Gaston Dilmoore: Tuscany and the Roman Gold

April 14, 2006

Grand. That is the only word to describe it. One year in Tunisia, I had occasion to share a foxhole with one Neville Newberg. We fought side by side for 12 days as those dastardly Italians came, wave after wave, with their absurd plumage flailing about in the smoky air. At one point, Neville was shot clean through the shoulder, causing him to shout, "Egad! Bit hot isn't it?" From here, he flew into violent convulsions, which I managed to quell using some pudding, and several rounds of "We'll meet again" by Vera Lynn. When he calmed down, we discovered a lone Italian soldier cowering in the rear of our foxhole. After much tension, and several appearances of our bayonets, followed by mad scrambles for the rations, we settled down.Turns out our Italian was a good fellow. Duke, actually, from Tuscany. Needless to say, we became chaps. Hours later, the three of us could be found in our bathers, slapping about in the Bramba River. Our war was over, you see.

That was well over 50 years ago, but it seems as vivid as my foot, which is presently being crept up upon by several pumas. I'm being very still. No need to startle the pumas. Now then, on the subject of Pasqualle. That was his name. Pasqualle the Italian Duke, soldier to Mussolini. Loved mayonaise. Which I do as well, but only at night. Can't stand to look at mayonaise, you see. It came from my time in France. We were charged with the task of locating the final Monet print, which was rumored to be hidden in a villa outside of Cannes. No such luck. But we did manage to find a cellar filled with mayonaise, which was left over from Napoleons, "Le grande arme'." After 23 cans of mayonaise, I developed a taste for it, as well as a hearty regimen of dependable nightmares, all of which involve turtles and spoons.

Anyway, our Duke had an "in" back in Tuscany. Not for sleeping. An "in" as in "connection" to some Roman gold. If we could only get to Tuscany, we could pilfer the stash and make off. But Tuscany was held by the Yanks, and they were our allies. I don't know about you, but Neville and I were loyal to the queen, and could not compromise our duty to the war, even if we weren't in it any longer.

So, we decided to turn south, into the Congo, and discover dinosaurs.

This proved to be a terrible idea. Almost as terrible as the hat that I once constructed out of lint. Have you ever studied lint? It's a lot like gum. Dry gum. Lint is like dry gum made from fabric. But don't try and chew it. You'll be disappointed in the lint, I assure you. Nonetheless, I've never seen Pasqualle since the war. Last I saw him he was atop a mule, shouting about parasites. Did see Neville, though. Ran into him at a shoe shop in Sussex. We said hello, and then his Irish Setter, Waverly, piddled on my trousers, which are made of millions of pieces of neatly arranged lint.


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