Triple-X, a short story

The editor of the publication seemed interested in work from female veterans. She asked me to write a story in  three hundred words or less. So I did. It was rejected. I wasn’t at all surprised. Still, no reason why I can’t post it here.

Triple-X, by M. L. Doyle

25255737 - triple x on white background

I stomp over and pound on the flimsy excuse for a door before storming in uninvited, strafing them with my senior-leader glare.

“Turn that shit down. NOW!”

They scramble up to face me. They are shirtless, in shorts, sweatpants, t-shirts and flip flops. All of them wear the shock of interruption. One dives and fumbles for the remote.

Oh yeah. Oh baby. Harder, harder, and the rhythmic slap of naked skin on skin weakens. The seams of the sharp night air, ripped open by the echoes of the graphic sex sounds, slip back together across the camp.

“I live next door. There are ten women in that tent!” I say.

They are Scouts, just returned from patrol. Defiant, young boy-men who glower through ancient eyes. They hate me, but they are soldiers.

“Yes, Sergeant.”

“Keep it down now.”

“Yes, Sergeant.”

I climb back into my rack, deflated. Mumbled ‘thank yous’ from my tent-mates drift to me through the anonymous dark.

The clock glows zero two-thirty. Behind my heavy lids I see them staring at me. Flattened by fatigue, with eyes as rusted as the spent casings they’ve left behind in their work.

A guilt dagger in my gut makes me want to curl into a ball, but the metal sides of my cot won’t allow it. I throb with unleashed grief.

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