John Milas

Now Hear This


after Operation Odyssey Dawn


The Navy deglamorizes alcohol, but we all black out on purpose in Rota and Catania while tracing circles over the Mediterranean. Our ship targets Libyan anti-air 


defenses. They wake me up hungover in Sicily to some news: They killed Obama. Oops, I meant Osama. We go ashore and get so drunk at a strip club we have to remember 


the E3s have a curfew after those nimble Romanians help us forget. So we take a taxi down the hill to make it back in time for MIDRATS in the enlisted galley. Now I’m 


confident I could teach you about surviving aboard the Kearsarge. Lesson one: be sure of where your assigned lifeboat is. Don’t get lost in officer’s country. If you’re 


green, don’t wash your uniforms during blue’s laundry time, don’t lift weights during blue’s gym time, etc. But I would be lying if I said we never threw paper leafbags of our 


garbage overboard. Actual jetsam, not a metaphor in some poem. And another lie if I told you it took me less than a week to stop zigzagging down hallways after we 


crossed the heaving Atlantic. We finally sober up. The captain throws a shore party and the porta johns overflow with urine. My job is to post up and stop the sailors from 


pissing on the side of a Spanish army building. Then we play card games while the ship vaporizes some other country. I teach my friends to play Euchre and 


I lose to them nine times in a row. None of them will pronounce Euchre correctly. They keep saying yogurt. 


John Milas grew up in Illinois and studied creative writing at UIUC and Purdue. His writing appears in The Southampton Review, Superstition Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Learn more at