“Relax, Dick, it’s just for fun!” Welsh smirked. “Besides, you look like a million bucks.”
“Or a million marks,” Lipton added, and Welsh snickered.
“Can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” Winters muttered, following his friends into the hallway where Nixon and Speirs were waiting.
The two captains turned at the hard, crisp sound of boots on marble and saw Winters. Their schoolboy smirks abruptly faded.
The kind, humble, straight-laced young paratrooper from Pennsylvania had disappeared, and in his place stood the formidable image of a Nazi SS officer.
Dick Winters narrowed his sharp blue eyes at the two captains, who were dressed similarly in ill-fitting German uniforms that had been left behind at the Berchtesgadener Hof.
“Jesus Christ, Dick,” Nixon said softly, staring at his friend. “You look so. So . . .”
“Evil,” Speirs finished.
His red hair hidden beneath a black and silver Totenkopf cap, Winters stood ramrod-straight, and was grim as death. Maybe it was the tall, polished, shining black boots he wore. Or the sword on his belt, or his gleaming medals and iron cross, or the red swastika armband. Whatever it was, Winters looked positively terrifying.
“Alright,” Winters grunted. “Let’s hurry up and take this picture. My skin’s crawling.”
“They make medicine for that, you know,” Welsh kidded.
“Yeah. It’s called a bonfire,” Winters retorted. “Which is exactly where this thing’s going when I take it off.”
O’Keefe, standing behind the camera tripod, motioned to the faux-Nazis. “Over here, please, sirs.”
They formed a line—Welsh, Lipton, Winters, Nixon, Speirs—and glowered dramatically into the camera’s flash. O’Keefe looked up with a cheery grin. “Now one for the official scrapbook!”
The five officers abandoned all poise, putting on ridiculous faces and assuming obscene, hilarious poses.
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