Cardboard boxes

Beach wandered into one of the large workrooms and paused to sniff the air. Peering around, he spotted a fresh baked pie on the workbench in the center of the room. It was still steaming slightly and his mouth began to water. He edged over closer to it, peering around warily. Sure enough, a heavy cardboard box dangled over top of it, hanging from a rope attached to the ceiling.

"Heh." They wouldn't catch the Ranger unaware this time. Not that he couldn't get himself back out of a box.. but darn it, it was the principle of the thing. He sniffed again. Apple pie.. made from good granny smith apples if he didn't miss his guess. At least they were using good pie for bait.

Judging the distance and angle of attack, Beach circled the table a few times, looking up at the dangling box over the table. Finally he went to the far side of the table to reach over it and grab the pie quickly. Clutching his warm prize, he chuckled with satisfaction at not making the box drop over him.

The soft "twang" from behind him made him freeze for one second too long. The hidden cardboard box flipped up from under a tarp on the floor to slam over him, the spring arm snapping it in a perfectly calibrated arc to capture him in a lightning fast move.

"Crap." Inside the dark box, Beach settled to the floor to enjoy the pie. A few minutes later and he stuck his fingers out the hand holes to peer out. The room was still empty and he lifted the edge up warily, scooting out from under the box and standing up. "Hmm.. " Straightening his balaclava slightly, he sauntered back out, headed down to his office. The pie wasn't bad at all.. although the apples were just slightly too firm, having almost a bit of crispness to them still. "Rushin' bakin' a good pie.. just ain't right." He disappeared down the hallway.

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Clutch and Shipwreck frowned at Tripwire who shrugged at him. "What? I thought the spring arm would be tougher for him to move than that."

Clutch snorted. "Well, at least I predicted he'd try for the bait from the opposite side of the table."

Shipwreck went in to frown at the ineffective trap. "Yeah, for all the good it did us." He peered up at the hanging box. "He did totally fall for the fake box though. Maybe we should do a hanging box trap next.. he won't expect the hanging box to be the real trap next time!"

Tripwire began to untie the support ropes on the various boxes. "Well.. you'll have to bake the next bait pie. I burned eight of my fingers on that one. And there had better not be teeth marks in the pie pan either, you know how mad Roadblock was with that other pan."

Shipwreck plucked up the discarded empty pan. "No, the pan is fine.. squeaky clean too. I think he licked it."

Clutch held up his hands when the sailor tried to hand the pan to him. "Ewww.. no way.. that's got Beach slobber all over it."

"You work in the garage.. don't tell me spit bugs you!" Ship rolled his eyes and began to help dismantle the cardboard box. "You're a pussy."

"Shut up.. just because there's things I won't touch.. unlike YOU..."

Tripwire sighed as they argued. Somehow he just knew he'd end up doing most of the work setting the next trap up too.

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The team's Sergeant major was seated in his office, flipping through paperwork trying to catch it all up when a slight noise caught his attention outside the door. Getting up, he poked his head out of the doorway, saw nothing out of place and went back to his chair. He could almost smell trouble in the air. It was a sixth sense he'd long since developed to deal with all the trouble-makers under his command.

Within a minute, Flint wandered into his office so nonchalantly that Beach's inner radar immediately went off. "Hi Beach." He reached around and shut the office door, then turned back to look at the Ranger casually, even tucking his hands into his pockets. "I uhh.. figured I'd come by to seeeeeee... umm.. how you were."

Beach leaned to the side to look around him at the closed door, his eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Uh huh. So what are ya hiding out in the hallway?"

Flint stepped slightly to the side. "Nothing! Uhh.. nothing.. just figured it would be...a private conversation when I... asked you about how you were."

The Ranger settled back in his chair to stare at Flint. "Yeah? So nothin' is goin' on outside that door that I should be concerned with?"

"Nothing at all."

"Nothing?"

"No.. why are you all paranoid that something is always going on around you?" Flint swallowed twice and then rocked back on his heels and Beach snorted. "Nothing going on."

Beach sighed. "So... there's no large pieces of cardboard bein' dragged down the hallway past my door, right now?"

Flint looked startled. "What? How'd you know? I mean..."

"Stop it. I ain't stupid."

"So you know what's up?"

Beach shrugged. "I don't know anything about a bettin' pool on who can 'contain BeachHead with a cardboard box fer at least ten minutes usin' pie as bait'. Not a darn thing. I'm also not doing random roaming patrols into prime areas for settin' up traps on a regular basis." He gave the Warrant officer a smug look and Flint tried to rally.

"So.. if you know about it.. why are you stepping into the traps? It's not like they're doing a very good job of setting them up."

Beach's grin spread wide on his face. "DID I mention the 'usin' pie as bait' part? I done ate two whole pies. Pretty decent ones too. Ain't even gotta share 'em with no one."

Flint groaned. "You know, you sort of took away most of the pleasure I was getting out of this whole ridiculous situation?"

The Sergeant major grinned even wider. "Well now.. I'm gettin' free pie and I just made it less enjoyable for you. Win-win in my book." He bent back over the paperwork. "You could let on to them that a good peach pie would go down well as bait too. Not that I don't like apple, but I done ate two of those."

Flint reached for the doorknob, speaking over his shoulder in a disgusted tone. "Beach, you take all the fun out of stuff for me."

"Sucks ta be you, Flint.. but then, it always does. Shoot.. if'n I was you, I'd hafta poke out my eyeballs so I didn't remind myself every time I passed a mirror."

"Oh shut up."

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