A Rainy Night in Georgia
"Hey Frank, did you hear the rumors about Sergeant Benson?"
Harvey Greenstein is standing on the other side of my top bunk in Barracks no. 4 of Company C. I’m trying to make up my bunk in time for the morning's inspection. I was fussing over those tight hospital corners that the First Sergeant demanded and I really didn't want to be bothered by Harvey's usual shit. Most of the other trainees had already left the barracks for the morning roll call and I didn’t want to be late.
"No, what in the hell are you talking about?" I said.
"I just got back from the mess hall and there are all kinds of rumors floating around about Benson."
"Rumors? Hell, the whole damn Army is nothing but rumors. None of which are ever true."
The trainee in the bunk beneath mine, Wesley Collins, woke up and turned in his bunk. "Can't you guys keep it down?” He rolled over on his back and pulled his pillow around his ears.
"Christ, sorry for waking you up. I should have known better. Asshole." Collins wasn’t worried about making roll call. He was excused from training because he was waiting for a medical discharge to come through for what he claimed was a bad back.
I decided to humor Harvey: "What kind of rumors are you talking about this time?"
"Somebody said Benson was stabbed to death last night." As Harvey said this, I noticed a slight smile spread across his broad face.
“You've got to be kidding? That’s probably just wishful thinking on somebody’s part."
I finished tucking in the last corner of the top sheet on my bunk. The sheet was pulled so tight that I was convinced that even the First Sergeant's quarter would bounce right off it during the morning's inspection.
Just then, I heard reveille sound. I ran my hand over the sheet one last time, smoothing out an imaginary wrinkle. I grabbed my field jacket and ran outside the barracks behind Harvey who lumbered out the door. Although he was still what most people would call obese, he had lost thirty pounds since he had started basic training and his olive drab fatigues just hung on him. He looked like an implausible soldier.
As I was leaving the barracks, I looked back and saw that Collins had rolled over in his bunk and I could hear him snoring loudly.