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Sunday 8 July 2012
Jack and Arnold
Twin shooting stars, they shot across my sky,
landing, one bright Sunday breakfast time,
coincidentally, at our front door.
"Out of the blue!" my gran said, sniffily.
Thought I: the same blue as their uniforms!
From Canada. Kit bags slung on shoulders -
and better yet: Royal Enfield rifles sloped
across their backs. Gran's distant relatives.
Arnold and Jake: I'd never heard of them.
"They've come to bloody Hitler's nose!" she said.
They showed me how to strip the rifles, and
how to use one, lying prone, to kill off
all the Germans hiding in the rose bed.
"We've done no actual killing yet," Jack said,
apologetically. Wrong! They'd killed
off my desire to drive a big red bus.
One summer's day when I'd been playing up
(exactly what I'd done and why, what it
was all about, God knows - I've asked, of course,
but He's not saying), they ended it quite
summarily, debagging me. Dumped me
in our small front garden, shut the door and
left me there, how long I do not know, might
not have cared if Ann had not come by. I
must have had a crush on her. Thereafter,
nothing's clear of my two stars. I've hazy
images of fun. That's it. One image,
though, there is that does not fit. Jack (I think)
arrived with a large box of letters tied
in bundles with red tape, and asked if gran
would keep them safe for him. The cupboard un-
derneath the stairs became their home. Soon he
was back to burn them all. i asked gran why -
and why was Jack in tears. "Huh!" she replied,
"they're crocdile tears, nothing more!" How strange
that phrase seemed to me then! Why crocodile?
When came V.E. day and the celebrations
Jack announced that he'd be volunteering
to go to the far East. Armold called him
fifteen sorts of idiot, but Jack had
the last laugh, was shipped back home, had weeks of
embarkation leave... at which point peace broke
out. Jack, demobbed, returned to civvy street,
while Arnold was still stuck in what for him
was no more than an outpost that had me.
I post this edition of my Suburban Village early, while I still have broadband!