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OF COURSE IT happens on the last mission when our B-17 is pocked with so many holes it makes an afghan seem airtight, but still flying, still air-friggin'-worthy, mister, with a pair of propellers thropping through the blue, black smoke coughing from one of two remaining engines holding aloft a crew of bone tired boy-men with Laughing Jack at the helm, and dumb ass Sweet Potato stuck in the belly turret.
It was either that damn Kraut ack ack, screaming up from the ground guns, bursting around us in murder blossoms of smoke and shrapnel, or the machine gun fire from the sack-tightening fighters, sleek Messerschmitts and plug-ugly Focke Wulfs. They had swarmed us, their guns chattering, bullets punching through the hull of our so-called flying fortress like the fangs of a wolf pack chomping through the hide of a winter-weakened moose. And that's what we feel like up there, a tired, clumsy moose, a snarling pack all around, and us with only four guns to spit into the madness. Now in the belly turret Sweet Potato is, for the first time any of us has ever heard, swearing. Not just cussing in general either, cursing me, and my mother and my father, and my sisters and everyone who has a drop of Hopewell blood. A man says the things about your womenfolk that he's saying about mine, you got to kill him. Period.