My Grandpa Killed Hitler, Part Three – John Pelham vs. Der Führer
Part Three: John Pelham vs. Der Führer
With his training and ROTC experience, John Pelham was one of the highest-ranking officials in that Rocky Mountain Mule Unit. But with the reign of terror brought on by Hitler the Mule, the troops couldn’t effectively carry out their training to completion. John felt responsible for the safety and security of his troops and eventually felt the need to take care of the situation.
I’ll be damned if some mule is gonna make an ass out of me! he thought.
Trying to justify euthanasia, John had several veterinarian-trained troops—essential for a mule mission, evidently—examine Hitler for batshit-craziness. Wouldn’t you know Hitler would schmooze the vets? Anytime he would get near any one of authority or anybody that could rule Hitler unfit to serve, Hitler would put on a front and pretend to be this sweet, friendly, bubbly, puppy of a mule, instead of the hellish beast that he actually was. Hitler had his deceptive shtick down to an art, and that’s truly what made that mule sickeningly wretched.
One evening, my grandfather approached the paddock to feed El Diablo, and Hitler could not immediately be seen. My grandfather once said that the mule’s coat was black as soot and his soul even blacker. Yet, with his experience, he wasn’t so much afraid of Hitler, as he was weary of being charged with the duty of handling the situation that the Fürer had laid at his feet.
He grabbed the wooden post with both hands and hopped over the fence. He could see where the feed container was, and he walked over to it, wishing to be finished of this asinine task. He opened the box’s lid and soon heard from behind him the sound of hoofs on soil. Hitler the mule came storming over, apparently hungry, as my grandfather scooped the food into the trough. Hitler approached John Pelham and gave him a one-upping and sizing-up, as if my grandfather was hardly a formidable foe.
“I hear you are quite the terror,” my grandfather said to the beast that evening, putting his palm out in defense. He extended a hand to the mule, but Hitler stopped before the trough and stared at him. “Now, I’ve dealt with mules before. You eat your food, and we’ll leave one another be.”
Almost immediately after my grandfather completed the sentence, Hitler pushed him out of the way and began devouring his food. John crept closer and closer to Hitler, but the mule didn’t notice because his face was buried in his mule grub. After some time, my grandfather reached out to stroke Hitler on the nose. And Hitler let John pet him! This foul, hot-headed animal, who had put more men in the hospital during the war than the Third Reich, was calm and at ease. He was—to my grandfather at that moment petting him—certainly NOT living up to his fearsome reputation.
“You’re not so tough, are you, Hitler?” my grandpa said to the mule aloud as it continued to eat and my grandfather continued to pet his nose arch. John smiled and leaned against the post of the awning that protected the trough from the elements. He was very satisfied. If only he could get Hitler to repeat this same behavior on a regular basis in front of the rest of the men. He reckoned he’d be a hero.
Wild ideas entered John Pelham’s head, like the thought that he could use the taming of this shrew as a way to escalate his own ascension up the ranks of the military! Little did he know it, but Hitler the Mule really could be John Pelham’s golden ticket out of the Rockies and into the best position the military could house him in. That, or at least get him bumped up to colonel!
“He’s not so bad,” he would later victoriously tell the men. “He just needed the touch of a professional!”
My grandfather gloated, smiled big, and snapped back into the reality of his current situation. He was still looking up at the stars and leaning against that awning. Hitler was still deep in his meal. John gave one more pet on Hitler’s nose to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, and he wasn’t. He brushed off his hands and turned toward the fence to again propel himself over it.
John smugly took one more glance back at Hitler—who didn’t appear to even notice my grandfather’s departure—and he turned and lifted himself up and over the fence. Facing toward the mess tent, he again brushed his hands together to free his palms of any splinters. He smiled as he looked up at the camp. Leaning against the fence, he went to light a cigarette.
All of a sudden, he collapsed to the ground!
He had been struck hard in the right leg by something so hard and so fast he didn’t even realize it had happened until he was lying on the ground. It came so suddenly that he couldn’t comprehend where he’d been struck until he concentrated on the pain shooting from his right leg. Have I been shot? he wondered and pulled up his pant leg to see the wound. In doing so, he saw a ghastly, bloody, and bruised leg. But what caught his focus was the culprit at hand standing over him like Xerxes on the field of battle: HITLER!
John Pelham had turned his back on that “good-for-nothing, man-eating donkey mule Hitler” for less than five seconds, and the SOB had kicked his military dreams right out from under him! Not only had my grandfather NOT succeeded in dealing with Hitler, now he, TOO, would be a medical patient and would live up to the jokes among the men about Hitler’s prey.
Hitler hadn’t even moved from his offensive attack position. John put his palms to the ground, pushed himself up onto his left leg and felt the agonizing pain shoot up through his leg and entire right side. Using the fence with his arms, he was able to scrape his right leg over to the fence and bend it; though it pained him immensely to do so. He knew this meant his leg wasn’t broken, though. Some consolation prize, he thought.
John took a deep breath, and his eyes met Hitler’s dark, empty, Swastika-evil mule eyes. Their faces were inches apart from one another’s. At this point, he feared that Hitler could strike out and bite at his face. He looked deep into AH’s eyes and knew there was only one thing to do. One idea my grandfather had to rectify this entire Hitler situation. And that was the last anyone ever saw of Hitler the Mule ever again.