"Stand in the door." Sobel said in a monotone voice, "You just broke both your legs Private Gordon, are you trying to get yourself killed?"
"No sir!" Gordon said, and ran on to the next course.
"Stand in the door."
Asa watched Gordon start to high knee through the rope course. She was behind Guarnere who jumped and received a nod from Sobel.
"Stand in the door."
Asa moved into position and jumped. She rolled to her back and in one swift motion, was on her feet, running to the ropes. She didn't look back at Sobel, but heard, "Stand in the door." So she figured he had approved. She started to high knee through the ropes, around her men were swearing and falling. Ahead of her, Guarnere fell just as he was coming out of the ropes. "Shit!" he said, turning to her as she came out of them, "Fucking ropes!"
Asa smiled as they continued.
A day later they were dressed in their green jumpsuits, doing the same as before. This time there were wooden boxes to crawl through and a wall to go over.
"Come on, to the wall to the wall! Over as a team!" Lieutenant Winters was shouting, encouraging them over the wall, "Come on get to the wall!"
The next day they were crawling under barbed wire through the mud, when they happened upon a ditch filled with intestines and who knows what else.
"Jesus what is this?" Muck exclaimed as they were crawling.
"Pig guts boy." Bull Randleman said.
"Joy." Asa said, following Muck down into the ditch.
Later on, Asa stood with Guarnere, Talbert, and Shifty Powers as they watched Sobel with Gordon.
"Why are you here Private Gordon?" Sobel asked.
"I want to be in the Airborne sir." Gordon mumbled.
"I don't believe you. Why are you here Private Gordon?"
"I want to be in the Airborne sir!" Gordon shouted.
"You have fifteen minutes to the top and back, and I will be watching you." Sobel said. Gordon stared at him until Sobel said, "What are you waiting for?"
Gordon started running, didn't even give Sobel a salute. Asa chuckled at the thought, "What do you suppose, boys?"
"About what?" Talbert asked.
"We goin' with him?"
"It'd be the right thing to do." Shifty said, "But do we really want to run up that thing again?"
"It'd piss off Sobel." Asa said.
Guarnere grinned, "Then what are we waiting for?"
The four of them set off after Gordon in full gear. They ran past Sobel, nodding in greeting toward him as they did. Asa was sure to give him a nice smile. He watched them in disbelief, standing in the same spot, even as they started the climb.
By the time they reached Gordon, he was barely able to keep going. Asa and Guarnere jogged up to either side of him without saying a word. Shifty and Talbert came up beside them too, Gordon looking around in relief. He nodded a thank you to them, and found the strength to keep going.
Asa watched Private Parks packing up his bunk. Sobel had found a can of peaches in his foot locker, and ordered Winters to get rid of him.
"I'm very sorry." Winters had told Parks.
"Jesus," Luz said in the bunk to her right, "what the hell's Sobel got against us?"
"Ants under his boot." Asa said.
"I'd fuckin' like to be ants in his goddamn pants." Luz said, "But he'd have to have his underwear on, because that's…" he trailed off.
"Well, I'll be seeing you guys." Parks said.
"Bye Parks!" they all chimed.
"Have a nice life." Luz called after him as he closed the door, "Poor guy."
"At least it wasn't us." Tipper said.
"This stuff is orange."
"It ain't even spaghetti, its army noodles and catsup." Perconte said, shoving a forkful of noodles in his mouth.
"I ain't eating it." Guarnere said, sitting next to Perconte.
"Ah, that's what Asa said." Perconte, "I'll tell you the same thing I told her. As a fellow Italian, you should know passing up a plate of spaghetti is a sin."
The doors flew open and Sobel entered, "Orders have changed, Easy company is running up Currahee, move move!"
"Jesus." Perconte said.
Asa ran up Currahee next to Guarnere, with Winters on her right. Around her, men were throwing up spaghetti and collapsing. Sobel was running through the ranks shouting at them to stop, that there was an ambulance at the bottom, no more pain, no more currahee, no more captain sobel.
"We fall upon the risers-" Luz started singing, the men joining along in their favorite march song.
"Three miles up, three miles down." Asa whispered, "Ain't so bad, don't think about it. Remember what Winters said. Beat Sobel."
She looked at Winters who had been eyeing her. He smiled and nodded, "There you go." She felt her face get hot and looked away. Then an unbidden smile touched her lips as she started singing along-Winters had been looking at her.
"Stupido." She said to herself, but smiled anyway.