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Jett Superior laid this on you on || February 8, 2006 || 10:00 pm

Luck, loyalty and the Leftover Boys

Blame the ole gal at Purple Porch for this one; today’s entry over there sparked a memory….

As long as I can remember, fights have just sort of erupted around me. I can be in the most docile of places and before I know it, fists are slinging this way and that, angry epithets scrambling from between lips and rocketing hither and yon. Hell, I could be at a Tibetan monastery and before too long curses and thuds might just be echoing off of ancient stone. It’s a talent.

Let’s list my accidental gifts, while we’re at it:

-If there is a celebrity within eight miles, we will somehow manage to find one another and interact (I do not seek these people out. I am by and large a humanity-hater, recall, and mirror their sentiments of Just Wanting To Be Left Alone. Conversely, surely to GAWD they do not seek me out, either) in some goofy, inane way that will leave both of us mildly amused but mostly nonplussed.

-Bar fights spontaneously erupt around me, even if I’m not in a bar.

-If I am on a plane with a hundred other people, and one of them happens to be a United States Marine, said Marine will always end up seated next to me. Ditto for just about anywhere, really. My mother believes it is a special homing signal built into my forehead and only the Devildogs are keyed in to it. Remind me to tell you about the Jarhead in a room full of Flyboys. THAT’s an excellent stawry.

-Give me the name of some long-lost fifth cousin that you miss like almighty fuck. I can dig that person up ninety-six point nine percent of the time. Usually within forty-eight hours. Why I am not employed in that line of work, I have no idea, because I would be making a hot-danged killing, I tells ya.

…just to name a couple. I’d hate to bore my seet eedle Muffinasses.

At the risk of being a little spoily, I’ll tell you that this story is unique: It is about the fight that did NOT break out. We always tell stories about the exceptions, see? In my world, an UNfight is a definite aberration.

It was the holiday season in the year of our lord nineteen and eighty-eight. Eighty-eight was a so-so year. There was a lot of fun had, but there was also a lot of time spent pining for the Young Marine, who was due back in six or so months to marry my ass and make me an honest woman. I was way too skinny from a summer full of lovesick, but my tits were still sizable and perky and from what I’m told now I was alright to slide some eyeballs over.

Catt jingled me up on a random night –I don’t even remember which– and said, “Hey, let’s go down to Silky’s.” This was not unusual; when I wasn’t in the deejay booth, my friends running to and fro about the place (there was the upstairs bar, the downstairs bar, the patio, the courtyard, the oyster bar and the dance floor to attend to socially), the whole mess of us were hanging out there, laughing and dancing and being youngly ignorant of our fleeting youth.

Silky Sullivan’s (or Silky’s for short) was normally packed out with any number of young Marine Corps and Navy personnel, but during the couple of weeks surrounding New Year’s and Christmas it fell strangely near-empty and echoey-quiet, even with the music up so high that it vibrated the dance floor. I don’t even know why we bothered to go there, except that some habits die hard and our boots had strolled the floors there so many times that we had grooves with our monograms on them.

The base at Millington would go all bare-bones, as well, because the A-schools there broke before holidays, allowing those who could/would go home on leave for Christmas to do so. As the vast percentage of boots stationed there for schooling were in the neighborhood of seventeen to twenty, most of them took advantage of this opportunity.

There were always those, however, who stayed behind. The majority of them fell squarely into two categories: Those who didn’t have the means to make it home and/or those whose families didn’t give two square fucks about them (thus their budding military careers). My mother was always good to call the base just before major holidays: “Send me some of those boys. I will have too much turkey/ham/brisket left over if you don’t.” Sometimes she’d request three. Sometimes five. Once only one came (a sweet, sweet fella by the name of Andy who desperately wanted to be married to his girl already so that he could bring her to Memphis NAS and put her up with him in that shitty enlisted housing they had over there), but for some reason it was always an odd number. Maybe because we were three –Momma, Fred and me– and my mother just wanted evensies for a time.

A lot of Jarheads landed on our doorstep, with the occasional Squid thrown in for good measure (I dinna say ‘for balance’, because in my experience, it takes ten Sailors to equal up to about one Marine). I can’t say for sure, but I’d wager that a fair percentage of the USMC is made up of young men and women whose families are shit-poor from either a monetary or an emotional standpoint.

So there were The Leftover Boys (as I used to call them in my head); there are always leftovers in the military, regardless of branch or rank. It is one of those Incontrovertible Facts like blinking and sunrise and running out of conditioner before the shampoo is gone.

That night we walked into Silky’s and stationed ourselves along the plank bar that ran the length of the (CRAZILY EMPTY, WHAT??!) dance floor. There were Leftover Boys there, and I recognized one who spent the July Fourth holiday with us.

“WHAT’RE YOU STILL DOING HERE, CHANCE??” I hollered across the bar to him, “I THOUGHT YOU WERE HEADED TO BEAUFORT IN SEPTEMBER!”

Lance Corporal Chance was from Maine, that funny-talking bastard. He had one of the most unsettling smiles I’d ever seen, wonderfully fiendish and sweet all at the same time. He was compact and stout and could damn near drink me into oblivion. He was engaging and bitingly funny, with a crazy intellect. He played dumb a whole lot. Surprisingly, I liked that about him. I think it was because I knew that, because he had revealed his smarts to me, he trusted and respected me.

He went to Beaufort, ayuh, is what he told me, but had come back to ask a particular someone to marry him. She had told him no, he told her bitchkeepthering, and he went on a suicidal binge-drinking mission with some old pals.

“I am BILLETED (he emphasized the word like that, and in his noreastern lingo it sounded so funny I wanted to fall out in the floor laughing) at the fucking Navy Lodge, you can pick up my effects there if I don’t MAKE it.”

Ohlordohlord.

We visited for a little bit, he and I, before the five or six fellas with him itched to move on to another club down the street. About that time a pack of really huge fellas rolled in, mostly tanned and muscled to a ridiculous degree and looking self-assured in the most annoying of fashions. They were a shock to the little Silky Sullivan’s ecosystem, because most of the regulars were fresh out of bootcamp and were tough in a rangy, leathery sort of way. They were skinny and fierce, looking for a beer and some pussy.

Barring that, some beer and a fight would do.

These old boys, these strangers, had carefully-coiffed longer-than-usual locks and a rogueish obnoxiousness that I find grating. Boots were obnoxious, sure, but it was in an entirely different and wholly tolerable way. They had earned their obnoxiousness in the sand pits of Parris Island. I asked the bartender who the hell the newbies were and she told me that they’d been in the night before; they were part of the Hoosiers football team and were in town for the Liberty Bowl.

Gack. I, as a rule, was a huge fan of football, but not of most football players. I should have known that there would be ‘issues’.

Catt and I stood, sipping drinks and chatting. It was a strange week, in that we hadn’t been able to see each other all that much, and we were playing catch-up when the Hoosier boys made their first fly-by. I felt my backside roughly grabbed and squeezed, and I spun in indignation, only to see broad backs moving away from me. There was not a clue as to who the guilty party was. About fifteen minutes later, after I’d had time to settle down and get engrossed in a conversation with a couple of other regulars, they made another pass behind us. This time, I happened to be fast enough to catch the perpetrator in my heated glare. He was a good six-five, maybe six-six and had blonde hair and a fucked-up frat boy ‘I can get away with ANYthing’ grin.

I am not attracted to blonde men, typically, and this was no exception. I am not attracted to football players as a rule. And I am most certainly not attracted to fuckfaces. This smarmy shitheel was a fuckface of the highest order. I began to mutter under my breath, something along the lines of “…doesn’t know who he’s dealing with,” and “…have that hand as my fucking backscratcher, bitch,” and “…your Yankee momma needs to TEACH YOU SOME MANNERS.”

A couple of things happen when I drink. I become looser, more at the ready, and I become indignant when infringed upon. Mostly I’m one of those happy, happy, oh-so-happy drunkards and I’m less easily offended than when I’m sober. If you do, however, find some way to offend me, the drunk me will not rest until there is reckoning in some fashion.

That silly buckethead. He made a third pass with two of his gridiron goons. He assgrabbed and as quick as he did, I spun and swung. I landed a hard right to the region of his back where his kidney had been puttering along nicely just minutes before. He buckled, yelling, and grabbed at the flesh were I’d put my fist. He was about nine or ten feet away when he turned, eyes all murder, and saw me in my crazyplace.

My crazyplace is where I go when shit is about to go down. It’s called my crazyplace because I have a propensity to cackle through my anger in the most disconcerting way. I’m up on the balls of my feet and everything save for the object of my anger is white haze that settles to a pinpoint of rage where my target is technicolor and just waiting there stupidly to get fucked up.

I say stupidly, because were I to see me looking like that, I’d turn tail and run like a spastic, ungainly seven-year-old.

This guy was all bruised ego, and in ill-bred, overpampered hayseed jocks that is a Frightfully Large Deal. An ‘I’ll show YOU’ mentality was more than evident as he made his way back to me, opening the gaping hole in his red face to spit, “BITCH, I’ll…” before I hopped up on my tiptoes and put my fist into his face. He staggered back roughly two steps and shook himself all over like a wet and rancid dog that is offended by its own stink.

With that he let out a roar and from somewhere I heard someone hollering for a bouncer and then Jocko lunged for me. Suddenly, like something out of a hot-damned movie, there was a wall of Marines –four long times two deep, making for eight total– between me and him. They were so close that they were nearly brushing my nose. There were a couple of them that were a tiny bit shorter than my own five-ten (PFC Ballard, w00t!) and maybe one or two of them inched on up toward five-eleven and a half (LCpl Griggs), but not a one of them topped six feet.

I was dazed into speechlessness at the immediacy of their arrival; they must have been standing behind me for at least part of the altercation, is the only thing that I can figure. At some point and unbeknownst to me, they had come back from down the road with a couple more buddies in tow….they were aiming for the comforts of a good Diver Bucket* and found me, the great and powerful Unawares Damsel In Distress, instead. To a young Jarhead, a wash of testosteroned adrenaline beats the spirits any day. Plus, as I said before, I had big tits and wavy blonde hair. Some might even say that my “fightin’ spirit” is moderately attractive in the right lighting.

They for sure saved my bacon that night, because that gigantic asshole would have pounded on me sans hesitation, at least once or twice, had they not been there. He was at least clever enough to know that you don’t fuck with a slightly drunk and mildly bored Marine, much less a pack of them. Even if your boys outnumber them, outweigh them and outsize them, they will take a few notches out of that left ear for you.

In short, bless the Leftovers, for without them I should be killed. Amen and amen.

So here’s to you, Leftover Boys! May you always know warmth and kinship, even if there isn’t always a home in which to unlace your boots and a hearth to sit by or a bosom on which to rest your gruff but tender hand. I remember you all well and fondly.

*a yellow plastic gallon bucket filled with delightful blend of various cocktail spirits and three-foot-long straws whose only aim is to make you beg for death as you suck tile the next morning or two

5 worked it out »

  1. Coelecanth 2.9.2006

    Fightn’ spirit is sexy as all hell.

    A nightclub in the late 80’s, me, the Gfriend and her roomates (cuties, the lot of them) are watching Tupelo Chain Sex. Suddenly C is looking pissed off. The guy behind is grinding against her ass. I, in my happy gig place, am still trying to figure out what’s going on when K (all 5 foot nothing of her) spins around. Two fingers to the adam’s apple and bit of healthy leverage and suddenly the asshole is gone.

    Even at that homonal age I was smart enough to avoid poaching the Gfriend’s roomates, but man, K looked mighty fine that night. She didn’t go home alone either.

     
  2. skillzy 2.9.2006

    I’ll let that 10 sailors equal one grunt comment slide since you were only exposed to the wing nuts.

    One time I mouthed off to some big goon in Bremerton who bumped into me while I might have been a little tipsy. Before he could turn around good, a cue ball was pressed into my hand and 5 fellow squids had formed a secret service ring around me and rushed me outside. Luckily for me, the guy didn’t feel like following us. I still have that cue ball, and still keep in touch with the guy who gave it to me.

    And I need you to find Lisa Davis. She’s around 40 and grew up in Montgomery. She was last seen there about 6 or 7 years ago. She spent some time out in Seattle before that and I don’t think it went well. If you need a picture , I have one of her in a wet t-shirt stashed away somewheres.

     
  3. Jettomatika 2.9.2006

    If you do indeed have that picture, then you don’t *need* Lisa Davis. You have everything you need from her in your sweaty palm.

    And the 10-for-1 remark was placed there just to poke you. For reals. As I was typing it out, I was thinking, “Wonder how long it will take Skillz to hit the commentses?”

     
  4. skillzy 2.10.2006

    If all I needed was wacking material, you are correct, I would not need her. I just want to talk to her and see how she is – I got a really bad vibe from her the last time I saw her. She’ll probably borrow $500 and vanish, but hey, what are friends for?

     
  5. Stevie 2.12.2006

    Holy geez… NOW I know why I got snowed in from going to work today… YOU.

    I tried, really I did, to get my car out’n the garage, but… nope.

    Had I gotten that far even, I seriously doubt I’d have made it up Da Bosses driveway, it being a quarter of a mile long and not plowed.

    ANYway… I come back in the house and decided that today is “someday”, the someday that I’m gonna get some shit done, including a coupla posts I’ve wanted to get posted for the longest time.

    (Here’s where you come in…)

    One has to do with my Marine brother, who is in Iraq.

    The other has to do with a Navy SEAL I’m trying to find.

    So, write said posts, I did.

    Then, I make my Sweetie a good old fashioned farmy-type breakfast (fried potatos, bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, coffee), then set my hiney down to read a few blogs, including you (whom I still picture in a cute little summer dress, cowboy boots and gorgeous blonde hair, throwing up rooster tails of dust atcher ex as he “accuses” you of being “Little Miss, Little Miss, Little Miss Can’t be wrong”… Gawd, I love you, Chick… *giggle*).

    So, I have my Marine post up and my “can’t find my best buddy from high school/Navy SEAL buddy” post up and I come here and find this…

    You can find people?

    You love Marines a lot?

    I’ve got one of both for ya…

    If you could find Glenn, I don’t know what I’d do, I’d be so forever grateful AND, if yer wantin’ yet another Jarhead to “adopt”, have at it.

    Come read the posts, lest I waste anymore of your bandwidth repeating what I’ve written already about both of ‘em.

    God Bless You, Jett…

    You rock more consistantly than… God Himself.

    Hugs on ya…

     

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