«Jazz, take a look in the binocs, is someone walking towards us across the field or am I starting to see things?»
«No, you’re not imagining… The fuck, someone really is there… someone in our uniform.»
«You're kidding… So what’s he doing here?»
«Well, most likely it’s someone to replace the dude you sent to the mortar unit for a break (suspended for the use of alcohol). Makes sense. Only I don’t get what he’s doing in the middle of the field. He isn’t falling but he keeps bending over to something all the time.»
«Mussolini 1, Mussolini 2, come in.»
«Artillery waiting for someone?»
«Yes. A singleton. Krym.»
«10−4. Over and out.»
The scene was like something in a painting. In the middle of a burned out wheatfield, scattered with stains of unburnt vegetation, walking, not along the strip of trees the usual way, but straight across the field, a soldier was coming directly towards our forward positions, just as artillery fire was underway on positions that were about 500 meters behind his back.
He was at a safe enough distance, but we’re talking about hamfisted butchers who might just as easily miss. Or they might just decide to start firing at the middle of the field. And here was the fighter called Krym walking across that very field.
To understand the entire situation, I have to tell you that, at one time, Krym was in our rota, but then we tossed him over to the mortar unit, together with his buddy, Yenot [Raccoon]. They’re a couple. Yes, a real paor. Sometimes that happens between men. Back when I was just taking in additional recruits, these two immediately made it clear who they were. Not everyone in the unit was ok with this. I got sick and tired of listening to talk about this and so when the status of the rota was changed and its personnel augmented, these two guys were moved to the mortar unit.
As soldiers, I have to say, the two were disciplined and served without complaint, they didn’t act stupid or laze around—unlike some of their heterosexual colleagues.
So this Krym, a tall, slender guy, was now walking across the field in broad daylight, under artillery fire, paying no attention at all to the shells flying above his head. But it wasn’t clear why he kept crouching to the ground, even when no shells were exploding.
«This is just crazy…»
«What's up, Jazz?»
«I don’t believe it!»
«Stop dicking with me! What’s going on?»
«He's picking flowers…»
«He's picking flowers in the middle of a field under fire, and he’s leading two dogs, too. I guess we overreacted when we sent them over to the mortar unit. Maybe we should take them back?»
«I think so.»
«This is just so crazy… he makes me think of Little Red Riding Hood, walking along a field, picking flowers and singing. We definitely have to take them back somehow. They’re genuine fighting unicorns.»
Vasyl, Kharkiv Oblast