Kilgore Trout is an ill-famed science fiction author. He is currently living in Kabul, Afghanistan, amidst Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines. Here he would like to show you what he sees during his visit.

Archive for 2 mile run; black lung

2 miles

A dark cloud has been settled on Kabul for only God knows how long.

What’s in that cloud? Burnt plastic; feces; oil; gas. They burn everything.

I’ve been told that by the time my tour in Kabul is over, I will have inhaled at least a brick of “shit.”

As my feet awkwardly stumble steadily across the pavement, and I try swallowing the air, what little that’s available, I wonder how much more than a brick I will inhale because of running.

My throat burns, a different burn than I’ve ever known before. As I round each painful corner, hoping my lungs will learn soon how to breathe, the burn reminds me of the black cloud I’m currently wading through. Not that you can tell how black it is from the inside.

It hurts more with every lap. Not my legs, they’re strong enough to keep pressing on. It’s just my lungs. They seem to be shrinking with each breath.

Soon the saliva builds up to the point I need to spit. But it’s only around the inside of my mouth. My lungs won’t afford me the luxury of a wet throat. The air dries everything beyond my tongue to nothingness.

This sucks. Mantra time:

“The brain is strong.”

“Cool. Fast. Light.”

“I will finish the run.”

“The brain is strong.”

“Cool. Fast. Light.”

“I will finish the run.”

This hurts bad now. Not a physical hurt. It’s a mental hurt. Your lungs are making you think they can’t breathe. But it’s just that they’re filtering out all the dirt in the air: Burnt plastic, feces, oil, gas: All manner of trash.

I’m getting much closer now. Once this registers in my brain, things become much easier. Signifying the realization that most of what I felt prior was mental.

Foot hits pavement. Knee jolts. Lungs continue to die. But everything is so much easier. There’s the finish.

I’m done.

I spit all the dirt, the “shit,” that piled up in my lungs, onto the ground.

It’s beautiful; it’s not in my lungs anymore. I’m happy; I’m done now.