To the world, the disused railway bank is empty and calm. No sign of the hell to be soon unleashed on its sun baked weeds. I’m well hidden here, entrenched on a verge, head deep in the undergrowth. My chest heaves and all I can hear is my breathing, my heart pounding as I try to silence my body. The smell of the reed-grass redolent and rich as it tickles my face.
I chance a glance to my right and Vince is there too. Red faced and puffing. The crawl from the rendezvous point was exhausting and hot. He’s lying flat, his cheek pushed into the dry earth. I place a finger to my lips telling him to stay still with nothing more than an indication.
We can’t see them, but just over the ridge they lie in wait, just like us. I know they are there… I can sense it. Deep in the grass, waiting for the first sign of attack.
I signal to Vince…. ready? He nods in agreement, and passes the nod down the line to Peter and Clive who are crouched behind the trunk of a great Oak bristling with rich green leaves.
I lift my gun, I don’t know it…. but I will, one day…. its a Heckler and Koch G3, designed in the 50’s by the Spanish. Vince has a Famas, 1946 design famed by the French Army for decades…. Peter has a Remington bolt action single shot rifle and poor old Clive is holding a stick.
I pick myself up and sprint to the top of the bank, weapons to bear as we spill onto the old railway line in a single line….shouting as I lead the charge, running hard and leaping over the edge without fear…. and we have them…. five prostrate forms in the undergrowth…. the look of surprise as we unload bullet after bullet into them… slaughtering them with round after round… the mid-day sky shattered with the chatter of machine gun fire and explosions!
“Piow, piow!” I shout, closely followed by a rasping “Brrrrraa! Brrrraa!” as I fire round after round into a hapless Stuart Robinson… a German for the day. Yesterday he was an American just like me. I look at Clive who lobs his second invisible grenade, the explosion is huge and Paul Smith and Jason Durkin play along, leaping up to their feet the hurl themselves back down again in a faux slow motion death, rolling down the bank faster than their tears of laughter on their cheeks! Clive finishes them off with a few dozen rounds from his stick as we retreat back up the hill. We don’t take prisoners. We execute them all. Victorious again, the battle for Dead Frog Hill is over and the Americans, although we were a warrior short with only four of us, win the day! I’m 10 years old.
30 years later, I’m sat in a car waiting for a Duty Officer. The call sounded so bad that the Armed Response Unit have been called and they are on their way. That might be my future, but for now I have to form an RVP, obtain Tactical Advice, and begin an Armed Operation Record. Then the tell-tale clue comes in. Updated intelligence on the man in the park with a MAC-10 machine gun. The man is not a man at all. He’s an 8 year old boy.
I make a judgement. I decide to drive into the street.
“Do you know where Johnny Blogs lives?” I ask an inquisitive group of 9 year old Ronaldos.
Then I approach the house where they pointed. I two storey new build in sand coloured brick, heaving under the weight of the satellite dish.
Sandy answers, and I ask her to fetch little Johnny home.
“Why” she says,
“Cos he’s waving a MAC-10 at people”
“Whats a MAC-10”
“It’s a gun”
“Oh its plastic”
“I guessed that, can you get him or not?”
She phones him on his mobile ….. 8 years old?…. a mobile? oh well.
5 minutes later, still no Armed Response, in comes little Johnny, a MAC-10 held gangsta stylee in his right hand. I explain our call to all.
Then I hear Grandma before I see her. Walking in the back door.
“Fackin old Bill! They Ave fack all else to do, so they make a facking song and dance abaht a kid wiv a fackin shoota from the paaaaaarnd shop!! what a bunch of wan….”
She stops as she enters the room. Because I’m holding a MAC-10 up towards her.
“Fackin ell!” she yells eloquently. “You nearly killed me there of an ‘art attack”
“Well you bought it madam, if your scared of it, imagine how someone else might feel, before we knew this was in the hands of an 8 year old we were going to tear gas your daughters pretty little maisonette.”
I think I made my point.