Friday, August 25, 2006

Adventures come in strange packages

Hans, whose imagination was fertile, suggested various expedients. "Now please go to your post, shoot as straight as you can, and dont waste cartridges," he commanded, panting and wiping sludge from his stinking brow.

Every system has its drawbacks, he thought, but these are the risks that must be faced. Goddamn it! It's war. He swallowed another handful of "greenies" and bellowed orders panoramically.

A private, small in stature, looked up at Hans from his foxhole. "Sir, you think it will be quite a show out here, today?" His smile broke like a clever child.

Hans nodded and looked at Major Stubbles. "He is a very good wizard, that Baas," said Hans in perfect Swedish. "Just as we planned." The smell of a rout was in the air, and Hans knew what men would be suitable for this kind of bloodbath. Robots, champions and those too intelligent to risk mutiny.

"His friends back home call him Daniel, Colonel," said Stubbles. "They say Baas used to to sleep with lions. At least until the spotted sickness." Hans murmured something garbled in response.

Hans realized that the responsibilities of this battle were heaped upon him. Indeed, there was a hex on the foul battlefield wind. "Go to your post, Stubbles, shoot as straight as you can, and dont waste cartridges. Fuck." This time it was in English.

Hans turned back to Baas. "What do you have in mind, private?"

"A desire for death to the Danish, sir," said the man who once lay with great cats.

"So then you were a literature student?" asked the Colonel.

"No, uhh, sir. But I'd sure be proud to kill for your army," said Baas.

"Good boy," said Hans, and then again in Swedish, "Take a seat and have some time."

Hans went to one knee and looked at his palms. "Certainly I do not intend to return, Lord. No, not to care for such people who have been so ungrateful. Somehow in the confusion, we let this war, we...she slipped from our hands, and we cannot find her. Nothing remains but the fight." His thoughts were awesome.

Hans returned his attention to Baas. "I'll set myself to watch events with the greatest interest. Damn if we don't gottem," he said. Baas stared glossy-eyed and almost irritated. He paused.

When the Colonel thought to speak again, he was cut off by Baas, suddenly forceful. "The responsibilities of this battle ought to be heaped upon me. As your reverend father used to say, if only you wait long enough, the devil always shows himself. And at last, he helps you."

"You knew my father?" asked Hans, dumbstruck.

"No," said Baas, nonchalant.

"Well, then," replied Hans, "I will look for the devil myself. The fucking Danes won't be here yet awhile."

"But they are sacrificing to him," said Baas. "The dirty Danes."

"You listen up, son, and you listen good," fired Hans. "You keep your head down, shoot as straight as you can and don't waste cartridges!" He spun around and trotted to his horse.

Behind him, Baas conjured with his hands.
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