The Routine (Excerpt from One of the Few)
An excerpt from One of the Few. Pre-order today, buy a book for the troops, and help me reach my funding goal by March 22nd!
(Update: our pre-order funding goal was met! Stay tuned for the official launch in November!)
My alarm buzzed at 6:00 p.m. Time to wake up. I rolled out of the bottom bunk and stood on the sand-filled carpet I purchased months earlier. The window air conditioning unit was on full blast to keep the small unit cool, and the scent of Downy blew from fabric softener sheets I placed inside the filter. I thought about caffeine and glanced at my burnt-out coffee pot.
The “cans” were our living spaces and ran on 220 volt electricity. Plugging in American devices required an adapter and step-down converter to reduce the voltage. The previous day, I tried to use the coffee pot I received in a care package from Karry. Shortly after hitting the on switch, the power in my can blew out. Using a flashlight, I reset the circuit breaker for the can. I had a spare fuse for the converter, but the coffee pot was toast. I grazed my face with an electric shaver in front of a small mirror hung on the wall, letting the stubble float down into and around the small wastebasket beneath.
I grabbed my toiletry kit and towel and headed for the showers in the adjacent trailer. The sun dipped below the horizon, and I shielded my eyes from sandy wind as I walked in my silkies, skivvies, and flip-flops to the shower area. Something was wrong with the water pressure. Great. Another water bottle shower. I unscrewed the cap to the first bottle and stepped into the stall wondering what the night’s flight would bring. I poured the cold water over my head and quickly scrubbed my body to create warmth; a cold rinse-down was still luxury compared to a baby-wipe bath.
I threw on my tan flight suit and holstered my standard issue 9mm Beretta. Our squadron spaces were just across the road, and it was dark by the time I arrived. Since I was on the night page, most of my flights would begin and end in complete darkness. It also meant I had to sleep during the day. We kept our unnatural circadian rhythm in its groove with blacked-out windows and careful measures to avoid seeing the sun. It was somewhat vampire-esque—appropriate for a squadron known as the “Bats.”
*UPDATE: My initial pre-order campaign was a success with over 400 copies ordered! Thanks to everyone who helped support the campaign. Don’t worry, you’ll have another chance to order One of the Few as the publication date gets closer, currently set for November 2015.
Photo Credit: USMC / PD
About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.