The ice princess was the keeper of the gate to the Provost Marshal's Office at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and her desk was at the top of the stairs. They called her the ice princess, but they were wrong.
Her real name was Linda Peroni, she was a civilian secretary, but if you dared to ascend the stairs and didn't have official business, she was quick to share her desire for you to disappear. It was a long walk back down those stairs for many a wannabe Casanova. Linda Peroni was a beautiful woman; she was a curiosity for all the testosterone fueled young MP's, the word was she was divorced, but nobody knew for sure. She was a curvy Italian American woman approaching thirty, 5'5" with long wavy black hair, full pouty red lips; she looked like the girl next door on the verge of going very, very, bad.
She dressed to avoid bringing attention to herself, but the second her body was in motion she oozed sexuality, and there wasn't a heterosexual male around who didn't notice. She was solid, with tight hips, a magnificently proportioned derrière, and breasts the size of grapefruits that were alive under her conservative blouse. She walked with a confident indifference, breasts slightly bouncing giving every male an idea that those too were as solid as the rest of her. She wasn't in anyway fat; she was just built like the proverbial brick shithouse.
The Provost Marshal (PM), a Colonel, was essentially the chief of the Military Police. His offices were in an old WW II era building, a long two story wooden structure that had seen better days. The police desk, complete with a dispatcher's office and temporary holding cells, was downstairs. It shared the bottom floor with the Traffic Accident Investigation Unit. The Chief's office, guarded by Linda, and his pool of assistants shared the top floor with the Civil Liaison/AWOL Apprehension unit.
Little did I know I was about to have the opportunity of my young lifetime. I was twenty-one years old and a former surfer boy from Newport Beach, California, and had been an MP at Fort Polk for 18 months. I was closing in on the halfway point of my enlistment in the US Army. I signed up for four years, and I had received my orders transferring me to Germany.
I'd had a great time at Fort Polk, home of the Army's 5th infantry division. I worked as a patrolman on the post with a population of approximately 25,000 soldiers, their dependents, and support personnel. Located in western Louisiana, Ft Polk was in the boonies, and there really wasn't much for a city boy to do for entertainment but drink, work out, and chase girls. As a patrolman, there was never a dull moment. When you have sixteen thousand single guys between the ages of 18 and 25 who get paid on the same day, just add alcohol and it's bound to get crazy.
Due to my transfer orders, I was considered a short-timer and it was time for me to leave active patrol duty. I would be gone in three months and I couldn't get involved in something that required me to testify in a trial down the road. Flying us back and forth for trials was avoided at all costs. So it was standard procedure to end your exposure 90 days prior to transfer.
They had all sorts of jobs for short-timers; working in the armory issuing weapons, maintaining jeeps in the motor pool, or any number of support or gopher jobs. I had been in the right place at the right time though, and landed the mother lode of short timer jobs, I was to be the new Colonel's driver. These days they'd call me an assistant, but this was 1983. The job required me to be armed with a standard issue M1911A1 ( .45 caliber automatic pistol) and to drive the colonel wherever he needed to go. The majority of my work was to support the MP HQ. I was a driver, a bodyguard, and a gopher. I moved communications between different offices and commands, and provided whatever help I could, simple as that.
My workload went through Linda Peroni's desk. Up to that point she was just a talked about goddess who I'd had fleeting glimpses of. She was also someone I'd never had an interest in. I'd stared at her just like the rest of the boys, but I wasn't the 'standing in line for a shot' type of guy.
They say that doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Therefore mass insanity, by definition, must have been the herd of guys who filed up those stairs only to be sent back down by the chilly reception from Ms. Peroni. Not one guy ever managed more than a hello from her, much less a date.
I had my fun with the girls, but Ms. Peroni was a wet dream that I'd never considered as a target for my affections. Why wade into the testosterone filled fray just to get shot down? I guess for some guys it was a point of pride, but I just saw it as a complete waste of my time. There were plenty of mousy little brunette girl next door types for me to chase, I liked them best anyway; they were wholesome, they didn't flaunt themselves or have a sense of entitlement like the wannabe MTV babes you found in the nightclubs. Besides, it was my experience they could out fuck a bimbo by a mile once you got past their defenses.
My first day on the job I climbed that long set of stairs and came face to face with the Ice Princess. I was nervous, but I had a job to do, and I prided myself on doing things to the very best of my ability. So came my first experience with Linda Peroni and she didn't disappoint.
"Good morning, can I help you private?"
There was indifference in her tone as she spoke without giving me more than a cursory glance while continuing to shuffle papers at her desk. I wasn't a private, I had worked hard and earned three promotions to get out from under that label. My rank was Specialist 4 (Spec4, equal to a corporal, but a corporal is considered a non-commissioned officer.) So I just stood staring at her.
"What do you need private?"
"It's Specialist Fitzpatrick ma'am. I'm reporting for duty as the Colonel's driver."
She stopped what she was doing and looked up at me. Whether she liked it or not, we were going to be seeing a lot of each other, and she started sizing me up right away. I wasn't immune to her looks, but I certainly didn't like her attitude and that trumped any physical attraction.
"You report to the Assistant PM Major Jackson. His office is next to the Provost Marshal's. All your assignments will flow through Mrs. Beliveau, the colonel's secretary, which she generally hands off to me. You can go back and introduce yourself." She held up her hand and pointed the way then turned back to paperwork therefore dismissing me.
"Thank you ma'am."
I found Mrs. Beliveau, who demanded I call her Hattie. She was a slight older woman who, I found out later, was a joy to know. She sat me down and told me about the inner workings of the section then took me around and introduced me to the secretaries. Each of them was welcoming and kind. My spiel to them was, 'just let me know what I need to do to make your job easier.' they each gave me a brief explanation of how I could support them, then I met briefly with Maj. Jackson. The Colonel was away for the week so I didn't get to meet with him. Hattie took me back into her office.
"Ok Chris, that should about do it. Just communicate with us and everything will be a piece of cake. Look, you'll have to deal with Ms. Peroni for most of your tasks. She can be a bit standoffish, but she's actually a nice lady. Just give her time to come around."
"Thanks Hattie, I aim to please. Just point me in the right direction and I'll do whatever it takes to help."
So it began. The girls kept me busy, but Linda acted like I didn't exist unless she needed to give me an assignment. I belonged here, and I kept every interaction with her totally professional so I didn't give her any reason at all to play ice princess with me, but she did anyway.
I had been talking to my roommate Paul about Linda. Like most of the guys, he was curious about the hottie at the top of the stairs. Paul was 5 or 6 years older than me. He had joined the Army in his mid twenties, and was someone I looked up to. Where girls were concerned, Paul was quite the ladies man. We'd been out together and I'd seen his skills first hand. He'd also been one of the many to get shot down at Ms. Peroni's desk. I had been filling him in for the last week on just how chilly she was with me.
Paul smiled and said, "You wanna have some fun with her Chris?"
"What do you mean?"
"She's used to every guy falling all over her. Do the opposite, treat her like she doesn't matter to you in the least. You don't have to be rude, you just have to show her you have no interest in her at all. If you do it right, there's a good chance she'll start wondering why you don't like her."
I thought for a moment then said, "So what good is it to get her to hate me? I have to work with her and I don't want to start any shit in the office. This is a cake job."
Paul laughed, "You idiot, if you do it right she won't hate you, you'll become a challenge to her. She knows she can snap her fingers and have a hundred guys lining up just to hear her fart over a field phone. You'll be the exception, the one she can't control. It'll driver her crazy."
"So, how does this work?"
"Well, make sure you are sugar sweet to all the other secretaries, treat them like queens. She'll see that and wonder why she's different. It's like divide and conquer. Don't be too rude, If she gives you shit, give it back the same way. Just let her know you couldn't care less about her. Her power over you is your interest in her."
I didn't know if Paul was baiting me, but it was an interesting concept. He gave me some ideas, and I went to work the next morning with a different mindset.
.... There is more of this story ...