Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)
TITLE: A Long Tale
By Corinne Smelker
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In one accord they all took a step forward. General Villus surveyed the troops with well- evidenced pride. He turned to Lieutenant Cavia and nodded slightly. “There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.”
“Colonel Doolittle said that sir,” Cavia offered.
“Before the attack on Japan, sir in 1942, Doolittle is said to have said that, sir.”
“Well, harrumph –that as may be my boy, but let’s get these volunteers ready for the task ahead.”
“Yes, sir.” Cavia stood in front of the rank and inspected them closely. Some twitched in nervousness, but all carried a façade of bravado and derring-do.
A squeak from the back of the platoon caught Cavia’s attention. “Yes private what is it?” he asked not unkindly. He remembered all too well those knee-knocking days, those days of not knowing, those days of wondering whether you would come back with all limbs intact, or whether you would lose ‘important bits’ before returning to bask in the sweet glory of victory.
“Um, sir, if you please sir…” there was a pause as the young private swallowed his fear, and voiced the question that was on everyone’s lips, “Is it true that if we return victorious there’ll be a huge feast, just for us? And that we can have all the ladies we want? Only you see, our Daphne, she won’t take too kindly to another gal trying to kiss me, and…” Laughter was ringing out, forcing the private to again come to a halt. Cavia smiled, “Private, Private Stilton, is it? No need to worry fella-me-lad. You can tell them to lay off, and they will!” There was a slight sigh of relief from Private Stilton who had faced the wrath of Daphne before and was not looking for a second round.
“All right everyone! Battle Stations! You know what to do!” General Villus announced. There was a sudden scurrying and scampering as the platoon readied itself. “OK, the restaurant is closed! And I have it on good authority that Gaston had to be sent to the vet tonight, but that means there might be more mousetraps. Remember your training! Divide and conquer, bring back all the cheese, crackers and other tidbits you can find. Remember – the colony is counting on you tonight!” Villi watched fondly as the last tail disappeared down the mouse-hole, wondering how many of his faithful food volunteers would return this night.
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