It ain't going to be some whoary old colonel's memoirs either. I PVRed in 1991 after just 4.5 years service. Last summer I found myself on the 'broo' for the first time since getting out 12 yers earlier and decided to put my time to good use. Have now written about 70,000 words in short story form based on various incidents and anecdotes. Narrative falls somewhere between Irvine Welsh and John King (Football Factory). Have included a couple of the shorter pieces below. What do yous think? SKY AT NIGHT Get yer arse up here. That was Doug Griffin telling Smudge to get his lardy backside up to the top of the byrme. A byrme, for the nigs among you, is a three-metre high sandbank built by the Engineers. It is used to create four walls, each about 100 metres long with a five-metre gap at two points to allow vehicles in and out. Sandcastles, military style. All the wagons are parked inside the walls, the logic being that if the Iraqis start bombing the area, the byrme should keep most of the flak out. Unless the chogies get lucky and land a shell inside the walls, but then, if your numbers up... What? says Smudge between breaths having tabbed his way up to the top of the byrme. Doug and Smudge are both on stag duty having been dicked for the 2-4 am shift. With it being an after dark stag they have been issued with one pair of image intensifying binoculars between the two of them which are then handed onto the next two lucky sods on guard. The SA-80 rifle can be fitted with night sights but the bifs at the RAOC have fucked up supplies, although rumour has it the remfs back in Riadh have all got theirs. Thats typical of the army though. We were all supposed to get desert-issue boots but they never appeared but one of the REME guys, Neil Baillie, had gone back to Camp Jack to pick up some part for a wagon and he said that all the storemen there have got them. All these remfing fucks, who you know will never get more than 5 kays from the city, are walking around with all the best kit. A lot of the lads had already gone out and bought their own desert boots, civvie ones like. The OC dont bother that youre wearing mixed dress as long as it does the job. All the guys have got their own kit: Lundhag boots, Norgie thermal tops, Helley Hanson fleeces, Berghaus bergens, Maglite torches. The list goes on. The rodneys and Warrant Officers know that you cant do your job if you had to rely on army issue kit and it is just accepted that you have to shell out for your own gear, just as long as you only wear it on exercise or active duty. Over there, says Doug pointing north with his gat. Pretty, isnt it? In the distance orange lights were rising from just over the horizon into the night sky. They looked like embers from a bonfire except these lights were going up in rows of a dozen or so and their paths were straight up. What is it? That, Smudge mate, is MLRS rockets. I reckon they are about 10 kays from here. MLRS is accurate for 15 kays. So, 25 kays or less that way there is an Iraqi position which, as we speak, is getting fragged to **** by MLRS. Just think, the poor chogies are having white-hot shrapnel from thousands of bomblets rip their bodies apart. Right now as we watch. Wouldnt want to be them, says Smudge taking understatement to new levels. Then neither of them says anything. They just stand there watching the orange lights sail up into the night. After a while Smudge pipes up, Your right though. Hows that? It is pretty. BROKEN SOLDIERS It fucks up your mind being in the army. One really good example was when me and Lisa was house-buying. Id been out of the forces for five years by then and living in some council flat near Sefton Park. She was expecting Kerry and we were looking to get a place before she arrived. Lisa knew how the army had fucked my mind up. Not in a schizo way mind, it was just a bit twisted. Like how all the coathangers had to be hung up the same way in the wardrobe and all the clothes that were on them had to be facing the in one direction, just like when I was in the army. Lisa thought it was nuts, which it was, but I just couldnt get out of the habit. Shed play this game on me where shed take a jacket or something that was hanging up and turn it the other way and see how long it will stay like that. Not very long if you really want to know. So we were looking at this three-bed terrace in Fairnleigh for £45,000, which was a good price for the area at the time but it needed a lot of work. It was an old-dear who owned it had been punted off into a home and the family wanted to sell the house off and pocket the dosh. Got to feel a bit sorry for her. Spend all your days raising your kids and saving and paying off your bills and then in the end your brats dont even wait till you pop your clogs before they are pilfering all your gear. When we went for the viewing it was obvious that it hadnt been decorated in decades. All the window frames were rotten and the place had this old woman smell. The estate agent said the gaff had wonderful potential. Thats how they all speak. They wont tell you that the gaff is in shit-state. They assume that you aint going to notice cos you are too stupid. So me and Lisa are looking around and Im thinking that the place is a dive but I can see that her eyes are lighting up and she is falling in love with the gaff. Shes already thinking about how shes going to decorate Kerrys room and then I realise that we are going to have to buy the place. It had nothing to do with what Lisa was thinking. I was in the living room and it had these bay windows and I spied the handles. They were these well old big brass jobs except that they were all tarnished and dull. That was it. My sole motivation for buying the place was to polish up them handles. It was all I could do to stop myself from polishing them up there and then. The old dear must have been too ill to shine them up cos old folks are right into that sort of thing. The estate agent had had shown us out and Lisa had looked at me and said that she wanted it and Id agreed. We bought the gaff and moved in but before we had even had a chance to start to unpack I went into a box marked Kitchen 1 and pulled out a yellow duster and a can of Brasso and started on them brass handles. Lisa had said that I should leave that until wed decorated (which wouldnt be for at least a week!) but there was no way I could leave it. I said I had to get them done now and she just laughed cos she realised that it was one of my army-barmy things and left me to it. Im lucky to have her. Theres a lot of girls that wouldnt understand.