By this stage it was late evening and the patrolmen in the truck were due to come back to refuel and eat. We had men at ninety degree angles concealed ten yards from the tent, some in shallow holes dug by hand and some behind a small dune not two yards tall. In front of the ten man tent that had been sleeping fourteen there was flat area with tracks, used to park the truck, which we made the elbow of our crossfire. By this stage Tony had been on watch at the rocky peak for seven hours or so and although I had sent relief he insisted on staying up top.
I couldn’t blame him. He was in his element up there, and though he’d never admit it, he was my best shooter. When the truck came at last it trundled down the shore towards us Tony he signalled from the peak with a wave to Swanson. Then Swanson ran back to us at the tent and took his position in the crossfire. At this point I stepped forward in ragtag clothes next to the tent and turned my back on the space where the truck was would pull up. As expected the truck stopped next to the tent and out stepped three young men, two of whom swung their rifles up and around to their backs and stepped away to relieve their bladders.
“Hellooo Gentlemen!” I bellowed, startling the three of them. “Ah look at you two, you’ve gone and pissed all over yourselves!”
They had no idea what I was talking about and in the time it took them to swing their rifles back around themselves my unit had stepped forward. The two clowns who had stopped to take a piss were still running down themselves when L2 and Collins took them by the collar and forced them to their knees beside the third man who already had his hands on his head. All three were added to the collection Bacon was watching nearby and their gear and, most of, their clothes were processed.
“She’s a fine chariot, isn’t she, Sir?” regaled Pretty Boy.
“That she is. Get under her hood and check her levels. And someone wave Tony down here.”
It was a battered old Thornycroft, we had come all the way out the fucking Kazakhstan only to hitch a ride on a truck made back home. She mustn’t have had fifty horses, but with wide tyres she’d been adapted well to sand and grassland.
“She’ll do the trick all right, Sir!” Longshot congratulated as he walked into camp.
“That she will, and a fine piece of engineering she is too.”
“She’s good, Sir. I’ll refill her tank and top the radiator off, but she should run just fine, Sir.”
“Thanks, Pretty boy.”
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey