The Grey Man- Teaser…

Back with the team

Aaron was grinning as he kissed Jesse, “Finally get to get out of admin and back in the field. I don’t know how Brillo puts up with that shit all day every day!”

Jesse laughed, “About like putting up with this little monster every day.” Holding up Jace, who giggled and grabbed for Aaron’s running leg he held in his hand. Aaron kissed Jace on top of the head, prompting another spate of giggles. “You better go, it wouldn’t look good for you to be late on your first day back.”

Matt commented from the hallway, “And if y’all keep that up, you’re going to have to get a room.”

They heard Felicia’s musical laugh, and Jesse cracked up.  Aaron just shook his head, “I really wonder why we let y’all move in…” Matt made like he was going to throw something and Aaron turned his running leg around, “Batter up!”

That prompted more laughter as Aaron and Matt jostled to get out the front door. Jesse looked at Felicia, “You tell him yet?”

“Doctor’s appointment is next week. If I am pregnant, I’ll tell him then.” Felicia leaned on the back of the couch, “I hope it’s what he wants,” she continued softly.  Jesse reached up and squeezed Felicia’s hand, but didn’t say anything.

Jace broke the mood by grunting then giggling and Jesse groaned, “Oh God, what did you eat kiddo?”

Felicia fanned the air, “Whatever it was, I think it’s turned toxic! I’m off to work, sorry to leave you with it.”

Jesse smiled, “Oh just you wait, your day is coming…”


Aaron pulled into the team building and sat for a couple of minutes, thinking of what the last year had done to him. He finally reached over, pulled the running leg off the floorboard and climbed from the truck.

He walked quickly into the building and down to his office. Sitting down behind the beat up old haze gray desk, he realized he was grinning, and laughed out loud. It’s good to be back where I belong. Leaning the running leg in a corner, he grabbed his coffee cup and headed for the coffee mess, mentally reviewing what he needed to do today.

By the time he got back to the office, Snake was at his desk, diet Coke in hand and mumbling at the computer. “Still no coffee Snake?”

“I can’t stand the taste of that shit, and you know it.” Snake shuddered, “And that damn training class crap of dumping the coffee packet in your mouth and washing it down with water didn’t help matters!”

Aaron smiled, “Yeah, I remember you puking for a few hours after that. What’s on the sked today? PT at zero eight?”

“Yep, the new Captain, Grazio is going to lead it. He’s a damn fitness nut. He lost a bunch of weight to get into the Corps, and he’s determined not to put it back on, and neither will we. We’re on preps for a desert field ex at ten, and the range at thirteen hundred.”

Aaron groaned, “That’s going to be a hot one.” Pulling open his locker door, he started changing into his PT gear, and saw Snake looking at his leg curiously. “If you’ve never seen it, it’s friggin medical marvel!”

Snake said, “Nah, I was looking at the running leg. How does it stay on when you run? And isn’t that thing too springy?”

Aaron peeled off the sock for the walking leg, twisted it slightly to break the suction and removed the leg. He also peeled off the silicon liner, reached into his bag and pulled out the pin liner for the running leg. Holding it up he said, “This is a pin socket, as opposed to a straight suction socket, this,” pointing to the pin, “Is attached to the umbrella on the end of the liner, I roll it on just like this.”

Rolling the liner up, he pointed to the top of the liner, “See how high this goes?”

Snake nodded, “I was wondering, I thought you had a below the knee.”

“I did, but the liner has to go up higher to maintain enough contact and suction that the leg doesn’t fall or slide off.” Picking up the running leg, he quickly checked the sleeve for anything that might have gotten in there, then slid it over the liner as far as it would go.  He gingerly stood up and bounced for a couple of seconds until he heard the pin engage in the lock on the liner, “Now it’s locked in.”

He pulled on his other sock and shoe, tucked in his t-shirt and said, “Alright, let’s do this. What kind of pace is the captain running?”

Snake groaned, “Eight-nine minutes in PT gear, ten minutes in full ruck. I hate running!”

Aaron laughed, “Nothing new there, I thought you were going to fail out of sniper school because of your running.”

As they walked out of the team building Snake replied, “I know, but I just fucking hate running. It’s unnatural unless somebody’s chasing me.”

They formed up the teams, took the morning reports and were standing at parade rest when Captain Grazio stepped out of the building. The teams came to attention, Snake and Aaron made the morning reports, and finished just as colors sounded. After colors, Captain Grazio called out, “In honor of getting Gunny Miller back, this morning will only be five miles, and we’ll take it slow! Nine minute miles, right face! Ready, begin!”

The captain ran to the front of the formation, and led them off. Aaron and Snake fell in to their positions and Aaron started the jodies.

Alo right la-o
Lefty right-a la-o

Alooo right la-oo
Left right la-o

Lo right-a left right
Lefty right a lo


semper fi



Snake countered with another jody,

Back In 1775
My Marine Corps Came Alive

First There Came The Color Gold
To Show The World That We Are Bold

Then There Came The Color Blue
To Show The World That We Are True

Then There Came the Color Red
To Show The World The Blood We have

Then There Came The Color White
To Show The World That We Can Fight

Then There Came The Color Green
To Show The World That We Are Mean

They continued going back and forth, with Sergeant McKenzie throwing in an occasional one, and sooner than they thought they were double timing back into the team area. After a quick shower, and back in MARPAT, Aaron and Snake pushed the daily musters up to HQ, and Aaron giggled quietly, “No more for me. It’s somebody else’s turn…”

Snake asked, “You say something?”

“Nah, just talking to myself. You ready to go meet with the captain?”

Hitting the keypad with a flourish, Snake repled, “Yep, plan sent. Now lets go see how bad he shoots it down!”


Captain Grazio leaned back, “Okay guys, I think we have a plan.” Tapping the papers into order, he turned to his desk, “Gunny Miller, you comfortable jumping with that leg?”

Aaron replied, “Yes sir, I’m cleared for full duty, while I haven’t jumped it, I don’t see a problem. Well, none other than twenty nine stumps in the middle of the summer…”

Grazio nodded, “You and I will jump with teams one and three,” pointing to Snake, “You’ll be OPFOR with teams two and four. After three days we’ll change places.”

Snake commented, “We’ll go at oh six hundred, helo in and disappear. You won’t see us until it’s too late…”

Aaron laughed, “Yeah, right. Scotch?”

Grazio looked back and forth between them, “I get the feeling this is an ongoing bet?”

Snake said, “Only since sniper school sir. So far we’re about tied.”

Grazio asked, “Good scotch?”

“Yes sir, good single malt. None of that cheap Johnny Walker or Chivas crap.”

Grazio laughed at that, “Okay you, dismissed.”


Aaron and Snake pulled into the range parking lot and Aaron said, “Ah shit.”

“What’s up?”

Pointing to the GTO sitting in the parking lot Aaron continued, “My wife is out here.”

“Checking up on you?” Snake said with a grin, then turned and looked at the range as a loud crack of a large caliber rifle sounded.

“Nah, I think she’s out here shooting…”

“Shooting what? That almost sounded like a fifty!”

Getting out of the truck Aaron shook his head, “It wouldn’t surprise me.” Hearing more rounds going downrange, “Nah, I think that’s a three-thiry-eight.”

Five more measured shots were fired as the captain pulled in followed by the bus with the teams on it. Johnson ran in to use the head, and came back chuckling, “Looks like Gunner is giving somebody a little EMI down there. I see him and the RO spotting for somebody proned out.”

About that time, three rapid cracks were heard, and Johnson laughed, “Oh man, Gunner is gonna chew some ass for that!”

Aaron just shook his head and walked around the corner to the line, hearing Matt call the range cold. Sure enough, Jesse was getting up and picking up the Barrett MRAD off the mat, laughing as Gunner Price shook his finger at her. Aaron saw her point down range, and the gunner looked through the spotting scope again as Sergeant ‘Toad’ Moretti rode the ATV down range to retrieve the target.

Seeing Aaron, Jesse waved and started down the line, carrying the MRAD in a hunter’s carry, as Matt and the gunner picked up the mat and spotting scope. As she came up he mouthed, “Don’t kiss me, no PDA.” Jesse smiled and nodded.

“Hi Snake, hi Honey. I was going to come watch y’all but I guess I screwed up the time.  I got here at noon, and had lunch with Matt and Toad, and Toad wanted a sanity check on the trigger on the MRAD.”

“How did you end up with the Gunner involved?” Aaron asked.

“Gunner? Oh you mean Eric? Well, we had a discussion about triggers, and left handed shooting and…”

Toad pulled up on the ATV as the Gunner and Matt walked up with the mat and spotting scope. Toad crowed, “You did it again Jesse, less than a five inch group!”

Gunner Price said, “Lemme see that target!”

Captain Grazio said, “Gunny, I didn’t know your wife was a Marine.”

Aaron stuttered, “Uh, Cap’n, she’s not. She’s a deputy sheriff.”

“So why is she on a Marine Range, shooting what appears to be a Marine sniper rifle?”

Gunner Price stepped in, “Cap’n, I authorized it. I know Mrs. Miller and have seen her shoot that rifle before. She’s got more rounds downrange on an MRAD than anybody here.” Laying the target out, he measured the group with his fingers, “I guess I’ll have to agree on the group size. If there hadn’t been two flyers, that would be about four inches.”

Jesse pointed to the two flyers, “Those were the last two in the three shot rapid string. I told you they were high. I always tend to go high when I’m shooting fast, and working the bolt over the top of the gun. And that trigger is just about perfect, just a hair over two pounds.”

Matt smiled at Jesse, “Okay, you proved your point. Now can we get out of the way so these gents can fire for effect? They’re actually supposed to be on the range right now.”

Jesse suddenly realized she was surrounded by Marines and blushed, “Oh… Sorry. I guess I’ll go home now.”

Captain Grazio grinned, “Ma’am, you’re more than welcome to stay. Matter of fact, I’d be happy to have you critique some of our shooters.” Nodding to Gunner Price he said, “Teams one and two on the line.”


Aaron picked up the dishes and loaded them into the dishwasher as Jesse finished feeding Jace and handed him off to Felicia. Coming up behind Aaron she hugged him and whispered, “I’m sorry I embarrassed you today. That was never my intention.”

Turning in her arms, Aaron hugged her back and kissed the top of her head, “Hey, you didn’t know, and the last thing I expected was to see you there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody’s wife show up at the range.”

“I won’t do it again, I promise.”

“It’s not that, it’s just that I’m going to catch a ration of shit forever for it. When you shoot better than I did, and everybody knows I’m a sniper, well…”

Matt interrupted, “Hey, you two get a room! None of that serious shit tonight! It’s Friday!”


The Grey Man- Teaser… — 22 Comments

  1. More, must have more!

    To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, “Faster, must write faster!”

    Knowing that the next book is in the pipeline is kinda like looking forward to a family reunion, except this reunion will not have the family members you don’t like.

  2. Another excellent installment. I know you’re busy with the new house and all, but … hurry up, please? 🙂

  3. Just finished “Changes” each book is more exciting than before. Can’t wait for the new one.

  4. Looking forward to the Beta read, if you want me to do that again….

  5. Not nit-picking but noticed…

    In the 2nd section, 2nd paragraph, 4th line…should that be an h instead of an l? Or is that VERY strong coffee?? 🙂

  6. I’m working my way through he third book and it is excellent as expected. You really need to get these in to audio books.

  7. Nit Pick Alert:
    If that stump sock is rubber-like it should be SILICONE.

    Of course, if it is metalloid, then silicon will do fine.

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