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  • Writer's pictureHenry Cavanaugh

Military Man

After dropping out of college James wasn’t exactly sure what was he was going to do with his life. All he knew was that full-time education wasn’t for him and he was happier not having to drag himself to morning lectures and suffer through the droning voices of his former professors. Considering he’d traded that in for long shifts at a convenience store though he wasn’t exactly certain that his new situation was any better. He was searching for something more to do with his life and that was the only reason he’d even allowed the army recruiter to deliver his pitch to him in the first place.

It was obvious to anyone with eyes that James wasn’t the type of guy who would excel in the army. At five-foot-six with minimal amounts of muscle on his skinny frame he hardly appeared to be in quite the physical shape that would be desired from a military man and as such the recruiter’s assurance that he would make a great soldier were enough to bring a chuckle out of the college dropout. With nothing else on his plate though and an eagerness to escape the dead-end retail job he’d fallen into, James let himself be won over and agreed to sign up. The recruiter was quick to mention that if he “couldn’t cut it” in the first week then he’d be able to drop out without any fuss but that he didn’t think that would happen. “I don’t see you as a quitter, son,” the recruiter had declared. James couldn’t help but see some irony in the statement given his recent track record.

Much to James’ surprise he wasn’t the odd one out on the first day of boot camp - indeed every single one of the thirty men who had arrived at the army barracks that morning for their initiation training was every bit as weedy and weak as he was. Every single one of them struggled through the assault course and the intense training drills, following the orders being barked out by their muscle-bound superior. “You want to prove you’re real men? You’ll give me another twenty push-ups!” Not a single man dared go against the order even with their bodies aching and struggling to get back off the floor. The opportunity to prove themselves was simply too much for any one of them to give up on; James in particular wanted to prove that he wasn’t as much of a quitter as his folks believed him to be.

By the time the men were seated in the mess hall and being served up dinner they were all exhausted and drenched in their own sweat. Not a single one among them had ever experienced such a physically challenging day before in their leaves but each and every one of them felt a sense of satisfaction at making it through without admitting defeat. For their hard work they were rewarded with a feast of meats - chicken, beef, pork, turkey and even duck - and the aroma of the seasoning upon the delicacies had James’ mouth watering and his stomach anticipating the meal to follow. He hadn’t ever seen such a gorgeous collection of meat in one place before but he certainly wasn’t complaining and was quick to fill up his plate with a selection of as much as he could reach. 

Even after wolfing down the plate full of meat - each one as delectable and mouth-watering as the one before it - James helped himself to seconds and then a third round to boot. All around him his new friends did much the same, far too concerned with filling their plates and stomachs to notice the changes that had begun to take hold of them. Their slender frames filled out with muscle; shoulders broadening; thighs thickening; biceps bulging; each man beginning to fill out the oversized camouflage slacks they had been made to change into upon their arrival at the barracks that morning.

Soon they struggled to fit side-by-side on the benches of the mess hall, their added bulk causing elbows and knees to knock until they were forced to spread out further just to avoid consistent contact. While the men soon began to notice their physical changes there was an unsurprising lack of panic - indeed many of them saw the rapid growth of their muscularity to be a marked improvement over the diminutive frames of their prior selves.

With their stomachs full and minds refreshed the men happily sunk down onto their bunks that night to dream of open oceans and fields of green. When they rose the next morning every single man was ready to prove themselves and sure enough they did, each one managing to cut their assault course time from the previous day in half. Even among the thirty men there was one that stood out from the rest, leading the other men to success: Jim.

Assuming a leadership role within the troop came naturally and by the time they once again filled out the benches of the mess hall he had not only earned the respect of his peers but also his superiors with his hard work and impressive feats of strength and stamina throughout the days training. With a strong chiselled jawline and muscles that perfectly filled out his uniform he looked like the perfect military man and he had the dedicated attitude to boot. There was simply no man that matched up to him and yet he remained humble of his accomplishments, choosing to celebrate the success of the whole unit. 

Certain that a promotion to corporal was in his immediate future and only the beginning of his military career, Jim took a moment to reflect back on his initial meeting with the recruiter that suddenly felt so long ago. It was clear as day to see that guy had been right after all - he really did made a damn fine soldier and there was no way he or any of his men were going to quit!

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