Victory in Europe has just been announced and Captain Jimmy Jones fears it means the end of his security, wealth and luck.
Jimmy, a linguist without peer and a degenerate without morals, sits in a casino in the middle of London’s Soho with a pile of winning chips wondering what will happen to him in this new and worryingly peaceful world. The last action of Jimmy’s war is to turn up a five-card-trick in pontoon. An apt end as Jimmy spent more time bribing officers and dealing in the black market than on the front line. He believes every time he gets a five-card winning hand his luck turns for the better; at least it did when the world was at war.
This time his fortune with the cards takes him on a journey into the heart of a destroyed and desperate Europe. In Berlin he has to translate at a high-level secret meeting. The city is destitute and riddled with Russian soldiers.
After his short stop in Berlin, Jimmy is ordered to take an aid convoy from Hamburg to Kiev. A small platoon of six soldiers, with Jimmy as their official translator, takes five trucks of bully beef in a poorly-planned expedition through desolate Germany and a lawless Poland. The trip turns out to be drunken and increasingly emotional, with every person they meet starving and scared. Stopping each night in a different town, the stories of the locals are haunting yet full of resilience and hope. There also seems to be an incredible volume of various types of vodka. Jimmy's character changes with the stories he hears and his head aches with the stupendous amounts of alcohol.
Arriving in Kiev the journey has taken its toll. The brutality of war and the terror of peace tears into Jimmy’s being, but the horror brings the one thing he has been diligently avoiding. The cards come out again, and a five-card-trick causes yet another tremor in Jimmy’s life. Who is this woman?
I turned the handle of the door to the bar, which was in as bad a state as everything else in Berlin. I pushed it open. It creaked but stayed on its hinges. Taking off my hat I looked around to see a ramshackle mess of broken tables and chairs with a homemade bar running along the right hand wall. Bottles of vodka and other alcoholic souvenirs the Russians had nabbed sat on broken wooden shelves, which were held up by bricks. There was a large Soviet flag decorating the room, covering the far wall. A Nazi flag was being used as a tablecloth over the makeshift bar, which was hideously soiled as the Soviet soldiers had spilt their drinks, guts and other bodily fluids over it.
A group of drunken Ruskies turned around to look at me as I stood motionless, taking in the extraordinary spectacle. Startled by my presence they stared at me, not knowing quite how to respond. They then yelled out, in mock German, “Est ist ein Englander,” noticing my British army uniform. Everyone in the room turned round and roared with approval. Then they abruptly stopped. They fell silent as they waited for me to say something. I thought this had to be some strange Soviet custom. I was still a little unsteady from my walk here and was trying to get my mental and physical bearings. I ventured, in English, “Hello chaps, any chance of a snifter?” while mimicking drinking a glass of something with my right hand, but clearly this universal signal for a drink was not appreciated by the Russians.
Five Cards to Kiev has seen an fantastic uptick in support in the last week or so. That's amazing!
Thanks this week go to:
Robbie and Les Watkins
As I have mentioned in my Bio, Five Cards to Kiev is based on the experiences of my Grandpa in the Second World War.
This is a fact I mention to anyone who asks about my book, but I always cringe a bit when I say it.
Captain Jimmy Jones is a bounder, a cad, possibly a bit of a psychopath, and certainly happily ensconced along the narcissist continuum. My Grandpa, as far as I can remember…
Welcome to my Shed.
It’s not very well furnished, but I’m working on it!
For my first entry I decided to take a look at the other authors on Unbound to see what they were up to. I have learnt two things from this extensive, but not exhaustive, search. I now know that the pages of this website are populated by some amazing talent and an accumulation of incredible experiences. I am very excited…
These people are helping to fund Five Cards To Kiev.