Two Marines navigate their way through a combat zone.
Staff Sergeant Hinton Perth let out a clipped laugh. It was like a laugh suggesting a new invention or mild frustration or contempt all mixed up into one sound.
“I’ve got two kids. Four and two. She wants them, of course. But she’s not going to get them.” He said this while sitting atop a seven-ton truck. His green cammies blended in with the trucks paint job. He stood at about six foot three inches and had a low cut fade that blended into his black skin. He was talking to Sergeant Duncan Saginaw who had lighter skin but looked every part of his white South African and African American heritage.
“Why don’t you just take her to court, Hint’?”
“That’s what I plan to do. I’m looking for my opportunity to ensure that I have the best legal team on my side before I go to the plate.”
Saginaw didn’t laugh. “That’s crazy. You were married for how long?”
“Six years. Right out of Boot.”
“Yes, damn. Things were beautiful. There was no Jody. She was faithful. After the kids, and the tax lien, and the house being taken away, and all the other trash, we just couldn’t keep it together.”
Saginaw wiped down the windows of the military vehicle.
“She was a good girl. We just couldn’t work it out.”
“Shame. Two kids.”
“Two great little girls.” Perth sent a picture of his daughters to Saginaw.
“Thanks, man. I don’t know what it is, though. I mean we’re out here in this pesthole and a world away are the two most precious little ones you’d ever set eyes on.”
“I agree with you there. My girl and I are about to have a baby boy. She’s about six months along. I’m going to name him after me.”
“That’s good, Dunc’. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I ever had with my previous woman.”
Then, the company commander passed by in his armored car. Perth and and Saginaw stood at the position of attention as Lieutenant Colonel Basin's vehicle passed.
“Man, I bet he’s got it made. Big house. Cars.” Saginaw said.
“Yes. He’s got all of that plus pay and bennies.”
Perth hopped off from the top of the truck to the next platform that wasn’t too far from where he had been.
The winds had changed. “Alright. We’ve got to head out on this road and be back by 1900 for chow. At least I want to be back by that time.”
“Okay,” Saginaw said. “You’re the boss.”
Once the two men prepared the truck for the road ahead, they then saw other sergeants pass by on foot on their way to base.
They hurled verbal assaults like “Motor IED!” and “7-Bomb!” at Perth and Saginaw. Both of them replied with single finger salutes.
“I wish they could carry what we carry and go over what we do. I’ve driven for generals. I can do this, too,” Perth said.
“That’s right. The way these things are made now, I’m not worried about a goddamn IED. I’m more concerned about the ambush after the IED.”
“They have no clue.”
Perth and Saginaw finished their mission with no incidents. They arrived at the chow hall at 18:45 in fresh cammies and time to spare.
They grabbed their platters and headed to the NCO seating area.
“Technically, I should be over there,” Perth pointed to the SNCO dining location.
“Ha, ha. I’m picking up when my baby’s born. I can bet you that.”
Perth issued his trademark laugh. They sat down to eat.
“Pizza and corn. You ever wonder why they give you pizza and corn?”
Perth took a bite of his slice. “I don’t know, man.”
“So with your divorce, you got a potential step-mom lined up for those two beautiful babies?”
Perth smirked. “I’ve been talking to a chick back home. She’s good. Went to school. Got two nursing degrees. She checks out.”
“Oh, she checks out, huh?” Saginaw said smiling. “My lady’s a manager at a superstore in town. She probably makes more money than me. In fact I know she makes more bank.” he took a bite of the pizza. “Plus I send her something out of my pay every month.”
“That’s good. Look,” Perth said rising. “We’ll have to talk about this some other time. You almost done?”
“Yes, I’m done.”
“You should come to the gym with me. Let out some of this irritation.”
“I’ll roll with you.”