Oct 7, 2001
Ft. Bragg, NC
Building D 2007 USAJFKSWC Student Barracks
"Yeah." I say.
Mike Morral sits across from me in room 234. Big guy, body builder big, used to play football in college. Curls 110 lb weights with his left hand. Nice enough guy though, taught me how to read a map and water-proof my ruck so it would float. Helped me out a lot when I first got to the group.
Its probably around 5 o'clock the sun is starting to go down, tinting the brick building outside the window a warm golden hue and casting shadows from the blinds through the cigarette smoke in my room.
"So, what happened?" He asks leaning back in his chair and propping his mud-caked boots up against the side of my wall locker.
"They said I was too young, that I could come back in six months. Said that my family history, or my genes or some shit, makes me susceptable to alcoholism and drug abuse too." I shrug and grin to hide the fact that I am completely devastated.
"All that shit just to be told you're too young."
"All that shit," I agree. As I look over at him, I realize that they would never fuck with him. He was 24 and looked like an SS Kommando straight out of a history book. Fucking giant. Like 6'4, 230 lbs, made the rest of us look like high-school freshmen on the debate team. Perfect material. He'd be wearing the long tab less than two years.
"So what happened with the bicycle?" Its his turn to grin now. It was all the buzz in Bryant Hall, the big white building we call the 'White House'- United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center. Everybody, from Colonel Kaiser on down were laughing their asses off. A student had managed to do something none had before.
I lean forward in my chair and rub my eyes, a half moan half chuckle slipping from my lips. "Well, you remember Eva?"
"That cute little gal with the tattoo that you always sneak into the barracks, right?"
"Yeah, her. Seems like she found out 'bout what happened with her mom and me. I guess I gave them both the clap too." I curse under my breath as Mike sits bolt upright, broad Aryan features stretching in an expression of amazement.
"You banged her mom and gave her the clap?" He doesn't wait for my confirmation to start bellowing laughter, he just does it.
" Yeah well I'm glad you think its so funny. Itches like a bitch when I piss." This only adds to his amusement and he continues to bray laughter, holding his ribs. "Anyways, some dude out at Mackall had a cell phone and I used it to call her the day before they made the cut. She broke up with me and told me that she emptied my bank account with my check card." Mike's roaring laughter turns to quiet giggles, and he attempts a straight face.
"Oh that's not cool."
"Yeah well, I got naked polaroids of her, so we'll see what the internet thinks of her eh? So she dumped me, I got the clap, the World Trade Center gets blown to shit and I didn't know about it for three weeks, my dad says that one of my buddies got killed in a car wreck, and they say that I am too young to be a green beret." I sigh and pick at a piece of lint on my parachutist badge. "So I did what any red blooded teenage American male would do."
"Beat someone up?"
"Nah, got a bottle of scotch and drank untill I passed out. Then Goldberg's alarm starts going off next door," I point at the wall behind him, "waihn-waihn-waihn, its like six in the afternoon and he's at Myrtle Beach, so I climb out the window and shimmy along the ledge ninja-style and climb into his room and smash his alarm clock with his kevlar. I go back to my room and pass out. When I wake up I decide that I am pretty hungry and take one of the guys' bicycles downstairs and go to the Burger King across the street."
"Still drunk?" Mike looks at my overfull ashtray with a hint of contempt and clears his throat quietly.
"Yeah, I was pretty smashed, but I was doing fine on the bike. It was probably around eleven, so the lobby was closed, but the drive through is always open you know? So I got in the drive through and got a double Whopper burger and a big diet coke. And I'm riding with his shit in my hands right? Operating the hand brake and everything just fine, perfect balance. Then I see this big fat black lady in the parking lot of the Mini-PX, and you know how their hair like, flops over and gets dents in it?" Mike nods, beginning to grin again. "Well it was. And it just struck me as funny so I howled like a coyote and did a loopty-loop around her. I didn't see the MP's in the squad car because I was looking at her. So they get over the PA and yell:
'Hey you on the bike, stop!' And I look over my shoulder and yell:
'Hey you over there, fuck to you!' And I didn't think anything about it right? The place is like 500 meters from my building and I didn't think that they would do anything so I just cruise on down to Ardennes, turn left and as soon as I am in between the statue and the museum this fucker pulls up starts flashing his lights, says over the loud speaker:
'Pull over.' I look back and there are two fucking cars, and one dude on foot chasing me."
"Did you pull over?"
"I was only two hundred feet from the back door but I didn't want to get shot so I pulled the bike over and set my food down. Nine MP's jump out from everywhere and get in a big circle around me. A scene from the Rodney King beating flashes through my mind and I hold my hands out to the side away from my body. They try to make me walk a line. They try to make me follow the pen with my eyes. They try to get me to tell them who I am 'cause I didn't have my ID."
"You didn't tell them who you were?"
"Man I was so pissed off that they were messing with me that I was forced to be an obstinate asshole. So, they handcuff me and put me in the back of a car and I yell at them not to eat my food. They reassured me twice that they wouldn't. They take me down to the cop-shop,"
"Cop-shop, MP Station,"
"And they take me inside and they are asking me what barracks I am from so I tell them Delta 2007 and they start going off on me:
'Oh, SF, you think you're pretty slick huh? Big bad green beret huh? You know you are going to lose your security clearance because of this...' This asshole tells me to put my hands on this table and I look down and there's a night-stick, that kind with the handle that sticks out on the side you know?" Mike's eyes widen.
"What did you do?"
"I said: 'Fuck you, Sergeant.' I asked him if he was trying to get his guys killed. They all took a step backwards and put their hands on their pistols."
"Yeah, I don't think that was a very smart thing to say, man. How many of them were in there with you?"
"Like four of them. Anyway I was drunk and pissed off. It made sense to me. I say: 'You got terrorists blowing buildings up in New York, you got armed guards at the gates checking everyone's ID, and you got a drunk soldier from the Special Forces barracks, and you leave a billy-club in front of him? You guys are fucking stupid. I could be a bad-ass and know how to beat the shit out of all of you with this thing, you don't know who I am, you shouldn't leave stuff like this lying around.' It made sense to me, you don't leave your weapon unsecured do you?" I stub my cigarette as Mike shakes his head 'no'.
"So they escort me to a holding cell with one of them two way mirrors, and tell me to sit on this blue plastic bench. I didn't think that I deserved that so I grab this chair and start pushing it around on the floor in a circle making a loud screeching noise for like, ten minutes. The sound started to get stuck in my head like 'Its a Small World' and it really pissed them off so they came in and handcuffed me to the bench. And somebody must have shit in someone's Cherrios because he clamped that shit down hard as hell man."I light another smoke and slip down in my seat a little bit.
"What'd you do then?"
"Well, I started to smoke and two guys came in and broke my cigarettes and took my matches away from me, fresh pack too, fuckers. But they didn't take my change or my gum. I was going to make a foil fork and stick it in an electric socket but there were none. So I used the edge of a dime to unscrew everything I could reach. I unscrewed the chair I was pushing around and set it back up in the corner." Mike chuckles and shakes his head.
"After about an hour of trying to dislocate my thumb and pull my hand out of the cuff, I stood up and tested the weight of the bench. It wasn't that heavy so I started pulling it around in a circle too making that noise for about ten minutes. So after they handcuffed my other hand to the bench I couldn't stand up so I started singing 'Folsom Prison Blues' at the top of my lungs." I shrug and ash the cigarette again. "So they come in and this NCO yells at me:
'You oughta shut-up and stop being an asshole!
'Do you know what we're charging you with?'
'No, indulge me. Bicycling under the influence? Attempting to eat my fucking dinner? Pray tell.'
I'm yelling right back at this guy right? And he turns red and I thought he was gonna beat the shit out of me but instead he's all:
'Nothing, we aren't charging you with anything 'cause we can't figure out who you are. So shut up! so I say:
'Gimme my fucking food then, mother fucker!'
Then they just left."
Mike's mouth is agape and he is staring at me like I just mooned the President. I try to defend my actions.
"I was starving man, they'd had me for like, four hours, and I hadn't eaten anything in like, two days, fuckers."
"So how did you finally get out?"
"Well, I'm just sitting there right? Waiting to pass out or sober up or die of thirst or anything and then the door opens and Sergeant Leavitt comes in, and Sergeant Carter right behind him. Sergeant Leavitt looked like he was half shit-faced and Sergeant Carter says:
'Clemons, you know what time it is?'
I didn't have a clue. It was 3 o'clock when they finally let Sergeant Leavitt take me. We loaded the bike into the back of his mini-van, bad ass SF guy drives a mini-van, and they took me back over to the Burger King to get my food again because those fat-asses back at the MP station ate it, fuckers."
"Sergeant Leavitt didn't say anything to you about the whole thing?"
"Oh fucking right he did, he's all: 'Clemons, did you get in a fight with any of those pogue limpdicks?'
'Were you driving?'
'Just the bike, Sergeant. I went to the Burger King across the street from my building.' Thats when they started busting up laughing at me. Leavitt starts telling me about the first time he got arrested for drinking when he was a Marine and he was on Christmas Exodus back in Utah. So, they dropped me off here and looked around to make sure my place wasn't a mess and that I wasn't going to shoot anyone and then they left."
"So when did you go talk to Sergeant Major Morgan?"
"This morning after PT. He was telling me that I shouldn't try to find comfort in alcohol and then his phone rang and it was Colonel Kaiser and he says:
'Oh just chatting with this young Corporal, had a run in with the MP's last night. Trying to find solace at the bottom of a Budweiser can, it was Budweiser, wasn't it Clemons?' And I told him that it was scotch. He gets back on the phone to the Colonel and says:
'Well, he can't be that bad of a guy, he was drinking scotch.' I could hear the Colenol laughing."
"So what's gonna happen to you?"
"Nothing, Sergeant Major Morgan got me off the hook. Those bastards wanted to charge me with everything, Assault, Drunk and Disorderly, Drinking Underage, Drunk Driving, Resisting Arrest, Disobeying Orders, fuckers."
"You're so lucky man."
"Tell me about it. I still got the clap though."