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Zippo lighter.
Meanwhile, Remo guided Captain Page to the lip of the Crater.
The object had landed off center, gouging a raw brown wound in the grassy gash
before it had rolled down to the deepest part of the Crater. Most of the
lenses had shattered, leaving dull yellow glass shards lying about.
And next to the object a Union reenactor sat sobbing uncontrollably.
"Looks like we got a casualty here," said Remo, starting into the Crater.
Captain Page obligingly followed. Or at least his feet obliged. His face
scowled in a very ungentlemanly manner.
"These Yanks are a sorry lot," mumbled Page when they reached the man.
"What do you expect?" said Remo. "It's not like they're professional
soldiers."
Remo tapped the Union soldier's dusty boot with a toe. "Lose your musket?" he
asked solicitously.
The man looked up, face warped and dust smeared. "It was awful."
"What was?"
"The color of the thing," the Union soldier sobbed.
"Let me guess, it was sunflower-colored. The worst, ugliest, most hideous
yellow you ever saw. Right?"
"Yellow? It was blue. A searing, crushing, soulflattening blue. I just want to
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die."
"You said blue?"
"Yes."
"Not yellow?"
"No."
"You sure about that?"
"I know my colors," the man spat.
Remo let that go. "The blue make you afraid?"
"No, it made me depressed. I feel like the world's come to an end. First we
get captured by the people who we come south to succor, then they drop some
kind of depression bomb smack on us."
"The other guys ran away."
"I wish I could. I don't even feel equal to standing up."
"Let me give you a hand, soldier," said Remo, offering a thick wristed hand.
The Union soldier simply sat there dejectedly, his head hanging so low his
chin was buried in his chest. His shoulders looked like a wire coat hanger
that had been bent down at each wing.
"This is a very unhappy man," said Chiun.
"This is a guy who doesn't know his yellows from his blues," said Remo.
"I have never seen a more unhappy man."
"I'll give you that," said Remo.
"He is a disgrace to his uniform," declared Captain Royal Wooten Page.
Remo gave Page a scornful look. He was now wearing a plumed Confederate
officer's bicorne hat that looked as if it had been taken off a dead French
admiral circa 1853. "You should talk."
"Ah am a proud son of the South, suh"
"Who deserted his unit to join a bunch of weekend warriors playing at war."
"This is a right serious matter," Captain Page said stiffly. "The state
treasury has been looted, the governor co-opted and the legislature is about
to sell out the land of their fathers for mere gold."
"Gold is not mere," sniffed Chiun. "It is gold. Therefore, it is perfection."
"These guys probably have some excuses," Remo went on. "They're probably all
4-F's. But you're a real soldier. What got into you?"
"Virginia."
"Huh?"
"Virginia is in mah blood. Ah make no bones about it, suh. Ah would die for
the soil that nurtured me." And throwing his head back, Captain Page burst
into mournful song:
Take me back to the place where Ah first saw the light, To mah sweet sunny
South, take me home. O'er the graves of mah loved ones Ah long for to weep,
Oh, why was Ah tempted to roam?
Remo reached around for the back of the captain's neck, intending to deaden
the man's speech centers when from somewhere inside the broken stainless-steel
bomb, a siren began wailing.
"What the hell is that?" he said.
"The bomb is about to explode," Chiun said. "Quickly, Remo, we must escape."
"Bombs don't make sounds like fire engines."
Chiun got behind Remo and began pushing urgently. "Hurry, clod-footed one."
Remo scooped up Captain Page and the Union soldier, one under each arm, and
started out of the Crater. The siren sound swelled and grew in pitch like an
angry ghost following them.
When it was screaming at its most urgent, and the entire battlefield was
thumping with Confederate soldiers running from the Crater, the explosion
occurred.
This explosion wasn't yellow. Or even blue. It was on the order of a thoom.
Not a big, earthshaking thoom, but a substantial thoom nonetheless. A pillar
of blackish smoke crawled out of the Crater, seeking the climbing sun.
After that the Crater hissed like grease in a giant frying pan.
"Hold up, Little Father," said Remo as the hissing reached his ears. He
stopped.
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Chiun hesitated. "The smoke may be dangerous, Remo."
"Maybe. But I still don't think that was a bomb."
They stood and watched the black smoke coil and twist up from the great Crater
to be picked apart by an intermittent southwesterly breeze.
When nothing else happened for five more minutes, Remo walked back to the
Crater rim.
"Mind setting us down, suh?" a voice requested. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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