The men were singing “Sally Let Your Hair Down” to the stamping of the guns. Flasks passed up and down the ranks, Fleming savored his watered down bourbon. He bounced his feet and blew on his hands, but was too far from the fire.
Fleming patted his chest down, then remembered he was out of rolling paper.
“Here.” Captain Kirkham thrust a lit fag into his hand.
“Cheers.” He held the crumpled cigarette like it was fine china.
Fleming tossed him the flask and was soon under the spell of the first tobacco he’d had in weeks that hadn’t tasted like mud or horse shit. Mud was everywhere. In his hair, on his clothes, in his shoes, underwear. Fleming polished his service rifle with muddy rags and he shaved with rusty mud caked razors. What he wouldn’t give for a little sunshine.
He’d read about monsoon season during his studies, but the private had not expected to endure them in France. It’ll snow soon, he thought. I’ll freeze my socks off but it will be damn sight better than all this rain.
The Captain appeared lost in his own thoughts so Fleming was loath to break the silence. In this manner they sat until the marching orders were issued.