“8 kilograms. Step off and get back into line. Next recruit in line.”
It’s 430 in the morning, which a handful of us are waiting in line in an empty cold gymnasium. Fat Ass Camp people called us just waiting to get the results after 5 weeks of intense training aka learning how to crawl before we could walk. We spent the first week just learning how to march, which amazed me how I didn’t know my left foot to my right foot. It wasn’t like in the movies, there wasn’t a hardcore drilling instructor screaming at us to get into proper form. Officer Tune was much more efficient when he drilled us. Tune used more psychological methods when he drilled us. For example, he was a big fan of using peer pressure, which it worked 100% of the time. Like the time it actually stopped snowing, which I was relieved but we still had to train outside. I didn’t mind cause at least it wasn’t snowing because it sucked training when it snowed, but I quickly realized I rather work in the snow.
The “log drill” as it was affectionately called is a huge tree log, which it probably weighed over well over a ton and on a good day it took ten men to roll it up on a steep hill under 20 minutes. It worked every muscle burning your legs and arms but the reason it was the favorite for Officer Tune because it would fuck you up mentally as it made the strongest men look like average suckas. In today’s PT it was made to be simple for us as it was a mile group run around the track, a little calisthenics – 100 push ups and 200 sit ups then on to the log drill. On paper it sounded like the easiest task in the world, which only should have taken us under an hour but the Gods were not on our side even though it stopped snowing, it started pour down rain. It wasn’t the fun rain that you played in the schoolyard with your friends, it was the never-ending tsunami type of rain, which made the steep hill into quicksand. We quickly finished the run as well as the calisthenics in a timely manner, then we just had to roll up this huge as log up the hill and we could call it a day, but Officer Tune had something twisted for us up his sleeve. Before we got the drill going we chose the strongest kids from the division to do the Log Drill but Officer Tune stepped in, choosing the weakest people of group to complete the task. As you can guess, the kids from the Fat Ass Camp would have to do drill along with Ralph.
For the last couple of weeks, Ralph, who literally has a lineage of every family member being the military has been the last man in every drill, which includes military studies and combat training. With Officer Tune’s philosophy of finding the weakest link in the chain and making them stronger or find a way to get rid of the weakest part of the chain. Ralph was clearly the weakest part of the chain, which includes the women’s side of the division. He practically failed every evolution making everyone in the division do the exercise over and over again until everyone finished or got it right, which made Ralph the number one target to get hazed the by dudes in the division. As we got our positions on the log, Officer Tune made Ralph be in the center of the log, which is the heaviest part of the tree. Tune wanted to send a message to us as well as Ralph, which he did not want any weakness in his military and it worked. We had 20 minutes to roll up the log but we couldn’t even move the log a foot because of the rain and the mud.
Everyone had to run another mile and more calisthenics than the Fat Ass Camp got back on the log, which we failed again to even move the log one inch. All of us had to repeat the drill all over again, which after 10 rounds in the rain, we were all mentally and physically drained. On the last log push, the rain made the ground so slippery that all of us lost our grip making the log roll down the line, steaming roll Ralph along with it. The whole division stood over Ralph with his face in the mud not feeling sad for him but realizing we do not want to be the weakest part of the chain. I believe this is what Tune wanted all a long. He wanted to show us we couldn’t survive out there without having strong team around us. The only thing I saw that day in the rain covered in mud was Ralph’s days were numbered in the division.
“10 kilograms recruit,” Officer Wang tells me.
“How many pounds is that?” I ask.
“22 pounds more pounds then you should be at your normal weight. We’re going to have to shed those unwanted pounds”
“22 pounds?” All I could think about was pizza and burgers. I would kill for a delicious Twinkie. Fuck Fat Camp, fuck BMI, the metric system and portion size meals. After we get the bad news on how grotesque we all were, we headed back for morning chow with the rest of the division.
“How was Fat Camp Cartman?”
“Fuck you Max.”
Max Sheldon aka Max a Million was a very athletic kid from Chicago, Illinois, who came from a good family and could have played college football but decided to join the military, so he could follow his dream with be part of the Seal team. He was good-looking blonde blue-eyed kid and was first in every drill we did, which made me want to choke the shit out of him. I didn’t even mention his hot blonde high school girlfriend. She had a pair of tits on her that could make any man happy. Plus, she had a petite body but had a great looking ass, which I think everyone in the division jerked it to her every night. I know I did, I even stole his picture of her when he wasn’t looking. She certainly helped me during those cold lonely nights.
“I think you got fatter, since the last time I saw you.”
“I jerked off to your girlfriend last night.”
“You wouldn’t even know what to do if you had her.”
“Of course I do. I would just jerk it on her chest like I do every night.”
“I know you stole that picture you degenerate.”
“How can you expect that hot piece of ass to wait for your dumbass for the next couple of weeks. She’s probably getting dicked down right now by the whole college basketball team.”
“Shut the fuck up. She’s loyal to me. We’re in love.”
“Yeah? It’s like me believing this tasteless oatmeal are slices of bacon, if I just imagined hard enough.”
“Just enjoy your meal fatass.”
I look down at my portioned sized meal and I just imagined as hard as I could that it was a large breakfast meal at iHop but it wasn’t as soon as I took the first bite. But the day was looking up because this was the day we were finally going to do weapons training.
“Listen up recruits. This is not a toy. These are your friends. This is the semi automatic M4 for short and long engagement. Your 12-gauge shotgun for short-range combat and your standard issue 9mm glock pistol. With our help you will be proficient with all these tools and stop any kinds of advance from the enemies attack. These are not toys. Respect them and maybe they will save your live and the lives of your follow men.”
I put that warm grip of the 9mm in my hand, which it felt like it was supposed to be in my hands as I point down range at the target. I fire two short burst then another, controlling my breath acting like I’ve been doing for a long time. I carefully aim at my target as I breath in and breath out as I gently squeeze the trigger shooting my weapon as like a true solider would. I clear my weapon and put the safety on as I pull in my target noticing I shot my target right in the center with perfect groupings.
“You’ve done this before kid?” Gunney asks me in amazement as he looks over my work.
“Nah. I’m just really good at Duck Hunt.”
Gunney doesn’t believe a word I’m saying, “Where you from son?”
“The ghettos of Los Angeles.”
“Well that makes sense in my head now boy. Keep it up and watch out for the kick on the shotgun.”
The Gunney pats me on the back as Max struggles with his weapon looking at me in disgust, which made me finally realize I found something I could be really good at. Unlike Ralph, he just sucked at everything as Officer Tune showed us once again during the gun range.
“Listen up recruits. We only accomplish our mission when the whole team has confidence in each other. The moment when we lose confidence or concentration our enemies are looking to capitalize on the situation. Each one of you must find out if the guy or girl next you are willing to die for you. A confident team is a successful team. With that being said Recruit Dunn step up to the line.”
FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. Everyone must have thought as Ralph stepped up to the line at the gun range because we all knew Tune’s mind games, which I really didn’t want to throw up my morning breakfast even though I needed to lose the weight.
“Recruits. Everyone has to pull their weight in this division because in real life combat there will be no reset button. You must trust the man next to you or you will die. Period. Recruit Dunn pick up your weapon and aim it down range. You have ten chances to land on the target and each time you miss the target the whole division had to do 20 Burpees until you actually shoot the target. Copy that?” Officer Tune asks a nervous Dunn with a smile on his face because he knew like we all knew that Dunn had no chance in hitting the target. Tune just wanted to show us once again weakness will not be tolerated in his military.
Dunn picks up the M4 and misses by a mile, which I knew right away I was going to throw up my breakfast in a couple of minutes.
DOWN – UP – DOWN – UP
“Recruit. Set. Fire!”
Dunn once again is nowhere near the target as to do burpee after burpee pouring of sweat on the gun range. Dunn misses all his 10 tries as we complete 100 burpees putting a smile on Officer Tune’s face.
“A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.”
We all stare at Dunn as he finally puts down his weapon, which we all knew we must fix the problem because we’re all tired of this shit.
Defeated and exhausted we all head to chow for Thanksgiving dinner, which didn’t mean I would get off the diet as the Fat Club only got two slices of Turkey and a scoop of mashed potato as I close my eyes trying to imagine I’m about to eat a huge Thanksgiving feast but let’s face it, this fatboy wasn’t going to be satisfied tonight.
As we all go to sleep Thanksgiving night, I jerk it one more time to Max’s picture of his hot girlfriend. Did I mention she had perfect tits? I think I jerked at least three times a day to her and I know half the division also jerked as well along with a couple of girls from the another division touched themselves. She was fucking hot and I had no idea why she was Max because I always thought he was a bitch as we found out later that night.
In the middle of the night, the all lights turn on and the alarms go off as we all get out of our racks trying to figure out what the hell was going on? We run towards the starboard side of the windows watching a bunch MPs taking a dude down on the hill in the snow. I thought to myself that guy looks familiar?
“Dudes, check this shit?” Griff gathers us reading a letter from Dunn’s girlfriend. “Dear Max a Million, hope you are doing well. Just wanted to let you know that I found someone else. We’re getting married next year. I still love you but just as a friend. I hope you are not angry at me but you didn’t expect me to wait for you, did you? Anyways, we’re all proud of you and please don’t try to contact me. Love, Shannon.”
We all start laughing as we rummage through his things finding more photos of his girlfriend for the jerk off bank while the other wolves steal his personal items. I walk back to the window as I make eye contact with Max as he gets escorted by the MPs to the brig as I put the picture of his girlfriend I stole from him on the window making him go ape shit. I thought to myself, “one down, a couple more assholes to go.”
A week goes by without any other incidents we all get a day off from training as we get close in finishing our 9-week training. I was a big fan of shinning my boots because it was a form of mediation for me as I could mentally escape and picture myself back at home smoking weed. But it was interrupted as Griff walks by and spits his Rooster on my shiny boots.
I lose my shit.
I run after Griff clubbing him over the head with the same boot he just spit on. He falls on the ground as everyone stops what they are going just to focus on us. I run towards to the showers waiting for the response from Griff as I grab the steel trashcan from the bathroom hiding in the corner of the showers waiting like a lion for his prey. I turn on all the showers making it hard to see in the room as steam fills the room. Griff comes storming inside the showers as he slips on the wet floors. He tries to get up but I smash once again with the steel trashcan. I stand over him dropping the trashcan next him as I take off my belt.
“Have you’ve met Cindy? Cindy was this slut on my block that could only get off if you restricted her breathing during sex. Sexual Asphyxiation is what they called it. She would tell the dudes who fucked her to take off their belts wrap it around her neck and literally choke to shit out of her as she got off. I think it’s time for you to meet Cindy.”
I walk outside without my belt from the showers wet but victorious as the whole division was waiting outside the restrooms. I stare at the whole division as they make a hole for me to walk through because everyone knew in the division knew now that you shouldn’t fuck around with the fat kid shinning his boots. Needless to say no one fucked with me after that including Griff, which he didn’t even look me during the rest of training. I guess he didn’t like his meeting with Cindy but then again who likes being choked out in the men’s showers with a military belt by a fat kid.
More weeks go by with more training and studying, which we finally made to our final week of boot camp as the Fat Camp meets up again at the gymnasium checking out our results after weeks of intense physical training.
“Congrats Recruit Fu. You shed those unwanted pounds and you’re at your normal bodyweight.” Officer Wang tells me.
I step off the scale feeling proud of myself as we get ready for graduation in the morning. Everyone looks good in the their dress blues as we march to our graduation. Friends and family members watch all of us do our thing as we graduate from Boot Camp throwing our sailor hats in the air. All of us have day off which most spend it with friends or family members before we get picked up by the buses tomorrow morning to get out of Boot Camp. I decided to keep it low-key and just hang in the barracks listening to music reading books. Everyone felt great as they came back to the barracks before curfew as I start to hear rumors of something going down later in the evening. As I feared it had something to do with Recruit Dunn as I over hear someone talk about the plan.
“Socks and Soaps. Dunn is Done.”
Moments later Dunn actually came up to me thanking me for helping him out during the training. He tells me without my help he wouldn’t have survived the training. He was so grateful because his family was so proud of him but I couldn’t tell him about the shit storm that was about to come his way. This was the unwritten rule in military: We take care of all problems in-house. Shut your mouth and never go against the pack.
So, I just wait until it finally went down in the middle of the night like all things fucked up things do. Half the division get out of their racks with soaps in their socks using it as a club as they silently walk up towards Dunn rack. Two recruits go on each side of Dunn’s rack grabbing his blanket holding him down as Griff stands over Dunn’s head removing his belt then wrapping his belt around Dunn’s neck choking him as the rest of the recruits with their soak clubs start beat the shit of Dunn. The whole thing only lasted a minute or two but the damage has been done as Dunn is bleeding and crying in his bed. I turn over in my bed trying to go to sleep stuffing my pillow over my ears so I could stop hearing Dunn cry in his bed.
The lights and alarms go off again in early in the morning, waking all of us as I notice that Dunn wasn’t in his rack anymore. Officer Wang tells us to stand by our racks at attention as Officer Johnson picks out the boys who were part of the hazing of Dunn including Griff. All of them walk towards the MPs who were waiting in the hallways. Officer Wang tells us to get ready and pack up our things to get on the buses soon. I quickly get my shit ready because I want to get out this shit show as soon as possible.
“Attention on Deck!”
Officer Tune walks into the barracks walking down the aisle as we stood in attention as he points me out. “Step into my office recruit.”
FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. I stare at my shiny boots wondering what the fuck is this about as I walk inside Tune’s office standing in attention in front his desk. I’ve never been inside his office as I stare at his wall with his numerous amounts of military awards and degrees. I also notice a small submarine figure on his desk next to a family photo of his wife and kid.
“At ease recruit. You ever wondered what I did before I became boot camp trainer?”
I just shake my head no still wondering what is this all about, which I hope it wasn’t about the Griff incident in the showers.
“I was a sub engineer. I was the best at it because I loved it. I loved being underwater for months on end. My friends used to call me Tune the Tuna because I loved being the water. But it takes a total on your family because it takes away time that you should be spending with your family. Don’t get me wrong I love my family, but I love the military more. I love it so much I would kill for it,” Officer Tune tells me as he grabs his 9mm from his drawer checking the magazine and clicking it back into the gun. “I’m going to ask you just one time, did you know how lead the hazing of Dunn?”
I look into Tune’ eyes firmly saying, “No, sir.”
Tune puts his glock back into his desk smiling at me. “I like you Fu. You sorta remind of myself because you keep your mouth shut and get your business done quietly. I heard what you did to Griff.”
FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. I turn white as a ghost.
“I gotta admit I loved it. I had this prick back in the day that kept fucking with me in the sub. He pushed me until I had to show him Laura. Laura is a girl back in my hometown that like to be choked out while she had sex with my friends. I believe she knows Cindy.” Officer Tune smiles at me in amusement. “I proud of you son for being part of my military because you’re a tough little shit and you know the golden rule: Keep you motherfuckin mouth shut.” Officer Tune stands in attention and salutes me as he tells me to get out of his office.
I walk outside his office wondering what the fuck just happened but I couldn’t think about too much because Officer Wang just informed me that the buses are about to leave in twenty minutes and we all have to run two miles to get to the buses. It was a free for all as we all grab our gear, which it all weighed at least over 50 pounds as we storm out of the barracks running for our lives trying to get on the buses to get out of this hell hole.
For the people who couldn’t make it on the buses today, they would have had to wait another week for the buses to return to pick them up again. I decided fuck that as I used my new athletic prowess, which without the extra pounds on my body, I ran towards the bus like I was on fire as I passed up recruit after recruit as I safely get on the bus, huffing and puffing but I was happy as fuck that I made it on the bus. As the buses left the base I looked at our barracks in the horizon that were on that shitty hilltop with that fucked up log, which I could see Officer Tune standing outside the barrack waving at us. I pull down window putting my arm out extending my middle finger in the air. I wonder if I any of us actually found enlightenment. I was just glad to get out that hell but I knew I was just replacing one hell for another. I guess we’re all doomed rolling up a log or rock up a hill until we die. At least I don’t have to see portioned size meals anymore as I eat my Twinkie riding out of boot camp.
Buy it on Amazon.com