Shamar is our first deserter. He dumps his cup of
coffee on the lawn and stalks across Darby's
flipping us off over his shoulder. He slams the gate
"Well, too bad for you, then!" Darby yells after
He tells us that in the grand scheme of things this
probably for the best. Shamar has always been out of
step with the neighborhood and even went toe-to-toe
with the Community Standards Council over the
inappropriate planting of certain exotic flowers in
his front yard. He just does not have the mettle it
takes to be in the army. Besides, he is probably
working for Castro, or somebody like Castro.
The guys mutter in agreement.
This is not good, as Darby has forgotten that
is the only one of us, besides Roriaty, who has any
guns. Obviously, this is something Darby and I will
have to discuss privately. The first rule to
maintaining an army is knowing how to hide certain
hard facts that, if leaked, might lower morale.
Darby breaks the first rule of maintaining an
"We don't have any what?" he yells at me, accusingly.
"We don't have any weapons, General. Well, hardly
any. Roriaty, you still have that shotgun, don't
Roriaty looks like a kid whose allowance is about
be adjusted. "Actually, I had to get rid of it," he
says. "For safety purposes. You know, they're
dangerous to have lying around the house."
"Perfect," says Darby. He's pouting now.
Larkin suggests we practice hand-to-hand combat
lunch, and maybe, later on, with kitchen knives.
Jackson asks Darby where the latrine is and Darby
tells him to take a right at the refrigerator, first
door on the left.
Darby comments to the troops, "War can be hell,
But it's limbo when you don't have any goddamn
"Perhaps we should go over some strategies," I
to break the silence of digestion.
"Quite right," says Darby. "And maybe, as
General, you can record our plans on the blackboard."
I go to the chalkboard and erase the votes.
"Now who has an idea concerning our strategy?" says
"Perhaps it would help to figure out what we want?"
suggest. I pick up a piece of chalk.
"A fine idea," says Darby. "And I suppose it
much goes without saying what we want. Isn't that
right, Mr. Worthy?"
Worthy says, "Yes."
"And what do you want out of all this, Mr.
Darby points to him.
Harmon takes a sip of his Coke. "I just want a
place for my kids to grow up in."
"Very good." Darby seems impressed. He swivels
towards me. "Write that down."
I write, "FREE PLACE FOR KIDS".
"And how about you, Mr. Kirkland?"
Kirkland lights a cigarette. "Free access to all
premium cable channels. And cigarettes tax free. No
"Well put," says Mr. Jordan, who also lights up a
"Ok, then." Darby motions towards me. "Go ahead
put free cable and free cigarettes up there."
We start digging trenches in Darby's front yard.
hard work, especially considering that half the guys
swear they can't pick up a shovel, under strict
doctor's orders. Including Darby. Plus, no one really
sees the sense in digging any trenches. But orders
orders, so Jackson, Kurtan and I dig. Darby has his
wife bring us out some lemonade periodically. She
gives us highlights on the progress of the army, now
moved into the air conditioning of Darby's house.
She says, "Phillips and Anderson got drunk and
Anderson broke my floor lamp. And we paid over a
hundred bucks for that floor lamp."
Larkin informs us that he heard from a guy that