43. Spice


One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.

Proverbs‬ ‭14:16‬ 

Today’s military has little tolerance for underage drinking and no tolerance for drugs. Many more were punished for the former, often receiving a slap on the wrist or at worst a Page 11. If someone popped for drugs however, they were separated immediately with either an Other Than Honorable or Dishonorable Discharge.

To maintain strict adherence to these policies, piss tests were conducted frequently, sometimes a few times per month if the stars aligned. Early in my time at Bangor, one guy popped for ecstasy and was separated shortly thereafter. Later on when in the fleet I witnessed drug dogs invading the barracks because one of the Marines tested positive for weed. I’d heard he had only a few weeks left until he would have been discharged honorably. Freakin’ idiot. 

While I was at Bangor though, I never wound up in any drug scene, and even if I did, I was a tight wad when it came to following the rules. Even if I wasn’t so uptight, if someone did offer me weed, I’d turn it down because to me it smells like musty ass. The craziest thing I did was take a few puffs at a hookah bar with a group of high-school friends.

Some of those caught with drugs needn’t be found out via mandatory piss tests. Sometimes drug paraphernalia was uncovered during field day, guys were arrested out in town for belligerence or were discovered when the skunky smell of their substance wafted out of their rooms. One instance of stupidity however, trumped them all.

A new drug similar to marijuana became problematic on base. Several were caught smoking this new substance and swiftly punished before their separation from their branch of service. It became such a problem that the commanding officer of the base notified the platoon commanders and platoon sergeants to address this issue with their Marines and sailors.

While in the restricted area, I finished my workout and headed for the bathroom. When I entered, the pungent, unmistakable smell of weed filled the air. I could see evidence of smoke too. Quickly I left to notify the guys.

“Hey, you guys might think I’m crazy, but I swear I smell weed in the bathroom.”

“The fuck you talkin’ about Decoup?” Ulrich questioned, turning to my direction.

“Seriously, go check it out.” He stood up and walked the short distance to the bathroom, pushed through the door and exited a few seconds later.

“Holy shit, Decoup’s right. Someone lit up a doobie in the fuckin’ head!” Ulrich then left to notify Sergeant of the Guard  who notified fourth platoon’s commander, Captain Dougan. Shortly thereafter, the alarm sounded. All of us threw on our gear and congregated in the mess hall. 

They called in the military police who forbade us from returning back to our bunks as they swept the area. 

“Who was dumb enough to light a blunt in the restricted area?” I whispered to Danson. “We aren’t even allowed to have lighters out here, let alone smoke in the freakin’ bathroom.”

“I don’t know, whoever did it is a dumbass. He must have wanted to be caught.”

They proceeded to bring Marines and sailors back to their bunk one by one as they unpacked every piece of their gear. After a few hours of the nonsense, one fat sailor was found to be the culprit when a pipe and lighter were discovered in his belongings. He was carted off immediately.

I was unable to believe any sane person would think they could smoke a pipe in the bathroom of a small windowless building filled with some sixty people at all times and not get caught. Maybe he was at his wits end, and rather than literally ending his life like the Marine, he decided to end life as he knew it. Somehow that same pesky drug making its rounds throughout the base weaseled its way into the restricted area. Though it smelled similar to weed and people claimed it was like weed, this drug apparently was distinguished as a mix of herbs and chemicals that was called spice.

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