It was a gray winter's day. The German officer stood by his staff car watching with detachment as his soldiers loaded the French farmer's livestock and grain stores into their military trucks. "Please," begs the farmer, "leave us something. Wait. Isn't there something in your occupation rules about buying what you confiscate? You have to pay me."
The officer gave a sharp bark of a laugh. "Seriously? You think we are going to pay you? Those rules simply don't apply to me and my men." He looked at his driver who quickly opened the rear car door. Frowning at the Frenchman, he said, "Your countrymen should not have burned our supply warehouses. Ask them for payment. You have them to thank for this hardship befalling you." With that the car, followed by the trucks, drove from the farmyard and down the frozen country lane.
A few hours later that afternoon, a rusty pickup truck drove into his empty farm. The farmer went out to greet it. Pierre, the farmer's neighbor said, "I'm sorry to hear about your run in with the Germans. Did they leave you anything?"
"Enough to make you some tea," said Tyrell. "Come into my kitchen my friend."
After a brief discussion inventorying all that was confiscated, Pierre spoke. "I know you hoped to stay out of this war, Tyrell. But your obedience to them during this occupation has not kept your family unaffected. Are you ready to join the resistance now?"
Tyrell had been looking at his friend across the table. Now he bowed his head and looked into his untouched tea. "How can I? I have to find a job so I can feed my family through the winter."
"You can do both. Come to work for me in my hardware shop," said Pierre.
Tyrell lifted his eyes back into Pierre's, "Yes, let's make them pay."
And make the Germans pay, they did. Tyrell was surprised about how many of his neighbors were in the resistance. Both sexes and all ages worked to make the occupation difficult for their German masters. The Germans made things hard for the French too. Many of his neighbors both innocent and guilty of French incited violence were killed. Tyrell's hatred of the Germans consumed him. He especially hated the officers. They were the ones who led the atrocities.
Finally the day came when Tyrell and his group attacked a German officer and his escort traveling near their village. After the fire fight, Tyrell was searching the pockets of the dead. He was surprised to recognize the German officer as the same one from that day at his farm all those months ago. A groan issued from the corpse, and the officer opened his eyes. Tyrell stood over him and pointed his rifle into the German's face. "Remember me?"
The German looked past the rifle barrel at Tyrell. He started to speak then coughed spraying blood. Wincing with pain, he whispered, "no."
“Doesn’t matter.” Tyrell shot him.
Pierre came running over in a rage. Seeing a mess where the German's eye used to be, he said with disgust, "You have got to stop shooting the officers before I can interrogate them."
Tyrell smirked. "The rules simply don't apply to me."