JULY 7
Field Exercise
Holiday: Cherry Pit Spitting Day

"Ow!"

BA looked over at the new lieutenant, mildly curious. Face looked back, scowling.

"These things have...seeds! Hard seeds."

"Ain't seeds, man. Pits. Didn't you know that?" BA shook his head. Even a city boy like he was knew cherries had pits.

Face blushed, but he retorted angrily. "Why would I? The only cherries I've had were in pies. And they didn't have seeds...pits...whatever the hell they are."

"You sure those the only cherries you've had, kid?" Ray looked back from his position, grinning.

"Well..."

"Hey, nuff of that shit, man." He wasn't exactly a virgin himself, but that didn't mean he liked making jokes about it. He glanced over at both men, scowling. Face was still staring at the cherry pit, now held gingerly in his fingers.

"Just spit em out, Face."

"Spit?" Face looked at BA, disgusted.

BA shook his head. The LT acted like he'd been around, but sometimes...

"Yeah, LT." Ray popped a cherry into his mouth, chewed a moment, and shot the pit like a bullet across the clearing. "See that? Gotta be twelve feet, easy."

Face grimaced, then squinted his eyes at the pit, nearly hidden in the grass.

"More like ten."

"Further than you could manage, LT. How bout you, BA?"

BA also eyed the lone pit, then carefully picked a cherry from the box. A moment later, a second pit landed on the ground, clearly out-distancing Ray's. BA chuckled proudly.

Ray frowned, then looked at Face. "C'mon, Face. Give it a shot. I'll even spot you two feet."

"Forget that." Face sat up straighter, just as serious as the other two had become, and took his shot.

"Close, LT. Real close. Not bad." Ray prepared his next volley.

For the next few minutes, the air was pocked with flying cherry pits, interspersed with good-natured arguments about whose had gone where and how far. Until suddenly Hannibal stepped out of the bush, a pit landing softly at his feet. He looked solemnly at each of the contestants, and BA suddenly felt very, very foolish.

"Gentlemen..." BA almost groaned out loud. He knew that tone - the colonel was going to give them another lesson in military history or something else just as boring.

"One of the biggest rules of covert missions is not letting the enemy know where you are, or where you've been. So, in the interest of preserving the realism of this exercise, you will now pick up each and every one of these cherry pits. And so help you all if I find even one when you're finished."

As the three chastened men crawled about, picking up the offending pits, Face muttered, barely audible to the others, "No more damn cherries for me."

Ray smirked. "Yeah, until you see her."

"Hey, nuff of that shit, man."

FINI