(Editor’s Note: The following is the first chapter from Jared’s book It’ll Buff Out. Chapter two will publish in The Havok Journal next week.)
Chapter 1 Wake Up
Home Sweet Home
September 17, 2014
My head had been in the toilet for the second time within five minutes of waking up—not by my alarm clock, but by an invisible meat hook lodged in my forehead with Hercules pulling on it.
After heaving a few more times, I slowly shuffled toward the stairs. On my way up, the left side of my body went limp, and my head swam with pain from the meat hook.
Step by step, I used the handrail with my right arm to lurch up the stairs.
By the time I got up to the main floor, I had to throw up again. I hobbled to the bathroom and resumed the position I had been in downstairs.
Watery, yellowish vomit swirled in the toilet as I tried to remember if I had chugged a gallon of whiskey the night before.
My father-in-law along with one of his good buddies and I had just returned from an unsuccessful muzzleloader elk hunting trip near Meeker, Colorado.
It had been years since I was on active duty in the Marine Corps as an infantryman—better known as the dudes on the front lines, or grunts.
Grunt life is unforgiving, stressful, and we’re exposed not only to mind-numbing experiences that detach our soul from our bodies, but we’re physiologically damaged from toxic exposures and explosions. One would think it obvious with so much time in between now and 2009 when I was honorably discharged that these exposures would figure themselves out. Naivety is best defined as a curse.
My wife and I were in between houses as our new house was being remodeled, so we were staying with her parents. My vision blurred as I flushed the toilet and continued to consider my plight.
“Stay calm” came from somewhere inside my pain-riddled head.
Using the right side of my body, I slowly crawled to the couch and pulled out my phone.
Footsteps behind me alerted my pain-filled state to someone else’s presence. It was my father-in-law coming down to grab a cup of coffee.
Although I had grown up in a religious household with my father being a Lutheran minister, I had strayed from the faith, holding a meager grasp to something I had once held so dear. I couldn’t help but think that the voice telling me to stay calm came from an ethereal presence.
A few months ago, I had been a shiny rent-a-cop in Denver protecting the federal buildings in the surrounding metro area. We had a thimble more training than the standard mall cop and carried Glock 17s wherever we went.
Coming from the world of Amphibious Green Monsters, the rent-a-cop world is full of retired police officers and those who “almost joined the Marines,” but being a Federal Security Officer gave me an opportunity to continue to hone my skills as a former infantry Marine. Kind of.
When I had gotten out of the Marines, I started off school in the physical therapy program at University of Wisconsin in La Crosse and had always been willing to learn anything and everything medical. As a rent-a-cop, I stayed current on first aid and CPR, which is what prompted my one-handed Google search.
The pain in my head was something I didn’t know existed. Through thirty years on this planet, I hadn’t experienced anything even close to this agony.
After a short prayer and a couple of thumb strokes on my phone, the search results were revealed.
Jared Prewitt is a husband, father, marine, author, carpenter/teacher/coach, and lover of great stories.
Jared was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He participated in the Battle of Ramadi (Iraq) as a Designated Marksman from 2006-2007 and as a Squad Leader in the Battle of Garmsir (Afghanistan) in 2008.
After being honorably discharged in 2009 having served five years, Jared moved to Colorado and married in 2011. He has a Bachelor’s in Business and a Masters in Writing. You can find him bowling, golfing, camping, hunting, or fishing when he’s not around his family.
Check out his other work on Instagram @cold_steel_collective or at www.jareprewittwritesstuff.com.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.
Book synopsis for It’ll Buff Out:
Jared Prewitt grew up a sheltered MidWest kid.
Seeking adventure and a taste of what his grandfather endured as a soldier in General Patton’s Third Army during World War II, he joined the Marines in 2004 as Iraq ignited into all-out war.
The Battle of Ramadi would forever change Jared’s life and set him down a path of strife and survival.
From explosions and gun fights to blood clots and panic attacks, nothing is hopeless.
It’ll Buff Out is a story about the revival of a war-torn city and the human spirit.