“I served at Al-Qadmuto and Al-Babiels,” said Garlick. The lingering scars of tropical disease caused his voice to grow more strained and gravelly the longer he spoke.

“Were…were those on the Western Front?” Samuel said.

Garlick laughed until the bandages across his chest constricted the sound into a painful rattle. “What do they teach you children in school these days? Al-Qadmuto is in Transjordan and Al-Babiels is in Iraq.”

“I’m sorry,” Samuel said. He finished changing the bandages on Garlick’s left leg and moved onto his right. “I wasn’t alive during the war, and we only learned about the Western Front in school.”

“That’s because we won the war there,” Garlick said. “Everywhere else was more or less a miserable failure or sideshow. My unit probed against the Turks in Transjordan–with the way people talk these days, it’s a wonder anyone remembers that we ever fought the Turks alongside the Germans–and got our arses handed to us. Fell back to Al-Babiels and the rutting Turks blasted us with mustard gas until we surrendered. They’d gotten it parcel post from their friends in Berlin.”

“If you surrendered,” Samuel said, “how did you defeat the enemy?”

Garlick gave another dry rattling laugh. “Defeat? We were the ones defeated, lad. My boys and I spent the rest of the war in a prison camp, and our boys didn’t get so much as a spoonful of victory on that front until Allenby.”