Wednesday, May 28, 2008


These years, when I go to visit Dad's family, there are a number of things that nearly always Must Be Done. Of course there's stuff like gift exchange, visiting great-grandmother and all the tias, eating great food, and... hanging out with Primo for the drunken debau- uh, 'festive' occasions.

It was on one of those all night... tours when we left a club (crawled out) and decided to go see the sights. A short but nearly suicidal taxi cab (are there any other, there?) later, and we were at the local zoo. Did I mention that the bars almost never close? Yeah, it was closer to late morning than late evening, you could say.

Back to the zoo, what else can I say but... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The first thing about the zoo is all of the wild animals. Now, of course when I talk about wild animals, I'm talking about the little cretins that hang out all over the place and try to get your money, whatever way they can. From spraying your windshield with muddy water and wiping it off with a dirty rag, to selling you cheap trinkets (probably made in China), to picking your pocket - if they saw U.S. dollars, it was 'game on'.

We got mobbed as we stumbled from the taxi (I was 'dizzy' from the fast drive, m'kay?). The first little monster came up to me. "Mister, I tour ju, no? Many aminals we see, k?"

Two theories, here.

First one is to ignore the little boogers. Theory is, if you can ignore 'em long enough, they'll move on to more promising prospects.

Second one is to go on the attack. Act pissed off, cuff 'em upside the back of the head (the locals did this if they were insultingly mistaken for foreign tourists) tell 'em to get lost, etc.

I couldn't bring myself to actually swat them, but I tried for a combination of the two. I glared at the first kid, waved my hand in the general vicinity of his head, and shook my own head. In retrospect, vigorously moving my head around was not the best idea, as I was still a little bit sauced.

I didn't say anything, and perhaps my lack of english made him think I was a spanish speaking tourist, or something. He launched into his schpiel, this time in spanish. I looked over at Primo, but he was busy shooing away his own cretins.

My own determined little guy then went into fluid portugese... and then what was possibly german.

When he started in on somewhat rough french, I chuckled and cut him off, gave him a few bucks, and he promptly went into the start of his tour speech while beating away his vanquished competition. His english skills weren't the best, but he was quite enthusiastic and informative.

The zoo was rather small, in sections and animals, with one main path meandering its way through the various areas. The birds were interesting, widely varied in colors, sizes, and abilities. It would seem that the tendency of the zoo's visitors to feed the parrots wound up with some of them knowing some interesting words in several languages. Our little guide was more than happy to demonstrate and encourage them.

Mammals were next, and while they're always fun, there really wasn't all that much I remember as notable from them, 'cept for hearing about the spitting Llamas.

Where it got kind of interesting was in the reptile section. I like snakes, and if there's one thing South America has, it's a bunch of snakes. We missed out on feeding time- maybe next time, I guess. Walking through the next section, there appeared to be a few empty sections.

I asked our chatterbox about the sections.

He thought about it a beat, and responded, "Yes, senor. Thees section es for de allygaytors. They no here for to go to the vacayshiuns." He gestured to the river and the jungle that surrounded the zoo on three sides. "Vacayshiuns, bye-bye".

The last of my buzz (and the tour, for me) was pretty much over, then.

That being said, it's time for a 'vacayshiuns' of my own. Going to go on a long drive, visit some family, and play with some guns - sounds like a good time, no?

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I don't know If I 'stimulated the ecomony' this past weekend....

... or the ecomony 'stimulated' me.

I do know that my wallet was last seen whimpering in the corner before hauling ass out of the AO, followed closely by my checking account. There might have been a sonic boom, I'm not sure, 'cause I was pretty much catatonic by that time, praying for a relatively quick and merciful death.

All I know is, I didn't even get wine, dinner, a reach-around, or nuthin'.

Friday, May 23, 2008

So, getting to know My Love was an interesting experience. There was, of course, the initial gettin' to know ya / lying offa my-er- enhancing my good qualities while buri- uh... minimizing the lesser ones.

There's good and bad to just about everybody, but I never figgured that she'd have some of that too.

One of the things that landed quite solidly in the gray area was her drinking ability.

See, if a girl could drink me under the table (then, not now- heck now, I'm a friggin' lightweight), it would beg the question of how much of a party girl she was. Having a personal party girl can be great - if that's what you're looking for, but sharing her with all yer buddies, the neighbors, and pretty much anything with a pee-pee can be... Not Good.

Of course, my life being what it was, My Love had about a negative drinking ability. Good right?


Now, this wasn't an all out terrible thing, but when you find out about one's lack of alcoholic tolerance in a memorable way, well, it makes for an interesting blog story.

After a little while of dating, and her eventually making up her mind that I was Mr., she set into her method of testing me out. Besides seeing how I interacted with her family n' friends (and vice/versa), holding babies, and whatnot, she invited me to a wedding.

I don't recall who's wedding it was for... it wasn't for a family member, I'm pretty sure, it was probably for a friend or co-worker of hers. It was the standard stuff with a whole bunch of folks I didn't know, long service, weepy chicks, tons of family, some more friends of hers who's name I would probably be tested on later etc.

One of the more memorable things about the reception afterwards was the band.

They suuuuucked.

Now, I'll give 'em credit for showing up and actually going out on stage, of course. Until you've actually performed in front of a crowd of people, paying or no, there's no true understanding of stage fright.

But when it comes to fright, I was afraid of the noise they were making.

Heck, I wanted my money back, and I didn't really pay for anything.

Seeking safe territory, I relied on my Marine training and escaped and evaded my way over to the bar, in the next room. Ah, safety. The wedding party had arranged for free champagne, but drinks were not taken care of. That's why there's the saying, 'always be prepared', I guess. Well fortified with the best drinks that they had there, I returned to my chair - draggin' my feet, but I couldn't leave a lovely behind - er, I mean I could leave my Love, behind. Heh... kind of bad form, you know (damn, not her form, my... *sigh*).

In addition, in an attempt to at least fake the par- er, to be a gentleman, I brought her another glass of champagne. This would make her, hold on, lemme count this up here, second glass.

That horrid band was still making that noise that passed for music. When were the friggin' toasts gonna be made, anyways?

So we ate the food, drank our drink, listened to the noise, made some small talk, suffered through the occasion (me), and eagerly ate up every moment for future plans (her). (Parenthesis for those who might need some indication that weddings are not... traditionally *ha!* my favorite of things.)

The band would mercifully stop every once in awhile, between songs, they claimed. I just thought that they needed a moment to staunch the blood flow from their ears. The audience would dutifully clap between most of the songs, probably for the brief respite to their ears, and to hopefully look around for that damned best man, so he could get this show on the road, or something.

It was during one of those song-endings / applause, actually right in between the two, the split second of silence when everybody realized that they still maintained some semblance of hearing, that Lovely blurted/shrieked out, loud enough for the priest back in the church 15 miles away to hear,

"I... LIKE CAKE!!!"

Wow, howdy.

Ever had a reception hall fulla folks you don't know crank their necks around to stare at you and your date?

Well, I have.

Apparently determined to demonstrate her near-perfect timing, she would proclaim in the pin-drop silence of between songs, breath-pauses during speeches, and general lulls during conversations,


Enter room full of evil-eyes, stage left.

And my personal favorite of the night,

"I'M DRRRRrrrrUNK!!!"

No shi- er- kidding, sweetheart.

That's when I learned that the typical wedding-rental folding chair and table, while not offering much in the way of cover (not that it was needed... that night), actually can give something in the way of concealment, should the Marine in question kinda hunker down, real low-like...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

20 (x2) Questions

Blame this one on Snigs...

1. What is your occupation? Undercover bum.

2. What color are your socks right now? "White".

3. What are you listening to right now? This.

4. What was the last thing that you ate? Cheese Pizza - Bleh.

5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes.

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Boss man for yet another minor emergency.

7. Do you like the person who tagged you? Yup.

8. How old are you today? This could take a while (need fingers and toes...)

9. What is your favorite sport to watch? Toss up between College Ball and UFC.

10. What is your favorite drink? Coffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee....

11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Oh. Hell. no.

12. Last time you hugged your child? What time is it?

13. Favorite food? Antecuchos.

14. What was the last movie you watched? The Departed. "Wicked Pissah".

15. Favorite day of the year? November 10th.

16. How do you vent anger? Squishing heads.

17. What was your favorite toy as a child? Play-doh. It was delicious.

18. What is your favorite season? Football.

19. Ocean or pool? Yes.

20. Cherries or Blueberries? Steak.

21. Do you want your family & friends to participate? Sure.

22. Who is the most likely to respond? Dunno.

24. Living arrangements? Currently living, thankyouverymuch.

25. When was the last time you cried? Looking at old photos of Dad.

26. What is on the floor of your closet? Carpet.

27. Who is the family or friend you have known the longest that you are tagging? None.

28. What did you do last night? "Same thing we do every night..." (bonus points for the second half of this quote)

29. Hawaii or Florida? Texas.

30. What inspires you? Goals, improvement, and good music.

31. What are you most afraid of? Failure.

32. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Spicy cheeseburger.

33. Favorite dog breed? In my spicy cheesburger? Hmmmm....

34. Favorite day of the week? Payday.

35 How many states have you lived in? Wow, got a minute?

36 Do you like these questionnaires? They're no Salma Hayek, but they're ok.

37. What kind of car did your very first date drive? Don't remember, but it was probably a clunker like mine.

38. What is the last book you read? One of the Dark Tower series.

39. What are your hobbies? Music, billiards, paper-killing, and nap hunting.

40. Can you still make the Hula Hoop stay around your waist? If I'm sitting down, sure.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Everybody Loves... Murphy?

So Mom came up to visit a couple of months ago, to bring up some of Dad's stuff and to visit. She also came up to look for a house. Guess who got to take her shopping?


A little bit about myself, when it comes to shopping.

I'm the type of guy that'll put off buying... stuff for about as long as possible, then blaze my way through the stores. It's not that I'm an anti-shopper, it's just that I'd rather do a bunch of other stuff than fighting traffic, fantasizing about the first civilian-vehicle mounted ma deuce (that one's actually kinda fun), sharking the lots for an empty parking spot, listening to the sweet strains of children either screaming or conversing with orbiting satellites, getting accosted by over-enthusiastic sales 'people' and the like.

To me, trimming my toe-nails, scratching my ass, and watching another exciting episode of As The Grass Grows is much more personally fulfilling.

I've been known to walk into a store, eye-ball & grab a pair of jeans off the rack, and barely remember to check the waist size and length on my way to the register -- that's another thing, I remember being floored back when Lovely explained what they do to some of the ladies' line of clothing. Stuff mislabeled size-wise to encourage the sale? Devious bastards...

So let me tell you how much fun I had when I took Mom out house-hunting.

We went with the same guy that I used for my house, so that part wasn't too bad. The difficult part is that what she's looking for just isn't on the market, here. She wants a house that's somewhat close to two of her kiddos (me and Baby Sis), a one story (her folks might move in with her and they are of the age where stairs might not be a good idea), numerous rooms for friends and possibly other family, her other 'musts' are varied, pretty specific, and rather rigid.

Not much (here) in what she was looking for. There is a college town and plenty of apartments south of us, Big City (and related traffic) to the north, and not much to either side. There are some really nice houses in the area, but it's a bit of a drive to just about anywhere.

There were a few remote possibilities, and I, with all of my one house purchasing experience, was trying to offer what suggestions I had (Heck, I know I'll be doing all the yard-work, landscaping, minor repairs, and whatnot). Heh, prices have gone up just a wee bit (to her perspective) in the past 15 years or so...

So she finished up the shopping trip (from hell), visited with me and Baby Sis, and went back home to her other children (dogs and cats), not really wild about any of the prospects. I was wild about being done shopping for houses.

A couple of weeks later, I got a call from her.

"Hey Mom, been thinking about the houses we saw?"

"Actually yeah, I have I decided not to get any of those houses, but to build a new one. I was meaning to ask you, how comfortable you'd be with me living pretty close to you, instead of a nearby city, or across your city?"


"Where's your house gonna be, Mom?"

"Well... you know how your subdivision is still building houses, right?"


"You know that lot that's closest to your house?"

"The one that's across the street, 'bout 40 feet away, that just put up the 'sold' sign and started leveling the earth for the foundation?"

"Would it be ok, if I had bought that lot?"

Guess I'm gonna have to hide the bodies, tidy up, and keep the pants on around the house from now on...

Friday, May 16, 2008

One Picture, Thousand Words

Blog post title pretty much sums it up.

For some more cool pics & clips, and for plenty of insightful words, go here.

h/t (however belated it might be), to ABW's Friend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Movies, Massholes, and Memories


I saw this great new movie the other day called The Departed. Great cast, good writing, y'all really need to get out and see this new flick -



I really need to get out more...

A few thoughts on the movie. I really should get this DVD, rather than trying to fight my way through the scratched-all-to-hell Netflix's copy. As you might have gathered, I don't really get out all that much nowadays (I think my last flick was 300, really need to get that one..), but this one made me chuckle - and not just 'cause of the accents... we'll just say the ending was pretty cool, m'kay?

Granted, I chortled every time I heard one character call another a cahksuckah, but what I was really doing was remembering the Massholes.

The Massholes were a small group of Marines that I met quite a few years ago. They were always together, getting into trouble and giving grief to just about... everybody. The first time that they ran into my platoon (with a good number of Texan boys), the conversation went something like this...

Masshole 1 - Hey, Jonsie, we got anothah Texan, heah!

Awesome. Steahs n' Queahs, huh? - Masshole 2 (Jonsie)

Masshole 1 - Wicked Awesome.

*record scratches*

I think the natives are restless, heah. - Jonsie

Mashole 1 - Hey, Murf, what's with all da long faces?

Me - (Affecting a serious drawl) Son, y'alls fixing to git yer ass whupped.

Then is was the Massholes' turn to give the looks.

Fortunately, there was no blood spilled (that time) due to cross cultural differences. Heck, we even managed to learn a little bit about each other, even. For example, we learned that baseball was almost like a religion to 'em, and as far as their team went, any and all disparaging comments, bitches, gripes, and complaints were best left to those who counted themselves among the faithful fans.

From us, they learned that football was religion to Texans, we were devout from Thursdays to Sundays, and when it came time for the rivalry game - best for all if they just stayed out of it.

Perhaps the best proof of cultural acceptance was one of them trying Copenhagen (short experiment as that one was), and some of us (on occasion) taking on a bit of the Bahston accent. I remember the first time that one of them tried to say, "fuck y'all." It took awhile, but they got it, eventually. Of course, too, the fact that many years later I chuckle over just hearing someone say the word, cahksuckah is a pretty good sign, too.

Here's to the Massholes (raising my 'beah'), y'all are some wonderful bahstids.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wing Man Bravo Foxtrot

Murphy's military definition of the day;

Dump Ex. (Dump Exercise) - The period of time when, at the end of a training evolution, there's the realization that only a limited amount of time remains on the training schedule... and there's a metric ass-ton of ammo, mortar rounds, feral cats, pyro, etc. left to use up. It usually devolves into more or less a free for all / max rate of fire / redneck wet-dream for all boot Marines and anybody wanting to shoot the mortar / machine guns / whatever-is-being shot, blown up, burned up, or annihilated.

Example: "Get all the FNGs and Pog- er- interested Marines to stand by the mortars for the Dump Ex! We're leaving in 20 minutes and we have 500 HE rounds to fire! Half Load!!!..."

If however, Marines are off-base and in a bar, it is NOT to be used in the following (no definition provided, I'm sure you can figure it out).

"Duuude, those burritos tore me up! *burp* I'm gonna finish my beer and go take a dump... ex!"

... especially when Murphy is someway, somehow, looking like he's hitting it off with the li'l hottie who's way outta his league in the first place!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Church Funny

One of the things that Dad did was to help bring up quite a few friends and family members to the States. He would travel down South every couple of years to visit the family, and, if someone expressed an interest in coming to the States for (usually) university studies, (and sometimes) work experience, he would offer to help them out. It went without saying that we would put them up in the house and/or he would help them in just about all the little details of securing housing, steady income, legal paperwork, and the like.

Very rarely were there any issues.

One of the last group of folks that he help out was his sister's family. My Tio Chino was an officer in the army, a family man, and a businessman. He was always working long hours, investing his money, and making plans. I imagine that coming to the States was quite a bit of a stress for him, because it was like starting over from scratch.

One of the ways in which he had to tackle a pretty steep learning curve was in language. Despite his experience and education, his english was a bit... rough. He could communicate fine, eventually, but it did take some serious effort, and like most, he didn't really care to expose how much work he needed.

I am happy to say that now, every time I see him, I am impressed with how much he has improved. My cousins that are here speak fluent and darn-near flawless english.

One of the things that my Tio started doing pretty regularly was his involvement in church. This was were my Mom stepped into the picture and took him under her wing. They started going to church quite a bit, and due to my Mom's status as resident Church Lady, he started to help her out in mass preparation, cleaning, ordering & purchasing of supplies, and whatnot.

One day during mass, the priest decided that he wanted to acknowledge the effort made by some of the parishioners, and welcome my uncle to the family, so to speak. He made a point of announcing to those gathered that he just wanted to welcome Chino and his family to the States, wish them well in their future endeavors, and to thank my tio for his fine job in the preparing of wine and bread for mass.

Always pretty quick on his feet, my uncle stood when asked, waved in response to the claps, and, in the middle of the church, God & everybody, thanked the priest and said a few words.

"Thank you, Padre, you are too nice to me. Thank you, too, to church for nice welcome. Many thank you to [my mom], because of her helping me, when for to come to making bread for church, I am now all day masterbaker!"

I guess the priest must've taken the last bit of wine down the wrong pipe or something, 'cause he started choking, turning red, and everything.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Jaw, Floor. Floor, Jaw

I dunno if I have the ability to accurately offer a clear and concise critique of her musical abilities, but lemme see if I can at least try. Here goes nuthin'....

Holy Shit.

I have a new favorite song.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sounds like something I'd do...

Ack! Dr... Pepper.... burning... nostrils...!

This is probably why I don't get as much work done as I should, I keep getting stuff like this...

Last weekend I saw something at Larry’s Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were suppose to be short lived, with no long-term adverse effect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety…


Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-A batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button.


I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time, I’d get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs.


Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn’t be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries, right?!!!

There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target.

I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.

All the while I’m looking at this little device measuring about 5″ long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really (and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, 'no possible way!'

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I’ll do my best…

I’m sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, 'don’t do it master,' reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn’t hurt all that bad.. I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and


I’m pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, 'do it again, do it again!'

Note: If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative.

SON-OF-A-.. that hurt like heck!!! A minute or so later (I can’t be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they up get there? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I’m still looking for my testicles. I’m offering a significant reward for their safe return.

Still in Shock

Please take note of the new link, port side, top.

Semper Fi.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"Corporal... uh, excuse me, Corporal?"

[tap, tap.... tap] *groan*

I cracked open one eye to see who was disturbing my desperately needed beauty sleep. I knew it wasn't a senior NCO, 'cause he would have just kicked me in the butt. Another Corporal probably would have tried to steal something from my pack. That only left someone of the rank of...

...brand spanking new Pfc. Fng Gai was standing there, shuffling his feet in the cool of the morning. "Sorry to wake you up, Corporal, but Corporal of the Guard needs to know who has the keys to the Hummer. Seems like Staff Sergeant Chow needs to go back to the rear for something or the other-"

I cut him off. "What time is it, and who's the Corporal of the Guard?" The name he told me made sense. It was the Corporal who always took lead in screwing with the new guys, hence the search for the non-existent set of keys for the switch-activated Hummer. Poor bastards had been searching for keys, grid squares, batteries for the cat eyes, and all kinds of other trash for the past 3 or 4 days. I played along, reached into my trouser' cargo pocket, rummaged around, and came up empty (surprise). "No Joy, Pfc. Go check with Corporal Grumpy". He responded with a sharp "Aye aye, Corporal." and took off.

It's the simple pleasures in life.

At least I knew that we'd be getting some hot chow that morning.

See, I don't really remember what Staff Sergeant Chow did, and I probably didn't know back then. Seems he was always off doing his own thing, and one of those things was chow. Hot chow, to be exact. There was only so many days that one could choke down the same old MREs day after day, and it got to the point where even the re-heated chow hall grub was nearly 4 star dining. If he was going back to the rear, that meant I could avoid another morning of potatoes all rotten, crapolaya, or four fingers of death MREs.

As it was about time for reveille, I reached over and swatted the nearest sleeping bag. "Get up, you lazy bastards, it's another beautiful day in... aw hell, get up."

I heard something that sounded suspiciously like, "five more minutes, Mom".

Threats of me emptying my bladder, and not in the area across the road to the rear of the mortar gun line did the trick, as I knew it would.

As my grumpy charges were getting themselves situated, I decided to see if I could get any scoop for the coming days. "After you get yourselves squared away, check the 81mm, and stand by to stand by. Probably have some classes for the boots, maybe some hot chow, I'll see if I can figure out anything else."

That was pretty much it, essentially.

See, that shoot was the 'breaking in' live fire exercise for the new Pvts. and Pfcs. We'd usually get a bunch at a time, distribute them amongst the gun line, and the first trip out to the field would be somewhat slower paced, to get them acclimated to our way of doing things. Slow and easy shooting, a few classes, maybe a little bit of initiatory exercises, and we'd call it a wrap.

And that's how the next couple of hours of the morning went, until the call came out for hot chow.

In the spirit and tradition of troop welfare, the determining factor of when you got to eat was decided by your rank. Lance Corporals and a few Corporals would stay on the guns, and all Privates and then Privates First Class would go get their chow. The first to finish would go relieve the Marines at the guns or trucks, and the Lance Corporals would line up for their grub. Further line placement was determined by who was senior to junior Marines of the same rank, and who had the higher billet. Even amongst the lower ranks, you took care of 'your' Marines, and hoped that they'd take care of you, when the time came.

When I got up to the folding tables, I noted that most of the higher ranking enlisted guys from the platoon were serving up the grub. This was to ensure that all of the lower ranks got their food in somewhat of a decent time & order, and also that there would be food left over for them to eat. The food was in bins suspended over slightly larger bins of hot water, spoon or ladle in the food tray, and additional food bins stacked up behind each table, to replace empties.

I grabbed a tray and stepped in front of the Staff Sergeant. He plopped some food in front of me, and glared. "Was it you that sent that numb-nuts to ask me about the friggin' keys?" I responded that it was most certainly not. He grunted as I side stepped to the next bin. Staff-Sergeant Chow was in a considerably better mood, probably because he had gotten his morning coffee. Nearing the end of the chow line, I noticed that there wasn't any more coffee left (suspicious, eh, Staff Sergeant?) and that there was the new Sergeant, hanging out at the end of the serving line.

He was new to the platoon, but seemed to be getting along pretty good. Good sense of humor, knew his stuff, and most expected him to be a good fit in time. I had only spoken with him a couple of times, an intro, a couple of 'what's ups, and the like. I got my scoop of fruit, stepped in front of him and we exchanged head-nods.

He had a tray, half full of hash browns, in his hands, a spoon sticking up from the high part of the mound.

Looking back, one could see that the hash browns were the second item in the line, and it was in a bin. Looking back to the Sergeant, I shrugged, grabbed hold of the spoon, and got a big scoop.

"Dude, what the fuck, Corporal?!"


"Uh, er, sorry, I guess. What's up, Sergeant?"

He told me that he was standing at the end of the line, not to give out food, but to take food, if the Marines were willing to give any up.

As I was not aware of any particular reason we'd be giving any of our food up, I asked him.

He told me he was Muslim.

I was about to respond with 'and...' when I took another look around. His tray had hash browns, mine had hash browns, eggs (with little bacon bits), an assortment of sausage links, and some sort of white rice & green beans / bacon mixture.


"You like hash browns with salt and spicy goop all over 'em, Sergeant?"

"I do if your willing to give 'em up, Corporal."