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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Comedy · #2306384
Faced with jeering protestors, what if a USMC Sergeant was allowed to answer in kind?.
Sergeant Gus and the Day of Joy

         Sergeant Augustus Trenchfort, USMC, stepped into the office bathroom, closed the door and surveyed himself in the mirror. His crewcut hair, brown. His jaw, square. His eyes, piercing crystal blue. Traits inherited from his Dutch Grandfather. But unfortunately, not his height.

         Placing his cap upon his head, Sergeant Gus snapped to attention. Ramrod straight, his bearing belied his five-foot eight-inch stature. That had always been Gus’ strength; he exemplified duty, honor, courage, in a manner that made him seem larger than life.

         Gus eyed his reflection, noting the double-starched shirt of his dress uniform bore ironed creases that could cut paper. The dark blue serge of his jacket was single brushed in one direction, presenting a spanking brand-new look. His final touch was updating his stripes with the red-backed gold sergeant chevrons that Gus had purchased at the PX and stitched on to his jacket just last night. This Recruiting Sergeant was ready for action!

         Gus quickly voiced downward through an almost musical scale, “Ah, ah, ah, oooh." He ended with a deep basso-profundo "Ooooo Rah!" That rattled the mirror. Gus smiled; he would be in full voice when he made his announcement.

         “Stop it,” Gus addressed his image, grinning back from the mirror. “I know this would be the dream assignment of any recruiting sergeant, but this is a mission. You will maintain all seriousness for the Corps! Semper Fi!” Gus snapped a precision salute to the now somber image in the mirror. Tucking his white gloves over his white webbed-belt and squaring his shoulders, Sergeant Gus turned, opened the door and headed across the office toward the street out front.

         From just beyond the police sawhorse barricades, a crescendo of jeers and cheers greeted the sergeant as he stepped out onto the sidewalk. Glancing around, Gus noted that each protest group out front had been sequestered in its own spot by the Berkeley police. Gus gritted his teeth. It seemed the protestors and assorted street-people "crazies" showed up, almost weekly, with their demands that military recruiters get out of Berkeley.

         The Lezzes in Fezzes shook their signs angrily as they shouted, “Marines Get Out Now, Stop War Recruitment!” Beyond them, the Feed-The-Earth-Pullets-Not-Bullets protestors chanted through their feathers and rubber chicken beaks, "April, May and Camp Lejune, you can't march away too soon!" Even The Naked Guy was there wearing only a strategically placed stop sign.

         Off to one side, cheers of support erupted from a row of tomato splattered R.O.T.C. students. Gus acknowledged them with a nod and also snapped a quick salute toward the American flag held high by the Veteran Bikers group wearing their motley array of various military jackets.

         Gus held up his hands to quiet the crowds in the street. At first the jeers got louder but were quickly drowned out by student on-lookers and the R.O.T.C. chanting, “Free Speech, Free Speech!”

         When the hubbub had dropped to a level that he could outshout, Gus addressed the crowd. His heart was pounding, for Gus knew that what he was about to say would make him a legend from Parris Island to Camp Pendleton.

         “Citizens of Berkeley,” he began, as he fought to keep from grinning, “the Marines have decided upon an answer to your request.” The signs stopped waving; people craned their necks, straining forward to hear what this Marine Sergeant was about to announce. Were recruiters finally going to leave Berkeley?

         In his finest Drill Sergeant voice and with joy in his heart, Gus barked out that time-worn chant of the protestors,
          “HELL NO, WE WON’T GO!”

Note -

An edited version originally published 2008 in Art & Prose e-zine
Being a graduate of Cal Berkeley, but also the son of a Marine Corps Captain,
I felt there had to be some middle ground during the recurrent protests in
the streets of Berkeley. I wondered how a military recruiter might respond,
if only the rules would be changed to allow that.
Thus, was born - Sergeant Gus USMC -
and assigned the surname - Trenchfort - because
a lot of us Boomers, as kids, dug those in vacant lots

J Fox - foxtale@juno.com
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