Dimitri Igoumensita checked the sights on his pistol.
"I have to use this godawful thing?"
"It's the regulations, I'm afraid, general," said Pantermalis.
"But my own weapon was blessed by a high priest! Well, if I must then I must."
Pantermalis looked a bit unsatisfied. His eyes shifted to and fro.
"Oh, what is it, Pantermalis? You've been acting like something's wrong all day?" he finally exclaimed in exasperation.
"Well, sir, it's just," he paused briefly, "Are you sure you don't want to use the magnetic target? If you don't do exceptionally well on this, Greece, and, in fact, the whole Eastern Bloc will look foolish."
"Pantermalis, I'm not going to cheat to make my country look good, or for any other reason. Besides, you've forgotten..."
"The Sword of Apollo," said Pantermalis, hiding his disdain.
"That's right. Don't worry, general, I'll make Athens look like the capital of the world after I shoot today. The gods are with me."
"Yes, sir," he said with the finality of resignation.
From outside came a voice over a loudspeaker saying in Mongolian, "At the special behest of our venerated emperor, Bleda Khan, for the first time in the history of the Nadam Festival a non-Mongolian will be participating. In pistol shooting, from Greece, supreme commander of Eastern Bloc forces, General of the Army Dimitri Igoumensita."
"That's you, sir," said Pantermalis, who was better versed in Mongolian than his commander.
Igoumensita nodded curtly to his subordinate and stepped out onto the target range.
"Please fire three rounds, general," said the field judge.
Though he didn't understand the Mongol, the Greek knew the rules and fired three shots at the target, then let his hand fall to his side.
"Three perfect hits," said the field observer.
"Move the target back fifty meters!" yelled the judge.
Mongols began filing in on both sides of him as he took his next three shots.
"Three perfect hits," cried the field observer again.
"Fifty meters!" the judge yelled again.
The other Mongols began firing at their own targets, most to modest success. Igoumensita reloaded, then took his next three shots...
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
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