Italy in the Great War by William Flagge-Lee

The set resembles that of a dirty trench; the background set pieces have large mountains visible. Three characters are gathered around the trench. Two of them standing next to each other a fair distance away from the other who is standing on a box to elevate his height. The two men are wearing two messy and disgusting looking uniforms while the one of the boxes is much more fancy and clean with medals adorning it in rows while having a well groomed mustache. 

(The man on top of the box begins to speak).

Luigi: Soldiers, for the last two years we have fought against the Austrians to claim our rightful territory that was taken from us so long ago, and for two long years, we have fought over these mountains and died for every inch of ground, and now Vittoria is at last at our very fingertips on this day October 24, 1917.

One of the soldiers leans into the other.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: I thought that’s what he said last time.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Or the time before that.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Is this going to end up being the eleventh or twelfth battle here?

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: I think eleventh.

Luigi: But to earn that victory requires a great sacrifice in blood along with the pure and everlasting desire to win!

The two soldiers began grinning at one another.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: “Pure and everlasting desire to win?”

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: He’s got a new one it seems.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: I think we had a desire to win in all those other battles too.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier’s face turns grim.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: If casualties are any indication.

Reasonable Italian Soldier clenches his teeth.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: How many hundreds of thousands have to die before he sees reason and lets someone with just a shred of intelligence, just a shred is all I’m asking for, to take over like Diaz or another competent officer in our grand “Regio Esercito” if there even is another still left? General Dumbass over here seems content to fire all of our best, leaving us with his lackeys. ‘Cause no matter how hard he tries, his ego won’t stroke itself.

Luigi: However, we are not without our new found advantages I have been able to obtain for the army, which is…

Reasonable Italian Soldier: New and better weapons?

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Better tactics?

Reasonable Italian Soldier: A general who doesn’t need a manservant to wipe his own culo.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier looks at him with a look of confusion.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Hey, maybe he woke up today and realized just the monumental extent of his stupidity and sticks to fighting with wooden soldiers in his bed as opposed to real ones on the battlefield. You can always hope.

Luigi: More and more of our disloyal officers have been revealed and imprisoned for lacking the will to fight our war.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Crap. I was hoping for some good news today. It seems if you’re an Italian in war past the Roman Empire you can’t ever hope for that. We’re two years into a war facing a nation that was already fighting Russia and Serbia and getting pummeled to death by both, and yet were still losing this war? How the hell is that even possible.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Our incompetence outweighs theirs. 

Reasonable Italian Soldier gives him a weak smile.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Well, good for those officers. They’re probably glad they’re ending up in jail as opposed to in the ground.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: But they might not stay imprisoned for long if our good Generalissimo has his way.  

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Well, we do have a general who thinks it’s still the time of the Romans, so maybe we might make an event out of it. He might say firing squads are too boring. Hangings are just too simple and decide to bust out the old crosses and nails.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Hey, at least those officers won’t be bored up there. They can sing songs until the end. 

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Won’t that be a sight to see.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: And hear.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: And to smell and feel with your hands. He says as he starts rubbing his hands together. 

Reasonable Italian Soldier to the other soldier confused.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Wait, what?

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Nothing! He says, quickly returning to his previous stance.

Luigi: Now for the battle plan, and if I may compliment myself.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: You most definitely may not!

Luigi: May be the most brilliant plan I have ever conceived and perhaps the best plan ever conceived up there with the plans of some of the greatest leaders: Caesar, Alexander, Fredrick, and Napoleon.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Great, another one of his “plans” to get us all killed.

Luigi: Our reconnaissance has spotted many enemy machine gun emplacements and trench strong points. As such, our plan is to march directly into their line of fire climbing up the mountains near the Isonzo, which will create massive corpse piles of both the living and the dead with the living moving their mangled bodies around the pile and initially away from the nearest pile crawling towards it to use their bodies as human shields. Now once the first wave is almost entirely made out of corpse piles either in the dead form or in the human shield form, the next wave…

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Wait, we’re part of the first wave?

Reasonable Italian Soldier simply shrugs.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Knowing this clown, he probably got messed up and thinks he’s giving a speech to members of the second wave. Don’t tell him though, he’s a little slow. 

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Wait, what if he figures it out himself?

Reasonable Italian Soldier snickers at that thought.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Him figuring things out. He probably doesn’t even know how to use the pistol on his hip.

Luigi: …will attack using the newly gained cover as a staging ground to launch assaults on the enemy mountain trenches. Additionally, after all the resources the enemy ends up using to mow down the first wave, it will be little prepared to defeat the second. Once this is over, I expect we will be having Christmas Dinner in Vienna with Budapest nearly in our grasps and a once mighty empire disintegrating before us. Once that happens, a new Italy will be formed with all that was denied to us before, and we will finally achieve the true unification of our nation with everything else being our due as the successor to an empire that once controlled all of civilized Europe along with the sands of the desert and the Jewel of civilization that is the Nile.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Every time I don’t think he can get any dumber, he manages to outdo himself threefold.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Why the heck is he even allowed fifty miles near any army, much less allowed to command an entire nation’s worth of them?

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Apparently, the King loves him.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: I’m always down for a good revolution or two.

The two men then proceed to fist bump one another.  

Luigi: Now let this be known that those units who decide to retreat and betray our great nation to the foreign occupiers will face terrible consequences. Our Roman ancestors had a most ingenious strategy with dealing with failure amongst its units. If a unit should fall back, 1/10 man will be killed on the spot by his comrades. Our ancestors called it decimation, but in my opinion, decimation is too strong a word for such a great act of unity against failure that it should have a more inspiring name. That is why it should be referred to as Luigi’s Law and be carried out in every case.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Well, if retreating means you have a 9/10 odds of living, then I would take them as opposed to actually following this blockhead and having a nearly 100% chance of dying or losing a limb or two. I also like decimation better; it sounds much more reasonable and rational.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: Understatement of the year right there. At least a word can’t be unreasonable and irrational.

Suddenly loud sounds of shells and yells start coming from all around.

Luigi: Who ordered the start of the attack? It wasn’t supposed to begin ‘til the sun was shining directly in our eyes to boost our desire to take the mountains.

Reasonable Italian Soldier finally yells out to Luigi and starts to approach him.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: For starters, why is that a good idea? And also, that’s not our artillery, which you don’t even freaking use! It’s theirs, and it appears they are attacking before us. Now give us orders on what to do. That don’t sound like they were created by a six year old and drawn up in crayon!

Luigi looks confused at his statement.

Luigi: I don’t give orders to you. I give orders to your officers who then give orders to you.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: That is the stupidest most good for nothing answer I have ever heard! Still, you are a general. You went to military school. You probably slept through all the classes covered in a puddle of your own drool! But still, you are a “general,” so give us orders so we don’t all die!

Luigi looks scared before getting a blank face.

Luigi: Hello, you have reached Luigi Cadorna. He is unable to take your call right now, but he will be getting back to you as soon as you can. Leave a message. Goodbye.

Reasonable Italian Soldier looks absolutely raging.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! YOU ARE THE SUCKIEST EXCUSE FOR ANY GENERAL ANY MILITARY HAS EVER HAD THE MISFORTUNE OF HAVING! VAFFANCULO. PEZZO DI MERDA!

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier comes over Reasonable Italian Soldier: 

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: We have a huge problem. 

Reasonable Italian Soldier rolls his eyes at that statement. 

Reasonable Italian Soldier: Great. What do we have to add to the merda pile we’re dealing with today? 

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: It’s not just the Austrians attacking, sir. We have German Stormtroopers who are leading the charge against us. 

Luigi’s face turns pale at the word German and starts fidgeting before a car beep is heard. 

Luigi: Looks to the sky, smiles and gives the praying hands gesture. Grazie Dio. He says in a happy and glad tone before his tone of voice goes hard again. Sorry soldiers, my ride’s here. Got to go. Now don’t go attempting to fallback cause if you do. Runs a finger underneath his throat before running off stage.

The two soldiers look at each other and smile.

Reasonable Italian Soldier: It was nice knowing you.

Other Reasonable Italian Soldier: And you too. Mio amico. 

Fine