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What an Army recruit thinks about

November 19, 2015

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March 7, 1943

His anxiety and confusion made standing under electric lights at attention at 3 a.m. easier.  Bud had been in Army boot camp a little more than four hours.  Of course, his anxious energy was counterbalanced by the sadness, the loss.  He had left his girlfriend behind.  Gloom took away whatever pleasure he might have found in the dark beauty of the surroundings.  The well-ordered parade ground, lit by slants of window light.  The cypress trees.  He hadn’t seen cypress before, except in pictures.  In books.  In school.  Bud had about 60 companions in the same situation.

Now he was standing at attention, looking straight ahead.  He and the others had all just gotten their heads shaved.  They wore identical-looking fatigues and boots.

Bud thought about home, about college.  He had been living in Montana the two years before he joined the Army.  He had hoped enlisting would get him into the Navy, possibly safer during the war against Germany and Japan.  It didn’t work.  He had offered himself to be drafted.  His best choice.

Just last year Bud saw a picture of cypress trees when he took botany as a forestry student.  Botany 101.  Sounded like an easy subject when he handed his card to the girl sitting at the table in the gym.  He was a young man.   The university had great looking women just about everywhere he looked.  The registration girl found a place for him in Botany 101, section 5.  The entire — oh, maybe 200 students or so — class met in Science Hall on the oval for lectures three days a week and then split up by section for labs in the same building.  He could barely stand the routine.  He hated school, except for the drinking and the women.  Well, he liked math.  But he hated all the rest of it.

He had really just wanted to find a woman to love, to sleep with.  Bud smiled despite the non-com’s order against it.  Apparently the sergeant, or whatever the guy’s rank was, wasn’t even paying attention to the company.  Maybe nobody was even watching.  Bud enjoyed his thoughts.  Best of all, Carl remembered that he had found exactly such a woman in Missoula.  He remembered how he and his first girl had loved each other and had gone everywhere together for more than a year. When she finally agreed to have sex with him his first impulse was to tell her no! That he had changed his mind.  He had never heard of girls saying yes.  Well, he had, but he figured the guys who boasted were liars.  No women had ever said yes to him.

They had hiked up along the river some distance, perhaps a couple of miles through the trees and foliage of the river bottom.  He spread a blanket.  He remembered how guilty he felt when he thought of his mother.  Up to that moment she had been the primary woman in his life.  Not any more.

He blushed as he lifted his girlfriend’s dress and pulled her hose and underwear down and off her bare feet.  Then she drew her legs up to her chest as she sat bare-bottomed on the blanket. She looked up at him as she clasped her arms around her legs.  She asked him to please be gentle.  He blushed again.

He remembered sitting next to her, kissing her, then he had taken off his own shoes and pants.  He fumbled with his own underwear.  He could hardly control himself.  He remembered with chagrin that he couldn’t seem to have sex her.  He didn’t know about her hymen.  He had been so excited that he ejaculated onto the blanket.  He remembered weeping.  Combined frustration and shame.

Bud’s mind returned to the Army parade ground.  His anxiety was less.  Hell, he could stand at attention all night if he had to.  The others were starting to look around, same as him.  He decided to perform small acts of defiance.  Maybe add a wrinkle to his clothes, skip an eyelet on his boots.  He would do those things on purpose, to keep his sense of self.

Then the sound of boots interrupted his fantasies.

“Fall out!” a voice commanded.  Bud looked uncertainly around but none of the other guys seemed to know what to do.  Fall down? he wondered.  He grinned at the thought of everyone just collapsing like rag dolls.

“You piece of garbage!”  shouted a man in uniform with a broad brim hat and shiny boots.  The man ran right up to Bud.  He was maybe less than 5 feet tall, had a red face and stood in front of Bud. Inches away from his face. “Did I say give me a goofy smile, turd?  You better answer me!  Answer me!”

“No sir!”  Carl’s voice was high.  He stopped smiling.  He stood as still as he could, amazed at the man’s appearance and energy.  Amazed at how this crazy guy had picked him out of the group.  Amazed at the man’s volume and language.  Nobody had spoken to him like that before.

Oddly, of this startling experience, he thought only that he probably wouldn’t tell any of his sisters about this.

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One Comment
  1. Good story. I went through some similar things. It’s amazing how we all connect somewhere, somehow. I’m a little confused with names. Is Bud Carl?

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