On the dot of 0900 Hunter knocked on Theo’s door and marched in then quietly came to a halt.
“Good morning Staff.”
“Good morning, sit down.” Theo looked at this young man and cleared his mind to the job at hand, but at the same time had looked at the front of his trousers and wondered were the hell he had put it!
“Right, tell me why you think you are here?”
“I am pretty sure you are recruiting certain individuals to be trained and then sent to France to carry out undercover operations.”
“And how have you come to think that?”
“I read and listen to everything that is being reported and there must be people already in France sending back information for it to be written in the papers or broadcast on the radio, OR it’s all bull shit and propaganda but I don’t think so. We had spies and undercover people during the first world war and we must have the same now. My guess is more are needed and in particular our own people and Staff, I would like to think I am one of them.”
“And what do you have to offer?”
“As I told you yesterday I am fluent in French and German, I am a very good shot and know weapons inside out. I am as fit as the next man and I could stay out for weeks living off the land, I have the scouts to thank for that. My friend Martin and I spent time out on the moors in a small tent with no food or water to train ourselves to survive, it was great fun.”
“And how did you do that, kill a few rabbits and the odd sheep?”
“Yes we did trap rabbits but sheep would not go in the pot. Martin and I would camp about a mile from a farm or the outskirts of a village and at about 2am we would go out and help ourselves to vegetables, eggs and at times a chicken. We would also take as much fruit as we could carry of course.”
“Of course, it would be silly not too. So how old were you when you went on the moors to rob the locals?”
“Thirteen, we both were.” Well at least we have one thing in common Theo thought as he went down his miserable memory lane. He stared at the form thinking hard and knowing full well this young man had reawakened his homosexual side. No one had done that since Edward. Still it would be easy to hide and just get on with training and then going into France. He smiled to himself and got hold of the “accept” stamp. He put it onto the ink pad and then remembered there was just one more set of questions.
“Girlfriends? A good looking lad like you must have a queue waiting for that thing.” The answer came as natural as all the others. This was just another one and Hunter would reply as he always would, with no issue about what he had to say.
“Gosh no Staff, no girlfriends but a few boys and men though!” Theo took his hand off the “accept” stamp and just stared at the bloke. Just to give himself thinking time he got up and went to the window. Hunter guessed he had touched a nerve.
“Are you telling me you are…. HOMOSEXUAL!?”
“YES STAFF SERGEANT!”
“Yes Staff Sergeant!”
“You do realise you are a criminal and could be sent to jail for years and disgraced for life as well as your family. What the hell would they think!”
“I don’t regard myself as a criminal Staff Sergeant. What the law is and what is natural are at odds with one another. Laws are man made, homosexuality has been apart of all societies long before some people decided it was wrong and as a result many are cast aside and have a miserable life. As for my family they already know of my sexual preference and support me.”
“Of course they do, how FUCKING silly of me not to realise that.” Hunter kept his mouth shut, this was not the time to tell the Staff Sergeant that mother would not be best pleased.
Theo remained staring out of the window and Hunter would have no idea what was going through his head. For years he had tried to forget who he really was and to some extent it had worked, but now this, and the cupboard door was wide open. BUT, he had to admit Hunter had been totally honest and that was a large part of this interview. He took a deep breath and went back to his desk looking at Hunter.
“Right, I should now be calling the red caps (military police) but I will give you five minutes of my time to tell me all about yourself and WHY you have just admitted to me you are homosexual when in fact you didn’t have to say a thing about it. The question was to find out if you have a wife/girlfriend and to warn you that if you were taken on, you would have to think about your relationship if you had one. Now, answer the question and DON’T bring mummy and daddy into this either!” It was Hunters turn to be a bit stumped, how on earth could he reply without referring to his upbringing and those who did it! Oh to hell with it, this could not get much worse anyway.
“It is very simple really Staff Sergeant, we are all bought up by our parents (Theo fought hard not to slam his fist on the desk) to be open and honest even though an opinion may not be agreed by others, but to stand up for those opinions and your chosen way of life no matter what those choices are. All I have done is tell you something you are uncomfortable with and if you send me to prison I will be amongst many other men and will carry on being illegal.” Theo was lost but more scared than that dreadful time in Norway when so many of his men were killed. He did not know it right then but the past was wide open and here he was sitting opposite one of the most beautiful men he had ever clapped his eyes on and was back to being homosexual! There was a long pause as he thought this through and came up with what he hoped was the right path.
“You now have all the time you need and there will be no police involvement.” Hunter wondered why he had been told that and sort of got it right.
“Thank you Staff.” He waited for the reaction but none came.
“I have already mentioned my friend Martin who went with me on the moors when we were thirteen. It was the third time we went that we had sex. We would choose our spot and that nights target and then wash in the stream. The first two times we would just wash ourselves and get back into the tent to warm up and get dressed, then wait for night fall. On this particular occasion it had been a very hot day and there was no hurry to get back into the tent. Instead we began to play fight by trying to dunk one another and of course there was a lot of body contact and we both began to get quite worked up and became rather hard. It just seemed a natural step that we fondled one another and then washed each other and I have to say it was the most wonderful feeling both having my penis touched by Martin and me holding his.” Theo went down memory lane again. At least he knew what Hunter was on about. “We rushed back to the tent and lots more happened between us, so much so we didn’t go out that night or the next day either.” Theo dragged himself back from thinking about Edward.
“Ok, two thirteen year olds having a bit of a play, that’s not homosexual just two kids messing about, but you said men as well. How old were you when you had sex with them?” Hunter was sure Theo wanted to know for some reason of his own, why ask the question as it was hardly relevant to the interview? He guessed Theo was about to have another fit.
“I was sixteen and boxing at the army camp.”
“Oh Jesus! You mean your trainer! What’s his name?” Theo looked at his notes. “Sergeant Fellows!?”
“I picked up a slight ham string and he took me into his office to massage me and it went from that to him taking my shorts off and, well I don’t have to say but I will admit I took his off as well.”
“How old is this bloke.”
“Quite a lot older than you is my guess, about 27, maybe younger and a really nice chap.”
“I bet! Yeah Gods I could get you both locked up!”
“You could me but not him, he was killed at Dunkirk as were two of the other men I had sex with. They may have had sex with me and according to the law they broke it, but they also died for their country. Regardless of your opinion of those men and the homosexuality that was going on, MY opinion of them was all three were lovely chaps, none of them did anything to me that I did not want to happen. They taught me a great deal about friendship and care and I know if I was in trouble they would be the first to help. They were good men, real men and died long before their time and if I become half as good as them I would be a very nice man. I have nothing to be ashamed of and all the prisons or anti homosexual laws will never change me.” There was a long pause as Theo thought, trying to work himself out.
“Ok, sorry about the blokes but I need to ask, did you ever get into trouble because of your homosexuality?” Once again Hunter wondered why he was asked that and could only come up with one explanation, the Staff Sergeant had questions about himself. Little did the young man know!
“I am telling you more about myself than any other person but I don’t mind, it’s good to get it all out. Never let things stay in your head my mother always advised.
“When I was seventeen I got involved with a 21 year old from one of fathers farms and realised too late he had fallen for me and he said a few things that caused a stir and a few locals picked up on it. They managed to corner him one night and beat him up badly, all four of them. He is fine now but lost a few teeth, we never had sex again because he went off to join the RAF.
“When I got to know about it I changed quite a lot and by then I was nearly six foot, fit and a good boxer, I also felt anger and was about to change a few faces.
“I waited until the time was right and selected each in turn and they all ended up with black eyes and split lips but I hung back for the ring leader, there is always a ring leader and I made sure he knew I was after him which I knew would give him a few sleepless nights. He even sent a message saying sorry which made me even more angry. I didn’t do the obvious and confront him at night time, instead I went to his house and banged on the door after I had kept an eye out for family movements and knew he would be in the house by himself.
“He didn’t know what hit him and I did not stop until I was sure his jaw was broken, a few teeth missing and matching black eyes. I left him in a heap and went home, but I had not finished with him.
“Staff I am not telling you this to impress because looking back there is nothing to be impressed about but I will say this, I would do all that to any German I happened to meet, the only difference being, they would not get up.
“A few days later I went to the hospital pretending to be his brother, they even asked me to feed him his soup through a straw because his jaw was still wired up. I just talked to him and suggested he leave the village when he got out of hospital but as I spoke I slipped my hand under the sheet and played with him. He loved it and by the third visit we were doing it to one another. He became a roaring homosexual and is now in the navy.” Hunter looked at Theo and wondered if he would want to know what happened during his medical two days previously when the examining doctor sucked him off nearly choking himself with that hard 9 inches down his throat….Maybe not he advised himself, instead he got back into the interview.
“Staff may I make a comment!”
“I cannot be certain but I am sure you are looking for people to be dropped into France. Quite what the work will be is unknown to me but I can guess. Staff Sergeant if I am being considered to be taken on all I want to say is I will go and if you can see me as a person who will give a good account of himself and put my homosexuality aside I know I wont let you or anyone down.” Theo nodded at Hunter and got up and went to the window again, he would be there for some time and Hunter content to wait, it would give him time to think as well. Meanwhile Theo continued to stare out of the window and looking at the building that had been bombed killing and maiming many of those inside. Whatever his own private life was, those poor sods no longer had a future to be themselves. He went back to his desk.
“The interview has finished and by tomorrow you will know the outcome. What’s your programme?”
“Just lazing about until I am called in to be told I suppose Staff.”
“I would like to invite you to go to the beach tomorrow for the day, just to relax and swim. It’s good that this interview has finished and it would be nice to get out and be informal, just a day out. Does that suit you?” It would also give him the chance to also be informal and knew you could find out much more about a person than in an official interview.
“I do what I’m told Staff, but yes it would be nice and thank you for the invitation.”
“Good, that’s it then until 0900. Come in sports kit and I will bring us food and drink, don’t forget your swimmers.”
“Will I be told tomorrow Staff?”
“No doubt about it.”
Theo sat there for sometime after Hunter had gone and knew what would be said.
“Just hope he still wants to come with me after I talk to him. But it has to be said.” He left for the Sergeants mess and when he got there he phoned the Officers mess.
“Sir, can I borrow the jeep tomorrow I need a break and when I come back I will most probably offer Huntingdon-Smith the job, he will be coming with me but I want to finish it off to be one hundred percent sure.”
“Not like you to be unsure Theo, but yes take the jeep and have a good time, it’s going to be a lovely day according to the met office.”
“It will piss down in that case, thanks sir.” Theo put the phone down and thought about what he would be saying the next day and felt good whatever the reaction.
Theo was hardly ever in a bad mood only this morning he was even in a better one and looking forward to his day out. He was going to do the equivalent to coming out as an homosexual and all down to the young man with whom he was going to spend the day. He had not even thought that there might be more after he had spoken to Hunter, no this was just being honest as Hunter had been the day before.
“Good morning Staff, you picked a nice day for the beach.” Theo looked at Hunter who had on a rugby shirt and shorts, he looked very different and looked good. Hunter had similar thoughts about Theo.
“Good morning Hunter, it’s just one of my many skills, jump in it’s not far.” He didn’t tell Hunter to call him by his name, he would have to work it out himself.
Half hour later Theo pulled into a long drive way and went to the front of “Abbey House” complete with turrets and round towers at each end.
“Lovely building, you have a friend who lives here?”
“It’s owned by a General Black but it is his son who was my friend but not any more. Captain Martin Black was my CO and got badly wounded when we were in Norway and he begged me to finish him off but I couldn’t. We had to leave the dead unfortunately but we managed to get the rest out. The Captain is permanently disabled and needs constant care but has refused to see me since he got home. The General thinks otherwise and he invited me to come any time to walk around the gardens and go to the beach hut and swim. I meet him sometimes if he sees me and he lets me know how Martin is and just chat away, I like him a lot.”
“Did you get the Military Medal in Norway?”
“No, they gave it to me when I got back! Come on lets get to the beach.”
There were wooden stairs leading down the fifty feet to the beach and just to one side of it was a large beach hut which Theo made for. He opened up and got two deck chairs out and set them up then took his top off and shorts which left him in his trunks then told Hunter he was going for a swim which left him wondering if he should go as well. He stripped off and followed. Theo was already in the water and Hunter stood and watched as the Staff Sergeant swam out and then turn parallel to the beach and then off he went at one hell of a speed for the next five minutes.
Hunter just waited for him to come back meanwhile he did a bit of swimming but still watching Theo as he seemed to glide through the water with hardly any effort.
“Very impressed, you have done that before haven’t you.”
“Just a bit but this war got in the way for better things, still it’s nice to have a workout from time to time. Come on lets race to that buoy and back.”
“Give me a start then!”
“Off you go, I will count to two!” Hunter splashed off thinking it was a lost cause but thought he was in with a chance when he realised Theo had waited until he had turned at the buoy. They crossed and by now Hunter was sure Theo had mistimed it and he would get to the shore long before….., Theo flashed by and stood waiting for Hunter.
“My word your quick and your not even out of breath.” Hunter looked at Theo again and liked what he saw. He had athlete written all over his body.
They walked back together and flopped down in the deck chairs. The time had come for Theo to speak. He turned his chair so he was facing Hunter.
“You Private are to listen while I do all the talking understand?” The smile on his face told Hunter this was not going to be a problem.
“Yes Staff Sergeant, wake me up when you finish.” A very good start.
“Right, first of all I am inviting you to join me and what this is really all about but I will say that you have worked out most of it anyway. I don’t want you to tell me your decision until I have said all I need too but you need to know that even though you are being invited to join me, it will be a voluntary commitment anyway.” Theo looked at Hunter knowing he could at last be himself and all down to this young man being himself the day before.
“I am homosexual and have only been with one chap and that was just over ten years ago during my school summer holidays. I was found out and beaten by my father many, many times and vilified by the rest of the family and blokes at school until I could not take anymore and ran away and joined up. Since that time I have been more than vocal about queers which was to divert any thoughts from others about my true self. Why I am telling you this is because I want you to know that IF you join up with me you will know who I am which will make us equal in knowing something about us both. Right, and this is the most important bit, I am NOT telling you about myself hoping something will happen between us. All I want is for you to know who you could possibly be working with.
I’m going back for a swim to give you time to think so that you can give me an answer. If it’s yes I will tell you all the details, but you can still change your mind if you don’t like what you now know about me. Anyway, I’m off.”
Theo ran down to the sea watched all the way by Hunter who had this daft grin on his face as he told himself he would be going to France with him. Half an hour later Theo sat back down smiling at Hunter knowing what he would say.
“Staff, I only have one condition about joining you and that is we call one another by our first names, but if you say no, I still want to come anyway!”
“Welcome to the unknown Hunter.” He held his hand out and they shook.
“We will start training as soon as we get to Cornwall. There is an isolated cottage down there and we will be in it for a month. We will be taking our new identities with us and will become Frenchmen by the time we get to Beaulieu in Hampshire. When we get there we will train in all sorts of stuff and then when we are ready the Major will send us off. Sounds a bit simple but my word we are going to be busy.
While we are at the cottage we will walk five miles every day for the first week and then increase it by two miles every other week with full packs which will weigh 160 lbs each.
Those packs contain all our gear we will need and all we will have to do is catch our food, steal it or both.
When we get to France we MAY make contact with the French resistance but not until we feel it’s safe to do so, but there will be a time when we have too.
We will be issued the Mk7 Paraset, it’s a brilliant radio and light but it will add to everything we need to take.”
“All that stuff will restrict the area we will operate in though Theo?”
“Yes it will but we will only have a restricted area anyway. Look this is the only thing I cannot tell you about until we get to France and that is where we will be and why but I can tell you there will be Germans not that far away and as time goes on there will be even more of them. Still want to come?”
“Yes, get on with it!”
“When we first get there all we will be doing is observing and sending back information as we find it and it’s likely we wont get involved with actual fighting, just gathering info to radio back to London but if plans work out as the brass hope, we will become very active and either join up with the French or go it alone. We will be sabotaging anything worth while and Hunter, more than likely carrying out ambushes.”
“What weapons will we take?”
“We will have the Sten Mk 2S. It’s been adapted for special operations and has a suppressor which will cut the noise to a whisper, it’s a good weapon and we will have ten magazines each. We will also have the American High Standard HDM silenced pistol plus ten magazines. It’s a great pistol and you will now have worked out that if we get into shooting, it will be at close range. We will have six Mills bombs each and some explosives plus acid fuses to blow up the whole of the German army. We will carry all that lot in the chest pack plus maps medical kit, compass and, believe it or not, French coins. On the outside on the pack flap there will be a small box fixed to it, inside will be two cyanide capsules and I don’ have to explain what they are for. Anyway lets have a break I need another swim then eat when we get back.”
“Hang on, why two capsules?”
“In case you drop one. Lets go.”
They swam together for some time then Theo went off on his own for a half an hour while Hunter thought things through but nothing to do with what was about to happen, more like he and Theo together for a very long time. “I like him and even more now he has told me a bit about himself, AND he is very good looking with a super body.” He was one very happy young man.
Theo got back and they had another swim together or just stood talking.
“Are you trained in unarmed combat Theo?” Simple question and hoped the reply would be yes.
“Would you like to give me a lesson before we eat?”
For the next twenty minutes Hunter had to keep getting up as he was dumped on the sand many times. Hunter loved it, so much body contact and wondered if Theo had enjoyed it as much as he had. Theo then showed Hunter numerous holds to attack an unsuspecting German and how to finish him off, it was very informative and even more body contact. Next came a knife attack using a handy bit of drift wood which was interesting but not much contact. “I’m starving, lets eat and perhaps carry on later?”
In a bedroom in one of the towers General Horace Black was with his son who had fallen back to sleep. He was now looking through his binoculars at Theo and the young man as they fought near the waters edge and smiled at them enjoying their time away from anything to do with war or so he assumed, he did not know Theo was in fact giving Hunter a lesson to prepare him for war! “Have a lovely day boys and be safe.” He turned back to his sleeping son and wondered just how much life he had left.
After their meal they went for a long walk enjoying the company and talked about anything but not war or the part they were soon to play in it.
“Theo, did you love Edward? Sorry if I am out of order.”
“That’s fine, all I know I liked him a lot because he was the only person in my life that made me feel good. He was kind and funny, he never demanded anything from me. But when it all went wrong I hated him as It was because of him that got me into the beatings, not that they hadn’t happened before only these were worse. So really I have never been in love and would not know if I was but doubt I ever will be now. I’m married to the army but even that will end someday. When I have to leave I will travel and see as much of the world as possible. I hope to be promoted at some stage and even make Sergeant Major, much better pension.”
“Would you like to find a special person?” Theo smiled at him.
“No I have been on my own too long to share my life with anyone and IF I did meet someone that person would have to have the patience of a saint.” Hunter didn’t ask more instead he slapped Theo around the back of his head and run like the wind only to be caught up and once again dumped on the sand over and over again.
They stood at the top of the stairs looking at the Abbey after a really lovely day and then got to the jeep. Theo had taken Hunter back into the sea and taught him a little how to improve his technic after which they had another race which Theo allowed Hunter to win. Hunter knew that of course but boasted all the way back to the hut that Theo was passed his best and would get beaten every time from now on.
“By the time you can really beat me I will be too old anyway.” Hunter knew he was right.
“Here you are, your choice, which one?.” Theo had both stamps in his hands. Hunter took his finger towards the “reject” stamp and at the last second changed course and tapped the “accept.”
“Sure?” Hunter tapped it again and smiled at Theo. Theo stamped the “accept” box and signed it. They shook hands again.
“Off you go, we report to the Major at 1000 tomorrow for a final briefing.”
This day had been most enjoyable but neither realised just then how much it would change both of them.
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