It's a beautiful day. The sun is chirping, the birds are humming, the bees are shining. There's a couple of beers in the fridge just begging for some up-close-and-personal attention later this afternoon, and I have a beaut looking piece of beef marinating away for dinner tonight. Ah, me. Life can be pretty darn good.
Jenny's sister and brother-in-law are visiting with us. This is always cause for celebration, but today's a little special. Heather was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, but seems to have caught it in time. The diagnosis was grim, the prognosis is good. And Rip, her husband, is one of the best people I know.
Some have said that I tend to see people's good side. As far as I'm aware, that's not a sin. And anyway, some people do have excellent good sides.
Let's see: breakfast. I'm thinking Kinky's Fried Egg Sandwiches. Kinky Friedman's pals turned out a cookbook in his dishonour, and it's probably the most tatty cookbook on our shelves. The Fried Egg Sandwich is this: Toast two slices of bread. I favour Mollenburg. Spread on a little butter, a thin scraping of peanut butter, and a little jam (I prefer boysenberry, but apricot's good, too). Yes, this is an American recipe. Texan, to be specific. Sprinkle on some chopped spring onion, a little (very little) grated cheese, then add a couple of slices of grilled and crispy strip bacon. On top of that you bung your fried egg. Top with your second slice of toast, bite and chew. Yum!
Kinky Friedman is one of the funniest American writers ever. He is the 20th century Sam Clemens, and deserves huge fame and wealth. Go to the library and borrow one of his books, then buy the rest.
READING: The Storm of Our Grandchildren. I don't recall the author's name off-hand, and the book's in the bedroom, and I don't wnat to wake Jenny. The author was the man who first came up with the science behind global warming... back in the early 80s. He says the problem's bigger than is publicly acknowledged, and our grandchildren are going to curse us for knowing about it and doing nothing. I will report more, as time goes by.
LISTENING TO: Avishai Cohen, "As Is". It's a live jazz album, and very cool.
WORD OF THE DAY: Walk. It's actually quite good for you.
e counted up to five, and the storm of bullets swept back. Left to right the first time, right to left: they were tap-firing. The machine gun was clamped onto its heavy base, firing levers locked, while the crew serving the weapon simply tapped the side of weapon from one side of its firing arc to the other, keeping the belt-bed breech fed, bullet after bullet, 700 and more rounds every minute, every twentieth round a tracer, fouling the barrel, making the shot careen about the sky, unpredictable. But the tap-tap-tap of the mallet on the weapon's chattering block allowed the crew to keep under as much cover as possible while laying down a devastating field of fire.
Arthur counted. Ten, eleven, twelve, and the air above the crater was ripped apart by another forty or more bullets. Three, four, five, and it came back. He had twelve seconds, and he burst from cover, running zig zag to his right, away from the the stream of fire. By now he could hear the guns of his own regiment chiming in, shooting at nothing, just making noise and adding to the confusion. Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, hit the dirt, but he was outside the German's Maxim gun's field of fire, and he was up and running, no rifleman would be so foolish as to show themselves, and a second German machine gun chattered into life, shooting just a few feet low, he could see the ground kicking up, clods of earth sprinting into the sky just a few feet from his scampering feet and he counted five six seven then stopped suddenly and watched as the gunner corrected too late, and he ducked and flew into the trench near the latrines.
“Get yourself in the shit a bit there, Sergeant?” came the question, as he lay, gasping, at the bottom of the trench.
“No, mate. They missed me, I missed the dunnies, seems to have been a morning for missing.”
“They've got your hidey-hole buggered, though, sniper. You'll have to be looking for another – Christ! Incoming!” The Germans seemed to be desperate to express their displeasure at Arthur's antics this morning, and they had set up a half-dozen trench mortars, which were now lobbing their three pound bombs into the New Zealanders' trenches. Arthur hit the ground again, and his body was pummelled as a bomb exploded nearby. Fire and death, steel and shit. The Germans fired five rounds from each mortar, then the short bombardment stopped. A man was screaming thinly just thirty yards from Arthur, and the private soldier who'd greeted him so laconically now lay dead. A shard of bomb casing had ripped into his head, and he lay on the duckboards, his dead eyes gazing accusingly at Arthur. “See what you've done with your smart-arse sniping?”
Arthur slumped back against the wall of the trench, and sobbed.