Lancashire Life: An account of The Great Patriotic War


"Shut up, you little bastard"

John looked up at the bedroom window, in alarm, expecting the angry shout from Brian to be accompanied by an equally angry face. Luckily - luckily for him - there was no face, just the flutter of the dark brown curtain moving across the open window. His older brother, Brian would be in their shared bedroom doing his homework, and as usual tolerating no interruption whatsoever. He'd even swore at their mother once! Just once! He'd not do it again. His dad said "you'll not do it again!" all the while their mother tried to pull his dad away. It was his dad, but not Brian's. That's a different story, but to cut that long story short, Brian's dad had been killed when Brian was just a baby in the war. Somewhere in France, but as John didn't know what or where France was he didn't ask, and no one seemed too bothered to talk about it. But there it was, step brothers, with a 7 year difference and no love lost between them.

He hadn't been doing anything wrong anyway! He considered throwing one more stone, just to annoy Brian, but decided against it.

Bored, Bored, Bored!

(If people cared about such things, John would have been considered small for his age, but in truth, no one noticed or cared. His mop of unruly brown hair and shabby clothes, with the obligatory knee length trousers (holes in the knees) and clogs, as well as the jacket (way too tight) would have not made him stand out from a crowd of any average 10 year old living in the town at that time. The only thing that made John stand out, and it was a great feature (his mother told him) was his blue eyes. Extraordinary blue eyes, in fact. )

But he was bored. He wished Bill was here! He missed Bill. He didn't know what a best mate really was, but Bill would have been it. But it was so long ago, he had trouble remembering what his mate had even looked like. He just knew that a few years ago (2?), they had been inseparable at the church school. Memories of the nuns and that old smelly priest teaching them sums and bible class were still vague in his head, but he knew - he did at least know this - that he was happier! Why had it been closed down? He knew something bad had gone on, but as usual he was kept out of it. Just the memory of the nuns crying and Father Whatshisface being loaded into the truck. A tall man shouting "marksy" or something like that.


"Oh, shite! A pig", John thought.
"Were you just throwing stones at that house over the street?" said the young man.

"Hell", thought John. The pig had a local accent, he was from around here. They were the worst ones. He knew this, without even having to listen to the conversations of his parents and other adults. The others, the taller ones, weren't just smarter looking and kind of cleaner looking, but they just seemed a bit, well, more nice. At least they smiled at you before (or after) slapping you.

"Me sir? No sir"

He adopted the stance, he'd been taught since for as long as he could remember. Hands behind the back, feet together, head bowed forward. "Always avoid eye contact with a pig, John", his mum had repeatedly told him.

"Why are you not at school? You look old enough"
"No Sir, I'm only 10. I don't start school for another 5 years"
"Are you sure you aren't 15? You look to be 15 to me" he said.

This was what Brian called 'scar-tastic' or something. John liked those sorts of games and he was good at them! Quick as a flash - "thank you Sir! I am told I am quite tall for my age"

The problem with the local pigs is that they had no sense of humour. If it had been one of the others, he was sure he would had laughed and ruffled his hair. But no, not with the locals. A punch in the face would be the order of the day, and that's exactly what John received.

"Now you scum, stand up!"

He stood.

"Thank me"

(remember the words John!) "Thank you sir for teaching me to respect my country"

"Salute me!"

Jesus, this one thinks he's the bees knees! He saluted in the way he had been taught.

"Who do you love?"

His mum, for sure. His dad (a bit). Even Brian? hmmmm? A word came into his head that sounded a bit like 'winstant' then he remembered the other word he knew - 'the king'.

John wasn't daft though. He knew the procedure well enough.

He clicked his clogs together, raised his arm at the spotty pig, who thought he was a real copper, and stated with no hesitation

"mine fu-ru. Long live the fu-ru - Hermon Goose-ring"

Shit! Run!
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His older brother stood at the bedroom window watching John sprint off with lightning speed. Brian's eyes moved between the police man and John for several seconds, and he was even beginning to wonder if the pig would even react, let alone give chase. It seemed an eternity to Brian, but the gangling uninformed overgrown boy scout did at last rush forward, as if woken from a trance.

"Probably shocked silly" thought Brian, with a slight smile. What had John said to the idiot? One of those secret jokes they all made? What the hell was he thinking? Not thinking at all, as usual. He didn't worry about his brother, he'd seen hm run before and boy could he run! Only good thing he had going for him. But John would be the death of him one of these days. The last thing he needed was those lot sniffing around here. Theirs was a tucked away, end of terrace, semi, at the end of a cul-de-sac, where not many people, who didn't need to be around here, would come. Just as Brian liked it. Just secluded and quiet enough to get on with his 'homework'. His mother knew what he was up to. Of course, she would. She knows everything! His step dad was none the wiser though; a bit too thick;a bit too drunk - most times. As for his brother, the least said, the better. He didn't hate him - as such - its just that he found him annoying, a hindrance. A hindrance to his work, and to the people he worked with.

"It won't be long now" thought Brian. Not too long now before they came.

He turned from the window, and frowned at his wireless radio set, cursing himself, and John, for distracting him enough to make him forget to hide it in its usual place. The radio was duly placed back in its rightful place, with the cricket bat leaning against it. He studied the bat for moment, deep in thought. A possession of his dads, he'd been told. Killed in the Great Patriotic War, he'd been told. Now just a symbol of a banned sport! Ha! Balls to that!

"It wont be long now!", he said out loud.

"Wont be long until those bastards pay for what they did to us!"
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"Ey up, Sheila. How's your William going on then?"

Sheila stopped walking and turned to greet Alma. "Oh, you know what he's like, love. Either drinking in the pub or drinking at home, it makes no difference to him, you know"
"They'll close them pubs down. You mark my words" said Alma, "Surprised they haven't done it already to be honest"
"I expect they would if it wasn't for half of them bloody pigs going in there!"
"Too true" Alma laughed.
"What about your Brian then? Still clashing with Willy? Still arguing about the old bloody war?"

Sheila looked skyward, half expecting to hear the familiar drum of a plane overhead, almost still hearing the sounds of the bombs, some only crashing a few miles away, just a few years ago. Now the so called ceasefire was on, things had gone a bit better, but not a lot. The restrictions were not only still in place, but had got worse! Why had they kept them? Why did they treat us like dirt. They said they were our friends! It was a question she'd asked herself so many times, and not really understood any answer she could come up with. Politics I suppose. But what they did down south. That was unexpected, let alone evil. It had taken her a few years of confusion before she had come to that conclusion, but there was no doubt about it, it was evil. And what about Winston? No-one really knew that answer either. Some said he was dead, some - most - didn't really care. Black was white and white was black, it seemed.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a pig walking the opposite way.
"Evening ladies" he said, with the usual smile and wave, totally unconscious of the gun he carried.
Well he wasn't a local, at least that was something. This one was a true solider, with rosy cheeks and seemingly well fed stomach to prove it.
"Good evening sir", they both said in unison. Alma even added - "nice night for it", with a coy smile.
The pig (or to give them the proper name - Police Infantry Guard - someone had a sense of humour) grinned back at her - "sure is ma'am!"

They watched the man walk on by, giving cursory waves and greetings to others as he passed. He almost looked handsome, silhouetted against the backdrop of the shattered wreck of the town hall building, like one of them posters they used to put up. Rosy cheeks, and all grins of grim determination.

"What is it with them lot" said Alma, "its almost as if they think we owe them or something. That we should be grateful"
"Not after what they did, Alma. No forgiveness for that."
"No, too true, me dear, too true. Anyway, hows your John? Still keeping his head down?"
"God, you're a nosy one" thought Sheila, but instead said, "Yeah, he is a worry to me though. Since they shut the church school, he's not had much to do. Obviously he's officially on the allotments, but you know him! I cant get him to do what he don't want to do!"
"And do you think he knows? I mean, about Willy not being his, you know, his dad?"
"No he does not! And you wont be saying a word either, Alma Robinson!"
"Course I wont, you daft mare! But, do you think you'll ever tell him, well.....that his dad was a, you know, a....kraut?"
"Oh love. How could I"
"Well, Sheila take a bow! I think you've done a marvelous job with those lads"


John learned two things that day. Firstly, he was actually thick! And secondly, he wasn't as fast a runner as he thought he was.

Now he weighed up his options. The pig had him pinned against the wall with one elbow under his chin, and the other arm formed into a fist facing his face. His options were - kick him in the balls and take a chance to get way, or do as he was told, the way he had been taught. He'd been taught a few things though! Don't listen to the radio, don't back chat your mam or dad, don't listen to anything crazy old priests told you, don't play cricket (that was a new one, and not that he ever did anyway!) and make sure you get the salute and the answers to the questions right!

"You little traitor" said the sweating pig, all pimples and loose fitting uniform.
"Sorry sir! Sorry! I wasn't thinking! I was ...confused. I got mixed up!"
"I'll mix you up in a minute, you insolent pig!"
He thought of asking what insolent was, but decided not too.
"Did your traitor mum and dad not teach you right? Obviously not. Or were you making some kind of joke? Thought it would be funny, eh?"
"I said, sir, I got mixed up. I didn't say it on purpose. I was confused." Years of practice had taught him to turn on the tears at will. It sometimes worked.
"I'll teach you to speak to me like that, to use those words to me....tears is it? I'll give you something to cry about. I'll show you"
The pig was now removing his belt. "Oh shite" thought John, I'm in for a beating now
When John saw the man unbuttoning his trousers, his tears stopped immediately.
"No" he screamed
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He sat in his usual armchair with his usual bottle (and empty bottles scattered around) of his favourite pale ale and his cigarettes, bleary eyed, with his own thoughts and his own memories and his own shortcomings as his only friend. Sure, he had some - so called - friends, but even he knew that they laughed behind his back. Not good enough for them; a bit of a joke; talked too much; bored them all. He knew that’s what they thought of him, and he didn’t really care. He was happy enough to stand his pals a pint or two if they would listen to his talk. The pigs listened too, used to tell him to shut his mouth, but now, more and more engaging with him, asking him questions. That was when he felt really special, when he knew he was being respected by them. And, contrary to what some - most - said, they were our friends! They were here to help us. Ok, so they made some mistakes – well, who doesn’t? What mattered was strong leadership, and that’s what half of these lazy buggers needed. They were better than the last lot anyway, because they had actually tried to make him work. This lot didn’t seem to care that much, so that was an improvement at least!

His eyes turned to the framed picture, on the mantelpiece, of him and Sheila. Happier times.

He remembered to this day when it had been taken. Ten years ago in Slough, Berkshire. He, the cocky cockney lad from the East End of London, she the confident, but shy, lass from Lancashire. He’d been interned in a camp nearby, before being demobbed. He’d decided this was as good a place as any to stay put when he heard about the Joint Agricultural Programme operating in the nearby abandoned farms. We needed food, was his view, so why not help out. His Occupied Territories restricted permit allowed him to do the work and he was duly allocated.

She came from what he laughingly called – England, with a work visa. She said she hadn’t been allocated, she had volunteered. He wasn’t sure that was true, but he didn’t care. He was besotted. They had hit it off from the start. She liked the cheeky chappy in him. He knew she would. They all did. But he knew this was different. This was love! For the first time in his life, he felt it, and he was happy.

She had a child already, Brian. 7 years old, and a moody little thing he was, but William got along as best he could. His father had been killed in the fighting just after he had been born. She confided in him, shared things. It truly made him feel wanted.

Why did it have to change? Why did those interfering buggers have to invade? Ah well, it was for the best, after all.

That’s when the rows started. The first sign that they were not as bliss as they had thought. She steeled away for unexplained reasons. He was suspicious, but never followed it though. Finally, that fateful night, a week after the invasion, she had decided, not him, that she would go North, back to her home town. It’s where she wanted to be, and despite the danger, she would not change her mind. He tried, God knows how he tried to persuade her to stay here, or better still, back to London.

“It’s bloody safer in London, for Christ’s sake. The whole bloomin German army will protect us!”

He always felt he would have remained firm, could have talked her round, but then the bombshell:

“I’m pregnant, William”
“Are you sure? I mean, my God…Sheila”
“Are you mad at me?”

A laugh. A blubber. A flowing of tears.

“Mad at you? Mad at you? Oh love, oh Sheila, no, no, how could I be. Whatever you want…if you want to go back to Bolton, let’s go. I don’t care. I’m with you.”

He hugged her so tightly, and so closely. He felt so close to her then

“I’m going to be daddy!” He laughed, and cried the sentence out.

Sheila hugged him tight, tears streaming down her face. Her eyes were drawn through the crack in the curtains and she looked upon the symbol they had all grown to be accustomed to. The crooked cross of the swastika. Tears came afresh. “It’ll be alright my William. It’s a new start. I…we need it”

He came back from his thoughts to the house they shared with their Brian and his own son. How it had all gone so sour didn’t interest him so much now. Why he had little if any relationship with his son, John, interested him less. He was only interested in the ale, and he didn’t care what anyone thought. He only cared about his ‘politics’, as he called it. He was gathering interest from more and more pigs, and he loved it. Maybe this was the start of some kind of new career? He chuckled at the prospect of him joining them!

He thought of the bomb on London, and the magnitude of the decision they had made was not lost upon him. By deciding not to go back to London all those years ago, she had saved his life, her life and the life of their unborn child.
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"Brian, come!"

"What is it?"
"Sit down lad, I want to talk to you"
He could see William was well gone. He was in no mood for this.
"Oh for Gods sake, I've got stuff to do, and you've had a skinful again..."
"Stuff to do? Skinful? Its about time you started showing me some respect, you know, Brian!"

Brain looked at his dad - his step-dad-slumped in the chair, red eyes. "Respect that" he thought, "no chance"
"You always were a stubborn spoil brat, Brian. When I met your mum, I took you in. I looked after you and she had nothing, and I made her what she is today. Its because of me that..."
"What she is today?! You mean a wife of a drunkard.....a women who works all hours whilst you go and get pissed with you pig mates!"
Brain reddened. he knew he had gone too far, but he wasn't for backing down.
"Pig mates? don't speak to me like..."
"And you don't ever speak about my mum like that again...William!"
"You call me dad! You shit! I'm sick of telling you! You'd all be nothing without me!"
He was getting up now, swaying and glaring at Brian.
"I'll not call you dad...William. You can never be anything like him, you're a washout. a nobody. You're a bastard!!"

William took a swing for him and missed of course. His head made its peace with the mantelpiece before his inebriated body hit the floor.
Brain stood his ground, arms clenched by his sides ready to defend himself if he had to.

"Your dad! Your dad! Don't give me that bollocks, you stupid little brat" He shouted up, almost incoherently from his collapsed position on the floor, head jutted forward at Brian "Your dad was a fool. Got his guts blown out at Dunkirk, that's what he did. And for what? Eh? For what! I had the bloody common sense to surrender. Yes, don't look at me like that, I survived! I'm a survivor. What did your dad do but die with his blood all over the beach"
"He died defending our country, that's what!" Tears rolling down his face, fists clenched.
"Ha! Country! Ha! Whats that then? England? You're living in a dreamworld. Its all gone and its not coming back!"
"No it wont come back whilst we have shits like you siding with the pigs"
"I don't side fucking..."
"Shut up William, you're a mess, always have been"
"I'll belt your face off you! Accuse me of siding with..."
"Yes, I do! And you sided with the others as well..."
"Them Nazi German lot"
"I bloody did not! That's a lie. Bring whoever said that, to me, and I'll tell them its a bloody lie!"
"You just don't care do you? You cant be arsed. You're the big 'I am' and you think we are all interested in your accounts of the bloody Great Patriotic War', but we're bloody not. We're all sick of you. Your so called mates take the piss out of you. Haven't you noticed, you pathetic dried up piece of shit!"
Trying to get up on one elbow and failing "I'm gonna kill you. Just you watch. I'm gonna kill you..."
"Oh piss off! What can you do? look at you, sat there in your pool of ale, and....your own piss! God, you are disgusting. God, I hate you!"
William laughed. Brain didn't expect that. He was raging, ready to beat the drunk to the ground if he had to.
"I know what you've been doing Brian" he slurred, looking at the floor.
"You know balls all"
William, still smiling, lifted his head and looked at Brian,"Oh OK, lets go see the pigs shall we?" Triumphant now - "Lets show them the radio shall we? Lets show them the maps shall we?"
Brain was stunned. This guy was too drunk to understand the time of day, let alone know what he was up to.
Calm now. "Do you know - William - we're going to bring them down. I don't care what you think you know. We're going to bring them down"
"You cant bring them down, stupid Brian! They are too strong. You cant beat them!"
"Well I've heard... know... that they can be beaten, so..... screw you, William"
"Beaten?" a laughing coughing prevented William from speaking for the next few minutes. Finally "Beaten? Only they have the bomb. You cant beat the bomb" He said with an air of satisfaction.
Brain stood back a pace then approached the drunk wreck, shaking his head. These people were so naive, so gullible, they needed to know the truth.
"Are you so forget that, I know the answer. Don't you understand, you ignoramus? The bomb was dropped on them as well. In fact they had 3 of them"

The door to the house opened.
Sheila "Hello, I'm home"
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The pig was now removing his belt. "Oh shite" thought John, I'm in for a beating now
When John saw the man unbuttoning his trousers, his tears stopped immediately.
"No" he screamed

"Stop right there"

There was no shout. The voice was calm and soft and came from behind the pig.
John tried to look around the frame of the man holding him, but could see nothing.
The pig, spun around, trousers falling around his ankles, and instinctively grabbed for his rifle and held it, bayonet charge stance, in front of the stranger who had the audacity to interfere.
He faced a 30ish looking man, smartly dressed in a suit, clean shaven, with wavy brown hair, parted at one side. The stranger said nothing, just stood there looking at him.

"What the hell has it got to do with you" he said. "Piss off before I do you one"
As if to emphasise the point, he lurched a few inches forward in the same charging stance, muzzle of the rifle aimed at the other mans head.

"Just what in the hell do you think you're doing, boy?"
"And I said, piss off, its nowt to do with you. Unless you want a lead full of...."

His words were cut off in his throat. He stopped, dead in his tracks as he belatedly recognised the accent.

"How do I know you are..."
A flick of the wrist. Credentials presented.
Immediately standing to attention, and saluting, the pig shouted "Sir!"

"So, where were we? What in God’s name are you doing to that poor little boy there?"
"Discipline sir! He disrespected, I mean Sir! Did the Nazi salute to me, and made some kind of Joke about the Germans" He paused, "Tried to stab me Sir! Had a knife Sir!"
"No I didn’t!" John protested.
"I told you once, you little bastard, one more word..."
The Stranger. "Shut your mouth soldier"

He walked forward a few paces and appraised the scene in front of him. He looked John up and down with a curious interest "You OK son?"
"Yes Sir" said John, and then as if an afterthought, straightened up and saluted the man.
"No need for you to salute me son” he laughed “You're a civilian as far as I can tell!"
He gave John a wink, and another broad smile.

John knew from the accent and now the smile that this was one of the nicer pigs, just not in a uniform.

"So, you thought you'd discipline this boy by waving your privates at him did you?"
The pig reddened, "No Sir!"
"Why are your pants around your feet, eh?"
"Sir, I...sir..."
"Go stand over there. I will need to speak to you, ok?"
"Sir, yes sir!"

"What’s your name son?"
"Sir John, Sir...John, Sir..I mean.."
"Take it easy. Relax. You’re gonna be ok. Now what did you say to him to get him all riled up like that, eh?”
“I didn’t mean to Sir, I got mixed up a bit, and said something I shouldn’t have”

“You pulled a Nazi salute!, did you? You did ah!" "he laughed “not what we do around here son! What else?”
“Sir, he asked me ‘who do you love’
“Yep, you know the routine?”
“I do Sir, but I got confused, and forgot. I said….I said…”
“Go on, its OK”
“I said ‘Mine Fu-ru, Hermon Goosering”
“Ha! Holy....It’s a while since heard that one! Plucky little joker ain’t you eh”. He shook his head as he continued to appraise the boy.

“I knew the answer, Sir. At first I thought I should say ‘ the king’…”
The stranger frowned
,…”then I thought it was ‘Swinton…or…”
“Swinton? Oh, you mean Winston” he said with raised eyebrows. “Yeah, well that's OK, cos your good old boy is one of the good guys" "Now look at me. Its OK, you can look me in the eyes. That's it, we're OK." He adopted a serious tone now "You do know the correct response though, don’t you?”
“Yes, Sir, I remember now…It's...”

“Sir, will you be needing me anymore? It’s just that I need to report back in at HQ, as my patrol is..”
“Shut up now!”

The pig paled and remained silent.

He crouched to a squat position, and held John by both shoulders as he looked into his eyes, “See that vehicle over there? Yes? OK, you go climb into the passenger seat, and I'm gonna take you home to your mom, alright?"

He sat in the car. The man had called it something peculiar, but it was just a car. He hadn’t seen many of them around, but he knew it was a car.
He couldn’t see where they had gone, but caught a glimpse of an elbow in the rear view mirror. Without thinking about it, John leaned forward and adjusted the mirror.

The other 2 seemed to be speaking, the smartly dressed stranger very calm and smiling, whilst the trembling local pig was looking very agitated, putting his hands to his eyes.

It seemed to John that the next few seconds lasted an eternity, as if time itself had slowed down. He didn’t watch in horror because it happened so fast, but he did watch in rigid shock as the stranger pulled something from his jacket pocket and placed it in one swift movement against the pigs head. Then a popping noise. A spray of red. The pig slumped to the ground and was still.

He watched wide eyed as the stranger slowly turned his body, a swivel of the heel, and walked back towards the car and towards John.
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Frank - a Police Infantry Guard

The young man lay where he fell. The warm liquid spreading in a pool around his head like some bloody halo, matched by the warm liquid that soaked through his groin and legs. His pupils were fixed and dilated, and in that split second before the blank emptiness of death took him, his life literally did pass before his (unseeing) eyes

Frank had only been in the Police Infantry Guards for just over 3 months. Police Infantry Guards! It was bloody obvious what they would call them! He thought it had been done deliberately for some reason he couldn’t fathom. But 3 months it was since he’d joined up - 10 weeks basic training and now he was halfway through his second week of patrol. Basic training seemed to encompass a lot of being shouted at and a lot of early rises and crap food. And of course, the lectures, and the never ending sermons! Basic had also seen the continuation of the abuse that he had become so much accustomed too as a child.

Frank was from Wigan, therefore they didn’t assign him to Wigan, but to the nearby town of Bolton. Too much risk of a reprisal attack or blackmail or worse if he had to keep order with the people he grew up with, they had said. He didn’t care. He would rather have bossed around those who had bossed him around all his life!

He had been 16 when the current ceasefire finally became official. He’d keenly followed the war for as long as he could remember, albeit being very young during the first invasion, he still remembered the initial panic but then the calm descending as his family and neighbours settled down to the knowledge that the war was still quite a distance away even if it was on our shores. He remembered no loving farewell as his dad, who was actually in his early 60s was recruited and sent to the Southern Front, just a cursory "ta ra our Frank". He didn’t return. He remembered the first ceasefire, and he remembered the second invasion, only this time it was different, this time it was our friends, or so they said, and it was a dam sight closer to home as well.

Again, the panic. Again the families fleeing each and every way they could. But where was there to go – North? Too dangerous. South? Definitely not. Most stayed still and tried to brave it out; hope the fighting would move around them.

The atomic bombs changed all of that and suddenly it wasn’t the Second Great War anymore, it was the Great Patriotic War. The new restrictions that followed were unexpected, and then the new ceasefire was even more so. But even he had to admit that it was welcome. Everything seemed to be getting out of control and friends suddenly weren’t anymore. It seemed like black was white and white was black. But if Frank was truly honest with himself, he would have admitted that he didn’t really care which side he was on, as long as he could no longer be pushed around, and he was the one doing the pushing.

When he heard about the new unit being established – the Police Infantry Guard, under the direct control of the occupying forces, not some tin-pot provisional government nonsense, he knew that this would change his life. This was it; this was the role for him.

It was Franks 22nd birthday when he first went out on patrol. That was 10 days ago. He’d decided when he’d first seen him that this was a kid he would have some fun with. He won’t be the only one either. He’d done it before, and he could do it again. Nothing could stop him! He had the power now. The world had changed and men like him could do what they wanted. So he had thought.

Franks last word before the stranger pulled the pistol from his pocket and blew his head open, (who should have been an ally, who should have turned a blind eye to his perversion – his weakness) – was a quiet “yes”.

The question had been “Are you sorry for your sins?”
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The stranger got in the car and nodded to John.

"I sent him back to base, son. He'll be disciplined for what he did, don’t you worry. One of the bad eggs. Shouldn’t have got through recruitment, but hell, we're OK now, aren’t we?"

John was shaking. He’d seen dead bodies before, but he’d never actually seen a person killed before. In truth he was terrified. An hour ago he had been minding his own business in his back garden, now he was in a car (what did he call it? A ‘ve-he-cal’ or something), with a man who’d just killed another man!

"Are you ok, son? Don’t let that bang upset you, that was just me taking a pot shot at a rat I saw"

John looked at the man. Again, he seemed to be inviting eye contact, so it was probably ok to follow his lead and look back at him, as strange and awkward as that felt. He was one of the other pigs, he knew that alright! Tall frame, rosy cheeks, the obligatory grin, but not in uniform. John hadn’t seen one of the other pigs, the occupiers, without a uniform before. He realised he’d been looking too long, and flicked his eyes away quickly, and as he did so, his eyes fell for a second on the lapel pin the man was wearing. It was there alright, the final proof, he didn’t need to see a uniform, the pin said it all.

“So, how’s things at home John? OK? How do you get along with your father? Aright is it?
John nodded “Yes, sir”
“And his name is….?”
He looked at John with a questioning look, and a faint smile.
“William Sir”
“William Sir is it. William…?
“I..…Pat...Patterson, sir”
“William Patterson, eh? Is that so? So, your last name is Patterson is it then, John?”
“No,erm... Sir, Morris...sir”
“Morris is it. Your moms name eh? Why not your dads then?”

John’s shaking had now been accompanied by beads of sweat running down his forehead. He was sure he would say something that would get him into trouble again.

“I....I... don’t know sir, I…”

“Hell! Look at me giving you the third degree! Where are my manners! Now let’s get you home!”

The man shifted the car into gear, then frowned as he adjusted the rear view mirror. He seemed to pause a second before giving John another sideways glance, then extended his hand.

"I’m McKendry, by the way. James McKendry. Pleased to make your acquaintance"

John looked at the extended hand before reluctantly and nervously taking it. He half expected it to be crushed liked some of his dads mates liked to do to show off, (even Brian sometimes did). This time it was a gentle but firm handshake. It reminded him of the old priest from the church school, how he would shake his hand and pat him on the shoulder. A sudden flashback, just a split second, “Always remember to be yourself John. They can take everything away from us, but not our hope. Be yourself always!”

He blinked away the memory as the man, McKendry, patted him on the shoulder, released the clutch and moved the car off.

"Would you like me to direct you to my home, Sir?"

"No need son, I know the way"

He turned and smiled at John.

"By the way, I forgot to ask. D'ya wanna Hershey Bar kid?"

John decided it was best to say nothing. He didn’t know what a ‘hershymar’ was, but he did know what the lapel pin was. Everyone around here knew what that was. It was flown from the roof of the police building in the centre of town, and a few other buildings he wasn't allowed near. All the pigs had it banded around the tops of their arms. Everyone knew the hated symbol of the ‘stars and stripes’.

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I assume the US goes pretty fascist? Maybe the Depression prompts the return of the KKK to prominence like in the 20s?

I mean hell, maybe the USSR finished off the Nazis before the Allies could and the US invaded Britain after it started to look like it might have a socialist revolution of its own.

But seriously... HOLY SHIT.


I assume the US goes pretty fascist? Maybe the Depression prompts the return of the KKK to prominence like in the 20s?

I mean hell, maybe the USSR finished off the Nazis before the Allies could and the US invaded Britain after it started to look like it might have a socialist revolution of its own.

But seriously... HOLY SHIT.
Your post made me laugh! I'm pleased it came as a shocker. There were a few vague hints along the way and I thought Sheilas encounter with the 'nice pig' and his "Sure is ma'am" expression may have given it a way. As I've not fully developed in my head what exactly has happened with the U.S. ,your ideas are helpful.

I don't want this story to be a list of alternate historical events, as I quite like the confused understanding of the world out there as expressed by simple folk. However I will have to do some flashbacks. The assassinations of 1941 will be important, as well as revisiting Sheila's past.

We may have to leave John and Mckendry alone for a while whilst I sort out the story around them.

Happy reading and thanks all for the likes.

Nick P

I wondered if the stranger was American when he said '....take you home to your Mom'.

I'm guessing that.....
..WW2 happened as we know it until Britain somehow got invaded by the Third Reich in 1940/41. The USA liberates us after dropping several atom bombs a few years later. But the US are hostile so maybe Britain co-operated with the Nazi occupiers which upset Washington.

You wouldn't try a successful Sealion, would you? So maybe we starved in 1941 by a successful U-Boat campaign (No Enigma?) and let Germany occupy us - no Churchill to oppose this.

Three assassinations? Hitler is one given that Goering is Fuhrer. Churchill and Roosevelt?