Enter the RAT

I essentially remember the week that Robert “RAT” Trivino appeared in the long spine of the main cantonment building at the Unit. I was on all-night Staff Duty then, and one of the duties of the Staff Duty was to add the photos of newly assigned personnel to the Unit’s Personnel Identification binder. RAT’s training course had just graduated and I had the (small) stack of photos of the men in his class about to enter.

As was my tradition every time I came up for Staff Duty — two times per year tops — I set to memorizing the first names, at least, and faces of all new arrivals. Rob’s was easy to remember:

(Looking at the photo) “Ah, great—finally, a Mexican brother to speak Spanish with!”

Close. While he did indeed speak Spanish, RAT was actually a Cochiti Pueblo Indian Warrior. The first time I passed him in the hall, I greeted him thus:

“¿Eh, Roberto — que tal, hombre?”

He knitted his brow but otherwise did nothing, said nothing. That was ok; I reckoned he didn’t quite hear me… or perhaps he was just in the moment of channeling the spirit of a pair of brown socks. The second time I greeted him with no response it was time to have a little talk with Jesus and tell him all about my troubles.

The Trial

He went on trial briefly in my head:

(The sound of a judge’s gavel) BANG… BANG… BANG…