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 have to say I read it with a smile and laughed a few times throughout as I myself remember standing in the long lines for the chow hall when I was a recruit, though that was a long time ago now and there was no women in the boot camp I attended at NRTC San Diego. The boot camp now being turned into a community.
Excellent piece and lovely display on how to take action, even non-violent and non-rule-breaking action can get things done at times.
Well done.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

I still taste the green eggs. The story had a very good flow and was easy to follow. You set up the sedition well. The second paragraph gave a hint as to why the Boot would enjoy the esprit de corp of a passive rebellion. 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.

Interesting look into the routines and psychology of boot camp...your last paragraph is very powerful...great story, Diane!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago


2 of 3 people found this review constructive.

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.

I love that wit! You are so creative!
Loved the story and the message.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago


2 of 3 people found this review constructive.

This journey into the Navy life gave me a glimpse of the daily realities. I enjoyed the reading, liking your unruly comments, liking the person who didn't quite conform, and liking the ending - where wisdom kicks in. Not sure if there was a small rebellion? But enjoyed the story!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

I'm not sure what happened here.

Was the Master At Arms tricked into thinking that 20 minutes was longer than it actually was. Was the Master at Arms's watch messed with?

It's very good to immerse your reader in a culture they may not be familiar with, in this case, military culture. But you also have to balance that with making sure newbies to that culture don't get lost in your story.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Wow Dianne, that was really a great read. Personal experience at all? It seems like it, so true to life, as though written by one who has lived it.

My husband's brother has been in the Navy in some form all his life. Enlisted as a teen... Naval Reserves now. He has been all over the world. He has even done a little stint for Georgie Boy in this grand war we still have going on. He did not see the front lines at all, if that is what you call it. He is a Master Chief, and he said he spent most of his time babysitting. In charge of customs... making sure those ornery kids don't bring back anything they are not supposed to. He is such a quiet man whenever we visit, it's hard to picture him barking orders to the troops... ?

I wish I were as determined as your boot camp participant... I know the mason who set my stumbling blocks in place. She has been with me for sometime now, she has become so skillful in her craft. Seems a pity to destroy all the work she has done. I am babbling now, so I will say... good write and good night, hey that is catchy...

Kristina

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 12 Years Ago


3 of 4 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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