Thursday, March 12, 2015

Part 123


A shadow fell across me and a voice asked, "Did you get in trouble?"

It had been a long night for everyone and we were all running short of sleep.  People were making an effort not to be cranky but tempers were close to the surface so since I didn't have any duties assigned to me after I helped finish cleaning up the clearing where the cooking test was held I found a hole to crawl into.  I had just finished a power nap while I waited to see if I passed when Chris showed up.

"You're as out of it as I feel," Chris said.  "I asked if you got in trouble?  MSgt. Shadwell and Sgt. Dreyfuss are tough from what I've seen and heard and they carted you off pretty fast."

I shrugged.  "Not trouble, trouble as in they treated me like I did something wrong."

He slowly and carefully sat down on the crates I had been leaning against, obviously favoring his arm.  "What'd ya mean?"

Trying not to ask why he cared I told him, "Not what you would call trouble.  More trouble like they are ... I don't know ... trying to be ... well ... not friends exactly because I don't think it is supposed to be like that but like they are going to take care of me.  To me that's trouble."

He looked at me and then asked, "Did you get dropped on your head or something?  With the way things are people need friends ... people that will cover your back."

"Depends on how you look at it.  I used to think belonging to a group was a good thing but ... but I don't know.  I guess it still is but all the rest that goes with it ..."  I shook my head.  "It gets too complicated."

He was quiet for a while.  "Yeah, I guess.  But sometimes you have to deal with complicated.  If you ... you know ... don't deal with things they kinda can drive you crazy.  Take Dorrie for example."

"That's your family business and none of mine."  There was a certain amount of "foxhole comraderie" with Chris but I think mostly he is just the kind of person that is easy to talk to even if you don't like or don't agree with what he is saying ... or don't want to hear it.

He nodded and said, "Sure but it's a good example so I'm gonna use it.  Dorrie doesn't want to deal with our Mom being gone and Dad ... well he might as well be gone all the time and when he is around he starts drinking.  Waste of good pay if you ask me.  Between Dorrie and Dad ... they ain't dealing with complicated too well at all and it makes things harder than they need to be.  Look, just keep it simple.  No one says you gotta get married to have a friend you know."

I looked at him and asked, "Did someone set this up?"

"Huh?"

But I had seen the slightly guilty look.  "OK, who was it and how much did they pay you?"

He shook his head.  "You're the most suspicious girl I've ever met."

"I'm no fool and let's leave it at that.  So who was it?"

"If you gotta know it was Limmer."

Never having heard the name I asked, "Who the heck is Limmer?"

"One of the guys you were cooking for yesterday.  He's a cook in the unit I am in and is a friend of my dad's.  Not a bad guy but he has a real case about women and girls being on the front line.  He doesn't like it.  Alot of those guys in your test group don't.  That's why they were so hard on you, trying to get you to run off."

Irritated I got in a dig of my own.  "Those pussycats?  If they think they were being bad then they don't know much."

Chris grinned and said, "I'll be sure and tell them that."  Then he dropped the smile and said, "Don't hold it against him ... or them other guys.  It's their job to make sure that the noncombatants are tough enough to survive ... and mostly to not get underfoot of the active duty personnel.  I told them that wasn't going to be a problem after seeing you in action last night but ...," he shrugged.  "It's kinda hard to describe so that guys will believe.  You're like tiny and then you do something like wade right in to a bunch of infecteds with only a bat and no riot gear on.  It's kinda weird to be honest."

I sighed.  "Probably ... at least that's the way other people have looked at me.  In the city though people considered me the weakest link.  You want rough?  Try living with that for a year."

"Would you go back?"

"To the city?" I asked.  "No way.  I ... I kinda miss some of what I had there but it was already changing and falling apart when I escaped.  And everything that I thought I had after that has fallen apart too.  I just don't think it is too smart to get hung up on people anymore.  Maybe other people can do it and not get burnt but I've never been that lucky.  It is better for me to do things my way.  But I won't stop other people from doing it theirs."

He nodded.  "Good enough I suppose.  Though it might be easier to let people act friendly and not worry about it too much.  You don't have to get in bed with them but you don't need to push 'em off so hard either.  It makes people uncomfortable.  Not that many people that really want to be nice these days.  Those that are ... well ... you don't want to be the one to kill that off do you?"

I rolled my eyes and shrugged but I got the message.

"So anyway, here."

He handed me a folded sheet of paper.  "What's this?" I asked holding it by the corner.

"It isn't a letter bomb Pip," he laughed.  And I cringed because apparently that lame nickname is getting around.  "It's your assignment orders.  Go take them to Sgt. Dreyfuss so she can sign off on 'em and then she'll probably send you to supply to finish getting outfitted.  Though Dorrie is already complaining that she can't find anything in your size."

"You mean I passed?"

He grinned a big freckle faced grin.  "Yep.  And don't be surprised if you don't start hearing people talking about Squirrel Pizza.  You surprised even the old enlisted cooks with that one."

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, hats off to you and your great stories.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Squirrel pizza that's awesome, haven't had squirrel in years, last time the skull floated up and stared me in the eyes. Never saw squirrel the same since.

    ReplyDelete