At fifteen, Tony Laporte is what many people would call a throughly spoiled kid. He gets away with a lot because his parents want him to have all the things they never had. But when they surprise him by refusing to let him keep a stray dog he has found, Tony decides to teach them a lesson by running off in his mother's old Plymouth. Driving without a license in the middle of a severe snowstorm, he picks up a hitchhiker named Cindy Reichert, an aloof girl who has always had difficulty forming friendships. To impress Cindy, Tony tries to show off his driving skills and ends up wrecking the car in a very desolated area far from the main highway. After spending precious days bickering with each other and waiting for rescue that never comes, they finally realize that their lives are at stake and they must cooperate to survive. The question is--can they survive?
Harry Mazer's The Last Mission is drawn closely from his experiences as a seventeen-year-old in the Army Air Corps. Like Jack, he was a Jewish boy from the Bronx full of fantasies about heroism, and like Jack, he became a waist gunner and never fired his guns. He remembers, "I was scared every time we flew....On our 26th mission we flew over Pilzen, Czechoslovakia, to bomb the Skoda Munitions Works. We missed our target, turned over the target again, and were hit. I saw Mike, who was our radio operator, frozen in the door of the radio room. He never made it out of the plane. Only three of us parachuted....No one in the plane lived." ( ALAN Review, Fall 1980)
Harry Mazer is the editor of Twelve Shots: Outstanding Short Stories About Guns, where twelve authors explore the extreme emotions that guns provoke in all of us. Walter Dean Myers, Rita Williams-Garcia, Richard Peck and other well-known authors create a riveting collection of short fiction that explores the emotion-driven world of guns.