When the Senior Drill manages to tear the two men apart before anything beyond longing glances can happen, Clay tries to move on and forget Banksy, throwing himself into his career, knowing that he may have to wait until he retires from the military to be able to partner up, while understanding the irony that he is defending a freedom he is not yet allowed, the freedom to be who he is and to pursue the person he loves.
Fate brings Clay and Banksy together again for a brief and joyous reunion when they are able to begin planning a future, that same fate cruelly ripping them apart once more, with each facing a trauma alone.
Dog Tagged is set post DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and pre the policy’s repeal; a time when being openly gay had seen many a lost career in the service. Sexually explicit in places, this story offers only a glimpse of how some men and women serving their country are not afforded the same rights as the heterosexuals with whom they fight side by side.
Incidents in Dog Tagged are based on true events.
Private Banks was at the top of the company in everything we did. When we climbed the rope lines in the obstacle course, he was like a coconut crab, scrambling down the line in record time. Crossing the parallel bars in front of the dining hall, he looked like a young ape swinging through the jungle. Bravo Company had a contender for trainee of the cycle, which meant top spot and an award given by the Brigade commander at graduation from basic.
There was only one thing Chevy Banks failed at and that was throwing a grenade.
By the time I had a couple of beers, I had a couple of guys lined up to come back to base with me. I had my uniform hanging in the backseat, which served as a kind of catnip come-on to the guys I had picked up, a hot blond and his even hotter dark haired friend. I couldn’t have Chevy and I needed an outlet, and since these guys were revved up and ready to go, why not take advantage?
And there we were, having the time of our lives, windows fogged from our breath, rain tapping on the roof as lines of sweat streaked down over our mostly naked bodies. I think I still had a sock on, the blond still wore a thin shirt, his smooth muscular chest exposed to me, while the other guy had managed to strip totally in the front seat.
As much fun as I was having, I would have traded everything we were doing for one closed mouth, both of us fully clothed, kiss with Chevy.
The only thing I had been lacking was standing in front of me.
“I’m so damn glad to see you I wouldn’t mind if you showered with me, Sir.”
It was a joke, I knew, but it got me hard. I had just found him and I didn’t want to leave him, so we set a time and I went back to my quarters to, well, who would we be kidding if I didn’t just say it – dress for our date. I would have brought flowers if I thought it was acceptable.