“Now that you’re all settled in Lieutenant, you should pick your runner. I suggest Private Evans here, he’s been my runner for about a month now,” Lieutenants Simmons and Stoddart were seated at a table, while Evans was packing up the last of Lieutenant Simmons’ things.
“Can I select anyone for my runner?” Lieutenant Stoddart flipped through his notebook.
“Yeah, you can pick anyone really. Since you’re at full strength they’ll be sharing a room with you.”
“Private Clark. I happened to talk to her the other day and she apparently was a secretary before the war.”
Lieutenant Simmons nodded and looked at Evans, “Alright then, can you hand me my bag. And you’ll want to teach Clark everything she needs to now.”
Evans held up his bag and handed it to Lieutenant Simmons, “Nice serving under you sir.”
“I’ll see you around the Company Evans,” Lieutenant Simmons slung his bag, put his garrison cap on and exited the room.
Evans turned to Lieutenant Stoddart, “Sir, do you want me to get Private Clark?”
“Yes…” Lieutenant Stoddart paused a moment, “Wait a moment.”
“Yes Sir,” Evans paused by the door.
The Lieutenant sighed, “Look, I’m sure you’re a great runner and all…”
“Honestly I don’t care sir. I’m sure Clark will be a fine choice sir,” Evans started opening the door.
“It’s just, I figure, hey, if I’m going to have someone with me all the time,” Lieutenant Stoddart started writing down some notes, “I might as well have someone I could have a little… you know with. Never mind, Dismissed Private.”
Evans exited the room and moved back to the platoons barracks. He entered the common room and looked around. He saw the young blond women and waved, “Hey, Private Clark, Lieutenant Stoddart wants you in his tent. Bring your gear.”
Clark smiled, “OK Jimmy… Evans… I feel special, being called into the Lieutenant’s office. Hope I’m not in trouble.” She grabbed her bag and left the barracks.
Lance Corporal Newey turned to Evans, “So what’s that about.”
“She is the new runner for the new Lieutenant, So I’m back in your team Sergeant Campbell,” Evans walked over and patted Sergeant Campbell on the back.
Laughing, Newey looked over, “She does have certain qualities that you lack mister Evans.”
“Yeah, I like how he didn’t go with subtlety with this decision. First, he picks the cute spunky blond. Second, he pretty much told me he wanted to sleep with her,” Evans sat down and put his feet up on a table, “I am glad I don’t have to do any more paperwork.”
Laughing, Lance Corporal Newey threw a ball of paper at Evans, “Oh come on, if there’s anyone who shouldn’t be allowed to talk about this is would be you. Replace blond with brunette and we have you and Zwev.”
Before Evans could respond, Clark’s voice called from the entrance, “Attention!”
Lieutenant Stoddart walked into the room, “As you were soldiers.” The Lieutenant looked around, “Um, is everyone here?”
The Sergeant’s quickly looked around. Sergeant Campbell nodded, “All present and accounted for Sir.”
“Thank you Sergeant,” The Lieutenant nodded and pulled a notebook out of his breast pocket. “So I think I should introduce myself. My name is Winston Stoddart the Third. I studied Geology at the University of Newacre. I’d like to use the knowledge I’ve gained from my years at University to teach you how to improve the trenches.”
Lieutenant Stoddart walked over to the map of White Beach on the wall, “So this is where you lot were about a month ago. Did you notice anything about the soil there?” The platoon sat in silence, “Well then… So the soil at the White Beach cliffs, where our trench line is set up is a Sandy Clay Loam for the first meter. Underneath that, it transitions into a Clay.”
Evans leaned over to Newey and whispered to him, “Hey, Anna’s train is leaving in about twenty minutes. Could you distract him so I can slip out? I feel like this will go on for a while.”
Newey nodded. He stood up and walked to the map and pointed to it, “So you’re saying that there is clay on top, followed by sand underneath?”
With the Lieutenant distracted, Evans slunk out of the common room and made his way through the base to the train depot. He looked around at the soldiers standing at the train. In the sea of green-dyed uniforms Evans noticed a strangely blue-red dress. He moved towards it. “Anna!”
Anna turned around and smiled, “James! Shouldn’t you be with the platoon?”
“I uh, came to see you off,” Evans hugged her and took a step back, “I’ve never seen anything like this color before. I can’t decide if it’s blue or red.”
“It’s called Mauve, which is a kind of purple. Some chemist invented it and it’s been all the rage in the cities,” Anna swished her dress back and forth, “It’s the dress I showed up to basic training in. I’ve had it in the bottom of my kit ever since.”
Making a move to pick up her bag, Evans smiled at her, “Well it looks beautiful on you.”
Anna grabbed Evans’ hand, “The trains been delayed for an hour and a half because of shelling down the line, you don’t need to grab that yet.”
“So, um,” Evans put his arm over Anna, “I bet that dress would also look beautiful off of you.”
Snickering, Anna kissed Evans on the cheek, “I obviously didn’t marry you for your smooth talking. And um, where would we go?”
Grabbing her bag in one hand and her arm in the other, Evans gestured with his head, “The new Lieutenant is giving a long and boring talk in second platoons barracks. So his office should be free.”
“Wow, I feel scandalous,” Anna walked over and sat on the bed, “On the new Lieutenant’s bed? The sheets seem to be messy already. I thought you usually did that first thing?”
“Lieutenant Stoddart picked a new runner,” Evans looked around the room, “Finally won’t have to deal with any of this anymore.”
Straightening out his uniform, Evans smiled over at Anna as she put on her dress, “Well I should probably get going, and your train will be coming soon. I’ll see you before the 202nd goes back to White Beach.” Evans walked to the door.
Anna threw a sock at him, “Aren’t you going to kiss me goodbye?”
Evans shrugged sheepishly, “Well I figure we already did a bit more than that.”
“Get over here right now James,” Anna smoothed down her dress, “If you die I’d prefer my last memory of you to be fully clothed.”
Evans kissed Anna, “Well I think you look great without that dress.” He turned around and went through the door, “Bye Anna.”
When he got to door of the Platoon Barracks, he waved and got Newey’s attention. He nodded and walked over to the Lieutenant, who was struggling to hold several rocks, “Sir, which one is Conglomerate sir? That’s a metamorphic rock right? Because it’s from a volcano.”
“No… That’s completely… Ooh, I think I saw a good one over by the tracks.” The Lieutenant paused, put the rocks in his haversack and sprinted out of the room.
Evans ducked against the side of the barracks while the Lieutenant sprinted away. He then walked through the door and took a seat far in the back. Everyone was silent for a moment before they started bursting into laughter.
Tiscornia looked at him, “I can’t believe he didn’t notice. This guy is going to be beautiful in combat.”
“More importantly Evans,” Private Hunt leaned closer to Evans and smiled, “How was your visit with Mrs. Evans?”
“She was wearing the most beautiful looking dress. She said it was ‘Mauve’,” Evans smiled and leaned back, “Apparently Mauve is a type of purple.”
Lance Corporal Turner smiled, “I used to have a nice mauve dress. I bet it was real pretty.”
“And you ripped it off her?”
Evans kicked Newey’s chair, “That’s a very personal question. Now let’s quiet down before the Lieutenant finds out what I did in his bed.”
Just as Private Clark was about to protest, Lieutenant Stoddart came in, with a heavy haversack, “So, guys, I mean soldiers, I managed to quickly get some. I found some really good basalt… Which is weird because there isn’t much volcanic activity in this region.”