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Everybody Knows

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Everybody knows Brad kneels for anyone with bars. Brad kneels for anyone with more stripes than him. Brad even kneels for anyone with as many stripes as him, if they've got seniority.

Everybody knows that, once, a corporal told Brad to kneel. The corporal limped for a week, and transferred out of Recon after a month.

It's enough to make Ray think about shooting for promotion, because he could totally make staff before Brad did. Well, he could if he removed his personality and turned into a perfect marine drone, and not even Brad's worth that.


So he watches Brad kneel for fuckwits who don't deserve him, while the people who might possibly deserve him are too decent to take advantage, and Joseph Heller knows all about that shit.

Ray's going to be out in six months, and he won't have to see it, and he won't be around to keep a stash of analgesic cream and antiseptic and lube and other shit that the fuckwits should be supplying.

Brad'll see a corpsman for antiseptic and lube, but he needs to be nagged into using the analgesic, and Ray won't be there to do it.

Sometimes, he imagines a parallel universe where a civilian ex-corporal outranks a serving sergeant, where he can tell Brad to kneel and then fucking feed him strawberries or something, instead of choking him and carving pretty patterns into his back.

But then the call comes over the radio, Hitman Actual looking for Alpha Actual, and Brad frowns briefly because he's going over the map with Poke, but he does as he's told, and, yeah, Ray's never gonna get that from Brad.

On the bright side, he's never going to be as big a shit as Encino Man.

It's not especially comforting.