An illustration of a British soldier.

On The Front


[An infantry unit of red coats gather on a wide open field. There is no sign of the Americans yet. Biding their time, they load their muskets and adjust the buttons of their uniforms (whatever they can do to look busy). A young LIEUTENANT approaches the GENERAL, a thick-set man with a large handlebar moustache, sitting back on an elaborate chair positioned on the grass outside his tent as he watches his men fuss about him.]


GENERAL: Yes, what is it?

LIEUTENANT: I was just thinking …


LIEUTENANT: Why do we attack the Americans from the front?

GENERAL: Well how do you want us to attack them? Swing our bayonets around like pendulums? Shoot them over our heads? We won’t be able to see them!

LIEUTENANT: On the front.

GENERAL: Ha! If we don’t attack them on the front how on Earth will we find them? We’ve got to be fighting on the same field don’t we?

LIEUTENANT: Of course. No, but I mean, why do we attack them in such a symmetrical fashion? You see, it has occurred to me that if we would only move around a tad, while the other side is reloading their muskets at least, we might all survive a whole lot better.

GENERAL: Ah, but Lieutenant, that’s not very honourable, is it?

LIEUTENANT: There’s nothing honourable about returning home dead Sir.

GENERAL: That’s not what they told me. And if we attack them from the side then what’s next? Attack them in the night? Attack them in their sleep on Christmas? I mean come on man, there’s got to be a limit.

LIEUTENANT: Right then.

GENERAL: Now come on. Hop to. The Americans said they’d be here. They’re bound to show up any minute and then we’ll only have another hour to prepare.

[The lieutenant raises his hand to his head in salute, albeit reluctantly, just as the American militia suddenly come charging out of the distant trees to the left and right of the British ambushing them guerrilla warfare style, swords, axes, and pitchforks in hand.]

GENERAL: Clever girl.


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