Johnny America


More Sweat in Peace­time, Less Blood in War


“Sir, Re­cruit Carter has no med­ical or per­son­al prob­lems to re­port, Sir!”

Carter, stand­ing in front of his foot­lock­er in his stan­dard is­sue flip-flops and skivvies, snaps his head to the left and flips his hands over to a palms-drown po­si­tion. Drill In­struc­tor Sergeant Bar­row says noth­ing as he moves in clos­er to in­spect the ears, nose, and nails that Re­cruit Carter presents.

While turned, Carter sees his rack­mate, Re­cruit Collins, who was try­ing to re­gain the com­po­sure, be­fit­ting a Unit­ed States Ma­rine, that had left him af­ter Sergeant Bar­row fin­ished his night­ly hy­giene inspection.

“You eye­ballin’ that Ma­rine, Sun­shine?” asks Sergeant Bar­row, about five inch­es from Carter’s turned head. “Do you have some ten­der feel­ings for your rack­mate that you’d like to share?”

“Sir, no sir!”

With that, Re­cruit Collins’ dis­ci­pline goes AWOL. He holds back as much as he can but he snorts and a grin is ev­i­dent un­der his red­dened face.

“You think its fun­ny your rack­mate has a crush on you, Sweet­ness?” asks Sergeant Bar­row as he moves back in front of Collins. Be­fore he can an­swer, Collins is launched over his foot­lock­er and tan­gled up in per­son­al gear (let­ter writ­ing equip­ment, hy­giene tools, boot pol­ish­ing kits, etc.) and olive green wool blan­kets at the end of the low­er bunk, cour­tesy of the right fist of Sergeant Bar­row. If Carter was­n’t eye­balling him be­fore, he was now, along with the oth­er fifty sets of eyes be­long­ing to Ki­lo Com­pa­ny, Pla­toon 3093.

Sergeant Bar­row re­turns his at­ten­tion to the rack mate still stand­ing. “Oh no! Did I hurt your boyfriend, Carter?”

“Sir, no sir!” Carter still faces left with his hands be­fore him, re­sem­bling a beg­ging dog. His mas­ter moves in close.

“Do I have to sleep on my stom­ach around you, son? Should I grab a few of your fel­low Marines to pull guard du­ty while I’m in the show­er? Do you find me at­trac­tive, pret­ty boy?”

“Sir, no sir!”

It’s the sec­ond to last thing to come out of Carter’s mouth for the next few min­utes. The last thing is a chest­ful of breath as Drill In­struc­tor Sergeant Bar­row makes hard con­tact just be­low his ster­num. He joins his rack­mate in a pile of gear from the over­turned footlocker.

The rest of the pla­toon stares from the re­spec­tive racks. Those who have al­ready had their in­spec­tions are re­lieved. Those who have not are con­cerned about their im­me­di­ate fu­ture. They all wait at the po­si­tion of attention.

Collins is back on his feet first and quick­ly helps Carter to his — Marines do not leave a man be­hind. Carter strug­gles to catch his breath. If he could speak, he would tell Drill In­struc­tor Bar­row thank you — thank you, sir.

Filed under Fiction on August 3rd, 2005

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Reader Comments

in­ter­est­ing. un­like the re­cruits, i could stand a bit more of it- the sto­ry that is.

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