Wednesday, April 05, 2006


This is an excerpt from my novel in progress. Because I have no control over dates in the archives on this Google blog, I have had to post it all at Two sections are now posted at the bottom of my "best of" list on that blog. All will be in the Nov. 2004 archive.
Remember you guys, this is copyrighted materisl. Contact the author for permision to publish. Please.

Here it is:

Sergeant Walker took an instinctive dislike to Steve Kincaid. He didn’t like the way the other recruits looked to him for leadership. He didn’t like the way he kept to himself. And he especially didn’t like the fact that Kincaid was one of the few men in the platoon that hadn’t fought in the first three weeks.
The drill sergeant decided to make Kincaid his special project. He was called out to do pushups on the flimsiest excuse or for no reason at all.
“Bonner?” the sergeant called out to another member of the platoon. They were in formation, preparing to march to a class. “Do mah ahyes deceive me or is yoah shoe untahed? Git out heyah and gimmee twenny.” He looked along the line of men. “And you, Kincaid, you git out heyah and gimmee twenny counta yoah breathin’.”
That kind of thing gave the sergeant some satisfaction but it wasn’t enough. Kincaid was of decent size and muscular. The sergeant desperately wanted to see what he could do in the ring. He watched Kincaid for a couple of weeks waiting for him to have words with another member of the platoon. Looking for anything that would give him the chance to bait him into the ring. The chance never came.
The sergeant got tired of waiting. He decided to confront Kincaid in front of the platoon. That night he got the opportunity just before lights out. The whole platoon was in the barrack. Kincaid was crouched over his footlocker straightening it out. His back was to the door. The sergeant could see him from outside.
A recruit in basic training is trained to call the platoon to attention whenever a non-com enters the barracks. The sergeant sent in a recruit to tell those by the door not to do that. So the sergeant was able to walk up behind Kincaid without him knowing he was there.
Walker bawled out “Kincaid” in his best parade ground voice while, at the same time, putting a boot into Kincaid’s rump, pushing him head forward into his footlocker.
All of Kincaid’s instincts told him he was being attacked. He came up with his legs twisting around and unleashed a wicked overhand right all in the same motion.
Two voices down the aisle shouted, “’tenshun!”
Kincaid saw who it was and tried to pull the punch as much as he could.
The sergeant leaned his head back a fraction so the punch just grazed his chin and landed on his right shoulder with surprising force. He staggered back two steps and stood there with his mouth open, his legs apart.
There was an audible gasp from those in the barrack. All were watching.
Kincaid couldn’t help still being angry and it showed. He didn’t like someone, anyone, coming up behind him like that and he didn’t care who knew it. He didn’t care if he got court marshaled for it.
The sergeant didn’t like what he saw in Kincaid’s eyes. This was not the normal wet-pants recruit he was facing. The man wasn’t going to back down and the sergeant was in big trouble. He had waived the regulations when he had deliberately entered unannounced. But even if right had been on his side, he couldn’t bring Kincaid up on charges. A competent non-com never let things get so far out of hand that he could get attacked by a recruit. Besides that there was the company ‘fight’ program to think of. The base chaplain had already been complaining to the Inspector General about the company. A stink like this could finish the fights, and the sergeant dearly loved the fights.
A solution suddenly occurred to Sergeant Walker. He loved it! It was time for him to select a platoon leader anyway. A mean grin split his face. “Tough guy, huh?” He nodded his head up and down. “I figured that.”
The sergeant turned away from Kincaid and started walking up the aisle. “At ease,” he called.
Most of the recruits had never come to attention. They had been frozen in the position they were in when the action started.
“Well now, I knew that you boys had a tough guy here in the barracks.” The sergeant spoke to them as he walked up and down the aisle. “I want you boys to find out just how tough he is. We’re gonna call Private Kincaid there, the King of the Hill. We’re gonna make him Acting Platoon Sergeant. Acting Platoon Sergeant Kincaid will have a lot of special privileges. He’s first in line at the mess hall, he gets special passes into town, he doesn’t pull KP, things like that. Sounds pretty good, huh?” He looked around at the recruits. “Well? Doesn’t it sound pretty good? Let me hear you.”
“It sounds pretty good, sergeant,” a few of the recruits mumbled.
“I don’t hear you,” the sergeant shouted. “Does it sound pretty good?”
“It sounds pretty good, sergeant!” they all shouted.
He went nose to nose with one man. “Would you like to have those privileges yourself, soldier? Well, would you?”
The man he was looking at shouted, “Yes, sergeant.”
The sergeant turned and started walking up the aisle again. “Well you can have them. Any one of you can have them. That’s why we made Acting Platoon Sergeant Kincaid the King of the Hill. All you gotta do is whip his ass. If any one of you takes Kincaid there into the ring and whips his ass, that man becomes Acting Platoon Sergeant. That man gets the passes and no KP and all the rest.” He stopped in the center of the aisle and looked around again. “From what I’ve seen there’s several of you boys in the platoon can take him. No need me naming names. You know who you are.” He looked from face to face. “I always have the toughest platoon in the company and this platoon has the makin’s of the toughest I’ve ever had. Don’t let me down.”
The sergeant turned and left.
The recruits stayed where they were for a moment after he left, then they started moving slowly toward Kincaid’s bunk.
“Did you see the look of Kincaid’s face?”
“Yeah. He nearly decked him.”
Several patted Kincaid on the back.
The entire platoon was soon in a semicircle around Kincaid’s bunk.
“Nobody’ll challenge Kincaid.”
“I know I won’t.”
Kincaid heard them talking. That was something that had been bothering him. “Why do you let him put you in the ring?” He spoke quietly to the nearest boy.
The soldier stared at him blankly.
“Any of you,” he addressed the circle of faces near him, “why do you let him put you in the ring?”
They all stared at him with blank looks.
“What did he say?” someone asked from behind.
Kincaid stood on his footlocker and spoke so they all could hear. “Why do you let him put you in the ring?”
None answered. Some looked away.
He tried another approach. “How many of you enjoy getting into the ring?”
They all looked at each other. No one said anything.
“How many of you like fighting amongst yourselves?” Kincaid looked around at the group. “Anyone?”
“Do you guys want me as the platoon leader?”
A couple of guys said, “Yeah,” right away. Some more nodded. Then some others said, “Sure.” Before long the entire platoon seemed in agreement.
“Okay,” Kincaid said. “My first rule is: No more fighting amongst yourselves. From now on, the men in this platoon stick together. You can fight guys from other platoons, but the guys here are your buddies. You don’t fight anyone in this room. That’s my rule.”
He didn’t say what he would do to enforce it. He didn’t think he had to. From the look of relief on everyone’s face, they had had their fill of fighting in the ring.
The PA system piped in a recording of a bugle.
“Light’s out,” Kincaid said.


Post a Comment

<< Home