ZABUL PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN – In combat zones across the world, Navy Lt. Cdr. Mike Kendall has rendered safe hundreds of live explosive devices, cheating death and saving countless lives in the process. Yet today sources confirm the decorated Explosive Ordinance Disposal officer is taking an outright beating from the popular computer game, Minesweeper.
“Son of a fucking… agh!” the expert bomb technician said, smacking his monitor and refreshing his game for the forty-third time this hour.
According to Kendall’s colleagues at Special Operations Task Force Southeast, the trouncing began at approximately 9 o’clock this morning, when Kendall – reportedly emboldened by a successful game on Beginner yesterday – decided to try his hand at the Intermediate difficulty setting. Since then, it's been a non-stop pain train of "truly embarrassing" defeat for the man in a warfare community full of winners.
“The trick,” Kendall said, squinting and rubbing bloodshot eyes, “is to learn the patterns. Right here, for instance, we’ve got a 1-2 pattern. That means this third tile over’s always a mine, so now I just click – no, no, FUCK! Christ on Earth, where's a fucking robot when you need it?!”
Indeed, Minesweeper challenges users like Kendall to logically determine where mines are hidden in a field of tiles based on hints which indicate the number of mines adjacent to any given tile; on the Intermediate level, 40 mines are hidden in a 16x16 tile field, making for one mine in every 6.4 tiles.
It's this simple but timeless code that right now is simply dismantling a man who actually knows how to take apart a nuclear bomb.
“Alright, listen up,” Kendall barked to a watch floor of personnel tracking real and myriad explosive threats in the immediate vicinity of their forward operating base. “This crusty crab's got a score to settle. I’m gonna need a lunch and some adult diapers. Who are my volunteers?”
While members of Kendall's team say they admire the operator's persistence – and acknowledge a similar dedication to his work made Kendall the star in the EOD community he is – they really wish he would just win a goddamn game already or switch to a simpler diversion with less direct objectives, like Microsoft Paint.
"A man like that has absolutely nothing to prove," said one coworker found aimlessly wandering the camp. "And, to be honest, that's not even his fucking workstation."
For his part, Kendall says its not about having anything to prove but about fostering a culture in the task force of tenacity and perseverance, no matter the odds. "In any case," he noted, "I'm pretty sure I've got this game that's come down to a fifty-fifty chance between two remaining tiles."
"Oh, HORSE SHIT," he added, just moments later.
At press time, hours had turned into days, and sources say the smell on the watch floor had grown unbearable. Meanwhile, an on-target SEAL platoon chief in Qalat city was concerned paths leading to a compound of interest might be rigged with IEDs.
"Goddamn," the chief said, checking his watch. "Why is EOD always so fucking late?!"