This is my first story! Please read and review!
"The Terror Express"
It's raining pretty hard. I think it's funny, actually. Being on bus headed for United States Army Basic Training, with rain pounding on the vehicle, it gives you a special eerie feeling about to going off to war. Almost like a gloomy foreshadowing of what's going to happen. You see it happen in all the movies, and it's actually happening to me. Will it happen to me? It's like rain on a wedding day.
My name is Andy Gordon, and I'm going to be a soldier for the United Sates. I never dreamed of such a title coming right out of high school. I wanted to go to college. My plans for going to a New York State University for teaching are now interrupted with this shocking change in plans. My wonderful government felt that the graduating class of 1969 was the "ideal" age to begin a draft. You guessed it. I was drafted to be a soldier and "do my part" in the fight against "Charlie" in Vietnam. I heard it rains even harder over there.
I sit in a middle seat with my bags on my lap. I was allowed to bring few personal items to Parris Island Boot Camp. I have a picture of Katie, my little sister. She is a freshman in high school. Also, a pocket watch that my father handed down to me. It had a picture of a shield on it. Dad always said take this with you everywhere, because it'll protect you from bullets. My dad is crazy half the time, but it means a lot to me.
The bus stopped at a bus station and more GIs were climbing on the bus. They all looked lost as they were all soaked shuffling down the aisle. No one knew what was ahead of them. Hell, I'm just as confused! I can't believe I'm actually going off to war. A small Hispanic GI walked down the aisle and saw me sitting alone. No one was letting him sit down, because many of the guys on the bus are sore against the Spanish. I moved over and let him sit next to me. After moving the single bag he carried onto his lap, he said,
"I'm sorry about the wet…I probably got your bags wet. My name is Salla…Carlos Salla."
I couldn't help to notice his thin mustache and his black shiny hair. He looked like one of the Spanish cowboys in the western movies I saw as a kid. I replied
"Oh don't worry, and hello my name is Gordon…Andy Gordon"
I reached over and shook his hand and we both chuckled. We continued talking as Salla said,
"So Andy, you nervous about boot camp?"
I replied, "It probably won't be as bad as Vietnam, but I never really thought about it."
"I don't want to go. Do you know what boot camp does to you? There's drill sergeants screaming at you all day long to clean your boots! Do push-ups! Run five miles! Clean your boots again! …They are merciless."
"Yea I guess," I said back, "but you know they can't hit you Salla, right?"
"I guess they can't, but still. They mess with mind Andy, I'm tiny, and they will tear me apart."
Salla had his head down in shame. He just admitted to me he wasn't ready for Boot Camp. I wasn't either. I couldn't do a push-up for the life of me. Salla begins to speak quietly,
"Hey…Andy? Can…Can we stick together…you know, in camp? I hear they let you choose your bunks, and you're one of the only guys here that actually talk to me. No one was talking to me or even making eye contact at the bus station and…"
"Salla" I interrupted, "of course I will. You're the first to talk to me too. We should stay in the same squad together in 'Nam too. Don't worry, we'll stick together."
Salla smiled and thanked me. He looked out the window and commented on the rain. We both laughed. I felt very comfortable with Salla as I told him about Katie, my crazy dad, and my high school. As Salla was talking about the rain again, my mind wandered towards myself. Being on a bus with a bunch of guys sitting and chatting, brought back images of the bus rides to school as a kid. I remember getting made fun of for my "Sun-dance" western outlaw lunch box. They would always accuse me of rooting for the "bad guys" in the western movies. I laughed it off, usually sitting in the corner with my head glued to the window. As I look out the glass, I would watch the passing traffic and wait for my bus to get me home. This time however, the bus wouldn't take me home. I'm being taken far away and probably for years. I looked out the window briefly in hopes I would see my house. The bus stopped at the main gate into Parris Island boot camp. Salla nudged me to be still.
I look up because the whole bus got silent. The bus doors quickly open and rain blows into the bus. No one moved or spoke a single word. At first, we saw only the "Smokey Bear" drill sergeant hat come up the stairs first. Then the man himself appeared. He was a drill sergeant. He stood at the front of the bus soaked in a dark gray rain tunic. I held my breath. He screamed:
"SHUT YOUR FILTHY SUCKS! I DON'T KNOW WHY I HEAR A BUNCH OF NASTY CIVILLIANS RUNNIN' THEIR SEWERS! YOU WILL SIT THERE WITH YOUR HANDS ON YOUR KNEES, AND EYES LOCKED FORWARD AT THE BACK OF THE HEAD OF THE PIG SITTING INFRONT OF YOU! YOU WILL NOT MOVE!"
As quick as he came on the bus, he was gone. None of us dared to disobey him. His voice shrieked as he belted out his command at us. It sounded like a train wreck of broken glass. I never saw a man so far in my life scream that much without taking a breath. I was sweating. My hands were shaking on my knees. We knew we arrived.
A few minutes pass as our bus still waits in line to get into the Parris Island boot camp. We are all very tense. I try to control my breathing because it can get loud. The drill sergeant wasn't even on the bus, and the fear he struck into me made me obey still. I kept my eyes on the back of the blonde haired man in front of me. That's when I heard two more men walk onto the bus. They wiped all the water off them and obnoxiously complained about the rain outside. They chose a seat in the front. The two GIs joked around and spoke loudly, joking about us. They were not aware of the drill sergeant's orders, because they just came on the bus.
None of us dared to warn the two unaware boys. They joked, "Why's everyone so stiff?" "Are we in ancient Rome? All I see are statues!" "Lighten up!" No one responded or even flinched as the two laughed loudly like children. They were "playing baseball with hand grenades". My heart sank for them as I saw out the window the drill sergeant storming towards the bus. His boots stomped in the puddles and water flew in every direction as he forced open the doors. I couldn't help but feel guilty for not warning the two…
The angry drill sergeant marched up the stairs dripping wet and came inches away from the two's faces. I didn't look towards the boys at all, because I did not want to be yelled at. I bet they were frozen in fear. They were looking death in the eyes. The drill sergeant picked up on of the boy's bags and threw it off of the bus. He yelled,
"WHAT DID I TELL YOU BEFORE YOU SCUM LICKING FAGGOTS! DID YOUR MOTHER FUCKING GIVE YOU EARS? OR WAS SHE TO CHEAP TO BUY THEM? YOU FILTHY CUM EATERS ARE GOING TO CLEAN THE BATHROOMS OF YOUR PLATTON BARRACKS IMMEDIETLY. MABEY WE CAN TEACH YOU TWO CRUSTY BITCHES SOME RESPECT! HELL, YOU'RE NOT EVEN WORTHY OF BEING ON THIS BUS WITH THESE WANKERS YOU DIRTY WHORE SUCKING FUCKS!"
The drill sergeant grabbed the two boys and threw them off the bus and into the mud. The bus started to move into Parris Island. I dared to glance out the window. I saw the two victims getting slapped as they do push-ups in the wet mud. We were riding the "terror express". I knew I wasn't ready for this. No one was ready. Salla was shaking as much as I was. Will I even make it out alive from basic training? The rain pounding onto the bus is making it almost impossible to hear anything. I just want to go back home…