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"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."

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Last War: Chapter 78, Part 1

"...And he must have been about two and a half meters tall. He came walking towards me, and I just about wet my pants."

The whole crowded bar laughed. The girl who was sitting on Jacques de Ris' knee was leaning on him and listening intently to his every word.

"Wait a minute," someone said, "What were you doing that whole time, Pierre? You were his driver, weren't you?"

Pierre grunted. He broke the embrace of the girl he was with to take a drink. He took his time about it to build up suspense. When he saw that everyone was completely quiet he spoke.

"I was having a little tete-a-tete with unconsciousness. As Jacques told you we leapt towards an artillery emplacement and were shot down, due to the incompetence of our gunner. I struck my head as we went down. That's how I got this," he pointed at the gash on his forehead, "And when I had woken up the major was back helping me to my feet. I can neither prove nor disprove his story," he turned back to the girl who was fawning over him and said, "Go ahead, give me any two numbers."

"Seventy- three and fourty-eight," the girl said after thinking.

"Three thousand five-hundred and four," he said smiling.

"Oh, Pierre's a bit distracted because he's got a girl interested in him for the first time," the crowd lauged again, "I'm telling the truth."

"First time," Pierre snorted, getting up, "Ask this fine lady tomorrow morning if this was the first time. Au revoir, everyone."

Pierre threw some money onto the table and walked off with his arms around his girl's waist.

"So he's speaking French like only an American can: 'Bonjour, c'est la vie, huh huh huh' and so forth, and with a great amount of effort I decipher his words. He's challenging me to a duel! Me! The greatest gunner who ever lived! So what I did was..."

De Ris continued on. The crowd was hanging on his every word. He was happier than he had ever been in his life. The war was over, he was back in sweet France, he was a war hero, he was in a warm room with good wine, and the women were flocking to him. He smiled as he continued on. He felt as though nothing would ever go wrong for him again.

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