by Jim Foreman


Although Lt. High and Obert had been in the same unit for several weeks, they had never come into direct contact. Lt. High tried to keep out of sight as much as possible by leading us on day-long marches into the woods, while Obert stayed holed up in his private little rat's nest in the boiler room. It was inevitable, however, that these two were bound to meet and we were just waiting for the day. It happened one Sunday morning when Lt. High was headed for the mess hall and Obert was returning to his rabbit warren.
       Obert had long since recovered from his bath and resumed his life of filth, plus a good coating of coal dust and soot from his job as fireman. He was humming to himself as he strode past the Lieutenant without the slightest recognition of his presence. Obert figured that since being a fireman and an Acting PFC made him exempt from all other military duties, he should also be exempt from having to salute officers.
       Lt. High took about three steps, and realizing that he had failed to received his customary salute, turned and yelled at Obert, "Soldier, don't you know what you are supposed to do when you meet an officer?"
       Obert turned, wrinkled his fat brow and replied, "Jeez Lootenant, I don't know. I guess I'm supposed to move over and get out of his way, so I don't knock him down, Snort-Snort, Oink- Oink."
       "You are supposed to salute him, that's what, and I demand a salute and proper respect."
       "Well, Lootenant Jackass, Sir, if a salute is what you want, then here's a real salute for you," replied Obert, shifting his weight to one foot, lifting the other leg and letting fly with one of his better farts.
       Lt. High was furious. "My name is Lieutenant High and how dare you call me a jackass."
       "Well, you're braying like a jackass, so I figured that I might as well call you one," replied Obert.
       "What is your name, soldier? I'm putting your ass on report."
       "You want my ass on report, well here is a another report from my ass for you," said Obert, as he shifted to the other foot and ripped off an even better one.
       "For the last time soldier, I'm ordering you to give me your name," demanded Lt. High.
       "Obert Filpot," replied Obert.
       "Don't try any of that funny name shit with me, Soldier, I'm a lot smarter than that. What is your real name?"
       "Acting PFC Obert Finus Filpot," said Obert. "That's the only name I got, except that everyone back home calls me Shoat."
       "Well, Private Obert Finus Filpot, I'm placing you on report for insubordination and disrespect to an officer and I'm giving you a direct order to remain in your barracks until I personally release you. You will not leave the area of your bunk for any reason other than to go to the latrine or mess hall," fumed Lt. High. "Do you understand what it means to receive a direct order from an officer?"
       "I reckon so, Lootenant. You say that I ain't supposed to leave my bunk for no reason at all, except to piss and eat?"
       "That's correct, and I will deal with you tomorrow morning with Captain Sanders," replied the Lieutenant as he scribbled Obert's name on a piece of paper. "And, while you are at it, go take a bath, you are a disgrace to the uniform!"
       "I don't gotta take no baths, Lootenant. The doctors at the hospital said that I didn't have to 'cause the shock could kill me," replied Obert as he turned and headed for the boiler room.

       Lt. High was nervously pacing the floor of the Orderly Room, waiting to see Captain Sanders when he walked in. "Captain, I have confined one of the enlisted men under house arrest and want to bring him up on charges. He not only refused to salute me, but he called me a jackass and farted at me; Twice!"
       "So you are the one who confined Filpot to his bunk," asked the Captain. Did you happen to notice that it got awfully cold in the barracks last night and we didn't have any hot water this morning,"
       "Well, yes I did, Sir, but what does that have to do with this situation?"
       "It just happens that the man whom you placed under house arrest is the one who keeps our boiler and furnace fired. Since you told him not to leave his barracks, there wasn't anyone to keep our furnace going last night. I heard about it this morning when I went to find out why we had no heat."
       "In that case, I'll release him from house arrest so he can do his job, but I still want to punish him for disrespect to an officer. I want him on KP for the next month," replied the Lieutenant.
       "I don't know if that would be such a good idea or not," replied the Captain. "The Mess Sergeant threw his ass out of the kitchen because he was so filthy the first time that he was on KP. How would you like to have him serving your food at the Officer's Table?"
       "But, Captain, we can't allow a man to get away with insubordination just because he is a filthy hog. We will lose the respect of the other enlisted men. What can I do to punish him?"
       "Tell you what, Lieutenant. Why don't you call him out in front of afternoon formation and strip him of that Acting PFC armband that he wears. That should teach him a lesson."
       "If that is the only punishment that you will allow me to give to him, it will have to do," replied Lt. High as he left the office.
       "Stupid Jackass," muttered Captain Sanders. "If I could ship both him and Filpot out of here, I'd raise the IQ of the unit a full 20 points. At least Filpot serves a useful purpose."

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