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With Billy and Louis in Baghdad

It was a hot day in Baghdad.

Okay, that's like saying "It was a rainy day in Portland." But on this particular day in Baghdad, it was really bad. As if the heat had been oven-baked. Water boiled in swimming pools. Eyeballs blistered between blinks. Dogs just lay down in the streets of al-Dora and died, not even having the will to make it to evening when it would be a relatively cool 89 degrees.

It was hot, but I was sitting in my hooch on Camp Liberty at the western edge of Baghdad oblivious to the fiery air outside the trailer. I sat on the edge of my bed, a book in my hands, my imagination in the middle of a snowstorm. I was air-conditioned by words. I was reading about winter in a novel by Louis L'Amour.

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