hen we are out on convoys, we have constant reminders that complacency kills. When we are back in the motor pool, we have constant reminders that complacency makes you a target for pranks. We lounge around our Base-X tent in various stages of undress in an effort to stave off the desert heat. Most of us wear only our “silkies”, purposefully tiny green PT shorts that leave nothing to the imagination, our pasty white legs nearly as blinding as the sun outside the tent. Mendoza, one of my NCO’s, naps next to me. He has a large mole on the right side of his face, upon which I have gently drawn a smiley face with a sharpie. He snores, the smiley face winks up at me.
From just outside the tent, someone hoots like an owl. This was our signal that a higher up was coming to our little slice of heaven for a visit. I glance through a slit in the tent and see Captain Moore striding purposefully our way.
“Fuckity fuck. Here comes Captain fucking America, boys.” Marines tend to have a very limited vocabulary. Combine that with the versatility of the f-word and approximately every third word out of our mouths is some variation. On rare occasions, an entire sentence is composed entirely of some form of the word and, upon completion, mountains of praise are heaped upon the vulgarly verbose. “Fuckin’-a man! That was fuckin’ awesome!”
Captain Moore steps through the flap opening, inadvertently kicking the string that ran across it. This releases a booby trap we engineered to antagonize unsuspecting entrants. Too late to stop it, I watch as a combination lock tied to the end of 550 cord swings in a graceful inverted parabolic arc from the rafters and smashes into the captain’s groin protector. “FUCKING WHAT IN THE FUCK?!” Even officers are not immune to the attractiveness of the f-bomb's pheromones; although, they tend to pronounce it properly which somehow makes it seem vulgar rather than mundane.
“Complacency kills your unconceived children, sir,” I respond.
Moore grumbles something about insubordination and the UCMJ and respecting a commissioned officer or some shit. “Where is Mendoza?”
“Oorah, sir,” Mendoza replies, groggily getting to his feet and standing at parade rest to address our commander, who glimpses my recently completed artwork.
“Wipe that fucking smile off your face, devil dog!” I struggle to stop myself from shaking with laughter.
“Uhh… good to go, sir,” Mendoza responds, confused by both his abrupt awakening and the odd command, unsure of whether or not he had inadvertently given the captain a toothy grin.
“Get dressed and come to the COC so we can brief the colonel.” By “we” he means Mendoza, who keeps track of our equipment availability, since Moore doesn’t know a HUMVEE exhaust pipe from his asshole. With that, the captain turns rear and heads back out of our tent.
Still thoroughly confused, Mendoza turns around to grab his cammies and finds them doused in hand sanitizer and covered in light blue flames. “GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!” He grabs his uniform and shakes off the highly flammable substance, sending tiny blue flaming balls of alcohol around the tent that extinguish themselves as they fly and disperse.
On the other side of the tent, Smith delivers a boot to Lenny's ass, the properly prescribed punishment for Lenny turning his head and seeing Smith's scrotum hanging out of his silkies. Boomer lights a cigarette and immediately start coughing. Hutchison has laced the tobacco with Tabasco from an MRE which, when inhaled, acts like pepper spray. The Marx Brothers ain't got shit on bored Marines.
“Smith!” I yell, “When you’re done with Lenny's ass kicking, reset the fucking booby trap. And Lenny, quit staring at Smitty's balls. Mendoza, hurry the fuck up and go bail out Captain Moore!”
“Aye aye, sergeant,” they respond, and the hilarity takes a brief time out. Mendoza finishes gearing up and heads outside, immediately tripping the booby trap Smith had just reset. The lock once again arcs through the air, this time catching the unprotected area of Mendoza's ass.
I yell after him, "Complacency kills your anal virginity!"
Bob Lucier served as a Motor T Operator in the United States Marine Corps from 2006-2010 after failing his first attempt at college. He currently lives and works in St. Louis, where he is studying Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri -- St. Louis. He is a contributor for RTB. Follow Bob on Twitter.
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