DADDIES AND MOMMIES SHOULDN'T LET THEIR
COWBOYS GROW UP TO HAVE BABIES
Like I said, ROTC took up a lot of my time. In August of 2001, I was
beginning my fourth-year level of Military Studies at the University of
Iowa. That's where I met a good man, Ramón. Most people in ROTC
never served in the US Army. In fact, there was only two other people
who had...and they were in the National Guard and Army Reserve. Not
that there's anything wrong with that. It's hard to have an intimate
knowledge of the inner-workings of the military when you're a weekend
The staff was made up of quite a few people who had no idea what was going
on. This guy was one of ‘em.
I was pretty alone,
especially when I noticed how FUBAR the entire operation was around the ROTC
building. ROTC-land was the way things were supposed to run in the
Army, at least that's what most of my peers thought. The main problem
was our Professor of Military Science. She was the worst micro-manager
I've ever seen. I had heard her biggest leadership position was a crew
of seventeen people before coming to the U of I, and it was fairly obvious
to me that she didn't know what to do.
Originally, I decided not to waste my time with classes and shit and only
show up to Ace the tests, which I did. She took issue with that, and
claimed it wasn't only about me, and as a leader, I had the obligation to
help others. Great. Let's not forget these others are officers.
Also leaders. If you can't pull your own weight, then I figure you're
worthless and shouldn't be granted a position of authority over others.
I guess I could have stayed true to the course and 'fought the system', but
I gave up, realizing who truly had the power, and participated in whatever I
had to in order to meet the requirements. Besides that, though, I
volunteered for nothing. When Ramón came on the staff, he understood
the problem as I did. He was an old Airborne guy, like me, and we hit
it off pretty well from the start.
Now, I'd just like to give a little back-story, here. Within the first
week, Ramón told me he had to go to Ohio to get some of his personal effects
from his ex-wife. I told him I'd help him move, if he needed it.
I didn't really think he'd ask me, but I figured I'd offer, at least.
However, the Thursday before he left, he did call me. It was an
off-week for football, and I had shit-else to do, so I went with him.
His ex was pretty nasty, but she looked decent in the naked gardening video
he showed me. She must have gone downhill pretty fast after they
parted ways. We decided to stay in Ohio that night, and he said, "Hey,
you want to see where I met my wife?" I agreed.
We went to a strip club. I affectionately referred to this place as
'The Outback' every time it came up in conversation, afterwards. He
asked me why I called it that. I told him, "Because I haven't seen
that many kangaroos in my life."
"Yeah, all the women in that place had pouches on their stomachs." And they
did. It was disgusting. It was easy to see, though, why Ramón
hooked up with his ex, considering she would have looked like a runway
model, by comparison. This 24-hour gesture of help placed me forever
in the good graces of Ramón. That's why, later, in October, when he
told me there was a new female Sergeant coming into our building, I feigned
interest. (On a side note - If I could have hooked up with anyone, it
would have been the Air Force Sergeant in our building. Damn, she was
hot, but going through a divorce.) Ramón knew I was a Spanish major, and the
new Sergeant wore a Hernandez nametag.
I have a rule. It's one I've broken many times. "I will never
date an Army chick." I have a theory that anyone who joins the Army
has something wrong with them. Some problem. Maybe they're
running away from home, in a sense. Maybe they've gotten crushed
romantically. Maybe they're maladjusted. Maybe they don't
respect authority, needed structure, would have ended up in prison,
otherwise. Maybe their daddy and their daddy's daddy was in, so they
will be, too. Maybe they're one of the jocks that always have to prove
themselves. There are very few true, Captain America types like me,
I don't know for
sure, but it's always been my theory. I don't think that's a bad
thing, in fact, sometimes the Army's the best remedy for these people.
Anyway, in conjunction with this theory, I think women that join have even
larger problems, due to the fact that it takes more of a stimulus to get a
woman to even consider the Army. They rarely get 'cured' by the Army.
Most of them are crazy, I've found. But, there are some gems, I'm
sure. I've never found any, though, and, like I said, I've broken my
rule many, many times.
The first time I saw Angela Hernandez she was walking across the parking lot
in uniform. I didn't even remember my conversation with Ramón; I just
thought she was hot. I saw her two days later, inside. I started
talking to her and flirting lightly. She was overly responsive,
starting with the touching and such. I stepped back, because I didn't
want this to happen so close to the maniacal Lieutenant Colonel. I was
about to leave when Ramón called me back. He introduced me to Angela.
"We've met," she told him.
"Oh, well. We should get together later this week," Ramón said.
"There's karaoke at Grizzlies on Thursday," I decided. "Why don't the
three of us get together then?"
We all agreed, and went out separate ways.
When Thursday came, I asked my newest roommate, my cousin Michael, if he
wanted to come with me for a night on the town. Looking back, I was
happy to have him with us. He was a nice addition to the apartment,
bridging the gap between me and Neal. Neal never went out, but Michael
did occasionally, and I liked having a pool partner from time to time.
We drove down to Grizzlies. We got a pitcher of beer and waited for
Angela and Ramón. About fifteen minutes later, Angela walked through
the door, but Ramón wasn’t with her. She said she’d talked to him
earlier, and he’d be late.
I was, naturally, duded up in my cowboy hat and western attire. She
was impressed. “You look so cute!” she exclaimed. The three of
us sat down at a table by the karaoke equipment, and I started to look
through books. I picked out a few songs and handed them to the KJ.
I went back to the table and the three of us carried on a conversation for
an hour or so. Then, I excused myself, got out my cell phone and
called Ramón. “Hey, man, what’s up? Where are you?”
“Sorry…I won’t be able to come down tonight, man. I just stopped by
the bar here in West Branch to drop something off, and all these guys bought
me a bunch of shots. I’m drunk, man. Sorry.” This wasn’t really
all that unexpected. For one thing, I knew he was trying to hook me
up, and this happened quite often with Ramón. Breaking an appointment
“All right,” I said. “Have a good time.”
I went back inside the bar just in time to hear my name being called out.
I got up and sang Gene Watson’s “Farewell Party”.
The look on her face couldn’t have been any more clear if the words “I WANT
TO FUCK YOU” were stamped on her forehead. Michael, like a trooper,
stuck around for another forty-five minutes, sang some Matchbox 20, and
endured her gushing over my singing and asking questions like, “How old are
“Twenty-three,” I answered.
“Oh, a baby!” she cried. “No wonder you’re so cute!” Now, I knew she
was 32. Hell, that was half the reason I wanted to go out with her.
I could understand, however, what an uncomfortable atmosphere this probably
was for Michael. That’s why, when he said he was leaving, I wasn’t too
“Take my car,” I told him.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’ll walk home.” That was a feasible plan, considering I only lived
seven or eight blocks from Grizzlies, but in reality, I knew I already had a
ride. We continued drinking, and I started getting pretty lit. I
sang some more music, although I only got to sing three songs in four hours
that night. It wasn’t even busy. Had I wanted to sing, I’d have
been pissed. He was one of these KJ/DJ bastards that do both. I
hate those fuckers. Do one or the other. Or else you won’t have
a happy crowd at all. Most people either want to dance or they want to
sing. If you mix it, you piss one group off no matter what you do.
And another thing: Most times you can still dance even if someone’s
singing. But I digress.
The other songs were “Neon Moon” and “I Can Still Make Cheyenne”, which
wouldn’t be that important…normally. Angela made a confession, “I have
to tell you…I don’t own any country CDs.”
“Really,” I said, surprised. She sure seemed to be a fan. I
looked at her.
I’ve gotten good at this. Really good. As in, 100% of the time,
haven’t been shot down good. If I’m paying attention, I can spot the
look, without fail. Even if it seems to be a hint of a look, I’ll see
that sumbitch. You know…the look that she gives out that says, “Kiss
me.” The only problem is that, sometimes, I won’t be paying attention,
and they’ll put it out there and I’ll miss it. Then, sometimes I can
use my historical perspective and say, “Shit. Should’ve known…”
But, most times I see it. It pops up in weird places. The middle
of a conversation. The middle of a movie. As your taking a
shower together. As I said, weird places. Every time I think
I’ve located the look, I’ve gone in for a li’l smootch, and, thus far, have
never been turned down. Heh.
I saw it, so I went in. We made out for a little while, and then she
started talking to me. That’s when I started to get a little annoyed.
She wasn’t much for conversation, and the vast majority of the topics
encircled the question of age. It didn’t bother me, but she kept
saying shit like, “I’m robbing the cradle!” I’ve never had a
predilection for clichés, unless I twist them.
The night finally ended, and we walked outside. She said, “I’m not
ready to call it a night yet, are you?” I may be an idiot in some
situations, but I knew the right answer to this question. “Do you want
to…come to my house for a while?” That one, too.
We went to her place and she showed me around. This little bastard dog
on LSD started running around like a madman. “Would you like a
Corona?” Angela asked.
“Sure,” I said. I drank maybe half of it, before we started making out
again. I’d stopped smoking at the bar, so now my taste was coming
back. I know I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here, but her mouth tasted
awful. I mean, the breath was not for the faint of heart.
We went to her bedroom, and she said, “Do you want to sleep with me?” I
agreed, but I took it to mean the cleaner, more literal sense. She
didn’t. I got into her bed and we continued to make out. She
straddled me, but I couldn’t get excited over this chick. Well, Chewie
could, but my mind couldn’t. The problems arose in three main areas:
1 – Stinky Breath
2 – Bad Conversation
3 – Spare Tire (Albeit a small one)
I hadn’t noticed the third little deficiency until she was down to her bra
and panties, and while I could have forgiven two of the three, the last
strike made me write her off for the evening. Maybe I’m half psychic.
Maybe I saw what the future would hold if I would have…consummated this
She asked, “What do YOU want to do?” I know the right answer to that
one, now, too. Always did.
However, I intentionally answered incorrectly and said, “I don’t care.”
I was more than content settling for heavy fondling and some suckage of the
So, we slept. The next morning, I woke up to her kissing my chest.
I was tired, but I managed to smile. She then insisted on kissing me
with her good morning breath, which, combined with the horror mouth of the
night before, created some sort of monster stench the likes of which would
have put Saddam’s chemical cache, at its peak, to shame.
I brushed my teeth with my finger as an indicator, but she didn’t get it.
She made coffee, which tasted delicious. Maybe my mouth was just eager
to have something else in it.
I went to leave, and she kissed me goodbye. The coffee was a nice
cover-up, and I left on a good note. She said she’d call me, and,
ultimately, she did.
The following Thursday, Angela called me. I guess I'm at a loss to try
to explain exactly why I agreed to meet her. By my best estimation, I
suppose I was bored, and I figured watching Cops and Unsolved Mysteries had
an extremely low probability in ending with a blow job. In retrospect,
I can't imagine what my boys would smell like after that.
At any rate, I agreed to go out to another karaoke club with Angela that
night. When I got to her place, though, it had started to rain.
I knocked on the door, my trademark fedora soaking in the rain, a lá Last
Crusade, when she kissed me.
I'd decided to give her another chance, thinking that maybe the bar and
morning breath were to blame for the previous infractions. I was
wrong. I should have ran like hell. But I stepped inside.
Maybe, in some twisted timeline, I could have overlooked the bad in favor
for a relationship. The only problem I can't see past, however, reared
its head as soon as I walked through that entryway.
Ah, Psychosis. My old nemesis.
"Farewell Party" was playing on her CD player. I looked on the floor.
It was like looking at a chalk outline, I was so horrified. She had
purchased the three CDs with the songs I'd sung on them. She had them
programmed on her player, playing on repeat. I would call that a red
flag, but it was more like a red fucking sunset.
She came out of the kitchen and smiled, "Would you like a beer?"
"No," I answered uncharacteristically. I wanted to make sure I was
driving home. "Pop would be fine."
"Do you mind if we stay in tonight? It's raining, and my dog gets so
scared when it rains and he's home alone." Funny, incidentally, this
concern for her pet. Considering she locked the bastard in her
bathroom for the majority of the night.
I agreed, but, if you've read my other tales of woe, you know that pet peeve
number one on ol' Seth's list is:
DENY ME KARAOKE.
Not a good relationship move, on their part, anyway. So, we sat down
and watched some television. There really wasn't shit on, but she
ordered a pizza. I went to the bathroom and let the little dog watch
me pee. I hope he didn't get any ideas of his own.
I was understandably uncomfortable. She kept calling me her young
boyfriend for one. I was all for a good time, but getting all serious
with her was never my intention. The pizza came and we started to eat.
"So, what do you want to do tonight?" she asked.
"I don't care," I said.
"Well, I just got Godfather on DVD for my birthday. Do you want to
I'd never seen Godfather. I'd heard it was long and never felt like
investing the time. I decided I could spend two hours, but I didn't
know this was the damn extended edition. Over three and a half hours I
was sitting there.
She kept making comments that were somewhat insensitive. Normally, I'm
not a guy that would get offended by that sort of thing, but I thought it
was pretty ballsy to say, "Damn white girl stealing a guy like Pacino away
from his own race!"
Naturally, instead of complaining, I tried one-upsmanship. "Well," I
admitted, "it's better than fucking some nasty Hispanic broad." She acted
upset, but she still tried making out with me. I couldn't get over the
whole song fiasco yet, though.
Towards the end of the night, she asked me, "What do you plan on doing next
I looked forward, and all I could see was, "I have to go to Officer Basic
Course. I'll probably be busy doing that." I didn't care, but, still,
I asked, "What're you going to do?"
She said, "Stay here and have your babies." I don't know if she was
joking or not, but that's probably the worst possible plan she could
revealed. She leaned in for a kiss. I pulled away in disgust.
Thank goodness I didn't sleep with her. Insane bitches like this poke
holes in your condoms and shit.
Still, I didn't leave. I had to see the end of the movie. Let's
not get crazy. James Caan getting shot was awesome.
After that, I left,
though. As fast as I could fucking drive.
I never spoke to her again, but, now, sometimes, when I pull up to a toll
booth, I think of Angela. The dreamy vision of someone getting filled
with lead by some random gangsters while she crosses my mind still makes me
Ah, good times.