DON'T SAY THE NAME! 2013 Edition
Welcome! Last year, I wrote a story describing what the Heroes thought of the Papa Bear Awards, the 'best story' winner, and authors in general. Just for fun, I'm going to try to continue the storyline for future winners of the 'best story' category.
Special thanks to Belphegor for her kind assistance; it was very much appreciated! I'd also like to offer my congratulations to everyone who was nominated for and/or won a PBA...plus a special thanks for everyone who put it all together. Well done!
"Well, it's official," Sergeant Kinchloe announced before he laid a sheaf of papers down on the rough wooden table. "Read it and weep." Hands, both Allied and German, collected the assorted sheets before their owners silently studied the contents.
"Another bloody Papa Bear Award," Newkirk growled. "Again! Those authors seem to enjoy making us suffer, don't they?"
"Well, they don't seem to do it all the time," Carter offered. "I mean, sometimes the stuff they write is pretty nice. I wouldn't mind meeting some of them, you know."
"Carter, they're women," his English mate interjected. "All of them, except for the occasional schumck or two."
"Oh, right..." the American Sergeant lamely said before a faint blush settled across his cheeks. "I thought they were supposed to be the good guys-I mean, gals," he said. "I mean, without them we wouldn't exist, right?"
"Phhh," LeBeau spat contemptuously. "We act out their stories for them. Sometimes, I wonder which is worse: the guards, or the authors. Personally, I could live without either of them." He sighed, then waved his hand dismissively. "I wonder if they even really care about us? Or even think about us?"
"But some of them are nice," Carter argued. "I don't mind those kinds of stories. Sometimes they get pretty funny, too."
"True," LeBeau acknowledged. "And sometimes, people get hurt," The Frenchman shrugged. "Like I said, we're better off without them." Just then, his voice softened as another memory came to mind. "Well, maybe not all of them" he allowed. "For instance, there is that one lady that has a drawing of me as her avatar."
"Lousy taste, that," Newkirk said dryly before the Frenchman playfully punched his arm.
"I think she's wonderful," LeBeau bluntly stated, his voice turning dreamy. "I'd love to meet her some day. Her name's Bel-"
"DON'T SAY THE NAME!" everyone quickly yelled, sending the Armée de l'Air Corporal into an embarrassed silence.
"That was close," a relieved Kinch observed. "If you had finished the word..."
"...we'd all be in trouble," Hogan finished. "It just feeds their egos to hear us say their names. The stories they write after that aren't that nice."
"How bad could it be?" Major Hochstetter wondered. "I mean, just because you say the name Belphagor-" At that moment, his voice trailed off as a shocked silence descended onto the group. It was Newkirk that finally broke the quiet stillness.
"Better you than me, mate," he said cheerfully. "Hope you enjoy the ride."
Meanwhile, somewhere in France (or thereabouts...)
A certain fanfiction author looked up from the story she was working on before narrowing her eyes.
Someone said my screen name, she quickly realized. And I have a pretty good idea who did it!
With that, she put her work aside before starting a new story: The Many Merry Majorily Mangled Demises of Major Wolfgang Hochstetter.
Hmmm...she mused. Did they have wood chippers back in the 1940's? With that idea, she began her research...
"Well, we can't do anything about that now," Hogan observed before he returned his attention to the paper in his hands. "She won the best story again," the Colonel noted. "This time, I don't know which is worse," he soberly observed. "Having her win again, or the fact that the story went to the dogs!"
"So what do we do about it, Colonel?" Kinch asked. "I mean, it's not like we can send her or any of the other authors off to London. They're in the real world." His eyes then glanced around the dingy barracks. "Wherever that is."
"We'll take care of them," LeBeau said firmly. "They're worse than the Boche..." He flicked his eyes toward the nearby Gestapo officer. "Offense intended," he finished.
"I'd expect nothing less," Hochstetter growled, his own orbs throwing daggers toward the cheerful Frenchman.
"By the way, whatever happened to last year's winner?" Carter's voice piped up. Heads turned toward a now-embarrassed German Major.
"Well..." he began.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Death Valley...
A lone figure, clad in a cowboy outfit, trudged slowly through the searing landscape before he stopped to take off his large brimmed hat. He used his shirtsleeve to wipe a thin layer of sweat away from his brow before he put the headwear back in place. For a moment, he glanced at the bundle of dynamite in his left hand before he resumed his slow pace through the desert.
A small card, inscribed with Sgt. Moffitt's screen name, quietly detached itself from the explosive before drifting to the hot sandy ground. With effort, Yosemite Sam picked up the fallen paper and stuck it between two of the red sticks before his feet continued their tired shuffle.
"Knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque," he muttered.
"Knew we shouldn't have trusted a cartoon character to deliver our answer," the RAF Corporal muttered sourly. "So, back to the original question: what do we do now?""
"I've been thinking about it," Colonel Hogan interjected. "And, I have a plan."
"Just tell us when and where, Colonel," Newkirk said, his face turning darkly gleeful. "We'll take care of it." To his surprise, Hogan slowly shook his head.
"No," he said firmly. "I'm going to talk to them."
As predicted, there was an immediate uproar. "You can't do that, Guv'nor!" Newkirk bellowed. "They don't care about us! All they care about is writing their bloody stories. I say we should deliver a message they won't forget!"
"Look at me!" LeBeau quickly added, rushing to his friend's defense. "I'm French, but I almost never speak it in any of these stories!" His face suddenly turned dreamy once more. "Except for her..."
"Don't start that again, mate," Newkirk warned. The Frenchman nodded once before he resumed his rant.
"It's unfair!" he cried. "I-" Suddenly, he paused for a brief moment before resuming his tirade. The next words out of his mouth surprised everyone:
"Enfin ! he cried. Je peux à nouveau parler français ! Ces foutus auteurs passent leur temps à nous faire dire ce qu'ils veulent, et il y en a marre !" His eyes then narrowed in anger. "Si jamais j'arrive à mettre la main dessus, ils vont sentir leur douleur, c'est moi qui vous le dis! Je vais les I'llway akemay eirthay iveslay-" At that moment, he fell into a confused silence while the other men looked on, puzzled.
"Something wrong, mate?" his English friend ventured, curious.
"Yesway!" he yelled, then shook his head. "Onay!" he tried again. A panicked look suddenly appeared on his face while his mouth struggled and failed to form the correct words. "Eythay idday itway otay emay againway!" In frustration, LeBeau grabbed the front of Newkirk's blue jacket while his eyes silently pleaded for assistance. "Elphay emay!"
"That's pig latin," Kinch said. "Who would..." He let the question trail off into silence.
"Another author," Newkirk growled in answer. "That's why we need to take care of them, and now!" He slapped a closed fist into his other hand. "We can't let those people do things like this to us!"
"Atwhay ifway i'llway evernay eakspay enchfray againway?" LeBeau wailed. "Orway englishway?" His anguished glance conveyed his point very clearly.
The black radioman shook his head. "Talking to them won't hurt," he observed soberly. "At the very least, we can find out more about them. Maybe even start a dialogue."
"Start a dialogue!" Newkirk flared, his Cockney accent echoing around the large room. "Are you mad? Look at him!" he said, gesturing toward LeBeau. "He'll be like this until one of them stops it or the story ends!" He leaned ominously over the wooden table. "And I don't see your name being tortured like ours," he accused. "Why is that?"
Kinch shrugged, then grinned. "Popularity has its rewards," he said cheerfully. At that moment, Colonel Hogan interrupted the emotional repartee.
"All right, knock it off!" he ordered. "This is why we need to speak to them," he pointed out. "Look at us! We're at each other's throats because of this! Is this the way we usually act?" His hard eyes swept over the assembled prisoners of war; suddenly abashed faces refused to meet his gaze.
"Sorry, Kinch," a now-chastened Newkirk muttered. "Guess I got carried away." The American Sergeant calmly nodded in reply before Hogan held up one of the papers in his hand.
"I'm going to talk to the author that won the gold PBA in the 'best author' category," he firmly stated. "If we're lucky, she can talk to the other authors on our behalf. If not...we're no better off than we are now."
"I agree," Major Hochstetter nasally said. "Colonel Hogan would be the best man to speak to them." All of the men turned to the Gestapo officer in surprise.
"Works out for you, doesn't it?" Newkirk said sourly. "If something happens to the Guv'nor, you come out on top. Not really ruddy fair, you know."
"Who says life is fair?" the German retorted. "I may always lose, but no one ever said I was stupid."
"What about us, Colonel?" Kinch asked suddenly. "Who's going with you?"
"No one." He held up his hand to forestall the expected protests. "It's better if I do this one-on-one," he argued. "Besides which, it's only a short trip to their world. If I'm not back in two hours, then you come and find me. Deal?"
Silence descended upon the barracks as the enlisted men considered the proposal. By their eyes, none of them agreed with what the American officer was proposing. However, as if directed by the hand of an unseen author, each man eventually nodded his reluctant consent.
"Besides, look at the bright side," Hogan said, his tone suddenly turning cheerful. "We're dealing with women here, not Krauts." His handsome face flashed a charming grin at the assembled group. "What could possibly go wrong?"
So this is the real world.
Colonel Hogan took a look around the deserted parking garage before shaking his head. He admired the futuristic cars for a moment before he resumed his watch. And I used to complain about meeting an underground agent in the middle of nowhere. This place gives me the creeps. Fortunately, his dark clothes helped him to blend into the shadowy background.
If he was right, his target would be stepping off the elevator any minute now. Hopefully, he would be able to make his point. If not...
It's worth a try, anyway.
Despite his intelligence, Colonel Hogan was still very much a part of the 1940's. In his case, his cloak-and-dagger background worked against him; the Senior POW hadn't stopped to consider that there were just some places where one shouldn't surprise other people.
Parking garages, for instance.
Suddenly, the sound of a chime filled the still air before the elevator door opened. Colonel Hogan smiled as the sole passenger stepped out onto the concrete platform before heading for one of the nearby cars. As she passed by, he made his move.
"Hi," he grinned as he stepped out of the shadows. "I'm Colonel-"
He never finished the sentence.
Without warning, a stream of pepper spray slammed into his face and eyes. Blinded, his hands flew upward right before a series of body blows, followed by one well-placed kick, sent him reeling backward and into a nearby concrete wall. He bounced against the hard surface before rebounding forward towards his attacker. Just then, he felt a set of hands grab his right wrist moments before his body was sent hurtling through the air.
The last image he remembered seeing through his teary eyes was that of a flat gray surface rushing up to meet him. Suddenly, his world descended into darkness.
Hogan groaned as pain seemingly racked every inch of his body. With effort, he focused his attention on an uniformed man sitting above him.
"What?" he mumbled through the oxygen mask that covered his face.
"Sir, how many fingers am I holding up?" the stranger repeated before he held up the index and middle finger of his right hand.
"Two," the American Colonel slurred. Belatedly, he slowly became aware that he was on some sort of table and that the room was rocking back and forth.
I'm in an ambulance! he suddenly realized.
"Okay," the man said. "Try not to talk. Everything will be all right. You're on the way to the hospital."
"Hospital?" Hogan murmured dully. The man put a finger to his lips before turning his head away to talk to the driver. Instead of falling back into unconsciousness, the Colonel cocked his head and listened to the conversation.
"Hey, Jake," the paramedic called out. "So whatever happened to that lady? You were telling me..."
"Yeah," the driver yelled. "Like I said, I heard the cops talking. Self-defense, you know? She refused to press charges against the guy, though."
"Lucky stiff," the first man said, shaking his head in disbelief. "Why not?"
"She claimed he was some character from a TV show. Hogan's Heroes, or something like that. Pretty upset about it, too."
The paramedic peered at his patient. "Yeah, you're right," he observed. "He kinda looks like Colonel Hogan, doesn't he? And she didn't want to press charges just because of that?"
"Yeah," the driver grinned, shaking his head. "Crazy, huh? You should have seen the cops before we pulled out. I had the feeling they wanted to take her in for a psych evaluation." At that, both men laughed.
"Excuse me," Hogan whispered. He tried to move his leaden hands but couldn't. Fortunately, the paramedic returned his attention back to his charge.
"Hey, don't try to move," he cautioned. "You've got several broken ribs, ok? And that doesn't even count your arm, your right hand, or the other busted stuff." The man then gave Hogan a warm smile. "Just don't move!" he said firmly. "We'll be at the hospital in five minutes."
"Pain..." the Senior POW groaned. The paramedic shook his head.
"Sorry," he said apologetically. "Can't give you anything stronger than ibuprofen until you fill out a stack of paperwork." He shrugged apologetically. "New health care regulations. Go figure."
Colonel Hogan gritted his teeth as the ambulance jolted through several potholes. At that moment, his earlier boast came back to haunt him; he closed his eyes and sighed. This is what I get for trying to take the high road! he thought.
Ah, well, a small part of his mind tried to reassure him. There's always next year...
Loosely translated, LeBeau said: Finally! I can speak French again! Those damned authors make us say whatever they want and I know we're tired of it! If I ever get hold of them, they're going to feel their pain! I tell you, I'm going to.. (the rest, of course, is in Pig Latin.)
Oddly, I had Sgt. Moffitt's name penciled into the storyline even before I began to write this twisted tale...I'm not sure if I was calling my bet early or just filling in a space. In any event, congratulations to Sgt. Moffitt for her PBA gold for 'Best Story!' Well done!
Thanks for reading!