It was somewhere during day three of Mike's Officer SERE training, the final day of the course when the food obsession kicked in.
I'm getting the largest fucking Large pizza. Large pizza. Large pizza. Pepsi. Scooter Pie. Mom's Venison pie. Coffee ice cream. Get me the fuck out of here. I'll take a fucking caterpillar right now.
The damp wood of the laundry machine size crate began smelling like a Slim Jim. He picked at a small sliver the size of a poker chip and broke it off. He sucked on it to see if he could get any water or if the water would give the wood some taste. He took a nibble and chewed for ten minutes.
Multiple footsteps stopped outside and around the wooden crate. He felt a weight, and the crate was kicked around with him in it. He grabbed himself up in a fetal position, With his head down to avoid getting a concussion.
This isn't going to fucking end. No. This ends, this situation will end. It will end. This ends.
The top of the crate ripped open. He'd been in for almost 30 hours. It felt like two or three.
He looked up at the instructors. One of the instructors held down his hand to help Mike out of the crate.
But...POW! The instructor smacked him across his face. He jerked Mike out of the crate. He kicked Mike in the back. Mike fell to his knees and fell forward, face first, into the ground of the forest. He fell so fast and so deep that the indentation of his face could be mistaken for a medieval death mask. The instructor stomps one of his boots onto Mike's back.
“You motherfucker little girl. You give up yet? You wanna eat? You gotta sing like a fucking bird. You gotta tell us the information I wanna hear. You a Soviet spy? Just tell us. Just tell us, we'll be your friend You can tell us.”
Mike was able to turn his face; he sputtered, coughing mud and grit. “I am a pilot. Serial number 208261138.”
Mike hear muttering and tittering. The drill instructor removed his boot from Mike's back and helped him up. Mike's face remained taciturn. Showing relief or gratitude was out of the question. Those emotions were for losers and cowards.
“Good work there. You didn't disgrace your country or yourself. Go get some chow.”
Mike walked slowly back to the camp as straight up as he could. Mike went up to the food line and dumped everything he could on his plate. He wasn't even through when he grabbed a small carton of milk. He forced it down his throat. He sat down gingerly on a chair in the mess tent. He felt queasy but couldn't vomit. He grabbed his stomach. Hard.
No puking. No fucking vomiting. Just don't eat again. Just don't eat again. I am never eating again. I do not need food.
The nausea past – literally – out of Mike's will. He wasn't going to be the guy that puked up his milk during SERE training.
“Soldier, you feeling okay? Your face is white as a frog's belly, boy.”
“Nah, it's just being out of the sunlight.'
“Good answer, son.”