This Is Not
a Christmas Story

On Christmas Eve Perkins got his nontrigger finger shot off by a sniper and acquired a green-purple bruise on his chest, which, if you squinted and had lots of imagination, you might have mistaken for something in the shape of an angel. But it was just a bruise.

I wasn’t out there with him that night. I was back at the palace on our forward operating base, putting the final touches on The Sandpaper, the biweekly eight-page newspaper I edited for our brigade. The name of the paper was a joke on the part of our brigade commander, though we all knew he had lost his sense of humor a long time ago—Desert Storm, maybe.

I was taking photos for the “Around the FOB” feature, for which I’d ask guys senseless questions like, “Who do you think will win this year’s Super Bowl?” or “What surprised you the most about Iraq when you first got here?” That week’s question was, “What do you think your family is doing right now back in the United States?”

People on couch
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