Every one in my block had gone home or out partying for the weekend having passed the room inspection. I was the only fool remaining. The night before, for some reason I still can’t work out, I thought it’d be a good idea to go out on the piss, and believe me from what I can remember it really was, but on top of my morning hangover I had to deal with the prospect of having to re-parade my bed space later that day!
Already feeling sorry for myself, I somehow had to conjure up the strength to blitz my corner and appear sober enough so as I could still clear off home like the others.
I totally had this in the bag, I’d done it loads of times, this time tomorrow I would be at home with my friends and family. Little did I know that, that wasn’t the plan!
The guy came back to inspect my work and smell my breath. He was a sergeant, and a total knob head on a power trip. I stood to attention as he entered the room and made his presence clear by clearing his throat, and then made his way over to my locker. I looked around as far as my eyes could press without turning my head, and held my breath, hard. Crossing my fingers in my mind Praying that he had seen sense and would let me on my way. Then he appeared in my line of sight. He seemed to slide in front of me like an apparition that wasn’t there at first and then revealed itself. His eyes bore into mine and his face had an evil expression, black and deathly like the eye of a great white. He got straight to the point:
“You’re a shit state boy! Did you go drinking last night?”
“Are you lying to me boy?”
“Re-parade at 1700, after scoff!”
“Yes sergeant” I replied, only this time with a weakened tone, knowing any plans I had of a weekend’s freedom were kaput.
As soon as he had left the room, I slumped onto my bed, dropped my head into my hands, and wept.
I had been there for 6 weeks solid, with no glimpse of the outside world, and now I was facing another 6 weeks of the same shit.
As I shuffled along the conveyor belt of food in the scoff house, I loaded up my plate and turned around to see a field of empty chairs sat quietly in groups. I was spoilt for choice on where to sit this time, which made a change.
Soon as I started to dig in with my fork, I realised how relaxed I had become and that I had stopped feeling sorry for myself and began to think clearly. If he was gonna punish me with mind games and not give me my little bit of freedom, I will be a worthy opponent for him, and so I sat plotting scenarios, ready for our next encounter.
I stood to attention as he returned for another round of mind games, he glanced around my locker and bed space and squared up to me with the intent of breaking me written all over his face. Only little did he know I was ready!
He asked me “So lad, would you have gone home today if you had passed inspection?”
It was too quick, he revealed his hand too early, I had him by the balls and he didn’t even realise.
“No sergeant!” I replied victoriously. I went on, “I have no home or family, the army is my only home, this is my family now.”
He looked at me puzzled and confused but most importantly defeated, all of his attempts to break me where instantly dashed with just one sentence.
“FUCKING LITTLE SHIT!” he screamed, his anger beyond boiling point, his rage took over and he trashed my locker, slinging everything out of the window. Bit by bit all of my hard work destroyed in seconds, but I broke him, I beat him at his own game and after that I smiled every time he passed me or beasted me and I couldn’t have been more happier!
The author of this series has asked to remain anonymous.