The Hammelburg Hillbilly
2005 Papa Bear Awards - Third Place
2005 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
Best Short Story
So what would happen if a young Jed Clampett found himself shot down over Germany and met up with Hogan and the boys from Stalag 13? Would Jed feel like a fish out of water, or would he fit in well with the men? This is what I think would happen. My hope was to capture both the humor of the Beverly Hillbillies as well as the feel of Hogan’s Heroes.
The standard disclaimer applies. I make no claims to the Hogan’s Heroes or Beverly Hillbillies characters. The story is a figment of my own imagination, and is for entertainment purposes only.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jed swiveled the tail turret of the B-24 Liberator around and fired at the oncoming German fighter. He let out a yell as a cloud of smoke immediately puffed from the plane and it began to plummet from the sky. The Liberator bucked and rocked from the many flak explosions in the air around it. The rough ride reminded Jed of canoeing on the rapids when he was a boy.
Jed spotted another plane and swiveled around to face it. He let loose with his twin guns, leading the aircraft the way he would lead a duck when he was hunting back home. In a matter of seconds, the fighter began to fall from the sky. Jed let out another whoop.
“Cripes, Clampett,” came a voice over the plane’s intercom system. “We can always tell when you’ve scored a hit by that blasted yell of yours!”
Jed recognized the co-pilot’s voice and also the light-hearted tone. He knew that Lieutenant Johnson was teasing, as he always did. “I reckon you can, sir,” he replied. Before he could continue, he saw another plane come into view and swiveled to turret to greet it. After a short burst from the guns, he saw the plane turn away and it flew out of view.
“Dag nabbit!” he swore.
Jed heard Johnson chuckle over the intercom. “We can also tell when one gets away from you!” said the Lieutenant.
“Well, I reckon that I was shootin’ ducks back home with a gun smaller than this one here,” Jed replied. “I should be havin’ no trouble at all hittin’ these here big ol’ planes with this cannon. There shouldn’t be any getting’ away!”
Johnson laughed. “Well, we would rather hear that yell of yours than the sound of bullets ripping through the plane,” he replied.
Suddenly a loud explosion rocked the plane. The plane began to shake violently as more explosions thundered around it. Jed spied another fighter coming into view and swiveled to meet it. Before he could begin firing, there came an explosion that jolted the plane violently to the side. Jed knew something was wrong when the plane rolled and began to turn around.
“We’ve lost both starboard engines,” he heard over the intercom. “Fuel pressure dropping.”
Jed kept an eye out for any fighters that might be tailing them. He knew that they liked to follow crippled bombers and use them for target practice.
Suddenly he heard Captain Wolford’s voice on the intercom. “I can’t hold it men, the port engines are gone now too. The plane is going to go down,” Wolford said. “Prepare to bail out.”
Jed scrambled to climb out of the tail turret and into the fuselage of the plane. It took him a few moments to get there, and when he did, he saw the last of the gunners make the jump. He checked his parachute to make sure it was secure before heading to the side window and jumping into the wide-open sky.
* * * * * * * * * *
It was finally dark, and Jed was perched in a tree by a clearing overlooking the river. He had a good view of the railroad bridge over the river and all of the German activity surrounding it.
When he had bailed out, he was lucky that he was able to avoid landing in the trees and getting his chute tangled. As he hit the ground in the clearing, he had scrambled up and gathered his chute to hide it. He knew that he was seen coming down, and didn’t want to be captured. After hiding his chute inside an old rotted log, he ran off into the woods.
Though he was not happy to see the trees as he was descending, he was glad now that there were woods around. He had slowly made his way around the area, scouting to see the lay of the land. He had run into several patrols that were out looking for the downed flyers, but he had been able to evade them pretty easily – after all, he had grown up in the hills and had spent his entire life as a woodsman.
So now he was perched in his tree, looking down upon three figures dressed in black. He could hear that they were speaking English, but they were talking so softly that he couldn’t catch all of their conversation. They were messing with some wires and a box with a handle on it, and Jed figured it had something to do with the railroad bridge, since they had come from that direction. Jed kept a watch, to see what they were up to, and to make sure that the men were not surprised by the many German patrols that looked to be protecting the bridge.
Off in the distance, he saw a small patrol heading in the direction of the clearing. Though he still was not sure what the three men were up to, he suspected that they were trying to blow up the bridge. Figuring that, he also figured that they should be friendly to him and he should warn them of the approaching patrol.
Having made the decision, he shinnied down the tree quietly and began to move towards the men quietly.
* * * * * * * * * *
Carter was attaching the last wire to the plunger while Newkirk and Kinch waited impatiently.
“Come on, Andrew,” Kinch said. “The longer we are here, the more chance we have of a patrol spotting us.”
“I’m going as fast as I can,” Carter replied crossly. He finally finished fastening the wire to the plunger and said, “There, that should do it. Who wants to do the honor?”
“Who bloody cares?” Newkirk replied. “Let’s just blow this bridge and get back to camp.”
“All right, here goes,” said Carter, pushing the plunger down. Nothing happened. Carter pulled it up again and pushed it down. It made a whirring sound, but the bridge did not explode.
“Blimey, can’t you do anything right?” Newkirk complained. “Are you sure it’s attached properly?”
“It’s fine here, and I know I attached the wires to the detonator on the bridge,” Carter replied frowning.
“Leave it to you to mess this thing up,” Newkirk retorted.
“Maybe when you got tangled in the wire back there you pulled it out when you fell, Newkirk,” Kinch observed.
“The Colonel’s not going to like this,” Carter said. “He said London wants this bridge blown up.”
“We’ll just have to go back to the bridge and see what’s wrong,” Newkirk stated.
Just then, the three heard a voice right behind them. “Howdy fellas,” the voice said.
The three men spun around with fright and saw a man dressed in an American flight suit standing behind them.
“Blimey!” Newkirk exclaimed. “Where the ‘ell did you come from? We didn’t hear you walk up?”
“If you fellas are hopin’ not to be seen by the Germans, y’all had better skidaddle from this clearing now,” Jed said to the men. “There’s a patrol down yonder heading this way.”
Hearing that, Carter began unfastening the wires from the plunger. “Let’s get out of here,” he said hurriedly.
“No time, you best be getting’ yerselves to the woods and hide until they pass,” Jed replied. “Follow me and I’ll show you a good place.”
The three men looked at each other as Jed began to quietly walk towards the woods. “No wonder we didn’t hear him,” Kinch observed. “He isn’t making any sound while he walks. Let’s go before that patrol gets here.”
The men followed Jed into the woods and the crouched inside a hedge of bushes that completely hid them. They looked around for Jed, noticing that he was not in the hedge with them.
“Where the ‘ell did he go?” Newkirk whispered.
“Shhh, I hear someone coming,” Carter admonished.
The men held their breath as the patrol neared. The Germans passed so close to the hedge where they were hiding, that they could have reached out and grabbed their boots. The patrol continued passed, and soon they were out of hearing range.
At that moment, Jed appeared again. “Okay fellas, you can come out now,” he said. “They are gone.”
“Where did you go?” Kinch asked.
“I climbed up this here tree to get a better look,” Jed replied.
The men looked at the tree that Jed had indicated. There was not a branch on it lower than twenty feet from the ground. “You climbed that tree?” Carter asked. “And we didn’t hear you?”
“Aw, t’weren’t nuthin’” Jed replied. “Did that back home all the time.”
“You’re obviously an American flyer,” Kinch observed. “How did you get here?”
“Bailed out of my plane this afternoon,” Jed replied. “I think we was shot down.”
“Where’s the rest of your crew?” Kinch asked.
“I saw some of them get captured earlier in the day,” Jed responded. “And I reckon that Captain Wolford stayed on the plane until the last moment. Captain Wolford’s the pilot.”
“We’d best not stand out here too long, or that patrol might come back,” Carter said.
“Right, Sergeant, um, well, we don’t know your name,” Kinch said.
“Clampett. Jed Clampett,” Jed replied.
“Right, Sergeant Clampett, follow us and we’ll make sure you stay safe,” Kinch said. “We might even be able to get you back to England.”
“Weeeeeeell doggie,” Jed replied. “That would be right kind of y’all!”
* * * * * * * * * *
Jed followed the men through the woods until they came up to the clearing surrounding Stalag 13. He watched as Newkirk crawled over to a tree stump and hid while the searchlights from the camp scanned the woods. After the light had passed, Jed saw Newkirk lift the top of the stump and begin to climb in.
“Well I’ll be,” Jed commented. “That’s slicker than a greased hog at an Independence Day picnic!”
Kinch suppressed a laugh as he motioned for Jed to follow Newkirk into the tunnel. Jed made his way over to the stump, waited while the searchlight passed and then lifted the stump and climbed down.
When he stepped off the ladder, Jed looked around in amazement. As he waited for Kinch and Carter to climb down into the tunnel, he commented, “Y’all got a right nice hole in the ground here.”
“We like it,” replied Colonel Hogan, who had wandered down to the end of the tunnel when he heard his men come in. “You guys are late, any troubles?”
“Lot’s of patrols out tonight sir,” Carter replied.
“And the bridge didn’t get blown up,” Kinch added.
“Why not?” Hogan asked.
“Laurel and Hardy here messed it up somehow,” Kinch replied. “Either the wires came off the detonator when Newkirk got tangled in them or Carter didn’t attach them properly.”
Carter and Newkirk began to protest, but Hogan quieted them with a wave of his hand. “And you picked someone up along the way,” he commented.
“Sergeant Jed Clampett,” Jed answered, saluting the superior officer.
Hogan returned the salute. “Well Sergeant, you’ll have to sit tight for tonight,” he said. “But we may be able to get you on your way back to England tomorrow night.”
“That would be right neighborly of you, sir,” Jed replied, causing Hogan to chuckle and shake his head.
“Well, you’re lucky my boys found you before the Germans, or you wouldn’t be heading back so soon,” Hogan said.
“Naw,” Jed replied. “Got to switch it around.”
Hogan got a confused look on his face and glanced at his three men. Kinch spoke up, “He found us, Colonel. He warned us about an approaching patrol as we were trying to blow the bridge.”
“That’s right,” Jed added. “That patrol was pertnear close t’ runnin’ into them.”
“’E nearly gave us a heart attack when he snuck up behind us,” Newkirk commented. “We didn’t hear him coming.”
“Aw shucks,” Jed said bashfully. “T’weren’t nothing. I been rompin’ in the woods since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Why I even used to sneak up on Beau, my pet coonhound. Used to scare him silly.”
As they were talking, the group had moved down the tunnel into the large open area beneath the barracks.
“Sergeant, I’m glad you could keep my men out of trouble,” Hogan said. “It seems that they needed it tonight. We’ll get you out of here soon.” He looked over at his men. “But we have to get that bridge blown. London wants it done before tomorrow night. There’s a series of munitions trains scheduled to pass through starting tomorrow night, and if they get through, it will cause all kinds of trouble at the front.”
“We can go back tomorrow night,” Carter said hopefully. “It shouldn’t take more than a minute to connect everything back up.”
“Are you fellas talkin’ ‘bout the railroad bridge that y’all were messin’ with tonight?” Jed asked. “You ain’t gonna be able to get but two hundred yards away from it. The Germans were adding patrols all day, and I’m surprised that y’all didn’t get nabbed tonight.”
“That’s great,” Hogan complained. “If we don’t blow that bridge, the Krauts will have more a lot more ammunition to shoot at our guys.”
“There’s got to be a way to get close,” Kinch commented.
“It won’t take much,” Carter added. “The detonator is primed and ready, it just needs something to kick it off.”
Hogan began pacing. “Two hundred yards, you say,” he mumbled. “Maybe closer.” He walked back and forth, lost in thought. “That’s too far to lob a grenade. Carter, would a bullet set off the detonator?”
Carter nodded. “If a bullet struck the detonator, that would trigger it,” he replied.
“But two hundred yards is a long shot to hit something so tiny,” Hogan responded. “We’d have to get closer.”
“Sir, if you’ll pardon the interruption,” Jed said. Hogan nodded to him. “I could do it.”
Hogan looked at him in surprise. “You sure you can hit something that small from two hundred yards away?” he asked.
“Aw, two hundred yards ain’t nuthin’,” Jed replied. “I been shootin’ a gun since afore I can remember. Why I can shoot the wings off a fly at a hundred paces.”
“It might be our best shot at it,” Hogan replied, and then chuckled at the pun. “So to speak.” He looked around at the men. “All right, we’ll go tomorrow night. This time I’m going too, to make sure that we get the job done.”
Hogan looked at Jed. “Sergeant, you’ll have to bunk down here tonight,” he said. “Someone will bring you down some breakfast in the morning after roll call.”
“Mighty kind of you, Colonel,” Jed replied. “So we’re down here in this hole, and up there is a camp with Germans in it?” he asked Hogan. Hogan nodded. “Weeeeeeeeell doggie, now I know how them rabbits felt when old Beau was runnin’ around outside of their holes.”
Hogan laughed. “Make yourself comfortable Sergeant,” he replied. “We’ll be down for you in the morning.” He turned and followed his men up the ladder to the barracks.
* * * * * * * * * *
After roll call the next morning, Hogan brought Jed up from the tunnel to see the barracks. Jed joined the men of the barracks as LeBeau prepared Crepes Suzette for breakfast. While they were eating, Schultz entered the barracks.
“Mmmmm, something smells good in here,” Schultz said hopefully, walking into the room and standing behind Jed, who was sitting at the large table.
“I’m made crepe suzette for the men,” LeBeau answered.
Schultz licked his lips. “Sounds good to me!” he said. “I bet they were good,” Schultz added, nudging Jed’s shoulder from behind.
“Mmmmm boy,” Jed replied. “Them was the best vittles I had since leavin’ home.”
“Oh yea?” Schultz replied, starting to walk towards the small stove. After taking a couple steps, he stopped and turned to look at Jed. “And who is this, Colonel Hogan?” he asked.
“Just an old friend from back home,” Hogan replied glibly. “He just stopped by to say hello before he’s on his way again.”
“Just stopped by?” Schultz asked timidly. “On his way again? Colonel Hogan, you are up to something. I must report this!”
“Schultz, don’t worry about it,” Hogan replied. “He’ll be gone soon and he won’t cause any trouble.”
“But Colonel Hogan,” Schultz insisted. “He is not supposed to be here.”
“I know Schultz,” Hogan replied. “But look at it this way, he’s here to tell us what is going on back home. If he didn’t come here, we would have to go there to find out the news. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?”
“No,” Schultz agreed. “I wouldn’t want that any more than I want this.” Schultz paused. “So he’s from back home?” Hogan nodded. “Where is back home?” Schultz asked Jed.
“Back in the hills,” Jed replied. “Near Bugtussle.”
“What’s a bug tussle?” Schultz asked with a confused look on his face.
“That’s the town near where’s I live,” Jed replied. “It’s a small town. Hooterville is a bit bigger.”
“Hooterville?” Schultz asked, becoming more and more confused.
“That’s right,” Jed answered. “Now if you want to be real fancy, you can head over to the county seat in Pixley.”
Schultz began shaking his head. “I hear nothing!” he said and started towards the door. As he opened the door, he muttered, “Bug tussle?” He left the barracks shaking his head.
“That fella seemed a might confused,” Jed commented after Schultz had left.
“Don’t mind him, ‘e’s harmless,” Newkirk replied. “As long as he gets his apple strudel, he’s happy.”
“Apple strudel?” Jed asked. “What’s that?”
“It’s a nice pastry with apples, raisins and cinnamon,” LeBeau answered.
“My, don’t you folks get some mighty nice eats in this here camp!” Jed exclaimed.
“We do our best,” Hogan replied. “But we’d best get you back in the tunnel before Schultz comes back. We don’t want to confuse him too much.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Later that evening, they were in the tunnel getting ready to start to the bridge. Hogan had decided that he and Carter would go with Jed, as he didn’t think it would be wise to have too many people in the area with all of the German patrols near the bridge.
“Mmmm boy, them was some tasty vittles you sent down tonight, Lewis,” Jed commented as he started taking off his jacket. “You cook almost as good as Granny does. What was them eats called?”
“That’s Louis,” LeBeau corrected. “That was Coq au vin.”
“Cocovan,” Jed repeated. “Don’t reckon I ever heard of a critter by that name. It tasted like chicken.”
LeBeau yanked Jed’s jacket out of his hands. “That’s because it was chicken,” he said in a huff.
Knowing that LeBeau was a little touchy when it came to his cooking, Hogan spoke up hoping to avoid any problems. “You say your grandmother is a good cook?”
“Granny?” Jed replied. “Aw, Granny ain’t my granny. She’s my mother-in-law, ‘cept everyone been calling her Granny since Hector was a pup.”
“Is Hector your other dog?” Carter asked curiously.
Hogan stifled a laugh and ended up clearing his throat. “So what does Granny cook?”
“Well, I like it when she fixes up a mess of hog jowls and collard greens,” Jed replied. “And she makes the best possum stew this side of Crabwell Corners.”
“What is hog jowls,” LeBeau whispered to Kinch.
“That’s the meat from the cheeks of the pig,” Kinch replied.
LeBeau’s eyes widened. “You eat that?” he exclaimed.
“Now Louis,” Newkirk chided. “You eat snails.”
Jed heard the comment and said, “Snails is good eats too. But I prefer a nice crawdad stew or a mess of fried frog legs.”
“Ahem,” Hogan interjected, hoping to put a stop this culinary discussion. “I think we’d better get going. I want to take care of that bridge before the first train comes through tonight.”
Heads nodded in agreement as Jed and Carter finished donning their black clothing. Newkirk and Kinch completed the outfit by smearing the face black on them. When they were all ready to go, Hogan led them out of the tunnel.
Jed was still amazed at climbing through the tree stump to leave the tunnel. “Imaging, crawlin’ in and out of a tree, just like a big ol’ coon!” he mused.
* * * * * * * * * *
They had made their way to a clearing a couple hundred yards form the bridge. Hogan was looking at the bridge through his binoculars, hoping to see if the explosives were still in place.
“Right in the middle, where the two cross beams intersect,” Carter directed.
“Got it,” Hogan replied. “Looks like they are still there. Jed, do you want to take a look?” Hearing no reply, he looked around and saw that Jed was not around. “Now where did he go?” Hogan muttered.
Just then, they heard his voice behind them. “I’m right here, Colonel.”
They spun around to see Jed standing behind them, though he wasn’t there a second ago. “Where did you go?” Hogan asked sternly. “We don’t want to take any chance of a patrol hearing us.”
“Aw shucks,” Jed replied. “Ain’t no Germans gonna hear me in the woods. I just wanted to see what they was up to. Ain’t no patrols nearby, so we should be safe.”
Hogan shook his head in amazement. Nothing seemed to faze this man, and he did seem to be able to move around without being seen or heard. “Well, come and take a look at your target,” he instructed. “The charges are in the middle where the two cross beams meet.”
Jed squatted and stared at the bridge. He waved away the binoculars and squinted a little. “I see it, right there,” he said pointing.
Hogan looked at Carter and shrugged. “Now, when you shoot, make it count,” he told Jed. “We won’t get too many shots before we have to get out of here.”
“Long as the sights is true, I only need one shot,” Jed replied. He picked up the rifle. “Just tell me when you want me to shoot.”
They heard a train whistle in the distance. “Let’s wait until the train is on the bridge,” Hogan responded. “That will cover the noise of the shot, and we can destroy the munitions at the same time.”
“Right smart idea, sir,” Carter said, mimicking Jed. Hogan glared over at him with a surprised look. “Sorry sir,” Carter apologized.
Jed had steadied the gun, aiming at the bridge. The train was nearing the bridge and blowing its whistle fiercely. As soon as the locomotive had completely crossed the bridge, Hogan said “Now!”
Jed fired the rifle. They watched as the cross beams burst from the force of the explosion, followed by the other charges on the bridge. Suddenly, the munitions in the train exploded in a huge fireball, bathing the area in a yellow glow. The sound was tremendous.
Jed let out a whoop that Hogan could hear over the noise of the explosion, and he laughed. “Let’s get going,” Hogan told the men. “Mission accomplished.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Back in the tunnel, the men were congratulating Jed. “That was a beautiful shot,” Hogan told him. “A single shot at two hundred yards in the dark and hitting a target the size of a pack of cigarettes.”
“Told you, t’wasn’t nuthin’,” Jed replied. “Even Granny could have hit that, though she prefers a shotgun to a rifle.”
Hogan shook his head and laughed. “It sounds like you have a very interesting family, Jed.”
“If you are ever in Bugtussle, be sure to come a callin’,” Jed commented. “Granny’d be glad to fix you up some chittlin’s and black-eyed peas.”
Hogan continued to laugh. “I might just have to make the trip after the war is over!” he exclaimed. “It might prove rather interesting! But now, Carter will take you to the Underground. They will get you on your way to London.”
Jed smiled. “That would be mighty nice of him,” he replied.
As Carter started up the ladder, Hogan added, “And thanks for the help with the bridge.”
“Shucks, Colonel,” Jed replied. “Glad to help.” As he climbed the ladder, he stopped and turned back to Hogan. “And if you need my help again, all you gotta do is ask. I’d be glad to come back and help out. Lewis can cook me up some more of that cocovan critter.”
Hogan laughed as Jed climbed out of the tree stump.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
There are many different foods mentioned in this story. From the French cuisine that LeBeau cooks up to the good old hillbilly treats cooked up by Granny back home in Bugtussle. Listed below are various links to the items mentioned in the story.
Coq Au Vin
Hog Jowls and Collard Greens
Text and original characters copyright 2004 by Jeff Evans
This copyright covers only original material and characters, and in no way intends to infringe upon the privileges of the holders of the copyrights, trademarks, or other legal rights, for the Hogan's Heroes universe.