I realized that I mention the desire to post in my blog more each time I do make an entry, but time is not your friend when you’re deployed. The little bit of time that I do get to myself is spent writing or trying to keep up with the demands of social media/networking. As a result, the website takes a hit.
Anyways, here’s the latest section from my current WIP, a non-horror story, just a straight military fiction. This is UNEDITED, so don’t fire back sayinng it stinks!
One day near the end of the duty day, Hanley went to go get a haircut. He left me alone in the company orderly room to answer the phones and said that he wouldn’t be back until the next day so I decided to play a prank on him. For some reason, back in the supply area, we had thirty or forty cases of one gallon cans of fruit cocktail. They’d been there since before we got to the FOB, there was literally no way of telling why they were back there collecting dust.
The men always teased Hanley about working in the orderly room since he’d made the mistake of telling someone that he could type and he hated it because he wanted to go out and be an infantryman, which was the reason that he joined the Army. The orderly room clerk is an important job though. Besides the typing of memos and orders, they are typically the only person at the office to answer the phones in case an emergency comes up. The commander and first sergeant are usually out with the men in some capacity, leaving Hanley all alone to manage Alpha Company. One of the names that stuck for him was the King of the Company. Not really that originally, but the alliteration was fun and it rolled off your tongue easily when you were busting his chops about his job.
Since he was the king, I decided that he needed a throne. I hid his desk chair in the janitor’s closet and emptied case upon case of fruit cocktail cans where it had been. I made a nice desk-height seat out of the cans and then used cases of bottle water around the outside to add stability to the contraption. Then, I stacked more cases of water up to form the armrests and the back for the throne. I was almost complete when the commander and the first sergeant walked in.
“What the fuck are you doing, Specialist York?” the first sergeant asked with a grin on his face.
I snapped to the position of parade rest and responded without hesitation. “I’m making a throne for the King of the Company, First Sergeant!”
He shook his head and chuckled. “Where’s Specialist Hanley?”
“He left for the evening, Top.”
“Okay. You know you’ve got to get rid of the other chairs in here or else he’d just going to sit on those and won’t give a shit that you took his chair, right?”
What? The first sergeant wasn’t pissed at me for making a mess of the orderly room? “I didn’t know where to put them, First Sergeant.”
“The keys to the supply room are in my desk. Lock them up in there and then put the keys back. Lock the door to my office so Hanley can’t get the supply room keys,” he replied as he surveyed my handiwork.
I grinned, “Yes, First Sergeant!”
The commander looked at me, “How’s your ass? This is technically violating your profile.”
“Sir, the exercise is helping the scar tissue to stretch out.”
“Okay, good. I want you to make a full recovery. We need you out there, York. Any calls?”
“No, sir. It’s been quiet,” I said, referring to the company telephone lines.
The first sergeant rested his hand on Captain Massey’s shoulder. “Sir, let’s go get a coffee. We didn’t see anything.” The two of them walked out and I completed my masterpiece.
The next morning, I got to work early. Cantrell and I had talked most of the company into showing up to be in on the joke. We all hid in the back supply area and would jump out to surprise Hanley when he got in. Cantrell had downloaded a song onto his iPod and borrowed my speakers; he said the song would be perfect, but he wouldn’t tell me the name of the song.
At exactly 0600, the lights in the orderly room flipped on and about five seconds later, we heard Hanley cursing. That was our cue. Cantrell queued up his song and we all burst from the back to “Rule, Britania”, the aristocratic-sounding British Navy song, blasting from the ipod. The look on the clerk’s face as more than eighty guys coming from the back was priceless, well worth the hour I’d spent building the throne.
I led the way forward and avoided his questions. As the group assembled around the King’s throne, I opened a cabinet and retrieved Hanley’s helmet. I’d painstakingly taped different colored dry-erase markers around the outside to give it the rough appearance of a crown. I dropped to one knee in front of Hanley and held out the helmet like I’d seen people do in movies when they presented the crown to the new king.
“What the actual fuck?” the first sergeant yelled from behind the crowd. He’d snuck in and no one had noticed him.
“At ease!” someone called and we all went to parade rest.
“What the hell is going on in here, Hanley?” I suppressed a smile. The first sergeant knew exactly what had happened, but he was playing along.
“When I got in this morning, all this was like this, Top!” Hanley replied.
The first sergeant snatched the helmet/crown from me. “Oh, so now you think you’re the king or some shit, huh?”
“No, First Sergeant. I don’t know what’s going on!”
Our senior non-commissioned officer placed the helmet gently on Hanley’s head. “King of the Orderly Room… No, that’s not right. What is it that you guys call Hanley, York?”
“King of the Company, First Sergeant!” I replied.
“That’s right, King of the Company. I like it. Well, are you gonna try out your throne?”
Hanley glanced behind him and then sat heavily on the cans of fruit cocktail in defeat. The song reached a crescendo and the first sergeant laughed. “This was a pretty good one, guys. I’m glad that Hanley’s such a good sport about this stress relief – turn that shit off. Okay, everyone, I’m glad that we had a laugh this morning. It’s good to get it out sometimes, but remember that we are all a team. We all have an important role to play in order to keep each other safe. Hanley’s job is tough dealing with me and the CO every day and he has asked on multiple occasions to be allowed to go out on patrol. I’ve denied him because he is vital to the company, so don’t think he’s up here avoiding the dangerous work that you guys do every day; Captain Massey and I won’t let him go.”
Everyone stared at the first sergeant as he made his point known that a little good-natured ribbing was alright, but to not take it too far with Hanley. He finished by turning back to Hanley and knelt. “King of the Company, thank you for all your hard work!”
We all cheered like school boys on the last day of class. The first sergeant had played into the joke perfectly. I’d always liked him, but that moved him up several notches in my book. When people started to stream out past Hanley to go to breakfast, PT or whatever the fuck they were going do before our normal work call they all paid tribute to the king in some way. By the end, he was beet red and ready to scream.
The first sergeant saw him and said, “Hanley!”
“Everyone likes you or else they wouldn’t have gone through all of this effort, okay?”
He grinned and said, “Yes, First Sergeant.”
“It’s just a joke, not a dick; don’t take it so hard.”