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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

Red And Black

Red And Black.

Tucked away at the back of Damascus, is, or rather was, a small workshop devoted to any little old odd jobs that didn't happen to fit in with the doings of the main workshops and factories. And here worked all day and every day for three solid years, one Aram Hagopian, Armenian by birth, artisan by occupation, and hater of the Turk and Turco-Hun with a very deadly hatred; a hatred born of force of circumstances, For, somewhere back in his native vilayet, still roamed Aram's betrothed; quite mad, and mercifully so, after treatment no details of which need be given. Two brothers were dead and his parents, at best, were starving somewhere in Mesopotamia, And Aram bided his time.

* * * * * * *

At the moment he was preparing fuses for five demolition bombs just sent for by the German Overseer, The fat Turkish foreman standing over Hagopian sneered; "Your friends the English wont find many bridges to cross, though they do break the line."

And Aram guessed somehow, that his time had come.

A dash of paint while the foreman's back was turned and a length of red instantaneous fuse was, to all outward appearance, nothing faster than safety, Ober-Lieutenant Fritzel von Attendorf, late 170th. Bavarian Inf., now attached to the Palestine Kommando, slowly raised himself from the acutely uncomfortable position he had been in for the last half hour, looked up the road, north where the last of a plume-hatted rearguard could just be seen, down the road, south, which, with its adjacent horizon, was bare of humanity; and he muttered, "Zo, Alle 1st richt noch verboten". Then quickly lowering himself down the steep bank to the bridge below, he dexterously tooled out a hole in the base of the centre span to receive his bomb. White doing so he indulged himself in a habit he had acquired in the hope of some day being in bullying charge of a big batch of British prisoners; namely, that of talking to himself in what he called "English"; "Dose Sweinhund Australians, They will be berhabs surbrised ven tey hear te rebordt und moch more surbrised when tey finddt my little machine gun gutting tem down. Den as the light begins to go I quicky go away op te gully, Ah! Mein little friendt, two minutes after I leave you, you will do greatt dings for Kultur and theVaderland." This last to the bomb.

* * * * * * *

But the Ober-Lieutenant Fritzel von Attendorf didn't know anything about Aram Hagopian.