Summer had come early and the shout was almost muffled by the torpid air.
"What is it?" Hans had been looking forward to a lazy afternoon with the family, little Addy was ready to work in the fields now and Anna had been making noises about a third child, a duty that he had been anticipating nicely.
"Hans, have you been able to get anything on the radio?"
Rudolf was a worrier, the whole village knew it, and had never been a ranking officer despite having been in the army almost as long as service allowed. Old age had failed to take the edge from his concern but nor had it made him any harder to live with. As a single man he was unusual but he was well-liked and a useful man to know in case of electrical repairs. "No, Rudi, you know I don't bother with that thing." Sometimes the music was nice, but lately it had become a little political for his tastes, "Besides, since when did we need it?"
"Hans, I listen to the radio always, and I tell you that it has gone. Now, what do you think of that?" Rudolf's face was flushed, he'd been running.
"I tell you that you spend too long listening to the radio and now there has been a break in the service and that it will do you some good."
"Hans... Mister Group-Leader, I-"
"Please, not now," Hans cut him off, the rank brought back a whole phalanx of memories that he had long ago grown tired of dealing with. "Rudi, you are a radio man, that is fine. Go ask Konnie if he has anything and then work with him, yes? For now, it is Summer, it is nearly harvest and I have 'duties' to perform for my family. I do not expect you to understand but I do expect you to give me some peace."
"They were talking of the Front again-"
"And they always will, you know that. Now, run along to Konnie, he may have more time for you."
Konrad was new to the village, recently discharged with distinction, and had a young family. Starting was always hard, but the cameraderie of the Old Guard meant that he had been well-supported, and his aptitude with technology made him a natural appointment for the village broadcast and reciever station. It saved him from running his own fields, something Hans doubted the youngster would enjoy, and meant that they had enjoyed the full benefits of the radio for some months, something Hans reflected on with some pained displeasure.
"Yes of course, Mis-"
"Oh, just leave man!" Hans turned and walked off his porch as pointedly as he could, deliberately ignoring the obvious salute. Rudolf was a walking testament to why men needed to be married: so that they could turn their worries and anxieties to real concerns rather than phantasmogorical ones.