The seventh and last part in this epic serial. Tremendous, it was. One of those times that you look back on and thank God that you're not working in the pot shack in a local elementary school cafeteria.
Prologue. I took yesterday evening off. I apologize for it, but these late nights are killing me. Actually, it's not as much the lack of sleep as it is the absurd amount of fermented liquid that I toss down my neck while writing. I needed a fucking break. Shit, that's why Hemingway capped himself. It wasn't depression, alcoholism, or some sort of post-traumatic bullshit, the guy just needed a vacation from sitting at a typewriter and anesthetizing himself. Today (I'm on leave, so stifle it), I went and played golf (shot a 101), and then I went fishing (it rained, I caught jackshit), but all day I felt as if I had left something unfinished. I kept picturing Chief passed out on the couch while two SNCOs threw ice cubes at him to get him to open the door. I kept seeing the look on Kirk's face when he was ordered to reconnoiter the whorehouse. The lifeless bodies of all the folks that Gunny had dismembered kept appearing in my subconscious. All I know is this, the keyboard was calling to me, and thank God I'm fresh out of shotgun shells. Good people, it's like slamming your dick in a sliding glass door...
Fear and Loathing in Bridgeport
Part VII: The Shire and Home
0530 16 March, The Gold Coast Hotel and Somnambulist Convention, Gomorrah
I got to the room just in time. After fifty-seven cups of coffee and four bottles of water, I hovered in front of the pisser for twenty-six minutes. I walked in the suite to find three Marines and a sailor racked out on or near the couch, and Guns asleep alone, on a 400 sq ft king-sized bed. I nudged Guns awake as I shaved and brushed my teeth. I then got a pry bar out of the closet and attempted to get the MSgt awake to take us to the airport. No dice. I see...oh...I see our future. It's a cab ride. We shoulda moved outta the sticks. (Beer for the correct ID of the previous allusion...)
0630 16 March, The Airport, Gomorrah
The Gold Coast parking lot was like the footage of Saigon being evac'd in 1975: families dragging all their worldly possessions down the street chasing half-full cabs bound for the airport; screaming elderly folk milling around, punching anyone in uniform; helicopters taking off with people hanging on the skids; chaos. After about twenty minutes, we finally managed to elbow our way through the crowd and bludgeon our way aboard an empty cab. Nothing could have prepared us for that little ride. I would've felt safer on an MV-22 Osprey sitting next to Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper. This cab driver broke every traffic law ever conceived. We travelled at insane speeds, ran red lights, never used a blinker, and viewed dotted white lines as vague suggestions. After almost killing three truck loads of migrant workers, we arrived at the airport short of breath and unable to unclench our teeth. I vow never to ride in another automobile. I pay the fare, tip Milton the Crack Addict a fiver (he did get us here in like five fucking minutes) and we enter the cattle chute that has become modern air-travel.
It took us almost forty minutes of standing in line to get our boarding passes. At 0630 in the fucking morning. C'mon. Sure enough, when I check in, I draw the "random" search number off of my ticket and am singled out to dump my seabag. You know, that makes a hyuuuuuge amount of fucking sense. God knows how many flights have been hijacked, how many planes have been bombed, how many tens of thousands of people have urinated on themselves in sheer terror due to active-duty Marine Captains taking over domestic flights using MRE spoons and 550 cord. Uh-uh. No. Negative, not today. I've got original orders in hand for this little Vegas binge, they can kiss my ass. Of course, that doesn't mean that the guy at the x-ray machine can't publically undress me and use a goddamn ten pound sledge to ensure that my lap top isn't a fucking bomb. But at least I don't have to subject myself to the humility of having Remo from the Nevada Nat'l Guard fucking sniff my folded skivvies in search of IED. I looked to my left and saw some guy in a turban walk through the checkpoint without so much as a glance.
Once we boarded the plane, I am shocked to find Guns involved in actual conversation with the elderly gent in the seat next to him. I walked past expecting fisticuffs to erupt at any second. Nothing. I guess this guy guessed correctly at Gunny B's rank, service branch, MOS, Pay Entry Base Date, and SSN. That or the guy did something bad enough that Guns will follow him home and kill his family...
0700 16 March, The Plane, Somewhere over the Western US
I couldn't have scripted this any better. I mean, this is just the story of my fucking life, to this point. I sit down in the comfy seat provided me by Delta airlines and am almost asleep for the first time since the Johnson Administration, when some brat named Austin starts screaming at the top of his lungs and hitting the back of my seat with what feels like a thirty ounce aluminum baseball bat. Then the best thing: I glance back at Austin's sainted mother with a look on my face like "you have such a wonderful little boy" and the bitch shrugs. No shit, she actually shrugged. Like, "oh well, kids do the craziest shit..." Like she has absolutely no ability to keep her genetically malformed little freak from sticking his fucking foot into my kidney.
I tell ya folks, I've got three kids and anytime one of them even looks like they're gonna kick a seat back or launch into a verbal tirade, lights out, they get the tranquilizer gun. I'm like Marlin Fucking Perkins on safari; I've got nets, dart guns, and caged pick-up trucks in ready supply every time we travel, for just such an occasion. They get the benadryl prep and a long verbal threat before we ever get on the plane. My kids are out like fucking butterfly lapels before we ever reach cruising altitude. I've PCS'd to and from Hawaii, the SOPs have been validated. And now this vapid twit behind me shrugs...
After I tell Austin to go ask that nice Gunny what he does in the United States Army, I try to rack out while we move towards Dallas. Unfortunately, the fifty-seven cups of coffee that I drank in the last ten hours pretty much mitigate directly fucking against that, and so I stare at the seat in front of me while Austin attempts to play "Moby Dick" on the back of my seat.
**Author's Note: The following was related to me from a reliable source, and therefore, since it has direct bearing on the whole dénouement of this little tale, I felt duty bound to include it in this telling. Any mistakes made in fact are mine solely. Any exaggerations therein are a direct result of my sick, twisted fucking imagination and a half full bottle of rye whiskey**
0730 16 March, Room 1038, The Gold Coast Hotel, Gomorrah
Major Visted was forcibly ejected out of his alcohol induced coma by the sudden and painful urge to piss. Thirty minutes later, he exited the bathroom to find the place completely devoid of humanity or military luggage. Thinking he had overslept, he glanced at the clock by the bed, saw that it read 11:00 PM, and shook his head in amazement. Walking back into the other room, he retrieved his watch and found that it was actually 0715. His hangover screamed for coffee and greasy eggs, so he quickly repacked his soaking-fucking wet clothing, cursing the Chief with every movement, and moved downstairs to find the others...
Kirk find food. Kirk see nice lady. Kirk play slots. Slots not nice. Slots take Kirk's money. Kirk hate slots. Kirk hit slots with chair. Slots like Kirk again. Slots give back Kirk's money. Kirk run when security guard make mean noise with blow thingy. Kirk go sleep in truck...
(Unintelligible fucking Spanish)...winnin' lotsa money, ain't seen the fawkers. Fawck 'dose mawderfawkers...(Unintelligible fucking Spanish)...hit another jackpot...(Unintelligible fucking Spanish)...perros lock me up in the mawderfawking room last night...(Unintelligible fucking Spanish)...Showed dem assholes, though, I soaked their shit, heeeee hee, haah haah haah...TAXI!!!..Cabron didn't stop...TAXI!!! Take me to the airport, main...
Top awoke in the bed, having been told of it's vacancy by the Captain wielding a pry bar at 0530 this morning. He quickly rolled out of bed, knelt, and gave thanks to the Dark Mentor. Careful not to wake the Major, he quickly packed and headed downstairs to find sustenance for another day of serving the Black Commander. Pausing only to strike some elderly woman dead with a massive stroke, Top repaired to a slot machine...
At some point, Kirk, Top, and Major V linked up. If they wished to make their 1030 flight, they would need to leave at 0900. The three wondered at the absence of Chief, established a link up time, and seperated.
0930 16 March, The Gold Coast, Gomorrah
Well, ain't nobody seen Chief. The three Marines walked all over the Coast, had him called on the intercom, screamed his name in fits of rage, and hired a team of dogs to sniff him out, all for naught. The time had come, they must leave. Reluctantly, the three head to the airport with a man unaccounted for on the field of battle...
1015 16 March, Sprinting for the Goddamn Plane, Gomorrah Airport
After spending an hour in the ticket line, Maj V, Top, and Kirk sprint down the concourse. Stopping suddenly, Kirk lets out a whoop and points to one side of the passageway. The Marines spot a familiar figure on the slot machines in front of their gate. It's Chief, and he's up two hundred dollars...
1435 16 March, The Shreveport Regional Airport
I deplane and walk down the concourse, having been deprived of sleep by some four-year old with no rhythm whatsoever. I make the turn towards the baggage claim when I suffer the first of what I am sure will be many flashbacks from this trip. I find a heavy-set, middle aged security guard with bright orange hair, standing in front of me with a smile on her face and a metal detector in her hand.
"Excuse me, sir. I searched you the other day and since then I haven't seen my watch, would you maybe know where it is?"
Okay people, that's it. I know this last wasn't near as action packed as the first six verses, but try working plot development out of waking up and catching a fucking flight. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't efficient, and it wasn't easy on the liver, but it was the funniest damn time I've had on the Government payroll. All I care to say on the subject is this: If the MPC is this strange, just wait till the actual exercise.