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a date with the playboy girl
treated like a god, if only for a few minutes...
by todd w bush

In the movie Hoosiers, Gene Hackman says “You know, most people would kill to be treated like a god, if only for a few minutes.” Sure he was talking about basketball to Barbara Hershey, who probably had to be told what a basketball was for the movie, but that’s beside the point. His statement is true, as I found out barely a month after I got to tech school and got a date with the Playboy Girl.

The Air Force sends its new folks to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, then ships them to different bases to what’s known as tech school. In essence, this is where we all learn our jobs. In my case, this meant a long bus ride to Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi. Yes, I joined the Air Force to see the world, and where do they send me? Four hours down the road from my house. That should have clued me in, huh?

After being sequestered in the giant baking oven that is Lackland, the AF transitions it’s new airmen back into regular life by using what’s called the “phase program” (original, right?). To get to each phase, you have to run a certain time in a 2-mile trot, then do a certain number of push-ups and sit-ups in a two-minute time span. First phase means you can’t go off base and have to wear your uniform everywhere but the shower, and they recommend that you still keep the standard issue tighty-whiteys on then. Second phase consists of wearing civilian clothes on base while not on duty, but having to wear the Air Force blue dress uniform when going off base. The mall in Biloxi constantly looks like its being held hostage by the Smurfs.

Ah, but third phase. We considered third phase to be nirvana, Avalon, Mecca, and a Delta House toga party all rolled into one. Third phase means civilians on base, civilians off base, and no curfew on the weekends. I achieved this state of harmonious being only a month after arriving, right on the Air Force’s schedule. Me and my friends decided to not kill ourselves that first weekend, because after all, we’ve got lots more of these coming, right? If you can’t see this coming, seek help. Please.

After a delicious meal of Chinese food, the two girls in our five-person party decided that they wanted to go shop for bikinis. Weighing the options of “its fall, what the hell do they need a bikini for?” and “they might model for us!” we showed our smarts and picked the modeling. Off we go to the Surf and Sand Souvenir Shop (say that one five times fast), were the clothes are corny, the bikinis are tiny and cool shrunken alligator heads spring up like Bebe’s kids. The girls run off to try on stuff, and impolitely reject my request for a modeling show. Me and my buddy Ray start walking around, trying to avoid the other guy in our group, whose become fascinated with a whoopee cushion. Swear to God, the kid had never seen one in his life.

After roughly an hour of this, we got bored. Painfully bored. It was then that I noticed that the girl who was giving out keys to the changing rooms was hot. I mean really, really, really hot. As in the “there’s no f’ing way I can ever score with this chick” hot. I thought to myself, Oh well, I’m bored. Why not?

I walked over and the gods smiled. I introduced myself, and she said her name was Terah Bruce. And it went on from there. Within twenty minutes I had not only her name, but her phone number and a date for the following weekend. Just about that time, one of her co-workers walked over and told her, “Oh Terah! I forgot to tell you, congratulations!” Of course, I’m thinking worst case scenario, she’s pregnant or engaged, and I’m not going to pry. Mainly I just don’t want the fact that I have a date with this hot chick ruined by her mentioning something bad, so I’m not saying anything. If this were Ghostbusters and Zuel had just given the “choose and perish” talk, I’d be Bill Murray, emptying my head of anything. But, for every Bill Murray, there’s a Dan Akroyd, thinking of a Mr. Sta-Puft. Good ole, Ray. “So what’d she congratulate you for?”

Terah immediately got shy and said she didn’t want to tell us. Ray persisted, and finally she sighed. I waited for her answer as I thought of the ten most painful ways to kill Ray and places to hide the body. She sighed again, and spoke: “I just got back from Los Angeles doing a photo shoot for Playboy.”

Ray challenged her with “Get the f—k out of here, no way!” Good thing too, cause my mouth wasn’t working. Brain was doing great, sending lots of signals, mouth wasn’t cooperating.

Terah continued despite my obvious imitation of Robert DeNiro in Awakenings. “I’m serious. I’m in this month’s issue.” Yeah, see that look on your face right now? Multiply that by a million and that was me. There was no way she was lying, she had to know we were going to look! Our girls, long since forgotten by us, were done shopping and ready to go, so reluctantly I left, already calculating a way to shave tenths of a second off of the time it took to get to gas station and buy the magazine. As we were leaving, Terah called out to me and in front of everyone in the group, single-handedly elevated me to god status: “Todd, I hope you don’t mind, but next weekend is the Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Contest, and well… I’m in it. So, can our date be to that and the VIP after party?”

In case you were wondering, yes she was in the magazine. And yes, seeing a girl naked before even having a first date with her is a little perplexing.

Sunday rolls around, and we have our weekly “G.I. Party” which isn’t really a party at all, but a three hour mass “clean up the dorms” event. As we have our formation before the clean up starts, I’m walking around making sure everyone’s there, since I’m a student leader (scary, I know). I noticed that people are pointing and whispering at me. At first I was starting to get a little worried, but then I caught one guy mouth “Dude you so f—kin’ rock!” and I knew word of my upcoming date had spread. I was approaching myth status.

On Mondays at 9:30 in the morning we had physical training, and yes another formation preceded it. At that formation, the sergeant in charge of our shift called out from the front of the formation for me to get my ass over there. So, I got my ass, along with the rest of me, over to where she was. The sergeant greeted me with this: “So tell me about the Playboy girl.” I swear they were going to be talking about me on base for years. Decades even! As Kevin Spacey said in American Beauty, “I rule!”

I will never forget the date I met Terah Bruce. Not just the day, I mean the date. You knew this was coming, right? It was Saturday, September 8th, 2001. What happened three days later? Yep, that was when Osama F—k Turd decided to crash two passenger planes into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon. It was also the day that the general in charge of Keesler Air Force Base decided it was in the best interest of security to lock the base down for three and a half weeks!!!

The next day, I saw someone in the hall outside my dorm room putting black ribbons on the nameplates that identified each room. I told them that was a great idea, honoring those who’d died and all. He giggled and said that he was only putting one on my door, because I’d lost my date with the Playboy girl. Ok, god status is in serious jeopardy.

Now, Sunday rolls around again, and of course I missed the Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Contest, and the VIP after party and the “no curfew night with Terah” I had planned. I’m at the front of the G.I. Party formation when another of our sergeants, Sgt. Sullivan, walks up and smiles at me. “Hey, Todd, just wanted to tell you that Terah looked great last night.”

I was confused so I asked what he meant. “You know, at the bikini contest last night? Terah looked great!”

I talked with Terah several times over the next two weeks, before she told me she had decided to move to Vegas to pursue a career there. And yes, I thought the same thing, “career” and “Vegas” should never be in the same sentence. In conclusion, I never saw her again after that fateful day at the Surf and Sand shop, but about half a year later I got an email from the same asshole who’d put the black ribbon on my door. The email had attachments and a subject line of “Thought you’d want this.” I opened it, and there were two jpegs of Terah Bruce in all her glory. The body of the email said it all.

“Todd, thought you might like these. Dude, you had a date with her! You rock!”

Long live the god.


Todd's background includes military service, a stint at a movie theater, and getting turned down for a date by Sandra Bullock. All things that make him totally unqualified to be a writer. However, now that he's getting married in November, that might just do it.

more about todd w bush


my friend jimmy
some weirdness is a good thing
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topic: humor
published: 8.13.04

shopping for history
went for history, i got andre, shopping, and a smelly german dude...
by todd w bush
topic: humor
published: 7.11.04


robert melos
7.19.04 @ 11:55p

You have a great way of telling a story. It reels you in, propelling you forward.

What's wrong with "career" and "Vegas" in the same sentence?

todd bush
7.20.04 @ 12:56a

Something about it just doesn't go together, almost like "mouth" and "needle" or "brocolli" and "Todd".

sandi pants
7.23.04 @ 5:28a

And we all know how much you just love brocolli!

adam kraemer
7.26.04 @ 12:18p

Hey - nothing wrong with the Vegas career girls.

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