Story Go Round 11/30/2002, round 1, #6

"Quick Rick and Friends"

This was going to be a weird one. Some sartorially challenged lieutenant had the bright idea of disengaging the division at the delta. It amounted to a fan trap. Fun principally because we never so much as shot, exploded, loaded, or even handed our buddies a round of anything meant to explode. In other words, we were practicing safe combat. My name was still Rick, having not yet added on the appellation "quick" - that story was just beginning.

We lined up on the macadam in our freshly pressed sailor's uniforms, smirking in our eagerness. Paulie kept razzing the new recruits always made me wince, but he only drove half of them away each rotation, so I didn't complain.

It was noon when we first saw them Strange to think we were on both sides with the same job - yes, a job - to do.

The fact of the matter was, we had to do something about the water hyacinths. Believe it or not, that was crucial to the overall continuance of the war, and we wanted to go on blowing things up. The plants were in the way - as usual. We didn't know the minds of our leaders, but if it was plants, it was plants. Gasoline and flame throwers from a distance worked best. We started torching them, and I mean, we started torching them good. Our hands glued to the hot metal, our teeth gritting, columns of black smoke.

But there was too much growth and I knew we'd never make it in time. The flamethrowers began to get low on fuel, becoming flamegirlytossers that couldn't reach far enough. My fellow men grew afraid and I could see them thinking of turning and running for Canada.

"It will not end this way!" I bellowed to them "Follow me Men!"

We gathered 4,281 bouquets that day, and sold them at the Officer's Summer Bazaar for $2 apiece. I bought everyone new uniforms with their names on them. No, this was not how I earned the 'quick' in front of my name, but I did make a few friends.

Amber-purple; John-pink; Alan-blue; Terry-orange; Habeeb-brown; Alvin-green