It pays to be somebody else

My time back in the AF was in Tac Air Control. I didn't have a Combat Controller's badge {or AFSC}, but there must have been a temporary ticket in my file because that's what I was pretending to do, hanging out with the Army and carrying a short-barrel carbine. Though unhappy about my low rank I was thankful of carrying an alias, this time as Johnson; which I thought was a name lacking panache. But a couple of these  kid-Rangers annoyed me. One night before rotating out, I had it with the harassment. One youngster went at me: "Where's your MacArthur Genius award, Air Force? I heard you did get a V.A. dufus-award for back-ass-ism..." then he started laughing. He had a braying donkey-hyena laugh. He was tall; red-haired and rangy with knobby shoulders that seemed out of alignment. I activated my mini-taser without displaying it and was set to get him on the inner thigh. I figured I'd try to restrain his head from crashing into the floor by grabbing his belt. But suddenly he changed demeanor and gave me a friendly slap on the shoulder. "Just bustin' ya," as he walked away. I was sure he had read my general intentions. Later, around the corner from the soda machine I heard some of the troops talking: "I Googled Johnson and he was in some heavy action a few times...  Wouldn't mess with him."