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The Slice: No matter how bad the battle, we still must soldier on

Tue., May 24, 2011, midnight

The other day, a nice guy on an elevator asked me a familiar small-talk question.

“How goes the battle?”

I can’t recall my answer. But I remember thinking afterward that a person in a town with a zillion military retirees really ought to be able to come up with a decent reply.

So here are a few things I might say next time:

“We are being routed on all fronts.”

“They’ve taken the West Plains and Mead.”

“If we don’t get some air support soon, we’re in trouble.”

“We’ve been hit and are taking on water.”

“Still waiting for reinforcements.”

“Actually I’m heading back to the bunker right now.”

“General Custer says we’ve got ’em on the run.”

“The usual. Trench warfare.”

“Still hoping to outflank them.”

“We’re being shelled ’round the clock.”

“About to make a big push.”

“We’re in full retreat.”

“They keep demanding surrender and I keep saying ‘Nuts.’ ”

“Three engines out and the fourth’s on fire.”

“They captured our peace emissary.”

“Our General Pickett is about to make his move.”

“We’re on HMS Hood and have just engaged the Bismarck.”

“We’re rigged for silent running.”

“We could use a few more Spitfires.”

“We’ve found ourselves bogged down in the Russian winter.”

“Did you see the beach-landing scenes in ‘Saving Private Ryan’?”

“Nobody’s in a mood to dive on any grenades.”

“Skynet has become self-aware.”

“I’m a little troubled by the appearance of that Death Star.”

“It’s the Zulu drumming that unnerves you.”

“The enemy just gave us a big wooden horse.”

“I’m a little troubled about what I’m seeing in the U-2 recon photos.”

“We’re just about to fix bayonets.”

“Henry V is going to give us a pep talk.”

OK, your turn. What’s your best answer to “How goes the battle?”

Today’s Slice question: How much beer have you consumed over the years?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; email Feel free to suggest a little-known codicil to the Marmot Lodge bylaws.

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