I was near the end of my four weeks at a drug and alcohol treatment center, compliments of the Navy, when I was unexpectedly called into an office.
It was a particularly busy morning with some servicemembers getting ready to wrap up their program, and a few newbies starting up.
Up until this particular moment, I was really enjoying my time in the program. My ship was out in the water doing work-ups, and I was fine with missing out. Especially since my division was shady and back-stabbing, and I really didn’t miss anyone.
In rehab, it was a vacation. The food was great, we did yoga, played card games, board games, learned meditation, talked about our feelings, made friends, went to the gym, hung out by the pool. There was a rec center across the street we could go to and play video games for hours. There was even a private movie theater there where you could sign up to watch the latest movies. On the weekends, we played volleyball and had barbeques. It was awesome. I love it.
So imagine my surprise when I find myself unexpectedly sitting in an office across a Senior Chief who tells me he has a very serious matter to discuss.
He goes on to tell me that my name had been brought up a number of times regarding a matter that could get me kicked out of the program. My brow furrowed and I racked my brain trying to figure out what on earth I could possibly be associated with that would cause any measure of concern.
He asked if I had any idea what he was talking about. I said no, of course. Are you sure? He pressured.
“Senior Chief, what are you talking about?”
“Are you aware of the males who have been sneaking up into the female quarters after hours?”
“What?! No.” I scratched my head. Us females usually stayed up pretty late shooting the shit in our private kitchen, talking about our commands and life stories.
The Senior Chief went on. “Well, that’s interesting, because your name was brought up by several people as the leader of a prostitution ring.”
I just stared at him. Mouth agape. Completely dumbfounded.
Suddenly, I burst out laughing.
“You have got to be kidding me!” I blurted.
He remained stone-cold serious. “This is not a laughing matter. Right now there are two males being sent back to their commands, having failed out of the program because of this behavior.”
I looked out the office window into the hallway. I saw a familiar program attendee standing with his wife, both of them visibly upset. I knew he was one of the two leaving because his wife wasn’t supposed to be there and he had another week or two on his program. But this was a guy who talked my head off about his wife, and how awesome she had been while he was in the program. I worked with guys who cheated on their wives. This guy was not cheating on his wife. And as far as I was concerned, I was more apt to be the leader of a PRT or Mario Kart challenge.
Looking back at the Senior Chief, I said, “Senior, I can’t believe for a second any of that is true, and I can’t believe someone like you is going along with what sounds like a really bad rumor.”
He didn’t get upset with me as I expected. Instead, he looked a little surprised.
There was a bit of silence between us before he thanked me for coming in and sent me on my way.
Later, when I caught up with my friends and told them what happened, they were all shocked, too; no one could figure out where the rumors had come from. I also found out that the wife of the guy I saw earlier had told one of the senior personnel, to their face, that the accusation was bullshit.
The whole story eventually died off, as do all rumors, and the rest of us completed our programs without any more fuss while laughing every so often at the absurdity of that day.