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Updated on August 12, 2013


I remember standing quietly outside of my squadron commander's office door.

In my formal dress blues I almost resembled a professional, well-educated career military man. I could hear the muted rustlings and sharply-pressed mumblings of the personnel gathered on the other side of the door. Eventually, the mumblings and the rustlings settled and in their absence, on both sides of the office door, only silence remained. Immediately I snapped-off one loud knock. There was no point in hesitating, as what was done was done and irreversible.

Upon being called to enter, I proceeded via the most direct route to a spot perfectly centered in front of my squadron commander, who sat solemnly behind a ridiculously oversized mahogany desk. I reported clearly and saluted smartly. He returned my salute but did not place me at ease. As it was a formal military commencement, it was not my place to be comfortable, it was my place to listen attentively. I remained at the position of attention as my commanding officer read aloud the profile and subsequent recommendations of the therapy I'd been directed to attend. Assorted military psychiatrists, dispensing varying medications and differing opinions, each had their own personalized assessment concerning what was or was not ‘wrong' with Reid Basso. I found the reality all too sobering as the recommendation was made that I be discharged, albeit honorably, from military service.

It seemed comical, if not unbelievable.

As my commander stoically read the findings I perused the collective assembly of men in attendance who were supposedly my support mechanisms: my first sergeant, who once confided that he and his wife were into group sex and partner swapping; my immediate supervisor, an inbred Kentucky redneck then currently involved in his own extramarital affair with the wife of a man whom he supervised; my newly-appointed squadron commander, an egomaniacal talking-head completely oblivious to the perversions and clandestine sexuality that was really transpiring under his command. If not for the fact that I was on the verge of tears, I would have exploded in laughter. As the dissertation was read, surely it must have appeared that I was listening, but I actually was not. I was thinking and reflecting.

Somewhere in California a son had lost a father to child-support payments and visitation schedules, while a wife had been betrayed by her husband; all my life I had created victims and there, my two dearest hearts, were two more. Somewhere in Colorado, my naïve middle-aged lover was engrossed in the deception that I was actually a functional and decent person, yet most assuredly I was not; another victim.

How did I get to where I was?

Where did I come from to arrive at such an empty destination?

Suddenly, my non-attentiveness became evident when I humbly requested my commander repeat the question he'd just asked me; a heinous breach of protocol in a commencement so serious.

"Airman Basso," he repeated flatly, directing his full attention to me. "I am asking you this because it is a professional technicality: Are you going to kill or harm yourself?"

I had heard this question asked of me once before in Saudi Arabia, and whereas at that time I lost my military bearing and guffawed, this time there was nothing humorous or lighthearted in any aspect of what was transpiring. I twice cleared my throat and then flatly whispered a plain, nondescript "no." Any other answer would have sent my commander, as well as the two plain-faced perverts, spinning into absolute frenzy. However, the answer which dripped out of my mouth did not match those words busily echoing about my head like raindrops upon a window pane: "I do not know."

The truth was, at that particular point in time, I simply did not know.

Following the hearing I was given the remainder of the afternoon off and went home.

I had just been formally informed that my military career was over. As tears welled up, I thought about crying. Why cry? I quickly concluded that crying would have been pointless, particularly since I knew when I undertook my extramarital actions, the risks and the potential consequences associated with having an extramarital affair while in the employ of the United States military. Sex (particularly infidelity) is different in the military; it can be a career-killer. I had had an affair and was caught. Consequently, the entire can of worms comprising Reid Martin Basso - insatiable sexual appetite and assorted perversions alike - subsequently spilled forth.

The townhouse I had shared with my wife and artfully beautiful son, suddenly seemed as random and impersonal and lonely as any extended stay hotel room.

I went upstairs, undressed and collapsed naked upon the bed. I stared at the ceiling.

What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I just be normal? What the hell was ‘normalcy' anyway? Whatever ‘being normal' was, I knew that I, most certainly was not it. I didn't care; being normal most certainly was not enough for someone like me. At that point, I wanted to just exist, without any of the suspense or the drama to which I'd conditioned myself.

I breathed deeply and exhaled slowly; a relaxation exercise I once saw on television.

Laying there I concluded that early in life, I'd conditioned myself to believe that concocting lies and making excuses was far easier than taking ownership of the numerous errors I'd orchestrated, or of the pain I'd caused others.

Suddenly I was confronting the proverbial elephant in the corner but was my new-found revelation truly valid, or was I deflecting reality and merely making another excuse for the guilt of my own selfish, hedonistic living? I simply did not know. Even today my best guesses assure me that, as with a great many of my life's errs, these were decisions that made sense only at the time.

What else can be said about patently BAD decisions that anyone makes other than, at the time, even a bad decision makes sense at the time of being decided. Few rationales are more self-destructive to our Human Condition.

Soon I would come to discover that I was committed to my own destruction.

Yeah... It made sense at the time. Indeed, the Goliath was apparently intent upon killing the David.


/ / / END OF PART NINETEEN / / / /


© 2007 - R. MARTIN BASSO


Part 20 - All Men Lie


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