The beds make a neat line down the center aisle of the barracks.  A perfect line.  The beds on either side symmetrical.  The impression it gives a sense of measured linearity.  But then you see men’s feet poking out of blankets.  White men’s feet, which attacks the order sensed in the layout, like everything is a slave to it, a slave to a neat and orderly arrangement, and the feet sticking out don’t belong… The windows are open, letting the first morning light in, and you can hear fans going, circulating the stifled air and the soft snores in the shadows where the rays of light don’t fall, none of the men’s sleeping faces apparent, the beds arranged in such a way that the light from the tall windows overshoots the heads of the beds.  So you only see the white feet.

 A door at the end of the line of beds opens, letting in all the light from outside. A pinkish-gray light that’s the indication of a sunrise.  THE DRILL SERGEANT enters and grabs an empty trashcan by the door, banging the metal of its empty interior with a night stick.


Once bitten, twice shy—Ladies!  Time to get

your asses out of bed!  Don’t make me have

to say it twice!  Roll call!

 The drill sergeant carries a clip board and walks briskly down the center aisle as the men pop to attention at the foot of each bed.  Their clothing uniform—white V-neck t-shirts and white boxer shorts.  The drill sergeant makes a head count calling out the name of each man as he passes them.  Each man yelling, “Sir! Yes, Sir!” as he passes.  But then the drill sergeant stops.  He stops at an empty bunk. The blankets still hospital cornered in at the folds—even and measured, not disheveled from the restless prods of feet.


 Tribout! Goddammit! Where’s Tribout!

 Snickering can be heard behind him and the drill sergeant turns.


Alright… what do you men know about it… 

You! Tell me!

The drill sergeant gets in a soldier’s face.


 I think he got bit, sarge…

 More snickers can be heard.


Bit?  What the hell do you mean?  He got bit?


Love bit, sarge…

 More snickers.  Someone whispers, almost inaudible: “Here Kitty, Kitty!”

And full laughter breaks out in the barracks.