Where the Fawkes Is Carter?
2007 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
2007 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
Best Portrayal of a Canon Character - Schultz
2007 Papa Bear Awards - First Place
Best Short Story
The idea for this story came to me out of the blue one day when I remembered a question that was asked of an English friend of mine one summer. The question is so “Carter” that I also had to use it in this story – and make him ask Newkirk the same question. I also thought this would be a good story to show the friendship between Carter and Newkirk, the Laurel and Hardy of Stalag 13.
The usual disclaimer applies. I make no claims to the characters or events of the Hogan’s Heroes universe.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
American Sergeant Andrew Carter sat at the table in Barracks Two, shuffling a deck of cards. He looked up at his friend, Corporal Peter Newkirk, on his top bunk staring at the ceiling. The Englishman had been depressed all morning and Carter had tried everything to try to raise his friend’s spirits – to no avail.
“Come on, Newkirk,” he said. “Let’s play a game of cards.”
“Carter, for the last time, I want to be left alone,” Newkirk replied.
“Why?” Carter asked. “It’s not like you to be this way.”
“Everyone wants to be left alone sometimes,” Newkirk countered.
“True,” Carter admitted. “But if there’s something I can do to help cheer you up, I’d like to know what it is.”
“There’s nothing you can do, Andrew,” Newkirk said, raising himself up onto one elbow to look down on the American.
“You won’t know that until you tell me what’s wrong,” Carter said, smiling hopefully.
Newkirk gave a big sigh. “Today is the Fourth of November,” he said.
Carter’s brow furrowed in confusion. “So?” he replied.
“So tomorrow is the Fifth of November,” Newkirk said, as if that should clear up everything.
“What’s so special about the Fifth of November?” Carter asked.
“It’s Guy Fawkes Day,” Newkirk said.
“And you’re depressed because this guy named Fawkes is a friend of yours and you want to celebrate his day with him?” Carter asked, still not understanding.
In spite of his mood, Newkirk still had to laugh at that. “No, Carter,” he said. “Guy Fawkes has been dead for over three hundred years. Guy Fawkes Day is a day celebrating his arrest and execution.”
“Boy, you English sure celebrate some strange things,” Carter said, shaking his head.
“Haven’t you ever heard of the Gunpowder Plot?” Newkirk asked, rising to a sitting position. Carter shook his head. “Every English schoolboy knows about that – and about Guy Fawkes Day. It’s my favorite celebration.”
“What happens?” Carter asked.
“You’d like it, Andrew,” Newkirk said. “We build bonfires and shoot off fireworks.”
At the mention of fireworks, Carter’s eyes lit up. “It sounds like what we do on the Fourth of July.”
“Somethin’ like that,” Newkirk said. “I always looked forward to me mum’s Bonfire Toffee.” He smiled at the recollection.
“See, you’re feeling better already!” Carter exclaimed.
Newkirk shook his head. “No, actually it’s makin’ me more homesick,” Newkirk admitted. “Remember how you were this past summer when you missed your Independence Day celebration?”
“Boy, do I!” Carter remarked. “I was real depressed that day.” It suddenly dawned on him what his friend was feeling. “Oh, I see now.” He frowned. “And my bringing this up made you feel worse?”
Newkirk sighed. “No, it’s not your fault,” he said, reclining back on his bunk. “I’ll be all right after tomorrow.”
Carter put the cards on the table and stood. “I’ll leave you alone now,” he said, and left the barracks.
* * * * *
sat on the bench outside the barracks. It was a cold November day, but the sun
was shining and he wanted to make sure he soaked up as much as he could. Here
in the middle of
He thought about what Newkirk had said about the summer. Carter indeed had been very depressed to spend Independence Day in Stalag 13 – no parades, no lemonade – and worst of all, no fireworks.
The previous July 4
“Why are you so depressed today, Carter?” Newkirk asked his friend. “The sun is shining and it’s a wonderful day outside.
“Because it’s the Fourth of July,” Carter replied.
“What’s so special about the Fourth of July?” Newkirk asked.
eyes widened in amazement at the statement. “Don’t you have the Fourth of July
Newkirk laughed. “No, Carter,” he replied. “Our calendar goes from the third to the fifth.”
“How can it do that?” Carter asked. “What do you do with the extra day?” As soon as he asked the question, he realized his friend was joking with him. “Oh, ha-ha,” he said.
Newkirk continued to laugh. “So what’s so special about the Fourth of July?” he asked again.
Independence Day,” Carter replied. “The day the
“Well you see, Carter me mate,” Newkirk said. “That wasn’t the way I learned it.”
“Huh?” replied Carter in confusion.
“No, I was taught that this was a rebellious act by a bunch of ungrateful Colonists,” Newkirk explained. “You forget that the tyrannical King happened to be ours.”
yeah,” Carter said. “I guess I’d never thought of it from
Newkirk shrugged. “Anyway, what’s so special about this day that’s got you all depressed?” he asked.
“Back home today there will be parades and speeches,” Carter said.
“Speeches – sounds like fun,” Newkirk muttered.
“And then the town will fire its canon and there will be fireworks at night,” Carter continued.
“Now I see,” Newkirk said with a laugh. “Canons and fireworks – anything with explosions for you, mate!”
* * * * *
Carter smiled at the recollection. He had felt a little better after talking to Newkirk that day. “If only there was something I could do for him?” Carter muttered to himself. Suddenly an idea dawned on him. “Of course, that’s what I’ll do!” he exclaimed.
“What are you going to do?” asked Kinch, who was about to enter the barracks.
“What?” Oh nothing,” a sheepish Carter replied. “I was just trying to figure out what to do today.”
“Whatever it is, it seems like you’re about to enjoy it,” Kinch said with a laugh as he opened the door.
“I hope Newkirk will enjoy it,” Carter said quietly, and began to make his plans.
* * * * *
That night, Carter lay awake listening to the soft snores and occasional rustling of his fellow prisoners shifting in their bunks. When he was sure everyone was asleep, he got up and stole quietly to the tunnel entrance. He waited while the bunk lifted to expose the hole in the floor. He climbed down, making as little noise as possible. It was time for him to get to work.
* * * * *
The morning roll call bell had been ringing, and the men were filing out of the barracks to line up for the unpleasant morning ritual. As Colonel Hogan emerged from his office, Newkirk bounded up. “Sir, we have a small problem,” he said.
Hogan’s brow furrowed – he didn’t like problems, and in a prison camp, small problems had a way of becoming large problems rather quickly. “What is it?” he asked.
“Carter’s missing,” Newkirk replied.
“What do you mean missing?” Hogan asked.
“Just that, missing,” LeBeau said, walking over to the two men. “Kinch said he just looked in the tunnel and didn’t see Carter down there.”
“Great!” Hogan exclaimed is disgust.
“What do we do about roll call?” Newkirk asked.
“I don’t know – stall until I think of something,” Hogan said. “Carter better have a good reason for this.”
They left the barracks and took their place in line. Sergeant Schulz had already begun counting the men. When he reached Hogan’s position, he had a worried look.
“Colonel Hogan, there is a man missing,” he said nervously. “Where is Sergeant Carter?”
“Isn’t he in line?” Hogan asked innocently.
“No!” Schultz replied forcefully.
“Maybe he went down to the other end for a change,” Hogan offered. “He might have been trying to break up the boredom.”
“I don’t want to break up the boredom,” Schultz said. “I like it the way it always is.”
“Count again, Schultz,” LeBeau said. “Maybe you missed one of your fingers.” The prisoners erupted in laughter.
“Jolly joker,” Schultz muttered. “I know how to count.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Hogan saw the barracks door open and Carter’s head pop out. He took a step away from the barracks so that Schultz would turn his back to the prisoner sneaking his way into position. “Are you sure he’s missing?” he asked.
“I am sure!” Schultz exclaimed. “Where is Carter?”
“I’m right here, Schultz,” Carter said from his normal position.
“Where were you?” Schultz demanded.
“I was here the whole time,” Carter said.
“No! When I counted you were not here,” Schultz said.
At that moment, Klink emerged from his office, yelling his familiar tune. “Repooooooooooooort!”
Schultz gave Carter one last frown and hurried to make his report.
“Where were you, Carter,” Hogan demanded. “And it better be good!”
Carter looked at his watch. “I was out doing this,” he said, pausing.
“Doing what?” Hogan asked in confusion, looking around.
“Doing this,” Carter said again, looking expectantly towards the clearing outside the wire.
At that moment, they heard several small explosions from the area Carter was looking at, drawing everyone’s eyes in that direction. They saw several streaks heading into the early morning sky as many more small explosion were heard.
Klink and Schultz both fell to the ground and covered their heads. “Air raid!” screamed Klink as he cowered on the ground. “Air raid!”
Just then, the streaks exploded into a dazzling array of sparkling flashes of all sorts of colors. The prisoners began cheering wildly at the display.
“You were out setting up fireworks?” Hogan asked in disbelief as several more streaks exploded into color.
Carter nodded excitedly. “Isn’t it great?” he replied. Carter reached over and thumped Newkirk soundly on the back. “Happy Guy Fawkes Day, buddy!” he said.
Newkirk was watching the fireworks explode. “Now all we need is a bonfire!” he said happily.
“Bonfire? Um, fellas,” Hogan said, trying to get their attention. “Is there something I should know about?”
His question was ignored as the fireworks continued to explode in the ever brightening early morning sky.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
you have it – Carter decided to give his friend the pyrotechnic display that he
was missing by not being back home on Guy Fawkes Day.
And in case you didn’t pick it out, the question that inspired this story was
“Don’t you have July 4th in
Guy Fawkes Day
The British celebrate November 5th as Guy Fawkes Day – to commemorate the capture of Guy Fawkes and the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
1605, a group of thirteen men plotted to assassinate King James I and the
members of parliament by blowing up the Houses of Parliament when the King was
addressing both houses. The group of thirteen was hoping to rid the country of
the rulers that were not tolerant to Catholics and begin a great uprising of
The method they chose was to stash thirty six barrels of gunpowder in the cellar below the House of Lords and explode it when everyone was present. Word of the plot reached the King and when the King’s guards stormed the cellar, Guy Fawkes was present with the gunpowder and was arrested and eventually executed. Though he was not the leader of the Gunpowder Plot (that distinction belongs to Robert Catesby), he became the face of the plot when he was caught in the cellar and for two days was the only member of the thirteen to be in custody.
The British began celebrating November 5th immediately, lighting bonfires on that day in 1605 to celebrate the fact that their King was safe. The ritual grew over the years to include throwing effigies of Guy Fawkes into the bonfire and shooting off fireworks as the bonfires are burning.
celebration – it is not a public holiday – is also celebrated in places outside
The English term “guy” is thought to have evolved from Guy Fawkes and the reference to the effigies burnt on November 5th as “a guy”. At first it was used to refer to a “person of grotesque appearance”, but over time has evolved to refer to a generic reference to a man, as in “That guy over there.”
“Remember, remember, the 5th of November” – links with information on Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.
Patriotism or Treason?
it a “Fight for Freedom” or a “Rebellion against a lawful government”? As with
any conflict, there are two sides to every conflict, and you are bound NOT to
get the complete truth from either side. Having grown up in the
In this story, there is some mention of the difference in viewpoint between Carter and Newkirk when speaking of Independence Day – July 4. Rather than dive too deep into the different viewpoints, I have used it as a simple vehicle to get Newkirk talking about fireworks displays which, for those of you unfamiliar with the American celebrations for Independence Day, is an extremely common celebration event.
Here are some links presenting some information (mainly “British point of view”) on the American Revolutionary War. In my opinion, the BBC links probably present the best detail on the events leading up to the military conflict.
Text and original characters copyright 2006 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.