The boys said their final goodbyes to Mrs. Campbell then jogged toward the parking lot. They first saw Recruiter Apprentice McCain standing beside the opened rear door of the truck. He nodded at the two boys as they hurried into the back seat. The Ager Major was already slumped over in the front passenger seat, asleep and snoring heavily. The boys glanced uncomfortably at the young recruiter, who was now leaning toward them through the rear door.
“He snored the entire trip from Denver,” whispered the young recruiter, sniggering quietly. “He sounded like a friggin’ chainsaw, but it’s better than hearing him talk.”
Ian and Jackson covered their mouths with their hands, trying to be as quiet as possible as their bodies shook with laughter. The last thing they wanted was to wake the Major from his slumber. The young recruiter gently pushed the rear truck door shut and climbed into the driver’s seat. As the recruiter apprentice had already experienced, the Major responded to the sound of the shutting truck door with a couple sharp, pig-snorting sounds, then shifted his weight, still fast asleep.
“Here piggy, piggy,” whispered Jackson, leaning toward Ian’s ear.
Ian shook violently with laughter, burying his face against the back seat of the truck, shaking his head for his friend to stop trying to make him laugh. Luckily, the hum of the truck engine helped the Major remain fast asleep.
A few minutes later the truck arrived at Jackson’s house. The young recruiter gave both boys thick packets of paperwork and explained the importance of reading and understanding the information.
“These are your pre-basic training packets,” said the young recruiter, quite serious. “Everything that will happen at Basic is inside these packets.”
Ian and Jackson understood. They shook their heads confidently and jumped out of the truck. The Ager Major awakened just long enough to wish the boys well, then nodded off to sleep once again. Ian and Jackson exchanged fist bumps as they watched the truck pull away.
“See you bright and early in the a.m., Bloober!” exclaimed Jackson, executing an upside-down salute.
“Yeah, see you in the morning,” Ian said, returning the goofy salute. “Hey! Don’t forget to read your packet. I don’t want you to screw anything up on your first day.”
“Man, that’s for sure,” Jackson chuckled, opening the front door of his house. “We’ll be kicking some Trencher butt in no time!”
Ian jogged down the street and unlocked the door of his own house. He placed his old school supplies and the thick packet of military papers on the kitchen table, then grabbed a drink from the refrigerator. He couldn’t wait to share his big recruiting news with his mother.