Scared to Sleep

Private Morgan joined the Army  from an act of desperation.  Commit sucide or go to war.

Choices.

He did not want to die, but he did want a future.

So, he joined the least popular wartime Army with the least public support, when he felt it was his only chance.

He had learned to sleep on an Army cot from the age of nine, a product of mere poverty.  So, adjusting to the his new sleeping conditions felt like home in that way, surrounded by a sea of Olive Drab Green uniforms.

Basic training was the worst “throw them into the cold dark waters and see what skims the surface” he had ever seen.  He was cast among the most desperate people he had ever been around.

Fear was like a horrible perfume that hung on 300  desperate people, in your company, that you could smell, you could feel.

One rarely looked anyone in the eyes, because fear felt was doubled by fear seen.

Private Morgan quickly learned that all were just one skin away from selling their soul to the devil.

Several days in, he discovered the Sgts. best teaching tool.

They would sneak in to the sleeping men at 3 or 4 am and raise hell, watch the recruits fall from their top bunks, 5 feet to the floor, while the bottom bunks rolled out with confusion and fear.  They would bang on garbage cans, scream, kick, rant.  All this music was designed to prepare the troop for the attack of the enemy.

“Troop!  Get your asses on the line.  Troop, your momma and daddies are dead!.  I am your everything!  I will skull fuck you if you do not get with the program!  You will die or carry your team mates and protect them!”

Yet, Private Morgan seem to know the Sgts. were coming, every morning

Private Morgan would be partially dressed when they came in, screaming their hateful rhetoric.

One Drill Sgt. noticed.

He thought Pvt. Morgan could hear his combat boots.  He switched to tennis shoes.

Then, he thought Pvt. Morgan could hear his feet on gravel between his building and the Private, so he diverted to grass.

He though the Private could hear his door when he left the building, so he began to go through an open window.

Nothing worked.  Pvt. Morgan only said he was a light sleeper.

For days and weeks, the Sgt. worked and worried, and could never catch the Private totally helpless.

“Honestly, I do not know how you do this.  I give up!  You win.  But, I want to put you in for survival and evasion.  You are special!  I think you should be a sniper, way behind enemy lines.  Somehow, you would survive while killing the enemy!”

Private Morgan said, “Sarge.  I really appreciate your opinion. But, my goal is to survive.  I do not want to be a tic mark on a page, of the numbers.  I want to have a life beyond this!”

The Sgt. said, “Ok. You could be a marvelous weapon.  I know this!”

But, he could not shake Pvt. Morgan’s mind.

“OK!  Have it your way, but you could be a great soldier!”

Pvt. Morgan did live past the war, and did find a life.  But, that is another story.

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