Michael A. Durney 

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     "Get your asses up children and get ready for school!"

No one answered. It wasn't required. We gathered our luck and our spirits in a series of clicks and jams, inserting our gun clips, testing our weapons and stuffing our back packs with enough food and drink to last the day, and other sundry weapons that would give us an edge--so we thought.

   "Moss--you're point."

   "So I'm the leader today Sarg?"

   "I'll let you know when that position is available but it will go better for you if we are still behind you at the end of the day. Move it!"

    "Got it."

    "Barclay--you're cleanup. Stay deep. I want to know who's following us. Kilts--?"

    "Yes, Sarg?"

    That was Breandan MacGreggor's nickname, too long for war so we shortened it to Kilts. He was a six foot, five inch Scot and weighed two hundred and sixty pounds--all mean when we needed him to be, all sweet when he thought of home. We tried never to let him think of home when we were on mission.

    "I want y M240 SAW juiced and ready to serve. Use your harness."

    "Yes, Sarg." His muscular frame lifted the heavy gun and folded tri-pod like it was a pencil he kept in his shirt pocket. Squad Automatic Weapons are the heavy lifters usually mounted on a vehicle or a tank--not typically a gun to be carried. But to look at the man was to look at a human vehicle capable of carrying that and much more.

   "And keep your damn head down. We won't have much cover up high on those bluffs. You will look like a freaking pachyderm up there."

   "Yes Sir."

   "Yeah, Kilts, we'll let you know when it's time for your circus act," Barclay said.

    James Barclay was from McAlester, Oklahoma. His father was a rodeo clown; his father's father was a rodeo clown. He joined the army to break the curse. He became one of the army's best marksmen--sniper by trade but everyone knew him as the clown.

    "Briggs."

    "Sir." He was still chuckling from Barclay's comment.

   The Sergeant looked over at the LT, then back at Briggs.

   "Yes sir," Briggs snapped. Nothing more needed to be said. His job was to cover the LT, keep him safe. That was always the mission. The irony of the military is that it was also always the mission of the LT to bring his men home--no casualties. Killing the enemy was a secondary mission placed on the wish list of the perfect day. All those who were supposed to be alive returned alive and those that were supposed to die would follow orders. 

   "They're all yours Lieutenant," Merc said in his confident hulking voice. 

   "Okay, listen up! Six out, six back!" The lieutenant yelled out over the top of the wind and noises surrounding them at Command Post Alpha.

Pearls for an Infidel

Adam Moss has been deployed, on an off, for nearly over ten years. Battle hardened and aching to retire out for home, he can't wait to start new with his wife, Kat, and son, Tanner James. His luck runs out when he is captured by the very enemy he and his team are searching for in the Afghan mountains. He's been shot, tumbles down a mountain and suffers at the hands of the enemy.


After two days fighting for his life, in and out of consciousness, his captors reveal their real plan. Six thousand miles away, in Manassas, Virginia, his wife and child are kidnapped by a Jihadist cell that is linked to those that are holding him captive. Adam and Katherine are leveraged against each other to fulfill the incredible brazen objective of their captors who have a plan to kill the President's children. Homeland security and Katherine Moss become an unlikely team struggling to stop the plan and destroy the cell. Adam's rescue may be too late to get back into the fight with crippling injuries to save his wife and child.