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August 18, 2023

Episode Two: Tequila / Ta Kill Ya

“You are a sadistic ass, you know that, right?” 

I glared up at Sgt. Ian Cruz, pushing my disheveled blonde hair out of my face. Turning, I swiped away my sweat before it could drip into my lavender eyes and burn out my retinas. 

“Like truly sick in the head,” I continued, shoving his hand away and hauling myself back to standing. 

It was easily 100 degrees in El Paso, the canine training unit hard at work in the outdoor arena. In deference to the heat, we’d been conducting training in shirt sleeves. The green shirts on everyone were a sign of relief that didn’t match their pained expressions as they stood on the “field” in uninterrupted sunshine. Added to it that the thick bite sleeve on my left arm trapped more heat than a bare arm could possibly counter, there wasn’t any amount of clothing, or lack thereof, that would make standing here bearable. 

Even if I wasn’t snow-woman pale and burning to a crisp. 

“You wanted the dog, Sharp. This is what it takes to keep her,” Sgt. Sadist responded. I stuck my tongue out at him and faced the line of handlers prepped for decoy practice. All the dogs were kept muzzled as they waited out their turn to bite, shake, and devour the “enemy”. 

Which for the rest of today, was me. 

Beside me and ten yards away, the dog in question was lounging under a bleacher. Her tongue was lolling out of the side of her mouth, while her head was absorbing the water she’d dumped from the stainless steel dish beside her head. 

Sgt. Winnifred Pupperson, the laziest working dog to grace the Army. 

“Sharp!” A man with double bars on his shirt hollered my name and I slouched my way to attention and offered a salute. 


“Did you just disrespect your sergeant, soldier?” 

“No sir,” I lied, knowing full well how this would end. “It’s incredibly hot and I thought I’d give panting a try.” 

“On the ground, Sharp,” he ordered. 

Rolling my eyes, I assumed the position. 

Push-up position, as corporal punishment was alive and well in our nation’s armed forces. 

“Give me twenty for the eye roll and thirty for disrespecting Sgt. Cruz,” Captain Travers barked and I began my initial upward ascent before he added. “Count them out, soldier.” 

“One, sir,” I shouted as my chest touched the dirt beneath me. Pressing back upward I heard a few snickers followed by a telltale jingle of tags. 

My chest touched the ground again, “Two, sir!” 

The ground beneath my hands trembled but I kept my eyes locked on my beige painted finger nails. 

“Sir, you may want to move,” I said between push-ups four and five. 

“What was that, Sha-” 

He didn’t get to finish before 90 pounds of solid German Shepherd Malinois mix clipped his leg barreling past. Captain Travers went down to one knee with a scream of pain as Winnie continued her trajectory toward me. Shoving her face against me, the dog began licking as many parts of my face as she could reach, leaping over my planked form to get all the best licking angles. 

“What the hell was that?” 

Sgt. Cruz was assisting the captain to his feet even as I called out “Fifteen, sir!” 

Though it sounded more interpretive as I opened my mouth as little as possible, hoping to maintain its sanitation levels by avoiding Winnie infiltration. At seventeen, she gave up on my face and put her giant paws on my size sixteen butt, making sure that I really worked to provide that brass issued apology. 

“That beast is a menace. Why isn’t it muzzled like the rest of them?” 

“Twenty, sir!” 

“Sir, Sgt. Pupperson is unable to train today due to her handler  being the decoy. When not actively engaged in training, the dogs typically remain kenneled. Winnie… can no longer be kenneled, sir,” Sgt. Cruz supplied, and I resisted the urge to mouth at him mockingly. Captain Travers was clutching his leg and still hadn’t gotten back on his feet. 

Not good. 

Definitely not good.

“What do you mean ‘can no longer be kenneled’? Just put her in the kennel, like…” He grabbed for Winnie’s collar, but she used her front paws to launch herself over my back and toward the line of waiting handlers. 

Who scattered like the cowards that they are. 

“Dog! Here, now!” Captain Travers shouted just as I said, “Thirty, sir!” 

Popping tall, I caught sight of her tail just before it disappeared into the open door of a concrete block of buildings. It was positioned midway between a barrack, the training ground and a fitness center and had a healthy cloud of white vapor blooming through the windows. 

“Oh crap,” I grumbled, giving up on protocol and racing after the rogue canine. At the door I banged four times and shouted. 

“Cover it or not, I’m coming in!” 

Then I charged into the men’s locker room and immediately halted at the sight. 

Standing in a steaming room, surrounded by the sound of showers and male musk, stood my partner. Half a dozen or so men were standing on benches, clutching threadbare off-white towels at  their waistlines. All of them hopped from foot to foot, shouting for their last remaining teammate to run because the bench was full and he was a heavily muscled man. 

One currently under threat by the most deadly predator in the room. 


She was circling him with the calculated prowl of a shark playing with her food and if the man had had any level of lower deck salute on him before her entrance, it would have shriveled up faster than a raisin in the sun.  

“Winnie! Place!” I shouted and all the men turned to me and began shrieking again. 


“It’s her!” 

“We need to get the hell out of here!” 

“She’s a maneater!”

I rolled my eyes again and clapped my hands twice, Winnie pausing in her advance to give me a questioning look. 

“Not today, satan. We need to get out of here and back to training before…” 

“Chica,” Cruz said from behind me and I winced. “You have been summoned.” 

“Damn,” I blew out my breath and turned slightly. “Travers office?” 

“Infirmary,” he corrected in time to be cut off by the screech of the large man. I whipped back around and saw Winnie’s head under his towel, tail wagging as her nose worked and the man shoved at her ribs. 

The dog burrowed deeper and his shriek went up another octave to meso-soprano.  

“It’s so cold! Get her out, Sharp!” 

“Winne, place,” I ordered, all traces of amusement gone. She pulled her head out and trotted over, sitting down to my right and slightly behind. Her tongue hung out the side of her mouth in a self-satisfied smirk while the man in the towel made a dash toward the showers where all his friends had gone. 

Likely wants to ask them for help in locating his balls, I smirked before turning back to the dog. Her snoot was sporting a few white fibers from the Army’s less than stellar linen collection and a few hairs I was willing to pretend were hers in the interest of my sanity. 

Or sanitary, if you want to be technical and grammatically incorrect.

“That can’t have smelled good,” I chastised, noting that the men had left behind sweaty and mud stained undergarments at the foot of the locker nearest the site of his probing. 

Please let that be mud. 

“Now you have to get a damn bath,” I growled when my brain refused to stop going through the other possibilities. “And we might get fired.” 

“You can’t be fired, chica. You can be discharged, reassigned, or arrested, but you can’t be fired. Winnie… let’s just hope they blame you,” Cruz said, giving me a meaningful look that made my stomach ache with fear. 

If they don’t blame me, I’ll make them. 

Nothing happens to my best girl. 

“Got it. See you if they don’t discharge me.” 

“Need directions?” He asked, following me out of the men’s locker room. 

“To the infirmary? You’re joking, right?” 

He let out a bark of laughter that brought a tentative smile to my face. 

“You’re right. Dumb question,” he responded and pressed Winnie’s leash into my hand while attaching the other end to her collar. He crouched down and looked meaningfully into her brown eyes. 

“Try to look innocent,” he whispered and gave her a kiss on the snoot before he remembered where her face had been and his eyes went wide. 

My throat erupted in a cackle that would have summoned flying monkeys if I had any. 

Doubled over laughing with tears streaming out of my eyes, I felt every muscle in my core clench in mirth. Through the moisture in my vision, I watched him run back into the locker room to wash his face. 

“Please, sir, I’ll do anything!” I begged, fighting the tickle of unshed tears along my nose. “Just please, don’t punish Winnie.” 

“It’s not a punishment, Sharp. It’s policy! It’s policy and you and your dog are not above it. She goes back to the kennels and the people who don’t want to hear her scream can put on their range ears.” 

“Please! Anything else! Demand anything else of me and I’ll do it, just don’t send her back. I’ll do a million push-ups. I’ll clean the latrines for the rest of canine school. With a toothbrush. Any impossible, unfair or downright disgusting request you can make, I’ll do it. Just please, don’t send her to the kennels.”

“Why is everyone acting like I’m threatening to murder her? It’s just a damn kennel!” 

“Sir, in theory you are correct. In practice… no one on the base will sleep for as long as she’s in there and every time she is out, there will be revenge. Swift, merciless, poop filled revenge. Sometimes even teeth. Please, sir…” 

His face contorted in pain and he adjusted the ice pack on his knee. 

Many years ago, like the 1990s, he’d gone down wrong on a jump and tore everything beneath the patella. After rehabbing and rebuilding, the man had gone on to become an officer in the green to gold route that set the branch apart from its fellows. 

Only to be taken down with friendly canine fire. 

Truly friendly considering she hadn’t farted on him or anything. 

“Do you need me to get a medic, sir? One with drugs?” I offered, terrified of touching him and making things worse but feeling compelled to help. 

His responding headshake came with a moan. 

“Can’t do pills. Or IV’s… anything stronger than NSAIDs messes with my head.”

“So you… I have Naproxen in my bunk?” 

He laughed, a sound that held no humor and I fought the urge to cross myself. 

I wasn’t Catholic, or religious of any flavor, but if the prevalence of “Bless You” after sneezing has taught me anything, it’s that faith is the only weapon of the hopeless. God may not be able to save you from the bubonic plague, but it never hurt to dot your Is and cross your Ts. 

Or your chest. 

Toe-may-to to-mah-to. 

“Fine. I give. Get me a bottle of agave with the tequila worm before taps and we can forget this ever happened.” 

He coughed again and I mentally prepared myself to hear the end of day trumpet melody sooner than nightfall for his imminent death. The hospital had gotten him, super bacteria, viruses and drug resistant parasites… 

“Isn’t the worm only put in super cheap tequila… or Mezcal? Shoot, is all tequila Mezcal or all Mezcal tequila?” I was already backing toward the door. “You know what? It doesn’t matter. I’ve got your back, Cap! One bottle of wormy booze coming at you.” 

Racing from the room, I grabbed Winnie’s leash from the shaded bike rack I’d looped her to, and made tracks to my dorm. 

This concrete building had doors on each end that met at an atrium with a staircase in front and a long room on each side. I dashed up the stairs, knowing that if I stayed near the group sleeping quarters too long, someone was bound to walk past. 

And that person would probably have food. 

Then Winnie would chase them down and commit war crimes on domestic soil.

Then I would definitely be screwed. 

Throwing open my dorm door, I dropped into the wooden chair at my desk and booted up the laptop I’d used for my bachelor’s degree. It made strangled gargle sounds, but the screen flickered to life and I clicked on Internet Explorer, waiting through the load screen with my leg bouncing and my finger hovering over refresh. 

“One day, girl, they’ll make a pocket sized version of the home computer and you can do this on the go and never get lost again,” I spoke, glancing at Winnie who let out a huge yawn. Deciding that was a testament to my ability to get lost on a one-way street, I stuck my tongue out at her and launched Mapquest, searching for liquor stores in the area and hoping at least one of them believed in worm booze. 

“It would be super helpful if past visitors would comment what the hell is inside,” I grumbled, printing out the papers in the pale gray remaining ink of my ancient printer. “Let’s roll.” 

Winnie jumped to her feet and we ran back down the stairs. At the bottom was a newbie holding a white cardboard box.

“Left!” I shouted, the woman banking left just as Winnie took a flying leap. Her teeth kissed the now empty air where the pepperoni pizza had been perched on the soldier’s open palm. “Leave it!”

The dog let out a low grumble as I took up her lead and dragged her away from melted cheese. 

“Nu uh, no amount of tequila will make the rest of the dorm forgive you for the poison cloud that will come out of your butt if you eat that.” 

Grumbling, she trailed along after me until we burst through the door and we whimpered slightly at the massive ball of fiery death in the sky. Eyes squinted, I checked for cars before running across the lot toward the main road and hanging a left. Thirty yards later, we made a right and I trotted up to the caged window of the motor pool. 

“Hello!” I shouted, pounding on the metal slats. “Hello! We need a car!” 


“Please? It’s really important!” 

The silence stretched further, marred only by a soft sneeze barely audible through the metal cage. 

“I know you’re in there!” 

“We’re closed,” someone shouted and I heard three other voices shushing the first.

“It’s not five yet!” I shouted back, just as my wrist made a quintuple beat. 

“It is now, get lost Sharp!” 

“But it’s important!” I begged to the metal gate. 

“Shoulda thought of that before you let your dog eat my ham and cheese sandwich!” 

I banged my head twice on the metal door. 

“Ugh! But I need to get the captain tequila!” 

“Nobody cares, Sharp!” 

Then the group on the other side of the door blasted a drum heavy beat and Taylor Swift advised everyone to “Shake it Off!” 

A philosophy that hadn’t applied to grudges about sandwich eating. 

“OK, the liquor store is…” I pulled out the printed map from my cargo pants. “Two and a half miles away and closes at seven. Taps is at nine. If we move quickly, we should be in our bunk by eight with a bottle of our own worm infested booze to close out the day.” 

I exchanged a look with Winnie and she let out a long suffering sigh. 

“Fine, don’t go. It’s only your comfort, sanity and love on the line,” I shoved off and walked toward the door, orienting the map toward the correct base exit. “But I’m not opening the barracks for you so you better work on your pathetic face!” 

Winnie let out a grumble that was either a curse word or a mouth fart. 

Considering she had other, more accurate, body cavities from which to fart, I was betting on curse words. 

“You bite criminals with that mouth?” I asked her, taking off at a brisk walk knowing full well she would follow. “Like you lick your butt, eat diapers and that one time when you licked Arko’s poop as it was leaving his butt…”

A chill ran down my spine at the memory of the smell and I regretted reminding myself of it as we picked up our pace. Winnie knew full well where she shoved her black painted muzzle and had zero qualms about licking my face after she stuck it there. 

“Maybe we should spend some more time apart…” I muttered, passing the guard shack with a wave to the woman working the arm. Airman Ayman waved at me as I passed, hooking a thumb toward two jarheads using the SUVs engine block as a physiology experiment of how long an idiot can keep their hand on a super heated piece of metal. 

“Road guards for life, yeah?” I shouted at her and she snickered as the arriving pick-up offered an ID card and a critical look toward my retreating figure. 

“I don’t know but I’ve been told…” I huffed out, making a left at the end of the road and trying to decide whether or not I had time to slow down. “That it’s gonna be forever. Or it’s gonna go down in flames…”

Winnie let out a long sneeze that reminded me she was more than familiar with the concept of flames. 

“Well, your name ain’t a Blank Space kid…” I huffed out. We reached the perimeter road and I caught my first whiff of El Paso air, a scent that existed between friend food, clean laundry and vehicle exhaust. “If we go down, then we go down together.” 

A sharp cramp ripped through my left rib cage and I slowed to a leisurely walk shouting. 

“Cramp! Stitch! Stitch… ow…” Winnie tilted her head but offered no means of support or comfort. “Wow… rude much? See if I kiss your boo boos.” 

Our next block was a mixed use area of residential and commercial business. Both had metal bars clamped tight over the windows, sidewalk cracks sprouting stubborn weeds and small particles of broken glass that I led  Winnie around. 

“Next time we venture out, you wear shoes,” I sighed, getting to the stop sign and pausing to check the map. We had four streets left and Winnie was panting worse than I was. 

“This was an ill-fated mission…” I started worrying my lip between my teeth, checking both directions and making my way up another street. This one filled with concrete lego blocks connected by wrought iron rolling gates and no unoccupied curb space. Through the bars, I could make out cars with dark tarps draped over them and construction materials that looked fourth or fifth generation hand-me-down. 

On the street, parked cars were even older. Faded paint and deflated tires decorated the outside of cracked leather seats and dashboards that didn’t have much left in them besides a bare bones steering column. 

Ahead, I saw my first sign of humanity. 

A woman, maybe late forties or early fifties, in a faded floral dress. On her arm was a battered brown bag and she held it to her side, head kept low under a wide-brimmed hat. 

Her eyes, however, kept darting behind her and when I paused to take a depp breath, I heard it. 

The rumble of an engine punctuated by the backfire of defunct exhaust. 

“Are you OK?” I called out to her. The figure jumped, startled by my sudden appearance, dropping her bag right as a pea green El Camino drove toward her and jumped the curb. 

Three men in baggy pants, white tank tops and green bandanas poked their heads out, shouting at the woman in Spanish as she scrambled for the bag. A fourth slipped out of the window with the flexibility of an invertebrate, grabbed the bag and dove back inside. 

“Hey!” I shouted, picking up speed again. “Hey! What the hell?” 

Winnie and I ran at full speed, the driver spotting us and turning the wheel to get off the curb. His right front wheel was caught in a tree planter, the left front tire spinning for traction on the sandy debris. 

“Winnie! Get the bag back!” I shouted, pointing to the car. Ears flat, her feet covered the distance in a moment. Face in the window, just the white tip of her tan tail hanging below the frame, rear legs balanced on the edge like a parrot on his post. 

“Get the dog!” 

“Gun it, man!” 

The cars occupants were shouting, but the car stayed put as Winnie pulled her head back and slid down the side of the car. She landed in a heap, teeth clasped around the worn strap of the woman’s brown messenger bag. 

“Good girl! Give it back and guard!” I was level with the car, Winnie taking the bag behind me to the woman and standing before her, teeth shown in an impressive display of ferocity that belied her lazy and unmotivated nature. 

“What the hell, puta. This doesn’t concern you!” 

The driver was out, limp walking toward me like his baggy pants were filled with poop. My eyes tracked movement, faces of all ages appearing in curtained windows to watch through the metal bars on their windows. 

Please stay inside, I begged them in my mind even as I hoped one of them would call the police. 

“Nothing concerns me. I’m pretty carefree like that. Get back in your car and go,” I pointed with one hand while the other swiped at the sweat pouring down my face and threatening my eyes. The camo cap on my head had soaked through and my short sleeve shirt held enough sweat to win a wet TShirt contest. 

Note to self: carry a bandana. 

“Not without what’s mine, puta,” he edged closer, hand gliding toward the waistband of his jeans. “Now get out of my way, or I’ll make you.” 

Oh my dog, he’s going to throw poop at me! 

My first thought was quickly replaced by a more terrifying and accurate one. 

He has a gun. 

“It can’t be yours! It’s hers!” I didn’t point behind me, hoping that the woman had either left or taken cover. “Now carry on with your car ride and leave it.” 

“It’s not hers! That maldita owes me. She and her little lame culo haven’t been making protection payments… she either pays cash or she pays blood. But I’m tired of being patient…” 

He pulled a black semi-auto from his waistband and leveled it at my chest. Curtains slid closed all around us, the sensation of life pulling away a sour taste to the heated air. 

“Now get out of the way, come mierda, or I’ll put a hole in your dumb blonde face and…” 

“Winnie!” I shouted, dropping to my knee. She jumped up and used my back as a springboard. Her teeth closed around the gangbanger’s arm, sending the gun flying as he cried out in agony. 

“Get this dog off of me!” He wailed, but his buddies stayed frozen, eyes wide at the red droplets of blood peppering the ground. 

That’s when the first whoop whoop of a police siren cut through the dying light and the three other men rabbited. Each took off in a different direction, beached car forgotten as they tried to hold up their pants and run at the same time, coming up short when every road was suddenly blocked by a squad car. 

“Winnie! Out!” I ordered and she released the man, his exposed arm bloody and no longer sitting at the correct angle of straight. 

“Hands in the air! Get on the ground!” A bull-horn voice cut through the night and I raised my arms over my head. Dropping to my knees, I laced my fingers behind my head and waited for the remaining thugs to do the same. 

“Winnie, down,” I said and she laid on the ground beside me, flopping over and raising a paw above her chest. “Good girl.” 

“No! Why?” I pleaded, gripping the security gate in front of El Paso Liquor an hour later. “Please?” 

I yanked on the metal door and listened to the echo rattle through the wooden frame. 

“Damn it!” 

My breath caught and I exhaled it slowly as I sank to the concrete stoop. Above me, the yellow sign had a few dead bulbs beneath the faded and nearly illegible red lettering of the name. In front of me were the clearly posted hours of operation and I was two minutes too late to save my friend. 

“Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!” 

I leaned back against the aluminum door, feeling the small holes composing a floral design press against my arm. Beside me, Winnie had flopped over and was now slowly inching her head toward my cargo pocket. 

“Yeah, might as well I guess,” I grumbled, pulling out a treat pouch of dog jerky and a small bag of cheese crackers. Tossing her a few treats, I opened my crackers and stuffed a few in my mouth before closing my eyes and trying to piece together a plan. 

“Problem?” A deep male voice resonated from above, sending my body upright and into a defensive stance before I could process that I was holding crackers. 

The cheesy goodness fell from my hand, scattering around under the delighted watch of the world’s most lactose intolerant dog. 

“No! Stop! Don’t you dare!” 

Fighting gravity, I locked my arms around her powerful head and chest. With my full body weight, I attempted to drag her from the crackers, even as my boots slid closer beneath her impressive strength. 

Miho,” my eyes snapped up at the sound of an older Latin woman. Her floral dress was more faded than I recalled, the bag a little worse for its trip at Winnie’s hands, but her lined face appeared untroubled. 

Alma, the police had told me while taking their report, stood completely upright with a fierce protective look glinting in soft brown eyes. In crisp Spanish, she spoke to the man beside me with tender inflection and no real urgency, a soothing presence in the wake of an emergency. Beside her, the man appeared to be in his twenties and of a different generation. Cargo shorts and a plain black TShirt hung loosely on an under-developed frame that promised he’d grow to be a much bigger man. 

“You saved my mom?” He asked, startling me from my study of the woman. 


“You’re the one who got them to speak up? Get rid of Gato?” 

His eyes were on Winnie as she hoovered in the fallen cheese crackers. A silent sob racked my body at the night ahead. 

Not her gas, this time. 

No, they were taking my friend. 

“Yeah… wait Gato? That’s his badass gang name?” I questioned, then peered more intently at the business behind me, hoping to spot a sign of life. “Who wants to be cat?” 

Winnie let out a soft growl of agreement. 

“What are you looking for?” He asked and I pressed my face closer to the grate protecting a small window beside the door. 

“Someone inside who would open for just a minute. I need to buy worm tequila or they’re going to put her in a kennel,” I rushed through the words. 

“You mean Mezcal?” He asked, turning to the metal gate and jangling a set of keys. 

“Yeah. She took out an Officer and he’s going to enforce a policy that separates us if I don’t bring him…” 

The words died on my tongue as he opened the door in front of me and flicked on an overhead light. 

In the faint hum, I was greeted by the sight of dozens of bottles of liquor. 

“You work here? You can sell me Mezcal?” I asked, darting toward a section labeled “tequila” before he could answer. It took a few seconds and one poorly timed gag, but I grabbed two bottles of Mezcal and a half pint of rum. 

“I own it. Damn! What do you need all that for?” He asked, keying in the registers code as I handed him my plastic access card. “You having a party?” 

“A pity party, probably. Any chance you know a shortcut back to base?” I scanned the wall behind him and noted the clock promised the tequila would be pointless in 20 minutes. 

“Nah, but he might,” the man offered a head jerk. 

I turned away from the counter to see a showered and pressed Ian Cruz in jeans and a TShirt filling the doorway. 

“Need a ride, chica?” His smooth voice offering just the hint of a promise of warm and fuzzy with a whole lot of hot and sweaty. 

“Yes! Let’s go!” I exclaimed, clutching my paper bags and tossing an extra 20 on the counter. “Thank you. Really.” 

“Thank you,” the man replied, pushing the cash back into my hand. “What you did, for my family and this neighborhood.” 

“What do you mean?” I stared at him, clutching my paper bag as Cruz came up behind me. Close but not touching, I could smell the delicious scent of sage and wet earth drifting off of him. “Anyone else would have…” 

“No one else would have… or has before. You’re brave, Ms. Sharp,” he chuckled at my expression but didn’t offer anything else. Alma gave a small smile with a nod and then gestured toward the door. 

“Parro,” she spoke and I glanced down at Winnie who released a soft whimper. 

“Right… on it. Will you guys be OK?” I asked, taking a small step toward the door. 

“There’s always a fight, but we win more than we lose. Will you?” 

I looked between Winnie, Cruz and the bag of booze. 

“One way or another, I think we will be,” I answered, walking through the doorway and out to the Jeep parked at the curb. Winnie jumped in the open door, crawling to the back seat as I settled into the front and thought over what the pair had said. 

“Should we stay and help them?” I asked, my eyes watching the sign as Cruz pulled from the curb. 

“They’ve got someone on that,” Cruz inclined his head and I spotted a patrol car lurking just out of sight. “Besides, you’ve got bigger concerns.” 

“Winnie ate cheese crackers?” I asked, noting how quickly we found ourselves back at the entrance gate. 

Note to self: always drive. 

“No… though that’s good to know for tomorrow.” 

Airman Ayman waved us through with a not-so-subtle brow wiggle of appreciation at my sargeant. 

“A gangbanger will probably want revenge and try to kill me?” I tried again, watching as the hospital came into view. In front were a bunch of large signs with red circles featuring a large line through the front. 

No dogs. 

No dripping needles. 

No string wrapped balls with fireworks. 

No glass bottle with Xs… 

“Nope. You’re about to try and sneak booze into the infirmary after visiting hours,” he laughed as the opening note of Taps played through base speakers. 

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