This weeks writing prompt for my Creative Writing course was “The Trouble Began When”.
This is one that I could easily get into because of my military background I could plug one of many stories that I have lived through in the years that I served. It’s a little rough, it is a spontaneous exercise so… Here is one, ENJOY!
A GI LOVE STORY
The trouble began when Jimmy thought that it was a good idea to go down to the local “Fiesta Center” “Reflectiones” in Honduras. We went one weekend just to see what it was about. There was a small dance floor, several tables set up and a larger table towards the back. The large table was saved exclusively for the Mamasita that sat and directed younger ladies to tables here and there to help along the consumption of alcohol. The idea being that if you got them to stay longer, because of the ladies, they would spend more. They would ask you to buy them drinks that they may or may not drink, they would make your job sound like it was the most fascinating job in the world (even though ours was pretty exciting). They would even teach you how to salsa if you were brave enough, or had enough bravery poured down your throat. I didn’t drink so I was always designated driver. This place was well know among the GI’s to be a great place to unwind and have a few drinks and some fun.
The first weekend, Mamasita designated one of the young ladies to our table specifically for me. Two other ladies came with her to buddy up to my friends. We had a great time, I had the courage to try and salsa, it doesn’t take any alcohol to fuel my good time. Jimmy had a good time also, but he really was drawn to the girl that I was with. He paid more attention to her than to the person that was dispatched to him. No biggie, that was their job. Make sure we had fun and spent money and we did.
The next weekend, we followed the same pattern. Go to the club, dance and drink and laugh. The difference about this trip was the fact that Jimmy had the same girl that I was dancing with the previous weekend. You could tell that he really liked her. He barely left her side to go to the latrine.
The third weekend, the only person that could make it was Jimmy. He was really excited to go this weekend for some reason. Monday morning, we found out why: Jimmy was engaged to “Mercedes”! Jimmy’s really wanted more but “Mercedes” would only agree if they were married, so they got engaged. Jimmy went to the BX that following day and bought a ring, started the paperwork so that she could gain citizenship into the U.S., and add her to his list of dependents. They were to be married in two months.
A couple weekends later, Jimmy spent the weekend at his fiancee’s parents house where they had set up a weekend long engagement party. From what I understand, none of us were invited, the party was unlike anything he had seen in his life. There was all types of food and drink and music playing and games. Her entire family showed up and he got to meet them several times. Did I mention that none of them spoke any english? Nope, not a word. Just enough to have very light conversation, but nothing close to the realm of what you would need to know if you want to marry the person.
Monday morning came and with it, Jimmy’s problems. Every 15-20 minutes Jimmy was in the latrine. His room was next to mine so I would hear his door open, then close, then his bare feet or his flip flops would go pattering on the pavement outside. He would come back only to repeat the process 20 minutes later. He was SICK! He was vomiting, had the Hershey Squirts, and still he refused to go to the hospital, which we lovingly called “The Medical Hobby Shop”, I think the pseudonym explains the reason why so we poured as many fluids into him as we could to keep him from being dehydrated. Seven, maybe ten, days went by with his stomach issues before he consented to go to the “MHS”, or hospital if you prefer, They took one look at his pale skin, sunken eyes, and unsteady gait and immediately took him and put an IV into his arm and began to diagnose him. Turns out he had some type of stomach bug from whatever he ate that weekend up in the hills at his “In-Laws” house. They gave him a tub af pills to take every time he went #2 and it should flush out, no pun intended, what ever bug he had picked up.
One Saturday morning, early, I had just finished a 10 mile run, I’m in the shower when Jimmy, right on schedule, comes swooping in to attack his best friend (He had named it but I forget what). After what seemed like a longer than normal bathroom break, Jimmy calls out to me.
“Smitty!” What’s he want from me? I ignore him.
“Smitty! C’mere man! You got to see this!!!”
Now, you have to understand, the military is a very open culture. We share everything. No topic is off the table, at least with my crew. We were very tight, but not so tight to where I wanted to go to that stall to see what Jimmy was calling me for.
“Nah, man. I’m good.”
“For real!!! You HAVE to see this!” He had some panic in his voice but not in a life or death way, He was talking in the way kids would talk if they found a frog in a pond or a dead bird on the side of the road.
“I’m good. Finish up. Just tell me!”
“Get in here! I can’t tell you this, you have to see it!”
I finish up showering and take my time heading over to where Jimmy is. I pretend to take extra care drying myself. Maybe he will lose interest or forget that he has even asked me to come over. Heck, maybe he will just get the idea that I don’t want to see what it is that fascinates him so. I don’t care, but I go.
What i see in the toilet is nothing short of one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. The water in the toilet is moving, yes moving! At least two dozen spaghetti like worms, for lack of a better word, had been forced out of Jimmy’s intestines and made there way here to the bowl.
“I didn’t need to see that Jimmy”
“I know, but somebody needed to witness it or no one would believe me.”
“You plan to tell someone else about this?”
“Well now I do!”
To tell the truth, I haven’t told that story too many times, but when I do, I remember that The trouble began with Jimmy and Jimmy got it in the end.
Oh, the wedding? Jimmy did marry Mercedes after thousabds of dollars, mounds of paperwork and 6 moths long in country. They went from Honduras to North Dakota in the middle of December, she hated it, found another guy that had orders to Florida, divorced Jimmy and married the other guy.
A G.I. love story…