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Number 46: Want to start a war the quick way? Complete 1-min story from "The Afwican Gwey Pawwot"


‘Hope they built this bunker real good; feels like we’re being pounded by their heavy 4-0-4’s,’ Colonel McIndar prayed, as he took temporary refuge under the steel desk.

‘That’s what it’s got to be,’ I agreed. ‘And the electronic doors have jammed again.’

‘Look at the screens – the monitoring banks are down on part-power – we got dull screens and pixilated data breakups.’

‘How we’re supposed to command the local division from here, I have no idea. We’re in for it before long, for them to be this close. Jeez, this damn dust falling, I’m covered in it. Look’a my bloody uniform. Can hardly make my ribbons out.’ It wasn’t worth brushing it off, but I did, anyway. ‘I don’t reckon this war’s going too well for us, is it?’

‘Don’t know about the whole war – where does news ever come from? Sure isn’t going too well in this sector. Unless you know something?’

'Me?’ Ducking, as another heavy thump shuddered the whole concrete edifice, and the lights flickered again. ‘Me? I don’t even know what the damn dispute’s about?’

‘Huh? You don’t know what started this damn war? Actually triggered it? Huh?’ The colonel came out from his under-table refuge just as another, more distant, impact caused scarcely a shiver.

‘I have no idea who or what actually triggered it,’ I had to confess. ‘All I know was, we had peace one day, and hostilities were escalating by the hour next day.’

‘Yeah, that’s about right. The President had been celebrating Independence Day, and he thought it’d be a great idea to have a late meal. So he called the Chinese Prime Minister, Mr Chiang Sao Tsu… and gave him an order.’


‘Number 46 – Stuffed Peking Duck.’

‘Oh shugger… no… He didn’t?’

‘Fraid so… with Number 13 – king prawn foo yung, curry sauce, boiled rice, wan ton, spring rolls…’

‘Yip – I guess that’d do it.’

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The ending: "Hey, listen... the rocket fire's slacking off." "Sounds like it's almost done. But what the hell is that?"

As I listened. A voice,distant at first, ramped up until it boomed.

"A monochopper with a sound amplifier--What's he saying?"

"Shhh, let me listen!" I glanced at the moniter...Colonel, look at the screen!"

"Well I'll be damned..." McIndar breathed.

I repeated the words over the thumping monochopper blades: "'Attention all below! As of 1240 a peacefire is in effect. Stand down is ordered by President Aaron Trapper! Stand down sector seven!'"

"Is it a trick?"

I shrugged just as something hard started pounding the jammed doors.

Mcindar nodded at me. Unfurling from a crouch to standing I listened as the…

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