Monday, 9 November 2020

The man who threatened to shoot Velvella

We had not seen Gidon and Franca in more than 30 years.
You know how time flies. We went up to see them in Nahariya.

Gidon took me round to visit his eldest daughter and family. He introduced me to his son-in-law with the words, “This is the guy who threatened to shoot Velvella.”
I thought, so that piece of shit has become a legend and replied, “No it was not me. That was Kalman Wishingrad.”

Velvella was a short, stocky staff sergeant in the paratroopers. He was also an unarmed combat instructor.
Besides that, he was a sadist and a bully.

Part of our basic gear was a poncho. Two ponchos threaded together were a tent.
Kalman was the other half of my tent.
He was a bit weird and not very sociable but we got on well enough.

When Kalman was doing his basic training, Velvella was a sergeant at the base.
They only met once.

Kalman was coming back from guard duty. He was tired and a bit dishevelled.
Velvella saw him and thought he would have a bit of “fun”. He called Kalman over and bawled him out for being dishevelled.
Then he ordered him to run about holding his rifle above his head with both hands.

As Velvella was enjoying himself so much, he upped the ante.
He ordered Kalman to start walking “like a whore”. This is a punishment where you have to squat, raise your rifle above your head and start walking. It can be pretty tiring after a bit.

Kalman snapped.
During basic training you do not have any live ammunition except when you are doing guard duty. As Kalman was coming back from guard duty he still had a magazine in his FN.

He cocked the rifle, aimed it at Velvella and said, “If you say another word I will blow your head off.”
They stared at each other for a bit, and then Velvella turned around and walked off.

I know the story because Kalman told it to me. Perhaps he embellished it a bit, but the confrontation had been verified by others who witnessed the incident.

Why did Gidon think it was me?
There is another story about my confrontation with Velvella. I was also instrumental in getting him kicked out of the paratroopers.
I think both stories had been rolled into one and I was now the person who had threatened him.

With hindsight I should have kept my mouth shut when Gidon introduced me to his son-in-law.
I do not mind being known as the man who threatened to shoot Velvella.
It has a certain Liberty Valance ring to it.

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