A Glibertarians Exclusive – Legionnaire, Part V
Marseilles, France – 1911
“I didn’t see Eddie again after that. Two of the guys carried him out, but I heard later that they took his leg off below the knee, so I would think he went back home. And that lieutenant, Kara George? Would you believe he was a prince? Guy was crowned Peter I, King of Serbia, what, eight or nine years ago. Couldn’t believe it was the same guy when I saw it in the newspaper, but sure as hell, it was him. Probably won’t hear much more about it – when was the last time you even heard of anything anybody from Serbia ever did, anyway?”
“I couldn’t even tell you where Serbia is,” Philip McGraw replied.
“Out east,” Caleb Pettigrew said helpfully, “south of Austro-Hungary. Not that anyone but the Serbians much care about Serbia.”
“Probably. So, what happened after the battle?”
“That,” Caleb said, “well, now, that got right interesting there for a while. See, losing a war to the Prussians, turns out if wasn’t so hot for old Napoleon III. And some folks decided they could do better. Some of those folks were Communards, and they weren’t about to wait to be voted in. They just tried grabbing with both hands, and the whole city of Paris went up like a tar barrel. People were screaming for soldiers to come bang heads together. Next thing you know, we were in Paris.”
Paris, France – June 1871
Caleb Pettigrew – Sergant Tom Jackson to his fellows – and Caporal Charles Sebastian Diego y Sanchez walked cautiously down the streets of Paris. Both had their Chassepot rifles loaded. Caleb had found a knife that would have made Jim Bowie proud, and now he wore it conspicuously on his belt. He knew his Spaniard compatriot had at least three small blades concealed about his person. The two men of the Legion walked cautiously, their heads constantly swiveling about. The Semaine Sanglante – the Bloody Week – had seen the Communard rebellion crushed at last.
The Paris Commune was suppressed, twenty thousand Communards killed and many more captured, at the cost of seven hundred and fifty French regulars and men of the Legion. But the city was still tense, and nobody was yet quite sure who was in charge. The men of the Legion walked as cautiously as barefoot men walking through broken glass.
“I wonder when we will be sent back to Sidi Bel Abbès,” the Spaniard mused aloud.
“Who knows? And why worry about it? I don’t mind staying in Paris, long as things stay peaceful.” Caleb had taken a minor wound, no more than a scratch, while storming a Communard barricade. Sanchez had come through untouched; the Spaniard seemed to live a charmed life.
“I would not mind either, mi amigo, but the law, she is not changed. The Legion is not supposed to be in France. Now that the emergency is over, one wonders when we will be sent home.”
Caleb chewed on that a moment. “I suppose.”
“Besides,” the Spaniard continued, grinning, “there is always tu dulce niña, yes, my friend?”
Caleb smirked. He took his right hand off his rifle and mimed fondling an ample breast. “Well, sure, Charlie, there is that. And it’s not like you’ve never been to that house your own self.”
“Si, but I prefer variety. You, it is always Marissa.”
“If you have a horse, you ride it.” Caleb grimaced a little at the inaptness of the comparison. Marissa was many things, but horse-like was not one of them.
When the two legionnaires finished their patrol, they arrived back in the temporary camp on the outskirts of the city to find their fellows buzzing with the news: “Back to Algeria,” was the word. Within the week, the Legion took ship at Marseille, bound for Oran.
“We will have to march from Oran to Sidi Bel Abbès,” Caleb’s Spanish friend observed as they filed onto a rather battered old two-master.
“Count on it,” Caleb replied. “What the hell. Have to be alive to march. Plenty of men are dead.”
“Si.” Sanchez shook his head sadly. “And the people of France, they are angry. Angry at the Prussians and Bavarians for parading through Paris. They will want revenge on the Germans, my friend, you wait and see – we may be done fighting them now, but we are not done fighting them for good.”
“You forgot one other thing the people of France are angry at,” Caleb said.
“What is that?”
“They’re angry at us. The French regulars, the Zouaves, the Legion, all of us who fought and lost. Heard plenty of that when I was walking from Appomattox to Norfolk. Folks don’t like being whipped. And just you watch, they’ll blame us for it.”
“Maybe. Maybe not. Napoleon III is gone, removed from his throne. France is a Republic now. Maybe things will be different.”
“And maybe not. Well, we’re going home at any rate.”
When the ship finally got under way, Caleb remained on deck, leaning on the railing, listening to the shouts of the sailors as they scrambled up the masts and made sail, and enjoying the calm Mediterranean winds and the clear blue Mediterranean sky. He remembered his own brief stint as a sailor. Never really did get the hang of it, he reminded himself. Guess I’m better at soldiering.
The passage to Oran was uneventful. The ship docked safely, and the men of the Legion dismounted and formed ranks, under the direction of the surviving officers. Caleb took his place at the head of one of the ranks, due to his new status as Sergant, and was surprised to see a round-faced man in the robes of a priest sitting on a spavined old horse at the head of the column of legionnaires.
“This,” bellowed a leather-lunged Sergant-Major, “…is the Bishop of Oran, His Excellency Jean-Baptiste-Irénée Callot. He will be accompanying us to Sidi Bel Abbès and will be holding holy services morning and evening along the way, for those of you miscreant souls whose confessions have not been heard in some time, as I suspect is the case for most of you. Attend! We will march as soon as all are in formation.”
“Don’t matter none to me,” Caleb muttered, slipping into South Carolina English. “Raised a Baptist my own self. Damned old monkey in fancy robes ain’t got nothing for me. Reckon it’s the Old Place Down Below for me no matter what happens.”
The legionnaire next to him glanced over. He spoke softly in French: “Sergant, you do not listen to the Bishop?”
Caleb shook his head. “Not likely. Quiet, now. Orders coming.”
The Legion took their time marching home again – three days to cover eighty kilometers, through some rough, dusty country. Caleb, in his mind, translated the distance to fifty miles, musing to himself, we’d have gone a lot farther and a lot faster if old Stonewall was cracking the whip.
It was a hot, bright late July afternoon when they arrived at the Legion cantonment in Sidi Bel Abbès. A tall, scrawny, cadaverous Adjutant with a patch over one eye appeared in front of them. He extracted, of all things, a bugle, and blew a sharp three-note welcome.
Caleb chuckled. He wasn’t the only one.
“Men of the Legion!” the walking cadaver shouted. “Stow your belongings. The refectory remains open until you have all been fed, but do not dally. Welcome home, legionnaires!”
“Welcome home,” Caleb muttered. “Hurry up and get yourself fed, or else go hungry until morning.” He went looking for his Spanish friend and found him, in front of the barracks that they would be re-occupying.
“Mi amigo”, Sanchez said, “I am devastated that we will no longer be in the same bay.”
“Oh. Right.” As a result of his promotion, Caleb would be moved into the non-commissioned officer’s rooms at the end of one of the barracks.
“We can still be amigos, yes?”
“Don’t see why not. You figure on heading into town after we eat?”
“Si. Like before we go to France, yes? You will be anxious to see Marissa.”
“I suppose.” Caleb remembered the Italian girl; her ample bosom, her narrow waist, her full lips, her white teeth – and her penchant for biting in the heat of the moment. “Yeah. I suppose I am.”
Note: There are several versions of the song that inspired this story.
The lyrics here are from this version.
And the deputy walks on hard nails, preacher rides a mount
Nothing really matters much, doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn
“Come in”, She said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”
Another great chapter, Animal. Having spent a lot of time in France and Spain and a few days in Morocco it’s like taking a vacation. Thanks
I’ve never been to Spain.
But I kind of like the music.
They say the ladies are insane there,
But they sure know how to use it.
Not that anyone but the Serbians much care about Serbia.”
Terrific chapter, Animal. I really like this story.
I chuckled at the Serbia reference as well.
Arch Duke of what?
I never had a bugle…but I couldn’t have played one anyways.
Yesterday I looked up the French Foreign Legion – sadly I aged out so I couldn’t join even though 50-something me is stronger than 30-something me and I could still easily pass the physical requirements.
Some interesting requirements – and benefits!
“We know people who join are probably not the most reputable, but so long as you fight who we tell you to, it doesn’t matter.”
You have been assigned a transgender identity. Sorry. All the good identities were used up by the last batch of enlistees.
We almost got into a fight with them right at the border of Kabul Province and Parwan…the Legion was quite…territorial about where they went.
Which makes the story of the FFL troops in one of the African peace-keeping missions more surprising. I can’t remember the location, but my recollection is that a number of legionnaires were killed after surrendering, and the perpetrators suffered no payback.
I can’t find anything on that…but my Duck Duck Go fu is weak.
Never dated a biter.
I married one.
::looks at A’s avatar:: Checks out.
More like a mauler.
Me neither. Squirter on the other hand…
As always, I’m excited to read more. Because of my extensive Three Stooges and Cartoon background, the Legion was something that was similar to joining the circus as a kid. It also seemed like something that shouldn’t still exist in modern France after it’s loss of colonies in the 1950’s/60’s.
Falkenberg’s Legion was also a favorite military sci-fi series of mine.
Fun fact: The Mote was set in the Falkenberg’s Legion universe, because Niven was willing to write in it, but Pournelle didn’t care for the Known Space universe. Although I think Pournelle wrote some Man-Kzin War stories in it?
And story-wise, it fits that universe better too.
They have to protect Saint Pierre and Miquelon from the Canucks.
Indeed. Our massive tactical and strategic stockpiles of poutine inspire unhinged terror throughout the globe. The myocardial infarctions alone could devastate those two puny islands.
I will bravely consume my way through as much poutine as possible, to diminish the threat!!!!!!
Have you ever read the Phule’s Company series of books by Robert Aspirin?
I’m putting this here just to raise Tundra’s (and Warty’s) blood pressure.
“Nonfat frozen yogurt”
We had a trainer who referred to nonfat anything as “chemical shit show”.
You ain’t kidding
In the 80s&90s, the peak of the “OMG! If you eat fat, the fat will lodge directly in your bloodstream and you’ll have a stroke!!” days, all sorts of new low fat products came out.
Butter was verboten but margarin was great, despite the polyunsaturated shitshow.
Low-fat mayonnaise was huge, but it tasted so bad they added a bunch of sugar to compensate.
Eggs were equally shunned, but egg substitutes were sugar-laden lab experiments.
FOOD PYRAMID. The only major government “health” push that has caused more harm than Covid overreaction. “Eat carbs all day but for the love of Pete, don’t eat any meat products!”
And they wonder why so many Americans have diabetes 2.
In my experience, fat-free cream cheese may be the most vile, inedible substance ever purported to be a dairy product. It certainly did NOT deserve the honorific “cheese.”
Cheese is by definition a repurposing of milkfat. If it doesn’t have fat, it can’t be cheese.
Denies Unger’s Death By Food Pyramid is a terrific book.
Fuck you swype.
I think “Denies Unger” would be a great pen name!
Oscar Madison denies Unger, too.
“Flip the pyramid”
Does this include nonfat, gluten-free water?
I put almost a whole stick of butter in the vodka sauce for my spicy meatballs yesterday.
Turns out butter is neither spicy, nor contains vodka.
I detect a distinct lack of commitment to your butter-enhanced dishes.
I didn’t wanna overdo it. The vodka comes in a smaller jar then marinara.
I did also add a generous amount of shredded Parmesan cheese.
I thought you were making it from scratch!
Step 1 – create the universe….
Paula Deen says start with two sticks.
Not always. You may want to read the comments on this recipe.
ALOL! Lots of good comments
Everyone in your Democrat Party appears to be a complete fucking ass-clown. Your entire FedGov is thoroughly penetrated by these witlings. It’s as bad as our Cabinet up here.
Has 2022 officially been declared The Year of Insane Government and Their Apparatchiks™ everywhere on the globe?
At least we can always flee to Canada.
wait, *checks* well, shit.
We’re all boned.
Canada is a nice place to threaten to flee to but you wouldn’t want to live there.
Has 2022 officially…
As if officialdom would ever do such a thing. I say we just drive that stake into the ground and claim it!
Thanks a lot.
These people are unhinged. It’s almost as if Big Food dumps huge money into training and bribing, huh?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go cook up some ground beef and chroizo.
History lesson of the day.
Learn more: https://www.nsa.gov/History/Cryptologic-History/Historical-Figures/Historical-Figures-View/Article/1623020/agnes-meyer-driscoll/
For a moment I read that as “the NSA Cryptologic Hall of Horror” and thought to myself “Is this a new story idea for SugarFree?”
I visited the NSA museum a few years ago. It’s a small, nondescript building to the left of the main NSA campus. A former hotel, now a humble museum.
They have several working Enigma machines on display, and touching is very much encouraged.
I had a blast and recommend it to anyone near Laurel MD.
The better to collect your fingerprints with.
Cool! I’ll go, but I ain’t bringing my phone.
She looks intense.
She might have had bad teeth – not smiling in any of her photos.
The 1932 photo looks like she was suffering from anorexia nervosa, or possibly was an early participant in the Bataan Death March.
I don’t imagine cryptography was paying that well at the heights of the Depression.
Nobody ever starved to death, working as a civilian for the War Department…
Thanks again, Animal! Good stuff
OT: I’ve been seeing signs around our town saying “Public dollars belong in public schools” — makes me want to barf. How about “My dollars belong in the school of my choice”?
“My Child, My Choice.”?
Now I kind of want to get a bunch of signs printed up that say “Forced schooling is child slavery!”.
If you can read this, thank your parents
Every time I see those “School’s open, drive carefully” signs, I want to put up signs saying “School’s closed, drive recklessly”.
Years ago, T he local teacher’s union was pushing bumper stickers that said “if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” I wanted to sell add-ons that simply said “it’s bliss!”
I wonder if these ‘tearful’ Portlanders have connected the dots
I have zero fucks to give for Portlanders.
Not everyone wanted this Utopia…I don’t recall any 100% elections there. Not fair to the folks who were born there, have homes, businesses and family in town, to lump them in with the asshats who cheer this on, even to this day.
Concur. Collective guilt is a bad look for anybody.
Meh. I said what I said.
I didn’t say they all “deserved it”.
I try to reserve some sympathy for the innocent. But I am not exactly Abraham bargaining with THE LORD to spare Portland and Seattle from Judgment, for the sake of 10 innocents.
The only dots that need to be connected are the red dots to the center mass of some Antifa members.
I have a friend who lives there. Needed security cam advice a little while back cuz his suffering masses started scoping out his backyard, where he has lots of choice woodworking equipment. He’ll never connect the dots.
Then he’ll pay the price for it. Too bad he’s voting for everyone else to pay with him.
Yep, and to Swiss’s point above, this friend moved there from Orange County, CA just for the lax weed policies back in the early 90s. He’d come back to visit at times and he’d gone totally liberal, starting with rants about the clearcutting of forests (a then current thing) up there.
That’s not too far from Free Cascadia, is it?
I’m curious to see where this goes. There are more than a few recall attempts for Soros-funded DA’s, so there is at least some backlash against all this. But the belief that “this will work if only the right people are in charge” is pretty strong.
Living an hour south of there, no, they won’t.
Oh, the irony…it burns…
That ain’t irony burning…
My anorectal lesions…
Words every intake nurse wants to hear.
I had the same complaints after I fucked a dozen Belizian hookers on that cocaine fueled sexcation I took last year and contracted a half dozen STDs. ALL YOU LOUSY DOCTORS LET ME DOWN. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THAT WAS A BAD IDEA?
What is the difference between monkeypox and chickenpox?
Stop anally rawdoggin’ dudes with visible lesions and you’ll probably be fine.
That’s just crazy talk!
Although, I assume he’s the rawdog-ee? I dunno, I’m not a biologist.
Eh, he looks like a bottom to me.
More like public disease expert …
“Public” and “expert” need to be in sneer quotes.
Something tells me this public health expert was likely more concerned about covid “vaccinations” among the gays than monkeypox. Where’s his Grindr profile? For research purposes, obvs.
Asked for proof of vax and masked up before the entertainment portion?
He’d just need to *shakes Magic 8-Ball from my teenaged years* “use a dental dam”.
More like bragged that he was fully vaxxed and boosted and “you should too”.
“I was isolated, lonely and frustrated with how unfair the situation was”
Unfair how exactly?
Even natural consequences are oppression!
One thing that the new batch of righties seems to understand is TMITE.