Chapter 21- Sandman
7:55 AM | Author: Jeff
Jay Sutherland, fanned his face with his hat, ‘damn it, this place is hot!’ he thought. He had arrived in tent city a few weeks ago; Jay had been promoted to the rank of sergeant after receiving a recommendation from Major. John Dickerson, a man whom Jay was sure had hated him from the day Jay had first arrived at his previous billing, but that was the way of the corps. Always has and always will be.
His new squad had been sent to Saudi Arabia, eight days ahead of him, he decided to get them onside by making damn sure he was humping more duty than any of them, and so Sergeant Jay Sutherland stood in a pit of sand, filling sandbags while the sun over head burnt his skin in temperatures which soared in excess of thirty eight degrees Celsius.
On the day Jay had arrived he had stowed his gear and then headed off to meet Lt Jacobs.
Lt. Jacobs had the classic military look, his eyes sizing up who ever stood before him in an intense stare, almost devoid of blinks or distractions. He was young man, two years Jays junior, but despite his years Lt Jacobs possessed a presence that Jay recognized straight away as military instilled confidence.
The training grunts and officers experience varies in many ways, but the most obvious is in the confidence training; a grunt is trained to be confident in his abilities and more importantly to be confident in the wisdom of his officers, while an officer is trained to be confident in his own judgment, while respecting the superior wisdom and judgment of his superior officers.
The meeting with Jacobs had been short and curt, Jacobs had given Jay a quick rundown of each of the men in 2nd squad, though Jay had already memorized each of their files, he had then laid out his expectations of his new sergeant.
“The men are in limbo here, nothing to do but wait for a chance to kick some Iraqi ass, idle minds and bodies have no place in the Corps and especially not under my command, keep them tight Sergeant, good to go?”
“Aye Sir, good to go!”
After the briefing was finished Jay decided to go and introduce himself to his men, he was beat, jetlagged and hungry as hell, but he knew the men knew he was here and it would not set a good tone if he put his own needs ahead of them, so summoning all of his will, Jay straightened himself up, shaked off his fatigue and headed out to the pit where his new squad were filling sand bags.
When Jay got to the pit he found his new squad working slow and steady to fill sandbags which they never expected to use, most of them were shirtless. The men were covered in sand and sweat and each of them looked as though they wish they had decided to do something else with their lives, and honestly Jay couldn’t blame them, filling sandbags in a desert was far from the reason why a man becomes a marine.
“Hey marines, still got a hell of a lot of sand to go” said Jay looking out towards the vast horizon,
“If we plan to turn this shit whole into anything other than a sand pit.” Jay grinned.
The men brought themselves to attention and said in unison.
“Aye Sergeant!”
“At ease Marines, just landed and thought I’d come and introduce myself, name’s Sergeant Jay Sutherland”
The men relaxed their posture a little, each man studied their new sergeant trying to get a fix on what kind of man they had been saddled with, and each man hoped the young sergeant was nothing like their old one. Sergeant Rooney had been a lazy arrogant bastard, intent on riding the men’s backs and taking all the credit when they succeeded, the men thought he would have been a better squid than a marine.
“Men, I will cut to it, I have only one way to do things, and that is the Marine way, I will promise you all now that you each have my one hundred and fifty percent, one hundred percent of the time. We are here in this damn desert for one reason alone, and that is to kick some Iraqi ass and put Saddam into a hurt locker, U.S style, which we will do just as soon as the policy makers finish talking and playing with each other and decide to turn this shield into a fucking spear! We are Marines, the few, the proud, don’t ever forget it!” Jays face had turned slightly red, with the exertion of yelling, his jugular bulged and throbbed, he looked at each of his men in the eyes, unblinking, void of emotion, then Jay looked at his watch.
“Alright men lets pack this up for today, I am beat, and none of my men are going to be out here humping it while I lay on my back, we’ll pick it up tomorrow at 0500, check?”
“Hurrah!” the men replied in unison.
With that Jay turned and headed off to his tent, the sandman was kicking his ass all the way.

Reader Reviews!

"Wow. That's awesome. I like how you write, it's unique and descriptive and paints an image for you. when i was reading this first chapter, i could just picture this becoming a blockbuster movie or something." ...Toni Brolin

"I'm utterly and completely hooked! The characters are so defined and the relations between them are extremely deep. Keep writing. I can't wait to read more. x"...Elise

"What amazes me about your work is that you have an incredible capacity to get into the minds of your characters, regardless of age or gender. That is truly a great talent."...Kathleen

I'm supposed to be doing all sorts of things--writing cards, laundry, decorating and what happens? You put up another Chapter! So much for my schedule. Ooh, it's a good one, though that's for sure. What a cliffhanger. Can't wait to see what Sabian has to say. Really good tense stuff, but with just the right poignancy."...