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Irishman
Timejacker #4-B
© 2023 James LaFond
OCT/8/23
‘What was a Scotsman but an Englishman’s angry dupe?’ thought Patty Makeen as he saw that rich, wigged bastard go down with his big shitting horse. He did grin as the war whoops and crackle and smoke of musketry rose all up the mountain.
He did not even feel the sergeant punch the back of his head and grab his shoulder and turn him to the right. But turn he did, just as the savages plunged down the mountain out of the thick trees, a tomahawk whirling over his shoulder and into the big, gaunt, bony head of that drum-for-brains sergeant. Seemingly born to hang head, lick boots, kiss gloves, kick soldiers’ butts and beat their back and brain, the sergeant entered that final stage of life reserved for the saluting, heel-clicking fool; there he stood dead, a tomahawk buried in his head.
Then some bigger fool piped up, with a not very deep, not very sergeant-like voice, “Stand to en at the boogers!”
It was some idiot Irish lad that should have known better, but could not help but get at the goddamned boogers that were getting at him and these shit-for-luck Scotsmen.
Patty leveled his musket and fired it into the face of a screaming savage, and that face shattered into a right foul looking crock of blood pudding.
“Up wit ye mates, up da shanty mount’ er get rolled down ‘er slutty leg!” yelled the fool of an Irishman, even as he cursed himself, ‘I be damned and half baked in the Devil’s own wicked bread pan.’
Patty reached left and grabbed big ox Edmundson and pulled up scrawny Williamson, tangled under foot. Next to them Kidder and Jamieson were shoving off a dead Indian as a real live Indian scalped the corporal’s shattered head of its bloody blond patch of hair with a small knife. The savage held that trophy high and screamed and a soldier’s life of toil all of a sudden became a bloody bucket of blasted fun!
Kidder clubbed that screaming savage in the ear with his butt of musket and the booger pitched down silent among the welter of his trophy.
“At em!” yelled Patty, as he caught a descending ax with his musket barrel and clubbed inward with the stock and knocked a fair set of teeth from that black and red painted head and yelled again, “At em!” and Edmundson began lumbering up the mountain with Williamson, Kidder and Jamieson in a terrible gaggle of red war geese, an image that gave Patty wings as he took the sergeant’s post to right of line. His actions were an expression of an instinct that all of a sudden welled up within him that he was dead without his mates and that his mates were dead unless they were the shit rolling down hill rather than the bucket of bad luck it was rolling into. Patty would never admit that the sergeant had taught him a thing.
“Up wit ye, mates—up!” he yelled and grinned at a savage who was taking aim at him and ate a round ball from Edmundson’s musket in the guts, never to pull his trigger. Patty, never thinking to slacken even under the gun, quick-footed up to where that savage died slow at the base of an unloving tree, grabbed that musket and pitched his own, “Off ta hell wit ye, Heathe,” and ducked around the tree.
Then he spied a thinner than normal savage up the way, trying to reload his fancy, delicate Pennsylvania rifle, jamming a rod into the muzzle.
Wanting to be sure, Patty ran up at him rather than firing, and the savage broke and ran, still trying to load as he ran up the mountain into the leafy hell waving its green fronds of death in the dripping heat, the trunks of the big trees clinging with acrid smoke as he yelled, “Up at the boogers—up’s the way!”
It was not much of a run by pace, encumbered and up hill, but the hellish smokey way soon began to rush with only a handful of foot falls and breathings as the great mass of mayhem faded below into whooping victory cries, bawled commands to stand, dread choppings and musket cracking murder…
Their little army of five beat up the hill after that scamper of a heathen rifleman, who did a short rabbit run, stopped, looked worried over his shoulder, and then, spitting a ball into his muzzle, pulled out the ramrod again and began to drive down the ball.
Patty was harboring a savage grin. That terrified savage had now loaded two balls into that rifle, one not near far enough in. the Indian was now furiously priming his pan, having left the ramrod sticking out of the rifle, was cocking the thing and looking at Patty like he was the devil come to pluck his soul down into Damnation’s everlasting hole.
Patty exposed himself shoulders wide, and eased his men, “Halt en load, mates!”
Patty stood, arms wide, a musket in his sure left hand, drawing his bayonet with his right hand, and holding hands to the side, making like Jesus on the cross. The savage leveled that rifle and fired, the charge blowing back in his face. The hurried and now blinded heathen was pitching off with hands over eyes as his ruined rifle was left lie.
Patty fixed his bayonet to the English trade musket and it occurred to him as strange, as grifty even, that his army issue musket received that army issued bayonet no better than did this trade musket, that the blasted savages were given the same war goods as they that warred on them by the one in the same kingdom.
The noise below was of a terrible battle.
He looked left and saw his four mates loading. He then looked right, seeing some savages spying him and taking counsel. Three nasty painted boogers they were, looking for the chief among them.
“Load good and steady. Take ye ramrods out. Fix ye bayonets,” spoke he in a low tone.
He looked up hill and saw a rocky eminence up there free of trees.
He looked back below and saw that one big booger down there was glaring up at them, picking his spiked ax out the back of a highlander’s head.
Over to the left there was nothing.
“Mates, big booger below en three boogers to my right. I will screen them. You make fer that rock above. Willy, keep a spy behind on that big booger and when he runs up, shoulder ye musket but don’t fire, to get him under cover, then scamper. Edmundson, drag ‘im up wit ye. Kidder en Jamieson, lead off fer dat crag above and make it a fort!”
The men were loaded and he signaled ahead, then heard a terrible breathing scamper to his rear right and heard whoops of savages from among the three peering up at him from down among those bigger trees. There he spied a stout officer’s servant, a footman with a hanger for a sword, a red sword what had tasted blood, his tasseled cap pulled tight on his bloody head what took a weltering glance from a hatchet.
“Mate,” growled Patty, “ye up wit us, above?’
The young stout fellow stopped, glanced panicked at the three Indians to the right, and said, “Fergus Mackinnon,” he then looked at his bloody blade and snarled, “With ye ‘gainst the savage race!”
“Then keep pace, mate, up ahead to me right. I got these boogers below!”
Patty shoved Mack up the hill and paced along behind him, making threats with his musket at the various four boogers below, and they called off to their painted mates and whoops began to gather like hornets down the mountain.
It seemed to Patty, as they raced for the top, that those coming after then were about ten, and that they mostly had already taken scalps, and with these dripping trophies in their belts they had weapons to hand: hatchets and muskets and some with clubs and knives, and yet another with a rifle and a hatchet darting up hill from tree to tree behind and below.
“Boogers below—to the crag atop, mates!” Patty yelled, as the advance up hill, become a retreat, was now a footrace.
A musket cracked below and a ball tugged at his kilt, and Patty was running for the crag as fast as his mates, ‘Saint Patrick, mind these snakes behind and wing my shanks above!’
In mere moments, as the sound of the battle careened more loudly below, they all gathered on that rocky crag, a mere 30 feet wide, a shear face ten feet below, the trees below barely waving up among them. They were entirely open to the back and could be easily circled. The ground behind was clear, having served as a camp, rocky as it was, where many campfires still smoldered and various piles of Indian gear were neatly arranged.
Mack, who had the sense of humor of a swordsman, Patty decided, snorted, “Out of the pan and into the fire, I’d say!”
“Aye, Mack. We will fill the boogers with fight fro’ ‘ere.”
Patty then took note of his men milling and wonder struck, seeing the evidence of the multitude of heathens that had camped above them on the mountain, and got to introductions, “Footman Mack, the big one ‘ere is Edmundson, his bony mate Willy, the wiry fella be Kidder and ye other Scotsman be Jamieson. I’m Patty.”
Mack seemed please, “Like Ole Wallace then, aye, at Sterling?”
Jamieson piped up, “We surrender, we burned alive, squaws scorching our cods. I say here is the place to die.”
“Aye,” sounded Kidder and Edmundson as Willy shivered and Mack patted the runt on the back and said, “My Mate, my sword ‘ill ever sing between the heathen en ye.”
Willy stood a little straighter and bit his lower lip. Patty made to look about for the best firing positions, figuring that the Indians having slowed in their cries were massing below and circling behind.
“What?” said he, as a ship’s rope dropped down from above and he followed it up with his eyes to see four men in strange uniforms sliding down this and three other ropes from, what was a floating banger of a balloon if he ever did see one.
“Saint Patrick heard me!” he yelled as a man, a bit taller and a lot broader than him, landed before him, wearing an odd cap, worked in autumn leaves, saluted him, and unslung a thing that was obviously a gun but seemed stamped of tin. That man stepped to the edge of the rag, cocked the weapon, and let lose, not one, but a dozen cracking balls.
Two other men did the same, a fourth taking out an odd shaped grenade, that had no fuse, but a lock, pulled it with a “ping” and cast it out over the crag. In a few seconds an explosion rocked the forest below and some savage yelped in pain.
The first man stood before Patty and Mack and nodded to the rest, “Major Bracken, at your service. Grab a rope two to each. Leave your muskets—we’ve got better guns, and prepare to be hauled aboard.”
They stood stunned as two of the strange soldiers fired on the heathens below and the Major and some bossy German disarmed them and placed their hands in lopes, and feet like so in stirrups for the feet, upon the great ropes that swung beneath that wondrous air whale.
Patty found himself opposite of Jamieson, looking into each other’s wide eyes, his Scottish mate, supposing, “It’s a balloon, by God, a very ship upon the air. What a King we serve!”
Up they were pulled like so many fish upon hooks, into the base of cabin-sized shanty box hung from under the great floating whale of the air.
A rare thing then occurred: Patty Makeen fell speechless.
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