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“NOTHING PERSONAL”

by OPOVV, ©2016

Union Station, Los Angeles (bus terminal)

(Jun. 7, 2016) — “Howdy; name’s Dave. You going to Los Angeles?”

“Al the way.”

“No kidding. Me, too. You going on vacation or something?”

“You could say that. I’m in the military.”

“Oh. Hey, that’s funny, you equating the military with vacation. Funny.”

“Look, I don’t want to appear rude but I haven’t had much sleep. LAX is fogged-in so the plane had to land in Phoenix and I’m supposed to be back at base. The wait for the bus took forever and then we had to go to the station to pick up a couple of passengers, you being one of them.”

“Oh, sure. And thank you for letting me share your bus, I really appreciate it. Where do you come from? I mean, the plane before it had to land here?”

“Chicago.”

“No kidding? ‘Land-of-the-Gangsters.’ I always wanted to go there. You ever see any of them?”

“See any of who?”

“Gangsters. Do they walk around carrying violin cases like you see in the movies? Is there always shootings?”

“Yes and yes. It’s a very dangerous place. Don’t go there: go somewhere where it’s safe, like Miami.”

“Now I think you’re kidding me. Ever been to Miami? See all the girls on the beach?”

“Yes. Look, I’m in the military, okay? I travel; they send me places. It’s just no big deal.”

“Ever been in combat? Do you have any medals?”

“Let’s make a deal. I answer you and then you let me cut some Zzz’s.”

“’Zzz-s.’ Hey, that’s military talk, isn’t it? ‘Cut some Zzz’s’. Like cutting wood, is it? Hey, I might join you and cut some Zzz’s.”

“I wish you would.”

“Hey, you just made a pun: ‘wood’ and ‘would.’ You’re a funny guy. But you didn’t answer my question.”

“What question?”

“Combat and medals.”

“Yes and yes. Goodnight.”

“Where was the combat? What country? Was there a big ceremony? Was the press there, pictures taken?”

“Look, last time. Fair warning. The combat took place in XXXX. There was no ceremony and no pictures, just a citation and a little box with a little Hershey Bar inside.”

“’Hershey Bar’? Like the kind you eat?”

“No, not the kind you eat. Hershey Bar as in common as dirt; nothing but a public relations stunt. Look here, the only people, and I do mean the ONLY people who MAY deserve ‘The Medal’ are the corpsmen. All the others don’t add up to a hill of beans. You shouldn’t reward people for just doing their job.”

“When you say ‘The Medal’ you’re talking about the Medal of Honor?”

“You got it.”

“I bet you like being in the military.”

“Maybe I might’ve, but not with this clown as the Commander-in-Chief.”

“You mean Obama? Why, he’s the greatest president we ever had. Don’t you know they say he’s the smartest man in the whole world?”

“Look, your Obama is nothing but a sorry excuse for a human being, okay? And on top of that, he’s the worse CIC – Commander-in-Chief — we ever had with his destructive – for our side – Rules of Engagement. And if that weren’t enough, my dog is smarter than Obama ever was, is and ever will be or ever could be, you got that?

“Now, there’s one thing you didn’t ask me. The one question you didn’t ask me was how I killed the enemy. Well, now, I think I’ll just tell you. I used my bare hands. I’ve tried to be nice, a gentlemanly traveling companion, but I’m about to lose it completely. I’m now an inch from doing grievous harm to you; no, that’s wrong. Make that a half-inch. Wrong again. Make it a quarter-inch and getting smaller, a LOT smaller.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll shut up. I’ll keep quiet.”

“Next sound out of you will be your last. No warning. It’ll just happen and it’ll happen so fast you won’t even know it. It’ll happen so fast you won’t even have time to cry out or to even feel any totally immense pain. You’ll be here, and then you won’t. Nobody will see or hear a thing.  And after it’s all over and done with, after the bus pulls in at the terminal in Los Angeles, I’ll get up and walk out with all the other passengers and they’ll just think you’re asleep, and by the time they find you dead as a doornail I’ll be halfway to Camp Pendleton. You’ll never hear my voice again, and if I hear one peep out of you it’ll be your last.

“I’m not even going to ask you if you understand what I just said because if you answer me it’ll be the end for you; permanent. It’s nothing personal. Understand that. It’s just that I tried to be as polite as ever-lasting it’s possible to be. I’m really a nice guy but, well, that’s just the way it is. I can’t help it.

“Goodnight.”

[Note to the Reader:  What you just read is a true story, the night bus ride from Phoenix to Los Angeles, due to LAX being fogged-in. It happens. This is an excellent example that the key to conversation is the ability to listen. Sometimes it’s just not a good idea to push the issue. If you ever hear the phrase, “Don’t push it,” don’t.]

Semper Fi

OPOVV

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