The Best Joke I Ever Pulled on Steve

Grafenwöhr, Germany is home to a large military training area and gunnery range. During my stint in the (US) army, i spent my fair share of time there, as i was assigned to an artillery unit, and it is the only live-fire artillery range in Germany. If you ask a soldier who's been there what he (or she) remembers about the place, chances are better than average he might say "the hogs". If you ask a certain specialist named Steve, who was assigned to my unit, I'd say there is about a 100% chance of receiving that answer. You see, besides being a training area, the whole place is also a nature preserve, and is home to a rather large population of wild boars: a population that Steve got a little closer to than he might have liked.

Nobody in our unit much liked Steve, and he didn't really care for any of us. You see, he was one of those guys who likes to think he's superior to everyone else, while at the same time doing everything in his power to disprove that hypothesis. In other words, he was totally incompetent and didn't even realize it. There were many, many times when his cluelessness caused us grief, or worse, put someone in danger.

One day in Grafenwöhr, after nearly electrocuting one of his fellow soldiers, Steve was feeling pretty unloved. Everyone was pretty mad at him, and we spent most of the day taunting him about his constant screw-ups. When we got a chance that day to set up our sleeping arrangements for later that night, we decided not to set up the tents like we usually did. It was nice weather, and we were going to be moving out the next morning, so we set our cots up in the open. Steve, feeling unappreciated, set his up about 200 meters away from the rest of us. He was pretty close to our temporary garbage dump.

Time came for lunch and it was MRE's, as usual. Mine was corned beef hash, which has a taste that sticks with you for rest of the day. I went around and asked some of the other guys if i could have their peanut butter, a standard issue item with MRE's. Most of them gave it up, as it isn't very good.

After lunch, there was the normal bullshit work, digging holes, putting up camo nets, running commo wire and stuff. It was a few hours until it we got off duty and went to bed. Steve, disheartend from all the crap he'd been taking off the rest of us all day, sulked away to his fortress of solitude without a word to anyone.

It was a couple of hours before we heard Steve's cries of terror. Everyone woke up, kind of startled, and in a few seconds there were a dozen flashlights pointed in the direction of Steve's cot, and a few of us, (including me, of course) ran over to see what was going on. Then everyone just stopped stared for a minute at the sight of the at least 30 wild boars which had surrounded him and were jostling for position to get at the luscious peanut butter I had smeared on the bottom of his cot during a "latrine break" I'd taken shortly after lunch. There were a few more seconds of confusion over my joy at the predicament before the other guys began to comprehend and joined me in hysterical laughter. This all lasted a few more minutes before we decided he'd had enough and chased the boars away. Steve was pretty upset, but if he can't take a joke, well that's his problem. It wasn't the first prank I'd played on him, and it sure wasn't going to be the last, but it did turn out to be the best.