Just got off the phone with my brother-from-another-mother who is currently holding a butter-bar commission in the U.S. Army.
That put me into a military frame of mind, so without further ado: military stories!
Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Waaa-aaay back when.
While going through a school, one of my buddies decides that he has Met The Woman Of His Dreams. Efforts to remind him that he is a penniless red-neck E4 from Dead Dog, New Mexico and that she is the Darling Daughter of a better-than-well-off Ivy-League-type family, and that these two facts combined don't perzackly forecast a happy married life fall upon deaf ears.
He is determined to wed this damsel, and prevails upon us, his squaddies, to buoy him in this stressful time.
The fact that she hated us above all else should have been somewhat of a clue for Fred, but such is Young Love.
I should probably note at this time that each of the six of us were Specialist, Class 4's, Spec4's for short.
For those of you who lack an understanding of certain parts of the military, suffice it for me to say that a pack of Spec4's is best likened to a Biblical catastrophe looking for a place to happen.
And we Had A Mission.
So. We threw him a bachelor party. During the course of this bachelor party, each one of the un-engaged gentlemen took the opportunity to match the lucky groom in vodka shots.
There being five of us and one of him, it didn't take very long before he was completely and totally rat-arsed.
Of course, we weren't very far behind, I'm here to tell you. I can't look a bottle of vodka in the eye to this day.
Anyhoo, Fred goes paws up, finally, and I grab the hat and start staggering around coaxing donations to the "Save the Fred Foundation".
While I am extorting money from anyone I can shake down, one of the other guys grabs a laundry marker and scrawls, "Better Ded Than Wed" across Fred's forehead.
I get back with the pickings, and wind up staring at Fred's forehead trying to figure out what, exactly, was wrong. I finally blink at the guy with the indelible marker and mumble, "You...you mith..mispelled 'Dead'".
Nacho swayed for a moment in gentle contemplation, blinked at me owlishly and opined, "Not enough forehead."
Good enough. Grabbing the rest of the booze as a precaution against frostbite, we hoisted Fred and staggered out into the July night.
Hey, you can't be too careful up in them Northeastern States. I've heard the stories.
I don't remember much about the trip to Baltimore International Airport, other than the clinking sounds of bottles against teeth. I'm pretty sure we took a taxi.
Anyhoo, next thing I know, we're standing in front of the ticket counter with a little blonde gal giving us the old hairy eyeball. I carefully place the hat on the counter in front of her, point one blurry finger at Fred, and very carefully enunciate: "Ticket."
She peers inside the hat, looks back at us and says, "Umm, where?"
Nacho makes swooping gestures with one hand, "Away."
Bobby gets a paw-full of Fred's hair and causes him to nod in agreement. Not to be outdone, Mike happily waves Fred's hand at her.
She went and got her supervisor.
After much hiccupping and nodding, he sold us one coach ticket to Alaska.
I think. Might have been Arizona, but I seem to recall that the place had a lot of 'A's in it, so I'm fairly sure it was Alaska.
The rest of the night got a little hazy. I remember explaining that since we were carrying Fred, he was carry-on luggage, and thus should really be run through the flouroscope. Unfortunately the kind gentlemen operating the device told us we couldn't do that since it would probably make Fred sterile.
Which led to us attempting to ram Fred through the machine, which led to the summonsing of the airport Gardai, which led to me leaning on Nacho in hysterics trying to explain why the fact that the Airport Security Officer looked like Bilbo Baggins was so damned funny.
Anyhoo, we got Fred poured into a seat and waved (hands, despite what rumor states) goodbye to him as his plane took off for ... somewhere.
Next morning, I'm pretty sure that half of the Chinese Red Army has marched across my tongue. In sock feet. (By the way, if any Red Army Generals are reading this blog, I'd just like to say, "Tinactin is your friend", okay?) And the half that didn't do any marching is merrily ramming icepicks through my eyeballs from the inside.
I look up at the CQ (Charge of Quarters) through a red haze, and he grunts, "Yougottaphonecall."
I stagger down the hall, trickle down the stairs, and drag myself to the phone.
"Hargle? Gshnt hmpxz."
"You mother****ers! Alaska?! Daddy is going to **** kittens! You can just get your ass over here and explain..."
The amount of ... volume ... that can produced by the average irate female is awe-inspiring when sober. When hung-over, it's lethal.
I looked at the handset. Looked at the CQ. Looked at the telephone. Very gently, so as not to cause my head to fall off my shoulders, I hung the phone up and staggered back to bed.
Stay frosty, brother. Keep your sense of humor, and remember to duck when required.