Call me Pinky.
My pregnant wife slipped on some afterbirth and fell down the stairs of our Napa Valley bungalow. When she gave birth to our son, William Fontaine III, he had a dent the shape of Mississippi in his forehead. That’s where his grand-pappy, his namesake, is from. We considered it a miracle.
What’s not a miracle? Getting our asses blown out of the sky over Luxembourg.
Catatonic Joe smoked the last of the cigarettes so now we’re rolling up the little plastic caps on the ends of our shoelaces and lighting them up. Damn CJ and his doctor’s note. As Squad Proctologist, I should be able to call bullshit on his shell-shock. But it’s ’44 and we can’t afford to start sending troops back. Not after the Japs commandeered the Enola Gay and dropped the A-bomb on Quincy, Illinois. How hard it was when Colonel Paul Tibbets had to face a court martial, admitting that he’d left the keys to the plane in the ignition while he went to take a leak. So now we’re flying over god-damn-waffle-munching Belgium where Tojo and Hitler and Mussolini have their insidious brunch underway at the Rene Magritte Museum of Surrealist Art (“This is not an omelette”), which means it’s the perfect time to bomb their asses back to the first reich.
“Listen you rubber-necking mufflets,” says Sgt. Starlett. “I didn’t quit the Tipsy-Topsy Fresno Ballet Company to teach dance lessons to a bunch of flat-foots. The minute this door opens, your rumps are out of this plane, parachute or not.”
Last week I extracted a hemorrhoid the size of the Hindenburg out of Sgt. Starlett’s asshole. I did it with only my pinky. That’s not why they call me that. I prescribed him fiber-capsules that dissolve in food and release a sound-spore to the tune of “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” from Oklahoma. He chucked them in the company latrine and had me scrub it overnight for a week. As Squad Proctologist do I have jurisdiction over his gastroenterological systems? You bet. But thespians are such sensitive types. I can tell since being put in charge of Operation: Belgian Waffle that the stress is finally getting to him. He’s been doing a lot of clenching lately, and I can tell you it’s not to impress anyone.
“But sarge,” said Corporal Krispy. “I just traded my army-surplus boots for two cinderblock geta’s that I looted off a dead Jap. The minute I jump outta this plane I’ll sink like the Lusitania.”
“You dingus Krispy,” said Sgt. Starlett. “Why would you go and do a thing like that?”
“Cuz sarge,” said Krispy. “My wife back home says I have the softest feet she’s ever laid eyes on. Softer than baby’s feet, and she’s an infant podiatrist! And to tell you the truth, it’s been affecting our love-making. You try engaging in passionate-kissy sexual intercourse when your spouse keeps giggling because your soles tickle her so much. And I thought after Basic Training and Intense Base Training and then Intense Basic Training: Premium that it would toughen my feet up a bit. But their still soft as marshmallows. So when I saw these cinderblock sandals, I just had to take em’.”
Sergeant Starlett slaps Krispy and gets on the transistor radio to send a message in Navajo back to base. Our Navajo Code Talker is Timothy Morris, who actually isn’t much of a code talker, or a Navajo, and we’re pretty sure he only speaks English and high school-level Spanish, but he’s a patriot, dammit, and he shows up everyday scratching his head trying to decipher these codes.
“Finished!” says Sergeant Starlett. “Repeat my message back to me.”
“Um,” says Morris. “Whiplash…horseshoe…Fatidic…Libation?”
“Perfect,” says Sergeant Starlett. “You jump first.”
And that was the last time any of us ever saw Morris in the flesh. The next time was on Johnny Carson, where he ran a segment called A Supposedly Fun War I’ll Never Fight Again.
“Coming in close, sarge,” said Lucille Debutante McDuffy, our pilot. Even with both eyes blistered over from sun-watching (a cheap, environmentally-sound alternative to bird-watching), McDuffy is a crack-shot pilot. And when she pulls out the cello be prepared to tip, because this lady doesn’t play for free. God, if only I were a young man again, childless, wifeless, whole-bodied and willing to do it anywhere under the sun. Sadly during Intense Basic Training Premium Edition IV: Fun With Explosives, I made a mistake and blew myself up in front of a visiting class of fifth-graders after tripping on my bootlaces while performing a blind double somersault over a field of landmines. The only body part they could scavenge was the pinky finger on my right hand, and only because I was wearing my wedding band which was really an extended piece of chainmail that my wife stole from the armory exhibit at the New York Metropolitan museum for our anniversary. The rest of my body they replaced with various minerals and ores and foodstuffs that get regularly airdropped to base over in Leeds. It’s not ideal. I tend to rust easily, smell sometimes too depending on how fresh my appendages are. I came home on leave and found I could no longer pleasure my wife with just an empty toilet paper roll where my once ample groin used to be. My son William Fontaine III shows me no respect or help when our family schnauzer Sprocket tries to eat the pieces of me that are smoked capicola. William does not refer to me as “dad” or “pa” or “pop-pop” but instead as “The Nub.” My poor suffering wife Carlita can only pound her head against the kitchen tiles while muttering nub, nub, nub all day. Before leaving on this mission, William came into the bedroom with his Rudyard Kipling doll shyly behind his back, apologizing for his domestic disobedience, which he has to read off a notecard on his left palm because he’s six and those eight syllables are too tricky to pronounce along with his lisp so it comes out more like domethtic dithobedienth, and what did I do except tussle his hair and say “Stay gold, slugger?”
There I go getting nostalgic again, failing to see the smoke coming out of the propeller along with multiple flyers for Demon’s Dentrifice: Smile Like the Devil. Satan is all I can think about as our plane goes down and Sgt. Starlett is taking his boots off and waits for everyone else to jump off before doing one last saute out of the burning plane sans parachute. I’m about to take the leap when the engine explodes and the plane does three barrel rolls in a roll, sending me bouncing around the cabin until I slip through a loose window and land on a pile of moules-frites at a cafe overlooking the Brussels Senne River of Remarkable Wetness. I look up and see the ghost of my grandpappy in the sky, a bidet-baron in his hometown of Corleone, Italy, who like myself developed an appreciation for proper rectal health and hygiene.
“Get up killer. Those dictators aren’t going to immolate themselves! You are the only person here who has experience dealing with assholes, so don’t make a big deal out of this,” says Grandpappy.
“But Grandpappy,” I say. “I think I’m done for. Finitio. I can’t move my arms and legs. Everything is scattered. There isn’t nearly scotch tape to put me back together. I blew it.”
“Grandpappy?” he says “I ain’t your paw-paw. I’m your dapper sergeant.”
I look closer and I realize it is Starlett doing a releve, which means it’s time to go, go, go.
“Now let’s take what’s left of you and tear the Axis Powers a bigger asshole!” he says.
“Anal fissures,” I correct.
Behind him I can make out the silhouettes of Corporal Krispy and McDuffy setting up the long-range mortar-sniper that will put an end to this war once and for all.
“I did it sarge, I did it!” says Krispy, clicking his freshly-minted heels together. “I landed on my feet and my getas fell apart but my feet – they’re like diamonds now! Watch.”
Indeed, Krispy does a roundhouse kick to the Mannekin Pis statue which is a cherubic bronze boy pissing into a fountain, knocking his pecker clean off.
“Atta boy,” says Sgt. Starlett. “I – sniff – have to come clean that my tough-guy attitude is all an act. You see, I was bottom of my class at the Tipsy-Topsy Fresno Ballet Academy. I could never properly shift from first position to second. It was my damn heels. It’s like they’re made out of cauliflower. Needless to say, they dropped me when the war began, and I had to join up or face my harsh father who lives in Berkeley and would surely disown me if he learned I didn’t meet up to his own aspirations for a career in performative dance.”
Suddenly eight panzer tanks and thirteen kamikaze planes descend upon us. Surely we’re finished. But a lone bullet flies through the air and ricochets all around us, killing every panzer driver and kamikaze pilot and sending their respective vehicles spiraling into each other, causing intense collateral damage and destroying precious family heirlooms, religions icons, and priceless pieces of artwork, but miraculously saving us. We look over and it’s Catatonic Joe, that clever scout, that bastard, still the best shot we have even while napping on the sidewalk.
But there’s a problem: A lone speck of shrapnel has lunged itself right into my proximal phalanx joint. I start having spasms and convulsions; I get all foamy around the fingernail and recite the names of past lovers: Janey! Jaime! Jolene!
“Easy soldier,” says Starlett. “It’s barely a scratch.”
“That’s it for real Sarge,” I say. “Promise me something.”
“Anything for my favorite proctologist,” he says.
“Bring my corpse back to my family,” I say. “No soldier’s burial for me. I want them to have me as I am now, as I always was.”
“You got it Pinky,” he says.
“And one more thing?” I say.
“You name it.”
“If you get captured they’ll surely strip-search all of you.”
“Don’t fret kid,” he says. “I’ll hide you up my asshole.”
Sean Nishi is a Japanese-American writer from Los Angeles, CA. He completed his MFA in creative writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He lives with his cat Waffles and spends his time shopping for used motorcycles.
“Christmas is a Sad Season For Everyone” – https://storgy.com/2020/12/28/christmas-is-a-sad-season-for-everyone-by-sean-nishi/
“No Place Like Ventura” – http://www.bridgeeight.com/ventura/
“Big City Dreams” – https://emberchasmreview.com/big-city-dreams-by-sean-taro-nishi/
Unlike many other Arts & Entertainment Magazines, STORGY is not Arts Council funded or subsidised by external grants or contributions. The content we provide takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, and relies on the talented authors we publish and the dedication of a devoted team of staff writers. If you enjoy reading our Magazine, help to secure our future and enable us to continue publishing the words of our writers. Please make a donation or subscribe to STORGY Magazine with a monthly fee of your choice. Your support, as always, continues to inspire.