Sunday, February 1, 2009

Flu and the first assignment



I am in full on containment mode right now.  It seems I have contracted the same flu bug that has ravaged the writing department for the last week and a half.  So I have committed myself to lots of rest and fluids and am trying to stay awake for the big game today.  Cavs vs. the Pistons.  Lebron vs. AI.  It's a rematch of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals. New faces, same old rivalry. It should be epic! 

And I wanted to take the time to post my first assignment.  There were only two minor changes my Style Instructor wanted to see: One stronger verb and one shortened sentence.  The assignment was to create a story in three paragraphs using the traditional three act structure.  We needed a clear protagonist, an antagonist, an inciting incident, an all is lost moment and some type of resolution.  So here she is:

Ils ne passeront pas!
They will not pass!

2:24 p.m.
December 22, 1943
Ortona, Italy

Corporal Owen Dupree felt the burn in his chest before he heard the sharp staccato echo through the ruins of Ortona.  He staggered, dark blood oozing through his Van Doo uniform.  Lung shot.  A second Herman bullet slammed into Dupree's shoulder and spun him around.  He fell behind a crumbling church wall and landed beside a tear-streaked Italian woman.  She trembled with fear.  Her muddy loafer firmly committed to a German anti-personal land mine.

That however, was the second detail Dupree noticed.  The first being her fruitful figure.  He guessed she was six months along.  Maybe seven.  Bracing his back against the church wall, Dupree struggled to his feet.  He knew what needed to be done.  Bullets chewed through the bricks.  He cringed and inched his boot closer to the mine.  The Italian mother shook her head.  Speaking swiftly, she waved her arms urging Dupree not to attempt it.  He confidently slid his boot next to her, depressing the mine.  She shivered and looked into his eyes for assurance.  He nodded.  She trembled, hesitating.  Dupree squeezes her shoulder.  Gentle, but firm.  And with that, the mother closed her eyes and lifted her foot.

Nothing.  The woman exuberantly kissed Dupree's cheek, a tearful thank you.  Then she skirted the wall and slipped away.  Dupree adjusted his stance as a German officer barked orders.  Closer.  Within striking distance.  Dupree checked his magazine.  Ils marcheront ici.  Mais aucun plus.  Ils ne passeront pas!  With a breath of courage, Dupree spun around the wall and emptied his rifle.  Five Nazi's fell to the ground.  Dead.  The remaining three leveled their Mausers.  Dupree smirked, and then lifted his boot. 

* * * * * * * * *
Ils marcheront ici.  mais aucun plus.  Ils ne passeront pas! - Evil will march here.  But no further.  They will not pass!

Here is a little history behind the story.  Van Doo is a French Speaking arm of the Canadian Army founded in 1914 (originally called the 1st Canadian Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force) to help the British in WWI.  During the onset of the war, most of the battalions being formed were English speaking, and this was not an oversight for at that time Canada was in the process of forbidding teaching French in schools, which was outrage.  In 1921, the battalion was called the 22nd Battalion and in 1928 the name was converted to French and deemed 'Royal 22e Battalion.'  Since then they have bravely served in every war including a current tour in Afghanistan. Van Doo is a corruption of vingt-deux, French for 22.

The battle of Ortona was one of the bloodiest campaigns for the Canadian forces.  In December 1943, the Highlanders (New Zealand's regiment) were outmanned and out gunned by the advancing German army.  The Canadian forces arrived (including the Van Doo) and helped turn the tides.  In bitter house to house fighting, and under constant threat of snipers, booby traps and land mines, the Canadian forces fought valiantly and helped push the Nazis out of town.  Van Doo Captain Paul Triquet's leadership, epitomized by his battle cry "Ils ne passeront pas" They will not pass, earned him a Victoria Cross.  The highest military decoration awarded for valor 'in the face of the enemy' to a member of the armed forced of British Provinces.   

There's some exposition for you.  Hope you enjoyed the story and stay tuned for more...



  1. in three paragraphs you made me cry.
    Good Job Kyle!

  2. Great story Kyle, keep up the good work. This week we are trying to get the NBA going again, hope it works. Rest and get better!