Potato, Elephant, Rocket

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars. Let me see if…Shit what’s the rest of it? Something about Jupiter and Mars.

“Sir, the enemy is approaching.”

“Don’t charge the elements until you see the expressions on their faces.” I thought that sounded good, strong, confident.

“Sir, that’s pretty close sir.”

“Exactly.” More confidence and strength.

“Sir, we can use our new rockets to fire at them at their current distance, sir.”

“Yes, but we have nothing to fire at them but potatoes and cans of soup.”

“I think that would hurt, sir, especially at the speed and force with which we can fire them. Canned soup at that speed is basically a cannon ball.”

“I see your thinking private, but we need that food. If all we do is bruise a few of their men, we’ll also be feeding them. I don’t know about you, but if I’m starving, I’m not above digging a spud out of the orbital socket of a dead man’s skull. What about you private?”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“I said, would you dig a potato out of a dead man’s skull if you were hungry enough?”

“I suppose so, sir.”

“Well private, I suppose the enemy would not be above such behavior either.” I tapped a cigarette on my gloved wrist.


“Here you go, sir”


I took a thoughtful drag and let the smoke come out with my next words.

“What do you think about pancakes private.”

“Pancakes, sir?”

“PANCAKES! Pillow-y spheres dripping with melted butter and sweet maple syrup. What do you think of that.”

The private looked up at the sky, as if the clouds would fall down onto a plate and the heavens would rain down syrup.

“That sounds nice, sir.”

“Indeed, private, indeed.”


The elephant reared back, like the grand finale at a barnum and bailey’s circus act. I fell from my saddle to the rear of the elephant.

My cigarette fell, just a foot from me, I reached, pinching it between two fingers. My head, suddenly hot. Everything went dark and a smell, an ungodly smell. I could hear faint voices. Was my spirit leaving my body?

“huh, ooor eeeaaad tuck eeeefaant aaasss!”

What was he saying? It was getting hard to focus. I was getting sleepy. Time for those pancakes from the sky.

“I served with General Culos, he was a confident and strong man. I think about him everyday. So let this memorial be a reminder to all of us that the enemy is not always in front of you. It can come at any moment from behind–from a behind.”

There in the town square, where General Gustavos Peditos Culos was born and raised, was erected a statue of an elephant standing, trunk saluting the sky and the torso of a man, head lost in the anus of the pachyderm, with the uniform, patches and medals of the town hero.

Push, Capture, Underwear

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
words/phrase provided by https://wordcounter.net/random-word-generator

And then, we’ll run their underwears up the flag pole. I’ll be demoralizing. They’ll be huddled in a corner, fully clothed, but wearing no underwear. The shame of their capture won’t be enough, they’ll be forced to stare at their brown-streaked chonies flapping in the wind.

Are there any questions?

Sir, I have a question, sir.

What is it?

Well sir, who is going to remove their underwear? Also, sir, how do we know we can capture them alive? Won’t they be shooting at us sir?

Good questions, private. They will be firing live ammunition at us. I understand that the enemy is also aware that live ammunition has the potential to maim and/or kill us. Which is why we must capture them alive and remind them who is boss.

With the underwear thing, sir?

Yes, private, with the underwear thing.

Okay, sir, wouldn’t it be easier to kill them sir?

Easier physically perhaps, maybe even less dangerous but how will we really show them that we don’t want to kill them, we just want them to behave? We run their underwear up the flag pole.

Sir? In the event we are able to somehow get past their live ammo and grab them, wouldn’t it be more embarrasing for them if we made them stand around naked?

Johnson! I’m surprised at you. We’re already pushing the envelope by doing the underwear thing. That’s pushing too far if they stand naked. Also, I don’t want to look at that.

Sir, let me see if I understand your plan. You want us to run up the hill to their hideout, all 120 of us, with no live ammunition. You do want us to carry our weapons which are air soft guns painted black so no one will know the difference between a real and a fake gun. Then, somehow, you want us to push through their ranks and capture them alive, take off their underwear but keep their clothes on and then make them watch as we fun their underwear up the flag pole.


Sir, is there someway we can make our intention known? Perhaps if they knew we weren’t going to kill them, they wouldn’t shoot at us and then we wouldn’t die.

Private! if they knew all that, then they’d never be captured.

Sir, we won’t capture them if we’re all dead.

Private! That’s what you signed up for, now get your things ready, you charge the hill at dawn.

You, sir?

Yes, I have to stay back and observe so I can see if my plan will work. Trust me, if there were any other way…but there isn’t, Standard procedure.