Army Prom

One night on Fort Knox the Armor boys got all dressed up and had themselves a ball. A military ball is a lot like prom, except for all the swords and the depressing POW table set up in the corner. There’s a guy who’ll take a picture of you and your date and everybody drinks until they’re naked and the next morning nobody remembers their name.

Anyway, the chief of staff of the Army was a tanker and he brought his plane and security detail all the way from Washington D.C. And the military police had to sit on the perimeter—ever vigilant—bored and itching to shoot something. Please god give me someone to shoot because I’m so tired of carrying this thing around for nothing.

Three MPs sit in a Jeep just off Chaffee Ave. They’re there to control traffic, but there is no traffic. It’s just after 2100 hours and the eating and toasting is done and the party is moving on to the heavy drinking.

“I’m hungry,” Matson says from the backseat. “Let’s go get something to eat.”

“Shit,” Henry says. “Sergeant Doyle would kill us if we left this post.”

“Let’s order a pizza,” Martinez says. “They deliver.”

“Yeah,” Matson says. “Let’s order a pizza.”

They laugh. They’ve been in this Jeep since 1700, drinking Red Bull and telling lies.

“Sure,” Henry says. “A pizza.” He pulls out his cell phone and calls Papa Johns.

“And what’s the address?” Papa John asks.

“We’re at Chaffee and Custer, just across from the Armor Inn,” Henry says.

“And the building number?”

“There is no building number,” Henry says, Matson and Martinez laughing. “We’re in a military police Jeep on the side of the road.”


“Quit laughing assholes,” Henry says. “He’ll think it’s a prank.” And to Papa, “Come on, man. We’ve been out here since five and they won’t let us go for chow. You’re our only hope.”


“There’s a big tip.”

“Chaffee and Custer?”


“Okay,” Papa John says. “Forty minutes.”

“Well?” Matson asks.

“I don’t know,” Henry says. “Papa sounds skeptical.”

“You should’ve told him his drivers would get a pass for the year,” Martinez says.

“Yeah,” Henry says. “I didn’t think of that.”

An hour passes. The first cars coming down Custer from the Armor Inn and turning right on Chaffee. Drunk tankers going home to fuck their drunk wives.

“What the fuck is this?” Henry says, headlights in his rearview.

A pimpled face in the window. “Excuse me, sir?”

“Holy shit,” Matson says. “Do you want to get shot, boy. Don’t come up on the police from behind.”

His face goes white. “Oh, no. Please don’t shoot me. You ordered a pizza?”

“Calm down, Matson,” Martinez says. “Don’t worry boy, she won’t really shoot you. You brought our pizza?”

They tipped the driver ten dollars and send him on his way saying, “Tell Papa John that the military police appreciate this. And that we’ll remember it.”

They eat the pizza—hot and greasy—gathered around the hood of the Jeep as if they were in the field eating from MREs. And when they’re done, they throw the box into the ditch to dissolve under the rain just starting to fall.

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