The title story in this collection of thirteen is one of the few ""improbable events"" that occur and it is no more than a weak playful sketch about a recruit that doesn't want to be recruited. Mr. Rudd's two other attempts at humor also seem strained. But where he really succeeds is in the refined cynicism of Nightwatch at Vernal Equinox which portrays the synthetic reality of a frowzy Bus Stop restaurant or in the blood and guts agony of his five war stories. He'll hit you hard with the groping despair of a wounded airman in The Man on the Trestle, with the war-madness that overtakes a group of soldiers stationed in Italy in The Lower Room, and with the determined callowness of the man stationed in My House in Heilbronn. The final piece is non-fiction, a good reportage job of the atmosphere in Oxford, Mississippi after The Death of William Faulkner, Ninety-nine and 2/100% purely good.