Ok...here we go...yep....in all of my free time I have been writing a book. Which means I may be finished with it 4 years after I retire. Anyway...here is chapter one....and if there are any publishers out there willing to sign a big deal for me to finish it...I bet I could find time to get it done...hahaha. Enjoy.
The chartered Greyhound bus line was headed north, or in at least the general direction of north. James knew this because of two things: a.) He was going to the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) located in Amarillo Texas and the general direction from Lubbock to Amarillo was due north. and b.) The shadows of the mesquite brush from the late Sunday afternoon Texas sun told him as much. Of the fourteen people on the bus, nine of them were going into the Armed Services…of course he was the only one to have the intestinal fortitude to sign on the dotted line for the freaking United States Marine Corps. The rest were pansies…either going into the Air Force, the Navy…or God forbid, the Army. James would be lying if he told you there was not an element of pride in that fact, but would equally be lying if he told you he was not flat out scared of what was to come….and thus he sat there silently, listening to the other recruits talking about all they were leaving behind or what was to be anticipated…Even one female Army recruit was going on about when she anticipated that her period would arrive in the timely manner during the second week of basic training. “For the love of God, do we really need to know that?!” thought James….”Really?”
The bus pulled into the Plainview bus station, it seemed like the bus was going to stop in every semblance of a town between Lubbock and Amarillo…even if it had only one stop light and it was a flashing light, making the normal two hour drive time nearly twice that. James was not happy about that fact. Mainly because he was having to listen to the gal, who had given precise scheduling of her menstrual cycle, had now moved on to the topic of her dysfunctional boy friend, who was still considered a junior in high school despite being 19 years old. James then pointed out to the gal in the most sarcastic manner possible that even though Johnny hadn’t graduated high school, he is old enough to go into the Army without his mommy’s permission. The snide comment, at that point, only got a string of expletives thrown his way by the gal. James was unfazed by that as he gazed out the bus window, thinking of nearly absolutely nothing except of how barren this land was.
He had grown up in west Texas, a small community of just over 10,000 people, and he always wondered what kept people around this place. Why didn’t they move to a more lively place? Since he could remember, James felt like living in West Texas had isolated him from the rest of the world. Being a young boy, during the later years of the cold war, there was plenty of talk about when the Soviets would bomb the place. James didn’t worry about any of this talk. In his simple opinion, he had two thoughts. The first was that some of this country already looked like a nuclear winter had blown through and the second was, “Why would the Soviets want to waste a warhead on this place.” This bombing thing had all been a moot point since 1994 with the fall of the Communist Soviet Union anyway and now since they had shown Hussein who was boss in 1991, there really weren’t any known enemies to be concerned about.
James’ mom was not all that excited about his signing up for the Corps. In fact, he had to actually fudge some responses to the medical questions on the application. There was that history of asthma question, but then again the recruiter had coached him on which box to check. All this didn’t sit well with his sainted mother, a staunch Southern Baptist woman. Couple this with the college applications that had been accepted, some that even came with bags of scholarship money, and momma had different ideas on what her oldest baby should do with his life…and being a Marine was nowhere on that list! Because James had scored exceptional on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), he was given an opportunity to go into any field of choice that the Marine Corps offered. Much to the disgust of the recruiter, James had voluntarily selected light infantry. Even after being questioned and harassed by the recruiter to go into something that would better be suited for the “Big Brain that the good Lord saw fit to give you” and maybe select something like intelligence, or aircraft mechanic…or anything…but not infantry! After three different times of asking the question, the recruiter finally gave up and mumbled that maybe James wasn’t so smart after all and deserved going into the infantry. Momma didn’t like this infantry thing either.
The one thing that Momma did like about this whole plan was that James at least would be in the Reserves, and that this would allow him to go to college while fulfilling his obligation as one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, a term affectionately used by the recruiters after the ink had dried on the contract. It referred to being a distinguished member of donning the Eagle, Globe and Anchor in the USMC. Being a Reserved meant that James was required to take part in training one weekend a month and two weeks a year, usually during the summer. This would fit quite nicely into going to college to getting a degree and although Mom still was not happy about all this, being a Reserved made it easier for her to stomach. James’ father was supportive of any decision that his son made. This didn’t sit well with mom either. “What if he wanted to go off and join the circus?” she would ask, “Do you support that too?” It didn’t matter much now…those good byes were an hour and half ago…and strangely enough seemed liked years to James...as that Greyhound bus rolled on down the road.