Not quiet enough on the Western front.

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A new enemy

But didn't fire. The man had begun to speak in broken English 'Please, meine freund, do not shoot. My name is Sidney. Please, do not shoot. I mean you no harm'.

Jenkins, who was a second ago taken by a fury quite unlike himself, felt his mood returning to normal. He was dead in 40 days anyway. Why not die earlier, with another man to remember you?

Jenkins warily extended his hand. 'Jenkins' He thought for a second 'Pleasure to meet you'. That was stupid. But Sidney didn't seem to notice. He had started ranting in German 'Ich weiß nur, die Zähne . Das ist alles, die Sie je gesehen ...' 'Stop talking that nonsense Jerry! You had better explain yourself quicksmart! Remember, my gun works, and yours does not. So give me a reason why I've kept you alive, before I change my mind'. The Lee Enfield had slowly made its way up until it was pointed directly at Sidney's face. That seemed to do the trick. 'Please sire, I plead that you do not shooting me. Me and meine freunde... we were not running to you. We were Running away from the Gebiss... I... Teeth. We were running away from the teeth! You and me! We must keep on running!'

'I don't think so my German friend. You may have won your last fight by 100 yards, but us English speakers, we don't run from anything. For anyone'.

For a second Sidney looked as if he could murder Jenkins with his eyes. But this intense stare soon died into that of hopelessness. Tears sprang from one eye. The other swollen shut by some ailment or other. Rimmed red with dried blood.

'Then, Mein Freund, we are both dead men!'

The irony of this statement struck with a funny tingle. And before he could control himself, Jenkins began to laugh. The strange noise echoed around, and quickly died. A strange buzzing noise filled the air, and both men flung themselves to the ground, made equals once again by the destructive force of humanity.

The explosives must have knocked a bit of his brain off, thought Jenkins. Or maybe it had just been too long since he had seen another human face. Because for some reason he just did not feel inclined to take this man prisoner or kill him. Instead, he just wanted to hear another person speaking. It didn't mater what.

It all came at once, the emotion, the tears, all that nonsense. But Sidney seemed to understand, he took it all on board, and even cried a little bit himself.

'How do you feel about a little brandy, Sidney?'

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