Marine Corps Stories: Life on a Boat
A retired Marine corporal must find a way to keep his sanity while locked up abroad.
I shouldn’t be in this shithole. They have the nerve to say this is the place of dreams. I don’t know about all that. I just want to pilot my boat, meet my girl, and sail to Aruba and get away from it all.
“Corporal! Go get your water jug. We’ll fill it,” says a guy I assume is a guard, though I suppose he could be another contractor, I don't know…. It could be another contractor. I just don’t know. All I know is I’m in Venezuela. I’ve been trapped here under quarantine by the bastard leader of this horrific country. I’ve been caught up in a mess that started before the virus ripped its way through the world.
I should be out on that water. Everything I did in the Corps, also the contracting, I had hoped would lead to a life on a boat. Instead, I’m stranded out here. I scrawled a note to my family. I don’t know why the hell I did that. They probably won’t even get it. Sure, I made some mistakes but I’m no goddamn spy. Especially for this current American president. I’ve got to stay focused on “living” here. It’s been nothing but a nightmare. I continue to write.
Someone’s sloshing a large plastic pitcher with water in it. It comes to my cell. It’s kind of brownish, but it should be able to satisfy my thirst. I walk over and get my jug and watch as the guard pours the liquid into it. I quickly gulp the water like a man in a desert caravan that has just found an oasis. It tastes brackish but I don’t care. I place the jug back on the floor.
I return to my desk. The writing comes easier with each sitting. I haven’t received any correspondence. But I’m still focused on being free indeed.
As the pen flies across the page, I lean to my own understanding. I use my skills and knowledge of serving in a setting like this from the Marines. Without that training, I’d probably be freaking out by now. Wait. Someone’s yelling in Spanish. The words I cannot decipher fully. The prisoner is saying something about the air quality...I think. Anyway, this meager light is hurting my eyes, but I must continue to jot down my thoughts. My beard is scraggly right now. It’s not too different from the current crop of men in this world, growing out their jaw and chin hair.
I haven’t been in the Corps for years yet the training has stuck with me. I have every intention of getting out of here and getting back to my boat and my family. I don’t give a goddamn what may happen to me. I’ll fight them off to the death, but I’m focused on the fact that I’ll be out on the sea in no time. I’m not afraid. I’m continuing to stay ready to break out of this space. Wait. I hear fetters clanking down the hallway. A cell door opens. Whoever it is has just been cast in the tiny cell. Again, the sound of chains and manacles falling to the floor resound around the poor bastard.
The room I occupy now has no windows. A glow from the front of the basement reaches me. More Spanish. I use every ounce of the Spanish I learned in school and from the Hispanic Marines I encountered on my tours of duty. I hear weeping. Whoever it is, the poor son of a bitch must not be able to take all of this. I don’t blame him but I cannot afford to fall to pieces. It’s chow time. I grab my jug and place it in the corner of the desk. The food slides under the bars. It’s just some bread with green at the corners. I rip off those parts like packaging and eat the remaining good parts. It tastes stale, as if it’s been freezer burnt at the same time. I savor the flavor and drink from my jug. I return to my writing, my only refuge.