ANY RAPPORT IN A STORM • by Iggy Smythe

“Well, are they ready?”

Captain Tucker fixed his superior officer with a steely gaze and gave a curt nod. “Better than ready, Colonel Middlesby. I don’t envy Jerry the battering he’ll be getting once my boys hit the cobbles.”

Colonel Middlesby enthusiastically shook Tucker’s hand. “Well done, old boy. Who’d have thought you could take the dregs of the glasshouse and turn them into an elite fighting force? Not that I ever doubted you!”

Middlesby pulled Tucker into a great bear hug. As his hands dropped lower on the other man’s back Tucker pulled away.

“I’ve told you, Stephen,” said Tucker, looking embarrassed. “I simply can’t. My wife…”

Two days later…

“God, Mary, I’m so terribly sorry.” Middlesby put his arm around the sobbing woman. “Who’d have thought a bunch of filthy convicts would turn on their officer and… and… the things they did to him… I’m so sorry. So very sorry.”

Forcing the words through gasping tears, the pale shivering woman managed to reply.

“You couldn’t have known, Colonel Middlesby. You were a great friend to my Thomas and I know if he was here now he’d…. If he was here now…”

Her body was shaken once more with anguished, gutwrenching sobbing.

Middlesby wrapped his arms around her.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “I’m here now, Mary. I’ll look after you. It’s what Tommy would have wanted.”

Like fat pink spiders his hands slowly crept down her back.


Iggy Smythe had to look up what a byline was in wikipedia.

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