I take off my heels and put on my fuzzy pink slippers. God I love those, they are just so, fluffy. Who would have thought that Igor of all people would be my saving grace. He graciously stepped in and took over my KP duty. He never said why he did, but who cares! For the first time in weeks I have an afternoon to myself! Today Maxwell Klinger is a man free from the wrath of Major Frank Burns! My form of celebration I think will be a nap. I go and change into some fatigues and lay down. But down something looks funny, my foot locker, the lock is popped off.
Quickly I get up and fling it open. Every single thing has been rummaged through. Sure people around here are slime balls, but still, look though a guy foot locker with his personal stuff in it? Probably was Majors Burns and Houlihan again looking for whatever they keep looking for.
So much for having an afternoon nap.
I pick up my violated foot locker and dump all of the stuff onto my cot. I start separating it into three piles. The first pile is comprised of Bobbi's letters, the second pile is photos, and the last pile is comprised of my journals and notebooks. I really shouldn't keep all of this stuff. I am a married man now. But honestly, I can't give it up. These keepsakes are some of my fondest and worst memories. I take some rubber bands out of my junk drawer in my dresser, sit down on my cot and begin sorting the letters.
November of 40', the first month Bobbi was away. She didn't choose to go into the army. We got drunk one night and were loitering by some guy's car in the rich part of Toledo. Really we were just sitting on the hood of this stupid black Cadillac, joking rather loudly about stealing it. Hell if we wanted to we probably could have done it, we were one hell of a team back in the day. The cops ended up getting called. I managed to get away in time, but Bobbi tripped over the curb. She didn't get away in time, and got charged with attempted auto theft.
The judge was good buddies with her Father, knew he was a military man, so instead of locking up his daughter, he put Bobbi in an military disciplinary program for girls. A new sort of program where they take these girls, give them the basics of nursing and ship them off to god only knows where.
I remember the day she told me the news outside of the Toledo city courthouse. She was so calm when she told me, but after, she broke down balling. Bobbi was petrified, she said she didn't want to leave me. She was scared I would leave her once she was shipped off. I promised her that I'd be waiting when she returned, no matter how long. I swore I would never break that promise. Funny how things change…
Sighing, I decide to look through the photo albums. I take one and open it. The first picture is Bobbi at the Toledo station when she shipped off. Her hair was pulled up into a high, tight bun. She was in her class A. I remember her complaining that the olive drab washed her face out. But I though it highlighted her hair and accentuated her eyes. We spent twenty minutes that day kissing goodbye. It's a kiss imprinted in my memory.I had no clue that it would be the last time I would be able to touch her for years…
A knock comes from the door and startles me, "Who is it?"
"It's Radar Klinger!"
I roll my eyes, "What is it?"
"You got a stateside phone call."
"Who is it?"
"Your wife Klinger."
HOLY TOLEDO. Laverne. I totally forgot about her. I haven't written in like two weeks, "Coming Radar!"
I get up, take a blanket to cover the stuff on my cot and put on a housecoat and rush out of my tent following Radar back to his office.
"Yeah Sparky, yup we're ready now."
Radar hands me the phone and leaves the room so I can have some privacy.
"Maxwell Q. Klinger I want the truth now!"
Uh oh, Laverne is furious, "What are you talking about pumpkin?"
"Don't be coy with me! I know she is there!"
"Who?" I try to play it dumb, knowing that she means Bobbi.
"Honey, Martin Shepard, that roofer from 69th Avenue got wounded and came through your unit. He saw you sitting with her. He told his wife Lynn, who has coffee with Beatrice, who told her sister Annette who told me that bitch Bobbi Corrigan was assigned to your unit. Consider this a warning Max. Next I hear of you having ANY kind of contact with her you can consider me a long gone."
She hangs up the phone with a slam. Whoops.
"Here let me help." Jack says as he picks up my foot locker for me.
I pick up my guitar case and we head off to nurse country. The moment I have been dreading… "Thank you."
I walk beside him, our pace slow. He knows I don't want to go in there. All those women hate me already. "You're lucky." I mumble to him.
"Why do you say that?"
"You don't have to live with three people and pretend to like them, even though you know they hate you as much as you hate them, just so you can survive your day without clocking somebody in the face."
Jack chuckles, "Maybe not three people, but one for sure."
"Who is this one? Hawkeye?"
"Right on the money."
I knew there was tension between the two but I didn't think it was that bad. I guess Hawkeye's judgmental stares precede more than just the likes of me. What his problem is, I do not know.
"But," Jack continues, "At least Trapper is alright."
"What about Frank?"
"Frank is just amusement."
I smile, but then we reach the cursed tent, I stop and re-adjust my grip the guitar case. Jack looks at me and I nod, then bravely knock on hell's gate.
"Who is it?"
Kelley, her voice is so irritating, so fake sounding.
"It's Captain Morango." I holler out, attempting to sound friendly. Scrambling ensues inside until Able opens the door. She tilts back in shock when she sees Jack standing with me. But then corrects her posture and beckons me in. Jack follows my lead.
"Where shall I set this?" He asks.
"Over there is your bunk Captain Morango." Kelley points to the bottom bunk, on the left side of the tent.
Jack goes and sets down my footlocker on the bed. I carefully set down my guitar case beside. All of their eyes are on me, I can feel it. What are they expecting? That all of a sudden Jack and I are going to turn to one another in passions heat, and make-out before their eyes, just so they have some more juicy gossip to spread around camp?
"Would you mind helping me move my things into the Swamp Bobbi?" Jack says breaking the thick silence. I nod at him and we high-tail it out to there fast.
After we are out ear shot I speak, "If that wasn't awkward I don't know what was."
"I'd sure say."
We enter Radar's office. He is nowhere around. Jack picks up his footlocker and we leave once more.
"So, how was your talk with Trapper?" He asks quietly in Russian so ease droppers can't understand.
Shit, I was hoping he wouldn't ask. How did it go he asks? Well it was bad. I don't know if he is mad at me or what is going on. I just got up and said that I needed to help Jack with something but I'll stop by later.
"It went good."
"Good just good?"
He looks at me with that 'tell me the truth' look of his.
"Really!" I reply.
"Okay then, whatever you say."
Seems like he doesn't believe me, but whatever. I go ahead and open the door to the Swamp for him. Jack goes and plops down his footlocker on the spare bunk across from Trapper's. The place looks like a garbage dump. Beer cans scattered throughout, crumbs of various inedible food particles line the floor. One of Hawkeye's nudist magazines is somehow wedged into the stovepipe. Dirty socks seem to make a straight line from Hawkeye's bed over to Trapper's. And there is an athletic supporter hanging out of Frank's bible…
"Sure is... pleasing…"
"Oh yes that's for sure." Jack replies monotone. We look at each other and start laughing. he sets his footlocker down on the unoccupied cot parallel to Trapper's.
"How on Earth are you going to handle living with Frank?"
"I think as annoying as it will be; it will be fun to watch."
"Hey," Jack goes and opens his foot locker, "While I am thinking of it, I held onto some things I think you should have." After rummaging he pulls out an envelope.
I take the envelope and open it up. There are two pictures inside. One is of me and Anne. I am wearing Nikolai's coat and have a scarf wrapped around my head. Anne is wearing a civilian males coat with a toque. My right leg up on an old barrel and Anne's left leg to mirror me. We both have a rifle in hand. Then the second picture is of Nikolai playing his violin.
It was in Czechoslovakia where we met up with an old friend of Nikolai's, who he said helped him travel to America when he fled the U.S.S.R. in the twenties. I forget what his friend's name was, but he housed us up in the attic for the winter since it snowed so much in 44'. Of course this house has to be in the middle of nowhere.
There were a ton of instruments we discovered stored up in the attic, a few guitars, an old upright piano, and a violin and a bass. Apparently the former occupants of the house were musicians before his friend bought the place. There were trunks upon trunks of stuff they left behind. Including the camera Jack used to take the photos.
"How did you get these developed?"
Jack smiles, "I don't know about you, but after my name was cleared by the Army they returned all my possessions surprisingly. I wrapped the film in seven layers of cloth, the film survived that entire time."
"Do you have more pictures?"
"Somewhere in here." Jack stares the mess in his footlocker.
"I would love to see the rest when you find them."
"Of course," He sits down beside me, and points to the photograph of Nikolai in my hand, "Remember when we found that violin hidden behind the piano? He just grabbed the case, sat down at the table, opened it up, greased the bow, and started playing Farther Along."
"It was so beautiful…" I get goose-bumps thinking about that moment. It's one of my favorite memories of Nikolai. He never told us that he could play. He never really told us much about himself. He liked show us instead of telling us.
"We owe our lives to him." Jack stated somberly.
"God bless him wherever he is."
Jack nods. A question has been in my mind for awhile, if Jack wasn't executed, was Nikolai? I want to ask, but if the answer is grim, it is better not to know…
"I just wonder what happened to that violin." Jack states.
He looks up at me hopeful. His black curly hair falls out of place and he brushes it aside with his fingers.
"After I took the service bargain, they led me to this storage house where all my stuff along with others was for the time being. Your stuff was there too, I guess they pardoned me before you. Anyways when the MP wasn't looking I grabbed the case out of Nikolai's pack and threw in my own stuff. "
"Where is it now?"
"In my foot locker, with a bunch of padding around so it won't get damaged."
I hear the door open and turn my head to see Hawkeye, who was clearly not paying attention to Jack and I. Jack leans in and whispers in my ear, "Tonight, behind the motor pool, bring it, I'll bring the guitar and let's have some fun for once."
A huge smile cracks across my face, and I leave, letting Jack claim his territory while I'll go claim my own.
"Making yourself at home I see?" Hawkeye says to me lying down on his bunk.
"You and the Captain have a date tonight or something?" Hawkeye asks casually.
"No. No we don't."
"Just thought I heard that when she left, that's all."
"Uh huh… interesting." He mumbles something else I can't make out. Tonight cannot come fast enough.
As I get closer to the tent I can hear them talking.
"I can't believe she had the nerve to bring him in here." Able says.
"I can, did you see the way the Captain was looking at her." Dixon replies.
"I sure they went to the Swamp to be alone." Kelley says.
I choose that opportunity to make my presence known. When I open the door the three all pretend to be doing something. Can't help but to roll my eyes. I go over to my bunk, not saying a word and set down the envelope with the pictures inside it.
"What's that?" Kelley asks noticing it.
"Nothing." I reply.
She doesn't say anything back. The tension is twelve feet thick in here.
"Your drawer in the dresser is the fourth one Captain." Dixon says flipping through a magazine.
"Thank you." Why are they talking to me…?
I shove my footlocker aside for the time being under my bunk and pick up my guitar. I note the guys from the base taped on it comes flying off, and lands right to Kelley's feet. She dives for it before I can.
"Who's this from?"
"Just some friends." I extend out my hand for her to give it back.
Here is all of your stuff including some of the stuff you left behind. Ex. Your GUITAR. Selfish as we can be, we couldn't just take your guitar. Nice to hear that you are off the front lines and at one of those M*A*S*H's. The dullness goes on over here in Germany. We all miss your personality, dedication and your music lovely around here. And Vinnie wants to add that he is still sorry for your demotion.
Vinne & Percy Franklin, Nancy Linus, Drew Lotwell, and Freddie Grizwald."
Of course she reads it out loud.
"Oh so you were stationed in Germany?" She asks.
"For how long?" Her voice is so irritating…
"Three and a half years."
"What department?" Able cuts in, stopping her makeup application.
"Where were you stationed? I spent a few years on an Air Force Base in Germany."
"You wouldn't have heard of it, it was in the middle of nowhere." I reply disinterested in this interrogation.
"Oh were you with the 4955th?" Able asks again.
"Wow, I heard you guys did good work with the air lift in 48'. I had a friend there, she said even the nurses had to help load the planes and other stuff. Weren't you guys on like twenty-four to forty-eight hour shifts?"
"It was actually like three days awake three days of sleep."
"Kind of sounds like here." Kelley says.
"Mhm." Dixon replies.
"No, not really." Crap, that wasn't supposed to come out. I can never seem to keep my rude comments to myself.
"And how would you know Captain, you've never had an OR session here. It's more difficult that throwing flour into a B-52." Kelley states agitated.
I won't let nobody put down the work we did there. We saved those people's lives. Men died on those long routes to Berlin. Men who shouldn't of died.
I stand up and turn around so I am face to face with Kelley. "What are you implying Lieutenant?" I ask cool.
"Oh nothing Captain." She tries to play it innocent.
"No, to me it sounds like you were trying to say that you think I don't have any capability in an OR."
"How can I know, I've never seen you operate before Captain."
"Besides," Dixon crawls down from her bunk above me and joins in, "You have no right to judge the harshness of a M*A*S*H."
"You will soon find out Captain, there are responsibilities here, more than just running around with the doctors." Able interjects.
I glare at her and just return to my unpacking before I blow my cork. I pop open my foot locker and remove the top layer of cotton padding to reveal the old violin case. Without thinking I pull it out and open it up. There is no damage thank god.
"What do you have there?" Able asks.
"None of your business."
"Looks like a violin." Able remarks.
"My father had a violin that looked exactly like that one!" Dixon shouts like a little school girl. She basically mows me over and picks it up.
"Put that down!" I shout instinctively almost at the top of my lungs.
Dixon jumps in fright and she drops the violin. It land on its back with a crackling smash. An awkward silence ensues. I pick up the instrument and flip it over. The back seems okay but the neck is bent and a few strings broke.
"I'm so sorry!" Dixon gasps with her hands over her gaping mouth.
My blood is boiling, "You stupid bitch!" I lunge forward and swing my fist,
"Ladies, ladies calm down!" Out of nowhere Hawkeye steps in between us before I can hit her.
I inhale sharply, look at Hawkeye staring at me, look at the other frightened nurses and then leave the tent, slamming the door behind me.
Normally, after a walk as long as this one, my feet would be killing me. But too much is on my mind to notice. How do I show Bobbi that I really do care? I mean, I love her, there is no doubt. She is all I can think about. But I need to find a way for her to let me into her heart. I realized this morning I realized that she has a wall built up. I shake my head as I enter the Swamp. Jack's unpacking, setting his stuff here and there. He turns around when he hears me enter.
"Bored already I see."
"Uh yeah sure." He answers.
"You don't sound too thrilled about what a pest test this is." I say sitting down on my cot taking off my boots.
"I'm thinking the rats may grow on me."
"Let's hope so." I reply disinterested taking off my boots in the chair by the still and rub my feet.
"Trapper I've wanted to have a discussion with you." Jack says more serious to my surprise, making me look up from my aching feet.
"What is it?"
"I just want to get this across. So I am going to say it as bluntly as I can. Are you serious about Bobbi?"
"Of course I am."
"Are you really though?"
"Yes! I really, really do care about her."
"Okay you care about her. But do you love her?"
"I do. I honest to god do."
Jack stops and thinks for a second, "That's all I needed to hear. But let me tell you this Trapper. If Bobbi ever is upset in the slightest way, and it is because of you, you will have me to answer to. Understood?"
"Understood." Wow, feels like the interrogation I got from Louise's Father when she first brought me around…
I shake my head and reach for the divorce papers that came in. I put this off for two long. I'm going to get see my girls so why not.
"Is this proof enough I'm serious?" I say walking over to Frank's desk and grab a pen. I flip to the last page, and without hesitation sign my John F. X. McIntyre on the dotted line. "As of now, I am no longer a married man."
Jack gives me a little smirk, "That's more like it." He says with a southern draw.
"I can promise you Cohen, I will try to never hurt her. I better go find Radar to send these off to Boston."
All of a sudden the little squirt barges in,
"Here the envelope for the legal papers you asked for earlier, Trapper." Radar says shoving them into my hands while looking in his mail sack. The shrimp vanished faster than he appeared.
I look at the brown envelope then to Jack.
He raises an eyebrow, "Instant Corporal."
I go and get a cup of coffee. Good thing the Mess is deserted. I take a table near the wall, I just need to sit here, and calm down. I wish I didn't have such a bad temper. It's seems like the only thing I inherited from my Father was a short fuse.
Man, what a day, get woken up by Frank Burns, can't even eat breakfast because its so awkward, then go and listen to Major Burns and Houlihan some more, tell Trapper that I love him so much that it scares me and that leaves him speechless. Then I move into a viper pit and almost punch out Dixon… and it's not even 17: 00 hours. I just rest my head in my arms on the table and close my eyes. Being at an aid station would be a hell of a lot easier right now. All I would do I help stabilize patients, do the odd stitching when necessary, and to and maybe get to some sleep or write a song for a few hours…
"Hey!" A strong hand shakes my shoulder harshly.
I lift up my head with sleep in my eyes, I must have dozed off. I turn around to see Hawkeye.
"What do you want?" I ask grumpy. He is the last person I want to see right now.
"Why the hell did you try to punch Lieutenant Dixon?" He is really angry.
"Because she asked for it Captain." I spit back, "Why the hell do you care anyways, it's none of your business."
"She says you went at her for no reason. She is really shaken up right now you know. Crying and everything."
"I have my reasons." This is too ridiculous, I get up and push past him.
"Don't you walk away." All of a sudden, he tugs me back by my forearm. I stumble over the tables bench and fall backwards, hitting my head onto the table. A rush of pain makes me shout out.
"Oh my god I'm so sorry I didn't mean to." Hawkeye held out his hand, instantly forgetting his previous anger.
Hot tears are running down my face. I want to get up but my head hurts too much. This feeling of helplessness is all too familiar to me. The back of my head stings, I place my shaking hand on the area, when I bring it to my face there is wet, slick blood. My breath comes in gasps because I am crying so hard. I look at my blood stained hand, then up at Hawkeye who has a shocked look on his face. The next thing I know the mess doors fling open Max rushes up to me. He immediately bends down and looks at me, with the same wary look he had when he would find me after my Father was finished with me.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to, I just, and then she fell and, are you alright Bobbi?" Hawkeye was freaking out.
Funny the different was people deal with stress or an unexpected situation. Some people scream and yell, others back away, others blabber on like Hawkeye or some just go hysterical. Kind of like Anne when the guards drug her out to the wall. Something snapped in her head. She allowed the cold, the sickness, the starvation to get to her. She went crazy, pretending we were Germans, or Polish, or whatever finally got to her and took over. In the end, it got her killed. Funny how things work out… If she was quiet like me, maybe she would still be alive. And Jack wouldn't be lonely.
"Bobbi!" I snap out of my fog and see Max looking at me, "Your head is bleeding."
"Oh yeah…" My voice is faint.
Hawkeye is looking over Max's shoulder staring at me wided eyed.
"You son of bitch get out of here!" Max grabs Hawkeye by the collar and I look away, not wanting to know if he punched him or not. I hear Hawkeye leave and Max kneels back down to me. "Here take this," He takes off his purple and white neck scarf gently presses it against my head, "Looks like you may need a stitch or two Bobbi."
"It's fine Max." I state plainly. I don't want a fuss to be caused the pain is starting to subside. Trapper is on Post OP right now.
Max understands, we got this routine down pat. No fuss, if I ever need medical help, it was done discretely. I sigh and stand up slowly with the help of Max's hand. Like a gentleman he wraps his arm around my waist to support me. But yet he slides his hand up and arm onto my opposite hand and entwines his fingers in mine as we walk to the door. In the compound nobody notices Max and I walking. You think they would though. Me holding a purple and white striped scarf to the back of my head, being escorted by a hairy Lebanese man in a peach sun dress in low black heels. Never thought I'd see the day when I'm the one in pants and he'd be the one in the dress…
He opens the door to his tent for me and leads me to the bed and I sit down. His hand sliding away from my waist gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. It always did. Max's touch is so light and tender, still is. I can't lie. I have long for it. Longed for his kisses, his warm embraces, and his thick black hair I used to run my fingers through when we cuddled. He acts so distant and crazy now in Korea, like he isn't affectionate about anybody or anything. But I know it's just a cover up. Max is the kind of person who wears his heart on his sleeve and will do anything for the people he loves.
I go and sit down on the foot of his cot and Max sits beside me so our bodies our touching. He slinks his hand up and around my hand holding the scarf to my head.
"Here let me see." He whispers guiding my hand away. "Well it looks like it's stopped bleeding, but I'm pretty sure you need stitches."
"I'm fine Max." My voice wavers as he moves he hand from head down to rubbing back.
"It was just an accident… I got scared, that's all."
"I know." He goes from rubbing my back to holding my hand. "I heard your shout and needed to make sure you are were okay Bobbi."
I don't want to, I shouldn't, but I can't help but feel happy. He just told me in his own way that he still cares. Gradually, I can feel him lean in close to me. He whispers in my ear,
"I'm going to go get Trapper to come here to fix you up. I'll be right back Darling."
He kisses me softly on the cheek and leaves before I can say anything. Darling… Max hasn't called me that years… It makes me sad to think about it now, but he always used to call me darling. I was his darling and he was mine.
I remember I day he came and visited me in the hospital in Britain after the war. We went for a walk in the garden behind the main complex. There was this one path that led to a gazebo on a hill that over looked a pond. It looked just like the pond behind the family home in Tennessee I grew up in. Max led me to the gazebo and then stopped. He pulled me as near as possible and just held onto me for dear life, and I to him. It seemed like we were there for a half an hour, only listening to each others breathing. Finally he put his lips by my ears and whispered that he promises that forever he'll be my darling until the day he dies. And after, if he is called home before me, he will find a hill overlooking a lush green valley and find himself a big willow tree like the one in back in Tennessee to wait under, until he sees me. And then we can be reunited once more in the presence of God.
A piece of paper catches my eye underneath the bed blanket. I pull it out. Summer 48' is written on the back. I flip it over. It's a picture of me taken at home in Tennessee when I went on leave. In the picture I'm wearing a knee length, fitted cotton dress. For once my hair is down and curled. I'm posing on a huge rock by the pond out back behind the house. Sitting here, thousands of miles away that time and place seems like only a dream.
I don't notice the tears rolling down my cheeks until Max returns with Trapper.
"Oh my god." Trapper mutters as he sees me.
I feel guilty almost. He thinks I'm crying because of the cut on my head… if only…
"Do you need anything?" Max asks lingering by the door with his head held low.
"No we are good Klinger." Trapper answers knelt down looking at me. It's almost like he is annoyed by Max being here in his own tent.
"Alright." He exits the tent leaving me and Trapper alone. Trapper waits for a second before he speaks, "What happened sweetie?"
"I was walking away from an argument with Hawkeye in the Mess tent, over something stupid when he grabbed my arm and I lost my balance, tripped, fell, and hit my head on the corner of the table and cut it."
Instinctively Trapper gets up and yells making me jump, "Hawkeye grabbed at you and made you fall!"
"It was an accident…" My voice trails off scared.
He see that he startled me, "I'm sorry baby." He lowers his voice back down and gets out the necessary things for stitches.
"Here I'll move to the chair." I motion with my head over to the flimsy fold up chair Max using when he sews.
"No it's okay." He crawls on the bed and situates himself behind me with one leg dangling off the edge and the other he cradled around me, "This is going to sting a bit." He moves my hair away from the cut. I sharply inhale as he swabs it with alcohol. I can feel Trapper tense up behind me.
"I'm sorry Bobbi. Just a few more seconds of pain."
The next thing I know the stitches are over with and he places a bandage on the area. I turn around to face him. The look is in his eye again. The one he had before he told me he loved me.
"Thank you Trapper. I'm sorry."
"No don't be sweetie, it wasn't your fault." He brushes my cheek with his thumb in that certain way that drives me crazy.
"Bobbi about before-"
Suddenly Max comes bursting in and we both stand up. He realizes that he interrupted and looked at his feet. "O.R needs you on the double Captain McIntyre." Max leaves right away.
"I'll find you later Bobbi" He kisses quickly me and runs out of the tent.
I don't think this day could get any more rotten. I sigh and leave Max's tent after a few moments and head to the Swamp to find Jack. When I get there he looks right at home sitting in the black chair beside the still. Martini on the table and strumming is on the guitar.
"Can I come in?"
He cuts the chord he was playing short, puts down the guitar, and opens the door for me.
"What happened to you? You look like shit." He says with a confused look on his face.
"Don't ask." I going to the still and pouring myself a drink.
"Alright. You sure?" Jack says standing with his black curly hair falling in his and his hands in his pants pockets.
I pause for a second, turn to face him and chug my drink. Wiping the excess gin from my face I sit down on Trappers bunk. "You want to know, okay here's a long story short. Lieutenant Dixon broke Nikolai's violin, I tried to punch her. Pierce stopped me, after I go to the mess tent, argue with Pierce whom ends up grabbing me. I trip and rip open my scalp. It scared me like when my Father used to beat the shit out of me after he'd been drinking. Let's proceed to me crying like a baby when Max came to help me. I ended up finding an old picture of me in his tent from 48'. This morning I told Trapper that I love him so much that it scares me, which obviously freaked him out. And on top of it all I such a fucking headache so are you just going to stand there or are you going to pour me another drink, pick up that guitar and start playing, or do I have to?"
Jack just stands there, wide eyed and dumbfounded for a second. He blinks, "And I thought I was having a bad day."
I stare at him, "Your hair is in your face you know."
He shakes his head, swipes his hair back into place, and pours me another martini. I grab it from him as he sits back down in the chair.
"How much damage is done to the violin?"
"Not too bad, it's fixable. I am going to wire my Uncle in Tennessee tomorrow for some strings and a new neck. I can do it myself."
"That's good." He chugs his martini and sighs, "I think, I mean it's been so long, since we have you know. I never thought I could sing again with you. I think we should for the first song, it's only right. I haven't played it since. But now that I'm with you… It was our song" His voice fades away.
"For Nikolai, and Anne I whisper."
Jack set down his glass and picks up my guitar and starts to play. I squeeze my martini glass, feeling the slow, sweet, wholesome melody.
"Tempted and tried we're oft' made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested, though in the wrong
Farther along we'll know more about it
Farther along we'll understand why
Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all by and by
When death has come and taken our loved ones
Leaving our homes so lonely and drear
Then do we wonder how others prosper
Living so wicked year after year
Farther along we'll know more about it
Farther along we'll understand why
Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all by and by"
Our voices end in perfect harmony as he hits the cadence which rings for near a minute it seems.
"Amen." Jack echoes, "I think I need another drink."
"Bobbi?" He asks with his back to me at the still. I know he's hiding the fact that he's crying.
"Do you know what happened to Anne?"
My gut tightens, I bite my lip and lie, "No, no I don't…"
"If there's any further complications come and get me. I'll be dieing in the Swamp."
I throw my cap and mask into the laundry bin, put my watch back on and walk into the compound. I walk slowly back to the compound enjoying the warm sunshine on my face. I stop though, something strange is going on; I hear music and singing.
"Something wrong Trapper?" Father Mulcahy stops to talk to me.
"You hear that too Father?"
He chuckles deeply in his priestly fashion, "Yes, its Captain's Cohen and Moragno in the Swamp. Quite good isn't it?"
"Yeah it is Father."
"If you excuse me Trapper I'm on my way to go bless the new four seater officers' latrine."
"Of course Father." I wave him by. Four seater latrines… what's next. I start on my way again until I hear Hawk call my name.
"Trapper wait up!"
I turn around and wait for him to catch up with me, "What's up?" I'm kind of scared; he has a serious look on his face for once.
"Do you know how Bobbi is doing?"
"It wasn't that bad of a cut." I reply ticked off, why would those two be arguing? They have barely spoke ten words to each other this whole time.
He runs in front of me to stop me frantic, "Are you sure? I mean is she okay emotionally."
"Well I think so! I had to run to O.R before we could talk! Why are you so concerned?" I can hear the Bostonian accent coming out full and thick in my voice.
"Trap, it was an accident you know."
"Yeah I know." I sigh. Where is he going with this? Now I'm starting to get scared…
"The way she looked at me. She was absolutely terrified of what I was going to do. I didn't mean for her to fall."
"I've never seen anything like it before. I think she thought I was going to hit or something Trapper."
"But she told me she knew you didn't mean to." This is weird.
"Please, I got to go on Post OP but tell Bobbi for me that I'm really sorry."
"Thank buddy." And he heads off to Post Op.
I wonder why she got so scared… Putting the thought out of my mind I follow the sound of the music to the Swamp. I walk in and Bobbi and Jack stop singing whatever the song was. Sounded like a old country one. I don't much about that type of music.
"Trapper." Jack acknowledges me.
Bobbi just gives me a weak smile.
Jack sets the guitar down "Uh well I got to go to the latrine, that time of the day." He gets up and leave but not before giving me a wink.
"Bobbi can we talk? I got interrupted before."
She seems in a lot better spirits than a few hours ago that's for sure. I sit down beside her on my cot so I can wrap my arms around her and hold her as tight and as near as possible.
She looks so beautiful with her hair down and flowing. I reach out run my fingers through the long strands.
"Yes?" She gives me the looks that caught my eye the very first time we met. The one where her eyes widen and give off a sparkle, and her mouth opens a tiny bit, just enough to offer an opportunity to kiss her softly.
"Bobbi, I've been thinking about it all day. No matter what, I know deep down in my heart we were meant to meet here in this, this cesspool called Korea, in this dump. I've been deliriously happy since we've been together. The way I'm feeling, it's so strong. Bobbi I need you. I love you so, so much Bobbi. And so I ask you to please trust me. I promise to take care of you."
She bites her lower lip, "Trapper."
"Hm?" I'm lost in her eyes that are full of passion. She inches closer into me so her one leg is slight touching mine driving me crazy. Bobbi put one hand on my face and with the other runs her long nimble fingers through my hair.
"I love you. And I promise I will trust you. If I try to run away, catch me and I won't go anywhere."
"I love you Bobbi Morango." I whisper in her ear before I kiss her on the cheek and make my way over to her mouth. My hands move up and down her back in a rhythmic motion. A soft moan vibrates from her throat as my lips descend downwards from her mouth, to the caressing the crook of her neck. Her warmth ignites my whole body it seems into a passion driven state. I cradle her head and slowly lean her back flat onto the bed. Our legs intertwine and our kissing gets fiercer. She moves her hand all over my back and get caught in my thick curls. I stop for a moment.
"Thank you for staying."
"As we danced to the waltz of the wind- Whoopies!"
I turn to see a very drunk Klinger, fallen to the ground. I go and help him up.
"You alright Klinger?"
"Well what d-do you mean Father? I'm a just a okey dokey! I didn't even feel the ground when it came up and hit me!"
"Right my Son. Here let me walk you back to your tent." He is really toasted!
"Aren't we there Father?"
"No Klinger were just outside the Officers Club."
"Well in that case help me to my tent."
"It's our song you know, the Waltz of the Wind."
When I left the parish the Philadelphia for Korea, never did I think I would be escorting a Lebanese man, in a satin turquoise evening gown, through a dusty, dry, deserted compound at eleven o'clock at night.
"Do you want to know s-s-something Daddio? Do you wanna know why I'm sloshed tonight?" Klinger exclaims when we reach his tent.
"If you want to share…" Oh dear...
"You see I tried to drink her away tonight but it d-didn't work. Now she's here and I lost her to another man. Bobbi ill' never pick me over him. A rich fancy doctor from Boston! Did I mention he's rich?"
"Uh I believe so Klinger, yes."
"I love her Father! We were supposed to wait for each other you know. Yuppers under a big williow tree. Just like the ones on the home in Tennessee! Did I tell you that after the last war that was previous to this one we were going to get married and live there?"
"I think you better go ahead and get to bed Klinger."
"But I had to go a cheat with Laverne! Now I might be losing her, her… him… no Laverne is definitely a herimerhimher!"
"Uh huh, well you better."
"I'm sorry to disappoint you Francis but I have to stop our conversation now. I'm got to go pass out now."
And he's gone… I'm way too tired to process this right now, but things are starting to make sense. Come heck or holy water I'm going to get to the bottom this and help Klinger…
A/N: Okay okay I didn't die. Just started another chapter, got stuck wrote this one, work blah blah blah.
And yes I know Instant Corporal is from the show but it's like my favorite line! Gets me every time! Anyways please review! And once again sorry for any errors! I do try my best to get them all!