Chapter 08

Wanderer Chapter 08


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


I sat straight up in bed and suddenly, everything made perfect sense to me. Thank you unconscious mind! I loved it when I fell asleep thinking about a problem and then while I was sleeping my mind went ahead and figured it out. Now I finally understood, and things were going to be much easier from this day forward.


I checked my watch and noted it's a bit early, but I might as well get up and get ready for the day. Now everything would be perfect if I just wasn't at this damn sorry excuse for a school. The only good thing about this place was the classes last night - and then Jack, the son-of-a-bitch, got us kicked out of those.


Mira was sure pissed when the instructor hit on me: Charlie was old but was still hot. Perhaps I should do her just to aggravate Mira – on second thought, I'd like to keep my balls attached to the rest of my body so I better leave well enough alone. But that doesn't mean I can't use Charlie as a distraction for Mira. You know if those two fought, it might be entertaining.


I laughed like hell last night when Jack told me what Mira did to the poor bastard at the martial arts training. It sure put some fear of Mira in him and the rest of the school when the poor bastard had to tell them what she had done. Hey that just gave me another hell-of-a-idea! This day was going to be fun as hell! Yes, payback was coming big time and it was going to be a bitch!


I jumped out of bed, flipped on the light and Jack yelled.


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


Banzai turned the light on, I checked my watch and I could have slept another half an hour so I yelled, "Turn off that damn light and let me sleep!"


He yelled back, "Rise and shine sleepyhead!" The damn little piss ant knew I hated hearing those words. I had to figure some sort of way to take the wind out of his sails today. His shenanigans were fun at first, but then they got his ass-kicking girlfriend fired up and finally they even got me fired up when that bitch teacher just ignored me.


Oh well, he wasn't going to let me sleep this morning so I might as well get up. I'm tired as hell because I slept like shit, I had nightmares all night long: Mira either kicked my ass or tried to rip my balls off. I hobbled out of bed today and felt like a broken old man; damn my ass was sore as hell today. If she tried to kick my ass today, I might just have to shoot her.


Banzai looked at me and laughed, "Damn Jack, you're walking like an old man!"


I bitched, "Yeah it's your damn girlfriends fault. I think she broke my ass yesterday."


He laughed more, "I told you to put an ice pack on it last night."


I grumped because the damn fool was right, "Have you ever tried sitting on a fucking ice pack. It'll give you hemorrhoids."


He laughed and asked, "Hey Jack if we get hemorrhoids what the hell do Eskimo's get?"


My ass was fucking broke and he's telling jokes, but I played the straight man anyway. "Fucking laid if they're lucky?"


He replied, "No they get polaroids."


I gave him a dirty look and complained, "That's fucked up!"


He kept going, "You know what space aliens get?"


I smiled and responded, "Keep it up and you're going to get probed?"


He grinned, "They get assteroids." 


Now that one was half funny but I had my fill of him, "You know you're not a fucking hemorrhoid so get off my ass."


Banzai thought that was damn funny and laughed his ass off. At least he was in a good mood. I just hoped it would rub off on his ass-kicking girlfriend. If she started on me again today, my ass couldn't take it. I wonder if you could get a medical discharge if your ass was broken - nah, that's a half-assed idea. Then I grinned while I imagined my ass being in a sling. I guess he forgot we snuck out of the room last night and left Mira. I sure as hell didn't forget and I definitely didn't want to face her wrath today.


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


I had a long talk with Ira last night and told her everything. I even described all the clothes and gear I received and she was shocked. She reminded me to bring the combat body armor home because our good friend Herr Henrick was very interested in using some for a secret project he was working on. I told her I did not know what would happen to the gear when I left but I would try my best to bring it all back.


I also confessed to her how L.Cpl. Blaine infected me with his childishness and how badly I acted. She laughed very much about how I kicked Sgt. Reynolds rear and even more about the smart mouthed man and then scolded me a little bit and told me to make sure I did not include those in my report or we both would be punished.


She asked me multiple times if I felt okay, because she said, "Mira you sound different." I wanted to jump off the bed, dance around the room and tell her I felt the best ever because I was in love. But I knew she would not like to hear that. Yes I was in love for the first time in my life - it was very distracting and made it hard to follow my mission plan. I slept so well last night and had multiple dreams of L.Cpl. Blaine training me and how wonderful it would be to perform that with someone I love! The dreams were so intense I needed to take a shower this morning when I woke up.


Yes, I was up early this morning and waited for my L.Cpl. Blaine and his stinky Sgt. Reynolds to come back to our room like guilty puppy dogs. Staying away all last night was a bad thing for him to do and I would have to scold him like a good girlfriend should - but just a little bit because I did not want him to be sad all day.


I already had the coffee brewing and looked at the breakfast MREs, but we still only had the two choices for breakfast. There were many more boxes of MREs than there were yesterday so I surmised the magic gnomes brought them when they brought my fantastic footlockers. Yes, what a wonderful gift that was. I looked at everything again this morning, but this time tried my best to put what I was not wearing away correctly and I even tried my best to make the bed. I realized L.Cpl. Blaine liked these things. Now if they would just hurry up and get here, I wanted a good morning kiss!


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


We were both ready so I looked at Jack and said, "Let's go to our room, wake up Mira, have some breakfast and then do our PT."


He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "You want to head back to our room early? She's going to be pissed as hell we left last night. You go be the cannon fodder and get your ass kicked first. I'll be down in ten minutes."


Jack was a chronic complainer, but I could tell he was really hurting today. Shit I think I would have been hurting too if I had my ass whipped like his was. I needed to tell Mira to lay off Jack's ass today.


I knew she would be upset, but not violently angry at me so I wasn't worried. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Okay Jack, I think you're making too big of a deal about this. But make sure you're not too late or you won't get breakfast again today." Jack had put on a few pounds so if he missed a few meals it wouldn't kill him.


I pulled the block out from under the door and walked down to our room. I rapped on the door and said, "Mira, are you awake? Open the door and let me in."


The door flew open so fast it surprised the shit out of me! But that wasn't as surprising as when a fully dressed Mira jumped on me and gave me a hell of a good morning kiss. Even though I didn't love her and knew I never would, it was still hard not to respond at least a little bit when being kissed like that.


She finally pulled away, gave me a grumpy look and whined…


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


L.Cpl. Blaine finally showed up without stinky Sgt. Reynolds. I was worried and thought about going to find him. I jumped on him and gave him a big good morning kiss. At first he was surprised and did not respond, but finally he stopped being recalcitrant and returned just a tiny bit of my emotions! Oh today is going to be a great day!


I pulled back and like a good girlfriend scolded, "Honey you were very bad staying out all night. You had me very worried because I thought the instructors had captured you. Do not ever do that again or I will be forced to look for you and spank you like a bad boy!"


He grinned at me and responded, "Maria you're right. It wasn't a good thing for Jack or me to stay gone all night. You could have been taken by the instructors. I'm sorry and we won't do it again."


Did he just call me by some other woman's name or did I hear incorrectly? If he did he is in very big trouble. But he was worried about me last night so he does care for me! However my scolding did have the effect I hoped for because tonight he is sleeping in our room - I just need to figure out some way to render the bathtub unusable for a bed.


I was puzzled at first, because this was the first time his tool had not tried to greet me. Then I blushed because I decided he probably spent so much time exercising his tool last night and thinking happy thoughts about me this morning, it must just be an exhausted tool today. However my tool was happy to see him so I was very glad I added extra protection to my regulation underwear today or they would already be uncomfortable.


I said, "As you can see I am already dressed this morning in all regulation clothing - you may inspect me if you wish. I started our morning coffee. If you would have stayed here with me last night I would serve you a MRE in bed this morning. Since you had eggs and sausage yesterday, can I make egg omelet for you today?"


He smiled and answered, "Either one is fine for me. I'm going to get my pack ready for today."


I declared, "I have already prepared our packs for today and I do hope you will inspect them to make sure I did not forget anything."


He smiled again at me and stated, "Thanks I will inspect them just to make sure."


I decided to give him the omelet, because I wanted to give him the best and I am sure it was better than egg and sausage. I started making one for each of us, poured him a big cup of coffee and took it to him. He looked at me as I grinned, stuck my finger in his coffee and said, "There, I just made it sweeter for you." I giggled and ran back to take care of the other MREs.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Mira was totally out of control today and I was concerned as hell she had fallen in love with me. But I'm more concerned about when I have to tell her I don't and can't love her, at least not now. I have visions of her separating me from my balls and hanging them on the wall. So I will have to gradually, and very slowly and carefully, help her realize this fact.


She did a good job of packing my pack, she even had our lunch MREs in it and there was no Country Captain Chicken. I guess she learned her lesson last night - damn that look on her face from the first bite still made me laugh.


I noticed there was no rifle in my pack today and noticed she's still in the case and noted I forgot to lock the case last night. But I do have all the extra mags for my pistol. I questioned, "You didn't pack my rifle today?"


She grinned and giggled at me, "No Sir! I will not touch your rifle unless you allow me too. Plus I checked and the rifle range is still inoperative today. So we are having pistol training."


I thought great if the rifle range was bogus, I bet the pistol range was even worse and started to get worked up. What a huge fucking waste of time this piece of shit school was. But I needed to remain calm.


I mentioned to Mira, "I am asking you to not kick Sgt. Reynolds ass today. He is so sore this morning he can hardly move."


She giggled and replied with her stock answer, "Yes Sir! I will do whatever you ask me to do! And if I kicked your rear, I would kiss it and make it all better."


I grinned at her and reiterated, "You will do whatever I ask you to do?"


She jumped up and said, "Yes Sir! Whatever!"


I smiled and knew things were working out just like I planned and Mira was certainly efficient and a big help. I still felt I might need my rifle today so I took her out of the case and carefully put her in the pack.


Mira asked, "Why are you taking your rifle anyway?"


I answered, "You never know when you might need it and I'm already used to the way my pack feels with her in it."


Inspecting her pack was the most interesting thing I'd done in a very long time and gave me great insights into one very incredible, competent and spine-chilling (yeah fucking scary) woman. She had modified the pack to carry a full assortment of serious martial arts weapons! I'm happy as hell she didn't have any of these when we fought that first day because weapons were my one weakness. First she had a serious as a heart attack katana - I didn't take it out of its scabbard because if she's this serious it had to draw blood before it was replaced. She surprised me because she also had a wooden practice katana. My guess was she planned on teaching some weapons at the martial arts class today. There was a nice short sword for close fighting, a hell of a lot of throwing stars, a bunch more throwing knives and darts. But the biggest surprise of all, way a fully suppressed, illegal as hell .22 LR Ruger MkII pistol - standard issue for Spetsnaz agents. I looked at the mags and it had one subsonic, quiet as hell mag; one high velocity mag; and one that looked like it was designed to penetrate body armor. She was one serious as a heart attack woman!


After I inspected her pack, I realized I had seriously underestimated her and I was in deep shit! Somehow I had always had women falling for me, but I had very little experience in breaking up with women. Like Anna said, I'd been a real chicken shit and I had never learned how to break up with a woman and now my life depended on how I broke up with Maria! Shit I mean Mira. That's twice I've made that stupid mistake: If I keep it up she'll kick my ass.


When I first met Mira I wrongly assumed this fly was dealing with a common house spider and could play her all day long, but after inspecting her pack I knew I was playing with a Brazilian wandering spider (commonly called a banana spider), the most aggressive, lethal and venomous spider in the world! If I made one wrong step she would bite me and suck the life out of me! Yes I was very close to being fucked forever!


Mira came over, smiled at me and said, "Here is your breakfast, I hope you enjoy it." I just hoped to live through it.


And we ate sitting side by side on the bed while she kept sneaking glances at me. Shit! This little fly was in big trouble unless his plan worked, and worked very well.


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


Well fifteen minutes passed and I guessed I needed to go and see if Mira left Banzai alive. I could only imagine how angry she was when we left the room last night. I stepped into the hallway, walked towards the room and found Banzai and Mira walking towards me.


Shit! She didn't look pissed at all: Instead she looked – well like she was in love. That was all the hell I needed today because nothing was more irrational than a woman in love. Any little bit of brains they had in their heads turned to mush and they thought about, flowers, moonlight walks on the beach, houses with white picket fences and (even worse) children!


Banzai said, "Morning Jack, time for PT." Mira smiled and said, "It is a magnificent morning Sgt. Reynolds I can hardly wait for PT."


Damn! She was definitely in love! I felt a little sorry for Banzai, because she was a determined bitch and had Banzai in her sights. I complained, "What about breakfast?"


Mira replied, "Yes it was grand, we both had egg omelets seated right alongside each other."


Banzai replied, "Jack, I said ten minutes, you showed up in fifteen. There's no time left for your breakfast."


I was hungry as hell and yelled, "No fucking time for breakfast! What the hell do you mean?"


Mira turned, gave me a very dangerous look and said, "Sgt. Reynolds, stop behaving like a fractious child. You were tardy today, missed breakfast and you heard what L.Cpl. Blaine said, no breakfast for you this morning. Besides, you do need to shed some of your abdominal adipose tissue and this will help."


What the fuck! She just said I was getting fat! I got angry, upset and answered, "The hell with this bullshit, I'm going back to the room and eat breakfast!"


And I then realized I'd made the second mistake of the day, with the first was being late for breakfast.


Mira got right in my face and said, "Sgt. Reynolds do we need to have an undesirable discourse like I had with that other man yesterday?"


For a brief second, I felt like challenging her, but the look on her face told me she was a woman not to be fucked with right now. I replied, "No Mira, I understand you perfectly."


She turned and said, "Good, then let us do our PT and then go for a run."


I grumped, "I didn't even get a fucking cup of coffee. This is pure fucking agony."


Banzai sassed, "Jack, you snooze you lose."


And I thought, yeah, I can't wait for the run. Banzai's a smart ass and that bitch might be able to kick my ass, but neither of them was as sneaky as I was. And I was going to kill both those love birds with one big fucking stone today. Yeah, payback's a coming for both of you!


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


It was good to see that for once Jack infuriated someone besides me. But he'd better watch it with Mira since she was even edgier today than yesterday. And she seemed to think she needed to protect me! Now that was funny as hell seeing as I'm a Marine and I kicked her ass the first day we were here.


But the old fart had gotten quiet, too quiet. That always meant he was going to try to be sneaky. What was it about old guys? They got old and thought they were sneakier than us young guys just because of their age. Shit! Now that was funny as hell because we had been through all the sneaky shit they could pull since we were kids and had come up with a shitload of our own original stuff they'd never seen or dreamed of. It wasn't like the old guys were sneaky enough to break into the Old Man's stash of breakfast MREs which I must say, were very good. That was my young Recon friends.


Here I was in a great fucking mood and Jack and even Mira were both ruining it. I decided to pour a little salt in Jack's grumpy wound, "Thanks Mira for making the coffee, the great egg omelet and for getting my pack ready this morning."


She beamed at me, winked and replied, "I like doing things for you. In fact I would do anything you asked me to do."


Shit! She was going to do it again all day, but it was too early to totally implement my new plan. So I grinned back and asked, "Anything? Are you sure about that?"


She answered, "Yes Sir! Anything!" And the fly slowly started the transformation into a Tarantula Hawk Wasp1.


1 A Wasp that hunts spiders.


We did the circuit training and for once, Jack didn't complain or say a word, but I could tell he was planning something. But Mira was a little chatterbox today.


As we did pull ups she said, "L.Cpl. Blaine you are very good at those. Perhaps you would help me today? With the additional weight of the body armor they are very difficult."


Yesterday it would have bothered the hell out of me, but not today. I replied, "Sure let me help." I went over and helped her on the up portion and let her control the down portion."


She challenged me on pushups and said, "I wonder if you can perform those if I sat on your back?"


Jack finally broke his silence and in the most sarcastic tone I'd ever heard, "Yeah Banzai, I wonder if you can do those while she's riding on your back?"


Yesterday I would have worried, but today, I grinned at both of them and ordered, "Hop on Mira."


She made a huge production as she wriggled around on me and tried to turn me on. It didn't bother me, plus she was a tiny thing so it was no big deal. I easily did my pushups, looked at Jack and said, "So Jack, you up to the challenge?"


He grumped, "Oh Hell No! I don't want her anywhere near me!"


Well let me see how the two of them liked my new little plan. I looked at Mira and ordered, "Mira, you said you'd do anything for me, so sit on Jack's back while he does pushups."


She gave me a terribly shocked look; she even looked as if she was going to throw up. For a second I felt bad, then I commanded, "Mira, move it."


She complained, "Honey, please don't make me perform those!"


Jack argued, "Like hell she's sitting on my back while I do pushups."


I questioned, "Mira, are you going to break your promise to me?"


She looked down and said, "No I would never do that. But Sgt. Reynolds has refused to let me sit on his back."


Jack added, "Damn straight she's not sitting on my back."


I looked sad and said, "Mira, you told me you'd do anything I asked you to do. I asked you to sit on Jack's back when he does his pushups. Now you can either figure out some way to do that or you can break your promise to me."


Yeah, I was being an ass but I was tired of Mira's constant teasing and I decided to call her bluff. She was lucky as hell I didn't order her to kiss Jack's ass but if she kept it up I just might do that.


I knew I'd won when I saw the look of resolve on her face. She walked over to Jack and said, "Sgt. Reynolds, even though it is a tremendously odious thing for me to do, I must demand that I sit on your back when you do your pushups."


He laughed at her (was he fucking crazy) and said, "Mira there's no way in hell that's going to happen."


I saw her get angry, she bent down and whispered something to Jack and I watched the concern grow on his face. He replied, "Mira, believe me I'm not going to like this either."


Neither of them was happy, and I thought Mira was the unhappiest of all, because she really had a dislike for Jack which I didn't understand. But Jack was barely able to do ten pushups with Mira on his back, and Mira jumped off him when he was done so fast I thought her ass was on fire.


I laughed, "Damn Jack, you've become weak as hell in your old age."


He gave me a hateful look and said, "Just keep it up! You'll get yours."


Oh yeah, he had something sneaky as hell planned for me and I bet it included Mira. I needed to be ready for it.


Mira walked past me all huffy and said, "L.Cpl. Blaine that was an intolerably mean-spirited act you compelled me to perform and I am not happy at all about the way you coerced me!"


And I had a very enjoyable rest of our workout because neither of them said one additional word to me. But I had figured Jack planned to make his move on the run. He hated running and would try to get out of it - sometimes he's too predictable.


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


Banzai just kept pushing my buttons all fucking morning! The absolute worst was when I had to do pushups with his ball-busting-bitch on my back. I emphatically refused until she whispered to me if I made her break her word to him she'd tie me down, cut my dick off a piece at a time and make me eat it. I wasn't sure she'd really do that, but after the poor bastard yesterday, I couldn't be sure that she wouldn't.


I could tell Banzai enjoyed the hell out of it while Mira and I hated the hell out of it. Keep it up you laughing-hyena-son-of-a-bitch, wait until the fucking run. I'm going to play you both against each other like Itzhak Perlman played Paganini on a Stradivarius. And I will give both of you a lesson in how to be sneaky!


She was even pissed as hell at him. But shit, it didn't last long enough and much too soon she was all fucking twitterpated again. I sure as hell hoped she was smart enough not to tell him she'd do anything, or whatever he wanted her to. Because he was one sick and devious bastard and he'd have her doing something even worse to me.


We finished the last circuit and I felt like I dodged a bullet because she didn't say it again. We took a few, I caught my breath and watched as Mira and Banzai had a serious as hell conversation about something, I wasn't so sure he didn't even chew her ass about something.


Banzai announced, "Time for our run." And now it was time for the old master to show these two young pups how the game was played. I couldn't wait because soon these two would be kicking each other asses and I would get to sit back, watch and laugh my ass off!


I waited until we'd gone about a mile and casually remarked, "Hey Banzai did you have some sort of nightmares last night?"


He looked at me, grinned like a smart ass and replied, "I don't think I dreamed at all last night."


Mira played right into my trap when she asked, "Do you mean L.Cpl. Blaine you did not dream about me?"


The fool replied, "Sorry Mira, I went to bed thinking about a problem and I think it occupied my brain all last night so I'm almost sure I didn't dream at all last night."


Mira pouted and I knew it was the perfect time. I sprung my trap by remarking, "Well you sure as hell woke me up four times when you yelled out Charlie's name. You moaned and groaned and carried on so much I thought she had slipped in our room and we two were going at it." There, chew on that you piss ant!


I watched as Mira's face flushed, she got angry as hell, and I could hardly wait for her to explode at Banzai. She yelled, "Sgt. Jack Reynolds!"


What the fuck! She was supposed to get mad a Banzai not me!


She screamed, "You are not a very adept liar and I recognized you just lied to us! But even worse you attempted to make L.Cpl. Blaine resemble an exceedingly bad man! And even more, you tried to get me furious at him! I admonished you and now I must…" I didn't need to hear the rest of what she said because I knew what was coming. I ran for my life and suddenly realized that was my third mistake of the young day.


I did hear Banzai as he yelled, "Mira remember you promised not to kick his ass!"


God damn, my boy's finally back to his senses and has realized that taking good care of your spotter is more important than some piece of tail. I bet he chewed her ass about this very thing during the break! Well if she can't kick my ass that also means she can't take my balls or my dick, so I slowed up.


CRACK! Son-of-a-bitch, I think someone just shot me in my helmet. My ears rang like Quasimodo's church bells and my head hurt like hell. I looked behind me just in time to see Mira swinging a stick at me and, whap, whap, whap, whap! She was beating the shit out of me with that damn stick! I started running at full speed again.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Mira and I had a hell of a great conversation during the break about rifles. She really is knowledgeable as hell about them. I asked her what she normally uses and she told me an H&K PSG-12. Shit! That's like a fifteen-thousand dollar rifle. I told her about our military tests where both the M-213 and the M-404 were tested against the PSG-1 and found to be much more accurate. She got feisty as hell with me and told me I didn't know what the hell I was talking about, well not in those exact words. I think she said, "Excuse me L.Cpl. Blaine, while you may be an excellent sniper, it is obvious you do not know anything about rifles." I laughed my ass off about that one.


2 PSG -1 is a semi-automatic rifle designed by the German company Heckler & Koch and it is considered to be one of the most accurate semi-automatic sniper rifles in the world.


3 M21 Sniper Weapon System (SWS) is the semi-automatic sniper rifle adaptation of the M14 rifle.


4 The M40 is a bolt-action sniper rifle used by the United States Marine Corps.


We started on the run and I waited for Jack to make his play. It had better be pretty good because Mira isn't one of the stupid half-drunk bar bimbos that will swallow just any old lie, she's sharp as hell and Jack is a terrible liar.


I knew the minute Jack asked me about nightmares, he was pulling the same old lame trick that had been around for a hundred years. He was going to try to make Mira think I had orgasmic dreams about another woman last night. Shit! I hoped he had something new but this was boring as hell and I had to play along. I decided if he wanted to dig his own grave that was his choice, because Mira wasn't going to fall for this shit.


Sure enough, Jack fucked up big time and his 'sneaky' plan backfired. He thought he would get Mira pissed at me, but he was a worse liar than me and he got Mira pissed at him. At least he figured out she was going to get him and took off running like hell. But then the old fool slowed up when I reminded Mira not to kick his ass.


Mira pulled out her wooden practice sword and started beating the hell out of him. Tom and Howard ran up and Tom asked, "Damn! What did he do this time?"


I informed them, "Sexy dreams about another woman."


They both laughed and Howard said, "Shit! That's so old someone used it on Betsy Ross5."


5 Betsy Ross (January 1, 1752 – January 30, 1836) was an American seamstress and upholsterer who had been widely but erroneously credited with making the first American flag.


I watched as Jack raised his hands over his head and Mira smacked the hell out of his arms, I yelled, "Mira please don't break my spotter."


She grinned and explained, "Do not worry I am just giving him little love taps."


Tom said, "Shit if those are love taps, I'd hate to see her get seriously angry. Boy, she sure looks good in the Marine gear."


I smiled and filled them in, "Guys you should have seen her last night. It was like no one had ever given her any clothes before. She pulled everything out of the footlockers, spread it all over the room and just looked at it. You two did a great job."


Howard said, "She'd make a hell of a Marine."


We continued to watch her motivate Jack and Tom said, "Shit! She'd make a hell of a DI."


I replied and asked, "I tried, but she said she has promises she has to keep. So what did you guys find out for me?"


Howard said, "Well we found out she sure as hell isn't Mossad, but she did come in on an Israeli passport."


Tom added, "She has a twin sister still in Israel and they are training with the Mossad. Someone pulled a hell of a lot of strings to get her in here."


Howard finished, "We did have a friend that found one person who knew the twins. When he was asked about them he turned white as hell and ran away."


I said, "Thanks guys, I have one big question to ask you two. Do either of you know how the hell to break up with a woman who's in love with you?"


They both laughed and Tom said, "If she's in love with you then I'd say you're fucked."


Howard said, "I hope you can outrun her - that's your only hope."


Then Jack did something totally idiotic! I yelled, "Shit! Guys follow me, this is a fucking emergency." And we sprinted towards Jack and Mira.


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


Sgt. Reynolds really angered me this time when he tried to put an angular piece of wood between my L.Cpl. Blaine and me. I will not let him, or anyone else, separate us. I did remember L.Cpl. Blaine made me promise not to kick his rear or fracture him (otherwise I would have given him the same treatment as the mouthy man yesterday), but I did not need to today because I had my wooden practice katana and it worked much better. He had no idea what hit him, and when he figured it out and I chased him in circles beating him with my practice katana.


He yelled, "Mira stop it!"


I yelled back, "Sgt. Reynolds you deserve much more than these little love taps after your terrible lies."


He hollered, "Mira, I'm warning you stop it or else!"


I shouted, "Or else what, or else I will start kicking your rear!"


Then Sgt. Reynolds did the most reprehensible and cowardly thing I could ever imagine: He drew his pistol and pointed it at me. I backed up and he said, "Mira, if you hit me one more time, I will shoot you!"


I was very upset because I did not anticipate needing my pistol and it was buried in my pack, otherwise he would already be dead. So I reached back and pulled my real katana. I had on combat body armor and unless he shot me in the face, my katana would take his head for his insolence.


I prepared myself to attack, then broke off as I heard L.Cpl. Blaine when he commanded, "Mira and Jack stand down immediately!"


I responded, "He drew his pistol on me first. I am just defending myself from his overly aggressive actions."


Jack said, "I'm tired as hell of her beating the shit out of me and I just want her to stop. This was the only thing I could think of."


L.Cpl. Blaine surprised me when he ordered, "Look this way! Both of you have three pistols trained on you. I've ordered you both to stand down. You will do that right now or we will have to wound you."


I glanced and saw he had his pistol trained on Sgt. Reynolds and it appeared tears were coming from his eyes. I felt  hugely humiliated for hurting my wonderful boyfriend so I lowered my katana, folded my hands in front of my chest, prepared myself for death and stated, "Sgt. Reynolds, if you wish to shoot an unarmed woman then here I am."


Jack lowered his pistol and L.Cpl. Blaine ran up and took it out of his hands. He ordered Tom and Howard, "Thanks you guys, take Jack back to our room and have a talk with him. I need to talk to Mira."


He walked up to me, gave me a huge embrace and stated, "Mira, you two scared the hell out of me."


I trembled from my excitement and fright and embraced him very arduously, then I began to weep - he consoled me and it was wonderful. I was not concerned Sgt. Reynolds would kill me. I was concerned I would kill him and then L.Cpl. Blaine would hate me. He saved both of us from making very large errors.


He pulled back, looked at my hands and said, "Nice sword."


I smiled, "He is my katana."


He surprised me when he said, "Mira, I know once you have drawn that katana, you cannot put it back in its saya6 without drawing blood or it dishonors the sword."


6 Scabbard for a katana


I looked down with unhappiness and stated, "Yes, I must atone for my impulsiveness with my blood before I can replace him."


Then he performed the most astonishing act! He reached out and intentionally gashed his left hand on my katana and let his blood trickle across the blade in purification. He grimaced at me and pronounced, "This whole incident was my fault and I have paid the blood price for your katana's honor. Clean him and put him back."


I did as told then I ordered, "Give me your hand so I can mend the damage."


He gashed his hand severely because my katana was exceedingly sharp so I chided, "L.Cpl. Blaine this gash is severe. I must cleanse it exceedingly well and then you will require several sutures."


He smiled, "Mira, I know you will take very good care of me."


I opened my pack and my hands trembled as I removed my field surgery kit. I cautiously cleansed my hands and then proceeded to cleanse his wound. I was extremely anxious and calmed myself while I cleansed it. Once it was completely clean, I stated, "L.Cpl. Blaine I must administer some lidocaine to dampen the sensory faculty in the adjacent tissue prior to suturing your injury."


He grinned at me, "Mira, if you do that I cannot do what I still need to do today. I will be fine without the lidocaine. Just do your best."


I knew better than to argue. I chose the finest silk suture material I possessed, 5-0, and the most minuscule needle I possessed. I cleansed my hands twice since I did not wish to infect my boyfriend. I began to suture his hand and he did not even wince. I hesitated and searched his eyes but he smiled at me and articulated, "Mira you're doing an excellent job, please finish." I completed my task. I inspected it and was enormously proud since it was my best job ever!


L.Cpl. Blaine complimented me, "Thank you Mira. You are very talented. These are the best sutures I have ever had."


I blushed as he said….


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


I said, "Mira, we still need to finish our run and then we have a martial arts class to teach. Plus I think we need to have a little talk on our run." We started off at a fast but easy pace and even with the combat gear on, Mira could still run like the wind.


Things with Mira and Jack had gotten totally out of control. I couldn't believe Jack actually pulled his pistol on her and after I get done chewing Mira's ass, Jack is going to get his ass chewed by me! Damn him! What the fuck was he thinking! I know it scared the hell out of me since I could have lost my oldest and newest friend all at once.


Yeah handling Jack was going to be easy. I could tell as Tom and Howard took him away he already felt like shit over what he did. And they were going to chew the hell out of his ass. Marines just don't pull that sort of shit!


Shit! Suddenly it hit me! I was approaching this incident between Mira and Jack all wrong so I asked, "Mira, what's really going on with you and Jack?"


She grumped, "He drew his pistol and menaced me!"


Yeah, she avoided the real question. "Yes he did Mira, but that's not what I'm asking you. Why do you think he pulled a pistol on you?"


She waffled right back with another half truth, "Because he is reprehensible and has no honor!"


Okay, this was getting me nowhere so I needed to approach from a different angle, "Mira, am I an honorable man?"


She immediately answered, "Yes, you are the most honorable man I know."


So I asked, "Do honorable men associate with dishonorable men?"


She replied, "Not generally but sometimes they are impelled to."


I finally questioned, "I want you to think about this and not answer right now: Do you think I am compelled to associate with Jack?"


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


At first I thought L.Cpl. Blaine wanted to scold me for defending myself from the terrible and reprehensible Jack. Yes, he no longer merited my respect so now he was just Jack. L.Cpl. Blaine commenced as if it were a lecture when he asked me what Jack did to upset me. That was easy because he drew his pistol on me. But then L.Cpl. Blaine twisted it around and asked me if he, the most honorable man I knew was impelled to associate with dishonorable Jack.


I knew L.Cpl. Blaine was correct. He associated with Jack because he valued his friendship and, I imagine, when he wasn't being a frightful fractious child looked towards Jack as his surrogate father. There were rumors in his file and life that he had almost as dreadful a childhood as Ira and I experienced. So it was natural for L.Cpl. Blaine to substitute Jack for his frightful father. But it made me very distressed and I wanted to embrace him to help him feel better.


I had three issues with Jack: One I was covetous of what he shared with my L.Cpl. Blaine because I desired that relationship; second he always interfered with my plans to seduce L.Cpl. Blaine; and lastly, Jack still stared at me like he wanted to train me, even after I had done almost everything I could think of to dissuade him. It was an unbelievable misfortune we did not have an agent here for Jack because she would easily extract all the information from him. Jack's actions kept me incessantly annoyed, because he continuously performed one of the three issues. All this was compounded by the fact L.Cpl. Blaine had not yet trained me - which was most frustrating! And today was worse because L.Cpl. Blaine did not even appear affected by me and had determined a way to defeat my primary weapon. I dare not tell him I would do anything for him or whatever he wanted, because he would have me interface with Jack again, and that was most odious.


After L.Cpl. Blaine posed his very difficult question to me we ran the remainder of our time in silence. I knew this was a measure of punishment for my role in the confrontation. I did not care for it at all and had no idea how to defeat his silent sanction.


I attempted several times to engage L.Cpl. Blaine in conversation but he gave me either nods or singular word answers. Finally I decided to confront him, "L.Cpl. Blaine is your attitude right now a means of punishment for my actions with Jack?"


He replied, "Maria…"


I interrupted, "L.Cpl. Blaine that is the second time today you have called me by some other woman's name. The silence you inflicted on me was terrible, but this, this, this… you have punished me excessively and it has hurt me very gravely. Good-bye!" I released the tears which I concealed and ran my fastest back towards my room.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Shit! I fucked up big time and called Mira, Maria again. And after the silent treatment I gave her she wrongly assumed I did it on purpose and it was further punishment. Dammit, it was a mistake caused by me finally seeing the truth last night combined with an honest error. With everything going on, my mind was pulled in a hundred different directions and I was making stupid mistakes!


She began running as fast as she could, crying as if her heart was broken and I immediately took off after her. She was still fast as hell, even with the body armor and pack. I wondered if she cut me some slack when we raced. I yelled, "Mira come back here, it was a mistake." She flipped me the bird and ran even faster.


I saw movement in the trees, one-hundred meters to our right! I dove, started to roll and yelled, "Mira snip.." I never finished because all hell broke loose. Two tangos let go with fully automatic bursts. The one firing at me missed because of my movements, but I watched Mira twist and fall in a heap. I fought my desire to run to her side but instead kept rolling. I pulled my Kimber, unloaded a full mag towards the muzzle blasts and finished by rolling into the bushes. Then I pulled out my M-forty scanned the tree line but didn't see anyone. I yanked out my mobile phone and made a call…


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


Tom and Howard chewed my ass all the way back to the room, but they didn't need to because I felt like shit piled on top of shit piled on top of shit! I didn't know what the hell happened, but suddenly something snapped in me and I pulled my pistol on Mira. It was the most embarrassing thing I had ever done, because Marines just don't do that kind of shit! They still chewed my ass in the room and I was glad they did because I fucking deserved it - shit I wish they'd kick my ass because I deserved that too.


Tom's mobile phone rang, he answered it, got a concerned look and said, "Let's move it, Mira's been shot and Ben might still be taking fire."


We grabbed our rifles and flew out of the room. I prayed, God, please don't let Mira die until I can apologize to her." Shit if she died, I would never forgive myself and probably Banzai wouldn't forgive me either.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


After I made the call, I scanned the tree line again but still didn't see anything. Then I looked over at Mira - she hadn't moved and wasn't moving. Something sounded strange to me about those fully auto bursts. It wasn't an AK-47 because the sound was all wrong; but it also wasn't an M-16 because the sound still wasn't quite right and the cyclic rate was too slow. I wondered who the hell was shooting at us and what the hell they were using.


I was worried as hell about Mira because she still hadn't moved. Shit! If she's dead, it would kill me! Finally I said fuck it, I have to go and check on her. I dropped my pack and zigzagged towards her. Thank God, no shots rang out. I didn't see any blood as I knelt beside her and gently rolled her onto her back. Then I had the hell scared out of me!


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


I shocked myself because I kept up with Tom and Howard! I guessed when I needed to run I could still do okay. When we got closer to the attack sight we slipped into the trees and slowly worked our way forward. I gave Tom and Howard hand signals and we split up, they circled around the area and came in from behind. I gave them five minutes and then moved forward.


I about shit my pants when I saw Banzai and Mira because they were both lying in the middle of the road and I thought we were too late. Then I looked closer and saw neither of them were dead. Mira was on top of Banzai and was giving him a throat culture with her tongue. She sat up slapped Banzai across the face and yelled, "That is for being so stupid and coming out to check on me! You know better than that!" Then she hugged and kissed the hell out of him again.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Yes, Mira scared the hell out of me. She opened her eyes, grabbed my combat vest, head butted the hell out of my helmet with hers, threw me on my back, jumped on top of me, slapped the hell out of my face and yelled, "L.Cpl. Blaine do not ever again call me by some other woman's name!" Then she hugged me and kissed the hell out of me!


We kissed for what seemed like hours. Then she pulled away, slapped me again and said, "That is for being so stupid and coming out to check on me! You know better than that!" Then she gave me another huge hug and kiss.


We heard a noise so she sat up and said, "Please approach Marines." Jack, Tom and Howard walked up, grinning from ear to ear.


Jack said, "Shit you two had us worried. When I saw you both in the road I thought you were dead."


Tom teased, "Maybe we should have waited longer so these two could finish."


Howard chided, "Was this the big emergency you called us for? You couldn't handle Mira by yourself?"


I ordered, "Mira get off me so I can get up." She made big production out of it with some wiggles first. They didn't affect me so she jumped up and said, "I was just teaching L.Cpl. Blaine a lesson. He made two very big mistakes."


I stood up, looked at Mira's body armor and said, "Guys, someone tried to take us out and if Mira had not been wearing her body armor she would be dead." I pointed to the bullet marks in the surface of the armor and continued, "It was fully auto fire from that tree line, Tom and Howard go over, check it out and report back."


Mira appended, "It was fully automatic fire from an AK-seventy-four7. Please collect the cases because they might have finger prints."


7 AK-74 a 5.45mm assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union. It was developed from the earlier AKM (itself a refined version of the AK-47) and introduced in 1974.


I smiled at her, "I couldn't recognize the rifle at first, but you’re right. It was two AK-seventy-fours."


She continued, "Yes the sound is very distinctive, just like that of the M-sixteen or AK-forty-seven."


They took off and I watched as Jack walked up to Mira and said, "Look Mira, I need to apologize to you for pulling my pistol on you."


Mira glared at him, then softened and said, "Jack, do not ever do that to me again. I would hate to kill you. If you would not have tried to lie about L.Cpl. Blaine's dream none of this would have occurred."


It suddenly occurred to me she called him Jack - I wondered what the change was.


Now it was my turn so I asked, "Mira please come over here for a moment." We walked away from Jack until I was sure he couldn't hear. I turned to her and said, "I want to apologize to you for both giving you the silent treatment and for accidentally calling you another woman's name, that was not intentional."


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


I had to control my emotions since I was tremendously upset - but not about L.Cpl. Blaine calling me some other woman's name. I surmised I reminded him of his last girlfriend and used his fortuitous mistake it as an opportunity to break his silence sanction. Besides, it will give me a lever which I will use later to pry out the information I still required. I was upset for two reasons: One the assassins which tried to kill me almost killed L.Cpl. Blaine; and two they damaged the beautiful body armor which saved my life.


But I was an emotional wreck because that was not the only emotion troubling me. I was still fantastically frustrated by L.Cpl. Blaine's refusal to train me. He was the most illogical and frustrating man I had ever known! I had done everything except tie him down and train him by force but he still resisted! Ah, wait there was one thing I had not tried yet: He would hate that and it just might work.


Even though Jack apologized to me, he also still had the look of a man who'd like to train me. In fact every man other than L.Cpl. Blaine looked at me that way - they were supposed to. No, I was certainly not a prostitute, but I was supposed to elicit a sexual response in all men. And when that did not happen (the first and only time was with L.Cpl. Blaine) it made me want him to an infinite degree. I surmised, Tom or Howard would train me in a moment (and would probably only last a moment) if I said yes. Why did I have such a peculiar and stubborn Marine?


But for this moment I needed to control my emotions because I had the royal flush, which was much better than the full house (or room since I moved in) L.Cpl. Blaine had. Again I had to stay in control and not break out into laughter. When Ira and I had our poker lessons we thought, incorrectly of course, they talked about toilets for queens and stinky houses without working toilets.


Tom and Howard walked up as I looked down at my body armor with a very sad face. L.Cpl. Blaine asked, "Mira, why are you so sad?" Good at least he still responds to my emotions.


I lied (just a little) and responded, "When the instructors fired upon us they ruined my new body armor."


I fought back huge laughter because you would have thought, the world had ended. All four men tried to talk at once: L.Cpl. Blaine said he'd get me new body armor; Tom said he'd bring it tonight; (ah, Tom and Howard are the magic gnomes which brought my footlockers); Howard said he'd bring two sets this afternoon; and Sgt. Reynolds even offered me his stinky body armor. Yes his offer earned him my respect and I could not stay angry at him forever.


I even let a few tears fall, and Tom surprised me when he gave me a big hug! Ah ha, I might be able to use this to elicit jealously in L.Cpl. Blaine. So I returned his hug with great gusto and even kissed him on the cheek when we finished. I said, "Thank you Tom for your kindness and concern." His face turned beet red, like good borscht, and he mumbled something which I did not understand.


Howard hugged me next and I made even a bigger production, of the hug, I bent one knee and slightly sighed. When he pulled back, I saw his tool was agitated to an extreme amount. He promised, "You will have your new body armor later this afternoon."


I even gave stinky Sgt. Reynolds a nice hug, and kiss on the cheek, which I could tell he greatly enjoyed. Now with the seeds of jealously planted, it was time for my harvest from L.Cpl. Blaine. I looked at him and, and, and… he did not even pay attention. He was looking at the five-point-four-five cases recovered from the AK-74's! He was the most fantastically frustrating man in the human race.


I walked over and listened to them talk.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Well, Jack may have thought he was the sneakiest man in the world, and he was a legend in his own mind. But I had just witnessed the most superb sneak I had ever seen and her name was Mira. Jack's attempt at playing us ended in a train wreck, but Mira's was a true work of art and had I not experienced my awakening last night, I would have fallen for it.


Yeah my awakening last night, saved my ass. When I went to bed I tried to figure out why I didn't just sleep with Mira - it bugged the hell out of me. She had all the qualities that attracted me: great looking, fit as a fiddle, wonderful personality, and expert at martial arts and shooting. I had pretty much talked myself into asking Jack to give us the room for the next night and then I fell to sleep and the vision started. I first viewed Maria, and remembered what she was like; then suddenly, Maria's face morphed into Mira's face and I finally realized. Maria and Mira were very similar women. But for some reason Maria, was even more attractive to me and I felt if I slept with Mira, I would be cheating on Maria - this made even less sense. Then I saw Maria's face again, and it slowly changed into that of the little girl and now I completely understood: Maria was my dream girl and I fucking missed my chance! Now I wished I had just blown off the club and taken her into the bedroom like I wanted to do. But if wishes were fishes we'd all have a skillet full. So Jack didn't sell us down the river in the Old Man's office, he kept it from me because he knew I'd get in the Old Man's face and that would be the end for me. I owed him for that one.


Yes Mira was the sneakiest woman I'd ever met. I now watched as she made big productions out of hugging, Tom, Howard and even Jack (that might have been her mistake). She expected me to be next so I ignored it all and talked to Tom and Howard about the AK-74 cases. Something didn't feel right to me: If the instructors went after Mira and me they would have used an M-sixteen, not an AK-74 because that's not the most common weapon in America.


Mira walked up and even though she tried to hide it, I could see a myriad of emotions on her face: anger, sadness, frustration and confusion. She cleared her throat, "Excuse me L.Cpl. Blaine, I hope I am not interrupting anything."


I looked at her and answered, "Mira, you did interrupt a little bit, but that's okay. What did you need?" I could tell she didn't like my answer, but she continued, "I was hoping I could show you how thankful I am just like I showed my gratitude to the other Marines?"


I smiled at her as I responded, "Mira, now is not a good time because we were just trying to determine why whoever fired at us used an AK-74. It doesn't make sense to us that the instructors would use that rifle. So we'd love to hear if you have any ideas on the subject."


Oh boy! If looks could kill, I'd be dead twenty times over. She ignored the question and testily replied, "Have you totally forgotten we need to teach the martial arts class and if we do not leave now we will be late. I am leaving and after being nearly killed, it would be nice if I had an escort."


She stood there and gave me a look that said her escort had better be me. I looked at the guys and said, "Duty calls." To which they laughed as she informed me, "L.Cpl. Blaine! I hope you are not trying to insult me more than earlier when you called my by some other woman's name. I am leaving and you will escort me."


She walked away and Howard laughed, "You called her by another woman's name? Shit! Do you have a death wish?"


I replied, "Hey it was an accident, I didn't mean to call her Maria."


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


Son-of-a-bitch Banzai accidentally called Mira, Maria! And she didn't kill him - how the hell does he have all the luck. I shuddered and thought what she would do if I made that same mistake - she'd not so accidentally separate some of my favorite parts from my body. But with her acting like the boss bitch, I wasn't sure Banzai still wasn't going to pay a price. I was pretty damn sure I didn't want to be anywhere around them the rest of the day and got ready to head to the room when Banzai said, "Come on Jack, you're holding us up." And Banzai took off running like a puppy dog following its master.


I had my fill of running already today when we came to Banzai and Mira's rescue and I was in no mood for it so I slacked off and was about 200 meters behind them. Tom and Howard ran past and Tom yelled, "Move your ass old man or I might light a fire under it!"


Shit! Light a fire under my ass, I'll fucking show him and slowed up even more, when all hell broke loose again!


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


We heard a hell-of-a-noise behind us. I knew exactly what it was but Mira thought it was full-auto fire again and hit the ground. I turned around and Jack ran like his ass was on fire - which was close to what happened. While Jack was distracted, Tom slipped a full string of firecrackers into his back pocket, ran up on him when he was slacking off, and touched them off. Tom and Howard ran up and we all laughed our asses off as Jack ran and tried to escape the explosive pounding his ass was taking. He yelled, "Some son-of-a-bitch is going to pay for this."


Mira came up beside and laughed, "It seems that Sgt. Reynolds shot off his mouth so much, it came out of the other end."


I looked at her, laughed and said, "Mira, did you just tell a joke?"


She coyly smiled and replied, "I tried but I am afraid it was not very good. Tom, with Sgt. Reynolds rear being so sore are you not afraid you might have damaged his rectum?"


Tom laughed and said, "Wrecked him, hell, it damn near killed him." And the three of us guys laughed.


Mira replied, "I do not understand, was that a joke?" I explained to Mira how 'wrecked him' and 'rectum' sound the same and then she laughed with us.


The firecracker fusillade finally finished and Jack was more pissed off than I'd ever seen him! He yelled, "I'm not sure which of you bastards did this to me so I guess I will just have to take it out of all of your hides."


I've found at times like this when Jack's highly pissed, discretion is the better part of valor. I looked at everyone else and said, "With Jack being this pissed off, I'm making a strategic retreat." Mira and I took off for the martial arts training and Tom and Howard headed into the bushes. Jack yelled after us, "If it takes me the rest of my life, I'm going to get even."


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


One of those sons-of-a-bitches put firecrackers in my back pocket and gave me an explosive enema, because when the fucking firecrackers went off they literally scared the shit out of me. I thought someone shot me in my ass. Shit my poor ass was just feeling better from the pounding Mira gave it yesterday and now it was worse than ever. I tried to run after them, but my butt was too sore so I decided to head back to the room, change my pants, cook up some new plans to get even and sit on some ice. Shit! Even if I got hemorrhoids, they couldn't be as big of a pain in the ass as what I felt right now.


I limped to the room and noticed someone had entered the room. I looked at the lock and the hasp and then it hit me: We're at a fucking spook school and one of the bastards picked the lock. I raised my rifle, unlocked the door, stepped into the room and scanned it. Everything looked in its place except for a small box on Banzai's – I mean Mira's bed. I knew Tom or Howard didn't bring it in the room or they would have reset the marker on the door, so it had to be someone else. I resisted the urge to pick it up because for all I knew it might be some sort of new fucking prank of Tom's or Howard's and might explode in my face. I did throw a pillow over the top of it and put an MRE box on top of the pillow. Since I had the top bunk, the last thing I wanted was it blowing a hole through my mattress and messing up my ass even more.


I changed pants, cleaned up, put some ice on my ass and planned my revenge. I made a few phone calls to a couple of my friends and we talked and strategized and came up with our battle plan.


Yes all three of those guys are going to pay for this.


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


As L.Cpl. Blaine and I ran to the practice field for martial arts training, I wondered if all Marines were fractious children because they seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time playing jokes on each other. However, it was very fun (except I was worried they would start playing jokes on me) to watch what they did to each other.


L.Cpl. Blaine asked, "Mira, a penny for your thoughts?"


I replied, "You do not need to pay me for me to tell you my thoughts, just ask me."


He grinned and said, "Mira that was just another one of our sayings. I was asking you nicely to tell me what you're thinking about."


I was not sure I wanted to tell him, but I did not think I would offend him so I frowned and answered, "I was trying to decide if all Marines are fractious children because of all the jokes you play on each other."


He laughed so I knew he was not offended and he answered, "No we are not fractious children, especially when we need to we take care of business. We get bored when there is no action, and when we're bored we find creative ways to entertain each other."


I jostled him as we ran and flirted, "I know several very creative ways in which we could entertain each other."


He laughed, "Not tonight Mira, I have a headache."


Good I thought he might say that so I asked, "L.Cpl. Blaine I do not wish you to get upset, but I feel you owe me an explanation of why you have called me Maria twice today."


He guiltily glanced at me and then told me all about Maria Gonzalez and their very brief and unsuccessful fling. And how she and I had many of the same attributes (I did not care for the comparison at all!) and that was why he accidentally called me her name. I was very interested when he told me about making dinner for her and when he was done with that part I was very jealous. But I was glad that she was not a smart woman like I was because I would have taken him into his bedroom after dinner for Mira dessert, not taken her to some stinky old bar.


I asked the next logical question with huge fear in my heart, "L.Cpl. Blaine, did you love her?"


He looked at me and answered, "Mira that question is really personal and I'm not going to answer it."


His non answer told me everything I needed to know: He had feelings for her, but I don't think the feelings were love so I felt much better.


We arrived at the practice field and the Oriental Aikido master was still teaching the other recruits how to fall and they were doing much better this time. There was an instructor there, but he was still very beaten up and did not do much with the students.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Well one of the fucking instructors was here today but he certainly wasn't in shape to teach the class and he just observed the Aikido kid teaching the class on falling. I did check the back of the instructor's hand to see if it had a hole in it from Mira's throwing star, because I still owe one of those fuckers a serious beating. He was clean so Mira and I ran up and I announced, "Good morning class!"


They all replied, "Good morning L.Cpl. Blaine and Mira!"


I ordered, "Thank you for continuing to teach the class how to fall, it looks like you have made excellent progress. Today, I will work with half the class on close quarter fighting while Mira works with the other half on the use of weapons. Are there any questions before we start?"


The asshole instructor stood up and tried to argue, "This is my class. Don't you think you should ask me what we're doing today?"


I glared at him and asked the class, "Class, would you rather do what this 'instructor' wants you to do, or would you rather do what I just announced?"


There was no hesitation when the class replied in unison, "We want to do what you just announced."


The fucking instructor just glared at me. I worried Mira was going to kick his ass for glaring so I whispered to her, "Mira, don't kick his ass right now, save it for later." And then we started the class.


It was a great class and we and the recruits had a great time until the instructor stood up again and ordered, "I think we've had enough of this for the day, this is not the normal school program."


The recruits were upset, but not as upset as I was so I questioned, "So what sort of piece of shit program do you want them to follow now?"


He grinned and answered, "Anything except what you want to teach them."


The belligerent son of a bitch baited me so that meant he wanted me to kick his ass; he must have some sort of plan. I smiled and answered, "That's fine with me. We're leaving."


Mira gave me a peculiar look and as we walked away. I heard a bunch of noise behind me and about half the class followed us. I asked them, "What are you doing?"


One replied, "We decided this school is a piece of shit so we all want to be taught by you two."


Mira asked, "Are you not worried the school will be upset at you?"


Another answered, "Who cares if we don't get in here since most of us have offers from other government organizations. The training here really is crap, and this school is a joke."


So we went to the far end of the practice field and continued our training. It was funny because we gradually gained more students as the class progressed. As we took a short break, Mira came up and said, "You were very wise not to fight the instructor, he had some sort of plan and you would have been in trouble."


Speaking of trouble, the instructor walked our way and looked angry. I smiled at Mira and said, "Let me handle this and we will figure out his plans."


He walked up, got in my face and barked, "You two need to stop stealing my recruits!"


I laughed, "They followed us because they wanted to learn, so go fuck yourself."


He bristled, "What did you say to me?"


I laughed and said to Mira, "See I told you he didn't have any balls."


She and the recruits laughed and the instructor attacked me. He was pretty good, but was too beaten up to be effective. I blocked all his blows while keeping my eyes open. Finally the commandant, Mr. Smith and two other men I hadn't seen walked up. The commandant ordered, "Stand down, I want you two to take Ben into custody for attacking the instructor."


Mira complained, "The instructor attacked him first. He's just been defending himself and you are aware of that because you four have been observing us."


The class echoed her assertion and I replied, "They're right, he attacked me first and it was recorded by two Recon Marines sitting on the hill. I don't know who you two are, but I want the instructor taken into custody."


The two other men looked at the commandant and one said, "Unfortunately, we did observe the instructor attack him and we have to act on what we've seen." They cuffed the instructor and led him away. I looked at the commandant and Mr. Smith and stated, "I guess your plan fucking back fired. Next time you try something this idiotic, I'm going to have them take you away for collusion also."


Mr. Smith threatened, "Just remember, he who laughs last laughs the hardest."


I held Mira back as she jumped towards him, "And Mr. Smith, you need to remember that the biggest joke is between your legs!"


Mira was still pissed at both of them, especially Mr. Smith. As they walked away, she asked, "I do not understand how you could work for such a terrible man."


I remembered Maria, and how I figured Jack had saved us and replied, "Mira, it was an accident that got Jack and I assigned to Mr. Smith and we're both lucky because it could have been much worse."


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


I was confused again! Confusion was not a normal condition or feeling for me and I detested it! The only thing I could conceive of being worse than working for Mr. Smith was working for the Beast. I needed to ask Ira to compile and send me all the information she could on Mr. Smith. That reminded me: I hoped she sent me the other little item I needed for tonight. If so, one of our agents would have left it in our room.


Yes our room, I very much liked the sound of that. I daydreamed about how I hoped tonight would be, and how I needed some way to persuade Sgt. Reynolds to give us the room tonight. This would be difficult because after the terrible joke Tom played on him he was like an angry hornet! I did not believe even my threats would have an effect on him. At least he was out of the way for right now and I could enjoy a private lunch with my boyfriend.


I smiled and asked, "L.Cpl. Blaine I am famished. Would it be possible for us to eat lunch?"


He smiled at me and responded, "Mira, great minds think alike."


I gave him a bewildered look so he laughed and explained, "That means I was just thinking about the same thing." We sat down under a tree and we prepared the MREs. This was a new one called beef stew and I was not sure after the Country Captain Craphead Chicken, if it would be tasty without L.Cpl. Blaine's culinary MRE magic. So I opened the foil and carefully whiffed it - it smelled good.


L.Cpl. Blaine laughed, "Mira this one is good so you can just eat it, but you might want to add some Tabasco sauce." I smiled because he already knew I liked Tabasco sauce, just like a good boyfriend. I found the little bottle, dumped it all in and wished for more. But L.Cpl. Blaine surprised me and made me very happy when he said, "Mira wait a moment." He dug around in his pack and pulled out a bottle of Tabasco sauce and said, "Mira, you can keep this bottle, I have more and even hotter hot sauce in my foot locker." I was so happy because he was even giving me little gifts.


I grinned and asked, "I wonder what it would be like to kiss you if I had a drop of this on my tongue?"


He laughed, "Mira, you put a drop of that on your tongue and I won't kiss you!"


I pouted and added some more Tabasco sauce to my beef stew and it was perfect. L.Cpl. Blaine asked, "Where did you learn to like spicy food?"


Before I even thought about it I answered, "In Mexico food was very good, in Thailand it was even better, but in Africa the food was the best."


He smiled at me, "Twenty-five countries huh, and before you try to lie to me, don't bother. I'd love to hear about the countries you've been in and I don't care why you were there."


I was upset but hid it from him. Once again, I had made a mistake.


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


After I called my friends and we came up with some plans, I decided it was time for me to have my breakfast and lunch and perhaps even dinner. So I had three MREs, made Recon cookies, was quite pleased with myself and felt much better. In fact I felt good enough to get moving and head to the pistol range - nothing better to cheer a person up than throwing some lead at a target. Besides, hiding in my room all day was just showing the bastards they had won. They might have won the first skirmish, but this fucking war was far from being over.


So I got back into all my gear and this time, after Mira being fired upon, I was much more serious. Fucking school instructor bastards, they could have killed her or Banzai - no one shoots at my friends and gets away with it. If the school or those instructors give me any shit, I'm going to go off on them. Yeah, I'm pissed off at this piece of shit school.


I jauntily walked to the pistol range, because the weather was good and for once I didn't have to fucking run. Banzai and Mira were already waiting when I got there. I walked up and said, "Well look what the cat dragged in."


Mira answered, "Sgt. Reynolds, are you insinuating I am something which a cat would kill?"


Banzai intervened, "Mira, that's just a funny way to say he's happy to see both of us. How are you doing Jack?"


I grinned, "Oh, I'm feeling pretty good right now, but I will be much better in a few days."


Mira answered, "Sgt. Reynolds, I have some balm in my supplies which will help things heal faster, then it would not take a few days."


She really is a funny thing but takes things much too literally. I said, "Thanks Mira, but I don't think I will need it." I thought I would see if I could get things stirred up some so I asked, "So Banzai, what do you think of this pistol range, because it looks like a piece of shit to me."


It worked and he replied, "This fucking pistol range is a joke, but not as bad as the fucking plastic pistols on the benches they expect us to use."


Yeah, I had noticed them and I knew Banzai would hate them. It must be time to poke the hornet's nest again. "They sure look like Glock seventeens to me, I bet they're in nine millimeter and hold seventeen rounds, doesn't your Kimber only hold eight?"


He swore, "Son of a bitch, nines are made for people who have to sit when they piss."


Mira nudged the hell out of him and grumbled, "L.Cpl. Blaine, are you saying a woman cannot use as large a pistol as you can?"


I interrupted, "Yeah Mira, I think that's what he said."


Banzai tried to back pedal, "Mira, that's not what I really meant. It's a saying I've heard and never really thought about until now, and it's a stupid saying!"


Son of a bitch, she bought the line of bullshit he fed her and she answered, "I will believe you this time L.Cpl. Blaine, but do not say something like that again. Besides, many men sit down when they use the toilet."


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Yeah Jack got me all fired up again. But it's these damn fucking Glocks they want us to use. I know the fuck why they want us to use them - because they are 'safe.' You can't fire one of them without using the trigger safety, but they are not any safer than an M 1911A1 carried locked and cocked. It just takes a few more hours training to carry the M 1911A1 safely, and it's really fucking laziness that they think they aren't safe! I know this isn't popular with current thought, but fuck them! Give me any M1911A1 over any striker fired pistol any day!


Then the fucker Jack got Mira upset at me because I used a stupid saying and now I'm upset as hell! He's really been a son of a bitch since he's been back! I was so calm when it was just Mira and me.


The RSO finally fucking showed up. I can tell right away he's going to be a prick, because he's got one hell of an attitude - sort of like he's God's gift to pistol shooting. Fuck! I probably know more about pistol shooting in my little finger than he knows in his whole fucking body! Another huge fucking waste of time!


The instructor goes through his whole spiel and I'm fucking bored as hell. As he opens the range, I heave the fucking Glock down the range about fifteen yards, pull my Kimber and blow it to hell. The RSO ran over, but I guess he talked to the rifle RSO because he didn't try to take my pistol and said, "You need to pay for that pistol."


I laughed and said, "Put it on my fucking bill! Got any more of those pieces of shit you want me to blow to hell where they belong?"


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


Oh yeah, Banzai's all fired up so my poking worked. It was funny as hell when he blew the Glock to pieces. But the RSO walked away and said, "Damn fucking Marines." I was still pretty pissed from the firecrackers and this just hit me wrong. The range was open so I grabbed a Glock and blew the hell out of the targeting systems on all the stations, just like Banzai did on the rifle range. That will teach the bastards to bad mouth the Corps.


Then I yelled at Banzai, "Here's another one for you to destroy." I threw the Glock downrange and Banzai blew the hell out of it too. The RSO ran back over, "Did you just destroy the targeting systems on all the stations?"


I laughed, "Hell no I didn't; the Glock destroyed them."


He was exasperated and asked again, "Was the pistol in your hand when it destroyed the targeting systems?"


I had a pretty good crowd so I answered, "It was but it wasn't my fault; it was the Glock's fault."


He gave me a puzzled look and asked, "How could it be the pistol's fault?"


I grinned at him and sassed, "Well, just like the fucking killer's always blame their guns when they kill someone, it was the Glock's fault, not mine. If we just had more gun laws tragedies like this wouldn't happen."


Banzai and Mira laughed and the rest of the class snickered. The RSO yelled, "That's the biggest load of crap I've ever heard; it's the pistol's fault. You're going to have to pay for the repair of my pistol range."


Banzai yelled, "Put it on my bill!" One of the students said, "Here's another one for you to shoot." He heaved his pistol downrange and Banzai shot the hell out of it.


The RSO was fed up and said, "Well it looks like we need to move to Hogan's Alley. Since you think you're so damn good, Mr. Showoff Ben, would you like to go first?"


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


L.Cpl. Blaine was asked to go first on Hogan's Alley, which I knew was a great mistake. He and Sgt. Reynolds had frightfully fractious attitudes right now. One seemed to make the other worse and I wasn't sure when or if it would stop.


I was confused because for everything that they destroyed, L.Cpl. Blaine kept telling them to put on his bill. I did not think L.Cpl.'s made that much money. So like a good girlfriend I asked, "L.Cpl. Blaine you seem to be running up a very large expense destroying all the property here. Perhaps you should not waste your money?"


He laughed very loud and said, "Mira, I do not need the money the Marines pay me."


Well this was huge news to me: My boyfriend was rich? We looked at his finances and they did not seem out of line, so his money must be hidden. This was another big question for Ira!


He dropped his pack and requested, "Mira, please watch my rifle for me and help me put all the magazines for my Kimber in my combat uniform." Then he asked, "Hey Jack can I borrow your Kimber too?" He borrowed Sgt. Reynold’s Kimber and all his magazines so I knew my boyfriend was up to something.


As we finished helping him get ready, he grinned at us and suggested, "Just in case, I want you two standing by with weapons because they are not going to like what's coming next." Jack grabbed his rifle, I grabbed a pistol and we waited.


The RSO came up and mouthed off, "Okay smarty pants, you know the drill. Work your way through Hogan's Alley and only kill the bad guys, not the civilians." He looked at the two pistols in my boyfriend's hands and laughed, "Don't tell me you're going to use two pistols at once."


L.Cpl. Blaine sassed him, "Okay, I won't tell you."


He shook his head and said, "Okay, but you're going to mess up."


The signal came and L.Cpl. Blaine started into Hogan's Alley. He shot everything right between the eyes, the bad guys, the civilians and even a dog and cat! He also shot all the target mechanisms so the targets would no longer work. I was amazed at how he fired with both hands and could still change magazines. I said to Sgt. Reynolds, "This is truly amazing. I have never seen anyone do this."


He laughed, "You mean kill the civilians and animals too?"


I clarified, "No, I mean use both hands and still be able to reload. But now that you mention it, why is he killing the civilians?"


Sgt. Reynolds replied, "Yeah he practices this all the time for fun; I've seen him do it a hundred times and it still shocks me. Sometimes I wonder if he's more deadly with a rifle or a pistol. As far as the civilians and animals, he's shooting them on purpose but I don't know why."


The RSO screamed at L.Cpl. Blaine to stop but he didn't listen. Finally it was over and everything was shot and destroyed, L.Cpl. Blaine walked back towards us and recovered the many magazines on his way.


He walked up and grinned as the RSO ran over and yelled, "You shot everything including the civilians and the animals. You failed the course."


He laughed and replied, "Oh the civilians and animals were just acceptable collateral damage. You know sort of like the instructors here are just fucking collateral instructors.


The RSO lunged at my boyfriend, but this time I was ready because I had my wooden katana out. I brought it down on his head with a very satisfying crack and he fell unconscious to the ground.  


L.Cpl. Blaine smiled at me, "Thanks Mira, you're pretty good with a stick."


I smiled sexily and said, "There are some sticks I am better with than others." And L.Cpl. Blaine blushed - he looked so cute.


One of the recruits yelled, "So what the hell are we supposed to do now?"


I grinned, became fractious and answered, "Go practice self-training!"


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


It felt damn good blowing the hell out of the range and I dumped most of my anger. Then watching Banzai destroy Hogan's Alley was even better and I was in a pretty good mood, except for almost having my ass blown off earlier.


Plus this fucking school was finished early today because there wasn't anything else they could have us do. I looked at Banzai and Mira and asked, "So what are we doing now."


Banzai spoke right up because I think he was afraid Mira might suggest something else to do with his stick and said, "I don't know about you two, but I'm headed back to the room. I want to do some studying for tonight's class." He gave Mira and me a 'don't fuck things up' look and continued, "I sure as hell hope you two behave tonight because the classes are the only thing worth a fuck in this school."


I debated for a very short moment about asking Banzai if that was because of Charlie, but Mira wasn't kicking my ass right now and I didn't want to antagonize her. I agreed, "Well, I could certainly use the rest."


Mira replied, "L.Cpl. Blaine, I still need to get you the notes from last night and that will take about half an hour. If you two would be so kind as to shower, I will need the bathroom when I get back so I can wash my hair and shave my legs."


Damn! The thought of watching her shave her legs turned me on, even though I knew how dangerous she was.


I answered, "That works for me."


Banzai asked, "Are you sure you will be safe by yourself?"


She grinned at him and answered, "Oh yes, I am sure no one with bother me. I will see both of you soon." She turned and sashayed away and Banzai and I walked (yes I couldn't fucking believe it!) towards our room.


I asked Banzai the question I'd been dying to ask, "So you accidentally called her Maria twice today?"


I could tell he was sore about it when he snapped, "Hell yeah, but it was an honest mistake." Then he told me all about his "vision" last night of Maria and Mira being similar. But I could tell he left out part of it, but hey I'm a guy and I've pried enough already. Things did make better sense now, because he was still pissed and hurt by Maria and Mira reminded him of the anger and pain.


I changed the subject, "Someone was in our room while we were gone because the security was missing on the door. I'm wondering if one of the spooks picked the lock"


He gave me a concerned look, "Did everything look alright."


I answered with a jab, "Nothing looked like it was missing or messed with. There was a little package on your and Mira's bed. It looked to be about the size of an engagement ring box."


He gave me a dirty look, "Jack that is just Mira's bed now and I have no fucking idea what you're talking about."


I sassed him, "You don't know what an engagement ring is?"


He gave me a truly nasty look and replied, "Jack, you don't want to get me upset enough for me to kick your ass. Because if I kick your ass, I'm going to order Mira to kiss it and make it better and I don't think you want that happening, so lay off the bullshit comments."


He was damn right about that, the last thing I wanted was for him to order Mira to kiss my ass. She'd probably do it after she ripped it off my body.


We reached the room, checked the door security and found it was still intact. Banzai still pulled his pistol before we entered the room. We walked in, Banzai scanned the room and said, "The only thing I see is the pillow and MRE box on Mira's bed."


I answered, "Yeah, I wasn't sure and thought it might be some joke from your buddies, so I covered it just to be sure."


He added, "Plus some greedy bastard ate three fucking MREs when he was here. Jack, I should take you out and run you until you puke those up."


I laughed, "If you do that, neither one of us will be done with our showers before your girlfriend gets back."


He wasn't happy, but said, "She isn't my fucking girlfriend! Clean up the damn mess you left while I take a shower."


I did, but only after I ate one more MRE, just out of spite.


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


I did need to get the class notes I promised my boyfriend, but I also needed to talk in private with my sister. She must be informed about the poorly executed attempt on my life since she would probably be the next target.


I pulled out my phone and called her. She woke up and complained, "Mira, do you delight in waking me from my beauty sleep?"


I laughed, "Ira, do not be so crabby. I have called to warn you!"


I could tell I had her attention when she asked, "Did that beast L.Cpl. Blaine do something bad?"


I replied, "Do not be silly, he is a perfect gentleman and it is very frustrating. It seems like two of our old enemies made an appearance today."


She gasped, "Are you alright my sister?"


I replied, "Yes, the body armor which L.Cpl. Blaine gave me saved my life."


She scolded, "Mira, you did not see them before they attacked you. That is not like you my sister, what is going on with you?"


I did not want to tell her the truth, that L.Cpl. Blaine had me so distracted I did not notice them, so I tried to lie, "Ira, I had some dust in my eyes and missed seeing them."


Ira clucked and said, "Mira, you are lying to me. I need the truth right away."


I diverted her and said, "Ira, I really cannot tell you right now. Someone is coming."


And this was not a lie because as soon as I hung up my phone, the commandant and Mr. Smith walked up. I found I hated Mr. Smith even more than L.Cpl. Blaine hated him.


Mr. Smith smiled and asked, "Where are your friends?" It felt like I was being stalked by a snake so I went on the defensive and answered, "They are both back at our room. Why do you inquire?"


He grinned and I felt the hairs rise on my neck! I put my hand on my katana and he answered, "The commandant and I just wished to have a private talk with you and this seemed like a good time."


I probed for more information, "This could be a good time, please tell me your intentions."


He licked his lips, "We are looking for information that we think you might have and also access to their room, which we know you have. If you provide us with these things your position for us will certainly be secured."


I retaliated, "And all it will cost me is my friends?"

Mr. Snaky Smith replied, "Yes, but you would have a great position under me."


I totally understood what he implied so I pulled my katana and sliced through the air stopping one centimeter away from the top of his head and said, "Mr. Smith, what you have asked me to do is unconscionable. I would never betray my friends. If you value your life you will leave immediately."


He laughed, "You don't know what you're giving up."


I replied, "I most certainly do, and it is worth nothing."


Mr. Smith answered, "Suit yourself, but if you change your mind you know where to find us." They both turned and walked away. I had to control an almost overwhelming urge to run up behind both of them and take their heads.


I looked at my katana and this time I lightly sliced my hand and bled so I could replace him in his saya. I bandaged my hand and ran to get the notes from one of the other students so I would not be late.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


I didn't like leaving Mira alone and was distracted as hell during my shower. No, not because of her sexuality, but because since the most recent attack she'd become like a sister to me and I felt I needed to protect her. Someone (probably not the instructors) had tried to kill her, and I should be with her right now.


Plus Jack had been a real bastard and had me worked up again. I really needed to kick his ass once more! Mira's and my bed! Mira's my damn girlfriend! I don't fucking think so! He's going to let his mouth overload his ass again!


That's okay, because I'm going to get even when it's his turn to shower. When I was done, I turned up the hot water, turned off the cold water and let the fucking shower run. Perhaps it will run out of hot fucking water - that would serve the bastard right.


It's too early for my blue dress, so I walk out in comfortable clothes. Jack grinned at me and sassed, "That was one long fucking shower! I hope you got everything clean?"


I lied, "Unlike some sorry old bastards, I cleaned things four times and could have kept going all night long."


He complained, "I sure as hell hope you rinsed the shower well!"


I lied again, "I think I forgot to do that, so you might want to wash it first."


He complained like hell, "God Damn! You should know better than that."


I grinned, "I guess thinking of Mira's hot as hell thighs and firm as hell butt distracted me."


He stumbled into the shower and I waited. A minute later he yelled, "You son-of-a-bitch, you used up all the hot water!"


I banged on the bathroom door and yelled, "Horny old goats like you could use some cold showers." Yeah payback's a bitch.


I put the MRE box that Jack had on Mira's bed back on the stack of MRE boxes, straightened the pillow, picked up the box and looked at it. Jack was wrong because it was too big for an engagement ring box. Thinking about that reminded me of the huge mistake I almost made with Susan. Jack saved my ass from that mistake even though it hurt like hell. I shook the box and it didn't rattle or explode like Jack worried about so I put it back on the bed.


I sat at the computer and started studying for tonight's class. That reminded me, Mira already knew the hell out of this shit and I should be asking her about it. In fact, how in the hell did she know this already?


I was really getting into this spy shit when Mira knocked on the door, "L.Cpl. Blaine, it is Mira please let me in the room."


I jumped right up and let her into the room. The first thing I noticed was her bandaged hand so I asked, "Mira, what happened?"


She looked down, started to lie and I said, "Mira, I can tell when you lie." She looked at me and told me about her meeting with the commandant and Mr. Smith. Mr. Fucking Smith had just dug his own grave!


She was really upset. My guess was from the meeting with the two bastards, but that changed when she saw her new body armor. She went over, messed with it and asked, "L.Cpl. Blaine, will I have to return all my gear when I leave?"


I smiled at her - she really was like a kid in a candy store with the gear. And I replied, "Mira, even though I shouldn't do it, you can keep all the gear when we leave the school." I wrote Tom's phone number on a card and handed it to her. "Just give these guys a call and tell them you need your footlockers moved and it will be taken care of."


She got all excited, went to sit in my lap to 'thank me' but I stopped her with, "Mira, not tonight, I've got a headache. By the way some little package came for you."


That distracted the hell out of her when she went over, grabbed the box and replied, "I was hoping this would get here today." She was secretive as hell about it when she opened it so I asked, "What's in the box?"


She grinned at me and simply said, "Things."


Damn! Now she had my curiosity going. I continued by asking, "How did it get in the room?"


She gave me a big smile, "L.Cpl. Blaine, just like you, I have my magic gnomes also. They delivered it to our room."


Damn, I guess she's not going to tell me what's in the box. She said, "I almost forgot." Then she pulled a bunch of papers out of her pack, handed them to me and said, "These are the notes from last night's class." Then she grabbed all her shower items and the box and waited for the shower but didn't have to wait long.


Jack came out of the bathroom and complained, "Banzai used up all the hot water, so I'm afraid you'll have to take a cold shower."


She grinned at both of us and remarked, "That is fine, I am so hot I normally take cold showers." Then she paraded into the shower. I looked at Jack and once again we were both affected by Mira.


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


I could tell Mira's last comment about cold showers had really gotten to Banzai, but he had turned away and looked at a stack of papers and messed around on his computer again. So I said, "I bet Mira could use someone to wash her back?"


He didn't pay attention but responded, "Yeah that's good, you can help her with that." Damn him, my plan wasn't working tonight because he was too distracted. I noticed the box was gone and asked, "What was in the box?"


That got his attention. He turned, looked at me and explained, "I don't have any idea. Someone delivered it to our room for Mira but she wouldn't let me see what was inside."


I grinned and teased, "Perhaps she's going to propose to you?"


He gave me a cold stare and said, "Jack, every time you say that it reminds me of the mistake I almost made with Susan. You need to stop reminding me of it." He turned and looked at his papers and computer, which signaled the end of our conversation.


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


I was very upset! Today was, was, was – terrible! I very much needed the time in the bathroom right now to regain control of myself because one minute I was ecstatic and the next I was frustrated and I was an emotional wreck. I never dreamed being in love would be such hard work! Ira and I had been taught many things, but no one had ever given us instruction on being in love, especially with someone who seemed impervious to all my advances. Being close to him all day had kept me in a state of semi-arousal and I was very frustrated and for once needed release.


I did use a little hot water so I could wash my hair otherwise the shampoo and conditioner would have made an impossible mess out of things. But then I turned on the cold water and let it play over my body. It did cool me off and that helped to calm me down.


I made sure to add the item from the box to the shower as Ira instructed me and ended my shower with great resolve. Tonight L.Cpl. Blaine would be tortured by my actions until he begged to train me. I dried off, put on my sexy underwear, sprayed on my perfume, opened the door, walked into our room and announced, "If neither of you mind, I am going to shave my legs out here because the bathroom is so small." Sgt. Reynolds certainly did not mind since he stared at me like a ravenous wolf stares at a lost lamb and replied, "If it doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother me." However my boyfriend didn't even look at me, but continued to be distracted by the computer. He only grunted, "Okay." I almost walked over and kicked his rear, threw the computer on the floor and attacked him!


I made a big production out of getting set up to shave my legs. Sgt. Reynolds stared until I gave him my dirtiest look, then he rolled over in his bed and faced the wall. L.Cpl. Blaine didn't pay attention at all so it was very frustrating! I was sure he could see me out of the corner of his eyes while I shaved, but he totally ignored what would have driven most normal men crazy! Why, why, why, did my boyfriend have to be so difficult? It had to be that Maria girlfriend of his! It was very bad timing for us to meet so close to her breaking his heart! I wished I had a balm in my bag I could apply to his heart to fix it.


I finished, cleaned up and still had more plans for my reluctant boyfriend tonight. I walked over beside the desk (still in my very sexy underwear) and demanded, "L.Cpl. Blaine give me your hand so I can examine the sutures."


He looked at me and commented, "Mira, that underwear isn't regulation."


Oh! He just now noticed! I controlled my anger and said, "No, tonight I am not wearing my blue dress uniform so I do not need regulation undergarments. Do you like these?"


He looked at me in my sexy undergarments, just like he was inspecting a rifle and finally said, "I guess they're okay."  Oh, he will pay for that comment later! I sexily sat on the edge of the desk and again demanded, "Give me your hand so I can examine the sutures." He gave me his hand and I set it in my lap to examine the sutures. I had done an excellent job and unfortunately they did not need any additional care. But I kept his hand on my lap because I really liked it there, finally he said, "Mira, they look fine. May I please have my hand back?"


I reluctantly let him take his hand, but stayed on the desk and asked, "What are you looking at?"


He replied, "Well, the gadgets that the spies used to kill each other with are fascinating to me. Some of them were so creative."


I asked, "You mean like the poison tipped umbrella the Bulgarians used to kill dissident Georgi Markov?"


He looked at me. Oh boy, I finally had his attention, "Yes, that case was very interesting. And they used ricin."


I added, "Yes the lethal dose for ricin is one to thirty micrograms per kilogram of weight. They used four-hundred-fifty micrograms on him. Originally he was misdiagnosed as having septicemia."


L.Cpl. Blaine asked, "Is there any cure for ricin poisoning?"


I replied, "The only cure is an agonizing death."


He questioned, "So when they poisoned Markov, it was a death sentence?"


I replied, "Yes it was. It would have been more humane to have just shot him, but they wanted to send a very large message." It was time to change the subject so I licked my lips and inquired, "You of course have heard of the 'Kiss of Death'?"


L.Cpl. Blaine answered, "Wasn't that what Poison Ivy used to try to kill Batman?"


I laughed because he was very wrong, "No my boyfriend, it is a four-point-five millimeter single shot derringer that looks just like a tube of lipstick. The Soviets developed it in the nineteen-sixties." I was very happy because I found a new way to attract the attention of my boyfriend.


Then! Suddenly! A great new idea came to me and I couldn't wait to put it into practice. I knew I had exactly what I needed for tonight, but I would need to call Ira and have her send me everything else that I needed.


I mentioned, "L.Cpl. Blaine we need to get ready for dinner and class."


He looked at his watch and said, "Thanks. You're right and we have to hurry. Mira, will you please change in the bathroom while Jack and I change out here?"


I smiled because that was part of my plan. I went to my bags and pulled out my surprise for tonight.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


The knowledge Mira had about spy gadgets was phenomenal, but then she was a spy so I guess she's already learned this. I had lost track of time and when Mira interrupted I was very glad, because she had slowly inched her way closer to me and had even put my hand on her leg. I needed to control my emotions better because she was an expert at distraction and subterfuge.


Jack grinned at me after Mira was in the bathroom and whispered, "You'd better be careful Banzai. She almost had you trapped."


I answered under my breath, "Yeah, you're right. I didn't even realize I had my hand on her leg. I don't know what the hell I'm going to do later tonight because I sort of promised her I'd be sleeping in the room with her."


He softly chuckled, "I think you're fucked!"


And that gave me a great idea! I just hoped I could pull it off in time so I wasn't the one being fucked.


I got into my blue dress uniform, loaded up my bag for tonight and waited for Jack and Mira. Jack didn't take much longer, but Mira seemed to be taking forever so I yelled, "Hey Mira, we need to leave!"


The bathroom door opened, Mira stepped out and surprised the hell out of both of us. I expected the femme fatale I was used to seeing and Mira was not that woman tonight! She had on a nice and modest white summer dress with little blue forget-me-nots embroidered around the neck. She used just a very modest trace of makeup and her hair cascaded over her shoulders and onto her back. She looked, well just like the girl next door and was attractive as hell to me. She even got a rise out of my tool - shit, now I'm even talking like her.


She gave me a dazzling smile and said, "Sorry to make you wait. Am I worth the wait?"


I was still stunned, but Jack replied, "Hell yes you're worth it!"


She gave him a dirty look, pouted for real and said, "What about you L.Cpl. Blaine. Do you like my dress?" and she twirled around the room and giggled.


I finally came to my senses and said, "Mira, you look incredible tonight."


She grinned, "Do you like the forget-me-nots? I embroidered them myself. It's one of many homemaking skills I learned so I will be a perfect wife someday."


I knew I would never forget her or the forget-me-nots. Somehow she figured out that I really preferred sensible women and she had in the matter of minutes transformed herself into one. This was going to make tonight very difficult for me. I replied, "Mira, you are an amazing woman and those forget-me-nots look excellent."


She said, "Excuse me gentlemen, I need to tidy up just a little and put away these scandalous undergarments I found in the bathroom. I think the only sort of woman who would wear these must have very loose morals!"


 Jack grinned at me and mouthed, "You're fucked!" And he was right. If I wasn't very careful tonight, I would be fucked!


Mira put her underwear away, skipped over to us and said, "Would you please escort me to dinner tonight?"


I tried to give her a hug but she pushed me away, slapped my face and scolded me, "L.Cpl. Blaine, behave yourself! I am not that sort of woman! If you dare try that again, you will be forced to eat alone!"


Shit! What the fuck is going on and what the hell is she doing? Does Mira have a split personality disorder?


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


Well, Banzai was fucked tonight. Mira figured out her sexy persona wasn't working and had totally shifted gears and became the girl-next-door. This was extremely bad news for Banzai, because he fucking loved the girl-next-door look. Shit! I was fucked too because I loved the girl-next-door look to and Mira played it to a 'T'.


Banzai tried to give her a hug and she slapped him a little across the face and complained, "L.Cpl. Blaine, behave yourself! I am not that sort of woman! If you dare try that again, you will be forced to eat alone!" I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing my ass off, but Banzai was confused as hell! Shit! At least those two were keeping things entertaining.


We walked to the mess hall and she wouldn't even hold Banzai's hand - he tried several times and she avoided it. Shit! This was funny as hell. I asked, "Mira, may I please hold your hand?"


She smiled at me and answered, "At least someone here is being a gentleman. Thank you Sgt. Reynolds for asking, I would love to hold your hand."


I watched as Banzai's mouth dropped open and he fumed. He asked, "Mira could I please hold your other hand?"


She sassed him, "No L.Cpl. Blaine you may not. Sgt. Reynolds asked first and a modest girl only holds hands with one man at a time."


Banzai was flustered and said, "Hey wait a minute!" I answered him with, "You snooze you lose."


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Son-of-a-bitch! Did Jack just snake Mira from me? Everything was going along very copasetic and then Mira becomes – well a totally different woman – no totally different incredibly attractive woman and now she's treating me like – well like a Country Captain Chicken MRE!


At first I thought it was a game, and it still might be, but I'm sure as hell not going to lose even a pretend game to that COF.


We reached the mess hall, Jack and I fought over who would help her with her chair, I won this time and she smiled and said, "Thank you L.Cpl. Blaine. It is good to know you can be a gentleman sometimes." Sometimes my ass!


I was distracted when I passed out the MREs and didn't notice I gave myself the fricken chicken one I had planned to give to chow hound Jack! Oh well, I still had all that I needed to make it edible.


Jack grinned and remarked, "Hey Banzai, interesting choice of MREs tonight. Shit! I didn't figure you would be eating Country Captain Craphead…"


He never got to finish because Mira interrupted, "Sgt. Reynolds, you will not use that sort of language at our dinner table."


Well, it was good to see Mira was an equal opportunity pain in the rear tonight. I was worried it might only be reserved for me.


Jack apologized, "Sorry Mira, you're right that's not proper language to use at a dinner table."


She looked at both of us and announced, "Gentleman, things have changed and I will not tolerate foul language and childishness towards me. You will treat me with respect or you will be spending the rest of the night by yourselves!"


I pulled out the wine and Mira whined, "L.Cpl. Blaine, are you trying to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me later?"


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


Remember watching the film of the Hindenburg8 catching fire and falling to the ground in a flaming mess? Well, I had just witnessed Banzai's plans with Mira meet with the same results. I wasn't exactly sure what her game was, but she had certainly reversed the roles tonight and had both of us eating right out of her hand. I didn't think I had a shot at her, but figured I'd play along just for fun.


8 The Hindenburg disaster took place on Thursday, May 6, 1937, as the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed as it was attempting to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst, New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board, 35 people died in addition to one fatality on the ground. The disaster was the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and Herbert Morrison's recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field, which was broadcast the next day.


She even refused wine tonight, and I added, "None for me tonight too Banzai. I need to keep a clear head for the class later." Yeah it was a lie because class was boring as hell, but I could play this game as well as she could.


He put the bottle away and said, "Then no wine for any of us tonight." Mira smiled at him and answered, "Thank you. I do not feel we need artificial embellishments to our conversations or interactions tonight."


Flashback – Mira – Day three, week one of spook school


Up to now my new plan worked perfectly. I silently scolded myself that I didn't ascertain earlier that L.Cpl. Blaine was very used to being pursued by women and very actively resisted it. So, I changed my role and became passive and he and Sgt. Reynolds were now fighting over my attentions. I was finally back in control of the situation and enjoyed it very much. However, tonight was just step one of a plan which I would use for every remaining day of our time at the school.  And I still must play this game perfectly if I wanted to win the big prize of L.Cpl. Blaine's love!


Dinner was very enjoyable until L.Cpl. Blaine asked, "Mira please tell me more about some of the ways spies kill each other." I terribly wanted to discuss it with him, but I needed to stay in character, so instead I scolded, "Sir! That is not polite conversation at the dinner table." Sgt. Reynolds laughed and my boyfriend became quiet and sullen for the rest of the meal, so my plan worked perfectly.


L.Cpl. Blaine finally cheered up when I announced, "Thank both of you for the wonderful meal. But it is time for us to go to class tonight."


He replied, "Great, I'm really interested in tonight's topics. Then I can't wait to get back to the room." Oh if he knew my plans for tonight, he would not be so happy about the class or the room.


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


I couldn't wait to get to class tonight since the subject was interesting as hell to me. Plus I wanted to see how girl-next-door-Mira handled Charlie.


We headed to class and I didn't even ask or try to hold Mira's hand and we took our place right up front. Charlie looked hot tonight! I could tell she put some effort into her looks for class.


She sauntered up to Jack, gave him a disgusted look, walked in front of Mira and grinned, then stopped in front of me and stated, "I sure hope you or your entourage act up tonight, because I will blame you for anything they do and I would be forced to keep you after class."


Mira answered, "Do not worry, they promised me they will behave tonight."


She licked her lips, stared at me and replied, "That's so unfortunate and boring!"


Mira laughed and whispered, "Not as boring as she is!"


I couldn't believe Mira was insulting her, was she crazy?


Charlie turned around and asked, "Mira, did you have something to share with the class?"


Mira grinned and said, "No Ma'am."


Charlie turned back towards the board and Mira whispered, "I hope I never get that big when I'm as old as she is!"


Jack started to laugh but turned it into a cough, Charlie turned back around and ordered, "Alright, I warned both of you. Leave my class."


I stood up to leave and Charlie ordered, "Oh no you don't! Because you're the ring leader, and your friends disrupted my class, you will stay after class. I'm calling the commandant so we can have a discussion with you. You may be able to run roughshod over the rest of this school, but no one disrupts my class and gets away with it!"


Jack and Mira left and I swear Mira actually seemed happy about things, which confused the hell out of me.


Flashback – Jack – Day three, week one of spook school


I wasn't sure what the hell happened in class, but Mira purposely got both of us thrown out of class and she didn't seem upset about it. She's confusing as hell to understand since she's become the girl-next-door.


We get out in the hallway and I ask, "Mira, what was that all about?"


She looked at me, grinned and said, "I knew that old woman would be flirting with L.Cpl. Blaine all night long and I did not want to subject myself to her petty foibles."


I asked, "Aren't you worried about her and Banzai being together after class?"


That was the wrong thing to say! Mira turned on me and said, "Sgt. Reynolds, are you inferring my boyfriend would cheat on me with that broken down old hag? Just for that both of you will spend the night in my old room, however I will be kind enough to let you retrieve different clothing to wear tonight."


Shit she's throwing us both out of the room for the night. Banzai's going to be pissed at me for this!


Flashback – Ben – Day three, week one of spook school


Charlie didn't call the commandant, but she did keep me after class, and it wasn't totally about sex. When the class left, she sat on her desk and 'accidentally' gave me a view up her skirt; I took a quick glance and then looked her in the face. She said, "Since this is informal, I'm going to call you Ben. Look, it's obvious you really have an interest and even an aptitude for this subject."


I replied, "Yes Miss I do."


She laughed, "Please call me Charlie almost everyone else does. It's also obvious to me that Jack has no interest in the subject and Mira is bored in class. They were going to keep distracting you all night, that's why I sent them out of the class."


I answered, "Thank you Charlie, but I think both of them and especially Mira will be very upset with me tonight."


She grinned at me, "Do you love her Ben?"


I was shocked at the question and replied, "I don't think that's any of your business."


She laughed, "Ah so you don't, otherwise you would have announced it. I would say then you're in big trouble because she very obviously loves you. So what are you going to do about it?"


I swallowed and answered, "I don't really know. I've never been good with breaking up with women."


Charlie queried, "Would you like some friendly advice?"


I needed to be honest with her too and replied, "Yes I would, but you should know I don't plan on sleeping with you."


She laughed, "Ben, I could tell the first time I'd met you that you were on the rebound. Whoever it was she sure broke the hell out of your heart. I've just been teasing you and I need to apologize for doing that."


So Charlie and I talked for thirty minutes and she gave me huge insight into how women think and some ideas on how to end things with Mira. When we were done she asked, "You look really worried!"


I answered, "Well, Mira is sleeping in our room and after what we've talked about I'm concerned about going back to the room."


Charlie said, "Well, you could spend the night with me, but Mira would probably try to kill both of us. Just be firm with her and tell her NO! Don't pull that old 'not tonight dear I have a headache' crap you told me about because that just gives her hope there will be a night you don't."


I thanked her, walked back to my room, and found a note on the door.


L.Cpl. Blaine, you and Sgt. Reynolds are spending the night in my old room. It is not proper for the three of us to sleep in the same room. Beside he insulted me when he implied you and the broken down old teacher were engaging in training. And you offended me when you did not leave the class with both of us.


He has a change of clothes for you to sleep in and your toiletries so do not bother me. I expect both of you here in the morning at 0430 and I will have the coffee and breakfast ready. Do not be late, or you will not get your food.





Shit! Mira, the Mira that has wanted to jump my bones the last three days, threw me out of my own room! I should go back and find Charlie and sleep with her just out of spite! But dammit, I never asked where she was staying and it's too late to beat on all the doors to find her. Well at least I didn't have to worry about not having sex with Mira tonight. I headed down to Mira's old room.