Sedition

Sedition

A Story by Dianne
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sedition noun: incitement of resistence to or of insurrection against lawful authority

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CRASH, bang, clank, clatter! Reveille, I quietly drop from the bunk. If there is a more crass way of doing anything it will shortly make its way into the government’s repertoire of daily behaviors. I leave the 33 gallon, galvanized steel garbage can clattering between the bunks for someone else to retrieve as I make my way to the showers. I dress carefully in the pants and shirt I’ve folded and pressed under my mattress and take pains to securely pin up my long hair. Never give them an excuse! Make up my bunk ship shape. I’m ready for whatever they throw at me.
 
At seventeen I’m here to make my escape. As bad as everyone else thinks this is, it’s a cakewalk compared to what I’ve been living. As rude, crass, crude and demanding as they are here, it’s impersonal. They can’t touch my emotions because I have no attachments, and they can’t touch me physically unless I start it. Freedom!
 
Standing in company formation waiting our turn in the mess hall, “They” inform us of the new rules. Male and female companies will now be segregated for meals and classes. It takes longer to get breakfast this morning because of the new routine. There’s lots of grumbling and complaining about this new insult being heaped upon us, but what are we to do? We’re just a bunch of powerless recruits stuck in a hopeless situation called boot camp.
 
I finally get my turn at green eggs and Kellogg’s Raisin Bran with no raisins. I used to think “green eggs” was just a nursery rhyme, now I know that if you make up dehydrated eggs in advance and leave them sit long enough before you cook them, they will turn a beautiful shade of snot green. The Raisin Bran? I don’t know. I think they must buy the stuff that failed quality control and serve that to the recruits. Whatever… it’s breakfast of a sort.
 
I have 20 minutes to eat, drink coffee and warm up. The Master at Arms is the only one allowed to wear a watch; and so I keep a close eye on her, making sure I leave the chow hall before she does. When she returns the Master at Arms stands at the door to the barracks and writes up any one returning from mess after her. They are AWOL. Absent WithOut Leave is just a step shy of desertion; it’s about the worst thing you can be accused of in the Navy without actually doing anything. Of course it goes without saying that if you’re accused by the government then you obviously are guilty. “What do you mean innocent until proven guilty? You’re in the Navy now! You have a right to one hour sleep, one meal per day, not necessarily hot, and pay if congress has authorized it! That is correct recruit; you gave up your rights when you decided to protect everyone else’s.”
 
I spend most of the morning pondering my new situation. I hate being bullied! I hate stupid rules! Hey, that’s what I’m supposed to be escaping. So much for freedom. I’m supposed to be paying attention to class, learning their version of military history and the Navy rules and regulations, but I’ve already read these books. My recruiter loaned them all to me before I got here. I’ve already quoted page and paragraph to my Company Commander, showing that as a woman I don’t have to cut my hair, only keep it up off my collar. So much for keeping a low profile. Why can’t I ever take the easy path?
 
I go through the same pointless segregation of the sexes again at lunch, but this time I have a plan. I choose my targets carefully; they are the popular ones, the outspokenly disgruntled ones, and the watch wearing ones. I pass the idea along, careful not to let the ones in power know what’s up. The time has been set. The plan formed. The plan widely disseminated. I continue to check on our progress throughout our segregated afternoon classes. I make sure the plan crisscrosses the line.
 
Again, I am standing in company formation waiting for dinner. This is the third meal of this new routine. You would think it would move faster now, but no, the line has stalled out. There is no movement, no coming and going of the recruits as they finish dinner and head off to study or practice folding their clothes for the next inspection. No movement, company after company of recruits all standing at ease awaiting their turn at what ever slop is being served tonight.
 
Finally I’m allowed in line. I dish up my meal. I take some of everything. Lots of everything! I sit down with my company and eat my fill. We all watch our Master at Arms. None of us leave early. Exactly 20 minutes after our Master at Arms sits down, she stands, tray in hand and surveys the company. Seventy nine recruits stand as one; we drop off our trays for the Kitchen Police. Mine is not the only try that is still full to over flowing. The dirty tray conveyer is avalanched with the sudden dump from exiting recruits. The excess food and slimy dishes clattering to the floor as we quickly walk back to our barracks. None are late returning.
 
CRASH, bang, clank, clatter! I quietly drop from the bunk to do it all again. There is no announcement this time, but when we get to the mess hall things have quietly returned to normal. We learn from the KP that the last recruit was served dinner some time after 2300 (11:00 PM) and the KP were up all night cleaning the mess. More than 8000 recruits participated. Ah, esprit de corps! I think we’ve got it.
 
Never again will I believe that I am helpless. Never again will I believe myself powerless. Government abuse can only persist in the face of an apathetic citizenry. I have learned to choose my fights with care, but not based on the size of my opponent.

© 2015 Dianne


Author's Note

Dianne
This is from my personal experience in boot camp in Orlando, FL in December of 1979.

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Featured Review

this was a very enjoyable read and love your presentation. Question: the rebellion (did they plan to each take as much at mess that there was no food left for the next - the segregated - meal to protest the ridiculousness of the separation?). Is our protagonist among the male or female group (I wasn't sure if he/she had quoted a little-known regulation in order to get out of cutting his hair, or if she didn't have to because there is no specific regulation for women...).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thanks!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

i worked with a bunch of people from the navy........ and no offense but they were all d*********s........ not a big navy fan ....... but i do root for their football team for some dumb reason i am not sure........ anyway i enjoyed the read....... thanks for entering my contest..........

Posted 11 Years Ago


hehehe... I love it! I was there in 83. It was after I began serving my time that I realized that those who lead do so at the liberty of those led. Of course, in the military there are negative consequences to the individual exercise of such discretionary liberties.

I like how you won your battle. Good show for you and your team.

Nice storycrafting too, by the way. I enjoyed it.

Cheers!
Doc.


Posted 11 Years Ago


Excellent read. Thank God I chose the Army and in my day men and women didn't even go together to Basic. The food was good, but there were no women in sight.

JS

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You have an amazing way of describing the environment and events that engage the reader. I felt like I was seeing it all through your eyes.

I was a little confused at first about the 'plan'. Did you really get everyone involved in it? Is this true, were you there?

I like the ending message, very empowering.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really loved the ending of this. You sum the story up quite nicely here: "Never again will I believe that I am helpless...I have learned to choose my fights with care, but not based on the size of my opponent." I also liked how the story ended in a similar way that it began. The noises, to me at least, signify a disturbance; so, at the end, it's like you threw a wrench in their gears or something along those lines.

Nice job.


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I have never had an image like this presented to me. Now that i read this. I think I know why soldiers who come back to civilian life from the service are needing everything in their homes to be a certain way and get bent when things get changed.

A wonderfully enlightening piece. A look into a world that the common man doesn't look at much.

Aaron

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I was engaged from the start. How impressive .... great story and lesson by example. Again you are strong in giving the reader effective visuals to follow your story line.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This was an absolutely wonderful read. I got a little confused about what actually the rebellion was, but after a few minutes to ponder, I was able to work it out.

You do need to work on your spelling and grammar though. There were quite a number of compound words that you expressed as two single words instead. It's not that people wouldn't understand what you were writing as much as publishers are quite picky about what they will allow in their magazines. Very few publishing houses have the time to correct the elementary errors a writer makes and are much more willing to toss a good piece with lots of spelling errors out than to teach a writer what is perceived as the tools of their trade. If you were to submit something with this many errors, you would be turned down without them finishing reading the piece.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh the joys of Boot Camp. I remember it well. The author makes me feel like I'm there all over again.
Excellent writing and message.
J. Russell Rose

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Great job. Your description of routine placed me right there with your recruit. I love the idea of fighting within the confines of regulation. It is a hard concept for people to grasp but is such a strong tool. Thanks for the read.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 30, 2008
Last Updated on October 27, 2015
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Dianne
Dianne

Livermore, CA



About
I'm a new writer. Oh, I've written stuff for work and such over the years, technical writing, lesson plans, resumes; you know the usual stuff of life. Instead I was always a reader. I read like crazy .. more..

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