Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Drunk

Anyone who spent any time in Monterey, California, in the mid-90's may remember the reputation of Bruce Archer. He was generally well-liked by everyone who knew him, but he did have one little personality quirk: in a squadron of 700+ college-age military trainees, he was a notorious drinker.

The vast majority of our student body liked to party, but he stood out. When other people would go to the bars in town, they would usually order a few beers. Sometime of the heavy hitters would do a pint. Bruce would order a pitcher. Then he would ask whoever he was with, "Do you want one, too?"

Generally speaking, he didn't let this habit affect his Air Force career. Okay, it would be more accurate to say he didn't let the Air Force interfere with his drinking career. You could guarantee that every night, from Friday to Sunday, he was going to be publicly intoxicated. Holidays and "Blood Days" - we were given a day off from class if we donated to the periodic blood drives - would allow him to extend his drinking time further into the week.

The collection of Drunken Archer stories grew over his vast tenure at DLI, especially when he was rolled back. Usually people were only rolled back for academic reasons; if they couldn't keep up, they would get transferred into a class that was two months or more behind theirs in the program. Bruce was rolled back because he had an un-descended testicle that the USAF had decided must be removed. This extended his stay at DLI by almost a year after recovery time, convalescent leave, and finding him an open seat in a new class in his language.

Meanwhile, his adventures continued. His favorite trick was to get himself obliterated, and then evacuate himself in some inappropriate place. When Bruce was drunk, he would piss and crap anywhere, as the spirit moved him. Pun intended. His squad-mates complained to him frequently about not urinating in the flight laundry room. James went so far as to ask him to use the washing machine, as it was easier to clean than the dryer. This led to a knock on James' door in the middle of the night: it was Bruce, asking for some laundry soap so he could "flush."

Perhaps his greatest moment came when he was staggering up the hill from the Enlisted Club one Saturday night, and felt his bowels beginning to move. He was on the tennis courts, about half-way up to the squadron from the E-Club; he couldn't go back there, since they had just closed. He didn't think he'd make it up the hill, and he didn't fancy squatting there in the open on a moonlit night. So he did what anyone in his position would have done; he snuck into one of the front yards of the officers' quarters that bordered the tennis courts.

As he did his business behind a bush under the picture window, he noticed that the car parked out front looked familiar, and he squinted at the name on the mailbox: he was shitting in the Air Force commander's yard! He proudly told a captivated audience this tale while sitting on my couch at a party sometime later, and then promptly fell into a deep sleep. We, of course, rolled him outside to keep him from taking a dump in our oven, or someplace even worse.

Then there was the incident with his roommate, Morgan Waldo. Morgan was a good guy, originally. I have to admit that I started him on his slide into sadistic cruelty by stealing his girlfriend, or so he believed. He was even more crushed when I married her, but it wasn't me that pushed him over the edge!

One weekend, just before the monthly Monday morning inspection, Waldo was livid. It was Sunday night, and Archer was still, typically, MIA, presumably at the Mucky Duck, or Characters.  Waldo had to clean the whole room by himself. Okay, he didn't HAVE to, but he thought he'd fail the inspection if Bruce's junk was scattered all over the place.

About 3am, Archer was poured out of a cab, and the dorm guard on duty rousted Joe, the flight commander, and another poor sap - both were volunteer student leaders, I must point out - to drag Bruce down the hall to his room. As they did so, he woke up, and began flailing about. He only settled down after bouncing his head off the laundry room doorknob.

They pounded on his door, waking Waldo, who had only just gotten to bed after cleaning, sweeping, and re-waxing the floor of the room. They all dumped Archer on his bed (the bottom bunk, fortunately) and Waldo attempted to get back to sleep. Just as he drifted off, he heard something, and turned on the light.

He saw Archer standing in the middle of the room, spraying copious amounts of urine all over their shoes, which Waldo had lined up neatly along the wall under the window. Waldo launched out of the top bunk, pummelled Bruce on the back, and shoved him toward the door, shrieking "No, you stupid bastard! Get out of here to do that!"

So, Archer opened the door to the room and gamely obliged by whizzing out into the hallway. He finished as Waldo danced a jig of rage behind him, and then lay back down to sleep - on his desk.

The desks were side by side against the wall, so while Bruce was trying to rest his banged-up head on his desk, his feet were on Waldo's. The problem here was that Waldo had a shelf unit on his desk, which was loaded with books and language tapes, knick knacks and CDs, and other neatly tidied junk that tends to accumulate on such shelves. Bruce kicked the whole mess onto the floor.

Hearing the crash, Waldo rushed back into the room from the hallway, where he had been frantically mopping up piss with a pair of socks. He screamed again, heaved Bruce from the
desktop, and threw him onto his own bed, from which he did not budge for three and one half hours.

Those hours involved Waldo with reassembling his desk shelf, and re-shelving all of his stuff; cleaning urine out of his shoes; re-mopping, re-waxing, and re-buffing the floor of both his room, and the entire length of the hallway. (He would have only done the pissy places, but his screaming had awakened his squad leader, who assigned him the whole hallway as "punishment for causing a disturbance.")

At 0649, Waldo finally finished cleaning, and went to try to shower and get ready for the inspection. Alas, the cleaning detail had already finished cleaning them, and he was kept out. Thus, he stood inspection in an unkempt, unshaven, and smelly state, having been spattered with urine, sweat, and floor wax during the night.

As TSgt Beale was writing up Waldo's inspection paperwork, Archer came staggering out, clutching his head. It had swollen so badly that you could see straight into his ear while looking him in the eye.

"Airman Archer," said TSgt Beale, "Are you alright?"

"No, sir," replied Archer. "I think I hit my head last night." He looked every inch the victim of some horrible assault.

"You'd better get to sick call, right away!"

Waldo watched him leave through a gauntlet of sympathy for his wounds, and slowly ground his teeth at the injustice - sick call got Archer out of the inspection.

Two days later, Waldo volunteered to become a student leader. Asked why he wanted to be one of the infamous “student Nazis”, he said simply, "Revenge."

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