A Man In Uniform

20 Nov
Toy Soldiers (silhouette)

flickr image by Kyle May

When one decides to embark on a bus tour around the western coast of the USA,  marketed towards eighteen to thirty five year olds, one has a fair idea of the looseness one is about to be exposed to. Slang names from ex-patrons such as ‘Booze Bus’, ‘Shaggin’ Wagon’ and the ‘Root ‘n Spew’ portray uncannily accurate descriptions of the most popular activities on such a tour. But then, capturing photos molesting various statues and giving the finger in the foreground of famous buildings are also on the agenda.

In my younger hedonistic days I travelled on such a tour. After exploring the sandy outcrops of The Grand Canyon and the trashy glitz of Las Vegas, the bus sped onwards to our next destination – San Diego.

San Diego is renowned for several tourist attractions. The San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Sea World and the Gaslamp Quarter usually feature highly on a visitor’s sightseeing itinerary. However, my San Diego to-do list contained a bold inclusion – a man in uniform.  With a city that boasts one of the largest naval fleets in the world, along with army training programs, San Diego is teaming with military men.

On my last night in the city, that one elusive criterion on my wish list had yet to be crossed off. My roommate shared my ambition and joined me in a raucous club in the Gaslamp Quarter for the greedy consumption of a rainbow assortment of shots – all purchased by willing suitors. The bar was bursting with a cornucopia of military personnel. All young, available and willing to generously shower two visiting Aussie girls with attention, and more importantly, free drinks.

As the night gave way to early morning, my roommate and I selected our two favourite army lads and piled into a BMW bound for our hotel. Shortly afterwards, we stumbled into our small hotel room with the two hopeful soldiers in tow.

My roommate and her overly-affectionate partner tumbled awkwardly onto one of the single beds, limbs entwined.

“Woo!” I hooted drunkenly, kicking off my boots, which banged against the wall before thudding dejectedly to the floor. “Let’s part-tay!” I swayed sloppily towards the mini bar and began furrowing around with the contents. As I rifled energetically, my bottom swaying in the air, overpriced miniature bottles of liquor crashed haphazardly to the floor.

However, my ferreting was quickly interrupted by a firm hand upon my arm. My sozzled eyes travelled from the large intruding hand, to a lean forearm, muscled bicep, squat neck, followed by a blockish head. Yet the face was handsome and the dark eyes gazed at me hungrily. Without a word, my soldier pulled me from the inviting embrace of the mini bar and steered me out of the hotel towards his awaiting vehicle.

I remember little of the journey to the army barracks. My memory is too hazy to determine if the trip took a mere five minutes or half an hour. When we arrived I was ushered through the carpark, adorned in my sparkly top, jeans and a pair of bright pink socks, as I hadn’t thought to put my boots back on before leaving the hotel.

The security guard looked at me warily as we entered the barracks. “Aw, Craig, you know you’re not meant to bring girls back,” he whined, before looking me up and down lasciviously. “You got any ID, honey?”

I shook my head, having not only left my shoes behind, but also my handbag.

“Aw, man, you know they’ve gotta bring ID,” the security guard complained again to the soldier, whom I had just discovered was named Craig. “I can’t sign ‘em in without a passport or driver’s licence.”

Craig chuckled. “C’mon, I know you let Chuck bring a chick back last night.” He gestured towards me. “Besides, this is my cousin visiting from Australia.”

“Cousin!” scoffed the security guard. “Is that how they do things down under?” He sniggered sleazily, extending his balled up fist towards my companion. My soldier laughed conspiratorially, before bumping his fist against the proffered one in a macho high-five type motion.

“Have fun darlin’!” sneered the security guard as Craig began to lead me through a rabbit warren of brightly lit hallways, before unlocking the door to his studio apartment.

The apartment looked much like a self-contained motel room. We walked into a sitting room, with a small kitchenette in one corner and a door that no doubt led to the bathroom. The apartment was shaped like an upside down L, with a large bed nestled comfortably in the far corner. This was the area to which I was unceremoniously led.

My final tourist activity for the city of San Diego was then fulfilled – an impressive, yet exhausting number of times. As the soldier rolled off me and lolled on the bed with a satisfied sigh, I remembered with a jolt that my tour bus was to depart the city at six o’clock in the morning. Rising naked from the bed, I spied the blaring red numbers of a nearby alarm clock, notifying me it was now five o’clock.

“Fuck!” I screeched ungracefully, my loud voice startling the soldier from his contented post-coital reverie. “My bus leaves in an hour!” I began to frantically locate my clothes and redress myself hastily. “You’ve got to drive me back to the hotel,” I bossily commanded, hurling his earlier discarded clothes in his direction.

Five o’clock in the morning is an ungodly hour. One during which I prefer to spend slumbering comfortably in my bed. However, this is not the case amongst the majority of residents at an army barracks, where young men awaken criminally early to work out in the gym, go for a jog or squeeze in some extra training. As Craig escorted me back through the maze of hallways towards the exit of the barracks, I became aware of the prying and extremely audacious eyes of many soldiers. Craig strutted cockily at my side, enthusiastically accepting the proffered high fives and mock salutes of passing comrades.  

I was only too aware of my dishevelled state, including a rather large birds nest hairstyle, smudged panda eyes and feet clad only in bright pink socks. I’m sure this obvious get-up only exacerbated the bold stares I was attracting. As countless sweaty men made their way back from the gym, I was treated to many of them guffawing loudly and making overtly sexual gestures such as thrusting their hips suggestively, making masturbation motions in the air and darting their pointed tongues between fingers raised in a lewd V. These encounters only served to turn my face a brighter shade of crimson, while Craig’s chest visibly swelled with pride.

As we made our way out into the carpark, a bunch of soldiers spotted us and hooted loudly, “Yeeow!” One soldier grabbed the head of another and shoved it repeatedly towards his crotch in a vulgar simulation of oral sex.

I was colossally glad to once again be nestled safely amongst the black leather of his BMW, hurtling back towards my hotel. However, the feeling of relief was short lived as I exited his vehicle with a quick departing wave and entered the hotel lobby. My unkempt appearance, teamed with the unpleasant aroma of tobacco and tequila, ensured I was awfully conspicuous as I scuttled towards the elevator.

A gaggle of elderly women, who had just arrived on an early morning airport shuttle, took in my dishonourable appearance teamed with my guilty expression and grabbed at their wrinkled chests with yelps of horrified disgust. As I hurried past the reception desk, an overtly camp clerk sniffed the air derisively while wearing a mask of utter disdain. As I waited impatiently for my saviour (the elevator) to arrive, a young mother yanked her son from my close proximity, shielding his face in her long jacket, glaring at me murderously. It seemed through merely being in the same vicinity as the infant I was not only morally corrupting the innocent child but possibly infecting him with some phantom mutant strain of airborne One Night Stand herpes.

Possibly my recount of the hotel lobby scene is a tad exaggerated and wasn’t exactly as horrendous as I’m making out. Thankfully, it was prior to six o’clock in the morning and there weren’t too many eye witnesses about. However, with my bright pink socks shining like beacons, eye catching going-out garb and my I’ve-just-spent-all-night-fucking-a-stranger hair and make-up, it was quite easy to feel self conscious and paranoid.

As I reached the safety of the hotel room, my noisy entrance startled the two slumbering figures entwined under the sheets on one of the narrow beds. “Bus leaves in twenty minutes!” I screeched frantically at my sleeping roommate and her companion.

The shower was put to hasty use and my belongings crammed back inside my suitcase with a supreme lack of precision. As my watch informed me it was now six o’clock, I crashed out the door of the room, down the elevator and hurtled at breakneck speed through the lobby. As I raced past the same disgusted desk clerk from earlier, I flipped my middle finger dismissively in his direction. Spying the bus parked halfway down the block, I began pelting down the footpath, the wheels of my suitcase screaming in protest, my untied shoelaces whipping around my ankles.  Amazingly, I arrived just as the driver was closing the storage compartment. After transferring custody of the suitcase to his capable care, I boarded the bus to a round of appreciative applause. Apparently my mad dash had acquired an audience.

Breathless, flushed, relieved and supremely nauseous thanks to a rapidly developing hangover, I plonked myself into the last remaining seat – next to my roommate. She extended her hand, offering me the precious gift of a thick slice of heartily buttered toast.

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One Response to “A Man In Uniform”

  1. mariasrandomrants November 21, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    I Like! You’re very good at ramping up a story with descriptive visuals. BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed my slightly promiscuous twenties. Made for some good memories.

    Coincidentally, I just posted this ‘Strange Places I’ve Woken Up After A Night Of Drinking’ http://mariasrandomrants.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/strange-places-ive-woken-up-after-a-night-of-drinking/. Hope you enjoy.

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