Down range the flagman, hunkered below the 1000 yard berm, stood and waved the black signal flag—another “X”. He lowered the four-foot wide target, taped over the pinky-thick hole with a circle made for the task and hoisted the target back up for Riccards’ last shot.
Riccards, sharpshooter for the Army’s 103rd, let the number slosh around in his head. He tried washing it way with thoughts of insane motorcycle rides, train dodging, and interstate cliff-jumping into the Arkansas river but, like his addiction to nicotine, the number nine continued to plague his nerves. One more X and he’d break the record.