ALL: Crystal clear, sir!
ROONEY: Yes, sir!
Sgt.: Are you ready to look death in eye with a big toothy grin?
ROONEY: I brushed and flossed this morning for just such an occasion, sir!
Sgt.: Thatís what I want to hear! On this practice mission, your objective will be to jump from the plane to the ground under cover of night, preferably utilizing your chute at some point before impact. After that you will rendezvous with Bravo Company at the specified location.
SMITH: What then, sir?
Sgt.: You will be given your orders at the rendezvous point. You know that, soldier! You are on a need to know basis only! Just who do you think you are?
SMITH: Iím a greasy grimy maggot, sir!
Sgt: And donít you forget it! Iím going to the cockpit. Be ready to jump in 5 minutes! (EXITS)
SMITH: (with his best imitation of the SGT) ďJust who do you think you are?Ē
DAVIS: ďA greasy grimy maggot, sir!Ē
SMITH: Stow it, Davis! Youíre not looking forward to this anymore than I am!
DAVIS: I know. What were we thinking when we volunteered for this outfit?
ROONEY: No guts, no glory, guys. Itís really simple. All we have to do is what we were trained to do: Jump out of the plane, pull the cord, and tuck and roll when you hit the ground.
SMITH: Thatís easy for you to say, youíve done this already! I mean, we canít even see where weíre falling to.
DAVIS: The ground.
SMITH: But you canít even see it!
DAVIS: Trust me itís there.
ROONEY: Oh, come on, fellas, you knew this was coming. Remember, what they told us: See one, try one, do one. See somebody do it. Try it yourself with close supervision and then do it! Thatís where youíre at. Itís time to do it!
DAVIS: Yeah, but when we tried it, it was off a 200 ft. tower with a bungi cord. This is different. Itís night time. Now, weíre jumping 15,000 feet into the unknown!
ROONEY: Itís not the unknown, the sarge just told you whatís down thereóBravo company and further orders!
SMITH: But we canít see that from here!
ROONEY: If the sarge says itís there, itís there.
DAVIS: But what if we donít make it?
ROONEY: To the ground? Oh, youíll make it to the ground. Everybody makes it to the ground. Some quicker than others.
SMITH: Oh, thatís reassuring. I donít know. I just donít think that Iím ready for this! Itís just not my time.
ROONEY: When will the right time be if not now? Youíre as trained as you need to be. The only thing left is to start doing it. Youíre not going to feel any more confident about the first time than now.
DAVIS: Excuse me. Arenít you forgetting about the huge margin for error? If I donít tuck my legs correctly, I could swallow my kneecaps.
ROONEY: Probably. Better make sure that you tuck your knees correctly, then.
SMITH: I canít do this. I just canít.
ROONEY: Yes you can. This is what youíve been trained to do! If you donít apply what youíve learned then all the training was for nothing. I remember how much you were looking forward this when you signed up. You too, Davis! ďWe'll float down on Bravo company like angels from heaven!Ē Thatís what you said.
DAVIS: That was before I truly realized what a leap of faith this isÖ
ROONEY: Yes, it is a leap of faithÖbut where does that faith lie? In yourselves? You have been given the best training possible for this. The sarge has done this hundreds of times and has trained hundreds more. Have faith in the preparation that has been given to you. You didnít just volunteer for this missionÖyou were selected.
DAVIS & SMITH: Wha?
ROONEY: Didnít you know? The mission was only offered to those who could do it. They wouldnít have let you up in this plane if they thought that you couldnít do it.
DAVIS: That doesnít jive. The sarge just said that we were expendable.
ROONEY: Yup, chosen to be expendable ... just like the sarge was!
© Eric Stapleton, All rights reserved
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