That first evening Caporal Qandil came back from town piss-drunk and lined us up for appel(rollcall). He began with what he called les tests abdominaux, by giving each man a violent punch in the solar plexus. Then, with the other sous-officiers looking on, he inspected us. Inaccurate shaving, improperly polished insteps, and any other infractions were punished with lead-weight fists to bellies and heads. When he was satisfied, he called for a US trenching shovel (salvaged from American GIs after WWII), and went down the line gonging our foreheads. The worst part was waiting for it.     

He ended by having the feeble Kapelski who was slow to learn French lie on the floor to demonstrate one-stroke decapitation. Was he drunk enough to do it or not?