It’s a tough time to get through, but we have gotten through tough times before. And a sense of humour never hurts.
So in the spirit of the day, here’s an excerpt from Under the Nazi Heel, Book 2 of the Eastern Front Trilogy. In this, Maurice shows how his sense of humour was irrepressible.
Chapter 6: Intelligence
As Zazulak had predicted, a German patrol stopped them on the outskirts of Ternopyl, where the road crossed a small bridge. A single soldier stood in the middle of the snow-covered road, pointing a rifle at them. Two others stood on the side of the road. One smoked a cigarette.
Zazulak reined in just short of the soldier in the road, who maintained his aim on the sleigh. The smoking soldier came up to them. His rifle remained slung over his shoulder. “Where are you going?” he asked in German. He sounded bored.
“I don’t speak German,” Zazulak said to Maurice. “Translate for me.” Maurice did, knowing Zazulak was lying. “Tell him we’re going to the market in Ternopyl.”
“Good morning, sir. We are just going to the market in Ternopyl,” said Maurice, smiling at the soldier.
The soldier frowned. “What are you going to buy?”
“Some things for our mother’s birthday,” Maurice replied. He smiled again. “We’re brothers, you see.”
The soldier looked at his fellows and frowned again. “You don’t look like brothers. Let me see your papers.”
“Give him your ID,” Maurice told Zazulak in Ukrainian, but Zazulak was already reaching into his pocket, giving Maurice a look that said “Look what you’ve gotten us into.”
For the duration of the pandemic crisis, you can download all three e-books of the Eastern Front Trilogy for the lowest price allowed by Amazon, and free on some days. Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0753H56FL
Maurice handed both their German-issued ID papers to the soldier. “You’re not brothers. You don’t even have the same name!”
“We have the same mother, but different fathers,” Maurice said, smirking. He leaned closer to the soldier and pointed his thumb over his shoulder. “He’s the bastard.”
The third soldier burst into laughter. The smoker turned to him to frown, and then back to Maurice and Zazulak. “Get the hell out of here, smart aleck.” He thrust the ID papers back to Maurice and waved the solider out of the road.
Zazulak snapped the reins. As the horse passed the checkpoint, he growled “What the hell was that for?” His eyebrows were twin clouds, threatening storm.
“Just a little fun,” Maurice answered, chuckling. “In times like these, we need to have some fun once in a while.”
“Well, don’t do it when we’re on a mission again. That kind of fun could get us both arrested and killed.”
“On the contrary, Zazulak. It distracted the guards. They were thinking about our promiscuous mother and whether they might sleep with her. They weren’t wondering why two farm boys would drive to a city market in the middle of winter without anything to sell.”
“Then why did I have to be the bastard?”
“What would you have done in my place?”
Zazulak did not say anything after that, but glared at the road ahead. Maurice settled back and tried to keep from laughing aloud.
Under the Nazi Heel
is the second volume of the Eastern Front Trilogy, the true story of a Canadian man drafted into the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War.
The three e-books in the trilogy are each at the cheapest price allowed by Amazon. On select days, they’re available free.
I’ll maintain this policy through the pandemic lockdown. After all, we all need something good to read now.