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The Naked Pterodactyl

August 8, 2013

pterodactylShowering with other people is something that one eventually gets used to. There is always a smidgen of awkwardness along with the inability to hold anyone’s gaze for more than a few uncomfortable seconds. We joke around about the day and try to relax after whatever training we had done. We’ve been in Boot Camp for awhile now, so things are more relaxed. No more Drill Sergeant standing at the door to the shower watching us or screaming from outside the bathroom for us to hurry. There’s a time limit, but we feel liberated by this small amount of freedom.

Crude comments are made about dropping the soap or giving a Drill Sergeant a wet hug; everyone chuckles as they lather shampoo in their hair. Tomorrow is a big day, and despite our best efforts, the tension slowly envelopes us like the steam in the room. The conversation dies and swirls down the drain along with the shampoo from our hair. Everyone seems to be off in their own small world while the hot water relaxes our sore muscles.

Waking us from our separate dreams, a shrill cry echoes off the ceramic walls of the shower. At first, I was worried a Drill Sergeant was making a surprise visit, which is never fun when you’re in the shower. Toe-ing the line in a towel is humiliating. I’m not sure if I’m relieved when I see what made the screech when it enters the shower room. From no where and with no warning, McAndrews comes flying into the shower room screaming like a prehistoric creature and flapping her arms, which are completely naked –like the rest of her. Her battle buddy pokes her head into the room and screams, “It’s the Naked Pterodactyl!” as McAndrews makes a full circuit around the shower room. She slips and slides in her flip-flops, but never stops  her serenade of squawks. She exits just as quickly as she entered.

We all stand there, mouths open, unsure of how to react. One by one we start to smile, and eventually the sound of our laughter is all we can hear bouncing off the walls around us. The awkwardness is forgotten as we mimic McAndrews’ crazy stunt and laugh at each others’ antics. Some copy her prehistoric song, and when we hear her faint answer from outside the bathroom, we burst into laughter once again. Today’s aches and pains are no longer felt, and the hard day in-store for us tomorrow is just that, tomorrow. Right now, we wonder if McAndrews is going to take an actual shower or not.

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