Christmas passed and the attack on mhere continued. Day after day, she endured being pushed down by whatever non-lethal weapon that was being used against her. Although well-versed in military strategy, mhere was a hopeless case at technology, mechanical stuff and she couldn’t even tell you the difference between the various makes of any type of military hardware. Long, long ago the Army handed out decks of playing cards with Soviet vehicles on the back to help American soldiers become familiar with them. mhere spent many hours shuffling through her deck of cards and practicing to see if she would improve. No, it was the same as always with mhere, just ask her family, she would say, “it was a blue car” and when prodded for a make, mhere was clueless. Despite Jane’s help with this, which mhere consulted often, she remained technologically-illiterate. mhere didn’t know what was being used to attack her, she just knew she was being jolted and pushed down for hours on end.
Although mhere ranked as one of the worst cowards in the world, she did have a temper, which though slow to ignite, could become quite forceful when provoked. As a child, growing up in a large, old house in the country, mhere spent many hours sitting on the bottom step, waiting, waiting, waiting. The light switch was at the top of the steps and she was too scared to go up the stairs in the dark. She waited for one of her sisters to take her by the hand and assure her it was safe. She had her bravestsister, who later became a state trooper, check under the bed and in the closet every night to make sure it was safe. If mhere heard a noise, she would beg her sister to check again, because mhere was scared of everything. But, she was getting pissed off at being toyed with and she knew she could not hold out much longer. She kept thinking about her beloved Sun Tzu and thought, “the only thing I’ve got in my “arsenal” is deception.” One day when hotshot82nd and her children were gone mhere looked through her many rows of books and she pulled out ones with “tough” sounding titles and carefully arranged them around her bedroom. Then she loudly announced, “I know you’re there and you aren’t scaring me!” What a huge lie that was, because she was almost petrified with fright.
mhere could not remember exactly what happened, but she awakened early the next morning and she was tucked tight against hotshot82nd, laying on her tummy and she was so scared she was afraid to move. Her t-shirt was missing and she felt so much anger, she wanted to hurt someone. As soon as hotshot82nd went to work, she stood in her bedroom and defiantly shouted, “You’re still not scaring me!” A horrendous day of being pushed down followed and mhere felt panicky and desperate by the time she climbed into bed that night. She knew she could not endure much more of this.
Long before morning, she awakened in bed and her nightgown and panties were gone and she felt total despair. She climbed out of bed and all she could think of was finding her nightgown. Her knee was hurting badly and she knew she had bumped it hard, but she could not put into coherent thought what had transpired – she was too scared to even think. She thought, I need to make sure my kids are safe and she wandered down the hallway and through her house. She found her nightgown tossed in a laundry basket in the kitchen. She put it back on and crawled back into bed and she curled tight against hotshot82nd, who was sound asleep, to try and feel safe, but it didn’t work.
Later that morning, when she was at home alone again she tried to make sense out of what had happened, but truly she could not remember and all she still could definitively state was her knee was hurting like hell, but in her heart she knew much more had happened. She felt like throwing up and she felt a level of humiliation that she could not ever recall feeling and above all of that, confusion clouded through mhere’s mind. Relief that she knew this attack was American, but still none of it made any sense to her. She looked around her bedroom and suddenly her eyes fixed on a historical romance novel she had laid on the old steamer trunk at the foot of their bed titled, Love Be Mine. Crazy thoughts raced through her mind as she thought, “what in the hell could this man be thinking?” mhere worried that maybe she had confused him the wrong way and she picked up the book and she bent over in horror and she said, “I was only reading this book. It didn’t mean anything.” But she was very scared and then she thought, he hates me, but he doesn’t even know me. She knew she had to convince him that she was not a threat and that some terrible mistake had been made. Time to surrender, mhere thought. She started talking, talking, talking, telling him all about who she is and naming people who could vouch that she wasn’t a terrorist or a threat of any kind – she was just a homemaker. And mhere believed he would help her once he knew some terrible mistake had been made.
mhere kept talking, day after day, and when hotshot82nd and her children weren’t around, she kept telling him to move the channel up two and things like that and he complied. mhere kept thinking, I need to keep finding ways to contact my command. And each time he responded mhere felt safer, believing she wasn’t alone anymore . He would help her, afterall, hotshot82nd said he was a fantastic commander. She kept thinking, “he’s a commander, he’ll know what to do and he’ll come get me when it’s safe.” So, she started to feel safer knowing she wasn’t alone. In her mind she tried to put those two nights into a “friendly fire” context and she kept thinking, “he was lied to, but he’ll check out some of the people who can vouch for me and then he will help me.” The very first person she had mentioned, as someone who could vouch for her, was her old first sergeant, because he was one of the finest NCOs ever – he had been a hero in a long ago unpopular war and he also came from one of those elite units, where America’s bravest serve. mhere felt sure that Top would tell him that she was a hard worker and always loyal to the team. The pressure had let up, so she felt sure he was listening to her. mhere started playing her country music loud during the day to keep the fear from taking over though. mhere kept posting on that message board too, because she would not let them get away with this and she wanted them to know that they could not silence her.
Days ticked by and still she waited and new worries plagued mhere, because she felt sure that somehow those sewer rats had convinced people she was a right-wing terrorist of some sort – that was the only thing that made sense with thatwitch2016 accusing that there was some “vast, right-wing conspiracy”. And then she remembered that long, long ago another NCO, who loved to joke around, had nicknamed mhere, “Killer” one day as he saw mhere toting that machine gun to her office to clean. Top started calling her “Killer” too and mhere would just roll her eyes at them and walk away. Truthfully, mhere didn’t like going to the field or being dirty and not being able to shower. Her second field training exercise she had packed her embroidery stuff in her duffel bag and she thought she might be able to sew while she sat around in the woods, but quickly realized that wasn’t possible – too dirty to try and sew. mhere got out of the Army when she was pregnant with their first child and for all the years hotshot82nd served, she felt she got the better part of the deal, because she could cook and bake for all his soldiers, which she loved to do and she didn’t have to deal with guns or sitting in the mud in some inhospitable locale getting rained on, shot at or not being able to shower every day. Surely, everyone who knew her would know she was the furthermost thing from a “killer” as possible. But that man hates me, mhere thought.
mhere began to worry that he wasn’t going to help her get out of this mess and he believed all their lies. She knew she had to try and hold on, but she wasn’t doing well, fear was winning. Pure terror kept gripping mhere, because her littlesister worked high up training generals to do public speaking, in an ironical twist considering mhere’s speaking issues. mhere adored her littlesister and everyone in the family was so proud of how well she had done in the Air Force, but mhere started worrying, “what if they do something to my littlesister?”
mhere knew she had to try and explain what she thought of as “this mess” to hotshot82nd. But would he listen to her, because mhere knew hotshot82nd thought that man was a great commander and mhere knew hotshot82nd had brushed aside her concerns long ago when she had tried to tell him about her issues with that man’s wife. And mhere knew she had to call her littlesister.