Tuesday, February 01, 2005


From Fallujah to Jessie and back again, with a sister beside him (and beside herself)...

Dane Street has a recurring nightmare, and he has it almost every night. In it, he’s a soldier running through a palm grove, trapped in a fierce ambush:

“Taking fire, running behind the machine gunners, and a buddy of mine gets shot.” A bullet cuts through his friend’s Kevlar vest, into his shoulder and out his back. And Dane can’t rescue him, can’t reach him. “It’s in slow motion, and I see him getting shot. Trying to scream for help, but I can’t.”

In another nightmare he keeps having, Dane is riding a Humvee in the dead of night, exposed in its turret with the desert wind blowing in his face, when bright tracer rounds begin to fly past him. And then the bullets start coming closer. “A few whiz by my head,” he says.

These are recurring nightmares Dane Street has because, he tells me, they actually happened to him. A fellow serviceman was indeed shot through his body armor, and Dane really couldn’t get to him. (Their corpsman could, however, and dragged him to safety. “Very lucky to be alive, actually,” Dane notes.) The second incident happened to Dane less than a month before he was due to leave Iraq, last year.

“This was right after four of our snipers got killed and [their] weapons were stolen,” he says. “They said it was professionally done [by] more than one insurgent. It was only a mile away from where I was on my post... all four at the same time, [by] handgun.

“So,” Dane continues, “I’m thinking they’re shooting at me with [American] sniper rifles.” And unlike most homegrown Iraqi insurgents, these snipers were good shots. “We believe foreign [fighters from] Syria. They picked off officers and higher ranking billets.”

I’m sitting with Dane in my Second Life office in Shipley (this is last fall) which is where he’s telling me of the things that happened to him a few months ago, when he was overseas. He’s tall and slender, with fine features, and dark, close-cropped hair. Behind him, while we talk, the sun gets lost in the horizon, supplanted by the rising moon.

I’m wondering about the recurring memory where his friend was shot. “Weird you keep having this dream,” I say, “when the guy is safe and on the mend.”

“Don’t know,” Dane replies, laughing. “Can’t control it.” As for that time in the Humvee, he speculates, “I think about it a lot, because I was so close to coming home and that was the closest I came to death.”

As it happens, Second Life is also the place where Dane Street first told his real life sister about these nightmares that he keeps having.

At a family reunion which welcomed him back from Iraq, Mistress Midnight showed her brother this online world where she’s become a fashion maven and a celebrity of sorts. Dane was intrigued enough so that when he was transferred to a West Coast military base, she bought him an account of his own, and a computer to run it on. Which is where he went in-world, along with a fellow serviceman who has an account of his own.

“Me and a buddy of mine five rooms down from me have a little Photoshop experience,” he says, “and my sister said she’d be more than happy to let us build a shop on her land.” So off-duty, they began building the shop in Midnight City, the high-end fashion mall she owns in Umber.

Dane’s barracks, however, is located in a barren, sun-baked part of the US-- ironic, considering where he just came from. (“Must have done something horrible in my [past] life to deserve it,” he says wryly.)

And though he’s safe for now in the States, he’s still jumpy, still having these recurring images that are like waking nightmares.

As I talk with Dane from the balcony of my office, I send concurrent IMs to Mistress Midnight, so she knows I’m speaking with him.

“No interrogating my brother!” she commands. “I mean, just be nice.”

I ask her if having him here in Second Life has helped at all, getting him to open up.

“Yes,” Mistress tells me. “Well, it’s easier for him to talk to me here, and not have to deal with me stressed out and crying to his face. But I need to know this stuff. Anything with close calls, anything with lasting imprints. I think he shields a lot of that from me. I have a hard time dealing with my baby brother being in danger.”

“What kind of stuff has you told you about in Second Life, that he didn't tell you in person?”

“Just about his nightmares, I’m sure he's told you. Just stuff like that.”

Back at my office, I ask Dane where he was stationed.

“In Iraq? Fallujah, from January to late July. We were actually the ones who took over the city, and met the mayor and s***.”

When he says Fallujah, I also say that last word, appropriately coupled to “holy”.

“[This is] after the contractors got strung up?” I ask him.

“Yes, I believe so. We weren’t allowed to watch news... still don’t watch a lot of news,” he adds. “I don’t want to hear anymore about it. Some people have opinions, reasons for being over there. That I don’t agree with. Just unneeded stress.” Dane says he actually didn’t support the US-led invasion of Saddam’s Iraq, before it happened, but having been there, does so now.

“Seeing that we are actually helping the Iraqi people,” he says. “Mostly the children-- future of Iraq. Soooo glad and happy to see us. And plus, if we leave now, that country is screwed.”

“He doesn’t sleep like he should,” Mistress is telling me by IM. “Or at all. And he breaks down sometimes when he doesn’t think we know. He went out with my [real life] husband Dragen Zaius, who plays also, and they all went for drinks, and he's just a different man. Not the kid I left when I moved out. His eyes are older. Like he lived and died with some of his fallen friends.”

I ask Dane why he joined the armed forces.

“Honestly, to make my family proud… just wanted to do something with my life and travel,” he says. “Sorta makes you grow up fast, dealing with so many stressful situations, one after another, and not being able to avoid it, but deal with it.”

“When he left for boot camp,” Mistress Midnight continues, “I knew he'd be sent to Iraq. My other little brother who’s eleven now and I were both crying at night-- we all knew where he'd end up.”

“Our mission was to take over the city,” Dane continues. “After that they started with the raids... I went on a few.” I ask him what that’s like, and he laughs. “Awesome. Nothing like kicking down someone’s door [at] 4AM.”

“What if it's some innocent family got the wrong address, though?”

“Well our intel was always on the money,” Dane replies. This was during the first, aborted siege of Fallujah, after the Coalition had warned all civilians to clear the streets. “We had the whole city quarantined. No one enters.” Still, he says, “There was a lot of civilian casualties. But like I said, they all had warnings. Our rules of engagement were anyone male, military age outside their house after 1900 was to be killed. And I guess they didn’t think we were serious.

“For the most part we took prisoners,” he clarifies, “but when we suspected they had weapons... or when they were suspicious, running around and s***, that’s when we took them out.”

Doing that, he says, one’s mind “kinda shuts down. Goes into survival mode. Sorta [feel] a hatred toward them... I like to tell myself that, you know, he didn’t have a gun but he was probably on his way to get one. Or he had a gun earlier. You know, kinda hard to explain. Just try not to think about it.”

“I hate that the person he used to be is gone forever,” Mistress Midnight is telling me in IM. “The innocence, I guess, that you can never get back. When he was still in junior high, he was always a joker, messed with people, and now he's a man. Just totally different. He's still him, but it’s like now he holds something back from people.”

After awhile, Dane says me he doesn’t want to talk about what he saw in Iraq anymore. “Sounds like you've seen some pretty harsh stuff if you don't wanna talk about it,” I observe.

“Yeah,” he allows, “got pretty crazy. But when is war ever pretty? People die in war... [I] try not to think about death, period. Blissful ignorance.”

But even back in the States, as he tells it, keeping in that state isn’t always possible.

“We were at a club. Went outside to smoke, me and two buddies. This was right after we got back that weekend.” Someone discerned they were active duty military by their haircuts, and angrily confronted them. “Asked us if we killed people. Then proceeded to call us babykillers. And started getting political. Just was a mess. We left.”

I observe that it’s interesting someone would call him a vicious psychopath to his face. “[I]f the guy really thought you were a babykiller,” I point out, “he wouldn't call you those names.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” says Dane, “if we were drunk we probably would waited for him outside. But been through enough fighting in Iraq. It was time to have a good time.”

As the conversation on the war in Iraq winds down, I impulsively invite him to tour our own war zone, in Jessie. At the time of our talk, a group of dedicated wargamers had converted the damage-enabled “free fire” area into a Western European town, circa World War II.

The WWIIOLers, they're called,” I tell Dane. “A lot of them are [real life] vets. From the [American] South, too, so you'll see a lot of Confederate flags.”

Dane laughs, glancing around. “Yeah, I saw.”

But when we arrive, the only person in Jessie is an old bald dwarf in stockings and high heels.

“I just want to dance,” Jackee Satyr announces. To prove his point, he performs a minuet on top of an arch draped with German flags.

I ask Jackee where all the other WWIIOLers went.

“I think they got bored,” he says, and returns to his ballet steps.

“Anyway, Dane,” I continue, “if you feel like fragging, Jessie's the place to go.”

A guy in a Counterstrike-style commando outfit appears from nowhere, and joins us on the arch.

“Yes,” Myztikal Madison warns Dane, “but you frag, you will most likely get killed. Very skilled shooters here.”

“Myztikal”, I say, “Dane was just in Iraq.”

By this time, Mistress Midnight has teleported over to Jessie, and leaps onto the arch, to stand by her brother.

“Yeah,” she says, “Dane's a REAL shooter. Ain't 'fraid o’ no pixels.”

Jackee Satyr stops his dancing, and looks up at Dane in a new light.

“Thank you for your service,” he says.

“You’re welcome,” says Dane. He looks around at the combat theater. “Soooo, how does this work? Just go around shootin’ people?”

“Well. It sounds so simple, until politics get involved,” Jackee cautions. (He’s changed from his naughty Catholic schoolgirl outfit into something more appropriate to the setting, so he now looks like a midget Axis officer.) “Like for instance. Shooting me would be bad.”

Dane Street laughs. “This isn’t some family feud I’m gonna get stuck in, is it?”

“Yes. The residents of Jessie have a sort of ceasefire thing going. Only because it is annoying trying to get things done and getting spawn camped. I don’t play politics. I have fun. So by all means shoot me. But like I said, if you come in to Jessie guns a blazing, prepare to get blacklisted.”

This isn’t anything like the crazed anarchy I came to know and love. “Jeez,” I say, frankly a bit disappointed. “You guys got all civilized.”

“Dont f***-ing blame me,” the midget commandant growls. “If it was up to me all y'all would be dead.”

“Jessie used to be the Fallujah of Second Life, so to speak,” I tell Dane, feeling somewhat lame to make the comparison. (Though in retrospect, I wonder how off it really is.)

“Now it's Candy Land ™ with the cannon from Monopoly™ in the wrong box,” Mistress says.

At the base of the arch, Dane is displaying some photographs depicting him and some of his serviceman buddies, many from the base camp near Fallujah. He’s very young, but unlike his avatar, he’s a ruddy, beefy guy with broad shoulders and a slim waist, and it looks like he could punch through the world.

“That’s my hero,” Mistress tells me, smiling broadly. In one shot, he’s chomping on a cigar. “He has smoking amnesty from me while he's serving,” she adds. “After that I’m buyin’ him the patch.”

By this time, Mistress’ friend Aimee Weber has joined us in Jesse.

"Hamlet, if you're writing an expose about Dane being a baby killer or something," Aimee warns, “I will be very irritated." She proceeds to extol Dane Street's intelligence, artistic talent, and kindness. Since Mistress introduced them, Dane and Aimee have become fast in-world friends, and this unlikely coming together is a unique story in itself-- Dane the battle-hardened grunt from the deep South, Aimee the East Coast art student from one of the bluest cities in one of the bluest states. Not from a neighborhood with much hawkish sentiment, in other words-- but then, to the extent it has a political opinion, neither does Second Life's community, for the most part.

“I believe he is there for a reason,” Mistress Midnight tells me.

“There's a fair amount of anti-war folks in here,” I point out.

Mistress smiles wanly. “I know. And they know who not to preach to. There have been open discussions before, back when I was in Nexcorp.” She chuckles. “Nothing was destroyed over it, but people with such differing views know when there’s no point in arguing.”

Aimee is peering at a picture of Dane posing with his khaki-clad buddies. ‘Notice Dane makes the other guys look like girlie men?” She says. “Dane has the James Dean thing going.”

Myztikal Madison, the Counterstrike commando, seems more impressed by the photo of Dane holding a commandeered AK-47.

“Thanks for your service,” he begins.

“Thanks for your support,” says Dane.

“Iraqi soldiers mostly carry those, right? Cheap good gun.”

“Not necessarily good,” Dane replies, “but reliable. Dump it in sand and fire it, no problem. But not very accurate.”

Mistress Midnight seems more interested in the sandy background and the sunlight flooding behind him. “Stupid hot Iraq,” she says, frowning.

“Your sister worries about you,” I tell Dane Street earlier.

“I know she does. She’s an awesome sister, love her to death. Always been there for me.” In-world, he says he’s doesn’t talk much with her about his experiences in-country. “She just helps me with things in SL, like textures, templates, Photoshop™ questions.” He laughs. “Women.”

“He came up to me last night [in Second Life] and told me he didn’t want me to worry about him,” Mistress Midnight tells me.

“How'd you feel when he was actually in Iraq?”

“Sad, worried, proud. Oceans of emotions. I cry. I’m a wuss.”

And as was said from the beginning, all of this happened last fall. Earlier this month, as scheduled, Dane Street was shipped back to Iraq, for another year of service. There was of course another tearful departure, between brother and sister. A bit before he left, he sent an IM to Aimee Weber, to tell her about one of the days he had, just before his ship date.

“It was actually heart breaking,” Aimee says. “He was vacationing on a beach. And apparently he saw a lot of ‘perfect’ women. The Californian chickies getting their boobs all done.” She makes a sad face-- and then a happy one. “And he said it made him think of ME... 'cause I am real. Which may be the sweetest thing anybody could say.”

And a couple weeks ago, I finally got my own message from Dane Street, to some follow-up questions to our original interview, which I’d e-mailed him a few months ago. He wished me a Happy New Year, then told me he’d try to get to my questions-- but he was in Iraq right now, and so his Internet access was infrequent.

Mistress Midnight hasn’t heard from Dane in recent days – not after the recent chopper crash last week, which killed several dozen US service personnel, or even after last weekend's Iraqi elections, the defense of which killed a handful more.

“I called my parents again,” Mistress tells me. “Still no word. I've heard nothing, but my husband is logic-ing me out of worrying. Says he was in a different spot [than the chopper crash.] And I would have heard already.” She means the knock on the door from a somber officer, which every family member with someone serving abroad fears.

So for now, she waits to hear from him. Meanwhile, she's built a small donation box to him in Midnight City (Umber/100/127). The Linden Dollars contributed to it will go directly to finance and ship gifts out to Dane and his buddies, the notecard promises. It’s black and gold, with a yellow ribbon floating above it.

“I want everything in the world for him, and happiness,” Mistress Midnight tells me. “He’s just incredibly smart, an amazing artist, and handsome boy. I guess I would like to think of him happy, rich in a mansion somewhere on a beach, and anything that shows me it’s not so, just breaks my heart.”

Updated here. - HL, 3/8/05

Posted at 03:20 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference THE SOLDIER'S MISTRESS:

» Tech Gadgets Could Replace Caregivers for the Elderly from Medicine Cabinets,
Medicine Cabinets, Web Tracking Devices Help Retirees Stay Safe Living Solo [Read More]

Tracked on May 20, 2006 6:13:40 PM

» Houstonians "Make a Home" for Refugees from Houston Bar Association,
should call (713) 271-1905 or (713) 748-GIVE (4483) through 6:30 p.m. Friday. Information can also be posted on www.har.com/harhelps . [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2006 4:31:44 PM

» Porn Studios Offer Download-to-DVD Movies from of films watch
Internet distribution of films watch as adult filmmakers offer the first download-to-DVD movies online. [Read More]

Tracked on May 24, 2006 2:11:09 PM

» Bucks Need a Fiery Redd vs. Pistons from of the MILWAUKEE
make a quick exit in their Eastern Conference playoff series against top-seeded Detroit. [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 1:43:47 PM

» News Online from JapanHorse
Features weekly articles, archives to past issues, and timelines of scientific importance. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 4, 2006 2:54:53 PM

» Wade on the Ascent from Anthony and Chris
Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh — can only dream about, writes Sekou Smith of THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 5, 2006 7:53:40 AM

» Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine Winners for Best Books and Authors of 2005 from erotica, womens
Times BOOKreviews Magazine unveils the winners in romance, erotica, womens fiction, mystery, fantasy and more for the best of 2005. (PRWEB Jun [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 8, 2006 7:41:15 AM

» Painstaking intelligence work led to Zarqawi from - Painstaking
forces to pinpoint his location and kill the al Qaeda leader in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Thursday. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 9, 2006 3:57:51 AM

» James Levine to Return to the Podium July�7 from of the Tanglewood
will conduct the Boston Symphony on July 7, the opening night of the Tanglewood Festival, [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 2:00:27 AM

» Fresh MP3 tracks from music process
Fresh, MP3 music download... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 29, 2006 8:48:45 PM

» USA towns: Henderson from USA MAP
USA - cities, towns and villages of the United States. Extensive business listings, community info, coupons and classified ads for USA cities, ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 22, 2006 8:58:38 PM

» People Search in Internet 2006 from Plot Summary for Words
Words - Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discussion, Taglines, Trailers, Posters, Photos, Showtimes, Link to Official Site, Fan Sites. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 2, 2006 1:56:11 AM

» burberry from Burberry Perfume
Buy Burberry perfumes and aftershaves from the best UK shops online. Click on one of the products listed below to compare prices to find the best price to ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2006 3:58:03 AM

» The "Hate Crimes" Tap from prison time for
for what Nicholas Minucci said during physical assault with a bat (By Nat [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 7, 2006 6:08:27 PM

» Toyota, Honda Report Sales Jump in July from Honda post sales
post sales jump in July; GM, Ford, Chrysler experience moribund month in sales [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 8, 2006 7:21:53 AM

» Bvlgari from Bvlgari Watches
Great Saving On Bvlgari Watches Bulgari Watch Bvlgari Assioma, Bulgari Zero1, Bulgari Watch Tubagas, Bvlgari Diagono Aluminium, ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 9, 2006 10:51:04 PM

» Ptsd and meridia. from Meridia.
Meridia diet pill. Meridia. Meridia coupon. Buy meridia. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 28, 2009 10:18:32 AM

» Meridia. from Low cost meridia.
Meridia diet index dietlist net. Where can i get meridia at a a cheap price. How much is meridia in canada. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 30, 2009 1:26:01 AM

» Estradiol. from Estradiol.
Estradiol. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 1, 2009 10:15:15 PM

» Pharmacy online carisoprodol description price. from Carisoprodol side effects.
Effects of carisoprodol. Buy carisoprodol. Carisoprodol phentermine yellow. Carisoprodol. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 2, 2009 4:05:35 AM


This was a very touching story and so emotionally reported, Hamlet. I have met Dane a couple of times -- Mistress introduced him to me when I was still really new to Second Life, and it quickly became apparent to me how much she cares for him. Of course, that may sound obvious because they are so close, but for that to transcend the offline and show itself online in SL like you've reported is wonderful... despite all the horrors in the world.

What also became apparent to me is how big a heart Mistress has and how good she is to family and friends -- including the Umberinos aka Midnight City Crew. ;) And despite the troubles in our lives, this goes a long way towards making things better.

*hugz Mis* I hope you hear from your bro real soon. The anxiousness makes things so tense and uneasy and it will be SUCH a relief. Keep hanging in here. ^_^

Posted by: Torley at Feb 2, 2005 6:18:26 PM

Very fine story. Thanks Hamlet.

Posted by: Neal Stewart at Feb 5, 2005 4:06:41 PM

Thank's for the very informative site, these sites are some I would recommend.

For Online Casino slots and online casino try this La Isla Casino, for more online casino slots and online slots try Slots Kings.

If Bingo is your thing try Bingo Online News for online bingo and internet bingo, internet casino slots and slots information to be found

on Slots Online News. If you like to play bingo online Red7Bingo is the best internet bingo to be found on a online bingo site. For online poker

we recommend Nett Poker. Street Slots is the leading site for Slots, Video Slots and Online Slots. Nett Casino have all the info on casino poker

and many other online casino games in a Norwegian Casino Portal about online casino. Craps is a game of fun and excitement, play craps in CrapsRoom.com

the number one website for online craps.

online casino slot machine online casino slot machine Hope you enjoy them.

Posted by: casino at Aug 31, 2007 6:46:16 AM

discount pharmacy
generic lipitor generic lipitor
generic lipitor generic lipitor
generic fosamax generic fosamax
Pain Relief
generic soma generic soma
Anti Bacterial
generic zithromax generic zithromax
generic cipro generic cipro
generic amoxil generic amoxil
generic bactrim generic bactrim

Posted by: toy at Oct 16, 2007 2:24:14 AM

Good review.
Please visit our sites


Posted by: us drugstore at Oct 29, 2008 2:46:40 AM

My profiles and other listings Bookmarks on del. icio. us David Berkowitz- FriendFeed David Berkowitz on ziki. com David Berkowitz OpenID Facebook Flickr: Photos from David Berkowitz LinkedIn: David Berkowitz Mashable MySpace Search Insider- David Berkowitz SocialURL- David Berkowitz Speaking History- David Berkowitz Twitter/ davidberkowitz November 2008 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Recent Comments E F on Craigslist Real Estate...

Posted by: Games at Jan 4, 2009 10:10:54 PM

Category Anti Bacterial
Buy Generic Monodox (doxycycline)
What is Monodox (doxycycline)?
Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic. It fights bacteria in the body.
Doxycycline is used to treat many different bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections, acne, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, periodontitis (gum disease), and others.
Our official website http://www.NeededPills.com/

Posted by: Kevin at Mar 2, 2009 8:24:47 AM

Category Anti Bacterial
Buy Generic Monodox (doxycycline)
What is Monodox (doxycycline)?
Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic. It fights bacteria in the body.
Doxycycline is used to treat many different bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections, acne, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, periodontitis (gum disease), and others.
Our official website http://www.NeededPills.com/

Posted by: Kevin at Mar 2, 2009 8:24:47 AM

xgqg good site! odaback.1d cialis <a href=http://odaback.1d>cialis</a> vc122

Posted by: AsypeKexAppem at Mar 24, 2009 2:06:25 AM

Hey i can buy viagra on second life ? hahaha

Posted by: Viagra Online at Sep 16, 2009 10:28:53 AM

hello friend excellent post about THE SOLDIER'S MISTRESS thanks for sharing!!!

Posted by: Generic Viagra at Dec 7, 2009 3:14:23 PM

amazing blog about THE SOLDIER'S MISTRESS thanks for sharing!!

Posted by: Buy Generic Viagra at Dec 18, 2009 2:03:29 PM

amazing post about THE SOLDIER'S MISTRESS thanks for sharing!!

Posted by: Viagra Online at Dec 23, 2009 1:12:26 PM

hey buddy great work with this post about THE SOLDIER'S MISTRESS

Posted by: Tadalafil at Feb 8, 2010 3:10:27 PM

um, this is my favorite post-blogher post so far. no one knows this...because i was a huge pussy...but, i was there! i did meet karl and yvonne, and they were beyond lovely. aside from that, i can only say i have already vowed to be less of a pussy next year, and, you didn't know uncircumcised penises are easier to jack off? maybe i'm more of an outsider than i thought.

Posted by: cheap viagra at Oct 15, 2010 5:10:32 AM

It's always my pleasure to read this type of stuff.I am very much interested in these types of topics and it's my habit to read this.

Posted by: generic viagra at Sep 20, 2011 10:48:18 AM