The difference was that he had a sub-machine gun and a shield of invincibility . All I had was a child's voice and eight years of life. Bugger. This was the last time I was going to be the youngest child in a family. I'd have to get myself either a fake moustache or a machine gun. Nevertheless the order had been given. Form up and get on with it.
"Can we stop for an ice-cream?" My opening ploy was always reasonable and to the point.
"You just had lunch!" Mum was always the first to repel the first advance.
"That was hours and hours ago!" Never leave exaggeration in the ammo bunker.
"Stop complaining!" Shit. That was middle sister blindsiding me. She was the one usually masterminding our assault tactics but here she was, leaving me on the wire with parental machine guns swinging around, ready to open up their horrific, great maws. At me. Shit!
"Yeah, you're always doing this." older brother came in like one of those really nasty Kraut half-tracks which always threatened to ambush Sergeant Saunders and the squad.
Man, something was wrong. Terribly, horribly, desparately wrong. I shut up, the equivalent of ducking behind a hedge so the Nazis couldn't see me. But what had happened to the squad? And our objective of liberating the Land Of Ice-cream? So my siblings were now Nazi Synthesisers (as my brother called the traitors)? A bit late for that! The war was already well progressed and we'd made significant ground over the past couple of years. My sisters had bicycles, I had a toy guitar and older brother had a cricket bat. Man, I was shell shocked. I gazed out the rear window. The thousand yard stare. I was trying to figure out the song line I'd missed as we motored down the Pacific Highway. Pacific? Hardly.
Here I was looking at where we'd been, picking out white horses and trying to figure out how the squad had been turned by The Enemy. Sarge would have known. He would have spotted the traitors. War was hell. After a few minutes of this and I was almost asleep. Catching a soldier's nap between battles.
Then it came:
"I guess its not that bad of an idea" eldest sister opened up from a flanking position, startling me back to weapons-ready status.
"It is pretty hot and we've still another two hours to go." she added with teenaged wisdom. God bless her hockey socks!
"Oh, s'pose so." older brother from the other flank. The squad was in action at last!
"Yeah, okay then." Middle sister, tactical genius, bordering Machiavelli, confirmed the order in the form of a fait accomplit. Would it work? Was The Enemy ready to haul up the white flag?
The tension was now roping us kids into a tight, nervous bundle. Would we become prisoners or victors? Would They concede the battle? Now I knew how Corporal Kirby felt as he waited for the half-track to pass by.
"Okay, we'll stop at the next shop. Who wants what?" Victory! Yeah! Fireworks went off and The Dancing Man cut his jig down the highway.
Yip yip yip yahoo! Victory!
I reckon Mum secretly loved this. She gave in a lot of the time. Dad gave in e-v-e-r-y time but only when he was alone in battle. He really really loved ice creams. Four decades later I'd bust him out of his dementia nursing home to go on ice-cream sorties.
Siss had really figured this one out well. I could see her consulting with the Sarge. I'm sure that I saw him sauntering back behind a distant copse as we pulled over at the next shop. He gave a casual tip to his helmet as we all piled out yelling our victory song.