Title: Elephants
Prompt: 015. 'Blue'
Word Count: 300

If we do not laugh, we will burst into tears. – proverb

Somewhere in Vietnam, February 1970


"Hey, Colonel."

The voice called him back from dreams of a cleaner, warmer place and he came awake quickly, cursing himself for drifting off.

"Murdock." Hannibal shifted closer to the pilot – not that "closer" meant much in the cramped bamboo cage. "How you feeling, Captain?"

Murdock shrugged faintly in reply, propping himself up awkwardly on his elbows. "Hey, Colonel – how d'ya get an elephant into an icebox?"

Hannibal frowned in faint confusion and concern. "Come again?"

"Simple." Murdock grinned easily, as if the side of his face were not a mess of bruises, as if he were not just returned from nearly a month in solitary. "Open the door, put in the elephant, and close the door."

Hannibal shook his head. "You oughtta rest, Captain." Privately he wondered if Murdock was delirious, if he'd contracted one of those jungle diseases men came down with in this pit. It was hard to tell, with Murdock.

"Rest. Sure." Murdock eased himself back down, still grinning. "How d'ya get a giraffe into an icebox?"

Hannibal decided to play along – and to check Murdock's temperature. Not that there'd be anything he could do if the pilot was feverish . . . "I don't know. How?"

"Open the door, take out the elephant, put in the giraffe and close the door." Murdock closed his eyes with a smirk. "All right, how 'bout this one. The lion threw a party. Big party. Streamers and everythin'. All the animals came except one. Know which one didn't come? The giraffe. . ."

"Because he was still in the icebox." Hannibal finished, sitting back on his heels with an inward sigh of relief. No fever, at least.

"You got it." Murdock's eyes flicked open and his grin turned sly. "Now wasn't that better'n worrying about me, Colonel?"

Hannibal blinked, startled – and then chuckled abruptly. "Yeah, I guess it was." He retreated to his corner of the bamboo cage and settled back against the bars. "You know, Captain – you're crazy."

"Yeah." Murdock closed his eyes again with a self-satisfied sigh, "But it's a good kind of crazy."

Hannibal grinned faintly at that. "I suppose it is."

He closed his own eyes and wondered if he could get back to that cleaner, warmer place . . .

"Hey, Colonel."

Hannibal's blue eyes snapped open again.

"How d'ya shoot a blue elephant?"