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Leader Magazine
SUMMER 1962.
SHORT STORY PAGE.
Last Gasp
by J/Cpl. BAMBER, ‘ A’ Company.
The sky was tinted a pastel rose colour by the rising sun and a cool, moist breeze blew a salty tang through the open French windows, rustling the crepe fittings draped around the room. Another day had dawned.
John awoke with a start and, for perhaps ten seconds, felt good. Then his memory woke and conceded to join his worn out body. For thirteen days he had wakened to those same subtle rustlings, to the same invigorating tang of sea air, to the knowledge that today would be the same as yesterday, a day of excruciating agony, a day on which he would be tortured by that relentless ache, until he cried our for final and absolute release from a world which was slowly shattering around him. But would today be the same? No, he vowed, today would be different.
He would end the agony, one way or the other. If he could not conquer the grimness of his situation by the power of his mind, then he would take the quick and easy way. Which should it be? With a surge of self-reproach he knew that his diminished will could carry him along no more. Day by day it had grown weaker, and the continued intensity of effort was now beyond him. It would have to be the easy way.
Tranquility reigned in his brain, in spite of the numbing ache which was attacking his already weak mind. But he knew how to beat the pain, knew how to smash it just as it threatened to smash him. He dimly wondered why he had not decided this before, and, even as he wondered, he reached for the small rectangular packet lying on the bedside table, which would soon put an end to all his troubles. He read the small, neatly printed words through once or twice, trying to separate the blurred letters, which were running together through his aching eyes, but gave up because he knew it didn't matter any longer.
He thumbed open the packet, feeling the tension already unwinding inside him. Almost delirious with joy, he lit the cigarette, and sighed contentedly as the smoke enveloped his head in its misty veil.

Short Short Story
by J/Gnr. MORAN, ‘ C ’ Company.
I once heard of a man who had checked his Pools coupon and discovered that he had had some good luck. From what the papers said the next day, he estimated that he had won £30,000. As the money had not come through he thought he would borrow some from a money-lender until it arrived. He was a very greedy person and borrowed, from five different lenders, loans to the total of £15,000, and most of it was gone inside a week.
The day the cheque came, he was very excited. He went to the letter-box and tore open the Pools envelope, and there, to his surprise, was a cheque, not for £30,000, as he had expected, but for £55,000.
Now ninety-nine people out of a hundred who listen to this story will say to themselves half way through, “I bet he only gets a couple of quid, and he deserves it for borrowing so much.” This just shows they are over-confident, and have forgotten the old lesson about never being too tip-top sure.
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