It was during an Army training exercise in the woods of Bavaria when I had my first taste of sex.
I was only eighteen.
“Private Taylor, do you want to get out of here and visit the home of my German girlfriend?” My married, black section sergeant asked, “I can make it happen.”
“Of course, Sgt. Smith. We’ve been stuck in these woods for three weeks now. I have never been this long without taking a shower. I must really stink. I feel like dirt. So, that is how you manage to look and smell so clean out here in the woods? You have a German girlfriend?” I asked.
“I take pride in myself as a soldier, that’s all,” Sgt. Smith objected.
“I’d love to get out of here and under some hot water. Sterek spilled diesel fuel on me last night while we were filling up the generators. I can’t wait to get this smell off me. My skin has been burning since last night. A shower sure sounds good.”
“We are simulating war with Russia,” Sgt. Smith explained, “In wartime, we may have to make friends with enemy women just to survive. That is why during peacetime, I am like a soldier during war,” Sgt. Smith’s noted as his large white teeth flashed at me.
“Civilization and running water sure sounds good. I haven’t heard any music in three weeks. Do you think she listens to Duran Duran? Nothing but the Army radios and encoded messages out here in the woods. All that beeping has made me mad. These powerful radios are enough to drive anyone to do things they know are not right. Yes, please take me with you.”
We slept in tents inside Army sleeping bags. Snow blanketed our communications equipment and the camouflage netting over our heads blended the very appearance of our existence into the rolling hillsides of Bavaria. The thought of soap and water upon my fair white skin gave me goose pimples.
I was so tired of the woods and the dirt. Bavaria in the winter is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Once our antennas were in the air, transmitting encoded messages to far distances and the rest of the brigade was busy playing war games throughout southern Germany, those stationed with 141 Signal Battalion had nothing to do but to keep the lines of communications open and stay warm inside of tents and commo trucks.
We had no running water, yet still I shaved in a canteen cup every morning while using the mirror on the door of my como van. Army regulations required that soldiers like me could not have facial hair while in uniform. We had to shave without running water. Black soldiers like Sgt. Smith were given special rights by Army doctors to avoid shaving. They often developed what blacks called “bumps” on their face from shaving.
Even I had bumps while in the woods. There was no hot water. Dirty face. Stinky butt. All I wanted was a shower. Sgt. Smith always had a surprise up his sleeve which often involved breaking some sort of military regulation, but his intentions were always good, as he strived to be a ‘good leader and take-charge, non-commissioned officer’.
“I’m married. You understand that, right, Taylor?” Sgt. Smith asked as we prepared to sneak away.
“Yes. Sgt. Smith. You live off base with your wife and kids, otherwise you would live in the barracks with Sterek and me. I’ve even met your wife. Why would you ask me that?” I questioned while reaching into the cargo pocket of my BDU pants to pull out a fresh, dry pair of black leather gloves lined with green wool. I leared that by changing clothing often, my sense of filth was eased.
“I’m taking you to meet the German woman who I have been banging for the last three weeks. Don’t ask how I met her—it’s a long story, but she’s fine as hell. Just put it this way: while you were sleeping in the tent with the rest of the platoon, I’ve been digging fox holes and sleeping warm, next to a white, German woman. No offense Taylor, but I never thought of white people like this before. I’m sorry I’ve been so hard on you and Sterek.”
“You haven’t been hard on us, in my opinion. You are a good section leader, no matter what the color of your skin is. Sterek and I both think you’re cool.”
“What did you just say, Taylor?”
“You’re a good chief. I like working in your squad, sir.”
“Don’t call me sir. How many times must I tell you that? I’m not a commissioned officer. I was talking about what you said about the color of my skin. Just look at it, Taylor. Did you ever see skin like this? So smooth and dark like chocolate, wouldn’t you say? Frau Hercher told me that she never felt skin as soft is mine!”
“How did you meet Frau Hercher?” I asked, despite the order not to.
“I was rolling commo wire with Sgt. Walker about two miles from here and she drove by in a Audi and we waved at her.”
“She stopped, just like that?”
“You don’t know how we Black man have it here in Germany, Taylor. I sure wish I could share the wealth with you, but the women of Europe love us Black men. Just look at my skin; beautiful, ain’t it?”
I just smiled and reassured Sgt. Smith by telling him that he had good skin, unleashing a fib of sorts, because I noticed nothing particularly suave about the skin he was in– just a pepper- black exterior flesh.
His huge white eyes revealed a hatred for being stuck outside in the cold without pussy. Sgt. Smith loved the military, but hated playing soldier. He found ways of finding alternate shelters when our unit was on training exercises in the woods– through the gift of his ‘rich dark’ skin that German women ‘couldn’t get enough of’.
“Look, I appreciate you sneaking me out of here, but if we get caught, you must promise to say that you ordered me to come with you. This is a violation of the Commander’s policy. We could both get into big trouble, so if we get caught, please say you made me.”
“Taylor. You know me better than that. I always take good care of my soldiers. I’m a good section chief, no?”
“Yes. Very good as a matter of fact. Alright, Sgt. Smith, as long as you say so,” I responded. I was happy to have the chance of feeling water on my chilled, almost frost-bitten body. I was prepared to face an Article 15 just for a warm bath.
“You must promise not to say a word of this to anyone. I’m married. Remember? If you tell, this could ruin my life. You can get a shower and a good meal. We will be done there in no time. We only got three hours though. I’ll meet you at Sgt. Walker’s truck as soon as it gets dark. We’re taking his truck. I gave him a twenty and told him to hide out in the RATT rig until we return. They’ll assume Walker ran back to Barton Barracks for supplies.”
“I promise. I will not say a word. I owe you one. You are such a good leader, Sgt. Smith.”
The German woman who Sgt. Smith had been sneaking off to see was middle-aged, appearing to be at least in her forties. She spoke good English, though, and made me coffee and offered me her shower.
“Ain’t she pretty?” Sgt. Smith asked.
“Yes, very pretty,” I replied as steam rolled from under the bathroom door as I headed that way.
“We’ll be in the other room,” Sgt. Smith noted.
“Alright,” I said from behind a closed door while peeling smelly clothing that had seemed freeze-dried to my white, freckled skin.
After I got out of the shower, I sat and drank three cups of bitter German coffee before Sgt. Smith returned to the kitchen to offer new orders–
“Come join us. Did you ever do a train?” He asked.
How peculiar the black are with their dialects, I thought before responding– “No thanks,” I replied. I was simply happy to be so red and clean again.
The naked, wrinkled German woman clung to Sgt. Smith’s married black arm as he stood in her kitchen, inviting me into their massive ball of black and white flesh. My skin was now pink from the hot shower. I felt exotic and perhaps the pasty-white German frau had just as much fever for me as she did Sgt. Smith. Who knew?
She was old enough to have been my mother, I guessed. My stomach churned. I longed for the coldness of the woods again. I missed my mom. It seemed at any moment they would both come after me as I sat motionless, wrapped only in a towel, water still dripping down my tender face and over my pink lips that were even larger than Sgt. Smiths.
“I only wanted a shower. Can I watch you fuck?” I asked. “Believe it or not, I’m still a virgin,” I said.
“Are you sure,” Sgt. Smith asked. He was much fatter naked than I had originally thought.
Frau Herscher’s eyes suddenly became seductive as she looked at me. I sensed that she was attempting to seduce me, but being gay, she had no power over me like she wielded over my section leader.
“Thanks, but no thanks! I’m saving it for marriage,” I explained, “but I don’t see no harm in watching the two of you.”
Sgt. Smith looked at me, shook his head, and asked again, “Are you sure?”
I sat on the carpeted floor of the German woman’s bedroom for at least a half hour before slowing inching toward the lovers.
Frau Herscher seemed to moan louder as I neared the area of their love making with my curious head. Slowly I began lapping the two of them with my tongue, moving slowing from the area where their organs met, and encompassing Sgt. Smith’s black sack in my mouth, realizing just then that he hadn’t bathed in over a month either.