Peacemaking: Chapter 1-5

When we finally got situated in our new barracks with our Senior Drill Instructor SSgt Ngyo, our D.I.’s took us—the sorry bunch of slouches that we were—chose the best of us, and divvied up the choice jobs: Guide, Platoon Leader, and Scribe.  The Guide was the leader of the platoon.  He was supposed to be the fittest, smartest, and best-looking Marine in the bunch.  It also meant that whoever the Guide was would be sleeping in the middle of the barracks and answer for the platoon, both good and bad.  Early on, for no reason that I am aware of, they asked (well, they really told me) to be the Guide. “Recruit Peters,” shouted Beelzebub, “get your ass over here.” “Yes, Drill Instructor.”  I ran. “Grab your s—- and move it to the Guide’s bed, you just got promoted.” “Yes, Drill Instructor.” I had no intention of moving my stuff.  The Guide got quarter-decked more than anyone else.  He was to be an example, and when things went wrong, the Guide got killed.  Besides, I was not that ambitious.  Let some other poor monkey get his a— kicked, I thought. Dawn came.  The Guide’s bed was still uninhabited. “What the hell?  Where the f—- is my Guide?  Peters!” yelled SSgt Ngyo.  “Did Beelzebub not tell you,” he continued, “to take the Guide’s position?” S—-, I thought.  “Yes, Senior Drill Instructor,” I said. “Why the hell are you not moved, Recruit?” Play dumb, I thought, that might work.  “Was I supposed to move in right away, Drill Instructor?  I thought—” “What the…you thought, who the hell told you to do that?” “Well—” “Shut-up Recruit, you’re not my Guide, you’re a flower.  Beelzebub,” he called, “take this recruit to the quarter-deck and kill ‘em.” It was bad.  It was really bad.  But it was only one time.  The recruit who eventually became our Guide was killed everyday. Our Scribe, on the other hand, was of the Recruit Intelligentsia.  He was a University of Chicago dropout and wore military-issued black-rimmed glasses.  His name was Recruit Hernandez.  The Scribe was our platoon’s bookkeeper.  He kept tabs on our gear (how much we had and who was using it), on our Physical Training or P.T. scores (each recruit’s time in the three-mile run), and our mail (he received and handed it out).  The Scribe was the administrative nuts and bolts that held our platoon together, and because of his unique position (he did most of the work our D.I.’s should have been doing), he did not get quarter-decked that much.  I envied the Scribe, but I preferred my role as a Platoon Wallflower.  Blend in, I thought, and they won’t notice you.  If they don’t notice you, then they can’t kill you.  This seemed like a good strategy at the time, but then again, I was sleep deprived and hungry.

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