From the Soldier side: As most of my readers know, I am a very careful person and I follow the rules. I have rules about handling weapons and things that can hurt people (like cars.) One of those big rules is to not drink and drive and not drink and handle guns. Mixing alcoholic beverages with either can lead to bad things happening.
This story also has something to do with soccer balls. Can anybody tell me why in the US we call soccer, soccer and the rest of the world calls it “football?”
Anyway, this story goes:
This one time in Bosnia (sung to the tune of “this one time in band camp” from the movie “American Pie”). In the late part of 2003 while I was on deployment with SFOR 14, I had just taken on a new team member. His name was “B” (for this story the names were changed to protect the innocent.) “B” had just been re-assigned to my team after his team got moved around and split up. Don’t ask me why his team was split up, as that is a long, boring story.
.....as I was starting to say, “B” was a good soldier and got along well with everybody. He also liked to trade things and had accumulated a good collection of military items since he’d been deployed. These were all items that were legal for us to bring home and some of them were pretty dang cool!
As soon as “B” was put on our camp, he started talking to some of the locals who worked on the camp. Within a few days, he knew a guy who had a buddy, who knew a dude, who had a brother …or some such shit who knew this former Bosnian Army commander that had some military items from the Bosnia war that we could purchase or trade for.
“B” came to me and asked if on our next mission we could stop by this guys shop and see what he had. I always liked to explore and meet new people, so I said: “sure, why not.”
This dude had all kinds of “stuff” (the polite word for shit) at his shop. After we did some trading and talking, he invited us to his home for a drink of Шљивовица šljivovic (Slivovitz).
This was also called Rokia, or if it had been made in America, we’d called in Moonshine.
It was home made from plums, and was estimated to be around 150 proof! Hot stuff.
The first time I tasted it, I thought it tasted like rubbing alcohol and lighter fluid. But after a few months, I actually got to where I liked it.
The "rule" for some of us in Bosnia was, if anybody offered you a drink of Slivoitz, it was ok to take a sip, but never drink more than one shot. It was mighty powerful stuff that would kick your ass.
We went to the guy’s house. It turned out he had been an Army commander during the war in Bosnia. He was a hero and actually committed no war crimes! He explained to me what a hero was: “A hero is somebody who does something that has to be done when nobody else can or will do it.”
Then, “B” sat down and had a shot of Slivovitz. I just sipped mine. I didn’t notice, but “B” drank his shot down…then the former Army commander poured him another, then another, then another. In short time, “B” had several shots.
Then we started talking about guns. “B” started telling the former Army commander what a great shot I was with a pistol.
So, the former Army commander brought out his old Army pistol.
(I had my M9 hidden under my shirt.) He handed me his old Model 57, 7.62X 25MM pistol and pointed to a flat soccer ball on the hill behind his house and said: “can you hit that foot ball?”
I looked around and saw that there were only trees beyond the soccer/ football, but I had to ask what the neighbors would think. He said: “Oh, they won’t think anything of it. Go ahead.”
I took the old Model 57 pistol in one hand, lined up the funky sights and pulled the trigger. The soccer/ football was about 40 yards away. I missed it by about 6 inches. I checked the pistol and saw it was empty. I asked if he had any more ammo. “Nope, that was it.”
“B” was useless to drive us back to camp, so I had to drive. I really wanted to keep that Model 57 pistol. It was kind of cool.
(So, what…are you disappointed I didn’t get into some kind of gun fight or something?)