The sea was an open map. Tulsa and Birmingham, their codenames, were head-to-head. It was only a matter of time before one of them secured a hit on the other. Their ships had been locked in battle for over thirty minutes without a single hit. It seemed an unlikely scenario, but the two sides were experienced and knew the other too well.

Birmingham had known Tulsa since they were toddlers. They played on swings together and built a treehouse with help from Tulsa's father. They spent hours in the treehouse, sometimes not coming down at all. They even built a makeshift toilet out of a paint bucket from Tulsa's garage. Tulsa's dad did not care for that once he found out.

He made them take the water hose and clean out the bucket with soap. Birmingham and Tulsa did not care for that. They agreed that going to the house for the bathroom would be sufficient from then on. Still, the treehouse was their favorite place spend time.

Tulsa and Birmingham sometimes hung out at school. They weren't in the same class so it made it difficult, but they almost always saw each other at lunch and recess. They loved to swing and jump rope. It was always a joy to watch the two have fun.

Locked in battle it was hard to see the camaraderie they were so used to exerting. Their eyes showed determination, neither of them wanting to show weakness. Tulsa had clinched teeth. Birmingham displayed a furrowed brow. Both insured they kept a poker face. This battle would not be their last, but at the time seemed like the most important thing in the world.

The battle raged for a few moments as both thought they had the other cornered. Shot, shot, shot, shot, shot, shot. Within a matter of a couple of minutes they had fired so many times they were having a difficult time even assessing the damage. Tulsa was getting worried, but didn't show it. Birmingham—the same.

They couldn't last much longer that way. It was inevitable there would be a winner. Finally, Birmingham saw the move.

"BOOM! I sunk your Battleship!" Birmingham shouted.

"Yeah, so?" Tulsa retorted.

"So? I win."

"I don't think so. I still have a ship left."

Birmingham double-checked the board. He had sunk all five ships.

"No, I sunk all your ships. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5." Birmingham said.

"I know, but I have six ships."

"What?! You can't have six ships. There are only five ships in a Battleship game."

"I have a cargo ship you haven't found." Tulsa said smugly.

"A cargo ship? That's not even used in war." Birmingham was getting irritated at the assumption that an unofficial sixth ship had made its way into the game. He was even more enraged that it was a cargo ship.

"It's carrying weapons." Tulsa said.

"What are you gonna do with a ship full of weapons when no one can fire them?"

"Ram your ships. They are carrying weapons, ammunition, and dynamite. I'll explode all your ships with my cargo ship." Tulsa said.

Birmingham thought for a moment about the situation. Tulsa was getting angry. Then Birmingham thought of a plan.

"Okay, you can use your cargo ship, but I have to have one too."

"Ha! You can't. You don't have room for one."

"Oh yes, I do."

"No, you don't. A cargo ship takes up five spaces and you don't have five spaces in a row for one."

Birmingham looked at his board and smiled.

"My cargo ship only takes one space."

Tulsa knew that finding a one-space ship was almost impossible. She looked angrily at Birmingham. Then her anger turned to friendliness.

"How about a peace treaty?!" Tulsa said.

Tulsa extended a hand. Birmingham laughed and shook hands.

"Another game?" they both said at the same time.


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