Short Story: Randall in the Army

A few months ago I was sorting through some old notebooks and found a short story I wrote in grade 11. I thought I'd type it up and share it here since I'm actually pretty proud of 16-year-old-Amie's efforts. Enjoy.

Randall in the Army
by Amie Gill (2001)

Randall had always been the quiet type. And as the Major stared him down from behind his large oak desk Randall sat quietly. Whether it was out of fear or bravery, Major West could not be sure. The question he had asked was simple, “Whose fault was the accident?” Randall knew the answer. He was present when it had happened. Although, the term 'accident' was debatable.

It had been a cool afternoon, unusual for this particular time of year, and the boys from the unit were in a rather jovial mood. It was Roger Smith who had first suggested they head down to the lake. The rest of the company had met the suggestion with much enthusiasm and in no time they were swimming, and playing cards under the trees surrounding the lake. As the afternoon progressed men scuttled back and forth providing everyone with snacks and refreshments. Soon enough not one man was sober and the swimming and innocent card games had descended into nude dips and gambling.

It wasn't unusual to see this sort of activity around the barracks. Even Major West had participated in such goings on in his youth. Now, however, as a hardened Major he wouldn't have a bar of it. As darkness set in and drinking continued, wild ideas were bandied around. Most were met with hysterical laughter. However, it didn't take long for someone to take things too far. When it was suggested that someone obtain a few sticks of dynamite and create somewhat of a water feature in the lake it was first greeted, as were the previous ideas, with laughter. When a few men disappeared from the proceedings it certainly didn't arouse suspicion.

By this time news of the gathering had reached Major West. Upset at having his bubble bath interrupted, he pulled on his robe and began his march towards the lake. As he got closer the sound of loud laughter and shouting filled the air. Anger built up within him and his face contorted. The sounds grew louder until he was hit with an unwelcome silence. Major West often relied on the element of surprise and now it looked as though he had been discovered.

It was soon painfully obvious that his presence had nothing to do with the silence though when it was broken by the sudden cry of “Run for it!” and the men came rushing up the bank towards him. As they ran past, all with shocked faces, they didn't even notice Major West until Randall collided with him. The other men running past as Randall rolled about on top of the Major.

“What the hell is going on here?” Major West shouted. By this time he was absolutely infuriated. His shouting, however, was in vain as the situation was soon explained to some degree by the sounds of water and a huge explosion. What was once the lake now covered Major West and Randall as well as most of the surrounding area. Thankfully nobody was injured. This fact, however, seemed to incense Major West further. “You should have all been killed,” he yelled. “At least it would have rid the world of your great stupidity!”

Now, all Major West was interested in was finding out who was responsible. Randall sat upright in the large leather chair opposite him, staring blankly. “I don't want to have to repeat myself,” said the Major sternly. Randall leaned to his right, his small green body unable to keep balance on the large chair. “Are you listening to me, son?” Major West shouted. Randall toppled over in the chair.

“Damn cucumbers!” screamed the Major. “Meant for salads, not the army!”

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