TG/N: So awhile ago, I was watching my S3 DVD set, and I came across this beautiful deleted scene from "The Merger" of Jim and Pam talking about Creed. Pam then says of Creed, ". . . and he fought in the Civil War . . . for both sides, whoever paid more." And that is when this fic was born. This will be a two part (chapter) story consisting of diary entries describing Creed's experiences in the Civil War, first the Union, then the Confederate. Also, this all takes place within a couple of weeks; Creed just has a terrible memory. And just ahead of time: thanks to those of you that actually read this. It is by far the craziest thing I have ever written. It is also the fastest thing I have ever written, which scares me immensely.
It's only the second day at Union camp, and already I feel like I know everyone and understand how this place is run. At the top of the heap is our general. Goes by the name of Grant or something similar. In any case, he is rarely around and relays most of his orders to the next head honcho, Major Scott Michaels. For all intents and purposes, I refer to him as "Tiny" because he is a very small man. Tiny isn't half bad. The others say he tries too hard and isn't funny, but I appreciate a good racist joke every once in awhile. It helps me remember what I'm fighting for.
Lieutenant Flenderstein is the next guy in line, and he's not a bad guy. He takes care of the problems between the other soldiers. In all honesty, I don't bother much with him, and he pays me the same respect.
The rest of them are all admirals like me. We do most of the heavy lifting and killing. And what a sundry group we are. There's this Mexican kid. Goes by the name of Juan Sanchez—no, Pedro Martinez—I mean, Antonio Banderas, something like that. No, wait; it's Oscar de la Hoya, that's it. Anyway, the Mexican kid bides his time with a rotund fella by the name of Nevin. The two work with numbers and are in charge of rations. In their free time, they play a game called Hateball. I asked them why they call it that. They told me it was because Ashley—the camp bitch—hates it. While I'm on the subject, Ashley is the water wench who cools our cannons off during battle.
Also: she is a bitch.
Then, there is this young kid, Randolph, who just transferred to this unit from Dallas, Massachusetts. The Major has taken a liking to this Randolph kid, so he gets all kinds of privileges like extra rations. Nobody here likes him very much.
Also: we suspect he's queer.
Finally, there's Roger, a huge guy we use mostly for moving our cannons or our dead. Otherwise, dumb as a brick. Came from some small place in Pennsylvania. Topeka, I think.
Of course, there are other guys, but I'm too tired to list them all. Besides, I have to talk to Nevin about getting some mung beans.
When I left for the war, I had to leave this great dame behind. Her name was Molly Pitcher, and she made the best birthday pie in the world. And I would know because I had birthday pie in Nepal once, and it was terrible. People really underestimate a good birthday pie, but not Molly. She always knew just how many peaches to use. She even threw in the pits.
I think about her many a day out here, especially if I'm ever in the sick bay because you are not even allowed to mention pie in that place. I call it "No Pie Place" as an inside joke.
I asked Molly if she wanted to swing once.
You know, come to think of it, I think her name might have been Sally.
Nope. No, I'm pretty sure it was Molly Pitcher.
This real genial fella, by the name of Abe, came to visit the camp today. Everyone was fussing to make sure the camp looked presentable, but I just sat down and listened to what he had to say. He had some good ideas. I told him he should be president instead of that beatnik, LBJ. Abe just looked at me.
Some of the other guys were just embarrassing, like Tiny who kept fawning over the guy and telling him that in his next speech, he should include this brilliant line, "if you are a racist, I will attack you with the North." Abe smiled politely, but anyone could tell he was uncomfortable. Eventually, Tiny was forced to go see Tobias—Toby—Tabitha—I mean, Flenderstein. Tiny looked angry, but he grudgingly agreed to go.
When Abe finally left, everyone was sad to see him go. I slipped him one of my gold pieces on the sly since he was a great guy, and I said, "Don't spend it all in one place."
He said he wouldn't. I took his word for it.
Morale is low. We have been at this war for seven to twelve months, and besides the victory at Denny's, we have been defeated by all the teams. Many of the guys, including Tiny, have retreated to their tents, keeping social contact to a minimum. I don't blame 'em.
In fact, it if it was up to me, I'd join 'em. But then I reme3mber the great dame I got waiting for me back in the States, and I think of her closing words to me before my steamboat launched from the docks in Scranton Kansas. She said, "With tax, your total comes to thirty-six cents." And from that, I remember I have a greater purpose in this war than being the Union's go-to guy for drugs.
So, to boost morale, I gathered the boys from the old days, the ones who played in our band, The Roots of Grass. Leroy, Tiny, and Winston showed up, ready to go. When I asked where the fifth member, George Washington, was, they told me he died in a submarine explosion about a week ago at the Battle of King Triton. We had a moment of silence, since George Washington was one of the most talented ones in the band. After the memorial, we started looking for odd objects since none of us had our instruments. We found a washboard, a tin cup, some kidney beans, and an old ladle. Our sound was pretty good until I realized we were missing something. So Leroy—who gave up the ladle to Tiny who was terrible and could never replace George Washington—found a pickle lying around, hollowed it out, and put some holes in the top. In no time, he was playing a makeshift oboe, and the sound was exactly what we needed. It reminded me of the days when I could play a mean oboe, back when Madison was in office, and not this buffoon, Roosevelt. I was forced to stop when my toe was blown off during a mining accident at Fort Dixie. The memory faded quickly.
In the end, the camp really liked our performance, especially a song I wrote just for the occasion called "Identity Crisis" which tells the tale of how sometimes dirt clods are confused for stones and vice versa. I think it really spoke to people. When the concert was over, one of the soldiers asked me for an autograph.
"There you go, Tommy," I said smiling down at the lad as I gave him his parchment back.
"Uh, my name is Oscar," he replied.
I patted him on the head and smiled. "I know, Jemaine."
I started whittling acorns, just to pass the time, and out of curiosity, I ate the nutmeat, and it was delicious. The great thing about acorns, as I have discovered, is that they can be prepared in so many ways. You can grind them up into paste and use it as a substitute jam, or you can boil them and they taste just like eggs. The possibilities are endless.
So, I started putting handfuls of these things in my pants pockets, in case I needed a snack or felt like whittling on the go. I forgot to take them out yesterday at the Battle of Turkey Hill, and one of the gray coats shot me in the leg, only, the acorns stopped the bullet from actually hitting any of my flesh. All that happened was the acorns were crunched, and thanks to the heat from the bullet, they were also smoked. They were delicious. I reminded myself to thank the young gray coat for his valor.
Thanks to letting the other guys at camp in on my acorn strategy, fatalities have decreased by three percent. I am told that is great.
For my service, the General held a ceremony in my honor where he awarded me a blue moon, a horseshoe, and a red balloon. I put all three in a special tin where I keep my valuables. They are right next to all the gold pieces I nicked off of some of the dead soldiers from the other day.
I have discovered there is a real need for economic organization at the camp. Rations are getting smaller by the day (Note to self: Self, talk to Nevin about this), severed fingers and toes are being traded for cigarettes and whiskey. We need currency.
One time after some heavy partying, I drunkenly sought shelter in what I thought was a brothel, but actually turned out to be a classroom at Harvard University. The teacher was teaching something called "economics," and since I was already there, I decided to stay. I learned some new things, important things. I was so enthralled that I borrowed some kid's quill and started taking notes on my forearm. What I learned was that the world comes down to supply and demand; it's the most important thing. Also: that was all I got before I passed out again.
So there were two questions. First, what was in demand? Supplies. Second, what did we have to supply? Acorns.
I called a meeting that night, inviting everyone except the head honchos and that Randolph kid. I informed the group that from now on, the accepted currency would be acorns with a whittled 'C' on it. If there was no 'C' on it, then that acorn was for eating. Someone asked what the 'C' was for. I told him currency. Secretly, I knew it stood for Creed.
"That's not how currency works," Oscar piped up.
"Well, it is now," I informed him. "So from now on, instead of selling your fingers and toes, why don't you buy some thread with your new acorns, and reattach those puppies?"
Praise for my ingeniousness was heard all throughout the camp, and Roger declared it a Day of Creed. Even the Mexican couldn't help celebrating.
Good news. Turns out that guy Abe saw something special in me. I got word from Lieutenant Flenderstein who heard from Tiny that he wanted a private meeting with me.
I packed a rucksack, brought my valuables, and just to be polite, I brought a jar of my acorn paste which I would offer him when I finally arrived. Word got around to the other soldiers, and everyone wished me safe travels and the best of luck. I confided in my boys that I was really going to focus on getting Abe to campaign because I knew he had some good ideas. They just stared at me which I took for reverence since Day of Creed was not too long ago.
With one more glance at the camp, I took off and began the long trek to find Abe. I hoped he had pie.
As it turned out, Abe was in the camp adjacent to us, so the trip took, at most, five minutes. He greeted me, and when I presented him with my acorn paste, he smiled genially and ushered me inside of his tent. I made a note of asking him how an admiral such as himself got such a nice lookin' tent.
We sat and talked for a good eleven minutes before Abe got to the geese and gander. He said that, if I was interested, he was willing to pay me a large amount of money to play mole and fight for the opposing team, the gray coats. I had met some good men fighting for the blues, but in all honesty, I could only live on acorn paste for so long before I started longing for pea soup. So, in the end I accepted his offer. I reached into my rucksack, pulled out one of the gold pieces, flicked it Abe's way, and said, "Keep the change, Mr. President."
I am pretty certain the "Mr. President" part really convinced him to start campaigning. Molly Pitcher always told me I had a way with words.