Fandom: Generation Kill
Rating: PG-13, for language
Word count: 1,480
Summary: "If we're gonna step off, I wanna do it dressed like a real man!" Some notes in the margins before Bravo Company leaves Camp Mathilda.
Disclaimer: All characters based solely on the HBO series Generation Kill.
A/N: Just finished watching the series for the first time last week. Damn. More fic incoming; stay frosty.
PS: They really do talk like sailors. Don't say I didn't warn you, flist.
(For my flist: Brad, Ray, Rolling Stone.)
"You will not believe the extent to which this Marine's day tasted like ass." Ray steps into the enlisted men's tent, removing a pair of gold-framed shades that Brad could only describe as Fear And Loathing.
Brad is cleaning his rifle after its most recent outing — blue t-shirt and beard, clean head-shot; uniformed guy toting a perfect replica Saddam moustache, slightly messy head-shot because the Humvee had chosen that exact moment to hit a pothole, but Brad had adjusted his posture, fired anyway, and it had done the job, because that's what millions of dollars' worth of training bought you — and it takes him a few moment to register that Ray is wearing fucking cowboy boots.
"So we get the order that we have to strip out all the Humvees' radio equipment and replace it with this new shit like yesterday," Ray is saying to no-one in particular. "And Lilley is all, like, 'Oh boo hoo, this totally sucks, I was gonna spend my day jacking off to pictures of dead Hajjis'. And I'm like, 'Dude, first of all there are no dead Hajjis in this war — so they're not given to overt displays of enthusiasm for our godless American culture, but that doesn't mean they're dead or anything ...' "
Espera whistles, evidently having noticed Ray's choice of footwear. "Mr Potato Head is gonna fuck you up, dawg."
Garza nods, grinning. "He's right, man — Sixta catches you, he'll chew you out pretty good."
"Fuck the grooming standard, man," Ray says, simultaneously good-natured and vituperative.
Brad affects not to be watching, but amusement curls up the corner of his mouth. He wraps rag around rod, threads the whole thing carefully through the barrel. Twists — slow, methodical.
Espera shakes his head at Ray. "You know those make you look like a pimp."
"Yeah, you love it, Poke." Ray makes a twirl. The boots are slightly faded tan leather, toes and heels gently scuffed. Lived in.
Brad carries on cleaning the rifle. He won't say anything about the boots — there's nothing to say, anyway; Ray will be Ray. But also, Brad knows that his total failure to even acknowledge Ray and his damn boots will bug the living shit out of his RTO. Brad likes infuriating Ray; there's a kind of dicey predictability about it, like throwing firecrackers into a smouldering barbecue. So he continues his patient threading of rag through bore, each pass leaving less and less grime. He'd give his right nut for some CLP right now, but there's a shortage; leave it to Command to invade a country without any fucking gun grease.
Ray is still spinning and bowing in the centre of the tent like some kind of jacked-up trailer park dervish when Trombley walks in. The kid stares, wide-eyed, eyes flickering around the room — establishing potential threats, figuring out whether this is yet another hazing. Brad is still evaluating Trombley; he's doing pretty well in training, but Brad hasn't really identified his centre yet. Isn't entirely sure Trombley has a centre.
Trombley smiles hesitantly at Ray, who has finally stopped spinning and is clutching at the tentpole for balance. "So, uh, where'd you score the boots?"
Ray peels himself away from the tentpole in a sweaty, hoodied parody of ballroom dancing. "Meesh. He probably traded them for a copy of Playboy; this place is woefully devoid of pussy-related entertainment."
Rolling Stone snorts, amused. "Someone out here bartered porn for footwear?"
Ray grins. "Not just any footwear, Reporter — genuine leather old-time cowpokin' boots. Finest cowboy shit this side of Baghdad," he adds, in an almost-passable impersonation of their translator.
The conversation devolves into an argument about whether the boots are authentic American or cheap knock-offs. Ray is insisting that they're "the real deal — I swear on my dead grandmother's pussy," when Walt enters the tent toting a duffel bag to the room at large. "We got mail!"
"All right!" A small scrum forms around Walt.
Brad, after a quick glance establishing that, no, his goddamn turret-shield still hasn't shown up, goes back to his gun.
"Reporter, why the fuck do you get mail? You just got here."
Rolling Stone, tearing open a padded mailer, shrugs apologetically. Then—"Hey, gimme that—!"
But Ray is quicker; he seizes the small tube. "Hey, Rolling Stone's girlfriend sent him some fucking lube!"
The tent erupts, the bounty tossed from hand to hand.
Tombley catches it; whoops. "It's got an Ess-Pee-Eff!"
"Special Penetration Forces!"
"Hey reporter, you mind if we send your girlfriend back some lube of our own?"
"Yeah, delivered personally!"
"Yeah, get some!" High-fives are exchanged.
"Brad! Go long!"
The tube comes whizzing towards him, and Brad snags it in his left hand. He stands, setting the rifle down carefully. Examines the tube. "Reporter, do you have a fucking skincare regime?"
Rolling Stone looks embarrassed. He shrugs diffidently. "I know there's bigger stuff at stake, here. But seriously, you guys never worry about getting skin cancer?"
"Dawg, we got shit way more likely to kill us than melanoma," says Espera, rolling his eyes.
"Marines don't wear sunscreen, " Ray tells Rolling Stone, not unkindly. "You might figure that's because we're all too macho to care about getting sunburned, but mostly it's because if we started using product — you know, smelling nice instead of just like ass all the time — First Recon would collapse into the gayest motherfucking orgy, it'd be like Fruity Rudy'd cloned himself and given birth to an entire fucking battalion of fruity babies."
Rolling Stone laughs. "Yeah, okay."
The tent struck, Brad pats the Humvee's flank. "All right, gentlemen, let's load her up."
Sitting in the front, Brad watches Ray approaching the Humvee, carrying his bedroll and assorted junk, and oh, no way.
"No fucking boots, Ray."
"Hey—" Ray looks aggrieved. "I need those boots, man. Did I tell you couldn't bring your fucking shaving foam and flannel and patchouli oil and whatever other gay shit you need to get through the day?"
"You're such a whiny little bitch when you don't get your way," Brad tells him, booting up the blue force tracker.
Ray blows Brad a big kiss and stows the boots in back. "If we're gonna step off, I wanna do it dressed like a real man!"
Rolling Stone ducks carefully into the Humvee and slams his door shut.
"Emergency exits are situated here, here and here," Ray tells him, indicating the Humvee's various windows. "And if we get shot up, feel free to exit through the gigantic fucking hole in the door. You packed your lifejacket under your seat, right?"
Rolling Stone smiles, though a bit nervously, and looks out of the window.
"Ray, don't make the kids start crying before we're even Oscar Mike."
Trombley gets in and they sit there in the Humvee, waiting for the order to roll, but after a while it gets kind of hot, and Trombley's mumbled conversation with his gun is starting to creep Brad out a bit. Ray is singing quietly to himself, I'm a genie in a bottle, come, come, come and let me out ...
"Hey, did you guys, uh, still have my skin cream?" Rolling Stone asks, during a pause while Ray is apparently trying to remember the next verse.
Ray and Brad exchange glances. "Did it smell sort of like lavender?" Ray asks.
"Uh, sure, I guess."
Ray shakes his head. "Haven't seen it." He talks into the mic. "All units, this is Bravo Two One, request that you stop making each other fucking mix-tapes and saddle up so we can get some before it's over already, how copy? Hey Brad," he adds, "Did you notice how nice my crotch smells today? Kinda floral. Also, I now have the distinction of being the only Marine in Iraq whose equipment isn't gonna drop off from sunburn."
"That's exactly the kind of smart thinking we need in this unit, Corporal," says Brad, rubbing his cheek. He scopes out the other Humvees; nothing is moving. "Fuck it — I'm gonna take a shit." He ignores Ray's "Woo! Get some!" and disappears towards the latrines.
In the back, Rolling Stone shakes his head and laughs.