This is Not a Christmas Story." Here's a small excerpt:
Perkins’s patrol had moved out the gate at around 1700 hours. The team had been waiting nearly two hours for the commander to make up his mind whether or not to trust a tip a hajji had called in to our anonymous hotline.
“You say the caller was a doctor?” he asked one of his captains.
“Roger, sir. At least that’s what the translators in the call center told us.”
“A medical doctor or like a university kind of doctor?”
“No telling, sir,” the captain said. “He could have a degree in horseshit for all we know. I don’t trust those hajji translators. They tell us anything they want.”
The battalion commander silently chewed his gum and stared at a map of our portion of Baghdad. “Hell with it,” he said. “If you can’t trust a hajji with a degree, who can you trust?”
His captains laughed nervously. Fifteen minutes later, Perkins and the rest of the platoon were moving out, quickly merging into the thick traffic on Route Irish.
You can read the story in its entirety by registering at the site--it's free and gives you access to lots of great stories, poems and interviews. My deepest thanks to editors Tom Jenks and Mimi Kusch for helping me make this story live up to its full potential.