At a United States Marine Corps recruiting station, the air smells like energy drinks cracked open. The floor is pristine with dominant blue hue and a single red stripe running down the center. Desks occupy the space. Three of them in total represent the first face that some see of the Marine Corps. The third Marine is out to lunch. In the rear is the gunnery sergeant’s office. The remaining two Marines discuss their views of Devil Dog life.
Bowls of half-eaten ramen noodles decorated the barracks room. Empty bottles of beer complimented the decor. Lance Corporal Staten Dole, medium brown skin colored with a wavy, dark regulation haircut was twenty-years-old and stood at about 5’10”. He possessed a gaunt figure and high cheekbones. Lance Corporal Tyson Gatling exhibited darker skin, stood a few inches taller, and sported a bald head. He was twenty-year-old, too. His face fit perfectly among the Marine ranks. They had taken off their utility blouses but kept on their PT t-shirts and cammie trousers and boots. The two watched on a big screen television a movie on Marines being sent on a mission to retrieve weapons from a storehouse in the Syrian desert. One thing caught both of their eyes.
Robots dusted and picked up tiny debris in Misha’s office. She allowed the low, droning sound to seep into her consciousness and focus on this new task. At her desk, she held a pencil and a yellow legal pad pressed up against the wood. There remained arrows, loops, strikeouts, and erasures on the page. But she wrote. Her mind turned into an engine driving her thoughts into frozen reality. The warmth of the ideas in her head chilled on the piece of paper. She read back each and every line. She crossed out lines that dangled and straightened up words that could use some clarity.
“And you’re not my goddamn brother,” Sergeant Dante Sellers said. Sellers stood at about six feet. He wore a high and tight haircut and a fresh Marine utility uniform. Aged twenty-three, and oak hued, he had journeyed upon an electronics shop in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
“I’d never experienced racism until I got into the Corps,” said Lance Corporal Lawton Sails. Aged twenty, he stood at 5’9”, possessed walnut colored skin and a regulation fade. He hailed from Wilmington, Delaware. He withdrew some of the game controllers for the video game console in the barracks room.
She possessed enough breaths to cry out in a fragile, small voice. “Take my rifle and my boots. Make a battlefield cross with a picture of my parents and my two boys and Jameel.” She tried to breathe. Every ounce of life that she had left focused on getting those last gasps of air into her failing lungs. She was a steam engine running low on fuel. Dangerously low. She brought up a few more words to instruct Staff Sergeant Melody Grohl. Her superior wasn’t having it.