fiction

WWII Vignette 

He was a lousy soldier. The draft had torn him from drifting and trying to make a quick buck, and here he was, not-giving-a-damn for his country

Separated from his company for the fourth time – he was still looking for that quick buck, even in wartime – he was running as fast as he could down a broken street. The motorized enemy was directly behind him, closing in fast.

He turned to see how close they were, tripped over broken stones, and fell into a hole, ending on his knees in a stinking pit. A little light came down into his prison: it was the town’s cesspool. He was up to his waist in it.

The roaring and grinding became louder and he clutched his gun to his chest as he looked for escape. The reeking walls were slimy and impossible to climb. As the enemy approached he weighed his options; calling out was not one of them. His predicament would be a source of amusement and he’d be a fish in a bucket to be shot to pieces.

His pressed his back to the awful wall and waited. He didn’t wait long; the noise passed by the cesspool, piece after piece of equipment crushing the road. How long it took he couldn’t tell, but he figured it was at least two hours worth of passing vehicles. As they passed the cesspool debris from the walls fell on his helmet and shoulders, oozing down his neck.

He smiled through the filth. Just like his father said he’d end up, in the shit.

More time passed. He heard another mechanized division coming. He flattened himself again. This time the voices he heard were swearing and bitching, absolutely American.

He called out from his personal hell hole, in language just as clearly American, and three helmeted heads looked down. Their greeting was as he expected, and his response was less than grateful. They pulled him out and not-so-gently shoved him with their rifle butts to the rear of the column.

Rain drenched them all day, the best cold shower he ever had in his life. When he stopped stinking he’d try to sneak out again to find the quick buck.