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Belly Laugh
by [?]

You hear a lot of talk these days about secret weapons. If it’s not a new wrinkle in nuclear fission, it’s a gun to shoot around corners and down winding staircases. Or maybe a nice new strain of bacteria guaranteed to give you radio-active dandruff. Our own suggestion is to pipe a few of our television commercials into Russia and bore the enemy to death.

Well, it seems that Ivar Jorgensen has hit on the ultimate engine of destruction: a weapon designed to exploit man’s greatest weakness. The blueprint can be found in the next few pages; and as the soldier in the story says, our only hope is to keep a sense of humor!

Me? I’m looking for my outfit. Got cut off in that Holland Tunnel attack. Mind if I sit down with you guys a while? Thanks. Coffee? Damn! This is heaven. Ain’t seen a cup of coffee in a year.

What? You said it! This sure is a hell of a war. Tough on a guy’s feet. Yeah, that’s right. Holland Tunnel skirmish. Where the Ruskies used that new gun. Uhuh. God! It was awful. Guys popping off all around a guy and him not knowing why. No sense to it. No noise. No wound. Just popping off.

That’s the trouble with this war. It won’t settle down to a routine. Always something new. What the hell chance has a guy got to figure things out? And I tell you them Ruskies are coming up with new weapons just as fast as we are. Enough to make your hair stand on end.

Sugar? Christ, yes! Ain’t seen sugar for a year. You see, it’s like this: we were bottled up in the pits around the Tunnel for seven damn days. It was like nothing you ever saw before. Oops–sorry. Didn’t mean to splash you. I was laughing about something that happened there–to a guy. Maybe you guys would get a kick out of it. After all, we got to keep our sense of humor.

You see, there was me and a Kentucky kid named Stillwell in this pit–a pretty big pit with lots of room–and we were all alone. This Stillwell was a nice kid–green and lonesome and it’s pretty sad, really, but there’s a yak in it, and–as I say–we got to keep a sense of humor.

Well, this Stillwell–a really green kid–is unhappy and just plain drooling for his gal back home. He talks about his mother, of course, and his old man, but it’s the girl that’s really on his mind as you guys can plainly understand.

He’s seeing her every place–like spots in front of his eyes–nice spots doing things to him, when this Ruskie babe shows up.

My gun came up without any orders from me just as she poked her puss over the edge of the pit, and–huh? Oh, thank you kindly. It sure tastes good but I don’t want to short you guys. Thank you kindly.

Well, as I was saying, this Ruskie babe pokes her nose over the edge of the pit and Stillwell dives and knocks down my gun. He says, “You son-of-a-bitch!” Just like that. Wild and desperate, like you’d say to a guy if the guy was just kicking over the last jug of water on a desert island.

It would have been long enough for her to kill us if I hadn’t had good reflexes. Even then, all I had time to do was knock the pistol out of her hand and drag her into the pit.

With her play bollixed, she was confused and bewildered. She ain’t a fighter, and she sits back against the wall staring at us dead pan with big expressionless eyes. She’s a plenty pretty babe and I could see exactly what had happened as far as Stillwell was concerned. His spots had come to life in very adequate form so to speak.