Sunday, January 25, 2009

V II Declassified -- Item 6: Crescent Run II

"[Don't mind him,]" Trilby tilts his head towards Kevin, "[he has a speech impediment. He's shy about it.]" The idling car full of Hitler Youth share a chuckle about this. The driver sweeps his arm in the air, signaling Kevin and Trilby to get in the backseat. The three teenagers had just passed through the town of Colditz when they spotted the two of them walking along the roadside. Kevin and Trilby are ID'd as German soldiers by their field grey infantry coats; the boys stopped to offer them a lift to wherever they're going.

<a href="">Crescent Run II / One Way to Skin a Cat by Hosey</a>

"[Where are you two headed?]" the driver asks as they squeeze into the backseat of the KDFwagen with a kid who doesn't look any older than fifteen. These squirts haven't shaved a day in their life, Kevin thinks to himself. Still, the Hitler Youth are not to be dealt with lightly, especially if you've just escaped from a prison camp in the heart of German territory.

"[We're headed to Gottmadingen,]" Trilby has his fingers crossed praying that Kevin
remembered what he learned about astronomy from their buddy Tim at that first P.O.W. camp so long ago.

"[You men are almost there, it's just up this road.]" The driver's face is fixed forward, expression motionless save for the jaws, "[Deployment to the west?]"

"[Secondary objective,]" Trilby shoots back with a smile. "[Primary is to find a couple of Swiss girls to share breakfast with!]" Trilby guffaws at his own comment and ribs Kevin with his elbow, encouraging him to do the same. The boys laugh heartily, Kevin, a little confused, laughs right along. "[But you sprouts are too young to know anything about that!]" This elicits a little nervous laughter from the boys. Good, Trilby thinks. Now they're as uncomfortable as I am.

Kevin doesn't know any German except "Hande hoche!" so he has no idea what is going on. All he knows is to laugh when Trilby nudges him, other than that, look stupid.
The nervous laughter of the Youth made Kevin a little uneasy at first, but Trilby seems to be conversing casually with them now. Kevin still finds it hard to relax. The boys are being entertained by Trilby's "stories" from the front, but of course, he has no way of knowing this.

The drive through the country side, much like the walk, is quite pretty. The air is gently cool, and the trees and pastures sparkle beneath a light snowfall. A large castle looms over their backs in the small distance; the castle Kevin and Trilby just escaped from. The Wehrmacht guards stationed there had been perfect gentlemen, the prisoners had little reason to complain. Every protocol of Geneva was followed to the letter. Kevin was almost sorry he managed to actually escape. The attempts had always seemed like little games; every time he had been caught he was confined to solitary for just one week with all the books and food the Red Cross could provide. He lived better than the guards, for Christ's sake! These little pimples, these Hitler Youth, would love to turn them over to the Nazis, who did not see escape attempts as a fun way for P.O.W.s and their guards to while away the hours, who instead had a tendency to shoot escapees in the head. The boys probably believed they would do it themselves if they ever caught an enemy soldier. Blindly preparing themselves to bring and receive death in the name of "Herr Hitler" or some other Nazi prop bunk. Put these chumps on the front lines. Let them see exactly how much blood pumps through a man. Let them see exactly how long a man can live with lungs and a heart that have been exploded by a rifle shot; how many agony-filled seconds really pass before the brain realizes what's happening and has the sweet mercy to shut down? Hundreds more seconds than you can imagine, kids. One thing Kevin's learned is that if you have any mercy left in your soul, you aim for the face. He has his own war stories to share, apparently.

Luckily, this dangerously darkening line of thought is interrupted when their car comes to a stop at a spare intersection just outside of a small town. Motioning down the street to the right, the driver says, "[The train station is down that road. You can't miss it.]"
"[Thanks,]" Trilby nods to the driver while hurrying Kevin out the door, throwing in a pretty convincing "Heil Hitler!" once he and Kevin are out of the vehicle.

"Heil!" The boys in unison salute and continue their drive to the North.

"That was something! 'Heil Hitler'!? I can't believe I got away with that!" Trilby is almost breathless after the encounter.
"You've got 'a way' with things, that's for sure," a shiver runs through Kevin, trying to shake off the unease of the encounter.

Trilby gives Kevin two hard punches to shoulder, "Good show, eh?"

"Sure. Broadway material," Kevin glances over his shoulder to be sure the kids are long gone. "Where'd you learn to speak German like a German?"

"I told you, before the War I was one of the greatest actors in Britain."
"You keep saying that..."

"I keep proving it."

"Tell you what," Kevin says, coming to a brief stop, "when this is over, you convince a bartender you're Greta Garbo and drinks are on me."

"We'll be jam-happy in a little lodge near the Swiss Alps by tomorrow night," Trilby snaps with a quick smile over his shoulder as he continues down the road, "but I doubt your stolen reichsmarks will be any good there."

"Switzerland by rail. How long's the ride?" Kevin asks.

"Thirty-three hours, I've got somewhere special in mind." Trilby notices Kevin's surprise at the duration, so he draws a large C-shape in the air saying "The train runs in this pattern. Like a giant crescent."

Originally Posted Sunday, January 25th, 2009