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The Spoiler
In These Parts Sidebar: Ken Speaks of Times Gone Wrong: 12/25/23
© 2023 James LaFond
JUL/10/24
It is Christmas and I am having a beer while my Land Lady visits her friends dear, on our way to visit Kelley and his clan for Christmas cheers. Most of this involves sitting with Ken, while our owners gossip and smoke out on the deck. Ken retired as a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and has a dark sense of humor.
A few weeks ago, the news of a deceased First Lady triggered a memory of stocking Marine 1 with barbie dolls and candies for the first daughter and her friends. The class stratification of military society provides a strong undercurrent to Ken’s many stories. He describes retirement as kind of suspended animation, with the embalming fluid being beer.
A pretty Indian girl named Stephanie, with shiny black hair, suggests we play a game, by placing all of our phones in the center of the table and the first one to pick one up buys a round. We had a nice conversation and then Ken, asks the Land Lady to make a fact check, tricking her into picking up her phone and buying a round.
The matriarchal officer class repair to the deck once again and Ken grins, “I call myself The Spoiler, just born with a penchant for rocking the boat…
In Saigon we used to have these Doughnut Dollies, we called them; round-eyed Red Cross girls. Base life was full of grim humor. My bunk mate woke one morning to one of these giant thirty pound rats eating the callouses off his feet, drew his .45 and blew that thing to hell—lucky he didn’t shoot off his foot.
Anyways, the Doughnut Dollies, you know, they are 4s back in the States and 10s in Vietnam, so they act it. They were in their early twenties and me, I was 17, youngest soldier on the base and I was already running repairs on airplanes. A helicopter is an airplane, our arrogant insistence on defying the laws nature.
The Doughnut Dollies, these Red Cross honeys, they treated us enlisted men like children, stand you up and have you spell the name of your state. I had no time for this petty bullshit, these games. So, while this woman, this Doughnut Dolly, round-eyed queen is playing her kindergarten word games, I head out of the hanger onto the tarmac.
This woman then says, “Where are you going, Baby Cakes?”
You know, I’m only a hundred pounds, young, and I don’t know what I was thinking or where it came from. But I returned, “They don’t call me Baby Cakes. They call me The Spoiler.”
Of course, later, I am called into the office by the Sergeant Major who makes me issue a former verbal apology to this person, this non war-fighting cutie. They were there for the officers, spent their time in the Officers Club. They weren’t there for us enlisted swine.
When I was on Deago Garcia—it’s a British possession but it’s all American stuff. The SR-71 Blackbird used to land there. They have underground hangers, vast facilities, underwater facilities too, that you can see under there. We had this one pug-looking woman there, the only female on the island. Our Colonel came back to base and had a shirt made for her that said, ‘I was a Ten on Deago Garcia.’
She loved it.
Recall a few years back, when that airliner went down in the Indian Ocean?
Occasionally some pristine piece is found, too clean, for what was supposed to be a deep sea crash. I have sometimes wondered if maybe that airliner saw something it shouldn’t. It was headed that way, and possibly fell prey to that cryptic facility.
As a Master Sergeant on Marine One it was part of my training rotation to fly mock missions to carry off the elite into the underground bunkers, and there do training, in case we end up being the post apocalyptic slaves of the few designated to survive. These things are so deep they can take a direct nuclear hit. I dislike ever going through Wyoming. It is pocked full of these Air Force facilities. The doors are a foot thick steel and have to be opened and closed on railroad tracks.
These facilities are not for scum like us, they are for the higher ups, the politicians and such. There are eight such facilities within a thirty minute flight of Washington D.C. On my rotation, I was running procedures at the one near Winchester, Virginia. Of course, we are being guarded and supervised by the “real men” the alphabet soup deep state goons, if you will.
We are just mules. But these men are sharp enough to want feedback from their mules. We were given a procedure for transporting the Primary, the top man of our refuge. He might be the V.P., Speaker of the House, whatever. The President, he’s not at one of these things, he is re-feuling in the air forever, until its time to land and survey what is left of the fucking planet.
They give us this procedure on informing this person, the primary, the head-uppity-up-in-charge, if you will, of the disposition of his wife and children, his loved ones. When they asked for feedback at debriefing, I said, put up my little spoiler hand, “In such a situation, the man in charge’s family is toast, they’re out there with the general population being deep fried. He should not be informed of the fate of his loved ones until some point later. Otherwise his ability to make decisions will be compromised by his grief.”
They told us that no one had ever offered such observations, that not one man other than this ordinary rural boy, of the thousands of military folk run through this process, had ever offered the most obvious observation concerning maintenance of the commander’s peace of mind, or at least their sanity. This makes me wonder, it does, are we all afraid of making the honest observation? Or are we just too darned stupid?
So, anyways, I have maintained The Spoiler in me. It’s my dark little search light.
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