Rockets Can Be Fun – Episode 3 (Officerensis foolishii)

 

October 2006

This afternoon we had more incoming, which is only news because we laughed ourselves sick while successive concussions rattled through camp:

When the first mortar hits, we’re all working away in the office, including IT Andy who’s trying to fix our stupid printers (there’s another story …). We all scramble into our armor and run to get to someone else’s cubicle, our typical strategy to avoid spending the next half hour in extreme boredom staring at the under side of a desk, or in excruciating pain having to listen to inane conversations between the weirder elements of the office staff.

Anna Lee ducks into my cubicle just as Andy hits the floor outside of it. He doesn’t have his battle gear with him, having left it in his own office which is located in another trailer about a hundred meters away from ours. Standard procedure: we don’t normally lug it around when we run errands around camp.

So he’s lying flat on the floor without armor when LTC Slasher comes striding down the aisle, self-importantly belaboring the obvious by shouting, “Everyone in battle gear? Get on the floor!” (Duh – and what are you doing upright you moron?). He gets as far as Andy and stops dead. “Where’s your gear?!”

“In my office,” Andy replies patiently.

Boom! another mortar. “Well get over to your office!” Slasher cries, “You have to get your gear on!”

Andy squeaks, “What, NOW??! There’s mortars coming in!”

“Yes! Yes! Hurry up!” Slasher yells. “We don’t want you getting injured or killed!”

Andy looks around the cubicle corner at Anna Lee and me, hidden from Slasher’s view by having our backs against my desk behind the office divider. We’ve processed Slasher’s idiocy a little more quickly than Andy has — we are, after all, not the ones being ordered to run around outside while the mortars are falling to keep from getting injured or killed — so we’re laughing hard enough that we’re shaking the desk. Within seconds, in our labored efforts not to make a sound because Slasher is still standing right outside the partition pointing Andy at the door, we’ve tipped over onto the floor and are silently twitching around like strangled cats …

Bam! Another mortar hits …

Andy turns his head to stare directly at us for a long moment, eyes huge and blank in his totally befuddled disbelief. Finally he stands up, very slowly, as if by drawing the action out he’ll give Slasher time to come to his senses (fall down laughing all over again here). Eventually we hear Andy’s footsteps trudging reluctantly toward the door … and another mortar hits – wham!

Anna Lee and I collapse in giggles all over again,

 Later we found out that as soon as Andy walked out the door he ran into the camp manager, who is, unlike Slasher, actually and truly in charge of making sure everyone complies with the security procedures, and is a sane and reasonable man. The moment he saw Andy he yelled, “What are you doing out here?! Get back in the building! Take cover!” Andy started to point and splutter something about Slasher, and the camp manager told him to shut up and get back inside the building!

 We just about died when we heard that – poor Andy, bless his heart!

***

As long as LTC Slasher’s stupidity hadn’t killed anyone, we laughed. It helped to maintain some semblance of sanity, productively contributing to our ability to avoid one of us shooting or strangling Slasher in a fit of self-preservation. It was obviously a dark humor, though, and one we hoped we’d never come to regret.

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