I was a Young Man

My car is in the shop. Off-base, in the shop, and things still have to get done. The Sergeant wants me to drop off digital files at Division print office. These will be printed at something like 3×5 feet, and serve as boards for different things on Field Ops. We have a Fire Mission Board, that tracks up to six currently engaged fire missions. A fire mission is what happens when a Forward Observer (FO) calls in a target. We figure out where that target is, who is in the best position to shoot at it, and what kind of ammunition, fuse, and powder combination is going to get the round on target, and preferably kill the target with the first round. Then we send the fire mission to that battery.

I also have to go to Division Repro(ductions) to pick up some SOP (standard operating procedures) that were dropped off last week.

It is 0645. Formation just ended, I just got my daily assignment, and I’m off. First to the barracks to grab my pack, and then I start walking. It is about 2 miles to the print office, so I head there first, as Repro is about 4 miles. They aren’t exactly in a straight line, but this is the most efficient route, and when you’re on foot, you think about things like that. So I am walking, heading towards the main drag, and up it, towards the Exchange. I get to the Print shop just before 0715, and spend about 10 minutes waiting in line, another 5 explaining exactly what we need with each file, and then explaining that we need it this week.

Now I am off again. The pack is empty, so I’m humpin along, singing whatever song pops into my head, and saluting at random cars. I’m about to enter officer’s territory, where all the bigwigs live and work, so I’m doing more saluting than on an average day. Sometimes, if the glare is right, you cannot see the little blue stickers. So you miss a salute. Sometimes if that happens to be an officer, and he happens to be having a bad day, or if he’s just an asshole, he will actually stop where he is going, pull the car over, and berate you at the side of the road. (This is one big reason I got out) I could not believe that my day was going like this. Not only that, but it is nearly 0745, and I still have a mile to walk, and 4 more back, and it’s getting hot and muggy as shit out here. And now this asshole wants to chew me a new one just for the hell of it. I feel like punching him. I feel like exploding in his fucking self-ritcheous face, and tearing his god-damned larynx out with my hands. I can feel his pulse between my fingers, the sweat on my forehead, and the giving of flesh as my nails bite into his flesh. I feel the gravel under my boots and knee, and the sickening little pop as thumb and fingers meet inside his throat. I see the fear in his eyes, knowing he was an asshole to the wrong Marine, that he’d just made me snap. The glittering arc of red droplets as I stand up with his throat in my hands.

And then he’s getting back in his car and driving away. This is actually a very good technique to master. Helps to keep you from taking anything too seriously.

On to Repro! Moving and moving. I get there just at 0830 (yes he did yell at me for that long) and pause in the doorway to smoke a cigarette. I step into the dim office, and hello, there’s a new lance corporal behind the desk, and she is cute! (not something said about too many female marines, but hey, when all you see are guys for about weeks at a time…) So I give her my unit and she gets the stuff (about 3 or 5 reams of paper worth) and we talk for a minute or two, then I’m off again.

Back to the CP (command post) to deliver the 25 pounds of paper in my pack. So I’m walking, and I decide to walk on the right side of the road as I won’t have to salute any officers, or at least not as many. I’m about a mile and change into my hike back, and it’s 0850, and another car pulls over beside me. I cannot believe it, this is really not my fucking day.

to be continued…

One Reply to “I was a Young Man”

  1. NO damn WAY! I can’t believe they do that Eric. What pricks. They actually have nothing better to do than pull the car over, get out and give you shit?Damn. They must hate their lives. You wrote this perfectly. I could see the anger in your eyes and feel the intense hate you had for the man you invisioned tearing his larynx out. What a fuck. Great job. I liked this piece. Write more.

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