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Stories

Junior Jones in WWII

Time:   August 1944, 3:00 AM
Place:   In an abandoned farmhouse somewhere in France
Cast:   Fourth Infantry Batallion, Company B

Part One

Company B had been hunkered down in the old farmhouse since yesterday afternoon.

Having been separated from the rest of the Fourth Infantry, the little company had gotten pinned down by a determined Nazi platoon.
Sargeant Pickle watched the gallant Captain Vic Horizon as the company's CO tried to read a map using just a flashlight. A steady downpour had dampened the old farmhouse, while thunder mixed with the
Nazis' steady machine gun fire filled the air. Pickle got ready to puff on his
cigarette, then cursed as a drop from the leaky farmhouse roof extinguished the butt.

"Damn, this sucks!" he cursed, and he flicked the wet useless butt over at
Private Bunky, who was huddled inside his pancho over by the farmhouse door.

Bunky arose from his fetal position with a start, brushing feverishly at the
sudden invading projectile. "Hey dude, what the hell are you doin?"
Pickle laughed. The grizzled old sargeant enjoyed getting laughs at the grunts' expense. Captain Vic took his eyes off the map and glared at Pickle for a moment. "Better not mess with the Captain," thought Pickle.

"Stay down, Bunky. The krauts are movin' right out there in the field. You don't want to get your head shot off, now do you?"

Private Bunky scowled, then resumed his protective position by the door, kicking up some dirt in the process. Private Junior Jones, stationed at the other side of the wide door, shuffled back a few feet to avoid the dirt. "Hey, watch what you're doin!" he complained.

Privates Straczny and Krotz huddled together at the rear of the farmhouse,
ostensibly watching through the only window of the farmhouse that hadn't yet been shot out by the Germans. Krotz slept while Straczny, who
was supposed to be on watch, began to doze off leaning against his rifle.

Next to the Captain sat Corporal Vivo Bubble, the Captain's right hand man, attempting to contact the Fourth Infantry on the radio. Some of the men in the platoon liked to make jokes about Cpl. Bubble's relationship with the Captain, calling him the Captain's girlfriend, among other
things.

Sgt. Pickle especially enjoyed insulting Bubble. Pickle was jealous of the confidence that the corporal enjoyed with the Captain. Pickle knew he himself could never achieve that level of camaraderie with the beloved Captain Vic, and he secretly hated Bubble for it. Whenever the Captain was not around, he made Bubble's life miserable.

Pickle looked on in disgust as Bubble shouted suddenly into the radio,
apparently having successfully reached somebody in the Fourth Infantry. Captain Vic looked at his aide-de-camp with admiration.

"This is Company B, repeat, Company B! We're pinned down in a farmhouse just west of Lebeaux ridge, over!"

The crackly voice was just audible over the sound of gunfire. "Company B, this is Lt. Shmolnick at Ops Command, what is your position, over?"

Cpl. Bubble glanced up at the Captain in exasperation. "Ops Command, we are PINNED DOWN, just west of Lebeaux ridge, over. Need assistance IMMEDIATELY!!! Please advise, OVER!"

"Company B, did you say Lebeaux ridge, over?"

"Yeah, west of Lebeaux ridge. That's it! We're pinned down!"

"Well, shit, son, what in hell are you guys doing over there? We evacuated that area yesterday! It's crawlin' with Krauts, over!"

Captain Vic angrily snatched the radio from Bubble. "Give me that thing," he snapped.

"Goddammitt Lieutenant., we're pinned down here. The Krauts are practically knockin' on our damned door! We need some help NOW, over!"

"Uhh, sorry, Company B, no can do. We got half our guys sick from the water or something, and besides, the General's waiting for the weather to break so he can play a round of golf."

Captain Vic spat. "What the hell-"

The gunshot that followed very quickly and neatly drilled a red hole in the middle of Captain Vic's forehead. Captain Vic dropped the radio in stunned surprise, then keeled over like a felled tree directly on top of Cpl. Bubble.

From over near the door, Private Junior Jones shouted, "OH SHIT!"

Part Two

The sudden death of their beloved captain sent the surviving members of the little company scrambling to their feet. Privates Straczny and Krotz near the window awoke with a start, and promptly clanged their helmets together, knocking each other unconscious.

"OH SHIT OH SHIT!!" yelled Junior, wildly swinging his rifle around, expecting to find menacing Nazis everywhere. His swinging rifle butt smacked Bunky in the head, knocking his helmet off.

"Ouch, Junior dude, you idiot, watch where you're swingin' that thing, dude!"

Cpl. Bubble struggled to get out from under the heavy corpse of Captain Vic. Sgt. Pickle was closest to Bubble. "Hey Sarge, you wanna help me out here?" he yelled.

The static from the radio became louder as Bubble inadvertently turned up the volume. "Company B, come in, Company B, come in!!" came the frantic voice of Lt. Shmolnick.

Pickle moved in to retrieve the radio. "Give me that radio, Bubble," he said, but did not help the corporal move the dead captain.

"Oh shit oh shit oh shit," chanted Junior, now swaying back on forth on his
haunches.

"Dammit Company B, are you THERE!!?" came the voice from the radio. Pickle reached over the prone Bubble, still trying unsuccessfully to free himself of the dead Captain Vic.

"Ahh, they've had it, Major. CLICK!" from the radio. Then loud static.

"Shit, no, come in Ops, come in Ops!!" yelled Sgt. Pickle frantically.
But it was too late. The little company could expect no help from the Fourth
Infantry. They were on their own.

"Sarge, what are we gonna do, oh shit oh shit oh shit, what are we gonna do!" shouted Junior.

"Shut the fuck up Junior! Get a grip!!" yelled Pickle. Angrily, he ran over to
the frightened private and sharply slapped his face. "Get a fucking grip, Private!"

Junior started softly sobbing now, and went back to swaying back and forth.

Meanwhile, Cpl. Bubble finally freed himself from the dead weight of Captain Vic and angrily approached Sgt. Pickle. "Hey Sarge, how come you didn't help me? We gotta get outta here, the Krauts are closin' in!"

Pickle turned around and looked at the corporal. "Well well well, if it ain't
the Captain's girlfriend."

"Go fuck yourself, Pickle. We got a situation here!" Bubble grabbed his rifle and looked around him, assessing the situation.

"No, Bubble, you go fuck YOUR self, ha-hah!" Sgt. Pickle calmly pointed his rifle at the unsuspecting Corporal and fired several shots.

"What th-" mumbled the hapless corporal as blood ran over his fingers, which were trying to find the new wounds. He fell to his knees. He looked up at his killer, a pleading look in his eyes.

Something in Sgt. Pickle's mind snapped at that moment. He raised his rifle butt up and slammed it home, again and again, crushing Bubble's skull, spilling blood and brain matter on the damp straw.

Bunky looked over at Junior. "Dude, the Sarge just killed Cpl. Bubble! I'm
gettin' outta here." He flung open the farmhouse door and ran out, his rifle at the ready. A quick hail of machine gun fire took him down almost instantly.

"Dude…." His quiet murmuring went unheard.

"Oh shit oh shit," chanted Junior.

Part Three

The death of Private Bunky resulted in a fresh hail of Nazi gunfire, which blew both farmhouse doors wide open. Gunfire and windspread rain sprayed the interior of the little farmhouse.

"Close those fuckin' doors, Junior!!" shouted Sargeant Pickle as he made a quick dive to the ground, bullets just missing his helmet.

If the gunfire didn't snap Junior Jones out of his childish ranting, Pickle's
sudden shout certainly did, and the anguished private crawled over to first one door, slammed it shut, then the other, and slammed it shut. The hail of gunfire, having met the resistance of the doors, abated just as suddenly as it had begun.

Pickle crawled over to Privates Krotz and Straczny. "Wake up, you assholes, we're gettin' outta here." Pickle shook Straczny awake, then did the same to Krotz. Pickle turned toward Junior, now laying prone on the floor next to the doors.

"Get your sorry ass over here Junior!"

"Gee, uh, okay Sarge" replied Junior, who started crawling on his belly to the rear of the farmhouse. Krotz was just waking up, and, having missed the deaths of Captain Vic, Cpl. Bubble, and Private Bunky, stood up, startled at their absence. "Wha happened?"

"You asshole," replied Pickle, "you fell asleep. Sniper took the Captain and Bubble, Bunky panicked and ran out front." He glared at Junior, just arriving on his belly. "Now see if you can keep your stupid ass down, we're going out through this window."

"Gee," Junior thought, "the Sarge is lyin! I better keep my mouth shut, or he'll kill me too!"

Straczny, now fully awake, took the initiative and smashed the window with his rifle butt. Instantly, another hail of gunfire blew away the remains of the window, and both bullets and shards of glass took away half of Straczny's face.

"Shit!" muttered Pickle. The gunfire stopped.

Straczny dropped his rifle and raised his hands to what remained of his face, trying to stop the bleeding and pain. "Unnngghh, unnngghh!" was all he could say.

Pickle turned to Krotz and Junior. "Now follow me and keep your heads down."

Standing up behind Straczny, he grabbed the moaning private and, holding him up as a human shield, climbed swiftly through the window.

Outside in the rain, Pickle stayed behind Straczny, who tried vainly to struggle out of the sargeant's grasp, and began moving quickly toward a line of tall bushes several yards away.

Krotz clambered noisily out of the window, banging his head and cutting his hand on glass in the process.

"Sonuvabitch!!" he cried, sticking his bleeding hand in his mouth.

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM!!! Krotz' body seemed to do a herky-jerky dance out of the window as the Nazi gunfire tore through him. He fell lifeless to the ground outside, his bleeding hand still stuck in his mouth.
German voices could now be heard from the distance above the sporadic gunfire.

Pickle's progress was now slowed as Straczny's body grew heavy in the rain. "Goddammit, just let me get past those bushes!" he complained to himself.

Junior chose this moment to panic. Seeing the death dance of Krotz drove him to unthinking action. He grabbed his rifle and nearly leaped through the window, rolled on the ground to avoid the gunfire, and came up shooting.

"MOTHERFUCKIN' KRAUTS!!!!" he yelled with insane glee, his eyes bright with terror.

Junior's gunfire sprayed the line of bushes just as Pickle, still holding Straczny as a human shield, reached them.

The gunfire silenced the Nazi guns and also riddled Pickle's body from behind, sending him to the ground with the hapless Straczny. Junior kept firing until all his ammo was spent and the gun started to make a clicking noise. Then he looked around, dropped the gun and said, "Oh shit!!" and ran off through the bushes, tripping over a dead German officer.

Sgt. Pickle lay at the line of bushes still clutching the moaning Straczny, now also bleeding out of several mortal wounds. "This really sucks," he muttered, then closed his eyes.

EPILOG

Junior Jones accidentally stumbled into a rear guard platoon from the Fourth Infantry, who, after hearing his story of how his own platoon was wiped out, just shook their heads and helped him back to Ops
Command headquarters.

After several weeks recuperating from "exhaustion" in a
military hospital, Lt. Joe Shmolnick came to visit to inform the private that the little farmhouse he had defended had turned out to be a crucial victory for the Allies and had helped to drive the Nazis back. Junior Jones was going to receive a medal for bravery!!

THE END.

2006 Michael S. Cohen

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