Water licked at the stones on the small fountain in Marine Major General Paul Brandt’s office. It wasn’t too cozy but it displayed a relaxing appeal. Prayer stones and digital evangelical writings occupied the space. He had a little space heater for the winter months and enough room for his virtual golf set. He sat down at his desk and lifted words up to the unknown and the unknowable. He then cracked his knuckles like snapping crab legs. He wrote what he felt.
Three Marines busy themselves before an inspection. They find a moment to rest and still talk about business.
Misha felt at home at the head of the table. As the senior ranking official among mostly men, she didn’t seek to rule them. What she wanted to find was not power. She only wanted to exemplify the possible, the best. Far from an affirmative action hire, she had studied to show herself worthy of the lofty position which she occupied. She prepared herself for trouble.
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.