“Relationships don’t survive this stuff,” says Wilson. A friend of his opened a letter from his fiancée, and the engagement ring fell out. A few days later, Wilson had to console Ramen after he found out his fiancée was cheating on him. “We’ve got young kids in our area preparing for a divorce. People have gotten used to soldiers being away. They just see us as a temporary person now.”
A few weeks ago, the girl Wilson was seeing broke it off with him, saying she needed to be free. A friend and fellow soldier posted on Facebook in solidarity: “Gone are the days of WW2 when girls waited weeks for letters and held onto every word and sentiment.”
Wilson has started making episodic snapshots of life on the base, documenting how things look from out on the sand (to watch them, go here). In one video he’s made, you can see the fuzzy darkness of Hip-Hop Night. A dark concrete room with a bunch of boys dancing without any beer and with very few girls. The video cuts to the 24-year-old virgin, being interrogated by Wilson about the erotic food visuals he employs during masturbation. Wilson says, “So, at some point you thought about pizza and … ” They’re laughing and screwing around, and they just look like regular kids. But then there is a red fire burning across the dark war sky and they ask each other if they’ve been attacked and you remember, this is not a college dorm.
His follow-up to “If the Army Goes Gay” will be a “really sexual and violent and risqué video calendar,” which he says will give “all the muscular guys in my unit a chance to take their shirts off again.” He also plans to produce an actual calendar you can download to your desktop. “I’m going to drop this next one a week before we ship out. By the time everyone gets enraged, I’ll hopefully be on a plane back home.”
Wilson is supposed to come home on August 12, part of the plan to drawdown to 50,000 troops in Iraq by the end of August and end the combat mission there.
He is looking through the blue window of his computer at the faster, greener world on the other side. “We’re ready,” he says, “to merge back into society.”
On the other end of the line, there is a faint clicking. Wilson apologizes, explaining that he is packing up. It is the sound of unloading ammunition.