“Gather your gear and put everything in this Hummer. We won’t be coming back here,” a major ordered. The officer with gold insignia that resembled a cluster of marijuana leaves returned the salutes of Specialists Cromwell and Taylor and ordered them to stand ‘at-ease’. “We’ll depart in thirty minutes. Put on your class A uniforms– you will be driving a congressional delegation from the Midwest– Kansas I think– that’s all the information I have at the moment. Dismissed.”
Cromwell and Taylor quickly strutted to the dairy barn to disassemble their cots. Taylor’s belongings were packed neatly inside his two duffle bags in a matter of minutes– his toothbrush was secured in an air-tight zip lock bag and placed inside his shaving kit next to a blue jar of Noxema facial cream. Buried between layers of neatly rolled socks were four cartons of cigarettes.
“Let me help you with that,” Taylor offered while grabbing the aluminum frame of the cot upon which Cromwell slept and snored the night before. “I once was on a detail that required I take down twenty-two tents and disassemble all the cots within– I can do this with my eyes closed. You better hurry. Give me back my mirror please…”
Cromwell, rushing like a private on his fist day at Basic Training, grew anxious trying to meet the deadline the major had imposed.
“Breath, relax, aim, squeeze…” Did they teach you that in basic training?” Taylor asked, observing Cromwell dump out his duffle bags in search of the hat which goes with the dress uniform.
“What do you mean?” Cromwell asked. “Where the hell is my cunt cap?”
“On the rifle range…Did your drill sergeants teach you the BRAS method for hitting a target? Breath…Relax…Aim….Squeeze…You know, Cromwell, I hit all forty targets when I qualified for the M 16. I hunted deer all my life, but was never so good with a rifle until I learned BRAS in the Army. I have since learned to apply BRAS to everything I do. Take your time and do it right the first time. Relax. Be cool. Take map reading for instance– I bet you could read a map if you only took the time to breathe and relax while reading,” Taylor explained. “You get so serious about everything, almost like you are scared of failing. Were you dumb in high school?” Taylor asked, buttoning the jacket of his dress uniform. He was about to offer assistance in packing to Cromwell, but the husky, chocolate war machine had already used a muddy boot to get everything back inside the green, tarp bags.
“Where do you suppose we’re going?” Cromwell asked.
“Probably to Paris. I hope we have access to a shower wherever we are. I can’t stand shaving from a canteen cup.”
“You have such a baby face,” Cromwell noted as they tossed their belongings into the vehicle. “You don’t even need to shave– why worry about a little peach fuzz? I could sleep on the hard ground if I had to and go without a bath for a month. How did a sissy like you ever make it this long in the Army?”
Taylor, rubbing the silver ‘expert’ marksman badge over his name plate replied– “I know all about BRAS.”