Skip to comments.The Clerk---And Old Sergeant Story
Posted on 01/20/2018 7:10:18 PM PST by Steve Newton
Need a little help folks.
A co author has joined the "Old Sergeant" team---Meet Gayle Rae!
She has developed a new character and since the Old Sergeant was practically born on FR I wanted to give you first glimpse and also to get your reaction to her writing.
Tell us what you think. And thank you.
The brisk rap on the door didn't even cause Pappy to look up briefly from the personnel file in front of him. Continuing to scan the documents it held, he barked, "Come in!"
The door swung open and the smart click of high heeled shoes sounded on his office floor. Still without glancing from the file, he simply said, "State your business, soldier.
"Yes, Sir. Corporal Claire Montgomery reporting for duty as ordered, sir."
That got his attention. He couldn't believe his ears. No feminine voice ever breached the confines of that office. Well almost never. The occasional stray nurse maybe.
But absolutely NO ONE of the feminine gender ever reported to him.......for DUTY. He dropped the cigar into the already loaded ashtray and peered blearily up at the soldier who stood at attention just beyond his desk.
In one keen appraising glance he took in the carefully styled curly hair, noting in passing it was both brown and regulation length, the trim fitting uniform, smartly pressed and without wrinkle, the offending heels that had intruded into his concentration and last but not least, the respectful but somehow merry looking face that gazed back at him with unabashed curiosity that was almost equally as appraising as the one he was giving. He almost smiled involuntarily.
Well, well. That was interesting. He'd had officers stand in his office who were more intimidated by him and his reputation than this young woman seemed to be. He shot a look to Dog, who was lounging in the corner. Oddly enough, the massive beast had not uttered the first sound.
Following his gaze to the great hulk of dog that took up the greater portion of that side of the office, she said, "Sir, May I?" And without waiting for leave, she dropped to her knees and held her hand out to Dog.
Rising abruptly from his chair, Pappy started to warn, "WAIT............HE DOESN'T......" but before the words were out of his mouth, he dropped his jaw with disbelief.
He had been about to say, 'He doesn't like strangers. AND HE BITES.' Which was normally true.
But for whatever reason, it wasn't true today. Dog came trotting over to the corporal as if she were his long lost best friend. He parked himself on his haunches with an uncharacteristic grin of welcome, and maneuvered his head under her outstretched hand for her to pet. She obliged him, playfully scratching and patting all those peculiar areas dogs universally seem to love.
In typical female fashion, she talked to him as if he understood every word she said. "Well, Mr. Dog, I have heard tales aplenty about you. I see most all of them were true, too. You ARE large. You ARE intimidating. I can well imagine you taking lots of very large bites out of very unsavory people. I applaud you for that." Dog looked at her adoringly.
She continued in conversational tones. "Now. About this boss we have. Is he going to keep me, do you think? Or is he about to pick up the phone, call headquarters demanding to speak with the people who sent me here and raise the roof over what we know he assumes is a colossal mistake?"
Dog cocked his head to one side and regarded her soulfully as only dogs can do. "I don't know for sure, he seemed to say, "but I hope he decides to keep you. You're awfully nice, you know all the right places to scratch, and besides, you smell a LOT better than he does."
With a final pat to the giant head, Cprl. Montgomery stood again at attention in front of Pappy's desk. She waited attentively for him to broach the subject they both knew was uppermost in both their minds: was she going to stay?
Pappy sat down again, leaned back in his chair, and picked up his cigar once more. Drawing deeply on it, and exhaling a dark cloud, he spoke, "Do YOU know how you came to be assigned to me, Cprl. Montgomery?"
"Sir, all I know is two days ago I was on the office staff of the General..."
"NO. Don't tell me. He wouldn't."
"This general...did you know him?"
"Well, sort of, sir. He's my uncle."
Pappy groaned inwardly. Only the general would dare to believe that working for the old sarge was a fitting job for his niece. Just wait till this young woman was out of his office. The phone lines between his office and the Generals were going to blaze. What on earth was the General thinking? More importantly, WHY was he thinking it? And what was he going to DO with this young woman?
Sensing his inner dilemma, Claire said, "Permission to speak freely, sir?"
Sighing wearily, Pappy nodded his assent.
"Sir, if you look at my record, I believe you will see I am indeed qualified to do the job that is required here. I was given a great deal of information about you, your unit, your history, even about Dog.
I admire what you do, and how you do it. I also know that in order for you to keep doing it, you need the help of someone who can organize and keep track of things in an orderly fashion. I can do that for you, Sargent, -- I'd like the chance to try.
I believe you know that my uncle never would have sent me here without a very good reason. I trust his judgement, Sir. If HE thinks I can be of a benefit to you, then I do as well. The question remains, I guess, is do YOU?"
Pappy was taken slightly aback...for about the blink of an eye. If there was one thing he admired, it was candor. Cutting to the chase was an essential part of the job he had to do. He was a master at it, and valued people around him who could do the same. It appeared that the General's niece possessed that quality in spades, young and inexperienced though she may be.
Mulling things over for another prolonged minute, he came to a decision.
Standing again, he extended his hand across the desk. "Corporal Montgomery."
Following his lead, she shook his hand firmly. "Sargent."
"I expect 100% every day, all day. 150% on some days."
"I am ornery, I smoke like a chimney and keep a stash of Jack in my desk drawer. I growl and bark at random. I never mollycoddle and I DETEST any attempts to mollycoddle me in return. You getting all this, Corporal?"
She grinned disarmingly. "Got it ALL, sir. 100%, ornery, cigar loving, Jack loving, growling, barking, no mollycoddling. Anything else, sir?"
Pappy almost laughed out loud. At the moment he couldn't remember ever having an office worker who didn't cringe and cower for at least the first 30 days they were assigned to him. This could be very refreshing. But of course, he wasn't about to give that away. Not yet, anyway.
Reaching for a very large stack of files perched precariously on the edge of his desk, he swiftly grabbed them up and dropped them into Claire's hands. Without batting an eye, she turned smartly on her heel and headed for the door with them. Calling back over her shoulder as she reached for the door knob, "Permission to assume duties in the outer office, sir?"
"Permission granted. Oh, and Corporal. Around here spit and polish isn't always the order of the day. The dress greens are nice, but, BDUs will do for every day."
Then deftly managing to open the door and step through it without dropping the files, he saw her push it closed with the toe of her high heeled shoe. His office was once again his own. He sat down again, took the last puff from the cigar, crushing it in the ashtray when he was done. He pulled open the bottom desk drawer, removing the flask of Jack that perpetually resided there.
Reaching in again for the small shot glass, he poured himself a drink. Only then did he reach for the office phone half hidden among the files, stray papers, and pens that cluttered his desk. Punching numbers briskly into the dial pad, he leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on the desk.
There was a click on the other end and a male voice said, "Well. I was expecting this call, oh, roughly 30 minutes ago. What took you so long, Pappy?"
Pappy laughed. "She's something else, that Corporal Montgomery. But I'd give the rest of this flask of Jack to know what on earth you were thinking in sending her to me of all people?"
There was an extended pause on the other end of the line. Pappy waited expectantly, knowing the General only paused when he was gathering his thoughts carefully. He was not wrong this time, either.
"Pappy, Claire just lost her father in an automobile accident about 6 months ago. My sister is a strong woman, and Claire has in her that same strength. It is one reason she makes an outstanding addition to any place she finds herself.
But strength aside, she was extremely close to my brother-in-law, and misses him a great deal. She will benefit from you in a lot of ways. But more than that, she is as well a gifted organizer, a steady, reliable, dependable worker. As much as I think she will benefit from you I believe you will benefit as well." And here the voice softened.
"Look out for her, my friend. She is very dear to me."
Pappy cleared his throat. "Of course I will. You knew I would, you old war horse.....Sir."
The general laughed. "Call me sometime...........after she's worked her magic on you."
"WHAT magic? General? What magic?"
"G'bye, Pappy." Click. The line went dead.
Pappy stared vacantly at the closed door. Magic. Hmph. He grunted in exasperation. Dog came to stand by his desk. Absentmindedly he reached over to scratch the canine head in much the same fashion as Clair had only minutes ago. "So. Dog. You like the Corporal?" A sharp bark pierced the room. "I'll take that as a yes."
Sighing, only once, he shook his head as if to clear the residual doubts or misgivings, then returned to the personnel file he had been studying before that fateful knock on his door. We'll see, he thought to himself....we most definitely will see.
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In the outer office the phone rang. Claire Montgomery picked it up and said efficiently, "Sargent's Office, Corporal Montgomery speaking."
"Well, Claire, how do you like this new assignment so far?" a deep chuckle rumbled thru the phone.
"I like it just fine, sir," she smiled as she spoke.
"Claire, Pappy would never admit it in a million years, but he needs someone just like you. I sent you there to look out for him in ways that only you can. But heaven help you if he ever suspects that."
"I know, Uncle. I know. Was already told no mollycoddling allowed."
"Be that as it may, niece most dear, I have all the faith in the world that you can work your way around it and Pappy will be none the wiser. I'm trusting you to do that."
"I will. And Uncle? Thanks. I believe this is going to be a great idea all the way around. For all of us."
Shoot——All ready made a mistake: AN Old Sergeant story. Where is my editor?
Excellent! The writing has commercial potential!
Thanks my friend. She is good and will fit in well with the “old Sergeant” team.
Pretty good writing there. Is there more that I could read?
Of course! Have you been following the Old Sergeant?
I will post more stories. I used to post one every week here. Bedtime stories.
And thank you. I will pass on your compliments!
Is that a Ping list? If so please add me.
Uh Nope. I don’t even know how to make a ping list. But I will give it a try.
Punching numbers briskly into the dial pad,
I like rotary phones
Captivating. This is great writing. I would love to read more.
LOL Yeah. I have one dial phone left.
More on its way my FR friend.
Ok. Think I have the “ping” thing figured out. If you want on the list for Old Sergeant stories let me know.
Please add me. I just went through your article posts for several years—very enjoyable. Too bad the links I tried to the fuller versions no longer seem to work.
I’m honored. And I will put you on the list.
I like it.
Great! Me too. I will add ya to the list
And thank you
Not bad. Has novel potential.
I think so too. Her stories will be going into book four of the Old Sergeant.
Want me to add you?
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