Night’s End

Tiscornia and Evans decided to walked back together after Turner left with the bartender. Due to the amount he had drunk, Evans was stumbling a bit and he had to lean on Tiscornia for support. A few minutes into their walk, Callahan ran up to join them, “Hey! Sergeant! Lance!”

Waving to Callahan with one hand and propping up Evans with the other, Tiscornia said, “Hey Callahan, where’s the Private you were with earlier?”

“Regretting her decisions probably,” Callahan laughed, “Not my problem though.”

“You didn’t…” Tiscornia was afraid to finish the question.

“I’m sleazy, not evil. She was sober and was into it. In fact, I wanted to go back to the camp, but she was impatient and led me to the alleyway.”

“So why is she regretting it?”

“Well I have protection in my kit bag, not in some random alleyway. And so… I… uh put some rounds on target. So she ran off to clean herself because she doesn’t want to get in the family way.”

“You are sleazy,” Tiscornia said somewhat scornfully, “What if she tracks you down?”

“She never got my name, and she’s from a motor supply battalion that’s moving out tomorrow. She just knows I’m infantry, but that’s all.

Evans slurred his speech at Callahan, “You made love to a woman without knowing her name?”

“Two things Sergeant,” Callahan counted on his fingers, “One, I overheard her name, it’s Ellen. Two, I fucked her in an alley, I didn’t made love.”

Attempting to walk for himself, Evans pushed off of Tiscornia and started to point at Callahan, “What is with you people and your cavalier attitude for the most sac..” Evans interrupted himself with a burp, “most sacred bonds of marriage.”

“Hey,” Callahan pointed at him, “I’m probably gonna die before this war is over. I might as well enjoy my time before I go buy the farm.”

“It just seems so…” Evans’ reply was interrupted by a loud bang. Instincts kicked in. Grabbing onto Tiscornia and Callahan’s collars, he dove to the ground, pulling them into a ditch on the side of the road. He whispered to them, “That sounded a long way off. Sniper maybe.”

“Sergeant,” Callahan interjected, “That’s just a truck backfiring.”

Ignoring him, Evans continued, “Lance, I need you to run and try and draw his fire. Tiscornia and I will try and take him out. Good luck.” Evans then crawled to the edge of the ditch and mimed a rifle in his hand.”

Tiscornia leaned over to Callahan and whispered, “OK, we’ll need to drag him back to the camp. I’m gonna whack him on the back and tell him he’s taken a shrapnel hit.” He then turned back to Evans, raised his fist, then stopped, “Sergeant’s seemed to have fallen asleep. Let’s just drag him back to camp.”

“Can’t we take the trucks?”

“And embarrass him more?”

Evening’s Leave

“Four fingers of whiskey please,” Evans waited while the bartender poured his drink. He then walked back to the table.

“Going a little hard aren’t we Jim?” Turner pointed at the whiskey, “What’s that, third glass? And we haven’t even eaten yet.”

“Maybe if the service was faster I wouldn’t have to drink as much.”

“Maybe the service would be faster if we had just gone to the Senior NCO’s bar.”

Tiscornia put on an offended look, “Oh, leaving me out are we?”

“If you would be willing to accept promotions, you’d have made Sergeant or even Sergeant Major by now. So it’s really your own damn fault,” Turner rolled her eyes.

“Plus, I want to see what my soldiers are doing.”

“Oh, so eavesdropping are we?” Turner smiled then continued, “My squad is getting along famously. I’ve even given them all nicknames.”

She discretely pointed to her soldiers, “Kempe is Warrior, Delage is Hedge, Nash is Ash Tree, Grillo is Cricket, Norris is Nurse, Poulin is Chicken, Minett is Love, Nosek is Little Nose, Garfield is Triangle, and I’m Starling.”

“Those are terrible nicknames,” Evans looked at the soldiers, “Why the hell would you call them that?”

Turner smiled, “Those are the meanings of their names. I like crosswords.”

“But we all can’t be so lucky, so I’m learning useful things.”

Tiscornia laughed, “What, that Lady Johnson has a thing for that Corporal?” He nodded towards Johnson, who was sitting at a table with someone from some other regiment.

“Yeah, I feel like trying to get an officer would be more her speed.”

“No, that would be ‘Above her class,’” Tiscornia rolled his eyes, “These types love the rigid class structures. So anyone of a higher class interested in her would be debasing himself. And he’s from another Regiment because she has to follow protocol.”

“Ah well,” Evans gestured at Howe and Nivelle, “Those two are getting along too well. Though Howe won’t do anything, she’s like me. Won’t do anything until marriage. Because some things are still sacred.” He made a sarcastic look at the other two.

Tiscornia pointed at Callahan, who had his arm around a young private and walking her to the door, “Looks like Callahan is about to do something not sacred.”

“Hey, he’s pretty good looking,” Turner shrugged, “If he weren’t in the regiment I’d let him do something not sacred to me. Can you transfer him Jim?”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just find someone else?”

“Eh,” Turner shrugged. The waiter came and dropped off the food. Turner waved to her and said, “Hey, is the Bartender seeing anyone?”

The waiter shook her head no. Tiscornia looked at Turner, “Want me to go over and talk you up?”

When Turner nodded, he got up and walked over.

“Wow, Classy.”

“Hey, I need something to do later,” Turner smiled and continued, “So learn anything new about your soldiers?”

“Callahan is impatient,” Evans pointed out one of the side windows, “He was making out with the Private in the alleyway. Hand up her shirt and everything.”

“Hey, at least I’m gonna get a room with the guy,” Turner rolled her eyes and changed the subject, “So, when do you think we’re getting deployed?”

“I’m betting two weeks.”

“Eh, I’m gonna go with one week.”

Tiscornia walked back to the table and sat down, “He gets off in an hour and has a place in town.”

“Nice,” Turner took a bite of her sandwich, “Guess I’ll leave in an hour then.”

“You gonna go talk to him?” Evans tilted his head to the side, “Or get to know him?”

“Why would I want to do that, I’m just gonna sleep with him?”

“You’re doing this just to needle me, aren’t you?”

“A bit.”

Announcements

Evans walked into the squad briefing room. Everyone was gathered for the nights meeting, “Alright squad, I’ve got some good news about tomorrow night. We’re knocking off at 5 O’Clock tomorrow and have the nights leave. There will be trucks going into town you can take rides on if you want. We’ll also have a late start the next day, so feel free to drink excessively, I know I will. I’ve also communicated with Captain Gates, and one of the bars open to enlisted personnel is offering a free beer to soldiers in uniform. They’ve got a big flag out front.”

Sighing, Evans continued, “As you can guess, that means I have bad news coming up. Nothing for sure, but rumor has it we’re headed back to the front in a week or two, so have a good time while you can. Tomorrow, in accordance with the rumor, we will be doing marksmanship training and doing trench raid training. So clean your rifles extra well tonight. Muster is at 5 AM tomorrow. 10 AM the day after. That day will be mostly classroom, so you don’t have to worry about everything being in perfect shape, we’ll be learning about how to fortify a building against attack, and in the evening, I’ll be assigning what gear and what roles we’ll each have in the event that we’ll need to fortify a building. Shockingly, the day after that, we’ll be fortifying a building. Once we’re done, we’ll have to assault another squad’s building to learn how to break through an unknown environment.”

“Next,” Evans pulled out a folder for each soldier and passed them out, “Sign that we’re headed back to the front, a lawyer is visiting the Battalion to review everyone’s wills, so if you want to update it, now would be the time to do it. If you don’t have one yet, you should probably get on that. The rail line is also out for maintenance for a few days, so no mail in or out. If you really need to communicate with someone, you can go to the telegraph office in town tomorrow night. Any questions?”

There were no questions, so Evans let them go, and the squad turned in for the night.