Monday, June 06, 2005



I’m doing the usual highway clearance and come across a dead cow by the side of the road. Well, a calf anyway. Believe it or not, this isn’t an uncommon thing. On my particular stretch of highway, it seems that water buffalo like to die there. Some sort of weird Bermuda triangle thing for bovines, I suppose.

We clear he area first, making sure no one has been up to Devious Shenanigans™ and placed an IED in the calf. It happens, more often than not. The cow is clear, so I decide to drag it over to the last (full grown) buffalo carcass and immolate the two of them.

The calf has been there for a couple of days. After gasping for breath from a stench (perhaps worse, but definitely comparable to the beloved plastic box) we get the cows into one spot and soak with gasoline and diesel (5 gallons each, the gas to get the fire started, the diesel to keep it going.)

“But how to light it” You ask. Flicking matches just doesn’t seem prudent. (I’ve been burned before, pretty badly—and I don’t relish another trip to a burn center or another skin graft.) I consider the “if’s.” And then reach for old faithful, a flare gun captured in one of my many raids. It’s a 23mm boat gun, and I have lots of rounds for it, but they are pretty old. Usually the flare leaves the gun and the phosphorus erupts about 25 meters out, like a shotgun. Sometimes it stays in one piece, and does what it’s supposed to.

Today, I would have little luck. I shoot about 7 flares at the cows, and all 7 either spray apart or don’t light. The flare gun has a hell of a kick, and my hand is starting to hurt. Top is always up for a good time, and he carries an M203, and always has flares. Top looks at me in (mock) disgust, mumbles something about crazy officers and loads a flare. The American made US Army issue flare does exactly what it is designed to do.

Unfortunately, exactly what it is designed to do is fly about 300 meters, and then ignite. There’s now a big hole in the cow, and a brush fire about 300 meters away.

I figure it’s time to stop screwing around. Top grabs a smoke grenade (they burn really hot) and tosses it into the carcass. It does the trick.

Marshmallows Anyone?


Free Image Hosting at

No comments: