dontravis.com blog post #480
I trust everyone made it through the holidays okay… although that’s a matter of great faith in these times. I lost one good friend—about whom I lamented on this site a couple of weeks ago. And the terrible pandemic sweeping through the world and robbing so many of their lives, seems to be gathering strength, rather than waning. We’re all betting heavily on the vaccines about which we hear so much and see so little.
This week, I’d like to start a four-parter. I call it the Whiz Quiz Washout. The reason becomes quickly clear. Let’s get started. (By the way, don't ask me why the first paragraph is different. That's just the way the Web Site gods decreed. Nothing I did changed it.)
WHIZ QUIZ WASHOUT
A uniform is a powerful thing. Any kind of uniform: street cleaner, cop, army, navy—it doesn’t matter. But an airman’s uniform is something uber-special. Desert camo or dress blue, it doesn’t matter. Let’s face it, a uniform is just cloth and buttons and zippers until someone puts it on. Then it confers power and grace and beauty on the man or woman wearing it. That uniform is why I made the U. S. Air Force my career.
I had returned from a dispute with the finance weenies over my housing allowance to find Wayne Biers, my junior Training Instructor absolutely apoplectic. Wayne was a Staff Sergeant in the first of a three-year assignment with the Basic Military Training Command at Quarrels AFB. In my opinion, he was only marginally qualified to be an AETC Instructor. He came to the program from one of the NAF support units, and I’m not certain his Mississippi high school diploma, a requirement for a TI, was genuine. Oh, he was smart enough, but he tended to be narrow in his opinions. The incident that set him off this time was a case in point.
“He’s a fucking queer, I tell you, Tom!” He had left our Rainbow Flight standing at ease on the drill pad to come inside the orderly room and pour his homophobia out onto my desk. “Rainbows” is a time-honored term for Air Force recruits so new they haven’t even been issued uniforms. “Flunked his whiz quiz,” Wayne went on.
“He tested positive for drugs?” The question was perfunctory. We didn’t get test results back that quickly.
“Fuck no!” Wayne’s five-foot eight frame wiggled like it was infested with chiggers. “Couldn’t piss a drop and started getting a hard-on for his Pecker-Checker.” Outrage heightened his normally ruddy complexion. “Pulled a boner right out in the open. I say we wash the faggot out. Get rid of him before he infects the flight. Hell, the fucking squadron.”
I paused a moment, studying the slight man almost dancing in agitation in front of my desk. Was my assistant’s homophobia driven by fear? “Biers, you do know Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell is coming to an end, don’t you?”
“Hell, I know that. Fucking shame. Then they’ll be able to tell you even if you don’t ask. All the more reason to ship this guy before that comes down the flight path.
“You saw this with your own eyes?”
“Yes. No. Well, I seen he was having trouble pissing. And the tech told me about the hard-on later. I tell, you Gley, he was the last one outa there. Rest of the flight was in formation ‘fore he come out looking whipped.”
“What’s his name?”
“Corso. Justin O. Corso. I got him waiting in the dorm.”
“You get the rest of our pickles to their next appointment, and I’ll go talk to Corso. But you treat him just like everyone else until I tell you different. Do you hear?”
“Yes, Tech Sergeant. I hear. Loud and clear.”
“All right, get those Rainbows moving. I’ll bring Corso when I’m finished with him.”
He did an about-face and left, most likely figuring he’d got his lick in, and I’d fall into line. That was one of the things I didn’t like about him.
The comforting sound of TIs counting cadence and the more or less uniform stamp of marching shoes soothed my subconscious as I snatched a quick glance at the trainee’s file. Corso was twenty years old. Older than most Rainbows. College grad with a major in history. OCS material. So why had he enlisted?
When I entered my flight’s bay on the third floor of the big dorm, I got the shock of the day. It was an expression of my own prejudices that I’d expected a pasty-faced, androgynous creature cowering in fear. Instead, a sculpted, handsome, dark-haired young man snapped to attention the moment I blew through the door.
“Sir! Trainee Justin O. Corso, reporting as ordered, sir!”
The voice was deep and manly. He looked like a fucking Air Force recruiting poster—well built, handsome, masculine. Too damned handsome. I left him at attention. Hoping to take him off guard, I spoke without the normal TI bluster, probably the first time that had happened to him since he boarded the bus at the airport for the short ride here.
“I’m Technical Sergeant Thomas Gley, your Senior MTI…military training instructor. Staff Sergeant Biers tells me we have a problem.”
“Don’t know…uh. Sir, I don’t know what the problem is, sir!” He recovered fast.
In the best TI manner, I leaned forward and put my face in his. “What’s this I hear, Recruit?” I shouted. “You gonna be the first trainee in history to washout over the whiz quiz? What’s the matter with you?” I barely restrained myself from asking if he was gay. That wasn’t allowed nowadays…DADT wasn’t gone quite yet. “Well, answer me!” I roared.
“Sir, bashful kidneys, sir!”
“What?” I asked, rocking back on my heels, distracted by his musky aftershave. I took another look. Jeez, this kid was fucking beautiful. If I was queer, I could go for him, myself. I flashed back to a TDY in BFE where I’d shared some experiences with another young tech. BFE—Bum Fucking Egypt—but it had been a great place for me for those few months. I hadn’t thought about what happened over there in five years!
“Sir, bashful kidneys, sir. Have trouble pissing on command. Always have. Uh, sir.”
I took a deep breath and leaned in again. “You’re not trying to stall until some drugs clear your system by any chance? If you are, you might as well forget it. I’ve had every trick in the book tried on me, Corso.”
“Sir, no, sir! I gave a sample, sir. I complied with the requirement, sir.”
“So you managed to pee in a cup.”
He glanced at me through sheepish eyes. “Yes, sir. Finally managed it.”
Wonder what’s building here? As someone who had shy kidneys in the military, my sympathies lie with Airman Corso. Course, the way he looks doesn’t hurt any.
Tune in next week.
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