TROUT   [ 2 ]

  Smith and Adams

Smith was working on the rules for lawn tennis. Adams had the Roget's out, looking up words for his crossword. There was a smell of old socks. Old socks and something else.

The ground shook. Both looked up. Afternoon shelling on time as always. Adams mouthed something at Smith. It was rude, he was sure. Smith smiled back, raised a finger in the direction.

An officer ran in from outside. He looked agitated. He was shouting but all they could do was smile back. He was waving his arms. Smith still had his finger raised. It wasn't the salute the officer was expecting. Now he looked angry as well as agitated. His lips moved quickly, spittle firing out. He pulled his revolver from its holster, the cord pulling at his shoulder, pointing it out of the bunker, up towards the howitser.

Smith now had a glimmering of what the officer was saying. He blinked but didn't hear the warning shot fired into the sandbags on his left. He started to move, to get his helmet and the shells. He wasn't sure if he saw the officer shoot Adams or if he just imagined it. He didn't have time. The shell from the enemy hit the bunker directly blowing everything to pieces. The shock from the morning barrage was still ringing in his ears when the ambulance men came over the ridge and carried him away to the hospital.

—Thomas Mitchell
   © 1997