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They arrived at the hospital with their wounded. The makeshift hospital was a mad house, wounded streamed in from everywhere along the front. Kovac had to knock an orderly down to find out where to put his wounded. The orderly swung his arm around, “look bub, find a spot for em we will get to them when we can.” Kovac went back to the trucks, “unload the wounded, put them anywhere you can, and put a walking wounded with them don’t leave any of our men alone.”  When the last wounded man was unloaded and crammed into the hospital, the trucks pulled away.

“Drop me a Division Headquarters and find a place to hide the men and the equipment, don’t let any of it out of yours hands, that’s an order. Send Kovac and Snipes back to get me.”

“Yes sir,” Rawls said, and adjusted the sling on his arm.

Currie and Meyers jumped down off the track outside the gate to Division. The guard at the gate saluted “your papers please Captain, Lieutenant.” Curie and Meyers handed the sergeant their papers the guard looked at the Id’s and then scrutinized each man. “Your business here?”

Currie looked at the Sergeant, a rage began to build in him, an expression Meyers had never seen before appeared on Currie’s face. “The lieutenant and I are here to see General Stroh!” The sergeant looked at Currie and dropped his gaze to the ground.

“Yes Sir, Corporal take these men to General Stroh’s Office Pronto.”

“Follow me please,” the Corporal said.

The Sergeant held out their papers Currie snatched them on his way past the man.

Currie caught General Stroh in the hallway “General Stroh may I have a few words with you Sir.”

“Make it fast boy I have a lot going on,” he smiled signaling Currie to accompany him. “Billy how is your dad?”

“Dad just got his second star, he is doing well.”

“Yes I heard he was promoted to Major General, he is a good man, Now what can I do for you.”

I was at AL WAD, they really torn us to pieces, I got a handful of men and want to get back in it. I want to keep the men I have and build another company around them.”

“This Lieutenant is he yours?”

“General Stroh this is Mike Meyers My XO.”

“Ok this is what I will do I will detach you, and your men until I can work out replacements and what I want to do with you. I want to Borrow your man here for a while I’m short an aide, I send him back when I done with him. Drop by tomorrow morning I’ll have your orders ready.”

“Thanks General Stroh.”

“Come on Mitchell we’ve got a lot of thing to do,”

“Uh Sir, Its Meyers.”

“Yes, well come on Meyers.”

The general; walked out the door followed by Meyers, leaving Currie standing in the hall. Currie shrugged his shoulders, turned, and headed to the front gate. Currie looked around and saw everything you could imagine, except Kovac and Snipes.

Currie crossed the Boulevard dodging the trucks jeeps donkey carts, and people who swarmed the boulevard in masse. Once safely across, he walked to the corner to wait. While he was waiting a green ford, panel truck with a big red cross turned the corner and parked. Two sassy Red Cross Girls bounced out of the truck and began to set up shop the short strawberry blonde haired girl was lifting up the side panel when it slipped from her hand. A hand appeared from out of the blue and set the brace in place. “Hey watch the hands,” the blonde said. Currie moved down the side to brace the other end of the panel.

The blonde looked at Currie “well thanks Captain”

Currie Smiled, “you’re welcome Ma’am”

The blonde stumbled forward Currie caught her and set her down on the Trucks running board, “Oh My, I do declare I don’t know what has come over me.”

The other blonde in the truck leaned out of the opening, resting her elbows on the counter she cradled her head in her hands, looked down. “Now Paulette, I do declare, I know what has come over you, and the Captain is standing right there in front of you,” she laughed. “let me see; the coffee won’t be ready for another 10 minutes, the doughnuts are two days old, we are about out of everything, we haven’t slept more than two hours in the past two days, and Paulette here is doing her best Scarlet O’Hara imitation. “What will it be Captain Rhett, Cigarettes, coffee stale Doughnuts, or saucy Paulette.” Paulette; got up, sighed, and stomped around to the back of the van, “Captain I’m Joan from Maryland, and this hussy is Paulette, she is from Philadelphia, Philadelphia Mississippi that is, Hence the Scarlett impression.”

Paulette shot Joan a look “oh you Bitch,” She said.

“Whoa ladies please don’t fight right now, there isn’t enough left of me for me to even think about anything more than a cup of coffee and a good cigarette, have you any Camels.”

Joan shook a few boxes and then bent over at the waist pulling the green fabric tight across her buttocks. “Aw here they are.” Joan said.

Paulette turned in time to see Joan bent over and slapped her hard on her ass. “You make fun of my Scarlett, and then you offer your butt to him, be ashamed of yourself Joan be ashamed. Joan laughed and handed the pack of Cigarettes to Currie, but he wasn’t there.

Both women poked their heads out of the truck and looked around then they looked down. Currie was sitting on the running board with his head cradled in his hands.

“OH, Oh, My God,” they said bumping into each other trying to get out of the truck, and running to him. “Are you ok,” Joan said.

“Move over Joan, move over give him some air.”

“Why so you can shove your tits in his face.”

“Well you put your butt in his face.”

Joan lit a camel and handed it to Currie.

“Thanks ladies,” Currie said taking the cigarette and the pack from Joan.

“Are you ok?”

“Yes I’m just fine, just very tired that’s all just very tired.”

“Where are you from?”

“I just got back from AL WAD.”

“Oh my god, we heard about that place. You poor man, come on Captain, come with us,” the girls helped Currie into the truck. They closed up the truck in record time. Joan turned the truck around and was headed out to the boulevard she stopped at the intersection.

Snipes dodged the traffic to get close to the Red Cross truck he jumped on the running board, “Captain Currie are you ok? We have been searching for you.”

“Aw Snipes, there you are, follow us, so you will know where to collect me in the morning.”

“Yes Sir,” Snipes signaled Kovac. Kovac stopped long enough for Snipes to climb aboard the track. Kovac kept his eyes on the truck as it wound its way around the city.

Joan pulled the truck into the driveway of what looked like an old French villa. Kovac brought the track to a stop. Paulette waved to Snipes; he trotted over to the truck,

“He just passed out, I can’t wake him up, help us with him.”

“Ma’am we will take him and we promise to bring him back over tomorrow. Yes Ma’am We promise” Kovac added, “we will get him all cleaned up, and deloused.”

“Eeewu” Paulette said.

“We are kidding ma’am,” Kovac and Snipes carried Currie to the track.

“Oh, sergeant, here are some cigarette for you and your men,”

“Why thank you ma’am.”

“Please call me Joan.”

Joan handed Kovac an armload of cartons of Camels Lucky’s and Chesterfields, Kovac groped her while taking the Cigarettes.

She leaned forward, “Now sergeant I know you can do better than that,”

Kovac grabbed her pulled her close and kissed her hard then he squeezed her breast with one hand and gripped her ass with the other he brushed his cheek passed her cheek and said to her I’ll be back around 20 hundred hours.”

She held him tight, “I’ll be waiting but only if you have shaved and bathed and have on clean clothes.”

“How about 2 out of the 3 I know I can shave and bathe but I’m not too sure of the clean clothes.”

“Try for all three but I’ll work around the clothes.”

Kovac laughed released her and pulled himself up into the ½ track. He drove the track to the carriage house they had found, it was neatly tucked behind a bombed out Villa and a high row of dense bushes. He pulled in driveway and parked the track behind the carriage house.

Currie was still asleep when Snipes and Kovac rolled him clothes and all into a makeshift rack. Kovac unbuttoned Currie’s blouse and pulled it off him. Snipes made short work of removing his boots. “Oh lord God,” Snipes said pinching his nose and pointing to Currie’s feet. He threw the boot into the corner, then he held his breath while he removed the other one, he threw the boot into the corner with its mate. Currie rolled over on his side and curled up in a ball. Kovac threw a blanket over him,

“Let’s go there is nothing more we can do here. We need bath I bet we all stink like that.”

Kovac and Snipes entered the Carriage bay, Bishop was there drying himself off. In the center of the bay was the Copper washtub. Take a number, gentlemen we will get to you as soon as we can the men howled. “We should all be clean by midnight,” Costello said laughing.

“Rank has its privileges,” Kovac said.

Lieutenant Rawls stepped from the line, “the hell you will sergeant I wait you can damn sure wait. Every man brought his own water in, you’re no exception.”

“Yes Sir,” Kovac and Snipes walked outside, picked up two cans, and carried them into the carriage house and set them with the others.

Doc climbed the stairs to the room where Currie had slept for the last 2 days. Doc tripped over the leg to the cot Currie sat up, looked around “where am I, hey Doc where the hell am I.”

“One thing at a time, you’re under the care of a doctor so first things first. Let’s see the hand, then you bathe and shave and then sir you may do as you wish.”

“Doctor, May I have a cup of coffee and a cigarette?”

“Hey Gleason, bring the captain a cup of coffee and his cigarettes, Doc yelled down the stairs. “Now Sir, if you don’t mind let’s see the hand.”

Currie held his hand up; Doc cut the bandage off down to the last strip of bandage. That Strip of bandage was adhered to his finger by the dried coagulated blood that oozed from his wound. Doc took his finger and stuck it in a jar full of mineral water and alcohol. Currie jerked his finger out and shook it vigorously.

“God dam Doc that shit burns.”

“It’s either that of I rip it off and that will hurt a hell of a lot more, your choice.”

You’re getting kind of uppity in your old age aren’t you Doc.”

“Captain, I don’t know where you got your information about me being a doctor in civilian life, but you are right. It is something that I tried to bury for a few years with alcohol, and hiding from life. I join the Army to get away and, what does the army do they make me a corpsman. And do you know how they made me a corpsman, the Drill Sergeant walked down the line counting by 4’s then he said all those who have the number three come here and form up you are now corpsman.”

“Here’s your coffee Captain, boy am I glad to see your awake, wow look at that finger it looks awful, will there be anything else.” Gleason sucked in a big breath and then just stood there staring at his finger.

“That will be all, for now, And Gleason thanks for pulling me in the hole.”

Gleason smiled, Doc pointed him to the stairs, and Gleason left.

“Now where was I, Oh yes, the thing I had run from, hid from now I am being forced to do. I asked, no I pleaded with the Drill Sergeant make me infantry anything but a corpsman he just smiled at me and said the War Department has decided that you will be a corpsmen and that was that.”

“I will do my job I will do what a corpsman has been trained to do and I will do a little more to save a life but Captain don’t push it, I don’t want to relieve the nightmares and the memories.”

He pushed Curries hand into the solution, this time Currie held it in there and just stared at Doc.

Doc slowly pulled the bandage from his finger. He covered it with Vaseline and some ointment and dressed it with a small dressing, he reached in his bag pulled out a condom and rolled it down over the bandage. “Now Sir, you are going to get a bath, no disrespect intended but you just plain stink and I mean really stink.”

“I won’t disagree with you Doc, where do I go?”

“Right this way sir your hot bath awaits.”

Curries men what was left of them were all bathed and shaved and all wore clean clothes they even polished their boots. They lined either side of the hall way through which Currie passed, straight to the shiny copper washtub complete with hot water, a scrub brush soap, towels a bottle of scotch and a several packs of Camels and a new black crinkled coated
Zippo. Gleason poured another Jerry can of water into the tub. “your bath awaits” Gleason left and closed the door Currie stood there along with a whole pack of smokes a full bottle of scotch and a bathtub full of hot water. He smiled pulled off his clothes, he stood naked in front of the tub and slowly immersed himself in the hot water.

Currie sat up in the hot water and dried off his hand he poured himself a jigger of scotch and lit a Camel. He smoked three camels and finished his scotch before he began scrubbing himself clean. He smoked three more Camels and had another scotch before he shaved all the whiskers off his face.  He finished his bath and dressed.

He walked into the adjacent room the men were sitting around the table eating stew out of china bowls and eating with Silver spoons. “You hungry,” Gleason said, “It’s a little creation of my own Gleason brought him a big bowl it has potatoes, leeks, carrots, onions, and a couple of those long-legged, long-necked pink birds in it.”

Currie swallowed hard, “Flamingoes.”

“Yea that’s the name, Flamingo, now eat up Captain.”

“You bastards…”

The men broke up laughing; Rawls looked at Currie” its chicken boss I saw it when it had feathers.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, where all of these things come from?”

The house up front is bombed out but the cellar was in intact and all of this was in the cellar. We have wine, whiskey, cheese, sausage, onions, potatoes, all kinds of things in jars, and there must be a ton of Garlic.  Currie stuffed himself with the soup, cheese, and sausage.

“Top run me over to Division after I get dressed, I need to pick up my orders.”

“That’s won’t be necessary Meyers dropped them off to us yesterday…”

“What do you mean yesterday?” Currie scowled.

“Captain you slept for 72 hours straight; you got up twice’ pissed in the corner, and went back to bed. I went to Division and found Meyers, I told him you were worn out and where you were. He dropped off the orders and told all of us to leave you alone and let you sleep he would check in on us.” Rawls looked around the room, went to the corner desk, and picked up a sheath of papers, “our orders Sir.”

Currie read the orders, “Seems we have been detached and are independent for now.”

“We would like to talk to you in private,” Captain Rawls said as he stood.

Currie and Rawls walked back into the carriage house followed by Walsh, Copeland, and Evans. “Captain, I really should let Mike explain to you what is going on but I think I understand it well enough to explain it. Meyers told general Stroh how we got the information from the Germans and told the general how we might be of superior value to the general in gathering Intel.”

“What do you mean how we got the intel from the Germans?  Don’t you mean how I got the intel?”

Currie picked up his orders, his orders stated that he was to select the men, the equipment, and he was to work independently of the other units and supply Intel directly to Division and to the general’s aide Captain Michael Meyers.”

Currie stood up scratched his butt pulled the shorts from his crack. “You don’t know how I got that Intel back therein that wadi.”

“Yes Billy we do, Kovac was behind you on the dune, and Jones was in front of you on the other dune they saw everything and told the company. We were with you in El Beyyadh we saw our men hanging like sides of beef on the slaughterhouse rails. Believe me Captain you didn’t do enough. Billy it’s payback time for those men and the men we lost at Al Wad I have talked to the men and they are behind you,” Rawls said.

Currie looked at Rawls and at his other lieutenants, “If we get caught it will be the gallows.”

“If the Germans catch us we will be just as dead, Come on Captain you didn’t expect to live forever, did you. I know, I never thought I would live forever.”

Currie opened the door and walked into the tact room. “Men, there is something, I want to talk to you about.”

“Excuse me Captain,” Kovac pointed to the transom over the door the glass was broken. “We heard everything that you said; we are with you whatever you may decide.”

The men stood one at a time and told Currie that he was with him. The last man to stand and nod saluted him. All the men stood and looked at Currie. “You’re the captain,” Kovac said.

“Where’s my uniform,”

“UH, sir, I burnt it, Captain,” Bishop said.

“Gee thanks, what do I do now go naked to Division,”

“On no sir in the dresser in your room are your new uniforms, plus new boots under the bed. We got lucky and found a good source of supply.”

Currie came out of his room he was dressed the uniform looked almost tailored. “Come on Charlie, Kovac drive us to Division.”

Currie hopped out of the jeep as it squealed to a stop, “come on Charlie and Top wait for us here.”

Currie showed his ID card to the sentry, who admitted him to the building. The Generals office was on the Second floor. Currie looked through the door. Meyers was seated at a desk in the middle of the room, his new captain’s bars shining in the sunlight. Meyers looked disgusted, he was not a happy man, his desk was piled high with papers and was surrounded by people all talking to him or trying to talk to him at the same time. Currie looked at the people gathered around the desk; none of the officers, held a rank higher than a first lieutenant. Currie, thought a few moments, “Captain Meyers, the general will see you now, this way Captain,” Currie, said in a very loud voice. Meyers looked up “Uh, yes Sir I will be with you right away;” Meyers closed the drawers on his desk and locked them and then stood and walked to where Currie was standing. Currie began to usher the Captain out of the door. “We have to talk.”

Outside in the Garden Meyers and Currie walked among the palm trees and the Gardenia and Oleander bushes. “Mike thanks for the recommendation, but I don’t think I could…”

“Billy! Are you forgetting EL Beyyadh? Are you forgetting our men at Al Wad, Don’t tell me you can forget the sight of those two men hanging from the rafters skinned, mutilated, they were tortured, they were alive a long time they suffered terribly. Do you remember what you told me? You told me they would pay and pay dearly, and then you said as long as there was life in your body blood in your veins, you would track down every last one of those men and kill them no matter where they were.”

Currie looked down at the ground he shuffled his feet. “But.”

“But nothing,” Meyers said, “I hung my ass out there told the General that you got better Intel that paid off better than any Intel S-2 received; Their Intel got us wiped out at Al Wad. The general asked me what I thought, I told the General that you could get better Intel faster and Intel that was more useful than S-2 could ever obtain. I told him I would bet my Career on it and to prove it I would be his aide and if you failed, I told him I would take every shit job he had till hell froze over. So My friend I suggest you don’t fail.”

“Mike If I do this I will need all kind of equipment and support.”

“Billy I am the Generals aide, I have his rubber stamp, and you have what no other outfit in the whole theater has what I can’t get you, Kovac and Snipes can. You have almost two platoons you don’t need many more men and you need an XO. You pick them and I’ll have them transferred.”

Meyers pulled a pack of Camels from his pocket and offered one to Billy then he took one, he flipped open the Zippo and lit Curies then his. “Mike… if we get caught, they will hang us.”

“No, No way,” Meyers said laughing he patted Billy on his back, “No my friend they will shoot us at dawn, if the Germans don’t do it first.”

“I had better get going, it seems I have a lot to do, I had better get started,” Currie said, as he began to walk back to the gate, ”I’ll have some requisitions for your signature tomorrow, Goodbye Mike, and thanks.”

Currie left Meyers at the front steps to the building Rawls and Kovac were deep into a conversation when Currie pounded on the hood “Home James,”

Kovac started the jeep and took off; Rawls started to say something but Currie simply raised his hand and cut him off. Kovac drove to the carriage house weaving his way through traffic he drove slowly through the rubble of the once grand house and back to the carriage house.

Currie stepped down from the jeep, all the men of the company walked out to meet him “what’s the word,” Captain Walsh said.

“Inside, all of you,” They followed Currie into the carriage house. Currie took his place on the second step of the stairs leading to the second floor. He looked at each man in the room. “We are all in or we are all out.” He began, we have been tasked through fortune or misfortune to gather intel and in the process to reap revenge on those who tortured and killed our brothers back in El Beyyadh. We may have to do the same to the enemy to obtain that information they have that’s vital to the war effort. We may have to be as vile and as cruel as they are, we will show no mercy, what we are going to do will violate every covenant of the Geneva Conventions. If we are caught, we could possibly face the gallows or time at Leavenworth. If you think you are not up to it I will understand, I will transfer you to any unit you wish to go too, no one will be the wiser or think any less of you.  There is no shame in wanting out.”

Rawls stood Captain, “I think I speak for all the men when I say…”

Currie cut him off, Mr. Rawls you cannot speak for the men, each one will have to speak for themselves.” Currie raised his hand again; I want you to think long, and hard. Once committed there won’t be any chance to turn back. Each of us will share the guilt or the glory equally, but above all you have to maintain security, you cannot talk to anyone about what we do what you do. I know you men are close, you will have to be closer than brothers are what we do will be secret, our lives will depend on that. I want each of you to think about it. I will wait outside. And speak to each of you.”

Currie walked outside to the garden and sat down in the shade of a date palm.

Shapiro was the first to approach Currie, “I’m in Captain.”

“Sergeant Shapiro I’ll accept you on one condition.”

“Yes sir that condition would be.”

“The feud you have with Snipes. It’s over.”

“Done sir, it’s over as far as I’m concerned.”

“Captain Currie Sir,”

Currie turned to face Gleason, Gleason’s face was covered with grease and peeling skin and his hands were greased and bandaged from the burns, he handed Currie a full cup of coffee. “Captain I’m in I’ve been in since Fort Jackson and I’m not to be out now.”

“Glad to have you Gleason, I knew I could Count on you.”

“Thanks Captain.”

Each man in the Company came out Rawls was next he looked at Gleason standing several yards away “I don’t know how that sneaky little bastard beat me out here I had the door covered. I am with you, no ifs ands, or buts.” He saluted Currie and walked over to join Gleason.

Kovac followed Rawls then Snipes, Bishop, Costello, Sinclair, Macy Jones Snotky and Bailey; one by one, they came out. Each man in his own way told Currie he was in and each man entrusted Currie with his life.

Doc Wisecarver, agreed to go along with them; however, he had a few reservations and caveats. “I will keep our men alive and patch up the best I can, but in good conscious I will not patch up the enemy just so you can torture him.”

Currie Nodded, “Doc all I ask is you do the best you can do and work on the wounded, you might be the only voice of sanity in this whole fucking war.”

“Captain I won’t let you down.”

“Kovac you and Snipes and Shapiro find our equipment and gear what you can’t find procure.” The trio left for the Depot there with the help of three men from supply they dug through thousands of duffle bags, loading up the duffle bags that were theirs and identifying the ones belonging to their dead and restacking all the rests. Kovac and Snipes made enough of a disturbance about finding their equipment to draw the attention of several officers and about every clerk. It gave Shapiro time to do his shopping. Shapiro walked through the office he collected; a typewriter, several boxes of requisition forms, a round tree of rubber stamps, and several Inkpads. Snipes and Kovac were ordered out of supply; they were assured that their company commander would be advised of their behavior. In addition, he would have to go through proper channels and requisition any other gear they didn’t already have.

Kovac and Snipes mounted up on the truck they drove it around the corner and picked up Shapiro and his spoils Kovac said “Snipes you drive around to the other side and wait for me.” Kovac walked back into the building and headed for the break room he saw the shiny copper espresso maker sitting on the counter. Kovac wrapped it in a blanket and carried it out to the waiting truck “Move it Snipes we are done here.”

Currie, Rawls, Copeland, Walsh, and Evans sat around the table “We need to re-man the company the biggest problem we have is security and getting the personnel to fill the open spots any suggestions.”

“Captain why don’t we take the men we have left and combine them into 2 platoons those men we know and trust, then draw personnel and use them as support and clerical until they have been proven then utilize them in the field.”

Davis was pounding away on his new typewriter; he had a stack of requisition forms on one side and a pile of completed forms on the other side he stopped and opened the stock requisition catalogue every number and description of every item the company was suppose to have was in this book. Gleason secretly preferred the procurement techniques that Kovac and Snipes used to procure items for the company.

Davis grabbed the top of the form and ripped it from the typewriter he laid it on the pile of completed forms. “Aw fuck it, I’ve done enough today anyone for a cup of coffee.” Currie looked up, I know you do Captain, anyone else Walsh raised his hand signaling, he wanted one, and went back to what he was doing. Davis headed for the make shift kitchen to get the coffee.

Gleason was sitting over in the corner peeling the skin from his hands and dropping it into a can. He thought about the coffee pot he had, “Oh what a beautiful gleaming copper and brass percolator that was; he had the lighting and adjusting of the burner down to a science, he knew the exact amounts of water and ground coffee beans to make the perfect pot of coffee every time, but now it was gone, stolen gone forever.

“Hey Gleason how about a pot of coffee the captain wants a cup and so does…”

“Yea I hear you.” Gleason spooned the coffee grounds into the basket, put on the lid, and shoved the old beat up aluminum post on the burner to brew the coffee. Gleason slumped down on the stool in the corner and lit a cigarette.” Whoever said war was hell,” didn’t have a clue without his coffee pot for comfort, this war is very uncivilized. His thoughts were interrupted; the pot began to hiss and sizzle, the water bubbled, and spit from the spout, only then did Gleason stir to turn the flame down just enough to keep the pot percolating, but not too hot to burn his precious coffee. The aroma of brewing coffee soon filled the room. Gleason’s blue mood soon began to change, even with a dented bent and corroded pot; he could still make good coffee. He cracked his knuckles, while he waited; after exactly six minutes from the first sputter and hiss, he turned the burner to low and poured the dark brownish black coffee into five cups, filling each cup to just below the rim. He set the pot back on the burner so only a portion of the pot bottom was on the fire, just enough to keep it warm. Gleason handed the tray to Davis, to deliver to the waiting men.

Gleason went outside to sit under the shade of the Bougainvillea and drink his coffee. He shook his hands and took another pain pill for his burned hands, they still hurt, but he would never let on to anyone that they did.

Gleason finished his coffee and about a pack of cigarettes when Currie and Walsh left the carriage house. Currie said, “We’re going to Division.” Gleason nodded back to him, they carried the stack of requisitions Davis had typed and the ones they had hand written. Gleason was alone in the gardens; he was resting in a world away from his home and a world away from the war. He was about to depress himself when one of their old reliable Chevy 30cwt bounced into the yard.

Snipes sprang out of the cab and opened one of the Carriage Bay doors, Kovac drove the truck in, Snipes slammed the truck door closed and closed the carriage house bay door after the truck had pulled into the garage. Snipe’s yelled the MP’s are hot on our trail. Gleason did not move, he lit another cigarette and just sat there relaxing. The MP’s drove slowly into the yard, and had turned around to leave when they spotted Gleason, “Hey you,” Gleason pointed to himself, “yeah you,” the MP said climbing out of the jeep, “who are you?” he growled. “

“I’m Staff Sergeant Gleason, Able Company First Battalion 236th Regiment, 3rd Division,

“What are you doing here?” the MP asked.

“This is my company Head-Quarters.” Gleason smiled.

“How long have you been here?”

Gleason pointed to the ground, it was littered with cigarette butts, and one cigarette was still smoking.

“How long have you been here?”

“All day.” said Gleason

“Sergeant is there a problem here,” Rawls yelled, walking out the door. “I said is there a problem Sergeant,” the two MP’s came to attention, Rawls walked up to the MP, “Are you deaf Sergeant?” I asked you if there was a problem here,

“No Sir,” the MP said.

“What are you doing here Sergeant?”

“Sir, we are looking for a truck full of stolen property,”

“Look around Sergeant,” Rawls said, “look around do you see a truck here?” Well do you Sergeant,

“No Sir,” I don’t.

“Then why are you busting the balls of my clerk, he is out here on a break, don’t you ever take a break Sergeant.”

“Yes sir I take breaks.”

“Do you like your balls busted when you take a break?”
“Uh Sir,”

“Damn it Sergeant I asked you a question.” Rawls growled, “Well do you?”

“NO SIR, I don’t” bellowed the MP.

“Then leave him alone and get you sorry carcasses out of here, or do I need to speak to your superior.”

“Uh No sir we are going,” the two MP’s walked to their jeep and sped away.

Rawls waited a few seconds and began to laugh, “dumb smucks, all brawn no fucking brains, come on sergeant let’s go have a drink, I’m buying,” Rawls threw his arm around Gleason’s shoulders; the first drink is on me the rest you buy ok.

Gleason chuckled, “yeah why not.”

Rawls pushed open the door to the carriage house. Kovac and Snipes stood side by side in front of Gleason’s make shift desk, “Sergeant Kovac,” Rawls said. What do we have behind door #1 Kovac and Snipes each took a side step away from each other, Gleason stopped dead in his tracks, sitting on Gleason’s desk was his gleaming copper and brass coffee urn, which incidentally was leaking coffee out of the spigot. Gleason turned and hugged Rawls, then rushed towards Snipes who was the closest to him, Snipes stepped back balled up his fist, “you hug me, Gleason, and I’ll deck you.”

Kovac laughed only to find he was being hugged. “God almighty Gleason, knock it off,” Kovac said pushing Gleason off him.

“Oh guys’ thank you, where did you find it, I can’t believe it is here, it’s still hot, where did you?” Gleason was mumbling incoherently and deliriously happy as he fondled the gleaming copper and brass self contained, self-heating coffee percolating urn. Gleason pulled the top off looking for the percolator riser and the basket. Kovac said, “It’s all here.” Gleason smiled, “thank you, thank you.”

“Now maybe we will get some decent coffee,” Kovac said.

“Kovac, I heard that,” Gleason said, as he carried the urn into the make shift kitchen. From time to time, a curse word would echo out of the kitchen, then everything became still and quiet except the bubbling, gurgling hissing sound of Gleason’s coffee maker, “how magnificent” he exclaimed. Gleason emerged carrying 4 cups of coffee; he passed them to Rawls, Kovac, and Snipes. He thanked them all again. Gleason returned to his desk, he sat his cup down, picked up the stack of typed requisitions that were wet with coffee and put the stack on the left side of his typewriter; he inserted a blank form and began to type one handed.

Never had Rawls, Kovac, or Snipes ever seen a happier man. Come on LT. let us show you what else we were able to come across. The three of them left the tack room to a deliriously happy clerk. In the back of the truck were portable desks filing cabinets, everything that you would need for a mobile field office was there. Since we were there to get our coffee pot, we figured we were there we would get the office supplies too. Rawls threw back the canvas flap, “Let’s get it unloaded, we got it lets use it.”

Kovac grabbed a file box, Snipes piled some in out boxes on it, “thanks,” said Kovac. “Any time,” replied Snipes.

Throughout most of the day the men wandered in and out dragging in anything they thought would benefit the company, most of what they found and brought in was junk or worn out, however; it was the thought that counted, though a couple of items were of value. More important than any of the items they brought in was the information they gained; as where the MP’s were stationed, where the houses of ill-repute were located, as well as the restaurants and illegal bars. The men knew how to get around in the town without getting caught. It was dark when Currie and Walsh returned to the Carriage house. All the requisitions they had carried with them had been signed and stamped. They were endorsed with a large lettered red-inked stamp stating, “High Priority,” and countersigned with the general’s rubber-stamped signature. All the Major Items had been approved.

Currie and Walsh opened the door to the tack room to their surprise it was now an office. There were four desks; filing cabinets, in and out baskets, pads, paper, pencils, inkpads and inkwells, clipboards, a bulletin board, and a solitary light bulb in the center of the room that was flickering from dim too bright. Currie and Walsh exchanged glances, in the distance they heard the muffled voices of the men and the sputtering of an engine,

“After you” said Walsh.

“Oh No! Walsh after you,” said Currie. Walsh led the way through the carriage bays and out the back door. The men stood around watching, Snipes and Shapiro and Petry tinkering with the engine. “No do this, no not that, you have to do this, you both are crazy as…”

Walsh pushed his way through the group of men. “Excuse me,” he said kneeling down beside the generator. Walsh opened the fuel valve and closed the choke, the engine revved up and began to purr. The lights that had been strung overhead blazed into brilliance. The men clapped and cheered. Walsh shrugged his shoulders, “nothing to it,” he murmured.

“That’s quite an improvement,” Currie said, walking back to the tack room office,

“We’ve been busy,” Rawls said. “The stalls have been converted to a barracks, the tack room an office, each clerk has a desk, the upstairs has been dubbed officers’ country, the carriage bays are the warehouse and parking bays. There is still only one latrine, but we are working on another one, and last but not least, the generator is set and the light strings are in place.”

“How did all of this start,” said Currie.

“Kovac and Snipes found Gleason’s coffee pot while they were getting the pot; they got the office supplies as well. Then the MP’s showed up, hunting for the truck and the men who stole the office supplies, Gleason and I ran them off. After a while, the men began to return bringing with them all kinds of things; bedding, cots, clothes, food, Shapiro and Petry brought back the generator and the light string. We separated the stuff, the good stayed here, the junk we hauled back off to let someone else take it, or we gave it to the Arabs.”

“Tomorrow we will be even busier. We have three jeeps and three 1/2 tracks and trailers to pick up n Algiers. Charlie take Kovac, no I need him here take Shapiro and five men and pick up those vehicles, take the best running Chevy.” Currie sat down at his new desk. “You’ll want to leave as soon as possible and get back here as quickly as you can…”Currie picked up a piece of paper.

“You can,” he began to chuckle, “well hell,” Currie said and handed the paper to Rawls who read it, he too began to laugh. Walsh took the paper from Rawls, “what the fuck,” Walsh said, “he read it again. Typewritten in all capital letters, was a memo from Sgt. Gleason to Captain Currie. That Captain William Currie, Recommend Sergeants Kovac, Snipes, and Shapiro for a silver star for keeping equipment of the highest strategic value out of the enemies hands and for promoting the health and morale of Able Co., 1st. Battalion, 236 regiment to the highest level possible.

Gleason stuck his head around the corner, “coffee any one,” The three men burst out laughing, Currie held his side and doubled over, “I didn’t think it was that funny,” Gleason said, as he disappeared back into the mess area.

“Hey Gleason,” Currie yelled out wiping the tears from his eyes, yeah we all will have some coffee.” A disembodied voice from the mess area called out, “Sir, Yes Sir.” Gleason brought and handed each man a cup of coffee, the last cup he handed to Captain Currie. Currie took the coffee and put his hand on Gleason’s shoulder, “Sergeant,” he said shaking his head, “no medal for the coffee pot?”

“Well, they deserve something,” Gleason said,” It just isn’t fair, not to give em something.”

“How about I put a letter of acknowledgment in their 201’s,” Currie said.

Gleason turned and said, ‘I suppose it is better than nothing.”

“Charlie, get an early start, I want you back here before dark tomorrow,”

“You got it boss,” Charlie said, “Sergeant Shapiro,” pick your detail and get things ready to go.”

Shapiro nodded, “alright you guys, who wants to make a short trip to Oran.” Shapiro made his list and handed it to Walsh. “I’ll have them ready to go by 0400 Sir.”

“Good enough Sergeant, 0400 will do nicely,” said Walsh.

Currie awoke to the sound of the Chevy 30 warming up. Currie slipped into his pants and boots then strode down the stairs to the office. Gleason had made coffee; the men were eating a breakfast of round bread sausage and cheese.

“Morning Captain,” Gleason said thrusting him a cup of coffee “You want some breakfast,”

“No” Currie croaked, “no thanks, just coffee.”

Gleason nodded, turned, and walked away.

“Ok men hurry up, finish up, saddle up, lets ride; we have a long trip and a short time to do it, hubba, hubba,” Shapiro said. The men mumbled, growled, and filed out the door toward the waiting truck.

Currie listened to the noise of the doors slam and the tail gate being closed. Currie strolled over to the window, slid the curtains back just in time to see the tail end of the truck disappear into the predawn light. Currie sipped his coffee while he stared blankly out the window. “It’s going to be a long day, a very long day,” he thought as he reached up and slid the curtains closed, then turned around and patted his pockets for his cigarettes and a lighter. “Damn,” he said, “Gleason get me some cigarettes.” Gleason appeared at the doorway, “Captain, catch,” he said as he tossed a pack and a Ronson to him, Gleason disappeared into his office leaving Currie alone.

Currie sat down at his desk, then lit up a butt. He threw his feet up on the corner of the desk, leaned back into his chair, and inhaled, filling his lungs full of smoke. Currie held the smoke in a long time before he exhaled. The pale blue smoke streamed toward the ceiling like the smoke from a chimney. Currie leaned forward lifted his coffee cup and the stack of papers below it; he put the papers in his lap and took a long drink of the hot brew. Currie shivered, “damn – that’s good shit,” he said and took another drink. He set the cup down and picked up the papers reading each page carefully making mental notes of each before placing it on the bottom of the stack, before reading the next page, until he had finished the stack of papers. He had lost track of time while reading the AAR’s and double checking the forms and requisitions that made up the stacks and stacks of papers, he had read, signed and initialed.

It seemed every time he finished a stack of papers, Gleason would bring him another stack of papers, another pack of cigarettes, and another cup of coffee and clean ashtray. Currie thought he had eaten, he vaguely remembered a plate of sandwiches; at least he thought he did, but he couldn’t remember for sure.

Currie had just picked up another stack of papers when Meyers walked in the door,

“Hey old man, what’s going on,” he said light heartedly. Currie looked up and Meyers stared at him. “Damn man! What is going on? You look damned rough,” he said. “Come on, go clean up, we’re going out to eat and have a few drinks.”

“I got to finish the paperwork,” Currie said.

“Fuck the paperwork, it’s coming to me, I can wait.”

Currie set the paperwork down, “you buying, I haven’t been paid yet.”

“Yes I am buying Meyers said, “Now come on, we are burning daylight as they say in the westerns.”

Currie nodded and headed up the stairs to shave and change clothes. Currie yelled down the stairs, “Mike, what’s going on, is this the condemned man’s last dinner or a social call.”

Meyers looked up the stairs, well – actually a little of both. I’ll tell you about it over dinner, so hurry up will you.

Currie was adjusting his tie when he emerged from the stairwell. I am ready he said pulling his cap from his belt. “Gleason, I’ll be back when Meyers is through with me,” he said. “Let’s go Mike.”

Meyers rose from the seat at the table and opened the door after you my good friend. “Now I know – I am in trouble, when you call me your good friend,” Currie said laughing.

Meyers stepped up into the jeep, found the key, and started the engine.

Currie settled into his seat, “let’s go,” he said.

Meyers eased away from the carriage house pulled around the rubble on the drive, to the street; He wound out the gears on the little jeep.

Currie said over the whine of the gears and engine, “what’s the hurry Mike?” where is the fire?” “No hurry, and there is no fire, Billy just a couple of hot blooded Red Cross girls that want our attention.”

Meyers drove through the streets of Bisrah until he found the side street he was looking for…he eased the jeep down the narrow alley then pulled through an arched gate into a small courtyard. “Come on,” Meyers said, “they’re waiting for us.”

Meyers pushed the heavy oak door open, the room was dark, the only light was from candles on small tables that were scattered about the room, and a red spot of light centered on a scantily clad fair-skinned thin dark headed woman moving sensuously around the stage, her body undulating and gyrating in rhythm with the music.

A dark skinned waiter wearing a white coat and black trousers sporting a red fez with a black tassel on his head ushered them to a table in the corner and took their order for drinks.

“Ok where are they?” Currie said. Didn’t you say you had a couple of Red Cross girls waiting for us?”

“They will be here, don’t fret, I guarantee it,” said Meyers. The door opened and two women walked into the darkened room. Currie recognized them the instant they walked in, he mumbled Paulette from Philadelphia, Miss Joan from New Jersey or Maryland, yes Baltimore Maryland. The girls looked around. Meyers stood and waved, the girls waved back and moved through the darkened cabana to where Meyers and Currie sat. Meyers began to introduce the girls when Currie looked up at Paulette.

“Oh my gosh, I do declare my long-lost Captain,” Paulette said. “Look Joan, my Captain, I’ve found him.”She sat down next to Currie. “Where did you get off too, you were to have come back and rescued me from all those bad men, but now I found you; I won’t let you go again,” and with that Paulette pulled Captain Currie to her ample breast and hugged him tight. “My poor baby,” she said, I’ll take care of you now.”

Meyers shook his head, Joan said, “what are you going to do, I guess it is you and I Captain.”

Billy looked at Meyers then shrugged his shoulders. Paulette pulled him back to her breast. Meyers shrugged his shoulder and sat down. Joan pulled her chair close to his and put her hand on his knee,

Meyers smiled and took a sip of his drink. “That damn Currie how the hell does he do it,” Meyers thought, “how does he do it? I wish he would clue me in.” “It looks like it is you and me,” Meyers said lifting his glass to toast Joan.

Joan smiled, then she glanced quickly at Paulette and Billy, and then looked back at Meyers, she forced another smile, and then settled back into her chair, again she resigned herself to play seconds to Paulette.

She had been paired up with Paulette in Oran, Joan had to settle for the leftovers in about everything, men, accommodations, promotions, and gifts from admirers; however, she had to admit to herself some of those leftovers were very nice and some were plain downright great. This man Meyers wasn’t bad at all. In fact, she really liked him.

“So this is the Captain you were telling me about, the one that passed out and his men took him away,” Meyers said looking at Joan.

“Yeah that’s him alright, Paulette did her best Scarlett O’Hara imitation on him, and all he did was sit down on the running board and ignore her and when he did that she had to have him. She can’t stand to be ignored,” Joan, laughed.

Meyers leaned close to Joan, he whispered into her ear, “my dear I believe Paulette has bitten off more than she chew. Billy you see has been described not only as a bull in the bedroom but a rounder, bounder, and a cad as well.”

“OH! I hope so,” Joan laughed, “God! I hope so, getting her just desserts, and you Mike would you be expecting dessert?”

Mike pulled her forward with his left hand and placed his right hand on her breast, oh! no Joan, I am going to have a buffet, and my dear Joan you’re the buffet.”

Joan kissed his cheek, “one buffet coming up,” she said giggling, “But first I am going to have dinner because I need my strength, you see I’m going to wear you out.”

Meyers feigned the look of surprise, and said, “OH! Is that a promise or a threat,” he cupped her breast and squeezed it.

“Both” she said and groped his crotch feeling his semi hard manhood through his trousers. “Hmmmmm…is that all for me?”

Meyers said nothing he just kissed her on her lips, her mouth opened, and her tongue darted into his mouth.

“Get a room you two,” said Paulette.”

Both Meyers and Joan looked at her and laughed. Paulette was sitting in Billy’s lap her blouse was unbuttoned, to her waist and Billy was fondling Paulette’s breast’s. “Do we want to eat here and eat later,” Joan said.

Paulette said late night snack and breakfast if we get up.”

Meyers pulled a handful of script from his pocket and threw it on the table, “let’s go then,” he said getting up from the table.

Paulette slid off Currie’s lap and buttoned two buttons on her blouse and pulled her skirt down and straightened it, “I’m ready,” she said, and wrapped her arm around Billy’s waist and snuggled up close to Billy.

Mike took Joan’s hand and led her from the Cabaret to the courtyard where the jeep was parked.

Billy put his hands on Paulette’s waist, lifted her up, and put her in the back of the jeep then he jumped in. Paulette was sprawled in the little back seat her skirt hiked up to her crotch. Billy looked down at her nylon-covered legs, the dark rings around the top of her hose and the slender clasps and elastics of her garter led Billy’s eyes to the white triangle of fabric covering her womanhood.

Billy ran his hand down between her legs pressing the white warm moist fabric. Paulette groaned and clasped her thighs tightly around Billy’s hand. Billy felt her legs tremble. He squeezed her mound, Paulette moaned and thrust her hips forward and drew herself closer to Him.

Meyers helped Joan into the front seat before walking around the jeep to get in; He started the jeep, put it in reverse. When he looked over his shoulder, to back up; he found himself staring at Billy’s hand stroking Paulette’s crotch…Meyers jerked the clutch of the jeep, the jeep jumped back bringing Currie and Paulette to the realization that they were not alone. Paulette closed her legs and Billy lit a cigarette. Meyers backed out into the alley and then drove to the next cross street.

Joan directed Mike to where she and Paulette were billeted. Occasionally Mike or Joan would look over their shoulders to see what was going on in the back seat. Paulette had turned her back to Joan and Mike. She was lying on her side in Billy’s lap; they were wrapped in each other’s arms and Paulette groaning could be heard over the road noise and the whine of the engine. Meyers swung into the parking lot, locked up the brakes and the jeep bringing it to a skidding halt. Joan put her hand up to stop her forward progress, but poor old Paulette was launched from Billy’s lap and was thrown to the floor.

“What the hell!” Paulette cursed, “You did that on purpose didn’t you.” Paulette looked around, “where did they go,” she said. She saw Mike and Joan running toward the door of their building holding hands and laughing.

Billy pulled Paulette from the floorboards, come on he said lifting her out of the jeep and carrying her towards the building. Paulette had her head nestled in Billy’s neck, “in the door, the hall to the left, 3rd door on the left,” she cooed softly into his ear.

The door was ajar. Billy pushed it open with his foot. Joan and Mike were already there and heading into one of the two bedrooms. Billy looked around and dropped Paulette into the soft cushions of an overstuffed chair. Billy turned to close and lock the door, “nice place you have here,” he said. “Now come here.”  Billy took her hand and pulled her from her seat and over his shoulder in one fluid motion. Paulette squealed, “Oooh,” and Billy headed to the other open door to Paulette’s bedroom. Billy stooped and set Paulette on her feet and straightened her up, he looked at her and said softly in a deep commanding voice, “Paulette do not move.” Paulette stood still and straight.

Billy stood back at arm’s length and then moved ½ a step closer to her; his hands and arms moved slowly he began to unbutton her jacket. His hands lingered at each button then delicately and deliberately unbuttoned each button once he reached the bottom and the last button he slid it through the buttonhole; he swept back the front of the jacket. He ran his hands up her shirtfront over her breast to her shoulders. He pushed the jacket over her shoulders and then slid her jacket down her arms. The jacket fell from one arm then the other and landed in a heap at her feet. Billy cupped her face then kissed her on the lips. Paulette tried to hold him; Billy pushed her arms back to her side. I said, “don’t move, – and stand still” he said. She began to speak. Billy put his finger to her lips, “Shhh” he said.

Billy reached down, took her left hand, and brought it up so he could unbutton the button on the cuff. He put her arm down and picked up her right hand; he put her fingers under his chin and pressed it against his chest while he unbuttoned the cuff; then he dropped it down at her side.

Billy slid his hands up Paulette’s shirtfront over her beasts. Paulette moaned and shivered, his hand stopped at the tie around her neck which he slowly, oh so slowly untied and pulled it from around her neck before dropping it on the floor. Billy slid his fingers inside her blouse, his fingers felt her warm moist skin at her neck; the top button popped free and Billy opened the fabric to expose the skin of her chest. Slowly playing with her and teasing her, he unbuttoned the other buttons on her blouse pulling the fabric further and further apart exposing more and more of Paulette; another button popped open and Paulette’s bra began to show; her blouse was pulled farther open. Paulette shivered as Billy’s hand caressed the skin between her breasts. Billy slowly unbuttoned the buttons to the waistband of her skirt; he slowly pulled her blouse out of her skirt he traced the lines on her belly with his finger, then the outline of her bra. Billy cupped her beast then squeezed them and held them while he kissed her lips biting her lower lip.

Billy’s hands moved to her shoulders and slipped the blouse off her shoulders, and pushed the blouse down her arms; the blouse dropped over her jacket.

Billy pulled her close his hands exploring, her back, and her waist. Paulette never felt the button or the zipper give way to Billy’s deft touch until she felt his hands on her hips and her skirt fell to the floor. Billy hugged her tightly and kissed her mouth.

Billy stepped back and gazed upon Paulette, her legs were covered by dark brown hose with a darker band around the top, the white clasp of the ruffled elastic straps of her garter belt ran up her leg and disappeared under her white panties; her panties were pulled tight across her mound and into the vee between her legs. Billy could see the faint lines of her curly pubic hair on her prominent mound; his eyes moved to her hips and then to her narrow waist; upwards to her ample bosom that overflowed the top of her bra. Billy took her hand and urged her to take a step forward. Paulette stepped out of her skirt. Billy picked her up and took her to the bed; he sat her on the side of the bed and kneeled before her.

Billy picked up her foot and placed it on his knee and untied her shoe and removed it; he lifted her foot and kissed it, then placed it gently back on the floor. He repeated the procedure with the other shoe, he held her leg up and placed it on his thigh; his hand slid up her leg over her calf to her knee then up her thigh where he unhooked the hose from her garter belt. Slowly and sensuously, he rolled the stocking down her leg kissing her thigh he kissed her leg with each roll of the stocking until he reached her toes. Paulette moaned loudly and laid back on the bed; Billy stopped; Paulette looked down at him through the valley between her breast; he mouthed the words, “sit up,” Paulette lifted herself up to a sitting position and Billy again began to kiss her leg as he rolled the stocking down. Paulette sat watching Billy; she tried to squeeze her thighs together. Billy looked at her. Paulette slowly opened her legs to him. Billy pulled the stocking from her foot and kissed back up her leg, he put her leg down and lifted the other one, as he did he urged her to open her legs more; which she did without any hesitation. Billy looked at the vee between her legs, he could see a darker spot of white, the moistness of her womanhood had wet her panties. Billy kissed and nipped her leg as he rolled the stocking down, teasing the skin with his fingers, tongue, and lips, driving her crazy with desire.

Billy rose up right on his knees between her legs and wrapped his arm around her, she felt his hands and skin along her bra strap from her sides to the middle of her back. She felt her bra loosen and felt the straps tighten on her shoulders before Billy slid the straps off her shoulders. Billy tugged on her bra; Paulette’s breast swung free and settled upon her chest. Billy kissed her lips then began to kiss her working his way down to her neck, then her collarbone. Billy’s hands cupped her breast Billy kissed and nibbled on her raspberry sized nipples, nipping and sucking on them one then the other teasing her, bringing her to a climax.

Paulette moaned and laid back on the bed, her body shook and trembled. Billy slowly teased her sensuously with his hands. Billy pulled the panties from Paulette’s hips, the blonde pubic hair had a whisper of straw color, her lips that were quite visible were swollen and glistened.

Billy stood before her and undressed, he would occasionally, bent over her and stroke her mound and lips keeping her exited and on the edge of a climax. Once he was undressed he lowered himself between her legs, he kissed her; Paulette moved under him squirming her hips trying to find his manhood, she begged him to take her. “Please – Billy please – for gods sakes make love to me,” she groaned. Billy reached down between his legs, placed his manhood in position, and slowly pushed himself into her. Paulette moaned and rolled her hips to meet him, “Oh god Billy,” she said raising her hips to meet his thrust, “please – Billy,” take me, take me now!” Billy took Paulette in as many ways as possible. When Billy finally rolled off of Paulette, she was covered in perspiration; her hair was wet and the strands stuck to her skin. Billy sat up on the bed reached for his clothes shaking each piece until his shorts fell to the ground. Billy pulled on his shorts then picked up his shirt and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He turned to offer one to Paulette; she turned over and began to snort a faint snore. Billy laughed silently to himself and snuffed one of the cigarettes out in the ashtray beside the bed.

Billy sat in the dark smoking, he was on his third cigarette when he heard a voice and a rattle and a bang. Billy got up walked to the door and opened it a crack to peer out in the dim light from a lamp in the kitchen he saw Joan, she was bent over holding and rubbing her feet. Billy opened the door stepped out and walked towards her, what’s the matter, he asked.

“I kicked the trashcan and jammed my toes, damn they hurt,” Joan said.

“Let me see,” Billy said reaching down, Joan lifted her leg and Billy took her foot, she was standing on one leg, her back toward the counter; she was naked under her short robe that was open to the waist. Billy looked at her foot; two of the toes were bent at an odd angle

“Hold on,” Billy said, “I’ll fix them.”

“What are you going to do,” Joan said; but it was too late; Billy pulled and twisted the first toe then the second one. Joan let out a muffled yelp; she grabbed the counter edge with her hands; she straightened up and bent her body backwards, her robe opened up. He stood; Joan’s naked body in plain view; he felt himself harden at the sight of her and at the pain he had caused her; Joan composed herself, closed her robe; she wiggled her toes, “hey, you fixed them,” she said. Thanks and she kissed Billy on the cheek.

“You’re welcome,” he said. Billy turned to hide his bulging manhood and walked back to the bedroom. Billy closed the door, stripped off his shorts, walked to the bed; he pulled the cover off the sleeping Paulette. He rolled her on her back, scooped up her legs in his arms, spread them, and rolled her hips up to meet him, Paulette woke up.

“Hey what is going on,” she said as Billy drove his manhood into her womanhood, “Oh my god! Billy ohhhhh.” Billy began to thrust into her harder and harder until Paulette’s head was knocking on the headboard. The only way to describe the scene-taking place on that bed that night is to say the buck deer was in rut.

Every time Billy would think of Joan’s toes and the click of the bones and how that felt in his hands and that sound of pain that oozed from her lips as he un-jammed them, drove Billy wild with a sexual urge.

Billy took Paulette, every time he took her it was rougher than the time before, he took her until he had worn himself out. The last time he had sex with Paulette; she was spent, she didn’t respond to him in any sexual way, her only response was her body was limp. Paulette had met her match for once in her life. She had bitten off a lot more than she could chew.

Billy laid there in the dim light of morning, he was finishing a cigarette, he was thinking of how those toes felt in his hand, the sound the bones made, the way they felt as they popped back into place. Billy’s manhood jerked and began to stiffen. Billy reached down, took his shaft in his hand, and slowly stroked it until he was fully erect.

He rolled over and fondled Paulette, she was awake, he laid his erect manhood on her leg.

“Oh Billy, please– I am so sore, please…” she said as she scooted out of the bed. She pulled the chamber pot from under the bed and squatted over it.

Billy rolled onto his belly and watched her as she peed into the pot, “Don’t look at me,” she said, not while I pee, “beside I am a mess to look at.”

“One more time,” Billy said, rolling on his side, stroking his manhood.

“Oh, Billy I can’t I am so sore, I can hardly walk.”

“Use your mouth or your hand,” Billy said, “either way you’re going to finish what was started.”

“Oh! Billy, I thought you were different,” she said, she sat on the side of the bed. Paulette looked down at Billy, she gazed up and down his body, and her eyes stopped moving and became fixated on his rigid erect manhood standing straight amid a tangle thatch of black hair.

Billy reached up and gently laid his hands on Paulette’s neck, and then he slowly guided her head towards his shaft. Paulette opened her mouth; she took his shaft into her mouth, and wrapped her hand around what wasn’t in her mouth. Billy lay back on the pillow watching her.

Paulette’s head was bobbing up and down in a slow rhythmic cadence, her lips tightening on the rise and slacking off as she took him in her mouth working Billy towards the expected climax.

Billy lay back and closed his eyes, Paulette was good she knew what to do, how to move her mouth tongue and hand. Billy’s mind slipped into another dark place, a strange dark place, he heard the sound of bones cracking, and popping; he heard the moan of pain escape from her lips. The images and sounds in his mind were so real, so erotic that Billy orgasmed more so to his thoughts, than to Paulette’s oral ministrations.

Paulette jerked her head up. “Damn it Billy you were suppose to tell me before you shot your load,” the second squirt had landed on her chin and neck; “you bastard, you dirty bastard;” she said jumping off the bed and going to the night stand to wash the seed off her face and to rinse out of her mouth. Billy looked at Paulette, she stood with her back to him; he saw small bruises from his fingers on her butt and the back of her thighs. When she turned to face him, he saw more bruises on her inner thighs, and on her mound. Paulette’s breasts were bruised, her nipples swollen to twice the size they would normally have been. Paulette walked back to the bed and picked up her robe. Billy could see from her face that she was in pain.

Billy lay there his manhood began to rise, and throb and pulse as it became stiffer and hard. She stared at Billy,” No way, no way in hell; Billy you are not getting that thing anywhere near me,” and she staggered from the room.

Billy shook his head, rolled over to the side of the bed got up and got dressed.

Paulette had gone out into the hall and down to the washroom. Billy walked out to find Meyer’s and Joan sitting at a small cabaret table drinking coffee. Joan got up. “Billy have a seat, I’ll get you some coffee,” she said.

“Thanks, Joan you might want to go check on Paulette.”

“Ok, I will but I am sure she’ll be ok, she always is,” Joan said as she handed him a demitasse cup of espresso. She turned and headed out the door to find Paulette.

Meyers looked at Billy; Billy shrugged his shoulders and said with a maniacal smile, “I wore her out,”

Meyers held up his hand, “no more, I don’t want to know.”

“You asked? By the way how was Joan?”

“It was good, real good; I like Joan a lot, she is a good kid and a smart one too.”

“Hey weren’t you supposed to brief me,” Billy said between sips of his espresso.

“Oh yes! Sorry old man, I forgot, you have to be ready to go in the field next week. We need Intel; we are getting ready for a big push.”

“We are not ready, I don’t have all the supplies equipment, men; you know this Mike.”

“The General says you go next week full strength or not and what the general says goes,” said Mike. Mike lit a cigarette, the room was silent, and he looked at Billy and waited for his response.

“I knew it, I just knew it, the condemned man, and you just fed him his last supper, haven’t you?”

“Sorry Billy, but, I though you would rather hear it from me than the General, the night before you were to have pulled out.”

“Thanks Mike; at least I’ve got a week to get ready with what I have. Tell the General I’ll be ready,” Billy said.

Joan walked in and closed the door; she turned around, and began to laugh out loud. She looked at Billy and Mike, who stared back at her.

“Are you ok?” Mike asked.

“Oh yes dear boys, I am fine, absolutely wonderful, and Billy I thank you,” Joan pushed herself off the door, walked over to Billy and kissed him on the lips, she cupped his face, “thank you, thank you.” She turned to Mike and sat down on his lap, she kissed Mike hard then looked at him. “I love you,” she said, “this is the best day of my life.”

“What is this all about,” Billy asked.

“About, about” she said, “why it’s about Paulette, my dear Billy, you see Paulette has met her Waterloo; Billy my dear man, you have conquered, no, you have bested Paulette at her own game, and you Billy are the conquering hero, you have liberated me from being left with her seconds, and leftovers. Oh! I am so happy.” Joan jumped up, waltzed into the kitchenette, and began clicking and clacking pot and pans. “I am hungry, let’s eat,” she said.

Mike and Billy stared at each other, “what did you do Billy?” Mike asked.

Billy raised his hand palms up and shrugged.

Joan turned and looked at them, “Oh Billy don’t be so coy, you know what you did, you wore her southern-belle’s ass out, she is so sore she can hardly walk, she told me when she left the bedroom, you had a stiffy and you wanted more.” Joan turned back to the stove and began to hum a Glenn Miller tune.

The sound of the door latch turned and cracked, the door slowly opened, Paulette came in shuffling, and she looked at Meyers and Billy and smiled. “I am tired and if you won’t find it too rude of me, I am going back to bed.”

Billy stood up, “let me get my things out of there, so I won’t disturb you.”

“Oh no I’ll get them for you, just wait here she said. I’ll only be a minute.” Paulette turned; she put her hand on the wall to steady herself, “I’m ok. Joan help.”

Joan said, “oh alright,” she walked across the room taking hold of Paulette, “come on little girl,” and helped her into the bedroom. Joan emerged a few minutes later carrying Billy’s clothes and boots. She tossed them on the chair.

“She’s okay?” asked Billy.

“Yes, she will be fine; she was asleep when her head hit the pillow.” Joan fed the boys breakfast, and then gave Mike a little goodbye sex, while Billy showered and dressed.

Meyers drove Billy back to his area and dropped him at the driveway. “I’ll see you later; I have to report to HQ.” Meyers pulled away from the curb leaving Billy standing there.

Billy turned and walked up the drive, he threaded his way through three M3 Greyhound-½ tracks, two of which had 37mm anti-tank guns mounted on them, the third had a 50cal. machine gun. Three jeeps were pulled up to the carriage house; there was a 50 cal, mounted in the rear of the jeep. A 30 cal browning air-cooled machine gun was mounted on the right front fender at the windshield column. There were brackets for extra Gerry Cans; mounted on the sides and across the rear, there was a 2” diameter manila rope wound double around the front frame rail behind the bumper. Currie scratched his chin, those jeeps there was something about them someone had put a lot of thought behind rigging them up the way they were. The ½ tracks with guns, the special jeeps, someone was looking out for him.

Currie went into the tack room, Gleason was pounding on his typewriter, he looked up, “where’s everyone at?” he asked. Gleason pointed toward the carriage house bays.

“Morning Sir, coffee?”

“Yes and some more cigarettes, I’ll be in there,” Currie said, he opened the doors to the carriage house. He squeezed through all the boxes, crates, bags, and sacks until he entered the second bay. “Hey where is everybody.” Rawls poked his head around the corner of the door his face was dirty and sweaty, “were back here Captain.”

“Currie made his way into the back room, the stables; the men were in a water bucket brigade line unloading boxes from a six by six. That is the last of it,” Walsh said, he and Shapiro dropped off the back of the truck, “hey Captain how goes it.”

Shapiro closed up the tailgate and banged on the side of the truck, “take it away Mac,” he yelled.

“About god damned time I’ve been here for 20 hours,” a voice said as the truck started and pulled out, “what gives?” asked Currie.

“We were lucky sir, everything just came together,” Walsh said.

“Excuse me Captain, but Mr. Walsh is being too modest, if I may sir,” Shapiro said wiping his hands on his dirty T-shirt.

“By all means Sergeant, by all means proceed,” Currie said.

“We got to the supply depot about first light; Mr. Walsh and I went into the office. Would you believe sir those guys were just sitting there, they didn’t want to help us. So, Mr. Walsh yells at a Sergeant and dresses him down, tells the SOB to get his boss, the supply Sergeant says his boss is in a meeting and won’t be back till late. Mr. Walsh slams the forms down on the counter. The sergeant says, he can’t issue anything till his boss gets back, well sir, Mr. Walsh grabs the Sergeant shows him the stamp on the forms; High Priority by General Stroh, signed again by General Stroh. Then Mr. Walsh tells the SOB to get him a phone, he is going to call the General, and let this SOB explain to the General why he can’t issue anything. The sergeant said, ok, what do you want, Mr. Walsh said everything you fucking moron, everything. The supply Sergeant said he didn’t have enough help. Mr. Walsh told me to find some more help and help them. Sir we got it all plus a lot more. We loaded the jeeps, they were special order and supposed to go to an English unit, the tracks were issued to a tank destroyer unit, and the supply Sergeant reissued them to us. We loaded the tracks full and then the six,  six by sixes, we loaded to the gills, you name it, Mr. Walsh got it, and we were out of there before his boss got back. Mr. Walsh had them all crapping their pants.”

“Aw shucks Captain, it wasn’t nothing,” Walsh chuckled.

Snipes piped up, “Kovac and I are good, but Mr. Walsh has us beat hands down, when it comes to procurement.”

“Ok men finish up and camouflage those jeeps. Mr. Rawls, Mr. Walsh in my office.”

Currie walked out the end door and around the carriage house to the tack room. Currie stopped short; there was a pile of crates covered with a tent, “what is this?”

“Ammo sir,” Walsh said, “37mm 50 cal and 30 cal.”

“Have the men move this ammo a little farther away from the house would you.”

“Yes sir, I’ll get then on it, first thing in the morning.”

“By the way, does anybody know how to shoot those damned guns,” Currie asked as he looked at the ½ tracks.

“Shapiro is damn good with them and he can teach whoever we need to teach,” Walsh said.

“But can they hit anything, that’s the question, isn’t it”, Currie said.

“I got word from Meyers, the General want us to field a unit in one week that means we have to bust our asses, we’re going to be ready to field one unit, I will lead it, now Charlie you’re the acting XO until your orders come down. Brad you’re personnel and supply for now.

“Excuse me Captain,” Charlie said. “I think Brad should be the OX, he has the time in grade.” Brad looked surprised. Currie said” ok, Brad you’re the XO S2 & S4 and Charlie, you’re Com officer S1 and S3.”

“I want Com up first, get the radios mounted, the jeep, the ½ track and one of the 30cwt’s first thing. Go beg borrow steal whatever you need to do so, get a safe and the code- books; get Meyers to rubber stamp the forms. Shanghai the personnel if you have too. Remember no one is assigned permanently until we all agree they are what we need. We have what 24 enlisted now that will do to start things up. I want the Com people first for the base take Wilkins with you, let him question them before you take them. Then find me a good gun crew for that 37 mm you know they need to shoot it as good as Bailey and Jones shoot the 50.” Gleason walked in the door, he held a crumpled pack of Camels and a bent cup, damn boxes fell on me, and I’ll get you some more coffee.

“Make it three Gleason and bring your notebook, we got tons to do and no time to do it,” Brad said.

For the next 5 days, the men worked, 20-hour days the vehicles were all fitted with radios and tested, not just the three Currie wanted but all of them. The first a 4-man gun crew was found for the 37 mm gun a gun. Two extra jump seats were put in the Chevy trucks.

On December 1, 1942, Currie was given his marching orders, he was to penetrate as deep as possible into the south of Tunisia in the Tozeur region in Tunisia and gather Intel, and destroy any target of opportunity.