Being that we have three days left in basic training, literally, I have noticed a vast increase in the amount of silliness coming from the commanders recently. During just about every non-serious thing we do it seems that they are messing with us somehow, making us do ridiculous things, and generally taking advantage of their position of unmitigated power and unquestionable demands. I'm not saying they are abusing us. In fact, it's entirely the opposite.
For example, after a day starting at 5am and lasting until 10pm of working in the kitchen cleaning innumerable dishes, trays, floors, and preparing food for hundreds of hungry soldiers, we had to stand in formation while the commanders talked to us. After announcing our sergeant's presence and calling for attention (think "commander on deck!"), he began to open a brown cardboard box that was sitting on the table next to him.
"I know it sucked working in the kitchen all day," the sergeant commiserated uncharacteristically, "but you all worked hard. I'm not giving you a compliment. Just know that we noticed." After finishing, he began pulling out handfuls of chocolate wafer candy bars. Score.
The group sighed with relief, knowing that even after a full day with no breaks the commanders could easily make us go exercise. The last thing you want to do after mopping the same floor for 14 hours is go running at a pace you can barely, if at all, keep up with. We'll take candy bars over sprints any day.
Commander Yonni, a tiny guy with crazy eyes who despite his size you would never mess with, was standing off to the side. Sergeant Slaughter was readying to hand out the candy bars when Commander Yonni stepped in and grabbed them. His crazy eyes were particularly bulging with excitement.
"You think you worked hard? Huh?..." He paused to let it sink in that we might not be done just yet. "Huh?"
"Yes, Commander!," shouted a lanky guy up front.
"Maybe," Commander Yonni replied quietly. The sergeant smiled out of the side of his mouth as the commander began passing out the candy bars. "Listen closely. Everyone take one, ONE, and take it fully out of the wrapper. Put the wrapper in your pocket."
As we received the bars we followed the directions, taking the bar out and putting the wrapper away. The chocolate was quickly smearing our fingers, but all we wanted to do was wolf down the rare treat. I, however, couldn't help but wonder what he could possibly be scheming.
"Now," he said after everyone was ready, "take one end of the bar and put it in your mouth. One end between your front teeth, the rest of the bar sticking out. If anyone eats even one crumb... I don't even know what."
We did as we were told, everyone laughing nervously as much as possible with a candy bar hanging from our teeth.
"PUSH-UP POSITION!," tiny Commander Yonni shouted.
I dropped to the floor instantly, chocolate bar in place. We all were looking around at each other, giggling like little girls.
"LISTEN UP," the commander properly shouting now, "each up and each down is a mouse bite! What does that mean, you ask? Every time I tell you to go down, you go to the lower push-up position and take a tiny, A TINY BITE! UNDERSTOOD?!"
"Yephss, Cophamnder!," we shouted, or rather garbled loudly.
Fifteen push-ups later I had finished nearly half the bar, hardly able to continue because of the intense laughter none of us could hold back. The sergeant stood up from his seat and walked in front of us, still on the floor with candy in our mouths.
"Enjoying your treat for hard work?," he asked.