Don’t RUST On My Parade*

“Petty Officer Marcom! Your Fifty Cals are Rusty!”

50 Cal NavyA

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Third Class Daniel J. Mark. Cleared for release by ALBG PAO, LCDR Jeff Bender.

Lance Sailor

Marco The Sailorman

I had to  admit. Yes they were. I had tried so hard to keep ahead of the rust, but here I found myself on the leeward side of the second half of a six-month, ‘round-the-whurl-West Pacific Deployment’, and somewhere just off the coast of Somalia.

Yes, rust was my enemy, certainly never my friend—the machine guns were always mounted while we (The USS Callaghan DDG 994, full cast and crew) were Haze-Gray and Underway.

Yes, always mounted and underway:

Haze-Graying, even then

And rusty

My Guns were always supposed to be… somewhere upon the sea… this is what they were purchased for…

And subject to rust. Rust Relentless. Relentless She Be: That Sea. That Salt of the Fucking Sea

Rust.

My Moby Dick-lessness! How could I not keep Rust off my guns?

Freud certainly would have had fun with me

(Sadly, now I know why)

************

My professional life was to be found somewhere rusting in those machine guns.

And that rust you see, that rust occupied a great deal of my daily routine.

The Navy had a solution though. She had provided canvas covers to cover those guns and make them safe from rust. Alas, those canvas covers had seen better days, probably back when Pearl Harbor was just an ordinary Naval Base that no one had ever heard of.

But rust is relentless and timeless.

While scrubbing the Indian Ocean rust off’n my fifty-cals one morning I hatched a plan. Knowing full well we were soon to pull into Mombasa Kenya, after so many month at sea, I conspired to save my money:

Once in Mombasa, I would smuggle one of the moth infected, salt- digested, jig saw’d, Swiss Cheese, ‘holy’ canvas shards off the ship. I would rent a taxi, find me a young child, show him my smuggled ‘prize’, ask him to direct me somewhere, where I could find and nickel and dime (I did not have much money then, not un-life-like now) find a leather shop in Mombasa, present to the leather-maker my Holy Canvas, My Shroud,  My Naval Career, and demand, (for US Dollars), that he make me four such more yet new and brand new.

And functional.

And This is exactly what I did, and to the amazement and astonishment of my Master Chief Petty Officer and my Department Head (almost a Navy Commander… he kind of looked like JFK, now that I think on it. I  did not like particularly like him, but I respected him. Hell, he reminded me of all the things I could have been if I had joined the Nav when I was twelve instead of twenty-eight (Different story. Sorry)

The next time they inspected my Fifty Cals, they were pristine! (They did not take notice nor time to notice that the canvas covers were not exactly Haze-Gray-Naval Gray. No, more like Third-World-Rustic, with just a tiny bit of water buffalo…left over…but Goddamn sure water and sea salt proof.   

And I was so desirous that they did NOT notice, but my Master Chief did notice, yet, never ever noticing nor voicing his ‘inner thoughts’ in front of what he referred to as “Shit Birds” — ‘Officers’ — Never let on.

Master Chief never, ever let out his truth thoughts in front of Shit – Birds. This was his genius. 

And I should have been cognizant of this, yet I was so somewhat giddy after my .50 Cals had finally passed inspection, that I did not stop to think on that anymore. “Not even Master Chief had seen through my ruse” Yeah, Rite!

 I was drunk with my own cleverness and lying back on my back in my rack, curtain drawn,  congratulating me.

(Now, you must realize how the Military Mind works. I was my Ship’s Armor All–Armorer– IN Charge of All The Ship’s Small Arms! .225 Cal to .50 Cal. If it took two men to lift, wasn’t mine. But one-man-band? Yep!  I was the shit!  I was a Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class! Freshly rocked out of SEAL Training (twice now, but who counts these sorts of thing? I suppose I do) and trying to retain what little was left of my  pride and my so-fifty-caliber-called-life.)

And I loved and Respected My Master Chief. Did not ever want to become an embarrassment to him, nor to my Fellow Gunner’s Mates who worked on the “Big Guns”. (Those ones what ‘bullets’ took two and a half-men to lift)

And even more important, (anyone who has ever ‘Served’ will know this), the Military is Run On Fear:

“Oh God, Please Don’t Let Me Fuck UP!”

That kind of fear.

Well, as I was lying on my back in my middle rack right before Taps with my little blue ‘privacy’ curtain drawn back when someone jerked that sucker back.

Along with my reverie.

Yep.

Master Chief Anderson!

MY MASTER CHIEF

“Son, tell me where you found those brand new gun covers.”

Trying to lie on my side and find an elbow to lean to, I half-coughed out, feigning sleepy-eyed ignorance,

“Master Chief, I had them made while we were in Mombasa.”

(There are people one may lie to in life, but, A Master Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy is not one found amongst those people. Not if one wishes life beyond that moment of sweet deception)

“I see”, was all he said, as he yanked my curtain back shut, thus leaving me alone with my various and sundry.

I did not sleep that night. For you see, I knew I had broken Naval Regs by doing something not-in-the Naval-Seaman’s-Bible–The Blue Book–The book, inches thick as a brick,  “The Book” I had been made to almost memorize while at Recruit Training Command, i.e. boot camp.

41XgCzuhSdL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_

I had broken the rule.

In the Nav, there is a sea sailor preamble, most requisite when one wants to recount a story of ‘when ships were made of wood and men were made of iron’… “Back when Moses was a pup, and this is a no-shitter” This validates and is a ritual never broken. In other words, one never breaks the rule.

Sometime mid-morning the next day, I was summoned to the berth/office of  The Department Head of my Division, Lt. Commander ‘Kennedy’.

Shitting bricks is too trite.

I was nervous.

I gave a hearty rap on the bulkhead door as I was trained to do in boot camp…

“Enter!”

“Petty Officer 3rd Class Marcom Sir!”

“I know who you are Lance; sit down.”

(What??? Lance??? Sit Down???)

Mouth agape I sat down, speechless

“Son, Master Chief Anderson tells me you went out on your own, designed, commissioned, smuggled off a prototype, and paid for, with your own money, those .50 Cal Gun Covers. Is this true?”

“Yes, uh, yessir,” I stammered.

“Well, that shows some fine initiative. How much did you pay Son?”

“Un Sir. Doesn’t matter…. I just, well, the .50 Cals, you know SIR,  cost ten-thousand dollars each, and I thought…rust….an…”

“How much did you pay?!”

“250 Dollars Sir.”

Without saying a word he opened a little three-lock-box (OK; I made that up. It was only a one-lock-box) that he had in a drawer, carefully opened it, and proceeded to hand me two-hundred and fifty bucks.

American

I sat there, dumb founded,  a moment too long, still in shock, looking at the bills in my hand…

“Petty Officer Marcom! “

“Huh…Uh, Huh… Sir?”

“You’re dismissed!”

Jumping up, knocking my chair over,  some tears welling in my eyes,

“Yessir!”

As I saluted him and abruptly left his quarters, quite in haste.

And thus I had survived yet another day in MY  Beloved Navy.

And Just As a Reminder Kids:

Don’t Rain on my Parade: I have enuff Rain for All

 

*And this just once more a rough draft, full of error, so be kind. Trust me: there is no harsher critic of me than me. I sweat commas. 

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Sea (Somewhat of a Stream of Almost Consciousness)

The scariest thing to me…

Was at sea.

In the Indian Ocean, late one night

(That “IO” That Ho!)

Late at Night.

And the ship was tight.

And the waves were big.

Real big.

IO, She was angry.

And I was scared.

(No! HE Was scared).

I was never scared!

I was drinking coffee… And in between, walking on the bulkheads—all you sailors out there—can relate, and compare…

Never scared, but aside from my ‘coffee mates,” I knew, did, had done… the same drill… Too many times. (Fuckin’ Black-Shoe Navy!)

And if any of y’all find any of my  ‘Sea Stories” unbelievable…The preamble to any good sea story is “This is a no-shitter…”

And then there was Melville…I’ve been around the world and  once saw two white whales fuck.. I did. And there were dolphins… standing by… giggling.

 I have been to Australia.

Twice

And it follows, I have been to sea before:

And here, (for you purists) is the original, stolen from “Hejira”:

My Thanks to

“I’m just a simple soldier Son.

“With one more Year to Go.””

Running In Soft Sand: Intro

This is Post One of a New old Series (and one I promise to be faithful to)

I will regale y’all with all my Navy SEAL BUD/s training reckless, feckless experiences. Reliving it for me, is better than it actually was. (Trust me on this one) 

However, before we dive in, you may want to watch the below. For if you do, you will get so much more ‘value’ out of my words (also found below)

 

I was in Class One Forty and Class One Fifty Eight, but some things (in SEALs) are always constantly constant)

So, here we go….

***

Zero Four. Alarm going off! I knock it off the nightstand. It whimpers for an instant and then grows silent. “Now Run Tell That!” as Peanut would say.

Four o’clock!? Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Where am I? Who am I? Do I need to ‘be’ someplace at four-oh-fucking-clock? Of course I do. I start to remember, shaking some dust from my addled mind. I need to be in Coronado. At BUD/s. And I need to be there by zero-five. Fuck! Fuck!

Karen stirs beside me.

“What’s up?” she asks with morning breath and sleepy eyes.

“Go back to sleep,” I say. “I’ll see you later.” (Much later)

Dragging my hung over self out of our bed in La Mesa California, I get dressed and stumble down the stairs, trying ever so careful to not awake the house in my doing so at such an un-Godly-hour. Four o’clock!

Fuck!

Seated in my Toronado, I crank her up, back out of the drive and head west. To BUD/s. God help me.

Of course I had been through this before: back in ’86. I was what some could call a ‘Two-Time Loser.’ Yeah, this weren’t my first attempt at SEAL training. And certainly not my first rodeo. I continued west.

Presently I arrived at the BUD/s compound (For the uninitiated: Basic Underwater/Demolition slash SEAL Training—Yeah—My Navy is fond of acronyms)

Went into my ‘hooch’ and threw on the lights.

“Goddamn it! Marcom!” was the chorus I was greeted with. “I hate you!”

“Drop yer cocks and grab yer socks!” I yelled. (I have lived my life every day, waiting for an opportunity to say this)

“Huh?”

“It’s time to daince gen’telmens. Let’s git to it!”

“Ah fuck!”

“Yep! Fuck!”

I took a dip of snuff as I watched my roommates get dressed. We were due to meet up with the rest of our class, One Fifty-Eight, in about ten mikes.

“Hurry the fuck up!” I yelled at my sleepy ‘roommates’.

“And you… you shut the fuck up, Petty Officer Mar—cone.”

“I’m doin’ ya’ll a favor, getting you up early so you can get all yer constitutionals done in time,” I said.

“What-ever!”

“Let’s go,” I said.

We proceeded down to our class muster point, mustered up with about seventy other disgruntled ‘grunts’—poly-wogs—and ran into the ‘grinder.’

We sang in unison as we did so:

“TO MY LEFT!

“TO MY LEFT!

“HOOYAH

“HOOYAH

“HOO–YAH!!!”

Class One Five Eight had arrived at BUD/s. God save and send us.

On the grinder (asphalt parking lot) there were little paintings of fin-feet, designating where the pollywogs were to assemble for PT (Physical… Uh… training. Read: torture)

Thusly assembled, we waited for the SEAL Instructor to show. During our wait, we knew we were supposed to sing. You see? The singing arouses the instructor and God knows we wanted him aroused:

So we sang:

“Drank Drank Drank

“Drunk Drunk Drunk

“Drunk last night

“Drunk the night before

“Gonna get drunk like I never got before

“’Cause when I’m drunk I’m happy as can be

“’Cause I’m a member of the Frog Fam’ily…

“Oh the Frog Fam’ily is the best family

“That ever sailed a’cross the sea….”

 And on an’ on. You get the idea.

The instructor arrived in full regalia: UDT shorts, T-Shirt, and attitude. There was a platform of sorts in front of us (Just for His Holiness, the PT SEAL instructor to ‘preach’ from)

We stood erect at attention… waiting to hear his first pronouncement. We did not have to wait long.

“What a fucking sorry lot! This is the worst class I have ever seen! Get wet! AND SANDY!!!”

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

“Gonna be a long day,” I thought as we all ran to the Pacific to get wet and then sandy on the beach…

And the day had not even yet begun…

 

Russia won our war (Well, everybody’s war actually)

Or, If you desire:

“I’m the reason God Made Oklahoma.” (See? I can say that. Why? Because my second was an Okie and, by parley, that makes me bonafide—so there!)

Feel better?

Vid Credit? S. West (Who Else??)

This I took to Navy SEAL training…

Part Two Here

The Biker, Bouncer, Bartender, Big-Boned Gal From Milwaukee

1BigBonedGal.jpg

This is (sort of) a continuation of my “Shonie Series”

I like things to be linear. So we rejoin our “hero” just after his Denouement… Or perhaps, ‘Epiphany’.

***

So she led me to a car and we all piled in. I say ‘we all’ simply because there were suddenly three of us. Me, HER, and a smallish blonde. I remember thinking I had seen this movie before, but this time it came with a twist, I guess. I have to guess, as the rest of the evening (early morning?) is fuzzy in my memory.

After about twenty minutes. (I am once again, estimating here; could’ve been an hour or more. Or less.) After about ‘twenty’ minutes we arrived at a house (could have been an apartment). SHE took me inside and led me straight-away to a bed… room. If memory serves, we had sex. Violent sex. (Not ‘violent’ violent. Let’s just call it ‘intense.’) SHE was at least six foot and change and, as I did report earlier, ‘Big-Boned.” I swear, I saw my life’s movie flash as she covered me and had her way. (And of course, me mine)

As we lay there ‘after’ in someone else’s bed, she remarked, “Well, that should keep your self-winding watch going for a few days.”

I had to laugh, just as I drifted off.

The next morning I awoke with the sun singeing my eyes from a casually placed window (What’s wrong with these people?). I could smell bacon. I rolled over and looked at my watch: 0630. I had a start; then realized it was Saturday and I did not have ‘duty’ on my ship. I could go back to sleep, un-worried. But, oh no! SHE was stirring. (So, who was cooking bacon? I remember thinking)

“Oh. You’re awake?” She said.

“Uh, yeah. Kinda,” was all I could muster. Where am I? Who are you? (Not a proper question, I realize, but then, I was hung over and still groggy)

“I am the woman to be named later,” she said, poking me in the ribs. (Which hurt for some reason).

“I see. I rolled over to face her.” She was, indeed: Beautiful. Long dark brown hair, dark eyes, and mystery, too much mystery in fact. I was at this point, all ‘mystery-ied’ out. I was tired. I needed Gidget. Or perhaps Mary Poppins, or even Samantha Stevens…

You don’t remember my name?” She asked after lighting a cigarette.

“To be stupidly honest, no I don’t.”

“No matter. I am called ‘Layla’. Ring any bells?” (I wish I were making this up)

I’m thinking now that I had just fallen into Dante’s Inferno.

“Uh. No. Should bells be ringing?”

“So… You’re a Sailor? Yes?”

“Yes. And what are you? And are you from around here?”

“Not from around here. I’m just visiting my cousin. She is the one cooking breakfast.”

“Yeah. I can smell bacon.”

“Good nose. I like that in a man. Have you an appetite?”

“From some memory of last night, I’d have to say ‘yes’.”

“Hahahahah! Yep. You do, Sailor Man. Yep, you do.”

“So, if you’re not from here. Where are you ‘from’, and what do you do?”

“I’m from Wisconsin. I work as a bartender. I’m also a bouncer, when the need is needed. Oh, and I love to ride Harleys.”

Perfection, I thought. Now what Cowboy? Shit. Here I am again…

I had ‘some leave-days-on-the-books’ and seriously considered at that moment that I needed to take them and head home to Texas to get a re-start on my physic saki… (Well, spelling ain’t never been my thing, but you know what I mean here.) 

I mean, I was still re-‘bound’ for glory. But I did have some time, eh? Didn’t I?

“The pitfalls of the city are extremely real.”

Video Credit:

gdoublee

To Be Continued…Here

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife: Denouement

Or: “Dreams do come true; it can happen to you… When you’re young at heart and stupid and bulletproof.”

Or, if you prefer: “Big-Boned Gal”

Parts  One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  Eleven  Twelve  Thirteen This is the End

***

Nothing to do now but drive away and discover what happens next. No point in trying to flee at a high rate of speed. Most Harleys (when they are not broken down) will outrun a heavy-ass Toronado. Which brings to mind a t-shirt one of MY biker friends often wore (Yes, I had some biker friends. They were also sailors, but I don’t think that disqualifies them), which read: “I’d rather push my Harley than ride your Honda.”

So off I drove into the predawn. Never having what could be remotely considered decent navigation skills, I just headed in the general direction of what I thought to be south, hoping to hit I-Five, which would lead me to 32nd Street Naval Base and my ship. And of course I kept frequently glancing in my rear-view. Billy, or whomever, did in fact follow me, yet at a respectful distance for a spell. At one point I contemplated stopping and asking him for directions, but in the end thought better of that.

Eventually, he either got bored, lost his nerve, or ran out of gas. Anyway, he disappeared from my radar. I made it back to the USS Frederick with just enough time to change into my dungarees and make morning muster.

When the 1MC announced “Knock off Ship’s Work” at 1600 hrs, I quickly changed into my civvies, left the ship, grabbed a pay phone on the pier, and called Shonnie up at work.

“Hello?”

“Shonnie?”

“You were expecting maybe… Madonna?”

Ignoring her classic wit, I said “Are you okay?”

“Yes, of course, why wouldn’t I be?”

Uh oh. Her tone did not bode well. “Perhaps you caught amnesia. Did Billy come calling?”

“Uh, yeah. He did.”

“And?”

“What?”

“Come on Shonnie, what happened?”

“He begged me to open the door, so finally I let him in.” She didn’t seem to want to talk about this, but damn it! I was in ‘need-to-know’ status. ‘Hey! I’m needin’ to know here!’ (Sorry Dustin)

“Well? Do I have to drag this out of you?”

“Listen Lance, he broke down and cried All Right! He promised to be a better husband and father. He begged me to take him back. He is the Father of my Son, Goddamn it! What-the-fuck-do-you-expect-me-to-do?” (Kids always trump lovers. I suppose this is as it should be, but… this asshole was abusive. At least that was her early story.)

“So, you’re getting back together then?” In asking this, I felt as if I had been kicked in the solar plexus. Hard. It was becoming difficult to breathe.

“Yes.”

“You sure about this?”

“Yes. I am.”

I could not continue the conversation. “Well, I guess that’s it then.”

“Yeah. I guess it is. Goodbye Lance.” She hung up.

Rage. Heartbreak. Sorrow. Self-Pity. Despair. Aloneness: All competing in my soul to climb to the top of my emotional hit parade. I slammed the receiver into the phone and walked toward my car. As soon as I sat down in the driver’s seat I realized that I was crying. Fuck! (There seemed to be a pattern developing here, Shonnie: Then grown men crying–note to self–‘research this.’)

A couple of weeks later I was kidnapped by some of my buddies from my ship.

“Marcom, you done been mopping around for too long. We’re going out tonight to a great joint. No arguments. Just grab yer shit and come on.” I had to acquiesce.

Mark and Tommy mounted their Harleys. Frank, Lenny, and I climbed into Lenny’s ’68 Chevelle, which he referred to as his “She-Vail” Accent on the ‘Vail.’

“Where we goin’?” I asked after about five minutes of ear-splitting Guns N’ Roses (Lenny waxed and waned between ‘Pure Country’ and ‘Heavy Metal’ depending on his mood and blood alcohol level.

“Goin’ to IB,” he shouted over Welcome to the Jungle. (‘Imperial Beach’ for those who may not have had the opportunity to visit some of the classier environs south of San Diego.) One can actually ‘smell’ Tijuana from IB, not an entirely unpleasant smell if the wind is right and it ain’t summertime.

We were just a couple of car lengths behind Mark and Tommy who, wearing their bandanas, leather jackets, black jackboots, and seated astride their Harleys puking blue smoke, producing one hundred decibels above what OSHA would consider workplace violence, had metamorphosed elegantly from A-Jay-Squared-Away Sailors into So-Cal Bikers. Passing through National City, (‘Nasty City’) then Chula Vista, (Chew, Ya-Wanna?’) I couldn’t help but keep thinking of Shonnie and how much she would have loved this ‘adventure.’ And I with her, experiencing it together. Damn! I missed her still!

“Almost there!” Lenny shouted as we pulled off of I-5 and tacked somewhat west toward the Pacific.

“Almost where?” I shouted back, but Lenny said nothing. After navigating through some of Imperial Beach’s “Nicer Hoods” our little caravanserai pulled into a gravel parking lot, which presumably belonged to the ramshackle ‘Joint’ I now found myself staring at. Lots of bikes in the lot. I cannot recall the name of the establishment, but it was something along the lines of “The Salty Frog.” or “IB Bar N’ Grill” or “Busted Spoke.” No matter, I was only interested in drink, not ambience. Mark and Tommy dismounted as Frank, Lenny, and I ‘de-She-Vailed’ and headed into the ‘Dew Drop Inn’ or, what-you-will.

Inside, the joint wasn’t too bad. Good A/C, low lighting, a couple of pool tables and lots of… Yep: bikers. Well, why not? I was sick to death of the memory of the squeaky-clean C/W Joint where I had first met Shonnie and this place was as far removed from that type of joint as I could ever hope to get. We found a table against a back wall and proceeded headlong toward the arms of intoxication. As I was not expected to drive (this was sort of a ‘coming back out of the shadows/death’ party for me after all), I planned to “Drink that woman offa my mind.”

The drinks flowed and the bullshit rolled (mostly downhill into my lap, as it was well known that I was in ‘lost love recovery’ mode.) I won’t go into detail about how piercingly eloquent we all became during the course of the evening. Mainly because I cannot remember all the pearls of wisdom which were cast back and forth amongst us swine.

What I do recall was my exit:

Roughly fifteen minutes after Last Call, and as all the patrons began to shuffle (or in my case, stagger) toward the exit, I ran headlong into an immovable object: probably because I was trying to guide my feet one step at a time with my eyes and not really paying attention to the larger part of navigation.

Looking up I realized I had run into a woman. A very tall, very large woman. Not a fat woman, mind you, but tall and large. I mean a ‘Big-Boned Gal.’ A fuckin’-beautiful-brunette-dark-eyed Big Bone Woman, who, praise Neptune, did not appear to be angry at my clumsiness.

I found my voice and said, “Hi… I’m Lance. Will you take me home? With you?”

BBG smiled down at me, “Yes, I sure will,” she said as she took my hand.

And as they say (Always ‘They’), “Nothing gets you over the last one like the next one.”

My recovery was officially underway.

Video Credit:

barefootkd’s channel

This Concludes Our ‘All Things Shonnie’ Broad Cast (no pun). We now return you to our regularly scheduled inaneness.

Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I was enjoined to write it.

Peace and Beer to all Y’all!

Last thoughts HERE

More Big-Boned Gal  HERE

Lance OUT

 

Shonnie The Biker’s Wife: This is the (NOT) The End

Parts One  Two  Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  Eleven  Twelve  Thirteen

The three Harleys were gaining on me as I sped southbound down Interstate 5. It was still dark and the traffic was light. I floored the pedal on the Toronado, but I knew they would eventually catch up to me. As my speedometer redlined at one hundred I took another furtive glance in the rearview: still gaining fast. Where the hell were the famous CHiPs? For the absolute first time in my life, I wanted to get busted. One biker managed to pull up alongside me on the passenger side. I swerved to the right just a bit to try to spook him. No dice! He easily dodged my quarter panel and I caught a brief glimpse of his grinning face, mocking me. (bikers never wore helmets)  The two remaining bikes pulled up behind him. I was running out of options. Should I just continue on until I ran out of freeway or gas? Hope a highway patrol finally spotted us? Surrender? I stole another glance in my side mirror and could just barely make out the third biker taking aim at my car with a handgun, rather unsteadily given our speed, but I braced for the worst, then BAM!

I awoke with a start and sat bolt upright in bed. The alarm was wailing away. Shonnie stirred and moaned, “What time is it?”

Reaching over to kill the alarm, I knocked the clock off the nightstand. “Shit!” I reached over the side of the bed, grabbed it and managed to turn the damn thing off. “It’s five-thirty,” I said.

“Ohhh too early,” she moaned again, pulling the covers over her head.

“Go back to sleep,” I said.

“No. I’ll make you some coffee,” she said, sitting up, stretching her arms upward yawning

“Got no time for that. I gotta get back to my ship. Muster is at zero-seven.”

“It’ll just take a minute,” she said as she extracted her naked body from the covers.

“Okay, but a minute is about all I have.”

I got out of bed and put on my jeans. Shonnie threw on her robe and disappeared downstairs. I went into the head and splashed some cold water on my face, trying to shock the dream out of my mind. Just as I finished struggling to get into my too-tight boots, I heard the kettle whistling downstairs. Making sure I had my wallet and military ID, I descended to the kitchen to join Shonnie. She handed me a cup and I took a quick sip.

“Good coffee,” I said.

“You’re welcome Cowboy.”

“You sleep alright? I asked.

“Yeah, sorta, but you were snoring and moaning till all hours.”

“Sorry ‘bout that. Look, I gotta split. I wanna beat the traffic. My Master Chief don’t have a sense of humor about being late for muster.” I handed her the still mostly full cup of coffee.

She set it on the counter, threw her arms around my neck clinging tight, pulling me down and kissing me passionately. She withdrew her lips but kept my neck locked tight. “Oh Rhett! When will Ah evah see you again?”

I reached up and gently pulled her hands free and said, “Very funny Scarlett. I’ll call you this evening, but now I gotta go.”

“Okay, Darlin’, lemme walk you out.”

We walked over to the front door holding hands. I opened it. Shonnie let out a gasp. “Oh no,” she said.

“What is it?”

“Look there,” she said pointing down at the deck.

There was a white sack about a yard from the front door. It had the unmistakable mark of McDonald’s on it. I took a step outside, picked it up, turned to Shonnie and said, “What the fuc…”

“Come back inside quickly,” she almost whispered.

I went back in and she shut the door, locking it with a loud click. “It’s Billy.”

“Billy?”

“My husband, you idiot.”

“Sorry. You never did tell me his name.”

“You never asked.”

Still clutching the sack in my hand, I opened it up and discovered two large coffees and two pastries.

“Give me that!” she said, almost shouting as she grabbed the sack out of my hand. “Look, this coffee is still hot. He must have just been here.” She was visibly shaking.

“Quite the gentleman to deliver breakfast, doncha think?”

“Goddamn Lance! This shit ain’t funny!”

“Well, what the hell do you expect from a smartass?”

“You can’t leave now,” she said as she walked over and slumped down into an overstuffed chair, dropping the bag on the floor almost tipping over the coffees inside.

“Seriously? Will he try to hurt you if I go?”

“No… not right away anyhow. It’s you… You! He’ll be after you! Dammit to Fuck!”

“Baby, I got no choice. I’d rather face ‘Billy’ than try to explain to Master Chief why I’m UA.”

She stared at me blankly for an instant as if I had just said something in a language she did not understand. “Whaaat?”

“Uh UA; unauthorized absence. AWOL. You know.”

“Fuck that! If you leave here now, you might be ‘AWOL’ permanent.”

“Well, I doubt that, but anyway I gotta go.” I turned and walked back toward the door. “I’ll call you this evening. Lock the door behind me.”

“Okay,” she sighed, getting up. As I was about to open the door she spun me around and hugged me, burying her face in my chest. “Be safe Lance.”

“You too Baby.”

I opened the door and walked out. Shonnie shut it behind me and I heard the click as she turned the deadbolt.

My car was parked almost a block away from the house. It was still an hour before sunrise but the streetlights, though not bright, afforded enough light for me to make my way without any difficulty. As I slowly walked toward the Toronado, I was glancing left and right, trying to see into the shadows, hoping I would see no one. My shoulders were tight as I wondered if they would suddenly be pierced by a round from a hand gun. I keep walking. Almost there now. The Toronado was parked directly under a street light. Shit! I would have preferred a darker venue for getting into my car. Oh well. I fumbled around for my keys, unlocked the door and slid behind the wheel. Turning the key in the ignition, the engine turned over a few times more than normal, but finally caught hold. The cassette player was still cranked up and in the early morning quiet seemed extremely loud. I quickly reached over and shut down Jim Morrison in the middle of his song.

The car was facing the opposite direction I needed to be going, so I had to pull forward into an empty driveway, back up and get turned about. Back in the street and facing the right direction, I dropped the car into drive.

Then I heard the unmistakable sound of a Harley cranking up and someone revving the throttle.

Not The End.

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Video Credit:

ThaG0DFATHER