A Veterans Day Special
In the military we were all trained to improvise and overcome any given situation. I was with Bravo 4-10, back in 1990, and during our weapon’s training, we’d been marched for about a half hour or more, out into the middle of Fort-Lost-In-The-Woods, where we actually lost someone who stopped to piss along the way. Because of the risk of the missing soldier accidentally wandering across one of the firing lanes, we were then ordered to sit and wait in the hot Missouri summer sun until they found the missing recruit.
After what seemed an eternity, and with chow and a canteen of water already passed through our systems, we were allowed to use one of the antiquated WW II latrines that had been all but forgotten, out in the middle of the black widow and recluse spider infested Mark Twain National Forest. I believe this old wooden relic, with it’s back to back solid row of wooden toilet seats, not individual seats, but one long hollow wooden box with about 20 or more holes cut into the top of each, that dropped our waste into some horrifying toxic mixture down below that we could not see, but only smell. The smell of the place could be picked up almost a click out, and once we saw it, it filled us all with dread. It was old, like something from a Sam Raimi horror film. There were no lights inside, just the sunlight coming through the door and any cracks in the rook that was in great disrepair. If I could compare the odor to anything, it stank of not only old and new shit and urine, but also like death.
People were dry heaving before even entering and everyone was trying to hold their breaths to go in. A few threw up. Those of us in charge, the squad leaders, could see the Drill Sergeants were enjoying this new kind of torture, watching us all with great amusement. I knew it was my moral obligation to share with the guys my improvised solution to the problem. I told my guys to pull out our M40 pro-masks…or as civilians would call them “Gas Masks.” We put them on, cleared them and, lead the charge of the second wave going in. once others saw what we were doing, especially those inside, began scrambling to put their masks on as well.
Suddenly everyone calmed down and were able to navigate the situation with calm.
Of course, being me, I had to announce, “Now all we have to worry about is getting our asses and balls bit by black widows hiding under the seats.”