“Those Nips’ll be in Frisco by the t-t-time you get us on the boats!”
His patience spent, the lieutenant shot to his feet to read the riot act to the dribble-mouthed hothead who kept hectoring him. His jaw dropped at what stood before him: a gaunt old codger sported a frayed khaki brownshirt, flared cavalry jodhpurs dappled with mud stains, and scuffed black jackboots that reached to his knees. The tall, lanky fellow seemed to be a nervous sort, constantly brushing his shocks of graying blond hair across his mottled head with fingers stained yellow from a chain of cigarette butts trailing behind him.
An ensign down the line stopped passing out medical forms and raised his arms in mock surrender. “You’d better sound all-hands-on-deck, sir. I think we’ve just been invaded by Mussolini.”
The lieutenant stood grinning at the sodbuster’s ridiculous Fascist get-up. “Nah, he doesn’t have enough flesh on the bone to be El Duce. I’m thinking he’s the Fuhrer in spy disguise. He must have cut off his mustache and painted his hair white.”
The ensign fingered a rusty trench whistle hanging from a lanyard around the fellow’s gizzard neck. He blew a couple of razzing toots on it. “You auditioning for the talkies, old-timer? I hear the Signal Corps is looking for a Hitler stand-in to make their movies for the war bonds campaign.”
The craggy-faced volunteer glared damnation at the two officers through his steel-blue eyes. “You jabbering harebrains wouldn’t have lasted a da-da-day in my army.”
“Your army?” The lieutenant motioned up the other recruits to his desk. “Take a look, boys. Stonewall Jackson has apparently risen from the dead.”
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