Children of the Detonator
February 8th, 1917
Report from Captain T.E. Lawrence to Lt. Col Newcombe
You and Major Hornby are demolitions experts now that you have acquired so much more experience than we have, along the Hejaz Railway. Auda of the Howeitat and others are of the opinion that you would be as well-suited to teach these techniques to the Saysquack and his handler, as we are, as Auda put it so poetically, “but children in the ways of the detonator.” Although we have done much to ingratiate Stanley the Saysquack with the men, he remains alien to them, as does Browntrout, who is yet progressing in the art of camel riding, or rather progressing in the art of falling off of camels whilst attempting to ride them.
February 10th, 1917
Diary of Lieutenant Horace S. Browntrout
This Lawrence chap is awfully aloof. We are here to learn from him, but I’m not even sure what he is supposed to be teaching us. He doesn’t seem to be sure either. When he is not ignoring us, he is conversing with the others in Arabic, which of course neither Stanley nor I can understand. He doesn’t bother to translate, except to tell us to fetch him water from the well. His servants — outcasts named Farraj and Daud — are pixie-ish creatures who mock us and poke at Stanley at every turn, though they are themselves the lowest outcasts. Being my batman — my personal valet — Stanley is obligated to carry all of my effects as well as his. Given that desert duty is rather crushing, I have attempted to lighten his load by leaving behind my Unabridged First Edition Oxford Encylopaedia Arabia. Being that we’re in a pinch, the abridged version will do, along with my shaving stand, mirror, basin and brush and Mrs. Right Away’s Collapsible Canvas Heat Reflection Umbrella with ten-foot stand and weighted base. Actually, we left the weighted base behind. It has a ten-foot circumference, is khaki-colored and has the Union Flag painted across the top along with the words “Mobile Camp Dash Fire.” Stanley simply holds the umbrella over our heads whilst we walk or rest, so that we may be in the shade at all times. The way Lawrence looks at us from under his desert robes, you’d think he’d want to slit our throats.
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