The Writers Voice
The World's Favourite Literary Website

Ramblin's V


Pat Gluck

Somehow, I always ended up doin' things th' hard way, like in Africa back in '43. There were three vehicles assigned to me whenever we docked in Algiers. One was a motorcycle with a side-car, which I didn't know how to operate, the other was a 'Dukw' (commonly referred to as a 'Duck'), for use on land or water, and the third was a good ol' fashioned Jeep. At the time, I was a courier on my ship for classified (secret) correspondence between the High Commands of the Armed Forces in and around Algiers.

At all times I carried a loaded .45 caliber gun and was given orders never to stop, while delivering my messages, for ANYONE or ANYTHING! They certainly had the right guy for THAT job! When I zipped up and down the streets of Algiers in my Jeep, everyone gave me the right of way. At the time, I imagined the 'locals,' verbalizing in French or Arabic, saying, "Look out, get the kids out of the street, here comes that crazy American again!"

One day, just prior to our ship being 'sealed' (due to a mission, which was either the invasion of Sicily or Italy), my name was called over the P.A. system to report to the communications room. One of the high ranking officers handed me a leather pouch and told me it HAD to get to St. Georges in one hell of a hurry! St. Georges was the Allied Communications Center for the entire area and was the coordinating force behind all combat Mediterranean activities. It was located on top of a mountain overlooking the harbor of Algiers.

"Oh, by the way sailor," the senior officer said to me, "take this lieutenant with you, he has urgent business at St. Georges too."

I turned to the lieutenant and said, "Follow me, sir!"

We scurried down a couple of ladders (stairways) and onto the gangplank leading to the dock below. On my way down, I noticed my Duck, dangling in the air, being hoisted aboard my ship. I observed, too, that my Jeep was nowhere in sight. The only things I DID notice were my motorcycle, with its sidecar, and the Admiral's chauffeur leaning on the Admiral's Chrysler limousine. They were both mighty conspicuous since the dock was completely devoid of anything else. Normally it was a cluttered mess of machines and people.

As I paused, on my way down the gangplank, wonderin' what a mess I was in, the lieutenant whizzed by me, jumped into the sidecar of the motorcycle, and hollered, "All right, sailor, let's get it movin'!"

"One moment sir," I said as I ran over to the chauffeur who was leaning on his car with a cigarette dangling from between his lips.

"Hi," he said as I approached him.

I blurted out, "Can you drive a motorcycle?"

"Sure can," was his reply.

"Well, please show me how, I'm in one big hurry!"

He threw his cigarette down on the ground and started to move towards my bike in which was seated the gesturing lieutenant with his arms moving all about.

"No," I told the chauffeur. "Teach me from HERE!"

He stopped, gave me a puzzled look and started talking.

I repeated a few things back at my instructor and, between the damn lieutenant's wild antics and ravings, I tried to concentrate on my lesson.

I thought I understood everything I needed to know. As I approached my bike, and swung my butt onto the saddle, the lieutenant was fit to be tied! His anger was just about to end, even though he didn't see it comin'!

I kick-started the engine, put it in gear and AWWWAAAY we went with tires a'screechin! I noticed my passenger taking off his hat and clutching it in his lap. He didn't utter one single word all the way to St. Georges!

I was in 7th heaven! Never before had I experienced such raw power at my fingertips! The trip that normally took me 25 minutes or so only required 15!

My silent passenger slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) put both of his feet over the sidecar and onto the ground. I said, "My mission shouldn't take me too long; I'll meet you back here."

As he was putting his crushed hat back on his head, he asked, "How long have you been driving a motorcycle?"

After a quick glance at my watch I replied, "About twenty minutes, sir!"

"No thanks," he stuttered, "I'll get another ride back to the ship!"

Was he a coward, or what?

From that time on I used my motorcycle on all my runs. And, I have the distinct feeling that if the lieutenant survived the war, he has also told this story to all who would listen, though with HIS version of it!!!

Critique this work

Click on the book to leave a comment about this work

All Authors (hi-speed)    All Authors (dialup)    Children    Columnists    Contact    Drama    Fiction    Grammar    Guest Book    Home    Humour    Links    Narratives    Novels    Poems    Published Authors    Reviews    September 11    Short Stories    Teen Writings    Submission Guidelines

Be sure to have a look at our Discussion Forum today to see what's
happening on The World's Favourite Literary Website.