The Scoundrel

Note and Disclaimer: I can't help myself but write about a show I will never own. Here's part seventeen of "By the Graveside". Enjoy!

The cemetery was just like any other place in the Army. Once you get comfortable, you can just about fall asleep there and not give a care. The scoundrel found it more comfortable than his Motor Pool too and much cleaner. The soft grass and cool stone against his back was the perfect hideaway from life itself. The Army could easily miss him here.

Well, that was not the point of this nap while he was on leave and away from his Zola and Little Billy Bubba. The scoundrel could have found something better to do than to lie before the dead and sleep for a short period of time. No, he was here to find some peace. Yes, that was it. There was the tranquility in a cemetery. The scoundrel was sure to find it in his musings.

It mattered to him where he was sleeping. The scoundrel had found the final resting place of Henry Blake. He had not known this colonel for very long. Indeed, he had enlisted again (for what seemed to be the millionth time) and was sent to Korea in the summer of 1951. He was asleep on the trip over the ocean and didn't really know where he was until he was wheeled out from under a jeep maybe a week later. Above his head was none other than Henry Blake himself.

The scoundrel could not remember what was said. What he did recall was that he was ordered to wrestle up a working vehicle for Colonel Blake and to make it snappy. Of course, the scoundrel had to do what was ordered. Chewing on his cigar, he managed to get the work done, and quickly too. He was a favorite amongst the officers after that, out of the way and very much unaware of what was happening. Nurses and dates weren't even an issue in his Motor Pool!

That was what made it worse for him too. The other enlisted guys did not like how he got away with everything. Once Colonel Blake saw what a great job was done, the scoundrel was scot-free. He was sleeping all he wanted and he had the ability to be just as lazy too. He pretended to be the happiest man in the Army too, which made Colonel Blake scratch his head in confusion.

There wasn't much to it anyway. The scoundrel didn't know if he had to feel gratitude or relief at this easy pass since he pilfered so much and remained a source of idleness too. Colonel Blake was one hell of an officer and turned a blind eye. He was also the scoundrel's kind of man too. He was sort of a rogue himself, allowing the dishonesty to run freely in the camp. Just as long as the Army was appeased, there was nothing to it!

That all changed too quickly. The scoundrel had a wonderful summer with Colonel Blake, but the autumn brought a new beginning and a new commanding officer, first the unreasonable Major Burns and then the dominant Colonel Potter. Colonel Blake was gone, discharged and sent home to a watery grave. The day the plane went down and with Colonel Blake in it was the day Luther Rizzo actually cried real tears. When the news was heard, he was heading up the vehicles full of wounded men and carrying bodies from one place to another.

Rizzo had to stop to catch his breath. He almost held up traffic the way he collapsed in the mud though, almost tipping over the stretcher. He pretended that it was all in fault of the compound, the way he slipped. He recovered and moved on. When he had a moment, he sobbed like Little Baby Bubba with a scrapped knee.

He didn't realize how much he cared for someone until they were gone. It was an experience that woke up him and made him aware of where he was and why. Granted, Korea was just another country he was dumped in. He sent money home to Zola so that she and Little Baby Bubba didn't live so poorly. But the fact that one moment could change a whole life was something that didn't come with his dreams. It arrived when one was awake and at the wheel.

Rizzo had no morals, principles or even laws that he followed. But the way Henry Blake was taken so fast made him believe in something else. While it was usually stealing from the poor and sucking up to Father Mulcahy when the orphans were short on funds, it was still something. He had that one death he could hold onto and say it changed him.

In the meantime, it was time to get some sleeping done before his leave was up. After all, working for that Motor Pool was exhausting work. Rizzo was going to need all the time the Army gave him to rest.