|I'm Puttin' Your Punkass In The Army |
When you first get to the reception station, it seems like you just stand in line after line. Eventually the lines put you on the receiving end of some innoculations. I think I also gave about a quart of blood that day. You only know that you don't have much of a choice. It's like a roller coaster ride that goes up to the first drop...for a few days. You get shuffled around in all sorts of fun taxpayer assisted stuff before you get to the point where some drill sargeant is cussing out you and your mom.
That day I found myself in the chair. Each guy gets in that chair looking like himself and gets out looking like everybody else. That is one thing I remember well. When you are in these types of situations, you tend to befriend who ever is handy. And the guy standing in line next to you looks as good as any. But after everybody takes their turn in the chair, everybody looks the same. And I have no idea what happened to that dude I was in line with. I'm surprised that everytime I buzz my head with my clippers I don't think of that day they scapled this righteous punk. I grew my hair back out a few times over the years, but it's just too easy to slap the #2 on the clippers and get hardcore. I still wouldn't mind having my hair, because it inflates my ego.
The Stud still has his shit all hippy. I'd call him The Dude, but that's been done. And The Stud actually fits. Who is The Stud? And why do these people all use "the" before their name? Is this actually a story?
It's a long story that leads to right here. I picked up a few stories along the way. that really start and stop about like any other random events that life brings. Two guys bent on who knows what putting their creative energies together! Chaos!
It was a while before I hooked up with that dude. I'm sure he's got a story or two. And for what it's worth, I came out of that that army life with a new reality. I was still a punkass and looking for trouble, but I learned a bit about perseverence, discipline, and real brotherhood.
Ask me about Cab 13 sometime.
Back To The Front
Back to Ohio would be more like it. Ft. Campbell, KY. Home of Cottage Street and The Freeway of Pawn. As you left the gates on the main side of post, you would face a line of pawn shops that stretched in either direction for at least a couple of miles. I have to say it was very convenient when you needed to stop and pawn some stereo equipment on the way to Cottage St. and/or Ohio.
Ohio. One time we decided that nothing was going to stop our weekend exodus to Ohio. We needed some good times and that's where they were. The Stud was going to Ohio and anybody looking to come along better come up with some wheels and some dough. He would promise people that if they took us to Ohio, he would get them laid. No shit. And it wasn't far from the truth. The Stud didn't end up a legend in his own time for no reason. This was the guy you wanted to be hanging out with if you wanted to find some women.
This is some seedy stuff, I just never intended...
Back to the front! The Stud gets a dear john letter in person!
Oh, yes. It is late night in some small town in Ohio and The Stud just got dumped by his fiance. It happens to a lot of guys when they go in. The long distance relationship is the best test of love you are gonna find. People don't like to be alone. Anyway, he didn't get a letter, he got it in person one weekend when he was all in puppy love wanting to see her. We were drunk, of course.
Alcohol is always positioned at least 100 yards from any military barracks. MCC 12-3 or something like that. Maybe an acronym. It is mandatory that each member of the armed forces can drink at least a case of beer and not get drunk. These are lean mean fighting machines we are talking about. A well oiled, physically fit, party machine.
I couldn't do one pushup when I went in. I could do them all night after basic [training]. And I actually had to one night when we got into some serious light stick war in the barracks after lights out. You know those chemical light sticks that are encased in plastic and you break the inner glass inside and the shit lights up? You've seen these, right? They had a bunch in a wall locker in the latrine and we got crazy one night. We also got caught and did pushups until morning. Ever do six inches?
I also remember drawing lines in the sand with my nose along with some other cats all night from some infraction I can't even remember. I'd ask The Stud, but I didn't hook with him until permanent party, which is just another military way of saying where you are stationed.
Permanent party. I still enjoy the fact that this was about as accurate a term as they could manage. There wasn't any real big military conflicts in 1986. At least, not any that needed our field artillery battallion. More extensive terminology. One of the fun ways to kill time waiting for a war is too make up acronyms for any and all things. The army took it too the extreme. Like sarcasm, only with letters.
Speaking of letters, I should get back to the story.
Now where I come from, no none would self apply such a thing, but you have to remember this is The Stud.
Stud was really off the hook that night.
Fifty gallon drums flying all over the place. No wait, that was the night we had our weapons taken from us by a couple of rednecks. They threw them in the middle of main street after they made us look like a couple of girls. And girls was exactly why we were taking a beating that night. For no reason. I'm sure girls just love to start all sorts of shit for entertainment. These two decided that those two guys were looking at them wrong and we should do something about it. Of course, we did. Duh. Starting shit for entertainment was really our modus operandi., now that you mention it.
The night of the dear john ordeal he was really off the hook. After we left his ex-fiance's house, he was driving like a madman (pun intended). And nobody was saying a single word to him. We all just sat in silence and let him vent what was obviously about as bad as could happen to a guy, at least in teenage emotional terms.
Maybe we should have spoke up at some point. Probably the point where we were doing extensive renovations to the high school landscape in his parents car. I could sidetrack for a while about his parents cars. Anyway, we managed to take out the majority of shrubbery lining two sides of the building, did a whole bunch of donuts on the new football field, and other misc damage to the school property. All with a Horizon hatchback from the 80's. Classic K-Car type crap. With the optional vandalism package.
The next morning, the Stud's dad was yelling down to the basement because the cops were there and wanted to ask some questions about The Stud's whereabouts last night.
They asked him if he had been driving his parent's car last night. He said yes, but that he hadn't been around the school because he was in the nearby hicktown getting dumped. That was when they showed him the license plate that they found in the shrubs.
To make matters worse, we can't be getting arrested in some other state without a pass! After we get out of one jail, they are gonna stick us in another! We are gonna be freakin' awol!
Here we are, like three hundred plus miles away from post, without authorization. And in the military, you are government property. In essence, you have to sign yourself out. You can be charged and fined for getting a sunburn. We saw it happen. Destruction of government property. MCC 24-7.
Fortunately, not only does The Stud have a way with the women, he also has a way with getting out of a jam in the face of impossible odds. Like the time we were coming back from somewhere through this other hicktown in Ohio and got pulled over. We were all drunk. It was like two in the morning. The Stud was at the wheel and the rest of us were passed out. I was in the front passenger seat. The two underage girls were in the back, along with the case of beer cans in the floor. Half of them full, half of them empty. I think it was pretty obvious what was going on here. And it wasn't looking good. Until... The Stud used some jedi mind control trick on this cop and told him the empty cans were the ones he picked up on his road. He said they were litter. And I don't know why the cop didn't ask about the ones we hadn't drank yet? The cop told us to have a nice day and sent us on our way. All the way back to the other story I was telling...
So, it's Sunday morning and we're sitting in some Mexican jail contemplating our untimely demise. "We gotta make it back before first formation on Monday morning. If we can just make it back, were good to go. We'll worry about the criminal charges later."
We managed to get out of that jail and on our way back to base. He had to admit guilt and pay restitution for damages. I imagine that they knew he'd be double screwed if they nailed him, so we got lucky. He took the rap, we all agreed he was out of control. A costly, but happy ending.
I think this is what some people refer to as closure.
Next: Shots Fired In Hoptown
Copyright 2006/Stranger Sound/ http://strangersound.com
All characters are fictional and not meant to be confused with me, The Stud, or anybody else these tales might incriminate.