Carnival Poppies By Jaedyne Mayion, our second place winner
By Jaedyne Mayion
“Benny-boy! Ya still got those drinks?” Baz called out.
“Of course Bazzy!” Ben replied, handing out small champagne bottles.
“I got the cotton candy! Thanks Miguel!” Ryan announced as he walked in, handing out the sweets.
“But Baz, those are min- *sigh* Anytime Ryan!” Miguel responded, following close behind.
“How’s the cotton candy Luka?” Ben asked the youngest of the group.
“Good as always sir! Super sweet and fluffy!” the 16 year-old replied eagerly.
“That’s great to hear!” smiled Ben.
“Baz’s got the best shot out of all of us, he should go!” Miguel said, handing the pebbles to him who aimed at the stacked cans some distance away.
PING! The first one fell. PING! Another falls. PING! The last one follows.
“Crikey! You have great aim, good sir! Here’s your prize!” the stall owner declared, dramatically handing Baz a purple plushie.
“Why thank you madam Macie!” Baz snickered, jokingly bowing.
“I TOLD YOU IT’S MAC!” he shouted back, irritated. The group erupted into fits of laughter.
“Oh come on Mac! We’re just joking!” Ryan said, slapping him on the back, “Isn’t that right Andy?”
“Y-yeah! W-we’re j-just j-joking!” Andy wheezed, trying not to laugh.
“See?” Baz said, turning to Mac.
“Oh so convincing.” Mac replied sarcastically.
“Oh don’t be like that Mac! Loosen up! Live a little!” Baz laughed.
“Hey sarge! Care to join our little carnival?” Andy said, offering a bottle.
Ammunition acted as plushies. Oat biscuits were pretend cotton candy. Rationed water was illusive champagne. For a moment, the raging battlefield was a carnival fantasy.
“What would I do without you eight?” the sergeant sighed, taking a swig of water.
“Probably die sir!” came a reply.
“OH SHUT IT VINCENT!” the sergeant yelled back.
“Haha, you know I was joking sir!” Vincent replied.
“I swear y'all are giving me wrinkles 50 years early.” he groaned.
The echoing gunshots stopped abruptly.
‘That’s 7 minutes too early. What happened to the barrage? This isn’t good.’ thought the sergeant.
“It’s time boys.” the sergeant declared.
“Oh don’t be sad sarge! We ain’t gonna die!” Luka commented.
“Heh, then I’ll see you later, okay kid?” he replied, ruffling Luka’s hair.
“Sir yes sir!” Luka answered, saluting.
"Form up men!" the sergeant commanded
“Yes sir!” they replied in unison.
“BAYONETS AT THE READY!”
“SOLDIERS, ADVANCE!” the sergeant yelled, his voice cracking a bit.
Beside the trench, eight poppies grew.