regrouped.
Hammer of Thor: Lightening Doesn’t Need to Strike Twice
We thought we had won. We thought we were victorious. We were so sure of ourselves that we let down our guard and didn’t see we were exactly where the enemy wanted us. The true enemy. The one who was pulling all the strings. Pride is a bitch.
Everyone had just sat down to have some nice HOT A’s and to relax when there was a commotion from the helicopter landing pads. Jumping up, I rushed past everyone to see what was going on. The heftiest Smurf I had ever seen beating soldiers with his bare hands. Others had opened fire on him, but it seemed to be doing little. That’s when I saw it, but no one else had. Some Smurf with more brains than brawn jumped into one of the Blackhawks and was taking off. There was no way I was going to get to the helicopter before it took off, but I knew being down even one chopper at this point would be extremely handicapping and something so mobile in the hands of the Smurfs would be disastrous. What could I do, though? The Blackhawk was already taking off and leaving the area. I happened to look past the fighting soldiers and saw an RPG…it must have been brought in by one of the Smurfs! Faster than I had ever run in my life, I ran to that RPG and grabbed it, checking to make sure everything was ready. I dropped to one knee, aligned the chopper and fired.
The rocket roared forth in anger, spewing fire and smoke as if it were a dragon hellbent on revenge. As though guided by the hand of God, the I watched as the rocket made contact with the side of the Blackhawk and it exploded. Wrenching sideways and bellowing hell fire, the chopper spin like an out of control top as it plummeted to earth in the same fashion Icarus surely did as he flew too close to the sun. Luckily, it crashed in an area devoid of anyone else. About the same time, the berserk smurf was finally killed…but so were six of our own.
“Stop where you are!” I heard a voice from one of the towers call out over the fence. Looking over, I saw a figure in the distance, distorted by heat haze and smoke. I numbly dropped the RPG and made my way to the gate, grabbing a dropped rifle on the way. Whoever, or whatever, this was too big to be a Smurf. Funny how I thought that, given we didn’t know the Smurfs could be as tall as we witnessed. However, whoever, or whatever, this was didn’t have a hat on like the others. It seemed to walk slightly hunched over, and it was carrying something…a book?
The warning sirens went off once again and everyone prepared for the worst. I stayed at the guard shack, weapon at the ready. I heard them ordering the figure to halt repeatedly, but it continued toward us until I could finally see it clearly. A man. Just a man. He stood just under six feet tall, had a slouched back, and wore what I could only describe as an old fashioned black monk’s robe. Around his waist, holding everything closed, was a rope and he had red shoes on, not unsimilar to what the Smurfs wore. His face was slightly twisted, almost like a demon with a piked nose, and what hair he had on his balding head was greasy.
He stood in the middle of the road, one hand behind him and the other out in front of him, holding a book. If you have believed anything in this tale, then believe me when I saw the book seemed to move…the book was alive and looked to be in disgust, almost agony, of being in his possession. He grinned wickedly. I could hear his words as his voice echoed out only fifty yards from my position.
“I am so glad you were all able to join me at the appointed time!” he laughed out, waiving the book in front of him, “It is so nice when guests arrive at the proper time and numbers!”
“State your business!” I heard Colonel Finch over the speaker? She was alive? Of course she was…she was too tough to die. I should have known that… “Do not approach any closer!”
“What do you know of my business!? What could you possibly comprehend?! NOTHING! YOU ARE ALL NOTHING! You have done everything I have wanted and more! The only thing I have left is to close up some loose ends!” the person shouted and suddenly flipped the book to look at him, “Great Book of Spells! I, Gargamel, your master and owner demand of you this day, being the last phase of the full moon, to grant me the spell I seek!”
“What is it you seek, foolish one!” the book stated back.
“I demand a spell to make me the biggest, and greatest wizard of them all! I wish to stand above all others and squish my enemies!” Gargamel shouted with a laugh to the book.
“Another selfish and pointless request! Stomp three times, turn twice, and then your enemies shall seem small as mice!” the book instructed back. Gargamel did just that…and in a flash of white energy surrounding him he began to grow. He did not stop growing until he towered above all the buildings like a video game end boss. His voice boomed out in a deafening tone as he laughed and began to smash everything around him. “Everyone, including the Smurfs, thought they were better than me! Outcast me! TURNED ME AWAY LIKE A FREAK! Now I will make you all pay!” he shouted out in a voice so loud it hurt my ears.
“NOW!” I heard Colonel Finh’s voice once again over the speaker. I can hardly explain what happened next. I saw lightening fly across the darkened, but cloudless sky, straight for Gargamel. At first, he was laughing, but his face twisted to an even more disgusted look and he began screaming in pain. He attempted to block the lightening hitting him constantly in the chest, but his fingers were burned through and fell from his body. That lightening began to eat through his body until he had an large hole in his chest. No blood. The wound had been cauterized by the heat. He toppled backwards and began to shrink back to normal size as he did so, until he landed like a sack of potatoes on the ground. The entire base began to cheer.
It was weeks before I learned it was none other than Captain Santos who fired that shot. The weapon was the fourth stage in the strike and had been nicknamed Thor’s Hammer. Someone had learned there was a force driving the Smurfs to start the war, but wasn’t exactly sure who it was, however, they knew they were hiding in London. We were there to drive them out of hiding, and hopefully, put a stop to all of it. The fighting had immediately stopped after Gargamel was killed, and the Smurfs went back into hiding, but not before someone designated Papa Smurf presented conditions of peace and agreed to never cause problems again. The USA, at least, agreed to leave the Smurfs alone and ordered both a no visit and no fly zone where the Smurfs were actually located. No civilian was ever told the specific spot they lived.
Those of us who have fought and lived through this are the ones most affected. Closing my eyes at night brings sweats and I can’t have any thing blue around me. The Blue Man Group was officially exonerated of all charges of being spies for the Smurfs when the truth had come out, but they had to be disbanded because no one trusted them anymore.
This was the worst war since the one fought by a soldier, who’s letters my father found in the wall of his own home. Makes me think my cousin was right about this Chuck E. Cheese place…wonder how he’s doing…
I had promised to post this so many times…it came to me when I was drugged up to have a double wisdom tooth extraction. I also saw a giant purple turkey, but that isn’t as exciting as this. I’ve turned this into a short story, and when I tell it verbally, it’s a bit different of course.