Stephenson Tales

Home Made Dagger

Homemade Dagger
This hand-crafted dagger fits well into the mysteries of the 849th Signal Intelligence Service at Hammam Melouane. In the entire time I was there I never knew what my two best friends (Bill Markquardt and Billy Packer) did on their work for the SIS. We simply did not ask or talk about anything that we did officially. The Hot Water Spa had been used as a get-away for French movie stars before the war--about 30 miles south of Algiers. It as a large complex of "cubicles" and restaruant, hotel, bath house and residences for M. Mazzoulo, whom Alice referred to as that crapaud Italien---juif (toad of a jewish Italian!). Beyond them was a complex of many cubicles such as the one we lived in. Since our entire organization was only about a hundred men (no women) we occupied only a small portion of the available space. Our remote camp was sometimes used as a stop-over for troops going across North Africa on their way to somewhere else. One evening an entire company (of about a hundred) infantry troops were trucked in and took up temporary residence. They left as they had come--about dawn the next day. Being the scavenger that I am I went over to where they had been berthed to see what was l;eft behind. On a shelf near one of the double decker bunks was this dagger--no doubt overlooked on departure of the troops. It is obviously home made and is double-edged with a point as sharp as a needle--no doubt to slip between the ribs or through the neck of a Kraut or a Dago or a Jew or a Papist---or one of those enemy types. That is all I know about it. I'll bet the soldier who left it cursed the day that his personal weapon was left behind after all the trouble he had gone through to make it and carry it into the war zone. Poor fellow. Ah, well.....

Composed on 7 September, 2008

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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