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Matt Igoe

MATT IGOE lives in the Catskills and awaits your email: [email protected]

Peacetime Soldier

It’s been 10 years since the post-9/11 wars began. Both Iraq and Afghanistan are miserable failures—over there and at home.

Going to the Mat in Baghdad

When Halliburton’s reps hired me as a security contractor in Baghdad, I don’t think they knew I was a closeted hippie liberal. To ensure they never found out, I practiced my yoga in the privacy of my room, in the Baghdad Sheraton. It stayed a secret until my boss Jeff barged in one day while I was standing on my head in my underwear.

The Hotel Tehran

“Joe’s the latest out of Aberdeen’s bio-transformation division-A Variable-platform Airborne Multi-exsanguination Prototype.”

A Pack of Damn Lies

When Sergeant Pecker walks into the room, everyone feels the pain.

A Pack of Damn Lies

As soon as Balls saw Mr. Happy, he knew exactly what he wanted.

A Pack of Damn Lies

III. Patton’s Day Patton’s death march to the shooting chamber was interrupted when Dolan happened to look over and see us standing by the incinerator. He had no desire to speak to us—that much was clear. After debating it internally, he detoured in our direction with heavy steps, as if unwillingly snared in our tractor beam.

A Pack of Damn Lies

IV. Blood and Guts Dolan had cracked under the pressure of Green Beret school—that was the general diagnosis. We referred to him as the “psycho” and the “fucker.” The Army did its best to keep a lid on the situation, but the Fayetteville papers ran a few stories tracking Dolan’s E and E, his Escape and Evasion.

A Pack of Damn Lies

I was in a good mood until I stepped outside into the arrivals area, where I was greeted by the impregnable downpour of the Iraqi rainy season and suddenly remembered, with massive, cheek-reddening embarrassment, that I was wearing sneakers.

A Pack of Damn Lies

A week after the mass slaughter, Bertrand and I were standing on the gravel driveway in front of the HQ. The rain, a steady drizzle and mist, had settled in like white noise; we barely noticed it anymore. Bertrand held his scalding Nescafe like a hot potato, passing the Styrofoam cup from one hand to the other while discussing a job he’d worked up north, near Irbil, Kurdish territory.

A Pack of Damn Lies

Everyone on the roof of the HQ stopped talking to watch Dolan and me, two old friends, reunite. The Iraqis and the Americans reacted nearly identically, lending a warm smile to our reunion and watching unabashedly, drawing energy from it and solace and maybe a recollection of meeting their own long last pal, somewhere unexpected, far from home.

A Pack of Damn Lies

I was at my desk reading the news online. My mood was a mix of high and low. Low, because I felt I had nothing to live for; and high, because I’d hit the bottom, and I’d convinced myself the only direction I could go is up.

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The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2019

All Issues