Good morning folks and welcome to another edition of Saturday Sips. Well, my next story will be out in May, Serving Under the Gaydar which is a prequel to my already released story, You Don’t Ask We Don’t Tell. Look for it to come back out in early 2014! Isn’t the cover awesome? Another brilliant one by Sara York!
For now though, enjoy this snippet from Serving Under the Gaydar!
Fall 2009 Fort Jackson, South Carolina, pre repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell
“Left right, left right, c’mon Darios, move your ass now! C’mon, move, move it!”
Darios Bright woke up in a cold sweat, thrashing about when he heard the drill sergeant’s voice like a loud alarm in his brain. At times, he’d have nightmares about basic training because the leader was a total ass wipe. Thankfully he’d made it through and now he was on his way to a budding military career. Darios’ eyes flung open, and he yanked the covers from off himself to get some air.
Whew, glad that’s over.
However, there were other things to worry about now like the fear of deployment to Iraq, Darios’ next career move in the service, and most importantly, keeping his sexuality secret. Yeah, the other men in his brigade acted as if they didn’t care about a gay boy being in their platoon, but what if the word got past them? Would someone squeal and make him subject to the punishments of don’t ask, don’t tell?
The wretched policy that kept gays and lesbians from being open about their sexuality was clearly a thorn in any homosexual being’s side. Darios hoped the new President would have a heart and get rid of it.
Hopefully that would occur sooner than later. Nothing worse than keeping everything secret when he wanted so badly to date a new man. Loneliness was getting the best of him right now, and he felt the definite cure was to start seeing somebody But how under these kind of circumstances? If he began dating, what would prevent anyone who didn’t know the deal like his friends from squealing to his superiors? This worried Darios and sometimes made him wish he hadn’t joined the Army in the first place.
Still, he never acted on that. After all, it paid for college and med school. His parents couldn’t afford it, and the only way they’d stay off his ass about being gay was by joining the Army. They hoped Darios enlisting in the service “got the gay out” as his father said. Such bullshit but nevertheless he loved his folks just the same.
If only they, the government, and the armed forces could understand being gay wasn’t a life style. Instead, all gay people were born that way. Loving your own gender shouldn’t matter when it came to your job performance. As long as you were a good person why should anyone care?
I know I’m good enough to be an officer and a doctor! No one can tell me otherwise even if I am gay!
* * * *
“Just can’t wait for you anymore, Morrie. I’m really sorry!”
In the confines of his apartment at Fort Bragg, Second Lieutenant Morrie Dunst read a letter from his ex-lover, Darren. The words stung badly, and he certainly wasn’t sure how to handle the initial shock. Morrie threw the paper on the floor, not bothering to crumple it. He kicked it in the other direction, stared at the hardwood floors, and took note of the grooves.
How the fuck could he?
Morrie was looking forward to going home for a while to visit his man before he started the next stage of his training at Fort Jackson, but now there was nothing to go home to. Darren Mosby had been his best friend, lover, confidant, and family for half the decade. No members of his family cared to be around him since he came out to them and he had no close friends. Everyone he associated with was in the Army other than Darren, who’d been there and now claimed the need to move on.
Morrie ran his hand over his crew cut hairdo and attempted to blink back tears. He wasn’t going to let someone still his joy today when he’d just received the news he’d be promoted and moving to Fort Jackson. More career opportunities were ahead of him. Since Colonel Peyton Jacobs gave him the chance to move up, he wouldn’t waste his time crying over a lost love.
“Damn you, Darren!” Morrie bit his lip until it hurt and straightened himself in his chair. He pondered what would happen to his life next once he did make the transition. Sure, his career was in full swing. Going to train and become a Captain, working under Colonel Peyton on his “special force” of officers and trainees he had ready to prepare others like them for life. Now, however, there was no one to share the good news with.
Morrie wasn’t comfortable dating on base especially with the threat of DADT still looming and even though there had been many chances to explore facets of his sexuality on base, he still didn’t like taking that risk; too many people snooping around and waiting to watch him fail. Besides his friends, others he knew in his class were just waiting in the weeds for the right time to bring him down. Despite being lonely, he’d never do anything to put all of his hard work on the line.
Now, moving to South Carolina would give him a new lease on life. A fresh start to meet others more like him and hopefully find one person he’d be able to connect with on some level.
Forget about going home. Nothing there to hold my interest.
Morrie stood up and made his way across the room so he could start packing for the ride to Fort Jackson. The three hour bus ride would be a welcome distraction for Morrie as he entered the next phase of his life. He grabbed his duffle and yanked open the drawers, pulling out his neatly pressed white shirts and tanks and shoving them inside the bag. He breathed a sigh of relief when he noticed the majority of his clothing was clean to take with him.
As he continued to place items inside, he thought about the home he’d made here in North Carolina, and how he’d miss his quarters he shared with no one. Colonel Peyton promised him this move to Fort Jackson would be temporary, and he’d be able to move back to Bragg once his newest assignment was over. Despite the threat he might lose his personal sanctuary, he was still excited about this new venture Colonel Jacobs had been talking about. A chance for soldiers like Morrie to be part of the Army and be out amongst peers who faced the same challenges. A special program created to support gay men and women of the military while they waited for DADT to be repealed.
Once he’d gotten done with one drawer, he opened the next one to begin grabbing his socks. The minute he did, the phone on his desk, startled him, and he tossed the first pair in before making his way over to answer. “First Lieutenant Morrie Dunst here. Oh hello Sir.” Morrie grinned to himself when he heard the colonel voice come through loud and clear. “Yes Sir, getting ready right now. Let me just say I’m thrilled you decided to pick me for this kind of opportunity.” Morrie sat in his chair and waited for the Colonel to finish his thought. “Yes Sir. I’m uh…” Morrie honestly didn’t want to tell Peyton about his breakup with Darren. “No, really m’ fine, Sir. I just− well… yeah.” Morrie shook his head and looked down at the shiny black combat boots on his feet. “My man just told me he’s moving on. I’m a little perplexed, but it ain’t nothing I can’t handle. Yes, Sir.” He continued to listen to Jacobs give him words of encouragement. The Colonel had become like the father he never had over these past few months, ever since he made the visit to Bragg several months ago. Still, he didn’t want to seem like a fucking whiner! I’m a man, not a damn baby! While Jacobs went on about finding someone new and not letting it sidetrack him, Morrie’s mind wandered off thinking about the last time he saw Darren at his graduation from Basic. How happy he was for Morrie and his accomplishments as well as the lies he told him about always being there for him. Liar. At the time, it sounded as it would’ve been true, but now Morrie knew better.
When the Colonel called his name loudly, Morrie came back to the present. “Son, listen to me, okay? The people outside the circle of brothers in the Army don’t get the sacrifices you’ve made for your career. It’s really hard for some of them to handle. You can’t blame them for wanting to move on, especially when a better opportunity presents itself. Still, you can’t let it deter you, soldier. I’m telling you. The time is close when we won’t have to worry about having our own infantry or hiding that far under the radar. Pres O gonna make sure of that. Keep your head up until then, son. Find yourself a man of like mind when you come over to see us.”
Morrie nodded in agreement. “Yes Sir. Thank you.” Getting a call like this from the Colonel was just what Morrie needed to get his head back in the game. Now he could make the move without thinking of the past few years he’d wasted with his former lover.