“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
ELBERT enters from left of frame screaming and waving his arms.
ELBERT: YYYEEOOOOWAAGUH! Be gone miscreants!
REGINALDO: AND DON”T COME BACK. ‘LESS YOU WANTS A WHOOPIN’
ELBERT reels at the wailing of his half-brother.
ELBERT: Disgraceful scoundrels! What has everything come to?
REGINALDO: Damage report, sir.
ELBERT: Proceed lieutenant.
REGINALDO: Wilson’s down. Fredrick’s missing. Louise is shell-shocked. And. . .
ELBERT: And what boy, spit it out!
REGINALDO: They took the flag.
ELBERT is hit by a wave of disbelief.
ELBERT: (stammering). Come now, Del Lago, Buckley, Carter; pursue them! Fire at will!
A short awkward presence approaches ELBERT, eyes covered by ski-goggles.
WATSON: Major Elbert! The apparatus is operational! I just need a few minutes to test it…
ELBERT: There’s no time, they have the flag! Call over your men, position the weapon betwixt those two trees.
WATSON: You mean the aspen and the fir?
ELBERT: Yes, whatever, just get it up here pronto!
WATSON: Right away sir! (he raises a sloppy salute and dashes off, his feet leading his body.
REGINALDO (scans the horizon with binoculars). They’ve got quite a lead and aren’t slowing down. I’d say there at 50, 60 yards. What’s the range on the secret weapon?
ELBERT: Only guaranteed to 100 yards.
WATSON struggles with the apparatus, huffing while the weapon swings in his arms with each step.
ELBERT: Help him!
REGINALDO obliges and siezes the weapon from WATSON’s hands, running, hopping over a bush and sliding into place between the trees.
WATSON: Okay, um. . . open the tripod, first sir.
REGINALDO: Just prepare some rounds!
WATSON: of course.
ELBERT: We must fire within 10 seconds to get an accurate shot!
Madeline stomps over some brush into the scene, towing an Unkown Man with her. The man’s shirt is soaked through.
REGINALDO: Maddy! You’ve taken a prisoner? Excellent. Bring him to Jameson’s holding area.
MADELINE: Sir, he’s hit badly, but I’ve reason to believe he may know something of the enemy general’s plans.
ELBERT: I’ve got ten rounds ready, sir!
REGINALDO: Good, Elbert wait for my command. Madeline, stay put and secure the prisoner. Hand me a round Elbert!
ELBERT rushes over with the ammunition and obliges his commander.
REGINALDO: On three! One . . . two . . . the weapon fires, surprising Reginaldo as much as the others. The seconds feel like hours as every set of eyes follows the round sailing silently through the air toward the cluster of fleeing enemies. Until impact.
WATSON: A miss sir! The enemy appears unfazed and continues at full speed.
REGINALDO: Shit! Elbert another round and follow me! Watson move the bipod we’ll charge ten yards forward to that fallen tree.
The three huff and puff and slide into position.
REGINALDO: One . . . two. . . three! Another round flies and crosses the sun and patchy clouds on its path to its target. And then chaos. The blue captured flag tumbles from the enemy’s hand and drifts to the earth. Enemy bodies hit the ground a simultaneously, their hosts screaming. Reginaldo loads another round, which falls right on target again.
seems transfixed by the mayhem, delighted and saddened at the same time. Um . . . Elbert, assemble a squad and retrieve the flag immediately!
ELBERT: Yessir. He scampers off, calling for his comrades to join him.
REGINALDO: Madeline, what of this prisoner, what does he know?
UNKNOWN MAN: I’ll never tell you anything, you dogs! He spits at Reginaldo’s feet.
MADELINE: He let slip that the enemy general was prepared if this attack failed, and is flanking us from the east ridge!
WATSON: I see them sir! Look, they’re hiding behind the boulder on this side of the ridge!
REGINALDO: Look away everyone look away! Madeline lead him to the holding area, but keep one eye on that boulder and shout, “prisoner” when you see them leave the cover of the boulder.
UNKNOWN MAN: General! They–
MADELINE: socks the prisoner in the stomach, cutting his sentence short. Quiet, you. There’s more where that came from. She trudges on with the prisoner slapping his head and warning him not to drag his feet. Her left eye is patiently locked on the boulder. Just as she wonders if they’ll have to come after these wimps cowering behind the boulder, they emerge in an all-out charge. Prisoner!
Watson positions the bipod at the right angle watching the enemies close in and reaches for his side arm. Reginaldo fumbles for a round panting with anticipation and peering at the crazed faces of the approaching enemies.
REGINALDO: One . . . two . . . an enemy round zooms just over Reginaldo’s head, almost skimming his hair. . . three! The secret weapon unleashes another devastating round at the feet of the enemy formation and Reginaldo and Watson charge to finish them off. They leave no survivors.
ELBERT: stomps over grinning widely. Sir! Siiiir! It’s over!
ELBERT: We’ve won!
WATSON: Look, sir! They’ve got the enemy flag!
REGINALDO: smiles and then fades into a scowl. He steps toward the fallen enemy general.
ELBERT: That’s right, sir. After we secured our flag, we sent it back with two men and the rest of us carried on to assault. We caught them with their pants down, sir. Their flag was nearly unprotected!
REGINALDO gazes gleefully at the enemy flag and then mournfully at the fallen enemy general.
WATSON: Reginaldo, I mean sir, is everything alright?
REGINALDO: clears his throat. Em, yes. You see, my boy, in battle, to the victor go the spoils, and to the loser–
ENEMY GENERAL: coughs and sputters. Well the loser buys the next round of beers and bratwurst. Dude, I’m soaked, you son of a gun. Good game.
REGINALDO: Indeed, sir. You were cunning, but no match for my secret weapon.
ENEMY GENERAL: I know, where did you get that water balloon sling shot? All we had was water pistols and balloons.
REGINALDO: A magician never reveals his tricks, and neither does a good general.