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The Vagabond


A soft droning fills the air, and the Vagabond thrashes uneasily in his bed. It is very early in the morning, he knows, for the alarm clock has not yet shrilled the arrival of another day. Laboriously he opens an eye. Hmm, only six o'clock. At least four hours before the mind will be able to concentrate on work. Raising his head, he looks out the open window. Sun on towers and chimneys already. A pigeon coos on a nearby ledge. Four stories below a watchman's heavy feet lumber past, echoing dully. Hot Golly, it's hot. But why, the Vagabond wonders, after nine months training to the contrary, should he suddenly wake up early? Just to worship nature on a beautiful morning? Definitely no--sleep is so much more desirable.

That droning--an airplane? Japs? Germans? Reds? It swells and fades, angry, important, businesslike. Ah, a wasp, or is it a hornet, zooms gracefully through the window and roars headlong into the closet. Sudden silence. Probably sampling the various gravy and beer spots on the Vagabond's suit. That'll hold him for a while--maybe kill him. The Vagabond relaxes: let's see, history review today. Damn, action again. The wasp-hornet breezes out of the closet, squats on the bowl of a pipe, sharpens up his stinger with his hind legs, hums contentedly to himself.

The Vagabond is uneasy. He would like to throw back the covers and cool off, but he doesn't quite dare with such an inquisitive visitor making the rounds of his belongings. The winged lancer squares off on the desk calendar and snorts contemptuously at a picture of the Vagabond's best girl. Bored, he revs up his motor and decides to leaves. He mistakes the mirror for a window and is quite some shaken up by the minor crackup which ensues. Then, having been aroused, he changes instantly from a disturbance into a menace. He runs out his stinger to full length and charges the bed in a blind rage. The Vagabond retreats under the covers; he is in no mood to fight. Overhead he hears the motor drone round and round. This little thimbleful of winged poison is not fooling; he doesn't seem to care who he attacks. And there'd certainly be the devil to pay if he ever got under these covers.

But he can't keep this up much longer--suffocating by inches--a fine fix for a college man. In desperation, the Vagabond takes a deep breath, flings off the covers, flails his arms wildly, skids on the rug, reverses his field beautifully, and slams the door behind him gratefully. Outside, he quiets his throbbing pulse and takes careful inventory. Unscathed. The little devil never laid a stinger on him. He finished his sleep uncomfortably on the sofa.

This afternoon the Vagabond will visit the Coop--with a purpose. There he will purchase a flyswatter, mosquito netting, sticky paper, the most deadly exterminator, and the biggest Flit gun available. If that wasp or any more of the air corps drops in for a call tomorrow morning, they are going to catch a warm reception. The ground forces will be prepared.

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