Edward D. Hoch
Three different war zones: WWII, Korea and Berlin at the time of the Wall. In WWII, Contrell and Groves are corporals. Groves shoots Germans who are surrendering. In Korea, they are officers and Groves shoots South Koreans even though they are not the enemy, but seeking safety on Groves’s tank. In Berlin, Groves shoots a Russian guard at the Wall—but it is not able to be proved.
In all of these events, Contrell disagrees with Groves’s belief that if you’re a soldier, you kill. That’s what you’re there for. But Contrell counters that Groves actually appears to be enjoying killing. Groves shrugs. “Soldiers kill.”
Now Groves is a general, settling in at the Pentagon office and Contrell, still a colonel, seeks him out. Groves says that now he is a general, he has permission to create his army the way he wants it, an army of killers.
Contrell puts a bullet in Groves’s head. He wonders how he is going to explain this at his court-martial.
Comment: The dialogue about the philosophy of war reminds me a little of Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead. However, it’s clumsy, designed to make the point that all soldiers are not killers at heart. RayS.
Rating: ** out of *****.
About the Author: Edward D. Hoch, of Rochester, New York, has been a full-time writer since 1968. He has several novels and hundreds of short stories to his credit. Mr. Hoch is well-known to aficionados of mystery, science fiction and crime stories. P. 152.
Short Story International #27. Ed. Sylvia Tankel. (August 1981), pp. 140-152.