From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, the Marine Corps has been there, ever ready to defend America from any foe who dares to mess with us. Having lived near a Marine base and being a member of a church were nearly every man on the membership role has been or is a Marine, I've had quite a bit of exposure to Marine Corps culture. It's unique, like every other Military branch. For example, don't call them an ex-Marine or a former Marine, because "Once a Marine, always a Marine!"
They like to say that there are two kinds of people in the world: Marines and those who wish they were Marines. They found out this wasn't true anymore when they met me, lol! You could not pay me to go to Parris Island (MC Boot Camp in South Carolina)!
Well, instead of loading you down with tons of facts about the Corps, I decided to share a bit of flash fiction I wrote last year for a writing contest. The main character is a Marine and it showcases his relationship with his siblings...oh that I could tell you more about that! Anyway, here we go!
They say you learn from your mistakes. Not always.
Salem Springfield well knew that Becca, his sister, was a jumpy person. Very jumpy. And when startled, Becca often over reacts. Like the time when they were younger and he threw a rubber snake at her while they were working in the garden. She had screamed and thrown her hoe…barely missing Salem’s head. There were many other such incidents…far too many to list now.
Well today, they had been conveniently forgotten. He had returned earlier than expected from deployment and was finally going to get to do a surprise homecoming to his parents and siblings. After doing a little reconnaissance, he found out from a neighbor that everyone was home, except Becca and their younger brother Jason. They had run to the store for some ice cream and should be just about home.
It was getting late when Salem ducked behind their family’s small outbuilding. He saw headlights and watched at Becca pulled her dark green Volkswagen Bug into the driveway. He grinned. It was time.
He snuck around behind her car as Jason stepped out, holding the cartons of ice cream. “I hope we got the right kind of Butter Pecan,” Jason said. “You know how particular Tim is about his ice cream.”
Becca, who was still sitting in the driver’s seat, putting her keys away and impromptu cleaning out her purse in the process, laughed and continued rifling through the pockets. “I think I got the right kind…Jason, where’s my cell phone?”
“In the cup holder where you put it earlier,” Jason called, closing his door and heading for the house.
“Thanks,” Becca laughed, unplugging the device and putting it in its proper place. Salem noticed she was carrying the purse he had gotten her for her twentieth birthday. It was a patchwork style purse, featuring four different kinds of military camo, since they had family in each of those branches.
Finally, Becca stood and closed the car door, dug through her purse to get her keys back out, locked the door and replaced the keys. She was so predictable. She placed her purse on her right shoulder and headed for the house.
Salem made his move. He silently came up behind her and touched her arm, saying, “Hey, Becca!”
It all happened so fast, Salem was completely caught off guard. Becca screamed at the top of her lungs, whirled around and sprayed Salem in the face with her infamous can of Pepper spray…the one thing Salem had forgotten about her routine. She always carried it with her.
“Oh, my eyes!” Salem gasped, tripping backwards to the ground as Becca continued to scream. Jason came barreling out of the house with Tim, Randy and Dad on his heels. Every house light in the base housing neighborhood came on, or so it seemed.
“You just stay right there!” Randy, the oldest of the Springfield boys, ordered.
“Randy, it’s me!” Salem choked, fighting the urge to rub his eyes. That would only make the situation worse.
“Salem?” Tim shouted. “What are you trying to do? Get yourself killed?” he added, shoving his pistol back into his pocket.
Becca turned as reality sunk in. “Oh, Salem! I’m so sorry!”
Mom joined her family and when she saw, aided by Jason’s flashlight, Randy helping Salem up, she immediately took control of the situation. “Get him to the kitchen sink!”
“Is everything alright?”
Dad turned and saw their neighbor MSGT. Williams shouting from his porch. With a smirk, Dad called back, “It’s all good. Just a surprise homecoming.”
Williams laughed. “Sounded more like a cat fight!”
“When pepper spray’s involved, that’s about right,” Dad replied.
“Oh no! You’ve got to tell me about this tomorrow, Doc!”
Meanwhile inside, Salem was holding his head over the sink while his mother sprayed cold water in his eyes from the sink hose.
Rachel and Mary hurried down the stairs. “What happened?” Mary asked in alarm, observing what looked like a drowning in process.
“Salem’s home,” was all Jason could manage. Mary stared at her older brothers gathered around the sink. She looked at Rachel, then Becca, who explained what had happened.
“That was real bright,” Rachel snickered, patting her younger brother on the shoulder.
Salem wrinkled his nose at her. “Who’s bright idea was it to give Becca Pepper spray?” Salem defended, drying his eyes.
Randy grinned. “Yours, remember, Jarhead? You better be glad she wasn’t carrying her Navy SEAL knife Dad bought last week!”
“You beat all, Salem,” Tim said, laughing at his brother’s red eyes, still watering from the ordeal.
“Salem, I am so sorry,” Becca lamented, her voice quite pitiful. “You really startled me! I shouldn’t be on such a hair-trigger.”
Salem shook his head and gave his younger sister a side hug. “You did exactly what you should have done in that situation. You had no reason to think it was me and not some lunatic.”
“Uh, that’s debatable,” Dad said with a chuckle. “Seems like she was dealing with a lunatic!” Everyone laughed.
“The mighty Marine taken down by a civilian girl!” Randy teased.
Mom smiled and hugged Salem tightly. “Welcome home, son! It’s so good to have you back!”
“Thanks! I was wondering if that part of my presence had been forgotten!” Salem said, hugging her back.
Welcomes and hugs were exchanged by the family, their ice cream snack turning into a welcome home celebration. Salem smiled. It was so good to be home with his family.
Dear Lord, he prayed silently, thank You for our family. Thank You for letting us get back together, all safe and sound. Please protect us in the days ahead and guide us through whatever You may choose to bring our way…and help me learn from my mistakes!...
Copyright© 2017 Ryana Lynn Miller
Ahh, the Springfield family...one of dozens of story ideas that I have :) A few things have changed in my planning for this story, but the gist is the same. And the relationship between Salem and Becca is just so adorable...I so have to write this story so someday y'all can see just how close these two are!
Anyways, happy Marine Corps Day! Hope you enjoyed this somewhat random post, lol!
Have a Blessed Day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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