Remedial Report Writing
Fluff inspired by twitter conversation induced plot bunnies.
BeachHead hunched over his desk, growling to himself as he attempted to decipher one of the latest greenshirt reports. He gave them plenty to do and they had a organized command structure in themselves. They were experienced soldiers of various branches of the military, not raw recruits and certainly not third-graders
"Dang it.. " He rubbed the bridge of his nose. Peeling off the mask, he ran a hand up through his hair and wondered if he was going gray yet or not. All he wanted was for them to do their assigned job, write up a short report on what they did and then stay out of most of the trouble in between. He'd been dealing with various levels of bored troops for years. As soon as he'd moved up to training Ranger recruits, he'd thought it would be easier. Instead of raw young people who didn't know their left from their right or how to stand still for more than twenty seconds at a time.. he'd be training experienced Army soldiers. Should have been much easier on him. Instead, he found he was dealing with young people who were better trained and thus more destructive and more creative in how to be destructive. To boot, they were handed even MORE destructive materials and tools, that they were quickly taught multiple ways to use.. and they even more quickly invented non-approved ways to use them. Mostly in ways that gave him headaches of the physical and paperwork variety.
And now, he was with an even MORE elite unit made up of the cream of the cream of the crop. Then they gave all of them the latest and most powerful weapons and equipment... then let them have downtime so they could get bored and test the limits of a certain Sergeant major's patience. You'd think that "just" dealing with paperwork would be the relaxing part of his day.
Setting aside that report, he plucked up a new one and perused it, quickly frowning as he tried to figure out exactly what it was actually saying. Beach figured out it was referring to the squad that had repainted the motorpool(after the same squad got caught painting a 'pin-up' that suspiciously resembled a certain ninja apprentice) but he wasn't certain if Mouth was trying to say they'd used fifty gallons of yellow paint.. or if they'd gotten interrupted by being sent on a emergency mission and had used the paint to bomb a Viper who had been delivering a box of cookies. "Ya'd think that'd be obvious.." Of course, this WAS GI Joe.. one was about as likely as the other, if he was completely honest with himself. He'd never been around a unit that attracted more weird shit than this one.
"Oh fer gawd's sake.. Miller.. dang it." Beach took a deep breath, read over the list of materials, read the short paragraph that told him exactly how many greenshirts were billeted in barracks two... without ever mentioning whether they had actually completed the task the materials were for. "This is danged ridiculous."
He picked up the stack of reports and looked at them for a long minute. "Alright... Ah've had enough." Striding out of his office, he walked past the other desks of various administrative personnel. Finding his way down the hallways, BeachHead barely noticed people scattering out of his path as he stormed through the corridors.
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The group of greenshirt troopers grew by two more as Mouth and Williams came into the room. "Hey.." Mouth looked around. "What are we doing? Anyone got a clue? Other than probably getting yelled at by Sergeant major.. that is."
Miller gave him a scathing glance. "We're probably all in trouble for one of your hare-brained ideas. Sergeant major has been in a poor mood lately. Dusty told me that he reserved the conference room and sent him to gather up a dozen of us." He settled onto a stack of chairs and looked around. "I'd say he's hand picking a bunch of us for some reason. Maybe there's a mission they need some of the best greenshirts for."
Mouth grinned and plucked up some loose markers to juggle clumsily. "Then.. why would YOU be here, Miller?" He dropped one marker and held up the remaining two with a triumphant air. "Yeah!" Most of the assembled troopers either rolled their eyes or laughed. "I say we should quickly disappear. Might be best."
There was a irritated rumble from the doorway. "That's a split infinitive, Mouth."
Mouth jumped and blurted out quickly. "What's a infinitive, Sergeant major?"
He was frowned at. "What's 'an' infinitive." Everyone jumped to their feet and turned to see BeachHead waiting for Teryis and Folkson to enter before he shooed at all of them. "Grab some chairs and sit your danged uneducated selves down." The burly Ranger waited a moment while they all got settled. "I've been goin' over reports all day and I'm sick to death of havin' to decipher what ya'll are sayin'."
Mouth grinned. "So we don't have to write reports anymore?"
BeachHead glowered at him and then spread his glare around the room. Reaching for a marker, he tapped the wall board on one side of the room. It flipped over and he wrote on it quickly in nice neat letters. "Yer comment of 'I say we should quickly disappear' should be... " He finished writing. "Like this.. 'I say we should disappear quickly.' instead." He circled the two words. "Ya keep making mistakes in yer grammar and at times it changes the whole meanin' of the sentence. So when I'm readin' a report, I need to know.. did ya'll paint the building.. or did the building paint ya'll. So now.. since none of ya seem able to write a report that a fifth grader can be proud of.. I'll run over some basic grammar rules so maybe ya'll can write up a report that makes good sense."
The greenshirts all looked at each other. Miller shifted slightly and nodded. "Yes Sergeant major. But.. we all know how to write reports."
BeachHead shuffled the stack of papers and handed Miller one. "Take a pen and correct all the grammar mistakes in this." He handed out reports to everyone. "No one has their own reports.. right? All right. Do it. Come on. Ya'll know all about writin' properly so this'll be easy."
Twenty minutes later and he was walking through the room, picking up papers at random and writing on the board. Each mistake was written up in it's original form and BeachHead then pointed out the error.
"Sentences need a subject AND a verb. It don't do me no good for ya'll to go tellin' me that 'wall boarding and fifty-two cases of drywall screws' if'n I don't know what the hell ya'll DID with 'em." Another quick scribble. "This don't tell me WHO did all the work on the project.. it tells me who is billeted in the barracks." Another sentence was written quickly. "Make sure yer subjects and verbs agree."
Miller tilted his head. "Agree? But.. the sentence has a noun and a verb.. isn't it right?" BeachHead began writing a few more examples from another report. "Sergeant major?"
Puffing out a breath, Beach ran the marker under each error. "The greenshirts runs the Q.M. inventory. It's The greenshirt runs.. or the greenshirts run. You can't have one plural tense and one singular tense. So.. was it one greenshirt or was it a lotta greenshirts? Yeah, I know which is was.. but these reports go to more folks than just me. What if Hawk is readin' one of these and wants to know which greenshirt has been doin' all the danged work?" He handed the reports in his hand back to Miller in the front. "Everyone get your own report and rewrite it."
Everyone shuffled papers. "Sergeant major.. what if our report was fine without errors?" Teryis leaned back in her chair when the Ranger loomed over her.
He snatched the paper out of her hand. "Without errors?" He glanced over it. "Wrong tense, apostrophe before the 's' here, two danglin' participles, and at least four sentence fragments what make no sense." He handed it back. "That's twenty pushups fer each error... how many pushups are ya gonna do" His eyes gleamed in a dangerous glint. "... or do Ah gotta start up a remedial math class also?"
"No Sergeant major, that's..." Her face fell. "A hundred and sixty pushups." She dropped to the floor to begin counting out her punishment.
Beach turned around. "Anyone else think their paper is fine? Or would ya rather try to fix it before Ah grade it?" Everyone bent over the pages, writing on whatever surface was handy.
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BeachHead closed his eyes and told himself that beating Mouth with a chair wouldn't improve his grammar. "Gawd DAMMIT! Four sentence fragments, 'you are' is not spelled 'y.o.u.r', and for the third danged time.. 'I before E, except after C'." He handed the paper back.
Mouth looked up at him pitifully. "But... what about the word 'either', Sergeant major?" When Beach's eyes narrowed, he spoke up quickly. "Or... 'neighbor'? Those don't follow that rule.."
"Hundred and twenty pushups." Beach started to turn to the next greenshirt.
Mouth sighed and then whined. "My arms are noodles already.. "
"What? Whut? Are ya sayin' ya can't? Cause Ah got news fer ya, Mouth. Ya got energy to snark at me, ya got energy to do PT." The reprimand made Mouth shake his head frantically. "Are ya refusin' to do punishment?"
"I uhh.. I just don't want to badly do pushups, Sergeant major!" Mouth stepped back.
Beach rounded on him again. "Split infinitive! 'I just don't want to do pushups BADLY' Gawddammit! Fifty MORE!" Mouth cut his losses and dropped to the floor to begin counting out the pushups. "Dang ya'll pogues.. who's next!"
Williams handed over his report. To tell the truth, Private Williams had been the best of the offenders. Beach suspected he'd only ended up submitting poorly written reports because he rushed to get things done too quickly. A quick scan over it showed him only one issue. "Ya got one double negative. 'could not get no resupply'."
Williams took the report back but protested. "But Sergeant major, you say it that way all the time!"
Beach threw his hands up. "But I don't danged well WRITE it like that!"
Miller spoke up quickly. "Wasn't that a split infinitive Sergeant major?"
He growled. "Drop and gimme fifty! Ya'll pogues are gonna learn to write correctly or so help me GAWD I'll take it outa yer danged hides."
Ace listened at the slightly open door. "You were right Footloose. Telling the greenies to do a bad job did end up in punishment duty. But I think it's technically punishment by proxy, since they're getting lessons in writing and grammar instead of straight punishment."
Footloose protested. "Hey hey... dude, it's still punishment." He tilted his head as a particularly loud bellow reached them. "If you can tell me with a straight face that listening to Sergeant major Stinky tell you about dangling participles on your time off isn't punishment.. I'll eat my best flip flops."
Ace sighed and nodded. "Fine.. break me why don't you?" He counted out fifty dollars. "We're still on for getting one of them punished for irritating CoverGirl."
Footloose smiled smugly as he pocketed the cash. "Give me time, brother."
Thanks to all the twitter crowd. Ya'll know who you are. Now onto the next plot bunny...