September 3, 2009


The sheets of paper flew into formation, six rows, four deep, except for the unfortunate gap at row four, position three. The 50% cotton content watermarked sergeant major failed to notice the gap as he roared out the quire’s roll.





The call and response went smoothly until –



No answer. Rows three, four, and five, back positions, glanced nervously at the gap where Chet should have been in place and shouting, “Yo!” No Chet. The sergeant major, quivering with rage, slid to a stop at the front of row four.

“Right. FILL THAT GAP!” he shrieked in a high-pitched strangled sort of voice.

Instantly, Helen, row four, position four, moved forward to row four, position three. She dared not meet the sergeant major’s wide-eyed, angry, nay, insulted, almost heart-stricken gaze. Audibly rustling, the sergeant major struggled to compose himself. Twenty-three pieces of paper prayed that the impending volcanic eruption would somehow, some miraculous how, be put off. Their prayers were answered. The sergeant major gained command of his dignity and began to call the cadence of the first exercise.

“Right! Fluttering! Ready! Begin! Flutter, 2, 3, 4. Flutter, 2, 3, 4 …”

The sheets of paper responded in efficient unison, not one of them daring to mess up any at all in the least little way.

Meanwhile, Chet, folded into glider form, laughed as he rode the wind, secure in the knowledge that he was one 50% cotton watermarked piece of paper who by god was never going to be run through a printer and sprayed with ink.


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