During the air war of 1944, a four-man combat crew on a B-17 bomber took a vow to never abandon one another no matter how desperate the situation. The aircraft was hit by flak during a mission and went into a terminal dive, and the pilot ordered everyone to bail out. The top turret gunner obeyed the order, but the ball turret gunner discovered that a piece of flak had jammed his turret and he could not get out. The other three men in his pact could have bailed out with the parachutes, but they stayed with him until the plan hit the ground and exploded. They all died.
The elements which determine the make of any particular sermon are three; the preacher, the material, and the audience; just as the character of any battle is determined by three elements; the gun (including the gunner), the ammunition, and the fortress against which the attack is made.
No one accuses the gunner of maudlin affection for anything except his beasts and his weapons. He serves as least three jealous gods-his horse and all its sadlery and harness; his gun, whose least detail of efficiency is more important than men's lives; and, when these have been attended to, the never-ending mystery of his art commands him.
The mind travels faster than the pen; consequently, writing becomes a question of learning to make occasional wing shots, bringing down the bird of thought as it flashes by. A writer is a gunner, sometimes waiting in the blind for something to come in, sometimes roaming the countryside hoping to scare something up.
The Gunner's Dream (From The Final Cut) Floating down through the clouds Memories come rushing up to meet me now. In the space between the heavens and in the corner of some foreign field I had a dream. I had a dream. Good-bye Max. Good-bye Ma. After the service when you're walking slowly to the car And the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air You hear the tolling bell And touch the silk in your lapel And as the tear drops rise to meet the comfort of the band You take her frail hand And hold on to the dream. A place to stay Enough to eat Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street Where you can speak out loud About your doubts and fears And what's more no-one ever disappears You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door. You can relax on both sides of the tracks And maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control And everyone has recourse to the law And no-one kills the children anymore. And no one kills the children anymore. Night after night Going round and round my brain His dream is driving me insane. In the corner of some foreign field The gunner sleeps tonight. What's done is done. We cannot just write off his final scene. Take heed of his dream.
I built a cannon out of ice, and wrapped myself in the funeral carpet which my husbands and wives had woven for me out of their own hair, and one of my wives was my gunner. I came back here, after many adventures, and once, when I'd been drinking, donated the funeral carpet to the national museum. When I was sober again, I asked for it back, but they claimed not to know what I was talking about.
Gunner Ainslie made a face at his sister-in-law. "'Amateur' is a bit rough, Alice. I took a degree in archaeology, after all." She looked even more confused. "Then why are you a photographer now instead of an archaeologist?" "Because he didn't want to be a burden to the estate like all my other siblings, " his brother Elliott, the current Baron Ainslie, answered, giving his wife a squeeze. "Or so he said. Frankly, I think it was a cover so he could take pictures of unclothed women.
I have a bra on, " I said helpfully. "I noticed. Might I remove that, too?" "Gunner, " I said sternly, or as sternly as a person could while she stood in a man's castle, her hands full of his ass. "You've got your hands on my boobs, and your tongue down my cleavage. At this point if I'm not yelling for the police, you can probably take it for granted that you have my consent to remove my bra." "I like to make sure, " he said, pulling his head out of my breasts for a moment. "Some women have limits.
Life is like invading Russia. A blitz start, massed shakos, plumes dancing like a flustered henhouse; a period of svelte progress recorded in ebullient despatches as the enemy falls back; then the beginning of a long, morale-sapping trudge with rations getting shorter and the first snowflakes upon your face. The enemy burns Moscow and you yield to General January, whose fingernails are very icicles. Bitter retreat. Harrying Cossacks. Eventually you fall beneath a boy-gunner's grapeshot while crossing some Polish river not even marked on your general's map.