A lull in the shelling, I hold Ted’s hand, stroke his whitening cheek. Ted Pepper has been more than a friend to me, more than a lover, more than a brother, more than an anthropomorphic condiment, and here he lies pumping the last of his vital juices out on the stony grey soil of Flanders.
Deafened by the shelling, we can only mime our affections through mouthfuls of broken teeth, I lean forward and place one slow long lick upon his cheek. Reaching reach down, I feel something wet and hard, and start to stroke; too late I realising I’ve groped a loop of fat intestine.
In years to come I’ll meet two US presidents, invent a revolutionary herpes cream, and even own my own digital watch, but never will I feel more privileged than today, hands in my mates belly, bare arse skinned from the shelling, gay under a coal shed sky.