The pile of gear that I've been putting off for days still stands out and demands attention, so I finally break down and stuff it all into buckets and a rucksack, heading to the laundry room with a scrub brush and a virgin bottle of Simple Green. Using audacious amounts of the cleaning elixir, I start attacking the pixelated pouches and whatnot, evicting as much residual Iraq filth as I can while my mind wanders.
I try to find a way to reframe the way I'm thinking, to make this stay of mine more bearable. To stop the self-pity. This low on the totem pole, a bad attitude is like termite damage and lots of it. I could let the higher elements of the totem to come down on me, but let's put pride aside for a minute. You can't fuck the Army nearly as hard as it can fuck you.
All I can think of, is "tread water". As long as you're only neck deep, you still have a chance.
Any old-timer right now would probably say, "Just do your time, quietly, and get out." Simple enough. You gotta be a yes-man almost everywhere you go.
So I guess I'll just do my time. The crime: enlistment. The sentence: 4 years, give or take a clause or two of a contract. Time remaining: less than one year, no chance of parole, may be released a month early on Good Behavior, provided the sacrifice of a Christmas.
I got four brick walls around me, painted white, housed in a federal building. Generic furnishings. Minimal personal effects that I've managed to acquire. No hollowed out Bibles, no sharpened toothbrushes. No harmonica, just a guitar (fair trade).
Gotta hang up the new calendar and start marking days. Maybe start folding paper cranes. Freedom birds. Put on the PTs, get some exercise in the yard. Put the standard issue uniform back on, be where you gotta be on time.
Wait for the warden to hand me my packet, wish me luck, and send me on my way. All the best. We got a saying though....