Christmas Morning In Iraq
It was the nights before Christmas and nothing was stirring, not even a rat…
A bright sliver of sun peers through the curtains beside my bed, displaying a slim wall of dust aimlessly wandering into the morning light. The damp quilt that is tightly wrapped around me provides blissful warmth that encourages my good sense to stay put, as the tiresome hum of our overworked heater struggles to keep our over occupied tin cabin warm. (Blah blah blah etc etc etc…)
However, this is a Christmas unlike any other I have ever experienced. There’ll be no family, no opening of presents, (as Santa Clause would more than likely be blown clean out of the sky if he came to within an ass’s roar of our cabin, by one of the many Gatling guns scattered around our camp). No Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory and the closest thing I’ll get to an alcoholic beverage this festive season, is the packet of wine gums in the locker beside my bed.
Christmas just doesn’t have the same ring to it when you’re living in a country where you’re made to feel about as welcome as ‘The Mongolian Death Worm.’ …A rather large worm-like creature native to the Gobi desert. It sprays acid at its prey, resulting in minor skin irritation followed closely by a tingling itch in and around the inflamed area. It will then emit an electrical discharge, temporarily incapacitating its victim. (And just when you think, things can’t get any worse). It then slowly, but surely wolfs down every last inch of its prey… alive… starting at the feet.
I should also add, that there has never been a documented fatality, nor a captured specimen, a picture, video footage, an accurate drawing or a confirmed sighting of the ‘The Mongolian Death Worm.’ Which would bring me to the conclusion that there is a very high probability that… ‘The Mongolian Death Worm’ is in fact… a very rare and illusive creature indeed.
However, there have been a few isolated sightings of ‘The Mongolian Death Worm’ by the occasional strung out shepherd in a heightened state of paranoia, induced by consuming copious amounts of unprocessed and untreated opium poppy plants.
Taking into account this creatures rather contentious nature, I would hazard a guess, that on the scale of ‘visitors one would not like to have visit oneself’ ‘The Mongolian Death Worm’ would more than likely make the shortlist, as it comes across as an exceedingly unwelcome visitor!