Welcome to the Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers)
(Wednesday evening) So, I’ve got my Colman Hawkins record on the hifi’s spindle, the kitchen is all neat and tidy, scarves for throwing over the lampshades discreetly on the end tables… ok, stage is set! I’ll back later in the morning, to see what this week’s Six Sentence blind date is going to be….
Artillery bombardment tore the night into long strips of screaming terror that floated down over the men, suffocating them at random intervals as they huddled in the trenches. Like ceremonial scars, rows that ran over the hills and through the valleys of the French countryside, just north of Marne, were dug by men with the furor of self-preservation and now, once dug, inhabited by young men made ancient by over-exposure to the cold wet fact of their own mortality.
“Whadda we gonna do, Lieutenant,” Sargeant Lou Donoto stared at his newly commissioned commanding officer and prayed to St. Michael to be allowed to leave the trench under his own power.
Lt. Cyril Sauvage crouched, his back pressed against the forward wall of the command dugout, feet mired in the muck that passed for solid ground in the bloody furrow and stared at the Sergeant, trying desperately to remember something from his 90 days of officer training that might stall the erosion of confidence,
“Our orders are to take the hill and, according to my instructors in OCS, the best way to do that is to organize my men into ranks and files so that if we meet resistance then the men in the files will protect our backs as we move forward,” Cyril Sauvage spoke with the heartfelt assurance reserved for the very young and the terminally ill.
“We are the rank, Lt Sauvage, there ain’t no file, there’s only the men to the right and the men to the left,” Louie Donoto looked back down the slope of the hill and saw only broken trees, craters full of liquid and un-moving parts of damaged men, “we might as well go forward, there just ain’t no going back, sir.”
Cyril Sauvage drew in a breath that was deep enough to last the rest of his life, stood up in the trench and yelled, “For God and country!”