Chapter 08

Walker Chapter 08

Copyright 2011 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

I slowly woke up, realized Mira was also awake and was shocked because I couldn't remember the last time I slept so well. Plus, I'm fully covered and we are sharing the middle of the bed: It surprised me she's not like most women - a bed hog or cover thief.

 

She scooted back tightly against me. I worried about my morning wood as it pressed against her, but she totally ignored my condition and greeted me, "Good morning honey, how well did you sleep?"

 

I replied, "Uh, I think I slept pretty well." Then I realized how light it was but couldn't get to my watch because she was laying on my arm so I asked, "What time is it anyway?"

 

She giggled, looked at her wrist and replied, "O-eight-hundred, but do not worry because this is Sunday and after yesterday's Bataan death run we have the whole day off. However if you would not mind, I would like to get up, go to the bathroom and repair the crushing cranium ache I have from you getting me intoxicated last night and then taking advantage of me."

 

I hopped out of bed then she kissed me lightly on the cheek and headed to the bathroom. I scratched my head and wondered: Did I really take advantage of her? We did have a lot of Saki last night, but I sure didn't remember doing anything inappropriate.

 

I started to make the bed and suddenly it dawned on me: Wait a fucking minute, this couldn't be right. I called Tom and asked him to bring me a change of civilian clothes ASAP to Mira's room. He started to give me shit so I hung up the phone and waited. I sure hoped he arrived before Mira finished in the bathroom…

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I was luxuriating in my boyfriend's arms for hours and came up with a little practical prank for today: I would act like he forcefully trained me last night. We both had just enough Saki (OK I had too much Saki and should know better than to drink with a Marine) that my cranium complained bitterly. My idea would make a fun first practical prank of the day.

 

I finished my morning duties, took some pills to alleviate my aching cranium, walked out into our room but my boyfriend was gone. He left me a note:

 

Mira,

I am very sorry about last night, but it's plain that I can't trust myself to stay in your room with you. The temptation is too great so I'm going back to bivouac with the guys.

Ben

 

Oh no, my boyfriend actually believed he forcefully trained me last night and had now left our room after I finally managed to entice him back in our room. Perhaps my practical prank was not so funny this time. I must find him and confess my practical prank.

 

I hurriedly dressed in a very nice short skirt and white blouse which I daringly tied at the waist to show off my sexy belly, grabbed my purse, opened the door and…

 

My boyfriend grinned at me! I stormed up to him and complained, "L.Cpl. Blaine, that practical prank was not funny! I am very upset!"

 

He gave me a very grumpy look and barked like a dog, "Mira you should know better. Yes, you tricked me yesterday but your prank today was ill-conceived, poorly executed and mean! I didn't do anything to you this morning that you didn't do to me. The next time you accuse me of getting you drunk and raping you will be the last time you ever see me."

 

I realized the massive mistake I made and how badly it upset the L.Cpl. I humbly apologized, "My boyfriend, I thought you would find it humorous but I realize now not all practical pranks are well received. Please forgive me and please do not let this ruin our day off."

 

He grinned and asked, "So when did you learn about practical jokes?"

 

I replied, "You taught me by watching you and I determined that many times they are very amusing. Pray tell, how did you recognize this morning's activity as a prank?"

 

He smiled, "Well, you are under repair, so we would have made a giant mess in the bed; but the bed was spotless."

 

Ah ha - I made a cranial notation to remember little details like that in the future. I asked, "So what are we doing today."

 

He replied, "I still have a score to settle with Jack about last night."

 

I sidled up to him and said, "So you are upset with Sgt. Reynolds?"

 

He laughed, "Yeah, Jack needs his ass kicked."

 

Flashback – Jack – Day seven of spook school

 

I slept like hell last night! I kept having nightmares about digging latrines in Thule with a spoon and freezing my ass off. I woke up and was just getting my hand and head around a cup of coffee, when the door burst open and Banzai stormed in, followed by Mira.

 

He yelled, "Jack I came to kick your ass."

 

I stood up, turned, faced him and said, "Listen Banzai..."

 

He interrupted, "The time for talking is over, after what you did last night you need your ass kicked."

 

I was shocked as hell at what Mira did next…

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

Sgt. Reynolds did not need his derriere accosted since last night was plainly my fault. Besides, I wanted to go to town and did not want to waste time on male posturing and silly fist fights. So I did something my sister Ira and I often did to 'peacefully' settle fights: I grabbed the sleeping appliance off the top bunk and attacked my boyfriend with it.

 

He turned towards me, I smacked him again and taunted, "Oh big tough male, stop posturing and fight me!" Then I smacked him one more time.

 

He looked confused so I smacked him again and teased, "Have you not ever heard of fight with sleeping appliances? Or perhaps you are as inept with sleeping appliances as you are with other weapons?"

 

Flashback – Jack – Day seven of spook school

 

Shit if Mira wanted a pillow fight, I'd give her one! I grabbed a pillow and smacked her a good one, and then nailed Banzai just for the fun of it.

 

Banzai finally got into it, grabbed a pillow, nailed Mira a good one and then hit me. And the great American pillow fight was on!!!

 

Somewhere part way through the pillow fight, the pillows broke open and feathers flew everywhere. When the pillows went flat, the fight was over and all the tension between us disappeared. I reconned my room and confirmed it was FUBARed.

 

Banzai grinned at me and said, "Mira and I are headed to town. Too bad you have to stay here and clean your room."

 

Mira added salt to the wound when she suggested, "Boyfriend I think it would be an excellent idea if you called Major M and asked him to perform a room inspection on Sgt. Reynolds' room."

 

Banzai laughed, "Mira, I like your style. We'll do that on the way to town."

 

Son-of-a-bitch, he'd better not do that…

 

As they left the room I watched Banzai pull out his damn phone! The bastard!

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

My boyfriend took out his phone to make a call and I queried, "Are you really calling Malodorous Major M?"

 

He held up his finger because he had already made the call and said into the phone, "Tom, yeah this is Ben. I want you and Howard to move my gear into Mira's new room."

 

There was a pause and my boyfriend said, "Hell no, that's not going to happen because Mira's little sister's here." I could hear the laughter from Tom then my boyfriend hung up the phone. I informed him with confusion, "Boyfriend, I do not have a little sister. She is my twin sister and she is certainly not here."

 

He laughed and replied, "Mira 'little sister' is a euphemism for you being under repair."

 

I crimsoned and sputtered, "Boyfriend the whole world does not need to know about this!"

 

Then he answered and said, "Many women in America put a big red P on their clothes when they are under repair. I plan on buying one for you when we're in town"

 

I gave him a shocked look… then he grinned as I determined it was yet another practical prank and said, "Ha ha, I know that is a fallacy. But do you not feel it was mean to tease Sgt. Reynolds? He will think you called the Malodorous Major."

 

He laughed then said, "After last night, Jack deserves it." This made me emote much happiness.

 

I reminded him, "We do need to be here for dinner tonight because I have another new costume to wear."

 

He looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes and suddenly I could not wait until tonight…

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

I borrowed Tom and Howard's rental car and we headed into D.C. for the day. The day was nice and on the way Mira droned on about female nonsense which I quickly tuned out (like most men) and muttered an occasional uhuh and nodded my head. I thought about many things: How pissed off I was at Mr. Smith; what the next week of school would be like; was it really safe staying in the same room with Mira (and if it wasn't, how in the hell I was going to leave without her shooting me); how pissed off I was at Mr. Smith (did I mention that already?); a funny little noise the car was making; how pissed off I was at Mr. Smith (did I mention that already?); getting shot in the ass (it felt even better today); I wondered how my cabin in Leadville was doing; how pissed off I was at Mr. Smith (did I mention that already?); and the weather.

 

I finally said, "Okay."

 

Mira scooted over beside me, hugged my arm and said, "Thank you, thank you thank you my wonderful boyfriend!"

 

And then I fearfully wondered what the hell I had agreed too: With Mira being this excited, it couldn't be good for me…

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I was extremely excited to be going to Washington D.C. with my boyfriend and became a verbose Veronica (chatty Cathy). But my boyfriend did not care and he was so attentive to me! He let me verbalize and even provided feedback to assure me he completely comprehended my discourse. I gradually worked the conversation around to a subject that tremendously interested me. Then I became bold and asked him a very serious question to which he replied, "Okay." I tried to crawl into his lap, but the center car console circumvented that activity so I hugged his arm! He was such a wonderful boyfriend and made me such a happy girl!

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

Shit I needed time to think, a distraction. I looked at Mira and asked, "You want to get some breakfast?"

 

She smiled and answered, "Whatever you wish my wonderful boyfriend."

 

I pulled into a chain restaurant, known for their breakfasts, stopped the car jumped out and Mira didn't follow. I looked at her as she sat in her seat and motioned to the door. I finally figured I needed to start opening doors for her. What the hell had I unknowingly agreed to – there had to be some way to figure it out!

 

I opened her door and she jumped out. She latched onto my arm and reminded me of one of those nasty, huge, red-black, miserable aquatic-vampire leeches in Nam, smiled at me, kissed me on the cheek and said, "Thank you boyfriend for getting my car door."

 

We didn't really walk into the restaurant; it was more like she paraded me into the restaurant like I was her trophy. I got a very uncomfortable feeling – what the hell did I agree to? I felt even worse when the waitress said as she seated us, "You two are such a cute couple, it must be nice to be in love."

 

Mira gushed a response, "Oh it is! And he is such a wonderful and thoughtful boyfriend."

 

The minute we sat, Mira did the woman thing and said, "I need to go to the ladies room and freshen up."

 

I asked, "What would you like to eat?"

 

She stood up, smiled and said, "I will have whatever you are having." Then she almost skipped to the ladies room. She was entirely to fricken happy!

 

The waitress took our order. Mira finally came back from the ladies room, walked up to my side of the booth, looked at me and demanded, "Please relocate so I can sit beside you." I started to complain, so she sat down and forced me to scoot over then latched onto my arm again, just like a damn leech. I couldn't wait for the food to arrive so I could free up my arm…

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I was extremely excited - my boyfriend promised to take me shopping! While I had been in the similar stores in other nations, I had yet to visit an American store and they were supposed have the best selection. I wondered which of the scores of selections he would purchase for me – like he promised.  It was the only thing on my mind and I wished we would travel there post-haste! But first we must attend to my wonderful boyfriend's culinary needs.

 

The food came. It was something my boyfriend called a 'waffle sandwich.' It seemed a most strange name for the food, but it was wonderful and even after our feast last night I was still famished enough to consume a korova (cow). I loved the maple syrup and we used up the whole bottle. After the meal, I excused myself again, "I must go freshen up again. I will meet you at the car." And ran off to the ladies room, I must make sure to appear my best for my boyfriend and the special shopping later…

 

Flashback – Jack – Day seven of spook school

 

It wasn't bad cleaning up my room, much easier than I assumed it was to clean up Mira's room from the blood bomb. I borrowed a shop vac from the school's janitor (I'd learned a long time ago it's always a good idea to be on friendly terms with the janitors, wherever you are) and sucked up all the feathers. Replacing the pillows was harder, I liberated those from another student's room; they should know better than to leave their doors unlocked. While I was at it I threw the empty pillows into the room and emptied the feathers out of the shop vac to cover my larceny.

 

I was done and fucking bored! Banzai and Mira were gone to D.C. and I couldn't head to the mess hall and play chess with Kai cause he'd left the school. Now I had no idea what to do when my phone rang. I looked and determined it was Banzai. I answered it and he said, "Jack I need your help!"

 

I could tell by the tone in his voice he was desperate. I was already worried when I replied, "Banzai, what the hell is going on?"

 

He answered, "Jack this has to be quick before Mira gets back. She was rattling on, you know like women always do, I wasn't paying any attention, saying yes and nodding my head and agreed to do something with her and I don't have any idea what that something is. Now she's all excited about whatever the something is. "

 

I almost laughed, then I remembered the Major's major Thule threat and said, "Shit! I think you're going to need a wingman to help with this one. Why don't you head on back here and pick me up. I'll figure out something while you get here."

 

He said, "Thanks Jack for your help, by the way I never called the Major." He hung up the phone and then I began to laugh. What if he promised…no I couldn't think about that again, I began to think of a plan to once again save his ass…

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I was now ready for my special shopping so I walked out the car, stood beside my door until my boyfriend finally noticed. He got out of the car, walked around, opened my door and let me in. He assumed his position in the driver's seat as I grabbed his arm and said, "Thank you my boyfriend for opening my door."

 

He seemed somewhat distressed and complained, "Mira I need my arm to drive."

 

I temporarily relinquished my hold on his arm. He drove out the parking lot of the restaurant and turned the wrong way. I quickly snatched his arm again and asked, "Why are we locomoting in the opposite direction?"

 

He answered, "I talked to Jack, he had nothing to do today so I agreed to go back and pick him up."

 

I was marginally miffed to not be heading to the store immediately, but then I assumed it was because he wanted Sgt. Reynolds to help approve the selection for me. After all Sgt. Reynolds was very knowledgeable and much like a father to my boyfriend. I was honored that my boyfriend was so thoughtful.

 

I chirped, "It is good we are picking up Sgt. Reynolds. Was he not angry about the practical prank?"

 

He responded, "No Jack seemed fine when I talked to him on the phone."

 

I perceived my boyfriend was depressingly uncomfortable so I engaged him in a conversation I knew he would be interested in…

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

I was still trying to recall my conversation with Mira when she challenged me, "L.Cpl. why do you insist on using such an antiquated weapon for your military missions?"

 

Now that I heard! I glared at her and answered, "Mira what the hell are you talking about?"

 

She grinned, "You insist on using a boring M-forty1 bolt action rifle when rifles like my PSG-one2 are much more superior! Even a Heckler and Koch G-three3 is practically as precise as your boring old bolt rifle!"

 

1 M-40 cited in previous books, the M-40 is a bolt-action sniper rifle used by the United States Marine Corps.

 

2 PSG-1 cited in previous books, Präzisionsschützengewehr, German for "precision marksman rifle") is a semi-automatic rifle designed by the German company Heckler & Koch of Oberndorf am Neckar.

 

3 H&K G3 The G3 is a 7.62mm battle rifle developed in the 1950s by the German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch.

 

I promptly informed her, "Mira no semi or fully automatic rifle is as accurate as a bolt action rifle."

 

She laughed, "L.Cpl. Blaine, if I had my PSG-one here I would fire rings around the gigantic groups from your boring old m-forty."

 

I snapped back, "Gigantic groups? Bullshit! You'd fire rings around my one bullet groups because that's as accurate as that over-priced, German Gatling gun could produce. Besides the Hensoldt scope on the PSG-one is only range compensated out to six-hundred meters."

 

Mira spouted, "Not my PSG-one! It has a custom scope calibrated to one-thousand-three-hundred meters."

 

I challenged, "Well if the PSG-one is so fucking good why, doesn't the GSG-nine4 use it. They use, as you like to describe it, an antiquated bolt action DSR-one5."

 

4 The GSG 9 der Bundespolizei (originally the German abbreviation of Grenzschutzgruppe 9 or Border Guard Group 9) is the elite counter-terrorism and special operations unit of the German Federal Police.

 

5 The DSR-1 is a compact bolt-action rifle designed, manufactured and marketed by the German company DSR-Precision GmbH as a specialized sniper rifle for police sharpshooters.

 

Mira giggled and said, "It is because they do not know their cranium from a well."

 

It took me a second to figure out Mira meant, 'head from a hole in the ground' but I was too fired up to correct her so I challenged, "Just like you."

 

She sparked my interest when she said, "It is unfortunate that we can not wager on this. I would make you consume your phrases."

 

I responded, "Well Mira, I just might know where we can borrow a PSG-one, then you can put your money where your mouth is!"

 

I stopped to pick up Jack just as Mira responded, "L.Cpl. why would I want to keep filthy money in my mouth?"

 

Flashback – Jack – Day seven of spook school

 

I opened the door to the back seat and heard Mira say, "L.Cpl. why would I want to keep filthy money in my mouth?" It was obvious the two of them were having a heated discussion and I hoped like hell they weren't going to break up because the Major would blame me for it.

 

Banzai corrected Mira, "It's a euphemism which means you are willing to back up your bragging with something of value."

 

I interjected, "What's going on?"

 

I got the full story almost simultaneously from both of them and was happy as hell to know they were just arguing about weapons. They were of course both wrong, but now was not the time for that discussion. It was time for me to move this circus car full of clowns in a different direction so I changed the subject and said, "Hey Banzai lets head to the closest shopping mall."

 

Banzai looked at me in the rear view mirror and I gave him my sign to let him know this was my plan. He answered, "Jack that's a damn good idea."

 

Mira questioned, "A shopping mall has many stores?"

 

I replied, "Yes Mira, it's a large building with many different types of stores." When I explained it to her she became very happy and squeezed the heck out of Banzai's arm.

 

Banzai complained, "Mira! I can't drive if you keep doing that."

 

She giggled and suggested, "Perhaps Sgt. Reynolds should drive so you and I could share the posterior accommodation?"

 

The last thing I wanted was those two getting all hot and horny in the back seat so I lied, "Mira, I can't drive in a big city like D.C..." And for once Mira bought my lie.

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I was extremely excited as we finally found the big special shopping stores Jack told me about. It was massive - much larger than the big outdoor bazaars in Dushanbe. I was sure we would find the exact store my boyfriend wanted to take me too. Then he and Sgt. Reynolds would help me select my purchase.

 

We walked into the massive mall and I was without speech. There were two stories of stores and my senses were accosted worse than Brave Ulysses by the Sirens. Yes there was a cacophony of confusion, but also a blinding blur of illuminations and finally seductive smells of tasty treats and cinnamon! I asked, "Is this Heaven?"

 

Sgt. Reynolds laughed and said, "No this is Iowa."

 

I was going to ask how it was possible we walked through a door and changed states but my boyfriend said, "Jack stop teasing Mira with movie quotes. Mira this is not Heaven even though many women consider it to be Heaven."

 

Sgt. Reynolds added, "And most men feel like this is Hell. Hey there's the bathroom, come on Banzai."

 

Sgt. Reynolds grabbed my boyfriend's arm and as they headed away my boyfriend called, "Mira we will meet you right back here in a few minutes. Don't get lost."

 

I was exceedingly confused about three things: First how could any man feel such a wonderful place could be Hell; if Sgt. Reynolds and my boyfriend felt this was Hell, why would they bring me here; and finally when did men travel in packs like women to the men's room?

 

They were both behaving especially strange. Oh well, I needed to freshen up to look my best for the big occasion so I traveled to the ladies room…

 

Flashback – Jack – Day seven of spook school

 

I hauled Ben's ass into the bathroom and said, "Okay here's my plan. This mall is like Alice's restaurant…"

 

Banzai grinned and interrupted by singing, "Yeah, 'you can get anything that you want at Alice's restaurant'."

 

I chuckled and added, "Yeah 'exceptin' Alice'. Now listen: We will walk Mira by all the stores in the mall until we find one she's really interested in, then we will know that what you promised her was in the store. And if she's like most women, she will fly right toward whatever the hell it is you agreed to."

 

Banzai got a very serious look on his face and said, "Jack, last night in her room she was going to commit hari-kari because of the whole engagement ring SNAFU. What if I promised her an engagement ring this time?"

 

I thought for a second, made up my mind and said, "Banzai, first you need to train those ears of yours so if they ever hear engagement or ring in a sentence you snap to full attention. And second after what you just told me, there's no way in hell you can back out of it if you promised her an engagement ring."

 

He hung his head and said, "Yeah I never break a promise."

 

We walked back out and joined Mira. She watched everything just like a little girl and I thought – it might not be such a bad idea if Banzai had to marry her…

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

Sgt. Reynolds and my boyfriend finally exited the men's room and oh no! While the Sgt. was grinning my boyfriend looked like a lamb being lead to death. I quickly ran over, attacked my boyfriend's arm and teased, "My boyfriend, I perceive you are in distress. Did everything exit your alimentary canal correctly?"

 

Sgt. Reynolds and my boyfriend both understood my vulgar joke and laughed. My boyfriend replied, "No Mira, my body is performing satisfactorily. So which store would you like to see first?"

 

I smiled at him and answered, "You know the best about that my boyfriend."

 

So we walked down the hallway, the first shop of any interest was something called Aeropostle. I stopped and looked at the figurines in the window and enjoyed the nice beat-y music. Sgt. Reynolds asked, "Mira do you see anything you like in there."

 

I turned and said, "Not really, the clothes are stylish and I like the music but I do not think I would like to enter this store."

 

We walked a bit further - this place truly was a marvel and I was sure we would find exactly what I desired; with this many stores, how could we not? We walked by a store which offered massages and I wondered if my boyfriend would like a massage or even if he would let me give him one. We walked by many more clothing stores: I did not know they had some many different brands of clothes. I stopped in front of BCBG Max Azria and admired the figurine in the window. I felt my boyfriend's arm tighten as he asked, "Mira did you want to go into this store?"

 

I smiled at him and said, "This is one of my favorite stores and I was just admiring the dress in the window because I have one just like it. However if you desired, we could enter the store and I would give you a little fashion show."

 

I saw some sadness cross his eyes, which was strange and he said, "Perhaps later, let's see what other stores they have here."

 

The walking continued as Sgt. Reynolds stopped in front of a store called Victoria's Secrets. He grinned and asked, "Hey Mira you could go in here and give us a little fashion show."

 

I looked at the undergarments on the figurines and abruptly answered, "No thank you Sgt. Reynolds. I'm not sure what sort of secrets Victoria could conceal with those undergarments." My statement gave Sgt. Reynolds and my boyfriend much mirth.

 

We had walked forever and finally found a food area. Sgt. Reynolds remarked, "Hot damn, it's pretzel dogs." And he dashed toward a food vendor.

 

I looked at my boyfriend and he asked, "Mira, have you ever had a pretzel dog?"

 

I scrunched up my face and replied, "I would never intentionally eat dog!"

 

My exclamation made my boyfriend laugh and then he expounded, "Mira they are hotdogs – frankfurters wrapped in dough and baked. Come on, I'm having one and you can have a bite or two of mine."

 

We ran after Sgt. Reynolds who had already, happily placed an order. L.Cpl. yelled, "Hey Jack don't be a pig and leave some of those for the rest of us."

 

Stinky Sgt. Reynolds replied, "After you leaving me those crappy Country Captain Chicken MRE's I need some real damn food."

 

My boyfriend quipped, "So, last night's meal wasn't real food?"

 

That statement made me sad as it reminded me of my terrible mistake and I began to sniffle. My boyfriend looked at me but comforted me as he added, "Mira don't be sad, please remember why we're here today."

 

Yes! He was right, today was going to be a great day. I got excited again and gave him a big kiss right on the lips - until some rude person behind us cleared their throat. I pulled away, glared at them and stated, "If you do not like to witness our happiness, perhaps you should look in a different direction."

 

She replied, "What are you, a damn foreigner? Well perhaps you two should get a room."

 

I did not like the tone of her voice or her female dog attitude. I began to expand my displeasure when my boyfriend beat me to it, "Mira, she's not worth it. Besides aren't we here for a different reason?"

 

He was again right! I hugged his arm and we advanced toward the table which Sgt. Reynolds had already acquired. We sat down, and as my boyfriend handed me my own pretzel dog, I inquired, "You purchased one just for me?"

 

He laughed, "Yes because after you try it you'll gladly eat the whole thing."

 

I watched in amazement as Sgt. Reynolds ate like a starved man. Then my boyfriend began attacking his like a savage wolf. I looked at mine and suddenly decided to perform a perfect, practical prank…

 

Flashback – Jack – Day seven of spook school

 

Holy shit! Mira just… I can't fucking believe it! Mira just closed her eyes, started moaning and shoved almost the whole damn pretzel dog down her throat. Then started moving it in and out of her mouth! Shit no! I and every other guy that could see her were frozen by what she did and I'm sure we all wanted to trade places with the pretzel dog - that is until she opened her eyes, grinned and took a big bite out of the pretzel dog. I unconsciously crossed my legs. Damn that almost caused me pain!

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I smiled at my boyfriend and sultrily stated, "Sorry, for a moment this pretzel dog reminded me of someone…" Then, I giggled and changed the wording, "I mean something else. But you are correct it is very tasty."

 

My boyfriend and even Sgt. Reynolds crimsoned; I finished my pretzel dog and suggested, "Perhaps I should purchase another one?" My question immediately prompted my boyfriend to grab my arm and whine, "No Mira, I think that one is enough."

 

I giggled as he removed me from the table and led me away, "What is wrong? Are you embarrassed with the method by which I consumed my pretzel dog?"

 

He ignored my comment and replied, "No we still have shopping to do." I thought to myself: Good, he will finally take me to the store instead of wasting all this time!

 

Sgt. Reynolds caught up to me and I said, "Sgt. Reynolds I am glad you are here to help us make the selection."

 

He asked, "Hey Banzai where are we headed?"

 

My boyfriend said, "Just follow me."

 

We flew past stores like we were finally on the mission to purchase my promised present. I was confused when we slowed and entered a jewelry store. I looked disappointed and asked my boyfriend…

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

I had avoided all the jewelry stores on purpose because I hoped I hadn't promised Mira an engagement ring. But we'd been to every other type of store in this whole damn mall and she wasn't interested in anything. Then she embarrassed and excited (can you be both at the same time) the hell out of me in the food court and I knew it was time to face up to my mistake so I took her to a jewelry store and awaited the inevitable.

 

Mira glanced around, then looked disappointed and asked, "When are you going to take me to the gun store and buy me a new weapon as you promised?"

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I asked my boyfriend, "When are you going to take me to the gun store and buy me a new weapon as you promised?"

 

For some reason which I could not fathom, Sgt. Reynolds laughed hysterically and my boyfriend looked incredibly relieved… Ah ha ha ha! I finally and completely comprehended what had transpired.

 

I grabbed my boyfriend's ear, tugged on it, pulled him out of the store and complained, "So, you did not listen to Mira in the car and only pretended to comprehend what I said."

 

The Sgt. continued to laugh, but my boyfriend looked like a guilty puppy as he admitted, "Sorry Mira, you are right. I was thinking about many things and was not listening to you."

 

I giggled, "So this whole pretend shopping was to try to comprehend what you promised me? Why did you not just tell me so we would not have to waste the day here?"

 

Sgt. Reynolds accepted his portion of responsibility, "Mira don't be too upset at Banzai, all men do what he did. And the shopping mall was my idea because I didn't want you to be hurt."

 

It was interesting that Sgt. Reynolds freely took the blame. I smiled at both of them and queried, "So you worried I might have asked you for an engagement ring?"

 

My boyfriend guiltily nodded his head. I continued, "And what if I would have asked you for one?"

 

He looked at me and stated, "Mira I never break a promise. I would have bought you one."

 

I smiled more widely and expounded, "That is a noble answer, but the promise to which you agreed was to escort me to a firearm establishment and purchase whichever weapon I wanted."

 

Sgt. Reynolds replied, "Mira you may not know it, but in D.C. you can't just walk into a gun store and walk out with a gun. There's this thing called a waiting period."

 

I started to become unsettled…

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

I dodged a major fucking bullet! But now Mira's getting upset. I looked at Mira and explained, "Mira, Jack's right unless you happen to know of a special gun shop that I am familiar with."

 

She excitedly grabbed my arm and asked, "Is this establishment in this special shopping mall?"

 

I replied, "No Mira it's not but it shouldn't take us long to drive there."

 

Jack begged, "Do I get to tag along?"

 

The old fart had been trying to get me to take him to 'the shop' for years but I never would. There are some things that you keep even from your spotter and this just happened to be one of those things – loose lips sink ships and I had some money tied up in the shop which I didn't want to lose. Plus, whenever I needed something special, like those three fully auto Uzi's I gave Mira, they were just a phone call away.

 

I glared at Jack and replied, "Hell no, you already know you can't come. But I will be nice and drop you off at Gunny's. When we're done we'll stop back by for a round."

 

Mira reminded me, "But my boyfriend, remember we need to be back at the school tonight because I have a new costume to wear. Then I thought you might like a little back rub?"

 

I smiled at her and said, "Mira, whether we get back to school in time for our costume party will depend on how much time you take at the shop."

 

That lit a blazing forest fire under her ass! She yanked on my arm as we ran towards the car and she ordered, "Then we must make haste!"

 

Flashback – Jack – Day seven of spook school

 

Banzai had always talked about this place he called 'the shop' and the bastard would never let me visit it with him. Word had even leaked out to others about this mythical place. It was to the point where anyone that was associated with our trade in D.C. talked about it but I had never met anyone who had actually been there. So I'd come to the conclusion it was some sort of elaborate smokescreen Banzai created to cover the fact that he had a whole fucking warehouse of arms stashed somewhere in D.C.

 

Banzai had this bad/good habit! I guess he learned it somehow when he was a kid. He was always stashing guns and ammo in places where we stayed for any length of time. Yeah Banzai stashed guns like a squirrel stored nuts and there had been a couple times his 'stored nuts' had saved our literal nuts.

 

So when he brought up 'the shop' to Mira, I naturally hoped I'd finally get to see this stash - and it had to be huge because Banzai pulled more exotic weapons out of his ass than Houdini pulled rabbits and birds out of his hat. Then they would just as magically disappear.

 

I was pissed that I couldn't go, but we'd had this fight before and I had already lost! Oh well, Gunny's should be hopping tonight and since Mira had become another appendage on Banzai's arm, I might see if there's some SYT that liked a good war story and wanted to 'see my scars.'

 

Mira scolded Banzai, "Drive faster my boyfriend or I will be forced to assume the operation of this vehicle."

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

Now that my airheaded boyfriend knew what he promised me, I was upset we had wasted so much time. Looking at the fancy stores was boring compared to looking at weapons! And from Sgt. Reynolds' response I could tell this 'shop' was very special indeed! Also I felt hugely honored I was going to visit it when apparently even my boyfriend's spotter had never seen it.

 

First we had to stop and drop Sgt. Reynolds at a bar called Gunny's. As we got ready to leave, my boyfriend looked at me, handed me a piece of cloth and said, "Mira you need to blindfold yourself."

 

I gave him a grumpy look and announced, "I am not sure I would like to do that! It would mess up my hair."

 

My boyfriend grinned at me, turned off the vehicle engine and said, "We aren't going anywhere until you blindfold yourself."

 

This was a quagmire which would force me to quake in fear. I finally decided truth was my only weapon so I looked down and replied, "L.Cpl. Blaine, there have been more than a few occurrences in my past when a blindfold was used as a method of inflicting distress upon my corporeal being. I fear now if I am forced to wear your blindfold I might possibly become incontinent. Perhaps you could put me in the stinky trunk as you did before. Even that would be preferable to the blindfold…"

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

Shit! Some bastard had tortured Mira in the past by blindfolding her, and that son-of-a-bitch deserved to die a slow death. I held Mira's hand and said, "Mira, I can't let you know the direction to 'the shop' and I sure as hell don't want to put you in the trunk ever again. How about you put your head on the console and keep your eyes tightly closed."

 

She smiled at me and shyly asked, "Would it be possible for you to hold my hand?"

 

Mira acted just like a scared kid - all at the thought of having to wear a blindfold. I grinned and said, "Sure that will work, but I might need my hand occasionally to drive. I'm also going to turn on the music."

 

I started the engine and we took off. I drove a goofy route: Doubled back a couple times; made a bunch of loops around some of the blocks; and in general drove like an asshole. I did this not only to confuse Mira, but to make sure I wasn't tailed. I'd learned the best way to lose any tail was to drive like an asshole, because they had to drive like an even worse asshole to keep following you. As we pulled up in front of 'the shop' I let go of Mira's hand and announced, "We have arrived my fair lady and your shopping experience awaits you."

 

I laughed because this time Mira didn't wait to have her door opened; she jumped out of the car and said…

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I opened my eyes, jumped quickly out of the vehicle, surveyed the establishment and queried, "My boyfriend, are you playing another practical prank on me?" I was worried because I was positioned in front of a building which appeared to be a vehicle storage depot - not a fancy special store for guns.

 

He walked up to me, smiled and promised, "Mira do not always judge a book by its cover; come inside, there's someone I want you to meet."

 

We walked inside and I knew immediately my boyfriend had played a huge practical prank on me. This place was much better than he had ever led me to believe! An older man walked up to us with a limp, and my boyfriend introduced us, "Mira this is Dwight, Dwight this is Mira and she's here to do a little shopping."

 

I politely shook his hand and inquired as I greedily glanced at the walls covered with weapons, "Are all these wonderful weapons yours?"

 

He smiled at me and answered, "Well they are more Banzai's than mine. None of them are loaded so feel free to pick any of them up and if you have any questions about them, I can answer them for you."

 

With a wide grin I thanked him profusely, "Thank you Sir for your generous offer, but I know most of these by heart." And I gaily skipped off to play with the wonderful assortment…

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

Dwight headed towards the table while I grabbed us a couple beers. I sat down, handed him a beer and he said, "Damn she's even more beautiful than you said and she sure knows her weapons. She's only looking at the best ones here. It's amazing, even though you are being hit on by an absolute fox, you ignore her and still manage to keep your vow of chastity - you'd make a hell of a Republican. So what's the full story with her?"

 

I took a long sip and said, "I've had Tom working on figuring out exactly who she is and where she's from. Right now we know she's on special assignment here from the Mossad and her twin sister is still back in Israel. She not Israeli, but we haven't been able to figure out where the hell she's really from." Then I added, "That looks like a PSG-one case over by the door."

 

Dwight nodded his head and answered, "Yeah she's not Israeli, but she looks European. And yes that's the PSG-one by the door. I threw a hundred rounds of Sierra match king ammo in the case, will that be enough?"

 

I chuckled and answered, "Yeah I bet we only put twenty through it at the most. That's all we'll need to prove it's not as accurate as my M-forty."

 

Dwight about busted a gut laughing when he answered, "And I bet you didn't tell her you how much money you have in that 'M-forty' of yours."

 

I grinned at him and replied, "Of course not!"

 

As I noticed the area where Mira was headed, I grinned at Dwight and said, "She's going to make her choice from over there."

 

He cocked his head and said, "Shit, if you're right that's a hundred I owe you! I never figured she'd be interested in those."

 

I smiled and said, "Yeah, and with what she's going to take she's going to be robbing us blind."

 

Dwight laughed, "Yeah, hardly anyone goes in that area and almost no one knows those are more expensive than anything else in this place…"

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I was like a big girl in a candy factory and could not decide which weapon to choose. I secretly wished Ira was here to help me decide! Plus, I was terribly troubled by the lack of sufficient time to explore this wonderful place. I could have spent many years here making this decision. I wandered towards an obscure part of the shop and then I visualized one rack which almost made me void myself! I hurried over, observed the rack carefully, then ran back to the table, grinned at my boyfriend and once again asked, "Did you say any weapon in the shop?”  As I gestured toward the rack I again asked for confirmation, "Are those included?"

 

He smiled at me and responded, "Yes Mira they are."

 

I excitedly ran back to the full wall of katanas and was looking at each one trying to decide. My boyfriend walked to the rack, pulled one down slightly and loosened the blade so I could see the hilt. He handed it to me and requested, "Take a look at his one."

 

I held it with reverence! I visualized the family symbols which adorned the tsuba (guard) and knew it would take much research to decipher them. I lovingly visualized the many dragons which decorated the portion of the exposed blade. The blade was truly a work of art and had been folded many times - this was a very old blade! I eventually rotated it, saw the kanji and practically dropped it in astonishment! I slumped to the floor and proceeded to produce tears of unbelievable joy: In my hands I held an authentic Koto. I sadly handed it to my boyfriend and said, "Just holding such an honored weapon means more than you will ever know. Do you know when it was created?" I purposely used created because katanas this old were not made they were created and if legend was to be believed this blade held the soul of its first samurai warrior.

 

My boyfriend produced a piece of paper and said, "Mira a promise is a promise and if you want it this is your katana. It was produced in the year nine-hundred. Here are all the details of your new sword."

 

I could not believe it and complained, "My boyfriend, do you know the value of this sword is practically limitless?"

 

He grinned and answered, "Mira, yes I know it's value but it's not nearly as valuable as you and your friendship is to me. Just so you know, I was poking around a pawn shop one day, noticed it and bought it and a few other things for a hundred dollars. The pawn shop owner didn't know about katanas and thought he was taking me to the cleaners. However, I saw the folded blade and knew it was really old. After we researched it, we discovered what I had bought. Are you going to sit on the floor all night or are you going to exercise your new katana?"

 

I stood up and emoted sorrow for what I requested next, but the request was imperative, "My boyfriend, this is the most wonderful sword ever created and I am really not worthy of such an exquisite weapon. I will accept your gift and give it to my sister who is truly worthy of such a superb katana."

 

Then I could not believe the action he performed next…

 

Flashback – Ben – Day seven of spook school

 

No one except Dwight and I, and now Mira, really knew or appreciated these katanas. In fact, customers were always coming in here fucking around with them and cutting the hell out of themselves. The katanas were more of a business liability than anything else and I was glad to be rid of the dragon sword but Mira giving it to her sister in my opinion didn't adequately fulfill the requirements of my promise. So I reached to the rack, pulled down another katana, loosened the blade, handed it to Mira and said, "You know Mira I think you're right. Not knowing your sister other than the little bit you've mentioned of her to me, makes me think she'd be better suited to the dragon sword. You've always seemed more like a tiger to me, so here's the tiger sword for you."

 

She looked at the sword, smiled at me and promptly passed out. I barely caught her and the swords as she fell to the floor. Dwight shuffled over and asked, "What the fuck happened to her?"

 

I laughed and answered, "I think Mira's happy about her gifts."

 

He laughed, "Shit, she should be as they are the two most expensive weapons in the shop."

 

I laughed, "Yeah but the customers wouldn't leave them alone and now the swords are going to be doing what they ought to be doing:  They will be used by warriors and not sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Please grab the swords and the PSG-one while I carry Mira to the car…"

 

Dream – Mira

 

I woke and immediately recognized I was in feudal Japan where there was a cacophony of confused cries because I was in the midst of a ferocious battlefield. I looked down and I was in the armor of a samurai and held a gleaming katana in my hands, already blessed by the blood of my expired foes. My katana sang its song of death as I hacked, sliced and fought my way toward the edge of the confrontation, to find refuge for my exposed and vulnerable back. I recalled my sword master's instructive words and the terrible blows on my back, 'Most samurai are killed by cowards who stab them in the back. Always find a way to protect your back!'

 

Then I saw her, proudly visualizing the battle from her horse. It was… the most successful female samurai, Tomoe Gozen! Our eyes connected and I knew this was 21 February 1184 and I was in the famous Battle of Awazu and Tomoe was my potent adversary. She rode toward me as she pulled and quickly fired her bow! My katana sang as I sliced her arrow from the sky! She yelled in anger, dismounted her horse, drew her katana and rapidly advanced toward me! My hands quivered as she approached, but she was much smaller in stature than the legend which preceded her. She shouted, "So you are the tall, brown-haired, she devil who has come to die!"

 

Somewhere I gained strength; perhaps it was the spirit of the first samurai who owned my sword speaking through me. I taunted, "No I am the avenging angel here to make you pay for your life of death."

 

She did not waste further energy on words, she charged and her first blow produced a small cut on my hand. After that my sword met and matched each of her blows. Time seemed to slow for me and I could easily visualize each blow as it was coming. Then it slowed more and I could predict her blows and her moves. I patiently waited, and finally saw my opening and my katana sang Tomoe's song of death. She fell on the ground and the battle became quiet. I reached down picked up her sword and saw it was the dragon sword. I wiped my blood from it's blade and reverently replaced it in the saya (scabbard). Then I looked at my blade, it was the tiger sword! That explained it because today I fought like a tiger! I wiped her blood from my blade, reverently restored it to my saya and then perceived a peculiar noise. What was that Britney girl doing singing in feudal Japan?

 

Flashback – Mira – Day seven of spook school

 

I opened my eyes and perceived I was in my boyfriend's vehicle with the radio on and we were driving. Then I noticed that I grasped two katanas in my arms: Yes, one was my tiger sword and the other was soon to be my sister's dragon sword. I contemplated whether I did travel to the past and engage in the battle or was it only a vivid dream. I glanced and saw a bandage on my hand where Tomoe's blow had drawn first blood.

 

My wonderful boyfriend perceived I was awake and asked, "Are you okay Mira?"

 

I shook my head to clear the webs of spiders and replied, "Where are we?"

 

He answered, "We are headed to Gunny's. We will have a shot and then pickup Jack."

 

I stroked the bandage on my hand and my boyfriend apologized, "Yeah, sorry about that Mira, I accidentally cut your hand slightly as I caught you when you fell to the floor."

 

I smiled at him and asked, "Which katana produced this cut?"

 

He gave me a funny glance and answered, "I believe it was your tiger sword."

 

I smiled at him and answered, "Do not worry my boyfriend, its bite was only the price my new katana required of me."

 

I visualized my watch and requested, "I consider it is too late tonight for us to relocate to the school and digest dinner. Your gifts are more than generous. Would it be possible for me to purchase dinner for you?" Then I hugged his arm very tight!

 

He laughed and answered, "Mira do you have any money?"

 

I replied, "I might have enough to purchase a hangerber for you."

 

He smiled and offered, "Don't worry about it, we'll eat at Gunny's and I'll pay."

 

I argued with him, "You must let me do something for you!"

 

He grinned and suggested, "How about I let you be my arm candy?"

 

I did not understand so I queried, "Please tell me: What is arm candy?"

 

He answered, "Mira, you hugging my arm all day is exactly what arm candy is."

 

I liked this idea very much and decided I would be the best arm candy my boyfriend ever had! But he still needed his dressing changed tonight and I desired to deliver the world’s best massage!!! But most of all, I could not wait to call my sister and inform her of her new sword. She would wait on pins and hypodermics until I could deliver it to her.

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