Home > Jackassery > Holed up in Milan, Italy on SpecOps Assignment…Advanced Bug Hunting

Holed up in Milan, Italy on SpecOps Assignment…Advanced Bug Hunting

The location is far from classified; the Grand Visconti Palace in Milan Italy.  It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.  This is the nasty stuff though…the wet work. 

This is the stuff nobody else wants to do.  Even talking about it is painful.  Talking about it is what we’re trained NOT to do.  But I’m alone.  There’s noone coming for me.  This could be it.

I’m holed up in my hotel room on this assignment, awaiting extraction.  I’m fifty clicks from the LZ, the transpo isn’t due for another 6 hours.  Radio silence.

I knew that when I took the job that it meant lonely, dangerous work.  It’s 01:18am here now.  I’m delirious after an aggravating lack of sleep. 

My mission grinds on against the backdrop of reveling Italian supermodels drunk in the streets below, the enticing aromas of tagliatelle that permeates the very fabric of this country, and what can only be described as the Roman Jerry Spring(ieri) show bellowing through the thin walls of my room from the reveling assclowns next door.

I can’t sleep.  I mustn’t.  I want to, and I strain against the overbearing slabs of concrete that my eyelids have become.  Must.  Hang.  On.

It’s not because of the supermodels, the pasta or the Jerry special on midget tossing.  No, I can’t sleep because I am subject to the relentless onslaught of an attack as a direct counter-response to my bug hunting activities.   

This is where all the training pays off.  This is where intuition takes over.  Fear has no place in my world.  I will shed blood.  Some of it mine.  But I shall hold fast and like those from Rome and Sparta before me, I will emerge triumphant.

I am wounded.  I want to scrape away the pain but the more that I do, the worse it becomes.  My very soul itches.

The heat is unbearable.  The sweat drips into my eyes. I must focus.  I practice Tai Chi to center myself and prepare for what is assuredly coming.

My foe is an intelligent adversary.  In light and dark, he appears from stealth taking quick swaths at me; feeling me out for just how far I will go to defend against attack; my reach, my skill, my will.  He is lightning quick.  No warning until it is too late. 

The attack comes.  That sound that drills into my psyche.  It taunts me.  It mocks me.  The inevitable pain delivered again. Can’t.  See.

I must take action.  My body takes over.  The will to defend is overwhelming.  I stab the air.  Kicking, screaming, smacking. 



I’ve poked myself in the eye with my thumb and backhanded my skull as I valiantly deflect the attack.  I try to hide under the cover of whatever I can shield myself with.  Furniture.  Bedding.  Pellegrino bottles.  I take evasive maneuvers.  Why won’t he stop!?  The pain of anticipation is worse than the wounds themselves.

I flashback to training.  Fight stealth with stealth.  I’ll wait for his recon; look for the flash and strike.  Must.  Seek.  Cover.

Should I wait it out in the closet — maybe the bathroom?

He’s coming again.  Relentless.  He appears, cloaked in deception and disdain.  Then, like that, he disappears.  I scratch at phantom wounds that aren’t there.  That sound!  Make it stop!

Ripping through the air; wildly grasping for swaths of atmosphere…hoping to grab hold of…something in the dark.  And squash it.  Die!

I want to deliver death swiftly.  Mercilessly.  Over and over again.  Uncaring, nasty, excruciating death.  Now.  This has gone on for hours.  I need to sleep.

But it is not to be.  I will be tormented all night until I can leave this hellhole and find solace in the airport awaiting the ride home.

I am now laying in my bathtub where it is safe.  The fan is on, Macbook Pro on my lap, wirelessly connected.  My only lifeline to the world.  To you.

My enemy cannot reach me here.  Perhaps he will retreat and try to strike again later.

F’ing Mosquitoes!


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  1. Rob
    June 29th, 2007 at 01:22 | #1
  2. July 5th, 2007 at 08:09 | #2

    Spinning up for a WestPac one year we inserted through the surf near some tidal marshland in southern California. Looking very much like your picture my buddy and I were doing a box recon of the ingress point before we called the rest of our team forward. I knew it was going to be a very long night when I carefully placed my hand on the back of my neck and was appalled to see that its light green color had been stained completely black by dead mosquitoes and blood.
    F'ing Mosquitoes! Indeed!
    Go forth and do good things,

  3. Nonesuch
    July 8th, 2007 at 11:34 | #3

    you're sleepless because of jetlag and the discomfort of a foreign culture (supermodels, restaurants, tv, etc.). try to exercise next time. have a big meal and go to bed at the right local time when you arrive with laps in the pool in the morning. that should help.

  4. jnoel
    July 24th, 2007 at 07:11 | #4

    And to think the whole time you were fighting with a hangover!

  5. jnoel
    July 24th, 2007 at 07:13 | #5

    Sorry –
    That should have read that "to think the whole time 'I thought' you were fighting with a hangover!

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