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Active Duty
Author: Neil Plakcy

INTRODUCTION


In the fourth century BC, Plato wrote in his Symposium that when soldiers loved each other, they would be particularly protective of each other in battle, and able to defeat much stronger armies. Whether their pairing led them into a sexual connection or not, there are stories of many soldier lovers, including Achilles and Patroclus, and Damon and Pythias.

However, antihomosexual sentiments have run rampant throughout history, affecting the military just as much as civilian society. Many Knights Templar were persecuted for same-sex affairs after the Crusades, and soldiers were whipped or discharged for “buggery” in the Napoleonic Wars and even in the American Revolution.

This policy was codified in the United States with the passage of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 1993. It prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual service members or applicants, while barring openly gay persons from military service. It was not until the policy was repealed in 2011 that gay soldiers could be honest about who they love without fear of reprisal or dismissal.

The public displays of affection between soldiers and other men, the first same-sex service academy prom dates, and the first same-sex military weddings serve to illustrate something we have known all along—that gay men are strong, brave and resilient, the very characteristics that make a great soldier. Today, countries from Albania to Uruguay allow soldiers to serve regardless of sexual orientation, while there are still dozens with restrictions or ambiguous policies.

The stories in this collection celebrate the new freedom of American soldiers to love whomever they choose while still serving their country proudly. To quote President Harry S. Truman, “To you who answered the call of your country and served in its Armed Forces to bring about the total defeat of the enemy, I extend the heartfelt thanks of a grateful Nation.”

Neil Plakcy

South Florida

 

 

WEEKEND LEAVE


Shane Allison

The night Tareek and I met, I had just gotten out of a ten-year friends with dick-sucking benefits with someone who I didn’t realize until much later hadn’t deserved me. The night I met Tareek, I had given Chris his walking papers, telling him that whatever it was, whatever we’d had was null and damn void. I wished him well and said my final good-bye. I was too through with his trifling, pussy-whipped ass. He was someone else’s problem, and I was all too happy to kick him to the curb. As far as I was concerned, his bitch-on-wheels, baby’s mama could have him. It was enough drama to make even a soap-opera diva say, “Dayuuummm!” I believe in karma like most people believe in God. And for Chris, it was a hood-rat bitch named Ikeara. But whatev. I’m over that white boy.

I wasn’t about to go home and wallow. I was feeling too good about finally letting that muthafucka go after all those years. I wanted to celebrate, so I stopped off at my favorite watering hole, the Tomahawk, for a drink. I thought if I drank enough, it would wash away the years I wasted, the lies and bullshit. The Tomahawk was littered with broke college students snacking on cheap appetizers and nursing on watered-down Coronas. Gawking at the bubble-headed buff boys was my favorite pastime. I had even hooked up with a few of them. College boys get horny as hell after a few beers.

I was on my second vodka cranberry, talking up Rob, this cute het bartender, when I felt a hand touch my arm.

“Is this seat taken?”

I turned to find this six-four, brawny, brown-skinned hunk of man standing behind me.

“It is now,” I told him.

He cut me a smile as he slid in between me and the bar stool. My dick started to thicken when his thigh grazed mine.

Tareek was dressed in camouflage army garb, with a short haircut faded to the sides. I noticed his pretty light-brown eyes right away.

“What are you drinking tonight?” Rob asked him.

“Do ya’ll have Guinness?”

“Absolutely, my friend,” Rob said nicely. “What kind?”

“Do you have Red Stripe?”

“For sure.”

“I’ll have that.”

Damn, he sounded masculine and sexy like he should be in a Jason Statham movie or something. He had pecs that were tight under all that brown and army-green camouflage. The last time I was in the presence of a man who was as fine as Tareek was…let me see, um…never. My palms were already starting to sweat and my dick was twitching like crazy in my shorts. I wanted nothing more than to reach over and squeeze one of his pecs, but my mama ain’t raise no fool. He would probably mop the floor with my faggot ass if I so much as asked him to pass the beer nuts.

Rob popped the aluminum top off the bottle of Guinness.

“There you go, my friend,” he said setting the cold bottle of booze in front of him. I glanced over just as he brought the beer to his juicy lips and took a swig. His beautiful throat pulsated as I watched the beer wash down his gullet. Jesus.

I just sat there babysitting my vodka cranberry as Tareek watched some kickboxing match that was playing out on the fifty-inch TV that hung over the bar.

“Another VC, Rashawn?” Rob asked.

It was too early still to get shit-faced and I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of this good-looking soldier who had decided to sit next to me over all the other losers who were saddled up to the bar.

“Let me try one of the…Red Stripes.”

Rob glanced at me like he knew I was trying to impress Tareek. He knew I couldn’t stand the taste of Guinness.

“This shit taste like an ashtray,” I once told him.

Rob popped off the top and set the bottle in front of me. I was hoping that Tareek would take notice but he just kept those pretty-ass eyes of his glued to the boob tube. I took a sip of Red Stripe. I wanted to spit it out as soon as the nasty liquid hit my palate. Eww, that’s gross, I thought, but I played it off like I was sipping on a birthday cake milkshake. I ran my thumb along the front of the bottle. Condensation trickled off the hard, dark skin of the glass onto my drink coaster like the pearls of sweat that leaked from the roof of my armpits. I took several more gulps of the beer in an effort to get up the balls to talk to Tareek.

“Are you coming or going?” I asked nervously.

Tareek looked over at me with those bedroom eyes and lips the good Lord made for kissing.

“What’s that?” he asked.

Within seconds, I had regretted asking him anything, consciously beating myself up for being such a fucking dweeb.

“Are you about to go in or are you on leave?”

“Oh, I’m on leave, actually. Just for the weekend though, and then I return to base in North Carolina.”

I almost couldn’t believe that this fine-ass man was talking to me, that he was giving me the time of day.

“I’m Rashawn by the way,” I said, with my hand extended.

“Tareek,” he said, taking my hand firmly into his. “Nice to meet ya, man. So what do you do?”

“I’m a modeling agent.”

“I would much prefer to do what you do. I’d run less of a risk of getting my ass shot off.”

I didn’t want to ask him questions about the war, and I didn’t want to come off as being too nosey, so I changed the subject to something more lighthearted like college football, which I didn’t know a thing about. I let Tareek do all the talking and hoped that whatever I had to offer made some semblance of sense.

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