“I hate cherry trees,” said George.
“I’m sorry sir,” asked William.
George turned around quickly, with a military sharpness and faced William. George towered over young William. He bent down and William could feel the hot, woodiness of George’s breath on his face.
“I said I hate cherry trees,” said George.
“Alright sir, yes sir. If we see a cherry tree you can cut it down sir,” said William.
“You bet your life we’ll be cutting it down,” said George.
George turned back around on the road and continued marching with William at his back. William hoped they wouldn’t see any cherry trees. Otherwise George was liable to go all Henry the VIII on it and start chopping away at it like it was one of his wives. William adjusted the heavy sack on his back and adjusted his uniform coat collar against the lingering February cold. Spring felt like it would arrive any day, but was just shy about it. William looked over his shoulder at the rows of men marching along the dirt road. All fine men, willing to sacrifice so much on a grand experimental government. It was so strange to be at the foot of such a momentous undertaking, and against the most powerful nation on Earth.
“Is that a Cherry tree,” asked George as he pointed up toward an embankment.
George had gotten off his white horse and had been walking with the men for morale’s sake but now he was strangely obsessed with finding cherry trees.
“No sir, I don’t think that’s a cherry tree,” said William, “I think that’s just a bush.”
“The hell it is. That’s a cherry tree. Damn your eyes man! That is a Cherry Tree,” shouted George.
“Sir, no I think that’s really just some sort of bush with red berries on it sir,” said William.
“Nonsense soldier! That’s a Cherry tree! And it’s dead,” said George.
George mounted his white horse and drew his sword from the scabbard. He wheeled his horse around and cut right through the sea of marching men.
“Yee-Haw,” shouted George as the horse galloped full speed toward the flora.
“Sir! Sir! Sir! No Sir,” shouted William amid the strange cheers of the soldiers.
George rode up the small embankment and swung his sword at the plant, slicing the top portion off. He turned on the horse for a second strike but the horse bucked and George was tossed to the ground. George didn’t miss a beat and rolled over as he hit the ground and sprung to his feet, which was amazing to William, since George was so large of a man.
George raised his sword over his head and ran full speed back toward the plant and dove toward it, slicing and hacking at the air. He landed in the middle of the thick foliage and lost his sword. He began tugging and pulling at the plant, smearing the red berries all over his white uniform pants. George punched at the plant with his hands, strangling the leaves and branches.
William watched as George punched down on the plant with his gloved hands. George tore the gloves off and began punching at the roots with his bare hands. There was sweat dripping off George’s face and his hat had long since flown off. William woke from his open mouth staring and ran up toward George.
“Sir! Sir! Please, that’s not a cherry tree, it’s just some kind of bush. It’s just a bush!”
George plopped back down onto his rear end and splayed his leg out on front of him. He was breathing heavy and his stomached heaved with each deep breath.
“Should I get your valet sir,” asked William.
“No, no,” said George as he waved the suggestion off with an exhausted gesture.
William reached his hand out to George and George reach up and took it. William pulled the large man up and started dusting off his uniform.
“It’s my birthday you know,” said George.
“What’s that? You’re birthday? Well, Happy birthday George. Sir…General Sir, I mean,” said William.
William retrieved General Washington’s hat and handed it to him. George beat the hat against his thigh and turned away from the destroyed berry bush and began walking back toward the rows of marching soldiers.