From last time ...
"Okay, Mackey. We'll talk soon. Good bye."
Sarah hung up the phone and looked at it. She looked a bit puzzled.
"I wonder what he meant by "Stand by, Marine"?
And now ...
It was several days later that a knock on the door woke her from a catnap she was taking on the sofa in the living room.
The sound of her name being spoken by a complete stranger instantly sharpened her senses - she was wide awake now.
"Yes. Who wants to know?"
"Corporal Gandy Lewis, ma'am, and the woman in the car is Lieutenant Andrea Dawes. We're stationed at Treasure Island, ma'am."
"Is that supposed to mean something to me?"
"Sorry, ma'am. The Base Commander sent us, ma'am, with his compliments. It seems there's a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant named Mackey that has requested assistance at this location, ma'am."
"Yes, ma'am. I'm the base fitness instructor, ma'am. Lieutenant Dawes is a nurse. I am to assess your fitness, ma'am, and recommend a program for you. Lieutenant Dawes is to render care as needed, ma'am, to other personnel in the house while the fitness program is being administered."
Sarah looked at him for a long moment.
"Mackey sent you people?"
Corporal Gandy started to say something but Sarah interrupted.
"Never mind. Come in, Corporal, and you'd better signal the Lieutenant to come in, too."
"Oh, and Corporal? You're not on the base, here, and I'm not in the military. If you call me ma'am again, you'll be picking my toes out of your ass. Understand, Marine?"
There was an extended silence.
"Good. You can call me Sarah. I'm gonna call you Gandy."
Andrea Dawes came through the open door.
"And you, Lieutenant Dawes, I will call Andrea, if you don't mind. You, too, can call me Sarah."
"Okay. What did I miss?"
"Oh, it's nothing. Corporal Gandy has managed to age me 5 years in the last three minutes, that's all."
"He's young. He's new. And he doesn't get to spend much time with women. I imagine he's a bit nervous."
Corporal Lewis made a point to clear his throat rather loudly. Andrea continued speaking, ignoring Gandy Lewis.
"Sarah, we're going to be here two weeks. We're TAD, for now, and that's all we really know."
"Temporary Additional Duty. We've got rooms in a motel about 10 minutes from here. Our duty hours will be from 0600 to 1600 and weekends, we have off. I will take care of the patient while Corporal Lewis gets you started on your physical fitness regimen. Now. Where is the patient?"
Sarah was still trying to absorb all this.
"I never asked for any of this ...."
"Corporal Lewis and I volunteered, Sarah. The Base Commander and I are ... close. Mackey and he served together in the Pacific, and Mackey saved his life. Lewis' father served with Mackey in the Sniper Platoon on Guadalcanal. When Mackey asked the Commander ... well, we had to come Sarah."
"That Mackey. He's something else."
Corporal Lewis and Lieutenant Dawes answered in unison.
"Yes. He is."