Written by Brian N. – fan submission
It was a typical Marine Corps Friday evening of standing watch as Duty NCO, on what was one of my very last Friday night’s left on active duty. Mind you, this is exactly how I wanted to spend what little time I had left in the Corps, not out celebrating with my buddies at our favorite bar; fuck that shit.
The sun had just gone down and I was directing my vigilance towards the latest season of Dexter, when I noticed a cop had pulled someone over in front of the barracks. “Well shit”, I thought to myself as I waited for someone to come in and further ruin my night by handing me a DUI case or some other nonsense to deal with. Quite a bit of time passed and no one came though, so I figured it wasn’t actually one of our Marines and turned my attention back to Dexter. Wrong!
About 30 minutes later a Police Lieutenant walks into the duty hut and says, “Hey, Sergeant, are you the staff duty?” Now I’m thinking to myself, “God damn it, this better not be bad”. They were out there for a long time though, so I’m probably in for a fun night.
“Yeah, I am, what can I do for you?” I reply, optimistically hoping he just needs to use the phone or something as if he doesn’t have a cell phone or a dozen radios about his person and patrol car.
“I have one of your Marines out here. I’m just going to hand him over to you and your command to do what you want with him.”
God damn it!
I ask the officer, “What did he do, and how bad is my night about to get?” At this point I’ve resolved myself to a night of frustration and expletives, not that I needed any help with the latter.
“Well, I’m the LT for the department here. My partner and I were actually just going off duty and leaving for the day. The kid was driving without his lights on, so I pulled him over just to let him know about it. It would have stopped there, but then he started fumbling for the lights as if he had no clue where they were. At that point I figured the car wasn’t his. I asked for his license and the registration, but what he handed me was a learner’s permit and an expired registration. I’m going to let you handle this, so I just need you to drive the car to the parking lot over here until it gets registered, and I’m counting on the Marine Corps to set him straight.”
Well that’s a relief. The Marine in question might be an idiot, but it seems easy enough to deal with. I’ll just yell at the Marine a bit, make him stay in the barracks, and then just let the Company Gunny handle it tomorrow.
“Got it. Take me out to him” I say and start following the Lieutenant outside. Before I get to the vehicle I can see the Marine standing there, outside the vehicle, visibly shaking as if he just took a double hit of meth. “Oh God”, I think to myself. This kid is going to go catatonic as soon as I start laying into him. We get to the vehicle and the LT hands me the keys to the car. He shakes my hand and heads back to his truck, leaving me to mop up the mess.
“Get the fuck in the car” I say to the Marine as I climb into drive it to the parking lot. The Marine tries to fumble his way through a few weakly spoken phrases resembling “I’m sorry I’m such a jackass” and “I’m sorry I ruined your night” and “I’m sorry you have to miss Dexter because I like to do dumb shit at 2100.” At least that’s what I imagined his words to be. He was so scared that all I could really hear was “ssrrriiii”. As I park the car, the cop drives off and leaves us to our Marine Corps devices. Now I’m ready to start yelling at this moron so I can get through to the point where I tell him to get out of here, and then wipe my hands of this shit. Before I start though, he begins trying to tell me what was going on.
He says, “Sergeant, I just, I just wanted to get my roommates badge so he could get back on base.”
By this time it’s 2130, and I can’t help but wonder how this dumb fuck thought driving without a license, in an unregistered vehicle, was the best option for getting his roommates badge back to him when there are dozens of Marines, who can legitimately drive, available to deliver the badge. Luckily for me I didn’t have to ponder on this very long because, as if this night weren’t fun enough, here comes the company CO, strolling across the parking lot to where we were. Oh joy. Actually, I suppose this is a good thing since it saves me a phone call because of what comes next.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck. Is that the captain? Oh fuck!” The Marine starts stammering.
“Shut your mouth, and just sit here.” I say to the Marine as I get out to greet the CO.
“Good evening, Sir. How are you doing tonight?” I say.
“I’m not bad, Sergeant. What’s the deal? I saw the cops out here”
“I was just about to find out” I say, and pull the culprit out of the passenger seat. “So what happened?” I ask the Marine.
The Marine immediately goes to parade rest and starts trying to explain himself to the CO with the poise of an autistic kid.
“Sir, uhhh, uhhhh, well, I was driving on base because my roommate forgot his badge.” The Marine says, stopping here as if this explains everything.
“No shit, Marine. I can see you were driving on base. Why were you pulled over?” Asks the CO.
“Sir, it was, uhhhh, the uhhhh, the lights, Sir.” He responds. “They weren’t on.”
The CO responds with, “Well, it wasn’t the smartest decision to drive without your lights on, but you managed to not get yourself killed, so it could’ve been worse. Don’t do it again. Understood?” Then he continues on with “Let’s get your roommate’s badge and drive you back out to him. Where is he?”
At this point, from either fear or not yet having developed his storytelling abilities, he simply says “well, Sir, uhhh, well, ummm”…. …. …. …. …. …. “He’s in the car.”
Now, I had driven the car and there wasn’t anyone else in there. Just a split second later, in shocked silence, the CO and I look at each other in understanding. “Is he in the fucking TRUNK?!” I demand, visions of a dead Marine and drugs flooding through my mind.
Not waiting for a response I go to the back and open the trunk. There I find this other Marine, curled up and staring at me like a wide-eyed baby seeing its reflection for the first time. “Get the fuck out of the car” I tell him, too astonished to display proper anger. He climbs out of the trunk, and we turn to find the CO. At this point, the CO is already walking back to his office, probably on his way to start some good ‘ole Marine Corps paperwork.
I tell the two smugglers to head over to the duty hut and wait for me inside, and I walk over to the CO’s office.
“Hey sir, what do you want me to do with them for right now?”
“Nothing. Just keep them here, and hang on to the car keys. I’ve called in their platoon sergeants and the Company Gunny already. I’m sure it’s really going to turn into a good time when they get here. “
“Roger”, I say and head back to the duty hut to babysit these two grown men.
After a few minutes of sitting in the kind of silence reserved for funerals and clown talent shows, the smuggled Marine speaks up. “Hey, Sergeant, do you mind taking me out to the car? I want to grab my wallet. Also, we had just picked up some Chick-Fil-A, so I’ll grab that too.” I suppose the guy figured he was fucked, so he may as well go out on a full stomach. I agreed.
“Fine, let’s go” I say and start walking out.
He catches up to me, “So it was you driving after we were stopped? I could tell you knew how to drive a manual car. It was a much smoother ride.” At that, I was thinking this dude must have some giant balls to ask for his food and then talk about the drive as if I were driving Ms. Daisy. Either that, or he didn’t realize the shit he was standing in was nose deep. I kept that to myself though.
“Well if I had known someone was in the trunk I would have driven like a child who can’t reach the clutch. Now shut your mouth. You’re lucky the cop didn’t find you or you’d be in jail already. Get your shit.”
The Marine goes to the car – it’s his car – and gets the things he’s looking for. As he’s about to get out, he rubs the dashboard and mumbles something inaudible, then grabs the door frame and kisses it. It’s a shitty ford mustang.
When we get back to the duty hut, the Company Gunny comes in and immediately pulls the two smugglers out of the room and brings them to his office. Naturally, I follow. The Gunny tears into them, constantly yelling about how the only smuggling they’ll be doing next is with their anal cavities since they’ll be in the brig. This goes on for about ten minutes.
Now, in my mind, these are two lance corporals and they look young, barley 19 years old. But then the Gunny points to the trunk guy and yells “AND YOU MOTHER FUCKER, YOU’VE BEEN IN THE MARINE CORPS FOR 4 FUCKING YEARS!” Hearing that, I throw my hands up in disgust and walk off.
I stop by the CO’s office on my way back to the duty hut. “Hey Sir, what were you doing here anyway?” I ask him.
“Oh I just had some work to do, nothing out of the norm. Then I saw the flashing lights and you head out with a police officer.”
“What are you going to do with them?” I ask.
He thinks for a moment. “Well, the driver, he’s not that bad of a Marine, just dumb. I’ll probably slap him on the wrist. But the other one…. he’s been a thorn in the Marine Corps’ side for a long time. He’s going to be an example.”
I just shake my head and walk back to the duty hut to finish watching Dexter.