When you leave the military, especially if you were only in for four years you tend to leave quite a bit behind you. Moore often than not, they are simple things like uniform items. Even friendships you've made while in the military tend to fall to the wayside. Sure, everyone collects everyone’s phone numbers and emails like you are in high school or something. However, just like high school most of the time you never even open that address book ever again.
I was like that for a great deal of time. Combination of memories that weren't so great mixed in with the fact that people in and people out of the military are on entirely different schedules. You try and stay in touch, but no matter how hard you try it doesn't work out too well. Except when you've got someone that won’t leave you the fuck alone.
Let me give a little bit of background here. When I got out of the United States Navy, there were one or two friends that at the time I probably would have been friends with outside of that scenario. One of which actually to my surprise kept in semi-regular contact throughout the years. By semi-regular, I mean asked me for money whenever his wife threatened to leave him or something. The crazy bug hadn't hit him when we were both stationed on the same ship. Or maybe I just hadn't seen it yet.
Flash forward to the late summer of 2010. It’s nearing the end of the summer and my wife and I are planning a trip out of town when all of a sudden the phone rings. The caller ID says that it’s a phone number emanating from some kind of government building. Great, the VA is calling to cancel an appointment. Nope, instead I pick up the phone and on the other end of the line is a familiar voice. It’s Brian, my old buddy from the navy.
Now, to this day I have no goddamn clue for sure how Brian got a hold of our phone number. We’d only had it activated for a few months at the most. Wasn't listed in the phone directory. Hadn't published it accidentally anywhere online. I say hello and the conversation goes on for a few minutes. Turns out he’s going to be going on leave about a month and a half at the time of the initial conversation and wanted to know if we could hang out. I say sure, why not? What could possibly go wrong?
A hell of a lot could go wrong. I excuse myself from the call for a moment and tell my wife who has called because to tell you the truth, I hadn't given out the phone number to anyone. She’s still sort of thinking it was the VA. Suddenly the light bulb goes off over my head and I ask him where exactly he’s at and how he got my phone number. He tells me his location, which for purposes of national security I’m not sure I can disclose; so we’re just going to go with Branson, Missouri. When I press further and ask him how he got our number he simply tells me the magic of the internet.
Now if you want to creep an old friend the hell out when you contact them for the first time in years be sure to tell them that. This will surely get you an invitation for dinner. About a minute after asking him this he abruptly tells me that he has to go. Nothing sketchy about this right people? Well, he calls back five minutes later and the conversation continues where I proceed to ask him again, more forcefully how in the hell he got our phone number. He finally tells me something along the lines of he looked through one of our family’s social media accounts. I say alright, and then begin to get even more confused because I know neither I nor my wife would willingly do something like that.
The conversation ends with him asking me what times are usually good to call and I inform him that I’m usually up by nine in the morning so any time after that was fine. We then make loose arrangements for us to do something when he’s in town. I hang up and the first thing my wife asks me is whether or not Brian is a potential mass murderer. I tell her that he was pretty cool and that I can’t quite figure out why he was being so mysterious about getting our number. So we end things at that and before leaving to go grocery shopping we accept his friend request. This is where things get fucking strange....