‘Milly and Her Band of Brothers’
Sunday, sunny day
Dress code – colours, flowers, anything worn-out…
Hair – colours, flowers, anything worn-out, unbrushed and unwashed – optional…
Music – anything Woodstock
Town – Bethel, Sullivan County, or somewhere in Europe, who cares…
At Milly’s room
– lala, lala lalalala, here darling little Bibi bear, have some tea.
Milly was a little pale girl with big black curls so twisted that they looked like snails after rain. She was 5 but as smart and sharp as a 55. You can think of Milly as a little old lady if you’d like, but with a nicer skin. And teeth. And a spring in her foot rather than arthritis, or gout. She was playing in her room with all her soft toys, serving them tea – since it was also 5 o’clock and we all know at some parts of the world they serve tea at 5. She was so content with herself, playing by herself, in her room, disturbing no one, breaking nothing, flushing no one’s old jewellery, burning no one’s rare collection of baseball cards because they crack well in fire. Milly was an angel, just the kid every parent dreams of, but of course that never happens, only in fiction like this one.
– Milly, be a darling and go buy a loaf of bread.
Milly’s mother screamed from the kitchen downstairs. Otherwise she was a nice lady. But she was so uninteresting that no author in their sane mind would have spared a line to describe her. She was that average.
Milly was a good girl who helped her mother ever since her dad had died. I’m still unsure how exactly he died but since I’m the author, let’s say it was tragically. Anyway, when she heard her mother yell from downstairs, Milly sprang out of her room leaving her tea party, went downstairs, took money and rushed out of the door.
Of course, Milly was a smart young girl so she didn’t need to be prepped about the wolves haunting outside, besides, she hated the colour red and never wore hoods like a gangster from Brixton (in a US translation this would be something like the Bronx).
When she went to the shop however, Milly noticed something unusual. There were five soldiers. She managed to count because they were queuing by the cash counter and were lining up one after another, like a line of ants, or indians on a cliff, or water bottles in a grocery store. Milly’s mind immediately began to race from one question to another. She was so curious. She couldn’t help calm down her curiosity. She was a little girl – and we all know how curious those are.
“Who are these? Soldiers? Why are they in our local grocery store? Why are they one, two, three, four, five? Why are they dressed as soldiers? Why did they decide to come now when I’m in a hurry to get back to my tea party?” Milly thought.
– Sweetheart, do you want to go first?
Somehow the youngest-looking of the soldiers heard Milly’s thoughts. He winked at her, pinched her cheek gently and pointed to the space before him so she can move ahead first. Milly shrugged it off like a little fancy girl whose life is one big fake tea party, and went on. However, Milly was not the little fancy girl whose life is one big fake tea party, not even a fake “high” tea party. No, no, no. Millly was a tough, hard-rock chick, who already studied Kyokushinkai, smoked cigars with her dad a couple of times and loved the Rolling Stones.
She knew how to read – her favourite, of course, was Catcher in the Rye. She knew how to build stuff with bricks like when she built a house for her dog (called Yo, Dog, by the way, where the comma is his middle name). Although, she forgot to leave place for a door to this house. So, it became more like a brick fence without being able to get out of it, if you were the size of Yo, Dog. Now, when I think of it, it looked more like a camp, you know, one of those scary ones. No wonder Yo, Dog didn’t like it. Don’t worry, Milly wasn’t some sort of a Nazi, she never let Yo, Dog sleep in his brick camp. She only used the brick camp to keep her knives there. Because Milly loved knives and she had a huge collection of them.
Milly could also walk on a rope high above the ground. Not that she ever needed it, but one never knows. She was one hell of a five-year-old. That’s why these soldiers had no idea who they were dealing with. Actually, they didn’t care. It was Milly, the only one whose curiosity burned like an arsenic in her stomach. Who are these five soldiers and what are they doing in my grocery store in the middle of nowhere (because Milly and her mother lived in a very irrelevant and uninteresting, to anyone, place)?
“Excuse me Sir, hmmm, Soldier-sir, ex, excuse me”, Milly tapped one of the guy’s elbow.
“Yes sweetheart?” The tallest of them turned towards Milly.
“What are you exactly and where are you coming from and why are you five of you and not seven for example?”
“We can’t really tell”, the tallest of them said shortly.
“Is it a secret?” Milly’s eyes opened wide like a curious neighbour – one of those that every small village has, who is usually an old spinster and knows everything about everyone and tells everything to everyone, of course, with a tad of exaggeration.
The tallest soldier made a sign to the other four soldiers to walk out of the store. He called Milly to follow them, too. The shop owner, who was also by the cash counter, was so bored with his life, or maybe with his job, that he didn’t bother to notice that five soldiers called out a 5-year-old on the street.
Outside the grocer
“I’m Roy”. The tallest guy held out his hand. “And this is my band of brothers. Well, we’re not actually real brothers, but we are real soldiers. We fought in Vietnam. The shorty is Alto, it’s his nickname but really he’s Sam. The other three who look very similar to each other, except for that one – his hand isn’t real -we call him captain Hook, otherwise his name is Max. The specs is our smarty pants, Ollie. I have no idea how they let him in the army. He’s totally blind without these magnifiers. Look at the size of ’em. I can see the inside of a maggot’s stomach with them. And the handsome dude’s Cassidy, I don’t know what his mama thought to give him this awful name. But anywho, this is us. And who are you?”
“I’m Milly. I don’t have much to present like you, because I’m still only 5. I think, I’ll want to be a journalist when I grow up, or a private killer, or a detective, whatever these are called. I love knives and guns, and I really hate dresses, especially the pink ones. Yuck. I hate saying “yuck”, too, because it’s very girly, like a girl in a pink dress would say “yuck” to a dissected worm. I’m a bit bored now, because it’s summer and there’s no school. My mama sent me to buy bread, while I was playing a surprise tea party with my teddy bears. The surprise is that the tea jar is full of grenades that will explode, and the party bears’ guts will spill out from the explosion. Isn’t that cool?”
The soldiers looked at each other quite surprised or confused, but also like they just had a revelation, or maybe they were just plain confused.
“Nice game. Well, ok, you better rush home with that bread. Nice talkin to ya. Take care now.”
But just when the soldiers were about to walk away from the little girl, Milly blurted out:
“Sir, aam Mr. Roy, why are you without shoes on your feet?”
The soldiers looked at each other but didn’t say anything.
Roy cleared his throat.
It was only from a cough, not from trying to say something.
But because little girls can’t possibly stand silence for more than a second, and maybe because Milly noticed something unusual, she turned to Roy and asked, “Sir, did you lose your shoes somewhere?”
At a second glance on everyone, Milly noticed that all five of them looked quite shabby.
In fact, Cassidy’s hair was so backcombed that if you focus well, you could catch a bird twitting in there. At least Milly could have. Olly’s pants looked oily. Alto looked like a complete tramp with dirt around his face. Have these people been in a cave? Milly thought.
“Am, we just came back, sweetheart. Just came back from the war”, Roy said and turned to walk away again.
“Do you have where to stay Mr. Roy?”, Milly asked concerned, like a 55-year-old little lady.
“No, Ma-am, I’m afraid, not. But we have a good plan”, Roy answered like a soldier.
“Come at home then. We have bread and my mama’s gonna cook. You’ll tell me about your plan and I’ll show you my knives and my teddy bears”. Milly offered.
“Actually, you might help us with our plan! You’re just who we need”. Said Roy and nodded at his brothers, who were not really his brothers, to follow him and little Milly.
…to be continued…