"He told Denny your Hail Mary pass saved his ass."
"Sounds like the beginning of a dirty limerick." I smirked at Shirley. She clinked my beer with her wine and we both let the alcohol soften the ragged edges of an afternoon spent in a Crane, Poole & Schmidt International meeting.
"I'm sure one followed, but you should feel proud. Alan's never been known to praise you."
"Not my thing. Pride's at the bottom of all great mistakes."
"Headed back to D.C.?"
"You're missed here, Brad."
"Right. And the Bruins will be skating in the Fleet Center this season." My sarcasm was spurred on by my Sam Adams buzz.
Schmidt laid her hand on mine and the sentiment was appreciated. "It was for the client, not him, Shirley. It's just what I do."
As a hostage negotiator during my time in Operation Desert Shield in '91, we'd coined a process concerning terrorist incidents as "time, talk and tear gas." After exhausting that, the tactical teams - and all hell - were turned loose.
It's not all Attica, the Munich Olympics or Waco. Sometimes, it's just a guy named Nate. Nate was having a very bad day. There was his belittling C.O., the heat of the Kuwait desert and "Wally World" was not the 15,000 troop Marine oasis Nate needed. What he got was headaches, memory loss, fatigue - and, one day, he went as mad as a monkey on a trike.
I was leading my men patrolling the treacherous roads near the Iraq border for improvised explosives. Our standard operating procedure drilled into us to ensure the safety of the civies was "Show, shout, shove, shoot!" Today, Nate wanted me to skip straight to number four. We were by ourselves, a half mile from the convoy. He was 50 yards from me when I heard his feet pounding the hard pack sand. Turning, Nate was charging for me, sidearm pointing uncomfortably at me, clearly suffering from a marble deficiency, yelling "Die fucker die fucker die". Never mind the fact last night we'd played poker and he'd won $40 off me. I doubt I was Lt. Chase to him now.
"Nate. Heads, I'll give you $80. Tails, you don't shoot me." I stood there, harmless, arms outstretched away from my pistol. He stopped short, wobbled a bit, stared, then sat down hard in the sand and ate his flechette. Old Nate had tried the Marine version of death by cop and I wasn't on board with that. Strolling over and sitting down next to him, I shot the breeze about what we'd do if Elle MacPherson would get her ass over to our base. By the time I was describing an explicitly sexual act, Nate had decided he didn't care for the taste of gun metal and started laughing. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a wad of bills. "We're squared." Then, because I can't resist a wager - "Bet you a C-note I'll get you on the next transport home. By next week, you'll be watching 'Murphy Brown' in that hick town you call home." I helped him up and we ambled back to the convoy. I don't think he even realized I'd taken his sidearm.
The following Friday, I felt pretty proud handing him that $100
[Cross posted to Theatrical Muse: "At what moment in your life did you feel most proud?"]