I’d always had nightmares, but they got worse every year, especially one recurring
dream. Manning a .50 caliber machine gun, I had a jam, and then I bolted
upright in bed and shouted, “Feed me! Feed me!” Something
else happened over there I haven’t told you about, but I was in the middle
of the shit, and I screamed, “Feed me! Feed me!” and I looked
over at my loader, and he had taken a round right between his running lights. That’s
my most favorite fucking get-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night entertainment. A
couple others come back to me all the time, too – mostly just good shootouts
where I lost buddies. You don’t need to hear anymore of that shit.
I had regular flashbacks that grew worse as the years went by. For
me, they were more like space walks. Once, I worked for a cable T.V.
company in Boise, Idaho. While driving my pickup from one jobsite to
another in downtown traffic, something strange happened. I drove along,
blinked and suddenly, I looked out onto the street and had no idea where I
was. Totally confused and scared almost to tears, I didn’t know
what town I was in, what I was doing in that truck, where I was going – nothing. I’d
been dropped into a parallel universe, where everyday familiar things are suddenly
completely foreign. I looked around but found nothing I recognized, so
I drove the pickup onto the sidewalk and managed to get it stopped.
sat in the cab of the pickup ready to explode, and I had no idea what to do
or where to go. Also, I had no sense of time, and I couldn’t
tell how long the spell lasted. Amazing no one called the police on me. As
frightened as I’d ever been in my life and completely clueless as to
who I was or what the hell I was doing, the cops would have taken me to the
nearest loony bin and wrapped me in rubber. I’ve taken those little
space walks on numerous occasions over the past years and still have no control
- Perhaps the most frightening and devastating of Posttraumatic Stress
symptoms is the dissociative flashback. During an episode, the individual
may be totally unaware of his current surroundings and see, hear, feel and
smell the same sensations experienced during the actual traumatic event. There
can be total loss of control, and the individual may act out as if he were
actually reengaged in the moment of the trauma. Marlin must have been
completely overwhelmed by the unexpected and bizarre experience.
Something else that sends me into that other world is certain odors. I
don’t know where it comes from or why, but I’ll get a whiff of
something, and I am instantly transported back to the bush. I mean, I’m
there – living it again. I see every detail going on around me. Sounds
do it, too. Even today, when I hear a helicopter, I’m compelled
to get up, walk outside and look around for that fucker, and then follow it
until it disappears over the horizon.
- Auditory and olfactory stimuli are powerful triggers that can induce spontaneous