To Win Just Once

PAGE 48

Two panels, top and bottom.

PANEL 1

JIMMY and CHANDLER lie in the bottom of the shell hole. They’re muddy and dishevelled. At the top of the panel, we can just see the boots of German soldiers hurrying past the hole, not noticing them.

PANEL ABOVE

As they lay in the mud, German soldiers streamed past Jimmy and Captain Chandler’s hiding place. They spoke in whispers so as not to be heard.

JIMMY

We should get up and fight!

CHANDLER

We’d be surrounded in an instant.

PANEL 2

Still JIMMY and CHANDLER in their hole. Closer up this time, showing the intensity of their expressions as they argue.

JIMMY

Then we wait until they’ve gone past and attack them from behind.

CHANDLER

There are two of us and hundreds of them. We’d be slaughtered.

PAGE 49

Two panels, top and bottom.

PANEL 1

JIMMY, rifle in hand, starts climbing up the side of the shell hole, away from CHANDLER, who is still lying in the mud.

PANEL ABOVE

Normally, Jimmy was a good soldier. He did what his officers ordered. But not today.

JIMMY

Do what you want. I’m going to fight.

PANEL 2

CHANDLER grabs JIMMY’s leg, dragging him back down towards the bottom of the hole.

CHANDLER

Keep your head down or you’ll get us both killed.

PAGE 50

Three panels, one top and two bottom of page.

PANEL 1

Crouched in the mud at the bottom of the shell hole, the two men glare angrily at each other. They aren’t pointing weapons at each other, but JIMMY’s pointing his finger straight in CHANDLER’s face, and there’s a sense of menace between them.

JIMMY

You’re nothing but a bloody coward! Good men died for you today, and here you are, hiding like a rat in a hole.

PANEL 2

Close up of CHANDLER. His expression has changed. He’s feeling ashamed, eyes downcast. His once magnificent moustache is bedraggled and drooping.

PANEL ABOVE

The words stung Chandler. Shame filled his heart.

CHANDLER

Maybe you’re right. I know I’m not as brave as you or as Alf.

PANEL 3

Close up of CHANDLER, framed exactly like the previous one. But this time he’s looking straight ahead, his expression serious and determined.

CHANDLER

But there’s more to war than courage. Your lunatic charge got men killed for no reason.

PAGE 51

Four panels, quartering the page.

PANEL 1

JIMMY punches CHANDLER.

PANEL ABOVE

The accusation filled Jimmy with fury.

JIMMY

Blame the Germans! They’re the ones who shot Alf.

PANEL 2

CHANDLER punches JIMMY, sending him staggering back.

PANEL ABOVE

Captain Chandler was stronger than he looked.

CHANDLER

Enough of this nonsense. Get down.

PANEL 3

CHANDLER wrestles JIMMY to the ground again.

JIMMY

But we have to go fight!

PANEL 4

JIMMY, pinned to the ground by CHANDLER, looks up at his officer. The look in JIMMY’s face is no longer defiant. It’s pleading.

JIMMY

We have to prove that we can win!

PAGE 52

Two panels, top and bottom.

PANEL 1

CHANDLER is still pinning JIMMY to the ground. He looks at him with incredulity.

PANEL ABOVE

Captain Chandler was stunned. He had never seen anything like this.

CHANDLER

That’s what this is about? Proving yourself to someone?

JIMMY

No-one believes I can win. But I’ll show them.

PANEL 2

CHANDLER has got off of JIMMY. Now he’s sitting in the mud next to him, looking at him sadly.

CHANDLER

Listen to yourself, lad. How are you going to prove anything to anyone if you get yourself killed out here? No-one will know.

PAGE 53

Two panels, top and bottom.

PANEL 1

JIMMY picks up his rifle, ready to go into action.

PANEL ABOVE

A calm settled across Jimmy. A realisation of what really mattered.

JIMMY

I’ll know.

PANEL 2

JIMMY crouches at the edge of the shell hole, peering out across no man’s land. Beside him, CHANDLER is also crouching, pistol in hand, ready for action. CHANDLER sweeps a hand back across his bare head, neatening his hair, trying to restore an appearance he can take pride in despite the mud smearing both of their uniforms.

PANEL ABOVE

It may have been lunacy, but Chandler could not help but admire the young New Zealander.

CHANDLER

Damn it, you’re right.