We found this entire article incredibly ironic, given that Nate literally has ‘gear thief’ printed on his business cards. That’s a true story. Mad Duo
A Rare Idea: Keeping Your Word
Mad Duo Nate
During the winter of 2008, in the middle of nowhere Iraq, I broke my issued multitool. This is more than just a small inconvenience for a deployed serviceman, as just about everyone uses their multitool on a daily basis. I was never one to suck up to the supply nazis, and figured I’d forego negotiating with them to gain a replacement by just buying a new one. Upon returning to our FOB, I proceeded to the tiny PX to see what AAFES had to offer. Settling on a black “military” leatherman, (a much nicer tool than the one I just broke), I reluctantly handed the disinterested Army Sergeant behind the counter one hundred bucks, and continued with my day.
I carried that Multitool for the rest of the deployment, and it became my favorite among all those I had ever used. After leaving the service, I continued to carry it on trips to the range and into the woods. It’s a little scuffed and beat up, but my Leatherman tool has never failed me and works as well as the day I bought it.
Last spring I attend a “writers event,” where the many minions of Breach-Bang-Clear gathered to discuss ideas and burn some gunpowder under the watchful eye of Graham Combat. More than just an excuse to hit the range and receive some top notch pistol instruction, the goal of the summit was to consolidate ideas and concepts for the year to come. Mad Duo Brad, the treacherous Army officer that he is, managed to borrow my beloved Leatherman and slip home with it.
I spent the rest of the year constantly requesting its return, only to be answered by cruel taunts. I finally gave up, admitting that I was probably never going to see it again. I often imagined Brad using the Leatherman’s blade to open letters while seated at his mahogany desk, before heading out to the flight line to knife-hand his mechanics. Maybe he reduced another hard working soldier’s pay, and used the money to have the multitool dipped in gold and mounted on a plaque. I pictured it hanging on his “I love me” wall, among his pilfered war trophies.
Or maybe I was completely wrong assuming that the multitool was a joke circulating the O club. Maybe it was the exact opposite. Maybe he just threw in into box of random gear when he got home. Lost forever to the depths of an old footlocker, amongst tattered 2006 issues of “Hustler” and canteens smelling faintly of urine. On a cold concrete floor in officer base housing, my Leatherman may have been slowly rusting inside a Pelican-brand sarcophagus.
But much to my surprise, I was wrong. When I saw Mad Duo Brad at SHOT SHOW 2015, the first thing he did was smile and hand me my long lost multitool. I quickly stowed in inside my daybag, and thanked him for returning it. Feelings of remorse swept over me for cursing him and all those with a blue stripe sticker on their windshield. All was right in the world, and I continued to enjoy SHOT.
That is, until I reached the airport for my return home. After I checked my luggage and was preparing to pass through security, I stopped to stow my phone in my day bag. And thats when I found it. My recently returned, and quickly forgotten, Leatherman! Son. Of. A. Bitch!!!! With no time to spare before my flight, I was faced with a dilemma. Having failed to check the knife in with my baggage, it would be next to impossible to get it home. Should I give it away to someone? Or just throw it in the trash and catch my flight? With all the multicam, 5.11 pants and operator hats walking around the airport, I decided to give the old multitool to someone to spare its fate from the depth of a landfill.
I looked across the airport, searching for a suitable donor. Off to the side, I spotted two gentlemen talking and holding luggage large enough to need checked. I approached them, trying hard to not sound like a crazy person. Sheepishly, I explained my predicament. “I forgot to check this, sooooo….would either of you guys like a free Leatherman?”
The two gents turned out to be from Oklahoma, and we proceeded to introduce ourselves. It turns out my guess was correct; Mike and Nick were on their way home from SHOT just like me. With a hurt look in their eyes, they told me my plan was flawed. They would mail my trusty old Leatherman back! I gave both my card, thanked them and headed off to make my flight. With nothing more then a few minutes of talk, a handshake and the man’s word, I somehow knew Mike would mail my multitool.
I came home the other day to find a box waiting on the porch, and sure enough there it was. The beat up tool that I carried in Iraq, Africa, Alaska and a bunch of other places over the last few years. Something that has more sentimental value to me than just its durability and usefulness. Getting my multitool out of Brad’s evil clutches, only to lose it forever immediately afterwards would have been a shame. I would have been severely pissed at myself for not checking my gear more thoroughly. But I would have been more pissed if the two strangers I approached in desperation would have told me to go pound sand.
I’m glad that there are still people out there like Mike, who will look you in the eye and give you their word – and mean it. I’m proud to have made two new friends even though it was a result of my own stupidity. But most importantly, I’m relieved that there are still good people out there, ready to help a perfect stranger. If you consider yourself one of the few remaining “good guys”, rest assured there are more out there than we see.
To Brad, you thieving, shiny-collared dick, thanks for giving me my Leatherman back. To Mike and Nick, it was a pleasure and privilege to meet you both. If there is anything I can ever do to return the favor, please do not hesitate to reach out. For the rest of you reading this, don’t be scared to do what you know is right. We all screw up, make mistakes and break promises. The difference is what you do afterwards.
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
Mad Duo Nate About the Author: Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” is a former USMC Sergeant who recently transitioned to being a nasty civilian. He lives largely on nicotine, whiskey and hate and can be frequently found orating Kipling poems to frightened hipsters. A graduate of the Camp Lejeune School for Wayward Boys, he was a Marine NCO, Infantry Platoon Sergeant and Scout Sniper team leader. He is a fully qualified American Jedi, handsome badass and world-renowned field barista. He has numerous deployments to the Middle East and Africa and is something of an idiot savant when it comes finger-fucking stuff to make it work better. Nate only chain smokes when he’s drinking and only drinks every day. We reckon he is probably best described as a sociopathic philosopher with vestigial cutthroat (though poetic) tendencies. Thus far Murr’s writing has appeared in such places as here on Breach-Bang-Clear, on Military.com, in field shitters and portajohns on at least 3 continents, in RECOIL Magazine and of course Penthouse letters. (Grunts: vestigial)