Infant Commandos

 

World War II. Professor Burpstein’s top-secret Milk For- mula X transforms a bunch of scrawny, malnourished 4-F babies into a platoon of two-fisted toddlers: the Wailin’ Commandos!

1944. Aboard a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, somewhere over occupied Europe, G-2 liaison officer Captain Mike “Cry- baby” Cooper finishes a terse briefing. “Any questions?”

Pvt. Saul Winkman, Flatbush’s finest infant mechanic— there’s nothing he can’t fix with alphabet blocks and a stuffed monkey—hesitantly raises a tiny hand. “Yeah, I got one. Will there be ice cream at my bar mitzvah?”

“Stick a thumb in it, wise guy!” growls Sergeant Rick Grumpy, a candy cheroot clamped tightly between his teeth. He checks his toy watch and bellows, “Time ta hit the silk, Wailers!” With that he tosses his platoon, one by one, out the plane. “WAAAAH!”

In the gloom of a Bavarian forest, the Wailers untangle from their parachutes, change into camouflage combat- diapers, then get into formation. “Sarge! I lost Mr. Piggles!” shouts Pvt. “Rusty” Cornbelt, the token Okie. “No, wait. He’s in my ammo pouch.”

“Och, I dinnae like the dark,” grizzles Cpl. “Dummy-Dum” McDonalds, a huge bear of a Scot who stands one foot six in his tam o’shanter. “I keep thinkin’ there’s a clown puppet under m’bed!”

“Krauts!” yells Sarge as German infantry charge into the clearing. “Hit ’em where it hurts!”

“What, their boopsies?” giggles brolly-wielding Pvt. “Stinky” Birtwhistle, as he jabs a storm-trooper in the crotch (“Ach! Stabbed in mein little Fuhrer!”). “My nanny says that’s a rude word!”

But Pvt. Charlie “Little Bird” Carter plays a hard bop version of “Three Blind Mice” on his party-tooter and the jazz-starved jerries—raised on a strict diet of Strauss waltzes and wholesome, knee-slapping schlager songs— ditch their Schmeisser 9mm sub-machine guns and jitter- bug uncontrollably until they drop.

The Wailers head off in little khaki pedal jeeps towards the sinister-looking schloss that looms over the woods. “Hoots, mon. Will ye look a’that scary oul castle! Bet it’s full o’witches an’ ghoosties!” wails Dummy-Dum. But Charlie says, “Don’t be scared, big buddy” and holds his hand.

“Ha! Soon, all of Europe will be crushed beneath my leather jackboot,” rants Baron Donner von Blitzen, aka The Brown Skull. “If only I could find the other one!” He slams a fist angrily into the palm of his other hand. “Ow, that hurts!”

From the courtyard outside comes the sound of gun- fire and a familiar war cry: “WAAAAH!”

“That accursed milk-curdling sound! It can only be those verdammte Amerikanische kinder-kommandos!”

“Yer damn right, Heinie!” snarls Sarge, tommy gun blaz- ing as he kicks down the door with a hand-knitted bootie. “Heh. Heinie...” sniggers Stinky Birtwhistle from behind his parasol.

“Crappen und dratten!” hisses the Brown Skull, bullets zip- ping past his oversized, poop-colored papier-mâché head as he retreats down a secret passageway. “Pah! I’d quote Nietzsche, but there’s too many big words!” He leaps into his experimental Messerschmitt bubble-car—only to real- ize its wheels have been removed and it’s now propped up on alphabet blocks.

“Master race? More like the scheisse race! Amirite?” chuckles Saul Winkman as he pulls the pin on a grenade and pops it through the passenger window.* “I spy with my little eye, somethin’ beginnin’ with—” BTOOOM!

“Mission accomplished!” grins the Sarge, sucking on a fresh candy cheroot and pretending to blow smoke rings. “Sparks! Radio Cap’n Cooper an’ tell him we nailed The Skull.” But there was no one in the platoon called Sparks, except for his imaginary friend—a dragon that only he could see.

And, with that, they all lay down and had a nap.

* Remember, children: never, ever play with matches, fire- works or live grenades unless an adult is supervising or you are fighting Nazis. In which case, punching them is also good. Nazis, I mean. Not adults.

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Hashtag: Danger #5