The Germans and the dog were engaged in a military operation which had an amusingly self-explanatory name, a human enterprise which is seldom described in detail, whose name alone, when reported as news or history, gives many war enthusiasts a sort of post-coital satisfaction. It is, in the imagination of combat's fans, the divinely listless loveplay that follows the orgasm of victory. It is called "mopping up."
The dog, who had sounded so ferocious in the winter distances, was a female German shepherd. She was shivering. Her tail was between her legs. She had been borrowed that morning from a farmer. She had never been to war before. She had no idea what game was being played. Her name was Princess.
Two of the Germans were boys in their early teens. Two were ramshackle old men--droolers as toothless as carp. They were irregulars, armed and clothed fragmentarily with junk taken from real soldiers who were newly dead. So it goes. They were farmers from just across the German border, not far away.
The Germans and dog that Billy and Roland encounter sound like they're barely soldiers, drafted into service despite their obvious military deficiencies. They're too old. Too young. Too cold. In the case of the dog, too domesticated. And they are tired of war.
I am sitting in my office at the university, killing time before I have to pick up my daughter from her dance studio. I sort of feel like the Germans that Vonnegut describes--tired and cold, ready to go home. This morning, I started sneezing. The sneezing progressed to an alternating runny nose/stuffed-up nose. Now, my head feels like it's about to explode.
My whole family has been battling this virus. My wife had strep throat a couple weeks ago. My daughter was home sick for three days last week. The previous week, my son was home for a couple of days. I guess it's my turn. I thought that I had dodged this particular snotty bullet. It appears that I have not.
That has not stopped me, however, from being fairly productive, work-wise, today. These two blog posts are the last things that I have to accomplish. Then, I can just sit, read my book, and leak mucus from my nose. I have not done anything Poet Laureate-ish today. Yesterday, I had an interview with a reporter from the local newspaper.
I had intentions of getting more done, but my mind is a little fogged tonight. I may shoot a couple of e-mails to publicize a reading that I'm doing next Tuesday evening. That's about all that I have the energy for. Aside from that, I'm curling up with a bottle of Nyquil when I get home.
Saint Marty is thankful for Kleenex.