Craig walks back in to the bunk room with his friends at his back; they spread out and stand beside their respective beds as the search resumes. All of them are nervous but Craig sees that James seems to be twitching, sweating and nervously looking around, he pretends not to notice as he returns his gaze to the Sergeant who has started to search through his personal area. Drawers are opened and the contents tossed on the bed, the clothes folded on the shelf follow shortly after, his bergen unceremoniously tipped up.
The Sergeant holds out his hand to Craig, \"Key,\" he says gruffly.
Handing it over; Craig watches as his phone, laptop and other personal items are thrown on the bed with utter disregard for their possible fragility.
\"Do you mind? That costs more than you're worth y' prick.\"
The MP sergeant swings around and comes toe-to-toe, he tries to look down his nose at Craig - a difficult feat since Craig is around half-a-foot taller than the man.
\"What was that, trainee? Do you have something to say?\"
\"You're fuckin' right I do; there's nothing that says you have the right to break my personal belongings,\" Craig growls, staring right back into the Sergeant's eyes.
Neither man blinks for a few moments, the other men in the room are unsure of where to look as the drama unfolds. Craig catches James' wide-eyed stare in his peripheral vision as he takes a half-step forward; forcing the MP to take a step back - involuntarily. The tension mounts as a cold, deliberate smile slowly ripples its way across Craig's lips. The Sergeant gulps and licks his suddenly dry lips, trying his best not to feel intimidated.
Enjoying himself; Craig moves in close again and again the MP backs off a step. All that can be heard are the footsteps and a far-off conversation in the corridor outside the closed door.
Everyone - including Craig and the MP - snaps to attention and they all raise a salute as the Lieutenant strides in.
He looks pissed... Craig thinks after a quick glance at Lt. Smith's face.
Keeping them standing at attention for a few moments more than necessary, the Lieutenant looks around, sizing up the situation, his face tightening as he spots how close Craig and the MP are standing.
Everyone relaxes a little but the lieutenant instantly picks up on the strained atmosphere within the room.
\"Wallace, step back,\" there's no mistaking the authority held in the softly spoken words, Craig instantly obeys.
The sergeant stands up a little straighter as the impending threat from Craig seems to dissipate.
\"Wallace, tell me you weren't squaring up to an N.C.O. Tell me you weren't ready to swing for a superior.\"
Craig studies the floor carefully; avoiding eye contact with Lt. Smith who subsequently sighs loudly.
\"... Ok, at least tell me you have a valid reason.\"
Craig's head snaps upward. \"Sir, he was throwing around my personal effects with complete lack of care or respect for my property.\"
\"So you figured intimidating him was the best plan here?\"
Recognising it as a rhetorical question Craig's lips tighten; mostly to deter himself from replying.
The lieutenant glares at Craig for a few moments; to underline the point, before rounding on the Sergeant.
\"... and you,\" he growls. \"... you are actually intimidated by a recruit? He may be one of the best of the bunch so far but you've completed your bloody basic and, I'm assuming, at least had some experience in a warzone, yet you let this amateur scare you? I suggest you finish this search and bugger off!\"
Craig tries - and fails - to resist the urge to smirk. The sergeant goes about his work, being careful not to give the officer anything else to tear him down for.
Watching carefully; Craig sees the sergeant stop - dead in his tracks - as he leans down to pick something up. Turning back to the Lieutenant, the sergeant opens his hand. The sudden silence is deafening as Craig's mouth drops open.
The hand is full of little bags and in them, some white powder; the bags found amongst Craig's things. His mind in a whirl of indecision he tries to speak but the words won't come. Lieutenant Smith looks at him with pity and a hint of disappointment, the look burning into Craig's soul; hurting him more than yelling or punching ever could.
\"... Wallace, come with me, please. Sergeant,bring the bags.\"
Craig catches a glitter of triumph in the MP's eyes as he follows the Lieutenant out, still trying to find his voice, to tell them \"They're not mine.\"
© Copyright 2016 M K Brown. All rights reserved.
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