It’s the first week of November, which it’s roughly past midnight when we all get dropped off from the groups of buses to the Great Lakes Naval Station. It’s already started snowing and I only brought my N.W.A shirt, my acid stoned washed jeans and my beloved Jordans. I figured they would provide the uniforms but I was not ready for the fucking cold. I was a Cali kid born and raised, but I guess you can chalk up another bad decision in a string of bad decisions that led me here. To this cold tundra of hell, which as I look around I wasn’t the only one, who made a mistake or was I?
“Oh, man. I can’t believe we’re here. I’ve waited all summer for this. Hi, name is Ralph Dunn.”
Ralph was your typical blue blood military kid. You know his father was a general, his grandfather was a general, his great-great grandparents were slave owners, probably owned a few Jacksons. Basically, this was Ralph’s destiny and by the looks of this skinny kid from Virginia, he probably actually went to R.O.T.C. You remember those dweebs from high school wearing those dumbass uniforms pretending like they were going to save the world but really they just wanted to cut class. I remember they always got picked on by the football team, which I think Ralph sadly knows what I’m talking about because if you would have poked Ralph, cream would have poured out of him. He was a Twinkie, soft as shit. If we had an army made up with men like Ralph then fuck Iraq and the Taliban, I’d be afraid Canada could come down and take us over.
“What’s up? Name is Fu?”
“That’s really an Asian name.”
“That’s kinda racist of you, thanks.”
“Where’s your pea coat? They said in the news we are going to get the worst blizzard this year.”
“My pea – what? Oh, a jacket. Nah, my probation officer said I couldn’t carry any extra articles of clothing because he thought I would hide contraband, which I probably would have. I’m probably going to have to find someone on the outside because I won’t survive a week without a fix.”
“You talk funny.”
“Plus, I don’t think they are going have us doing shit outside because it’s too fucking cold.”
“Maybe you’re right. I got extra knit cap if you want to use it.”
“Fuck yeah. Maybe I can cover my head from this snow and keep my brain warm.”
I start to reach for the knit cap then someone stepped on my fresh new J’s, pushing me to the ground taking the knit cap from Ralph, who was terrified by this towering brute. Ralph let me lay there and watched the brute turn around and start leaving, shouting at us,
“Thanks for the hat fag! And, Bruce Lee, I think the train I was on ran over tracks your grandparents built.”
“They built the tracks in the 1800’s, my grandparents would have had to been 150 when my parents were born.”
I immediately regretted those words.
“Oh so you some history expert huh Chinaman. Well let me teach you about the future. Fuck with me, I will roll over to like a train,” he said before looking at Ralph, “And you fat ass, pretend this is prison, cause I’m making you the bottom bunk bitch of this unit.”
With that he left, Ralph helped me up, frightened.
“What’s a bottom bunk bitch?”
“Never done any time have you Ralph?”
He shook his head no.
“A bbb is the lowest bitch there is in the cell block or in this case the unit. It means if he wants your food he gets it, if he wants you to do his chores you do it and again if this were jail, he would turn you around and fuck your ass anytime he felt the urge.”
I could see the fright on Ralph’s face.
“Look on the bright side, I don’t think he wants to fuck you in the ass.”
“I should go report him.”
“No Ralph that would be the worst decision. No one likes a rat. If I was you I’d keep my mouth shut and just deal with him.”
“So what do I do?”
Before I could answer, a shadowy figure made his way through the young recruits, moving to the front. I quickly stood with Ralph and the others. Two other naval officers stood next to the shadowy figure staring at us.
All of us stopped and played a game of freeze, which I wasn’t playing because I was actually freezing my balls off.
“Put your stupid arms by your body and stand up straight like your mommy told you,” the Asian officer amusingly orders us. “Get into a line and columns stupids,” he continues to shout at us as he forms us into columns.
Soon we actually looked like we were forming some kind of semblance of a military unit. As the two officers were correcting our stances, I could see the shadowy figure up front studying each of us.
“Stand tall and straight. Eyes forward. Palms down by your body. Do not moove. Do not moove!”
The two naval officers made sure we were all in proper form before handing back the reins to the figure. He stood there silently in the cold, acting like he felt no chill. Fuck he was a tough bastard, or a robot.
It had to be past one o’clock in the morning but I couldn’t move to check my watch as the snow was really coming down on my cold wet head. We all stare at the officers in our perfect columns wondering what the hell did we get ourselves into.
“Do you know what discipline is? The dictionary describes it as an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill. Which is true, but it is much more than that. A man without discipline is only half a man, which the officers and I do not want in our military. We only want complete men and women, disciplined, in our fine naval military. Tell me, do you want to be in my military?”
The figure spoke in a calm tone, making the words he said even more terrifying. Most of the girls and boys in the column shouted, “Sir, yes, sir!” I just shook my head no, trying to rub my balls for any kind of heat between my legs. I stood there shaking from the cold wondering if you’re penis could be frozen off.
“I don’t believe you,” the figure asked us.
“SIR, YES, SIR!”
We all shouted not because we were all pumped up by his discipline speech, well maybe gullible Ralph was but most of us were willing to say whatever we could to get out of this fucking weather.
“Now, do you want to be in my military?”
“SIR, YES, SIR!”
We all shout in unison, which actually put a smile on the figure. It gave me a glimmer of hope, maybe we could actually get out of this shit weather and get indoors to get warm.
“I’m very glad to hear that from all of you,” he tells us with mischievous smile on his face. “I believe in discipline so much that I think it can move mountains and change men into something more than they have every imagine in themselves. Making them better changing them into something great. Eastern monks have such great discipline they spend years meditating hoping it leads them to discover enlightenment. They would endure physical and emotional pain trying to be perfect. This is what I can offer you, something more than you see in yourselves right now. I will push you to the limits to find the real you. You can fall many times but you will always get up because you will endure. You are fighters. I only want fighters in my military. After a couple of weeks we will turn this Bad News Bears into the fighting machines. Also, maybe in the end you’ll feel enlightened.”
Who gives a fuck about the monks, I thought in my head as I could feel the snot in my nose start to freeze. Fuck enlightenment, my dick is going to fall off!
“If you’re not feeling what I’m saying then you need to say something right now, so we could get you out of here immediately.”
It’s dead silent. No one says a word or a noise.
“Perfect, my name is Tune, Petty Officer 1st Class Tune, and for the next few months I own each and every one of you. You are boys now, but when I’m done with you, you’ll be twice the man you thought you could be. You will be a killing machine. God help those towel head fuckers when I unleash you on them.”
I just kept thinking. FUCK, FUCK, FUCK. Did I just miss my chance to get out of this hell hole?
“I’m going to ask one more time? “Do you want to be in my military?”
“SIR, YES, SIR!” We all shout this time in anger.
“I am your lead instructor in this academy, which means while you are here, I am god.”
God, great, I could tell he was gonna be a great leader.
“I will be guiding you for the next 9 weeks. This is 2nd Class Petty Officer Wong and 2nd Class Johnson, both of them will show you the next evolution and congrats to all of you. We will all reach enlightenment together.”
Officer Tune pleased with his performance starts walking towards to the barracks humming Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
“At ease, recruits. It means you can relax. My name is 2nd Class Petty Officer Wong and this is 2nd Class Johnson. Before we let you in our military we want to see what you are made of first.”
We all start looking at each other wondering what they are going to have us do?
“We are going to do a little PT (Personal Training). We’re going to show you how to do the Furpees?”
“Furpees?” One of the recruits asks?
“Yes, Furpees,” Officer Wong says again.
What the fuck are furpees I thought?
“Burpees motherfuckers!” Female Officer 2nd Class Johnson shouts at us. “Recruit step out.”
A female recruit steps out of line and turns to face the group.
“This is how you perform a proper burpee. When we say “Down”, you go down to do a push up, then when we say “Up” get up on your feet fast.”
She uses the recruit to show us how it should look like then we were on the punishment train.
“Thank you Officer Johnson for showing us how to do a proper Furpees. Now before we can take you out of the cold to go indoors to the warm heat, we must figure out the chinks on the armor. We must find the weakest links, isolating them and make them stronger. So, in order to get inside to the warm building, everyone must perform One Hundred Furpees.”
My dick just fell off.
“Did he just say we got do 100 Burpees to get out of this fucked up weather?
“Everyone must do 100 Furpees together or you will not complete the evolution and you will spend the night out here until you complete the task.”
“Also, if you quit or walk away from this task. You will be labeled as a deserter and be thrown in the brig until your enlistment is over, ” Officer Johnson adds.
FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. I just realized I did miss my chance to get out of this shit hole. I fucking hate the snow!”
“FURPEES! When I say down, then up, you call out the number of Furpees. Ready? Down…Up!”
It’s been over hour and half since we’ve been outside in the cold before we started doing PT, so needless to say all of us were not warmed up properly. All us huffed and puffed to the mid point of the evolution when one of the female recruit, who was standing in front of me started to pee in her pants and the pee started to run off where I was performing my “Furpees.” I immediately got Officer Johnson’s attention, waiving her down.
“Ma’am she needs your help.” I point at the female recruit who just pee’d on herself and all over where I was standing.
“Do I look like your mother recruit?!” Officer Johnson asks me getting in my grill. “I work for a fucking living. You address me accordingly recruit!”
Officer Johnson did not look like my mom only because my mom is Asian. Officer Johnson did look like she worked in the post office because you could picture her going insane and wiping out a whole postal office. She must have been only five feet tall but she was intimidating as fuck like a pit-bull with a long leash ready to snap your neck.
“Yes, Petty Officer Johnson!”
“It’s just a little pee. You should be happy, it’s the warmest thing you’ll feel tonight. Get down there now recruit!”
DOWN – UP – DOWN – UP
Forty minutes later all us finally completed our task, which from a far you could barely see us because we were in a fog of our own breaths as all of us were heaving for oxygen trying to catch our breathes as lactic acid filled out muscles. Most of us were passed out on the snow-covered ground as I clutched my acid stoned jeans trying to not pass out of exhaustion. I take a look up at the barracks sitting on top of the hilltop and I could see Officer Tune looking at us in amusement. It seemed like he had a smile on his face. But before I could take a second look to confirm.
“Attention recruits! Fall into a single line into the barracks. Once you get inside turn right and follow the instructions.”
After two and half hours in the snow we were finally inside the barracks. Standing close to each other in line as the girls were in one line and the boys were in the other line following each other into a room. I couldn’t see what was going on ahead of me because the officers made us stand so close to each other making it hard to see what was going on. Just trapped tuna in a can I guess. I was just thinking maybe they were going to give us clothes so we can get out of this cold wet shit or maybe they were going to give us warm food and drinks. Either way was I glad we weren’t going to exercise in the snow ever again because that shit was insane and inhumane. As I get closer to the front of the line I could feel the anxiety from the guys ahead of me as I could start to hear cries and yelling from the girls line as they turn into the room. Immediately, I thought this is not going to end up well for me. I just kept thinking, “Oh, shit. Are they going to castrate us?” I love my dick as you could probably tell even though it has always gotten me into more trouble than it’s worth.
I was next up in the line when I get ordered to get inside the room, to which in my surprise it was just a small room with a barber chair and a dude with scissors and a hair clipper. A wave of relief came over me as a clutch my balls and dick. I confidently walk over to the chair and sit down.
“Just a little off the stop, and maybe a line up on the side dog. I got a hot date later tonight with girl with a bladder problem if you know what I’m talking about.”
I put my index finger though a circle I made on my other hand to jokingly show the barber trying to make him smile but by the look on the barber’s face, it looked like he’s been going at this for hours. Shaving jerk after jerk and he’s probably heard every corny line about hair and now he’s looking to finally kill someone. He shoves me down on the chair and puts on the same apron he used on the rest of recruits beginning to scalp me like General Custer. I could see my hair fall through my fingers and by the time it was over I knew I lost my “Joey Tribbiani” bangs and my life has totally changed forever.
I wondered how someone joins the military and their job becomes shaving recruit’s heads. Probably the safest job in the whole military, I realized I should have asked how he became a barber and does he need an assistant.
Looking down at my poor hair on the floor, I see a pair of shiny boots step over them, Petty Officer 1st Tune has arrived.
He looks at me in approval as he gets closer, he reaches out to rub my new bald head slowly but then forcefully grabs the back of my neck whispering to me, “are you ready for enlightenment?”
Photo Credit: The Guardian
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