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Old Guy

Scouts in the French Resistance

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Evening twilight was giving away to true night as Old Guy and Donnie coasted to a stop at a road junction. Engines off, they sat listening. Distant artillery boomed fitfully. Nothing could be seen in either direction on the cross road. The road they'd come south on ended at the intersection.

Old Guy dismounted and walked across the road where neatly lettered signs pointed left and right.

“First signs I've seen,” said Donnie. “I thought the Frenchies tore 'em all down.”

“German efficiency, Donnie. And they ain't sloppy knock-offs either. Neat black lettering on white paint. They probably have a mobile workshop that does nothing but signs.”

“Good for them.” Donnie shrugged. The US Army was strange enough to him. He didn't need a bunch of useless information about the Krauts. “Periers to the left, Lessay to the right. Which way we need to go?”

“Neither.” Old Guy produced a hand-drawn map. “4th Armored HQ is supposed to be in Sainteny. Periers is located on a main road southwest of there -- maybe four or five miles. That MP back in Battalion sent us the wrong way.”

“I told you we never shoulda asked an MP for directions. Them guys are all morons.”

“I'd keep that opinion to myself if I were you. Those morons carry guns and batons.”

Donnie waved off the unwanted advice. “How wrong are we? Can you tell from that so-called map you drawed? And why can't we get a decent map?”

“I imagine all the decent maps are stored in a warehouse in England where a PFC clerk is wondering what to do with them -- when he's not thinking about his English girl friend. Some brass hat forgot to requisition them, I suppose. As for where we are, I'd call it way wrong.” Old Guy tucked his map away. “Like on the wrong side of the lines.” He gazed back the way they had come. “The Germans should have had somebody blocking the road. Hell, our guys should have had a security position set up to stop GI's from motoring south and Germans from moving north. I didn't see a damned soul.”

“Me neither. What's going on? Have the Krauts pulled out?”

“Not likely. The Major told me this section of the line is being held by remnants of several divisions. Things are screwed up on our side. Imagine how disorganized the Germans must be.”

“Okay. So we go back the way we came, right?”

“We do. At least we try going back. I'd bet money the road isn't wide open any more. That's the kind of thing platoon sergeants get cranky about. Even if the officers don't know their ass from first base, some sergeant will see the problem and put some riflemen and a machine gun or two in place.” Old Guy began turning his Harley around. “We may end up ditching these rigs and doing some hiking in order to get back where we belong.”

“I zink zat would be a wise decision.” The voice came from the shadows under the trees fringing the west side of the road. Old Guy cursed under his breath and stopped moving.

Donnie chuckled. “I thought you Montana cowboys never got sneaked up on.”

“Keep ze hands in sight.” A woman's voice. “We want no accidents.”

Armed figures stepped out of the dark. “Zey are Ami,” said the woman. She grinned at Old Guy. “We shot you almost. But zese motorzycles sound not like German motors.”

“Thank God for the Harley V-twin,” said Old Guy. “I take it you are with the Resistance?”

“Of course,” said the woman. “I am Fifi. Zese others are Gerard, Louis, and Marie.”

“Call me Old Guy. This lump is Donnie. We're dispatch riders.”

Gerard slung his weapon and thumped the canvas pack perched atop the front fender of Old Guy's Harley. He spoke to Fifi in French, gesturing toward the north.

“He says we must get off ze road and hide ze motors. Ze Germans fear ze day so zey move only at night. You must come wiz us.”

“Best offer I've had since the invasion started,” said Old Guy. “Lead on.”

They fired up their cycles and idled along behind their guides. A few hundred yards north of the road junction Gerard led them off the paved surface and on to a narrow dirt lane. The track curved to the east and became little more than a rough path. After some minutes they were directed into a narrow cut in a hill side. The cut opened into an area covered with netting. At a signal from Gerard, they shut off the machines.

“Nice place,” observed Old Guy. “Have you used this often?”

“Only for ze last two days,” said Fifi. “Leave you motors. Take what you can carry. We won't be coming back here until ze Germans are pushed back.”

“That may take some pushing.” Old Guy began stuffing items into a pack. “How far will we be walking tonight?”

“About two kilometers.” Fifi watched the two men for a few moments. “Your friend is very quiet.”

“Donnie? Oh, don't worry about him. He's been struck dumb ever since he saw Marie.”

Fifi laughed aloud. “Oui. She has what we call a four cycle chest.”

“Four cycle? I don't know what you mean.”

“When Marie walks up to a German guard post and flirts wiz ze Boche, we can count on running at least four bicycles past zem while zey stare at her chest.”

“Hah! I understand. It's something like that with Donnie. Right now you could drive a Tiger tank over his foot and he wouldn't even notice.”

Fifi snarled something in French, then said, “Men! Zey see only women wiz big chests.”

“Well, uh . . .” Old Guy tried to think of something gallant to say about Fifi's endowments, which appeared inadequate only when compared to Marie's superstructure. He eventually decided to remain silent on the subject. His smattering of high school French wasn't up to the task and he didn't think Fifi would understand American jargon like 'nice rack'.

Fifi waited a moment then turned abruptly and stomped off.

Old Guy shook his head and shouldered his pack. Donnie was ready, pack and all, though there was no telling what he'd stuffed into it. Old Guy guided him toward the opening. The lad emitted a low calf-like moan, but that was all.

****

The room was dark. Fick stood at the window watching men and equipment moving up the road. He turned away suddenly, as if in pain.

“Herr Oberst, is something the matter?” Gefreiter Whizkid touched the colonel's arm.

“Dummkopfs, Vhiz. Dummkopfs marsch in der night.”

“Ah . . . the 2nd SS Panzer isn't a foolish unit, sir.”

“Sie marsch, marsch, marsch to der Nord, goink into der lines. Sie expect to defeat der Americans unt der Britishers bevor der lunch tomorrow. Dummkopfs!”

Whizkid decided the colonel needed to be reminded about their own orders. “Herr Oberst, we must be on the road within the hour. You recall our show planned for tomorrow night at Coutances?”

“Coutances. Ja. I know, Vhiz. Mit luck ein Americans von't be there ahead of us. How many do ve haf left?”

Whiz knew what Fick was referring to. “Of the actors we have all the Germans, except for those two SS deserters. They evidently deserted again. The French are all gone. The only stage hands left are the Russian prisoners.”

“How far ve haf fallen, eh, Vhiz? Ein Russians stay because sie speak no French, the Germans are afraid to desert because der French might kill them, unt the French are hiding somewhere sewing FFI armbands unt hoping no one saw them acting in German plays put on for occupying troops.”

“As you say, Herr Oberst. Still, the show must go on.”

“Who says? Vhy does ein show haf to go on?”

“Orders, Herr Oberst. If the show doesn't go on we will all be handed rifles and sent to infantry units. I do not wish to end my days shooting at a sky full of American fighters and bombers.”

“Vell, since you put it that vay . . .” Fick slumped into a chair. “Ah, Vhiz. I had such plans. Dreams. Dreams of glory. Unt not a hint of this endless nightmare.”

“Plans, Herr Oberst?”

“I vas in early, Vhiz. Der Party, I mean. Those vere vunderful days!”

“Were you a Blackshirt? Brownshirt?”

“Nein. Unt that is vhere I made my mistake, Vhiz. I vasn't either of those.”

“There were other groups of thugs?”

“Not thugs, Vhiz. Ours vas an organization of people mit vision, manners, breeding.” Fick smiled for the first time in days. “Ve did a lot of breeding. Hah! Such orgies!”

“Sounds like the Brownshirts, Herr Oberst.”

“Nein. Ein Brownies veren't our kind of girl, if you take my meaning.”

“I've heard stories.”

“I can tell you stories!” Fick sighed and got up. “Blackshirts vere alvays such intense people, full of bile, unt not much into orgies -- not in those early days. Help me mit my tunic.”

Whizkid assisted Fick into his uniform jacket. “But you've done well, Herr Oberst.”

Fick shrugged. “Colonel in charge of das acting troupe, Vhiz? It is true that few men wear ein mauve shoulder straps of das Entertainment Corps, but -- not many ever vanted to.”

“Someone has to do it, Herr Oberst.”

“True.” Fick sighed again. “Now ve must get this show on der road.”

(tbc)

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Finally! Boobies! About time! Damn retirees! Always goofing off. Sitting back in their recliners. Counting their cash in their 401K's. Sheesh!

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Donnie spoke his first words in several hours. “Where are we going?”

“Back with us are you? We're with the FFI. We're headed south, but other than that I don't know where they're going.”

“FFI. Ain't that some kinda farm outfit?”

Old Guy chuckled. “These guys aren't farmers. They're guerillas, resistance fighters, Maquis, FFI, same-same.”

Gerard signaled a break. The guerillas sank down on alternate sides of the cow path they'd been following, weapons at the ready. Old Guy approved of what he saw. These folks had been around. Gerard carried an MP-40. Most of the others were armed with Mausers. He noted a couple British Enfields and at least one shotgun. Two of the Maquis were laden with oversize packs.

Fifi sat down between them. Donnie didn't go into shock. Evidently her attributes weren't as deadly to his brain cells as the fabulous Marie.

“We go to blow up a bridge. A railroad bridge souz of Periers. We will soon cross ze Sainteny road, and ze St. Lo highway. Zere is much troop movement at night. We must be quick and quiet.”

“We can do that,” said Old Guy. “Have Marie walk by Donnie and he won't make a sound for hours.”

Fifi's smile was strained. “Marie is scouting ahead.”

Old Guy quickly changed the subject. “If we slow you down, just drop us off somewhere.” He had no desire to accompany a bunch of crazy Maquis intent on sabotaging a heavily guarded bridge. Marie probably couldn't stun the entire guard force.

Fifi returned to her position. In a moment they moved off again. No mention was made of leaving the two Ami in some safe place while the others went off to die gloriously for France.

The Sainteny road was fairly quiet. As the group approached the highway a pair of ambulances went by, heading south. Nothing else was seen or heard as they crossed the narrow strip of asphalt, now considerably torn by the passage of heavy armored vehicles.

At the St. Lo highway the situation was different. An almost constant stream of vehicles moved in both directions. Old Guy counted fifteen trucks, three half-tracks, and a score of smaller rigs, including a pair of American jeeps.

“Hey,” whispered Donnie. “What they doin' with our jeeps?”

“They probably captured them,” replied Old Guy. “I don't think the black market is working well enough to supply jeeps on demand -- yet.”

“Black market? You mean like all them supply sergeants you get booze and stuff from? They wouldn't sell jeeps, would they? And to the Germans?”

“Why not? Your average supply sergeant is a thief, a liar, and no gentleman. I know. I was in supply, several times. Jeez, Donnie, you been in the Army long enough to know that nothing of value can be had through regular channels. If a supply sergeant was in charge of all those maps we don't have in France, he'd be selling them out of the back of his supply tent at five bucks a copy -- but we'd have maps. Actually, he'd have a private doing the selling. Supply sergeants have better things to do than handle actual transactions. It's also safer that way.”

“You got a real bad attitude, you know that. I can't see no US sergeant sellin' jeeps to Krauts.”

“No time for economic theory now, Donnie. Come on. Gerard is off again.”

“I'll be glad to get my scooter back. This walkin' all over Hell is hard on my feet.”

“You sound like that hillbilly, Slim. Pretty soon you'll be calling your carbine a 'raffle'.”

Fifi motioned for silence, stifling Donnie's response. One by one the Maquis crawled through a small culvert running under the highway. They crawled through a couple inches of cold water, pushing and dragging their packs. It was a wet and bedraggled bunch that reassembled on the far side.

“Zis is ze river Toute,” explained Fifi. “A few weeks ago it was much deeper.”

“Let's not go back that way,” muttered Donnie. “I don't hold with more'n one bath a week.”

“I know,” said Old Guy. “You're going to fit right in here. The French think Americans are an effete bunch because we take too many baths.”

Donnie looked down. “What's the matter with our feet? Mine seem okay, except for bein' tired.”

Gerard signaled the group to move out again, allowing Old Guy to forgo a lengthy and probably useless explanation.

A faint trail followed the course of the tiny trickle Fifi called the river Toute. Two kilometers south Gerard called a halt and Old Guy got his first look at the bridge. Even in the dark he could see that it was a steel structure perhaps 100 feet long.

“Why such a large bridge for this little bitty creek?”

Fifi hesitated, then figured out that the word 'creek' referred to the river. “Zere are high hills souz. A lot of water comes down ze river in heavy rains.”

“Ah, yeah. We have places like that back home. Dry as a popcorn fart until the rain falls thirty miles upstream. Then, watch out.”

She hadn't understood half of what he said. “Ah -- oui. We must to watch out.”

Gerard and Louis shed their light packs and vanished into the dark. One of the others whispered something to Fifi. She explained to the two Americans. “The Boche have two men under ze bridge. Zey are bot sleeping. At each end of ze bridge are small guard boxes. One man in each. Marie saw anozzer man, maybe a corporal in charge. He was talking to ze guard to ze right.”

“Gerard and Louis are off to take care of the two sleeping guards?” asked Old Guy.

“Oui.” She made a slicing sound and demonstrated a cutting motion over her throat. The sleepers would go directly from dreamland to some Wagnerian afterlife.

Old Guy liked the plan so far. “Then what?”

Fifi shrugged. “We have Marie. We have guns and knives.” Trickery first, brute force if needed.

“Check your weapon, Donnie. We may have to play soldier soon.”

“I hope not. No sense foulin' my raffle over a couple Krauts.” Donnie laughed quietly. Old Guy grinned. His friend actually had a sense of humor -- when he wasn't stupified by boobs or the mere thought of boobs -- which wasn't often.

“Sit tight,” said Old Guy. “I'll see if I can help.”

“Help? The Frogs seem capable. What can you do?”

“I speak pretty good German. That might come in handy.” Old Guy glanced at Fifi. “What do you think. Can I help?”

“Ze plan is to kill ze Boche, not talk to zem.”

“Prisoners can come in handy at times. Shall I see what Gerard has to say?”

“Go if you want. He will be under ze bridge wiz Boche you can not talk to.”

Gefreiter Adolph Heidler brushed a bit of lint from his impeccable uniform and considered his place in the scheme of things. In the short term, the future looked bleak, both for him and Germany. In the long run, he was sure the situation would change. The Fuehrer promised super weapons. The daily broadcasts from Berlin were full of such news. Soon, the hordes of Allied planes would be swept from the skies by deadly German jets. Massive tanks were on the way, designed to smash enemy tanks like toys. Heidler shifted his feet and cleared his throat. Hopefully, he wouldn't watch the Fuehrer's masterstroke from inside a POW cage. He shivered. Or from a fresh grave.

Fritz, the guard at this end of the bridge, stood quiet. He wished the Gefreiter would go bother one of the others. When the lance corporal was around he had to stand at attention and stare rigidly at the empty expanse of bridge. Fritz had been guarding the thing for a week and hadn't seen a single train cross it, even at night, when Allied bombers weren't hunting such targets. The Gefreiter had been told to watch the bridge and, by God, they were going to do just that. Fritz figured he'd be standing right here, watching the damn thing, when some American or British bomber blew it apart. He just hoped not to be killed in the blast. Then maybe he could hide out somewhere until the Americans came along and made him a prisoner. He'd heard wonderful stories about POW camps in America.

Heidler shifted suddenly. “Keep awake, Fritz. Watch the bridge.”

“Jawohl, Gefreiter Heidler.” The lance corporal insisted his men refer to him by his rank and last name, which was so similar to the Fuehrer's that he thought they might be related. And, of course, his first name was the same, but that was mere happenstance, nothing to do with blood relations.

Heidler had been in the army since 1942 and he couldn't understand why he hadn't been promoted above lance corporal. His repeated requests to transfer to the SS had also been turned down, but he knew why he would never be accepted in organizations like the SS, paratroops, and panzers. He was too short, the shortest man in the 4133rd Service and Supply Company. Probably the shortest German soldier in France. His dark hair and lopsided features didn't help, but he was convinced it was his lack of height that kept him back. He would overcome all that in time. Just like the Fuehrer. Look how long it took him to succeed. Admittedly, Adolph Hitler wasn't quite as short as Heidler.

A noise from below brought him back from the fantasy land. “What is that?” he barked, trying to sound like Feldwebel Schmitt. The feld had a command voice that made men jump to comply before they had a chance to think about the actual order. The result of Heidler's attempt was a low-pitched squeak. “Who is coming?”

There was no reply. He caught sight of one of his guards coming up the embankment pushing a woman in front of him. Heidler frowned. What would a woman be doing out here -- at night?

She stepped across a rail and started toward him, the guard partly hidden behind her. Heidler started to squeak a further query when he got a good look at the woman.

Mein Gott!” The words escaped him unheeded. Behind him, Fritz dropped his Mauser and stood transfixed. Words failed him.

The woman wore a leather jacket open at the front. A thin, low-necked sweater barely concealed the stunning orbs Heidler was already fondling in his mind. The delightful array was a bit above his eye level. Being very short has advantages. Drool splotched the front of his uniform jacket. No conscious thoughts disturbed the primal impulses firing along all pathways in his brain.

Old Guy stepped around Marie and shot the Gefreiter between the eyes. Heidler went from the middle of a wonderful vision of himself and those fantastic boobs directly to elsewhere. Fritz found himself at the business end of a silenced Luger. He scarcely noticed.

Keep your hands down and don't say anything,” cautioned the man with the gun. Fritz hadn't yet recovered the capacity for speech and he was still frozen by the possibilities contained in Marie's sweater. Being of normal height, he'd noticed her blonde hair before fixating on her chest. In the dim reaches of his mind came the suggestion that she might like beer. Blonde hair, large boobs, and beer. Just the things to capture the attention of a true German, even if he wasn't a fervent Nazi. Fritz didn't hear what Old Guy said, but it didn't matter.

The other guard was dispatched in a more direct manner. He was sure the Gefreiter would be along to bother him shortly, so his attention was riveted, as ordered, on the empty bridge.

What do we do wis zis one?” asked Fifi when they dragged a nearly senseless Fritz down off the embankment.

Donnie and I will take care of him,” said Old Guy. “I'll turn him over to American intelligence when I get the chance. After a week or so of stupid questions they'll ship him off to a POW camp. Meanwhile, I think we'll have to keep them both away from Marie. I don't fancy leading two mindless morons all around France.”

Hmmph.” Fifi turned on her heel and left.

Now I've pissed her off again.” Old Guy looked at Donnie. “What did I say this time?”

Beats me. You open your mouth and women get their dander up.”

Yeah. I'd be better off just handing them money.”

That'd piss 'em off too. Count on it.” Donnie spoke from bitter experience.

(tbc)

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AWWWW,OG, what have I ever done to deserve being paired up with Fick? And a Gefreiter, too, whatever that is. Couldn't I just be an American spy who'd been dropped in by a Lysander on a moonless nite, and had talked his way into the Wermacht by sheer force of personality? No? Oh, well, on with the tale.

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AWWWW,OG, what have I ever done to deserve being paired up with Fick? And a Gefreiter, too, whatever that is. Couldn't I just be an American spy who'd been dropped in by a Lysander on a moonless nite, and had talked his way into the Wermacht by sheer force of personality? No? Oh, well, on with the tale.

Congratulations! Gefreiter is the equivalent of a private, an E2, not even a private first class, just a private. But look at it this way, being at the bottom means there is only one way to go. Well, two if you include death. :D

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Gefreiter is actually a lance corporal, so Vhiz isn't starting at the very bottom. Just close to it.

Besides, he's soon a . . . well, never mind. That would be telling.

OG

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“Ve are going novhere,” said Fick. “Ve must not be on ein road in daylight.”

“Jawohl, Herr Oberst.” Whizkid sat behind the wheel of a kubelwagon. The colonel's 1939 Ford staff car had been taken from them by an SS general a few days before. The kubelwagon was capable of many things the Ford was not, but the American vehicle had a decent heater and a metal roof. It was also, in Whizkid's opinion, a much more appropriate vehicle for an Entertainment Corps colonel.

They were stuck on a side street in Periers, ordered there by a gruff 9th SS Panzer major in charge of routing transport on the road to Coustances. The importance of their journey hadn't impressed the officer in the least. “Actors!” he snarled. “Bohemians! You should all be carrying rifles!” Thus their three-vehicle convoy sat meekly in Periers, awaiting the major's pleasure.

Whizkid had a sudden inspiration, a circumstance he usually avoided with a religious fervor. “Herr Oberst, I know a side road that leads out of town beside the railroad tracks. It crosses over the tracks and rejoins the main road about two kilometers south of town.

Fick had been down his share of shortcuts and knew their peril. “How did you find this road?”

“Um -- driving around. Looking for -- looking for -- billets! Ja! I was looking for billets.” Now he wished he hadn't mentioned the side road. His real purpose there involved a whorehouse and a tall blonde who could speak English and knew a large number of nursery rhymes in that language. She had once been a governess for an English family living in Paris. Whiz could only perform when listening to nursery rhymes -- in English. Exactly why is fodder for curious psychologists and not germane to the present account.

“Take us out of town by vay of your secret road, Vhiz.” Fick seldom dithered over a decision. He knew a large percentage of his choices would be wrong no matter how long he delayed. Better, he figured, to get right to the consequences and skip the self torment.

So it happened that the 35th Entertainment Detachment (Theatrical) slipped out of the SS major's clutches and vanished into the woods south of Periers. Whizkid sweated until they passed the whorehouse. He was relieved to see it dark and shuttered. The blazing red lantern and mannikin clad in black lace were absent. The occupants were probably lying low, waiting for fresh customers with real money, real chocolate, and real cigarettes.

Whizkid was so relieved he missed his turn. Only when he rolled into the graveled turnaround area near the Toute river bridge did he realize his error. He recognized the shape of the bridge even though the last time he'd been there was in daylight, with the blonde. It was a Row, Row, Row Your Boat day.

“Scheise! I missed the turning, Herr Oberst.”

Fick recognized the fickle finger of fate beginning its mindless twisting of consequences. “Vell -- turn around unt get ein column sorted out.”

At that moment two huge explosions wracked the bridge. Large chunks of metal howled through the air. One bounced over the kubelwagon and smashed into the following truck. The truck fuel tank blew up, spreading burning debris over a wide area. The center span of the railroad bridge sagged into the nearly dry riverbed, though none of the entertainers noticed. Fire spread to the second truck. By that time the survivors were sprinting back in the direction of Periers.

Whizkid and Fick, however, being on the other side of the blaze, ran east, away from the demolished bridge and the fuel-fed inferno -- right into the Maquis band. Shrewdly handled rifle butts ended their dash to safety.

Old Guy deposited the still comatose form on the ground and stretched his tired back. “I don't know why your clowns had to knock them in the head. A simple command to stop would have done the job.”

Donnie dropped the nattily clad Nazi officer and sagged to the ground, too beat to complain.

“Ze men were surprised,” snapped Fifi. She had been carrying Old Guy's pack and rifle. She rubbed her sore shoulders. “We are far enough from ze bridge now. We wait. Maybe zey wake up.”

Whizkid woke up a few minutes later, head throbbing. He touched his forehead and discovered a fist-size lump. Someone handed him a canteen of water. His eyes didn't want to focus. “Danke.”

“You're a prisoner of war,” said a voice in not bad German. “I think your Oberst is coming around.”

Whizkid decided to try out his English. “Wot 'it me, mate?” He could see Old Guy now.

“Sorry. I didn't catch that.”

Switching back to German Whizkid admitted he thought it was English.

“Could be. I'm an American.” Old Guy introduced himself, Donnie, and a handsome French woman named Fifi. “The Brits are always saying and doing things I don't understand. Especially the women.”

Whizkid smiled at Fifi. “Do you know any English nursery rhymes?”

(tbc)

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Two days of slow and cautious travel brought them back to a heavily wooded area north of the St. Lo highway. Artillery rumbled day and night. Fighting flared to the north, then spread east and west; engagements appeared to the centered on the two main north/south roads. They saw no one, Allied or German, except for occasional glimpses of aircraft overhead.

Fick sat with his back against a tree. His uniform was muddy and water stained. He hadn't eaten since early morning and then the bill of fare was a stale bun and a cup of water -- a pale shadow of the meals he'd enjoyed without really appreciating them over the last three years. At that moment he believed he would cheerfully slaughter Stans, the Frenchman guarding him, in exchange for a slice of fresh bread spread with butter.

The man intrigued him, beyond his role as imagined victim in Fick's culinary cravings. Surly and heavily bearded, Stans bore an uncanny resemblance to Violette, a Breton woman Fick had employed as The Bearded Breton Woman back when his Entertainment Detachment included a small circus. Earlier that day he'd attempted to ask this Stans fellow if he'd once worked as a bearded woman, but the ill-mannered cretin merely snarled and told him to shut his mouth and keep moving, emphasizing the command with a prod of his Enfield.

Escape was impossible, in Fick's opinion. The bridge guard, apparently named Fritz, moved as if in a trance, induced by the mere sight of a voluptuous female the colonel had only seen once, shortly after he regained consciousness after being savagely bludgeoned while escaping the fire at the bridge. Fick was impressed with the lady's attributes, but he was of the opinion that his mistress, Annette, was at least equal in the boob department and far better looking, although he had to admit that his only glance at Marie was when the woman was wearing a worn leather jacket and shapeless trousers. Fritz and one of the Americans, the one named Donnie, were struck dumb every time they were exposed to Marie. She had been sent away -- on some other errand of destruction, he supposed.

Vhizkid, his valet, was similarly smitten, though the object of his attention was the somewhat underdeveloped Fifi. The thought of Vhiz following the woman around like a lost puppy both amused and enraged Fick. It was funny to see but degrading to a true German. A real Nazi would never give a second glance to a female as poorly endowed as Fifi. He wondered if Vhiz might have some gypsy in his background. Or, and it made his skin crawl to think of it, possibly some French blood. Many men from the Sudetenland were rumored to be of mixed parentage.

The thought of Annette generated a mix of pleasant memories and genuine concern. He hadn't seen her since the invasion started. She was probably in hiding, changing her hair color and working on a new identity. Rumor had it that women who had consorted with the Germans would be ill treated by their friends and neighbors after the Allies drove the hated Boche out. Annette would probably find a new boyfriend, an American colonel, no doubt. A chill ran up Fick's spine. Would she tell her new lover about the Entertainment Detachment commander she'd been shacking up with? Most likely. She was a talkative wench. Though he doubted he'd ever see her again or have anything to do with the man she chose to replace him, he quailed at the thought of her regaling the unknown bastard with stories of Fick's inability to do anything more than touch her and whine piteously. At first it wasn't that way, but after a near-death experience involving a strafing American P-38 the sight of her breasts always invoked an image of the fighter's twin propellers. His involuntary squeaking at the apparition drove her into gales of laughter, which ended any further activities.

Stans growled something Fick didn't understand. He understood the jab in the back. It was time to move on. The Maquis were following a faint trail through heavy forest. Underbrush made it impossible to see more than a few meters in any direction. The muted sound of rifle and machine gun fire filtered through the foliage. Occasionally Fick noted the crack of high velocity cannon. The Americans were obviously pushing south and were encountering stiff resistance. His skin crawled at the thought of an encounter with troops of either side. Infantrymen were notoriously prone to shooting first and asking no questions later.

Old Guy worried about the same possibility. He wanted to hole up in some relatively safe place and wait for the fighting to move further south. Rear area troops were less likely to respond to the approach of their motley group with machine gun fire, especially if Gerard put the women out front. He hoped Marie rejoined them before any attempt was made to contact friendly forces, even if that meant Donnie and the Fritz were turned into senseless lumps.

Fifi touched his arm and moved past, trailed by her devoted follower. She'd given up trying to stay away from the slobbering fool. Even the Nazi colonel couldn't get Whizkid to curb his puppy-like behavior and act like a real Aryan warrior, whatever that was. Old Guy wasn't sure about the whole German superman business. Most of the Krauts he'd come across were dark of hair and shorter than their American opponents. The colonel himself looked like an English upper class twit.

“These people ever gonna stop movin'?” whispered Donnie. He was trudging along behind Old Guy.

“I hope so. We don't want to walk around until we stumble into a firefight.”

“I just wanna stumble into Marie.” Donnie moaned and went vacant-eyed for a moment.

“Get your mind off her boobs and pay attention. Jeez, you've got a real problem. Have you ever actually touched any of those boobs you slobber over? Every time you get close to a well-endowed woman your brain locks up.”

Donnie looked thoughtful, something he couldn't do for very long. Such an expression usually preceded a thunderous fart. Not this time. “I think so. I mean, when I wake up my wallet is empty and my head aches. Ain't that what sex is all about?”

Old Guy glanced back at his companion. “When did you start spouting philosophy?”

“I don't know nothin' 'bout no filo-soffy.”

“Well, I . . . never mind. Looks like we're finally arriving -- somewhere.”

Somewhere proved to be a roofless ruin lying at the edge of a small field long overgrown with brush. Rotting timbers littered the interior. Gerard led them to a cunningly concealed tunnel entrance. Steps descended steeply into a spacious chamber with a comfortably high ceiling. Two other tunnels led to additional rooms. The three prisoners were confined in a cell cut into one wall. The cell had crude but effective bars. Whizkid fell into an unresponsive sulk upon being separated from Fifi. The colonel also became somewhat contemplative, worrying as he was about Annette and her talkative ways. Only Fritz was alert. He hadn't seen Marie for the better part of two days.

Most of the Maquis departed on various errands of destruction. When asked, Old Guy passed up several opportunities to participate. Gerard seemed relieved. Without realizing it, he and the old fart were in complete agreement. A sabotage unit containing one or more people who couldn't speak the language was a recipe for disaster. “Donnie and I can help with security here, if that will free up some of your comrades,” offered Old Guy.

Several FFI types smiled at the American upon hearing the word 'comrade'. Many of them were Communists. Old Guy grinned back, thinking the lads were just being friendly.

Donnie had to be dragged outside when his turn at guard came around. He'd found a stack of filthy magazines in one of the side tunnels. The fact that he couldn't read the text bothered him not at all.

Fifi showed up unexpectedly two days later. “Louis will bring some Americans here to pick up ze prisoners. You can go back wiz zem.”

“Thanks,” said Old Guy. “You guys have been great, but I'd rather get back to where I can talk to someone besides Donnie. Not that he's said very much.”

She frowned. “You can talk to me.”

Gallantly he smiled and nodded. “Of course. When you are here. Is the lovely Marie going to be with Louis?”

Fifi uttered what sounded like a curse and stalked away.

He called after her. “I only wondered because of Donnie and Fritz. Nobody will want to half-carry those two out of here.” She ignored him.

Old Guy sat down, shaking his head. “Damn. Good going motormouth.”

Donnie wandered in. He sported a battered magazine and a glazed expression. “Did I hear -- uh -- hear that we was goin' back to the unit?”

“Put your magazines away and pack your stuff, Donnie. The US Army is sending a rescue party.”

The lad nodded vaguely and drifted back to his tunnel.

The rescue party proved to include a starchy 1st Lieutenant who didn't want to hear how Donnie and Old Guy came to be behind German lines. He sneered at their account of the Maquis attack on the bridge and the subsequent destruction of several German vehicles. Of the prisoners, only the rumpled colonel interested him. “What are those shoulder tabs? I've never seen any that color?”

Fifi was back, busily ignoring Old Guy. “It is mauve. He is of ze Entertainment Corps.”

“Entertainment Corps?” The lieutenant became suspicious. “Sounds like a cover for spies.” He jerked a thumb at the staff sergeant standing by the entrance. “Get thise prisoners out, Barnes. Don't let that so-called colonel talk to anyone until we deliver him to Intelligence. They'll piss themselves when we hand them a genuine spy master.”

“Uh . . .” Old Guy decided to let the matter rest. If Intelligence thought Fick commanded a spy unit he'd probably get pretty good treatment. And it would keep the MI guys harmlessly busy.

That was when Marie waltzed in.

****

“I couldn't help it,” moaned Donnie.

“Never mind,” said Old Guy. He reclined on his bunk. “Major Dude will be along one of these days to get us out.”

“I never been in jail before. That lieutenant shouldn't have had us tossed in here.”

“He was mightily pissed when you and Fritz went out like spent candles then couldn't be revived. It was the worst attack I've seen. You were both in a coma.”

“That's no reason to incar - incurcer - put us in jail.”

“We were lucky. He wanted to shoot that staff sergeant of his when he went down too. None of his troops were in a good mood after we carried you clowns a couple miles to the road.” Old Guy winced as he rolled to one side. “My back will never be the same.”

****

Fick sipped his coffee and examined the brisk US Army captain seated across the table. The man spoke very good German. “Naturally, Captain, my work was highly confidential. According to ein Geneva Convention I can not be made to discuss that.”

The eager MI officer nodded. “Of course, Herr Oberst. However, my colonel has authorized me to advise you that life can be very comfortable for those who -- ah -- cooperate with us.” He issued no threat concerning non-cooperation. Fick knew such a threat was implied, though he was fairly certain the Americans would simply get tired of interrogating him and ship him off to a POW camp. He'd heard fascinating stories about American POW camps.

On the other hand, he really didn't know anything of value. His fellow officers had treated him as if he had a communicable disease. In their eyes the Entertainment Corps was not a real branch of the German military.

Fick smiled. “Perhaps I can help in some small way. Best to get zis horrible war over soon, don't you zink, Captain?”

Gotcha! The Captain strained to keep a straight face. “Of course, Herr Oberst.” Visions of smashing vast Nazi spy rings streamed through his brain. Promotion could be his. He laughed inwardly. Colonel Gladhand didn't even know about this German spymaster. The captain stood up. “I'll arrange for someone to record our discussions. We'll start tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'll bring in someone who can -- ah -- make you comfortable.”

Fick rose and bowed courteously. Sheisse! He has taken ein bait. Now I must dream up some good stories.Danke, Captain.”

The officer opened the door and ushered a dark-haired woman into the room. “Oberst Fick, may I present Ophelia? Ophelia, Oberst Fick.”

Ophelia halted as if surprised, then recovered herself. “Enchanted, I'm sure, Herr Oberst.”

Fick sat down hard, stunned into silence. Ophelia? Now he knew what had happened to Annette.

Thank you, Captain. I'm sure the colonel and I will get along very well.” Smirking, the captain went out, leaving them alone. Gladhand be damned. The woman and promotion are mine.

Mein Gott! Annette!” Fick could barely breath.

Don't call me that,” hissed the woman.

Fick recovered slightly. “I'm surprised to see you vith a mere captain.”

Hah! The American colonel is my new paramour. But he has a condition you are very familiar with.” She raised an eyebrow. “He isn't frightened by bare breasts, but all he can do is paw me. The captain is much more -- interesting. And ambitious. He will be a major soon. Then -- who knows?”

Zhese fools zink I ran a huge spy ring.”

Ophelia/Annette came over and curled up in his lap. “Then you must convince them that you did.” She began unbuttoning her blouse. “Meanwhile we must try to chase away your demons.”

Ach -- I don't -- I'm not sure . . .”

There is a cot -- or the floor for that matter.” She became serious. “I need the captain. Those fools in the FFI may yet find out who I am. He can protect me. Maybe -- someday, even marry me and take me to America. I'll help you all I can.”

Fick ran his eyes over her well-filled bra. “Ve can only try, eh? Who knows? Perhaps, given time unt repetition, zhese visions of death may go away.”

She popped the front catch. Lovely flesh presented itself.

Gott!” Fick jerked back. The P-38 swooped closer, guns firing.

Poor Oberst,” murmured Ophelia/Annette. “It will take many treatments, I'm afraid.”

End

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"Fick gets lucky and I don't? This is an outrage!" Donnie yells, pounding his fist on his computer desk, face deep red. "I won't stand for it!" Donnie shoves his office chair against the desk and limps out of the room. "I quit!"

Pretty good eh? I was acting! Had you all fooled! Had you all thinking I was leaving the forum!

Good read as usual OG! :thumbsup:

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Nah. I knew you weren't leaving. I am surprised that you recovered from your last dose of Marie quite so fast. Must have been a glancing gaze, eh? : )

And Fick hasn't gotten lucky . . . . yet. He's still struggling with his PICR. (Performance Inhibiting Cowardly Reaction)

OG

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“Um -- driving around. Looking for -- looking for -- billets! Ja! I was looking for billets.” Now he wished he hadn't mentioned the side road. His real purpose there involved a whorehouse and a tall blonde who could speak English and knew a large number of nursery rhymes in that language. She had once been a governess for an English family living in Paris. Whiz could only perform when listening to nursery rhymes -- in English. Exactly why is fodder for curious psychologists and not germane to the present account.

That's rather disturbing, actually. :blink:

Sorry, Donnie, you didn't get the babe this time. Bick got her, but he can't do anything with her! :lol: And I did not die in some grisly fashion!

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Mauve shoulder tabs?..............................REALLY!

Keep going, OG! Make sure that you get some shuteye first, though. I can see you now, with the cigarette dangling from your lips, smoke curling over your head, eyes scrunched up, and five o'clock stubble making an appearance, as you hunch over your typewriter, pounding away, (on the typwriter, of course!), mumbling to yourself and cursing the stupid ribbon and stuck keys. Oh, a writers life..........!

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Whiz and Gick....The Mauve Brothers. Performing one show nightly during the week and two shows nightly on the weekends at the Blue Oyster Bar. Wear all leather pants and jacket, get 10% off admission and first drink free! No icky girls admitted.

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Whiz and Gick....The Mauve Brothers. Performing one show nightly during the week and two shows nightly on the weekends at the Blue Oyster Bar. Wear all leather pants and jacket, get 10% off admission and first drink free! No icky girls admitted.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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You're a bunch of rotters! Making fun of my uniform is so.......................MEAN!

Personally I think Chartreuse would have gone SO much better with Field Grey, but, there you go, I don't get to make the decisions! I told the Supply Dept Colonel that he might have consulted us before deciding, but he's one of those "Know-it-all" types, and he said that if I had any complaints to take them to the local SS Sturmbanfuhrer and see if he agreed! Smarty-pants! As usual, no support from Fick, who didn't even CARE about the color not complementing the FG serge! Peasant! War is Hell!

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Kvuiet down gefreiter! Do you zhink I am happy wizh mauve? But einough of zhat az I vant to know more about zhis Marie. Dezpite vhat Oldt Gay says about me I aktually hav no pervormanze problemz wizh zhe frauleins.

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Rumor has it that Doctory "Dynamo" Joker has examined Oberst Fick and determined that a stringent course of electroshock therapy will cure his "problem" related to boobs and P-38 propellors. The treatments will begin immediately and continue at increasing power for ten days. At the conclusion of the therapy, in Doctor Dynamo's own words: "The patient's frontal lobes will either be free of disturbing visions or have turned into fried lumps of brain tissue. Either outcome will suffice."

The Oberst was last seen strapped to a gurney, mouth gagged, twitching feebly as he was rolled into the treatment room. Hospital staff jokingly refer to the room as Joker's Oven, for the mouth watering aromas emitted during sessions.

Doc Dynamo also examined Gefreiter Whizkid and pronounced his odd prediliction requiring the recital of English Nursery Rhymes during sex to be a harmless foible. "Sometimes," said the good Doctor, "a cigar is just a cigar and a nursery rhyme just a nursery rhyme."

OG

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No! No! Nein! NEIN! NEIN! ACH! I do nicht hav einy zutch problemz! I do nicht need einy elektroschok zherapy to kure einyzhing! You all schtay avay from me! Go schok gefreiter Vhiz. He needz zherapy. He vhizes hiz trouzers too zo maybe you kan vork on zhat ja? Und he criez in hiz zleep und I mean he zobs zo zhere iz zomezhing elze for you to vork on. I zhink he alzo preferz to vear zhe fraulein unter garmentz. Now zhat iz zomezhing he vreally needz help wizh zo give him zhe zherapy!

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What's that you say? Nine, nine, nine, nine? Sounds to me like he just asked for 99.99% full power. Strap him down, hook him up, and crank up the juice! Make him sizzle, make his hair smoke, roast him from the inside out! Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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On second thought, perhaps I am being a bit harsh. Let's put Jick's fate to a vote. All in favor of seeing Sick glow like a campfire?

Well, there you have it, a unanimous vote to light him up.

Roll on one!

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