Grayson elbows me and points to a French woman we see leaning on a lamp post across the street. He gives me a devious smile. "Hartigan there's one of those French whores that everyone talks about. You interested in spending the evening with a lovely mademoiselle?"
"I don't know." I say.
"Oh come on. I'm certain she has a friend that would be willing." Grayson persists.
"That she-wolf will rob us both of our money. Is it really worth it?"
"Don't be a queer boy Hartigan!" Grayson taunts.
"Fine." I snap. "You want to go with her, then do it. Why are you letting me stop you?"
"Things are better in pairs." Grayson blurts.
"Then you can have her friend join you."
Grayson shakes his head in disbelief and leaves my side to cross the street. I see him disappear with the woman and I walk away to a memorial that stands a few feet from me. Morrison is sitting at the foot of it, reading a battered copy of Maple Leaf.
I ogle the magazine. "Where the hell did you get that?"
Morrison gives me a coy smile. "I've had it tucked away for awhile. It's an old issue from last month."
"Who cares how old it is? At least it's something to read!"
Morrison laughs curtly and hands me the magazine. "I'm surprised you didn't join Grayson there."
"The last thing I want to do is join Grayson in some orgy." I scoff.
"I couldn't agree with you more."
I sit down next to Morrison and flip through the pages of the magazine. It's all old news about the war and what's going on at home but it's nice to have something that gives us some kind of connection to the world.
"Oh my!" I exclaim. "The Canadians and British have taken Caen! The Nazis don't stand a chance now!"
Morrison smirks. "We'll give them a good licking!"
My smile soon fades as I look around the town square. "The French seem friendly enough."
"They are but they seem unwilling to really do anything to improve their situation," Morrison remarked. "But I suppose they see no point in trying to rebuild while the war is on."
"The things they sell are damn expensive though." I grumble. It seemed like the longer the war went on the higher prices in things went up. A man could lose all his money trying to buy things from the French or from people back in England. The arrival of the Yanks didn't help matters either. The Yankees are paid higher wages than everyone else so they can afford to spend more which prompted every French and English merchant or whore to bleed more money from the rest of us saps.
Morrison nodded in understanding. "It wasn't like that in Italy. There this one lady there and her family who would sell their vegetables and cow milk to any soldier willing to buy. But they never tried to steal your money from you by being dishonest."
"This war is making millionaires out of the poor it seems." There's no point in me lying about it; I'm bitter about all the profiteering that this war has spawned. Everyone is making a killing off of the killing of young men and everyone at home is having a gay old time. People in Canada act like this war is some big party!
While Morrison and I were ranting about prices and who's profiting off of what, we both failed to notice the little girl that approached us.
She was wearing a knee-length floral dress with shiny black shoes, white socks, and her hair was tied back into a blue bow. In her hands she held a bouquet of dethorned roses. I could only guess where she would have gotten such flowers from.
Morrison smiles the best he could. "Bonjour."
The little girl hands each of us a rose and was about to run away when Morrison gestured for her to stay put.
"What are you doing?" I ask.
"I got a chocolate bar in my pocket." He said. He promptly took out the said chocolate bar and handed it to the child. She muttered 'merci' then ran off.
"You'd think we were monsters by the way they act around us." I commented.
"Don't take it personally Harty," Morrison said, using the rare nickname that I haven't heard since Taylor and Hastings died. "Children are always weary of strangers, especially strangers with weapons."
"I guess the posters don't help them." There were posters produced by the Allied war effort which featured a picture of either a Canuck, Brit, or ANZAC soldier with the words "This man is your friend, he fights for freedom!" plastered on it.
"No I guess not."
We both sit in comfortable silence for a moment or two until Morrison produces a deck of cards from his pocket. "Wanna play poker?"
I stare in disbelief. "What the hell? How much stuff do you have tucked away in your pockets?"
"Nothing that you need to know about."
I cock an eyebrow at Morrison. ''Nothing I need to know about? What are you hiding there? Porn?''
Morrison laughs. ''Ha! I wish! But no, you nosy bastard, what I keep on my person is my business.''
"Okay, okay, I get the message." I raise my hands in surrender then point to the deck of cards in the Sergeant's hands. "How about a game of craps?"
Morrison agrees after a lengthy session, he grins widely and slams his cards on the marble steps beneath us. "You've been beat!" He proclaimed, smiling like a child on Christmas morning.
I shake my head in disbelief. "Have you ever been defeated in this game?"
The sarge stops and looks up to the sky, obviously trying to recall a time when some lucky soul beat him at a game of craps. He suddenly turns his head towards me. "Nope. Never."
"Damn you Sergeant Morrison. Damn you."
Morrison simply laughs at this.