I didn't see Mike again for a few months after that. My father had taken me to the recruiters office and just like that I said my goodbyes and left home behind me.
My life would be changed forever. As I entered into Boot camp I discovered that all of the skills I had learned over the years would serve me well here. I hadn't thought it was possible to form a clique inside these walls and yet that was exactly what I had done.
I took the role of Laundry Petty Officer and turned it into an Enterprise. I had an assistant who had an assistant and so it would be that the three of us would roam the room and all would stand aside to let us pass. We controlled their laundry so it was clearly in their best interest to comply.
When I walked past, they stood in awe. Wondering to themselves how I managed to rise to such a position of power in a place where that should not have been possible.
I will tell you. When you give more than you ask when you do more than what you need to do when you make someone feel like what they do matters it changes people. It changes the way they view you and it changes the way they view themselves.
I gave those girls purpose and power and they followed me faithfully because of it. The leaders who ran the place allowed this to happen because the results were positive. They were working harder than ever before but they did it with a smile on their faces.
Could you imagine, someone walking up to you demanding that you give them your dirty laundry and smiling when you complied? Could you imagine them taking your dirty laundry and making sure that it came back to you clean and feeling nothing but pride when they succeeded in their task? What would you give to have that sense of accomplishment? What price would you pay to feel like what you did mattered, even if it was just sorting dirty laundry? What would that peace be worth to you?
"You are a bully holding laundry hostage," someone said once. I think they quickly got over it when they discovered they were missing 3 of the 5 underwear they sent out.
"Where are they?" She asked. Confusion laced across her green eyes.
"I have no idea. You know this stuff goes out and comes back to us in a bag right?" I asked her in a challenging tone.
"I...you...ok. You win. Could you please see if you can 'find' them? I don't have enough money to buy more."
I smiled. This was good. "Yes, of course. I'm going to help you out. I'm going to take care of this for you," She would owe me now. No one else complained.
I like to consider us their saviors. We showed them that it didn't matter where they were, they would always be who they are. There will always be someone like me, making someone like you question yourself.
If you needed someone like me to make someone like you feel better I could do that but it would cost you. Unwavering loyalty. That is what I demanded for my service to you. That was the price you would pay to be accepted by me. Remember, betrayal would not be tolerated. Never betray me.
Remember that golden rule and your life would be better because of me. I would carry you with me and you would bask in the glow of power and admiration. People would follow you and you would shine like the brightest star in the sky. I always kept my promises.
Loyalty was rewarded.
Betrayal was met with swift and clear punishment as one of my girls would soon discover. She thought that she held the cards. She thought that she had become untouchable. When she tried to take over as the Laundry Petty Officer I found that to be quite funny indeed. She thought she could be me.
I gave her a day, on her own to run the show. She hadn't lasted more than a few hours before she caved under the pressure. Without me to cushion her fall she discovered that wearing the crown was heavier than she had imagined. Down she fell and I hadn't needed to lift a finger.
"I'm sorry," she said with her head hung low. "I didn't realize how hard this was."
"I understand. So what are you trying to tell me?" I wanted to hear her say it. I wanted to see her sweat.
"I...um... I want you to go back to be LPO. I'm not cut out for leadership."
Heh. "I see," I said simply. "Very well. Consider it done. See you later." I waved dismissively.
She asked me to forgive her later and asked if I would let her remain working for me. No, of course, she couldn't work with me anymore. I had already replaced her. Foolish foolish girl. Her replacement was already walking down the aisle with the laundry bag in her hand.
Her smile plastered on her face as she asked for the laundry.
"But..." the betrayer started to say.
"Thank you for your kind and generous offer," I said coolly "But I've got this taken care of" and with those words I turned around and walked away from her.
She never held another position and she never did anything to gain any recognition from the leadership. She was just one of the others. It's a shame that no one told her, never, ever, betray me.
Author's Note: The next few chapters are going to dive into a very wild time. I will post warnings before the chapters. Thank you for reading so far with me. If you enjoyed this chapter please give it a vote.
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