All posts by Rook Riley

Combat vet, writer, game enthusiast, and linguistic badass. Stateside for 15 years, but have the occasional struggle with civilian, parent, and/or sig life. Rookie mistakes? I still make them.

The One About Stories We Tell

I love me some @MykeCole. And on one of my downward spiraling days he posted that a friend had told him “we are the stories we tell” in regards to complaining. Now I’ve let that simmer a bit in the back of the brainpan and I would both agree and disagree with him. Sometime we need to vent. It’s for our mental health. And it’s also one of the main ways military personnel know they’re still alive. There is a long and rich history of soldiers bitching about everything. EVERYTHING. Yeah, that too. Seriously. EVERYTHING.

But when it becomes the only thing you do, then there’s a problem. Sometimes it takes another person to tell you to shut up or do something about it. That’s where I am now. I am definitely doing something about it. I’m retiring.

Whoa, now. Dry your tears or put away the party favors, whichever one you’re thinking. I’ve got a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10. Putting the expiration date on the day job has done fucking wonders for me.  This job, my third career, will not kill me. I will not die in the classroom waiting for someone to come relieve me so I can relieve myself.

And then I can feel a little better about giving time to my writing. It won’t be taking time away from anything or anyone else.

Meanwhile- go check out the new short story in Witches and Warriors for the Sirens Anthology.

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TL;DR: Check yourself. If you’re bitching more than fixing, somethings wrong. Also, retirement – FUCK YEAH.

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The One About North Korea/Russia

If you’re worried about Russia and North Korea or just want to feel a little more on top of things, I get you. I really get you. Doing some prepping is never a bad idea and sometimes even makes you feel a little more in control.

No space for a bunker? No money for sniper training? Me neither.

READ.

These are a few of the books recommended by The Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley and the ones I’ve downloaded.

Big Stick

Another Bloody Century

Leaders Eat Last

Ghost Fleet

The full reading list can be found here:

The Chief of Staff’s Professional Reading List

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Gather information that isn’t just a scare tactic. Be as self reliant as you can. Stay away from slanted social media that’s aimed at scaring rather than being helpful. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About Fireworks

The last time I went to a fireworks show was in the days before Facebook. It was just a small gathering on the lawn …in front of the Washington Memorial. I don’t want to get too into it because it was not a happy experience. It was hot and crowded and I was arm-twisted into attending. Add full dark with strangers everywhere then throw in explosions and a very, very abusive spouse sharing my blanket and it was a recipe for the perfect panic attack.

So, you know what? I don’t go to fireworks show any more. If I hear them out in the country, we’ll sit on the porch and watch from a distance. If I hear them in the neighborhood, I’ll call the cops because I’m that asshole. Your happy-fun explosive times are not worth the fire damage you could cause to my house or the damage to my calm.

Man, the older I get, the more awesome I become.

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TL;DR: Keep fireworks where they belong and you won’t bother people. Also, you kids get off my lawn. Anything less would be a Rook mistake.

The Other One About Night Terrors

Going to try to get through this without losing my shit.

The other night I am sleeping in the guest room. I wake up in full dark with the certainty that there is someone in the room. My heart hammers against the mattress where I’m laying on my side. I can hear them. Just a little shuffling sound, a quiet breathing.

There are 2 doors out of this room. One to the hallway, one to the bathroom. Both are equal distance from me.

I am still.

I am quiet.

I want hear if there is more than one.

I take a quick inventory. I can reach the lamp on the side of the bed, use it as a weapon, use it to break out the window, use it to light up the room, but that would blind us both.

I know my first movement will give me away. Let them know I’m not asleep any more. At my fingertips is the iPad I used to watch Netflix until I crashed out. If I open it to call for help, I’ve given myself away. While I’m debating, the bed moves – ever so fucking slightly- like someone’s leaning against it, or has sat down very carefully.

I’m thinking: knife. They probably have a knife. I have two very thick quilts- so there’s some security there. I have a small fort of pillows around me – so it might be hard for them to know which lump is me in the dark.

All this time, I do not move. I don’t want to give away that I’m awake and lose the little edge I have.

And then I wonder if I’m right about this person’s location. What if they’re not where I think they are. What if the knife isn’t a knife? What if it’s a hammer? And if I don’t MOVE NOW there’ll never be another chance.

I throw off the covers and grab the lamp, swinging it like a club, putting my back to the closet door.

When I realized I was alone, it took me 49 minutes to calm the fuck down. I walked the house, checked locks, dogs, and kids. Checked the sig-oth. Picked glass out of the carpet.

The adrenaline dumped and I couldn’t shake the absolute goddamn terror. Just writing about it makes my body remember it. It felt real as hell. I was awake laying there freaking the fuck out and believing my family was in danger.2ed799ee2fb77f743847dc4a3b52df8a

TL;DR: Plan and act, people. Even when you’re sleeping. And see if they make tactical lampshades. Anything less is a Rook mistake.

The One About Today

It’s not been a good couple of days over here. Normally I’m totally down for a good thunderstorm. Blue-gray clouds, lightning zippering across a black sky or lighting it all up in 2 second increments, but not today. That electrical charge in the air put me on edge first thing this morning. Driving forever across the metroplex in a torrential stop.  down stop. pour around and through the emergency response vehicles guarding the wrecked and injured, their lights coloring the slick roads – it’s all got to me. Welcome to HyperVtown . Population me. Cause the rest of you fuckers aren’t allowed in. It-takes-a-great-deal-of-energy-to-remain-300x300

The One About Now

Sometimes when it’s dark, it’s the worst. Fearing sleep or wanting sleep to not deal with anything wars in my head. Sometimes daylight’s the worst. seeing everything in crystalline clarity and knowing theres nothing to worry, get upset, or get fucking pissed off about- but there it is. Like cat shit on the linoleum. Everyone can see the daylight crazy. No way to cover it up. No way to hide it.

The years press down on me. All the time I’ve been home safe and all the time I wasn’t. It’s acid. It just keeps eating away at me. Eating me away. How much more will it take before I wake up and can’t remember how to be me any more?

I’m OK. Everything’s fine. No, really, I’m OK. It’s my mantra. And most of the time it’s true. Tonight my skin doesn’t feel like mine and I want to kick a hole in something. But, I’m going to bed instead. Sleep it all away  hlyygni

The One About April

Historically April is a bad month for me. All the reasons are sitting on my shoulders, leaning down and whispering in my ears. I do not need anything, I do not need help, I am absolutely physically fine.  I just want say some pretty stupid things. I want to do some pretty stupid things.

I have a deadline for an anthology on the 30th and I don’t know if the pressure of this month will let me finish anything. I don’t know if I can make myself move, let alone be cognizant enough to write.

And still I think, what the hell do I have to be sad about?

I’m still alive.

Right?

According to Wikipedia April is for: