Omir the Storyteller

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Captured Bugler


All his life William had wanted to be a musician. H.e had a natural affinity for the trumpet, and by the time he reached young adulthood he had gotten pretty good at it.

Then the war came along and William volunteered. He figured that as a trumpeter, he had a good chance of becoming a bugler, which would lessen his chances of having to do any actual fighting. His three primary jobs, as he saw it, would be to get up before everyone else, go to bed after everyone else, and have everyone else in his company mad at him for making them get up and go to sleep.

For a while he was right. He learned all the bugle calls he needed to know, and while he did a little combat training, most of his time was spent hanging around with the other buglers and doing odd administrative tasks for the officers.

His luck didn't last forever, though. During the very first actual combat mission his company went on William managed to end up someplace he wasn't supposed to be and was captured by the enemy. Had he been paying attention during his basic training instead of goldbricking he might have avoided this fate, but that would have made for a different story.

William was bound and taken to the enemy commander. Now something I deliberately didn't mention earlier was that this was not one of your modern wars with Geneva conventions and other protections for prisioners. This was literally "take no prisoners" warfare. Prisoners were considered to be only a source of amusement, and once the amusement was ended, they were just another mouth to feed, so long as they were alive.

"Well, well, what have we here?" the enemy commander sneered as William was thrown as his feet. He grabbed William by the front of his shirt and saw the bugle at his side. "A bugler, eh?"

"Yes sir," William manged to croak. "Please, sir, spare my life. I have not taken up arms against you, and in fact I became a bugler just so I would not have to kill anyone."

The enemy chief threw William to the ground contemptuously. He then grabbed the bugle and ripped it from William's belt. "Do you see this?" he roared. "This is a weapon of war." He threw the bugle to the ground beside William, then drew his sword. "You may not have killed any of us, but you have called on your countrymen to do so."

And that was the end of William.

Words and deeds can be weapons just as surely as swords and arrows.