Beyond Borders & Bedposts Issue #3 Divine Intervention?

The Quest for Connection, Success and Sex

If this is your first time joining us, you’re going to want to start by reading the first issue which you can find HERE.

Me: “There is a little bit of an issue”

Her: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Things worked a little different than I thought”

Her: “What does THAT mean?

I was in Air Force basic training and I didn’t care for it. Everyone around me was 18 years old and had never been out of their parent’s house. I was 24 and already old, or at least too old to be in this place. I had been living in my apartment (with my roommate from college) and had been raised by the mean streets of the luxury sleepy suburbs of Denver, Colorado. 

I was above all this nonsense (or so I thought).

I had my beautiful German girlfriend and my whole life ahead of me. All I needed to do was simply get kicked out of basic training, settle down with my girl, and live happily ever after. 

Now, I don’t know how you would go about getting kicked out of military basic training but here is what I did that seemed like a good idea at the time…

Attempt #1

I wrote a letter telling the training instructor to schedule an appointment with me and the Master Sergeant (his boss) for the next day and placed it on his desk when he was not looking.

The plan was: When I got to this meeting, I would tell the Master Sergeant that I was done there and would be returning home.

It never made it that far, because my training instructor called everyone together and held a small funeral ceremony for my letter, they bugled out taps as he lowered the letter ever so gently into a trash can and slowly marched out with it.

Attempt #2

There were always inspections of all sorts, bed inspections, locker inspections, and uniform inspections. I figured if I failed the inspections, they would either kick me out themselves or put me in front of someone whom I could talk to and inform that I had had enough and I was going home.

The instructor was very strict as he passed from locker to locker, noticing the smallest details of infraction and yelling out “FAIL!” without hesitation for the smallest thing.

I had purposefully made sure that my locker was not in order so I could start my process of going home. The instructor slowly approached, looked in my locker, smiled, and yelled out “PASS!” And whispered, “Nice try Shelton”.

You see, what I had failed to account for was that this man thought I was sent by the internal affairs of the Air Force to observe his tactics and he thought I was testing HIM, to make sure he was doing what HE was supposed to do. It had nothing to do with ME. So it occurred to me that I was probably stuck here and was going to have to finish no matter what.

A couple of days later we were out at the obstacle course. Sure, it is cool to see how you perform there but remember I was the ripe old age of 24 and figured I was too old for this sort of thing so I wasn’t in the best mood. I was grumpy.  

To improve my mood I had to default to learning about people once again to soothe my mind. 

So that night while I was cleaning the dayroom floor with a flashlight and lint brush as I did every night, I asked another fellow the usual question. “Assuming you like women, what’s your favorite part of a woman’s body?”

He said, “I like women, and I like the eyes, they’re the windows to the soul”

I said “Cut the bullshit! This isn’t a romance novel. What are you into?”

Him: “I like the eyes!”

Me: “I don’t accept that answer, yes, everyone likes eyes but what are you into?”

Him: “Bondage, I like handcuffs and rope, tying girls to the headboard, that sort of thing”

Me: “Now that’s interesting, finally someone has something interesting to share! Tell me more.”

Him: “I don’t know, I just make sure my bed always has bed posts so I can do what needs to be done”

Me: “And what if there isn’t anything to tie her to?”

Him: “There are still ways”

Me: “Do you occasionally get tied up too?

Him: “Sometimes”

Me: “Fascinating”

The next morning it was announced we were going to do the obstacle course again. Everyone was excited because they loved it the first time and this time was to see if everyone could do it faster. I was not interested in that nonsense so I figured I would rebel.

Attempt #3

I entered the instructor's office and said “I won’t be joining you at the obstacle course today, I’m going to stay here and shine my boots”

He looked up from his desk, smiled, and said “Alright, see you when we get back Shelton!”

And that was that.

Whaaaat!? What just happened? He’s just going to let me not go?

And it was true, they all left and I was there hanging back along with a couple of guys who were injured and couldn’t go. So there we were.

As I sat shining my boots thinking about why this guy thought I was an undercover agent, I had a flashback.

About a year before, I had been in the inner city hanging out with my friend who was a street pharmacist. We were in the courtyard of a run-down apartment complex, he was selling his products and we were sitting on the swings of an old rusty playground.

Don’t worry, there weren’t any children around at the time.

Where did he keep his products?

In a Pringles potato chip can of course.

Where was the can located?

In MY hand, because I was eating chips from the top of the can and also because he said, “Nobody will bother you because everyone thinks you’re a cop.”

Me: “Why would they think I’m a cop?”  

Him: “Because you don’t look like you belong here, but you look like you’re trying to look like you’re supposed to be here, so therefore…cop”

Sure, makes sense

So there we are, he is doing his thing, and we are hanging out on the swings.

And as you would have guessed, the police slowly pulled up on the side street that borders this little playground where we are sitting.

I am thinking “Oh no! I’m holding a 5-year prison sentence in my hand right now!” 

I couldn’t run because I didn’t know the neighborhood. Where can I go? What do I do?

My friend whispered, “stay calm”

I turned and looked at the cop car. It had two policemen in it.

The window was rolled down and they were looking at us hard.

I made eye contact with the policeman in the passenger seat who was closest to me.

When we locked eyes, I gave a very slight, slow nod. He returned the very slight slow nod, then turned to the driver, said something, and they drove off.

I said to my friend “I think you’re right, I think the cops think I’m a cop”

He said “Told ya”

But anyway, back to our story.

I figured this training instructor was not going to let me out without something drastic because he thought I was testing him. And I don’t want to do anything too crazy because I don’t want repercussions, I just want to go home.

But my wish was not granted and I’m glad it wasn’t, because a couple of weeks later, I graduated basic training and was off to advanced training school in Wichita Falls, Texas.

God Bless Texas!  

If you are wondering if the instructor and I eventually had a closure talk clarifying that I was not there to investigate him and was not involved with the OSI branch of the Air Force, that conversation never took place.

Anyway, I arrived at advanced training and there was newfound freedom! I had a really cool roommate and we would stay up drinking Canadian whiskey, listening to Garth Brooks albums, and discussing the future.

My German girlfriend had mailed some lingerie photos and that was nice but I remember my roommate said “Who took the photos of her in the lingerie, since you’re here?”

Ah yes, he had a point, but those are questions best not asked. I’m sure there was a logical explanation. 

Moving on.

Went out into town one evening with a buddy to shoot some pool. Now this friend was from Boston, Massachusetts. He was a decent-looking fellow with dirty blonde hair and a great jawline, came from a good family with money, and wore sweater vests all the time.  

All of that is fine and good but I was going to learn that people from Boston, no matter their appearance, tend to plan their days a little differently than you and I.  

We had a couple of beers and were enjoying our game of pool. A gorgeous young lady entered with a group of three of her friends and took seats at the bar.  

He said, “See that girl?” 

I said “Yep”

Him: I’m going to marry her one day

Me: sounds good

He went over and quickly introduced himself, then came back to the pool table to continue our game.

A few minutes in, a guy wearing a cowboy hat and boots walked up to the group of girls and bought them a round of drinks. The drinks came and the cowboy started talking with the girl my friend liked.

He said: That guy is talking to MY girl

Me: She’s not yours yet

Him: She will be. If anything goes down tonight, you got my back?

Me: What’s going down?

Him: I think he wants to fight

Me: He’s just standing there, it doesn’t look like he wants to fight

Him: If he does though, you got my back right?

Me: Yeah, I got you

Right at that moment, my buddy set down his pool stick, walked casually over to the gentleman, tapped him on the shoulder, and yelled “Pick my strawberries cowboy!” And punched the guy in the face, and continued raining down punches on this unsuspecting fellow. 

I was standing there holding my beer thinking “Wait a minute, I’m confused, what’s going on?”

The cowboy started to fight back, and a friend of his got in the mix as well, then the bouncers came over and got into it too, and got everyone separated and thrown outside.

I quickly finished my beer and walked outside to find my buddy who was standing there waiting for me.

Him: “Where the fuck were you!?” 

Me: “I wasn’t expecting that”

Him: “You were supposed to help!”

Me: You didn’t say “I’m about to go fight this guy” You said “If something goes down…”

Him: Fuck You!

Me: Yeah, that’s on me, sorry bout that.  Now I know.

Him: Did you see me, though? I was really sticking it to him!”

Me: Yeah man, you showed him what’s what. I’m confused about the strawberry thing though

Him: I couldn’t think of anything else to say

There were no hard feelings, we still hung out after that, and I’ll have you know that my little fighter friend from Boston did in fact end up marrying that girl. Ain’t that some shit?

Anyways, back on base…

We were excited because we had filled out our dream sheets. These are the sheets where we get to pick which military bases we want to get assigned to.

I talked it over with the girlfriend and it was clear, anywhere close to Los Angeles California, anywhere close to New York, or anywhere in Germany.

No problem.

I was bright-eyed and excited on the day of the announcements. My girl was excited too because we could finally start making plans for our future together.

The announcement came and I held my breath.

Airman Shelton is going to…

“Goldsboro, North Carolina!”

Wait! What the fuck!?

North Carolina? That wasn’t even on the list!

Panic set in. What am I going to tell my girl?

I couldn’t sleep that night, I lay awake listening to Fiona Apple’s first album “Tidal” on repeat and I’ll tell you this, Fiona is a great singer but she really needs to see a therapist. 

Fiona Apple’s First Album '"‘Tidal”

The next day I was nervous about my phone call with my girl because I had told her that getting stationed in Germany would not be a problem. And not only did that not happen, but I also didn’t get any of the bases in the USA that we chose. 

I could not delay it any longer. I called and she answered excited to hear the news.

Me: “There is a little bit of an issue”

Her: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Things worked a little different than I thought”

Her: “What does THAT mean?”

Me: “The base thing, they don’t care what base you want, they put you wherever”

Her: “What base did you get?”

Me: “It’s not Germany”

Her: “What base?”

Me: “North Carolina”

Her: “What the fuck!? Fuckin’ North Carolina!?”

Me: “Yes”

Her: “We discussed this, you said you would pick Germany”

Me: “I picked Germany but they don’t give a fuck what I picked”

Her: “This is bullshit, you lied to me!”

Me: “I didn’t lie, I was told we could choose, I chose and they didn’t give it to me”

Her: “So you want me to give up my life to be with you? You aren’t giving up anything!”

Me: “I gave EVERYTHING to the US government, they own me for 4 years!

Her: “You need to make this right”

Me: “You think I’m not sacrificing? I signed myself over to the government for four years, for whatever they want, that’s a sacrifice!”

Her: “You’re asking me to change my life to be with you, you have a government commitment but what is your commitment to me?

Me: “You want to get married? Is that what this is about? Fine! We’ll get married! I’ll marry you.

Her: “That’s NOT how a girl dreams of getting proposed to. You messed it up.”

Me: Ah yeah, sorry about that. What do we do now?

Her: Today is Tuesday, let’s take a little break until next Tuesday. Call me then and if you feel the same way, we can try this again. 

Me: Deal.

And we hung up.

As I walked back to my room I was hit with the realization that my life suddenly got a whole lot more complicated and I had some adult choices to make.

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