Daisy Needs Milking

This is a little creative writing piece that I did quite some time ago.

The night was dark and dreary. Even the moon failed to bring much light to the dismal conditions that encased the English Channel. To most honest folks, the weather left much to be desired; to the ten men huddled in a light assault craft, it meant everything. They sailed silently, staring into the murky darkness guided only by a small hand compass. Nobody spoke, only listening to the soft purr of the motor and the crashing of the turbulent waves. Nothing moved except ten pairs of eyes, and these told the whole story. Stubbornly, each man strove to pretend he wasn’t as scared as the fellow in front of him, but underneath the blackened faces and dull green uniforms, all felt the strain of the mission at hand. The bad weather was merely the camouflage, the real test lay dead ahead by two miles.

Lieutenant Maxwell knew his job. Get in, get the stuff, and get out. It was fairly simple, but completing the task would be a horse of a different color. The German radar station was heavily fortified, and everything depended on secrecy. The fact that these nine men were newly trained greenhorns going into their first combat played but little on his mind. Reaching the landing zone, and on time, was a more important issue.

And time was slowly slipping away.

Where was the landing light? It should have been there by now. Looking at his watch, Maxwell frowned. 0021. One minute late already. He glanced at his men closely huddled in the tight quarters of the boat. They all looked as nervous as he felt. If the light never came, how could they land? In the dark, they’d never be able to hit the selected landing zone. Shaking aside the first inclination of possible failure he finally broke the silence.

“See anything?” Maxwell whispered, glancing forward.

Without answering, the big burly Sergeant in the bow peeked over the top, his sharp eyes quickly penetrating the sheer wall of oblivion. “No, Sir,” he grunted quietly, and slid back down.

Lieutenant Maxwell sighed, shoulders slumped. They were going slower now, to lessen the impact in case they hit the rocks instead of the beach. He could only hope now that they’d land near the right place. They’d be late, but at least they’d be nearby.

“Lieutenant, we’re grounding.”

Lieutenant Maxwell looked up quickly. A small wiry Private named Tuck had his ear half-cocked, listening intently. He was an ex-sailor, who knew his stuff. Maxwell didn’t doubt his prediction. He looked at the man expectantly.

Pausing for what seemed an eternity, he finally spoke. “It’s sand.”

The entire boatful of men breathed a sigh of relief. Maxwell flipped the kill-switch of their faithful motor and again the boat was immersed in the eerie stillness, save the light scuffling and clinks of boots and men readying for landing. His watch read 0024; they had six minutes. He could feel the bottom of the boat scraping against the sand, the tide and momentum pushing it along. Slowing down, it came to a grinding halt. Everyone looked at the Lieutenant for orders. Maxwell moved silently to the bow and quietly climbed out. Wading gently in a few feet of murky water, he moved up the beach. The rest of the men looked on anxiously, and those in the bow slowly eased magazines into their Thompsons.

Furtively glancing around, Lieutenant Maxwell un-holstered his automatic pistol and crept up the small beach. Sweeping the area with his pistol, he could see nothing. And none of the landmarks he’d memorized. Retreating back to the water’s edge he gestured with his arm to signal the men to disembark. The soft splashes of water and popping of magazine clips were barely audible as they gathered around their leader and stole up the wet sandy beach. They were here, but not at the designated place.

Maxwell’s watch now read 0028. Two minutes. Gazing around, he wondered where they were. He hoped they weren’t east of the target; that would mean they’d have to fight their way to it. Unbuckling his radio from his gear, he turned on the volume to its lowest setting. The men crouched behind a small sandbank, rifles poised and ready, but none daring to speak yet. One of them waved his hand, and pointed at a barely visible roof-peak directly inland.

Maxwell followed his finger, a blank look on his face. Searching his brain for what this was supposed to mean, he suddenly remembered. Nodding at the scrawny Private, he stood up slightly for a better view. Thunderation! His fear was confirmed; they were east of their target. Pressing a small yellow button on his radio unit, he squatted back down to wait, glancing again at his watch. 0031. One minute late.

Suddenly a short buzz and pop came from the radio that Lieutenant Maxwell was unconsciously squeezing tightly. He jumped nervously at the violent interruption of the quiet stillness. Quickly muffling the speaker with his hand he held it to his ear. A crackly burst of static issued forth.

“Daisy needs milking”

Maxwell grinned slightly for the first time since the day before. In a low tone he gave the long-awaited order. “Let’s go a’ milking lads, shall we? Roll out!”