“Sergeant Ramirez, but I’m called Top.”
“No, your Christian name.”
“Alonzo. That’s a nice name. Why would they refer to you as a child’s toy? She knew the answer, but needed to tease him a little. He understood and would have smiled if it were in his nature, which it was not.
“I’m the top sergeant.” He regarded the many stripes on his uniform sleeve.
“Okay, Alonzo. What do you do for fun around here?”
He wanted to get back to work, then thought better of it. No wonder the Captain had been so distracted all these many days. “This is the United States Marine Corps, madam. We have no fun here.”
“Oh, come now, Alonzo. You’ve got to get the knots worked out somehow. What do you do, when you’re not doing this?” She looked down at the mountain of bureaucracy on his desk. It was an absurd collection of redundant paperwork. Paperwork that was vital to the operation of the military, the government, the machinations of a great serpent, monster that exists for the purpose of waiting to unleash a fury that may or may never be required. Hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait. And waiting was too tedious so the waiting had to be filled with hours upon hours of mindless, useless completion and duplication, and writing and rewriting of forms. And this is what Top Sergeant Alonzo Ramirez did with great purpose and efficiency. The Mule Tamer III, Marta's Quest