My Dad’s a smart guy, but his plans for handling Battlefield 1942 snipers are somewhat unorthodox
The island sand, baked by the sun, crunched underfoot as I scrambled toward the airfield. The Japanese had already taken over the north part of Wake Island, and a second wave of landing craft had been seen headed toward the shores. About a hundred feet in front of me ran another pilot, heading for a bomber. Without warning, a sharp crack cut through the sky and he fell to his knees, then dropped to the sand … dead. I turned to my brother Denny who was playing with me on the same game server from his side of the room. “Sniper!!” I yelled. No sooner had the terrible word left my lips than another shot pierced through the sea breeze and fell me with one terrible stroke.
My brother had been making a dash for the fighter plane. “Where?” he cried out. He backpedaled from where he was on the runway, then suddenly shouted out in fury as a bullet pierced his chest. His soldier took a step backwards and crumpled lifelessly to the ground. We muttered angrily to one another as we waited to respawn.
Then my old man came in, clomping onto the hardwood floor of my bedroom with a gimp leg. “You boys having trouble with snipers?” he asked, in that ready-to-lecture tone.
“No!” I said, but Denny was quicker. “YES!” he blurted, pointing to the map on his screen. “And we don’t know where he’s hiding!”
Dad sidled forward. “Show me that map, son,” he said, pulling out his glasses and wrapping them around his ears. “Now point out where everyone was killed by this sniper. There, on the airstrip? Up there? And there? And there, by the jeep? And there goes another one, by the hangar? Ah yes, you see my sons – pay attention Kevin! – You see the conical pattern of his killings, indicating a line of sight? That’s right, it’s like an arrow pointing right to his campgrounds. It would appear as though your mysterious Japanese sniper is actually hiding IN one of your coastal defense cannons. Shrewd little monkey. Wouldn’t be surprised if that was your mother.”
“We can handle it, dad,” I tried to say, but the old man would have none of it.
“If by ‘handle it’ you mean drop like sacks of potatoes, shrieking and whimpering so loudly that I could hear you over the sound of my M*A*S*H reruns, than yah, I’d say you’re handling it fine.” He snorted. “How do you suppose you’re going to take this guy out?”
“I was gonna pop a grenade into the bunker,” I said.
“WRONG!” dad answered, pointing an aggressive finger. “He’ll hear your footsteps and bolt. This guy’s craven, he wants to fight again another day. For God’s sake, you don’t want to give him the opportunity to scurry down the hillside to the beach, do you? NO!” He rolled up a chair, turned it around, and straddled it backwards. “Lemme tell you how’d we’d have handled this situation in the war.”
Denny turned his chair around. “Cool!” He breathed.
“To be fair, dad, you were in the reserves during Desert Storm,” I reminded him. “You drove a truck. You never even left Saudi Arabia.”
“Listen here! My unit was essential to the delivery of foodstuffs. Foodstuffs that went into the bellies of the soldiers who, in turn, drove the tanks that fired the shells that kept the world safe for oil. And Democracy.” He turned his chair with a loud squeak. “Now listen good. NO QUARTER is what we used to say. You don’t want to give this guy a chance. You’ve got superior weapons and superior strategery. You should drop in a couple commando units to blow that bunker sky-high.”
“Blow up our own bunker?”
“TWICE if you have to!” He gestured to Denny’s computer screen. “You’re gonna need to take a couple of engineers with dynamite to land on the roof of the bunker and blow it to smithereens. The only way to do it without tipping the little bastard off is to drop in from airplanes. Obviously you can’t use your own since he’s got the runway all to himself, so I expect the two of you to hijack a couple Jap planes…”
Even Denny began to show a little skepticism. “Isn’t this getting kinda complicated?” he asked.
“Hell no, this is how it was done back in the war,” Dad Boomed. “Did you know they used to call me ‘The Desert Wolf?’”
“‘Cuz wolves weren’t indigenous to the desert and would probably die?”
Dad ignored me. “So you and Denny here are gonna jump into that Japanese landing craft and put the ramp up. Then, back off the beach and drive over to the Imperial Japanese Navy carrier. Jump out, swim to the ladder up the side, and hop onboard. I want you to steal two Zeroes and fly out of there before they can say Tora Tora.”
“Is that how you did it in Desert Storm?” I asked.
“I’ll tell you something, son, if Sadam Hussein had an aircraft carrier you can be your be-hind we’d have been crawling all over that sonofabitch like hogs on slop. Anyways, steal a couple planes, bail out over your own airbase, deploy the parachutes, and start dropping explosives even before you land. I want the top of that bunker to light up like a birthday cake. I want that sucker blowing like a roman candle. Understood? Now MOVE!”
Crazy as Dad’s plan was, I gotta admit it went smoother than I thought. Now, sure, once I got into a Japanese landing boat Denny had to Smack into me with a Jeep in order to get it back out into the ocean. Then he had to make a running leap onto the little boat as it puttered off. Within a minute or so we’d pulled up next to the Japanese carrier, and before they could even really figure out what was going on we were taking off with their last two planes. We flew high over our base, dodging both our own and enemy anti-aircraft fire, and then parachuted the long way down.
“BLOW IT! BLOOOWWW IT!” Dad cried, the veins in his forehead popping. It was quite the fireworks. I wish I coulda seen the look on that sniper’s face when he heard our combat boots clink onto the roof of the big gun, and instant before kit-and-caboodle burst into a white ball of flame and ruptured steel. The sniper was dead, and so were we.
“That’s just great Dad,” I sighed. “We killed the sniper. But while we were out on the boat the Japs took the airfield, the landing beach, and our last command point. Now the war’s over.”
“I don’t think you understand what’s important, son,” my Dad said, standing up and shifting his weight to his good leg. “It’s not so important to wipe out the enemy as to show him that you’ve got bigger balls. What you did to that sniper was complete overkill, using boats and jeeps and bombs and discarding planes like used snotrags. That’s right. So, even though the Japanese are in possession of that island, the fact is, they know the kinda cojones they’re dealing with. So, if, say, in ten years time those Japs start kicking out UN weapons inspectors or developing weapons of mass destruction, they’re gonna remember what you did to that bunker, and they’ll know you mean BUSINESS.”
With that, Dad stormed out of the room.
I turned to scowl at Denny, but he just looked back with wide eyes. “Well, you gotta admit,” he said. “We just 0WNZED that bunker.”
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