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28 Days

28 Days
by  Cabaret

Rating: R (Happy Angst)
Warning: Lots of swearing. Bit of angst. Reference to Self-mutilation and suicidal thoughts. Although it's not actually as depressing as this is making it sound!!
Summery: Well it's 28 days in the life of Murdock, who is Missing In Action and has a drug addiction at the beginning and is him trying to break the addiction cycle. It's not fully accurate but it's symptomatic.
Disclaimer: the A team are not mine.
Comments: Oh that'd be lovely thanks!


Day 1
His palms felt sweaty, in fact everything was sweaty or was it just that he'd been walking in rain for so long now? Who cared? Who knew so who cared?

Day 2
The pain had come back that day, it had thumped through his head early this morning, but he couldn't sleep. Not really, twenty minute snatches here and there. It had been too hot, so he'd flipped off the blanket. Then of course annoyingly and pain stakingly predictably he'd woken up shivering. The thick blanket was wet by the morning and smelt of everything stale you could imagine. If only he could turn off his sense of smell. He'd welcome the flu he knew he would get in a short while. Because that's how it gets you. When you stop you're supposed to get healthier, but that's not how it works, not in real life. He smiled as he thought of all the movies that showed the determined victim driven by a passionate cause having one day of pain then going to the gym for a spliced selection of shots while the sound track played some inspirational song to show the victims strength. Yeah right. Like that ever happened. Like he could even lift his head from the bed right now. Like he even had the slightest inclination to.

Day 3
FUCK OFF!!! Just leave me the fuck alone. I don't care. I just don't care ok? Let them fucking find me. You're all bastards, every last mother fucking rice picking last one of you! Get your fucking hands off me. I said I don't care anymore, let me out!!!

Ok maybe I shouldn't have hit them. I wonder how long their patience with me will last. Geez I can't make forever, not alone.

Day 4
Oh for the want of a good horror movie.
Not one of those you have to think about but just simple mindless violence. OK so I could rejoin the war, but I can't go back to work like this. I wanna watch a movie with a bad guy that's a vampire or a ghost or a ghoul that's not real. Blame the fucking killing on something else for a change. I don't want it to be them anymore, or us, or me. Oh shit I gotta go back, I'm too ill. Not today. If I was home I could go to a drive in. Not even a fucking TV here. Just me. Me. Me alone and only me. I hate this fucking place and I'm too ill to leave it.

Day 5
Now he can't eat. They try to feed him but he just lunges at them then denies their existence. That's the key to it you see. Denial is a friend to these people, but at this stage he's not really a person. He couldn't eat if he tried. He doesn't know what he wants, but he knows it's not here. His gut twists as he screws his body around his blankets. Why can't he get comfortable? He vomits into the side of the bed, it's everywhere now. How can he care? It's simply not in his capacity now. His heart beats fast, he's panicking now. How can he live without it? He can go another day but the rest of his life? It's his friend, it's his life line to continue, it's him. It's not something he buys, it's him. A part of him so vital he can't sever this limb. It's deeper than that anyway. This is why it aches so much now. It's screaming inside him to be fed. Who is he to deny it it's food? How can he be so cruel? So empty?

Day 6
He's been locked in the cellar for too long now. Soldiers from both sides come and go everyday but never the man he wants to see. Never the man who can give him the only thing he'll now respond to. Yes it gets worse. His skin is on fire and now there's the boredom of solitude too. He claws. He scratches. He grabs. He twists. He would punch but he doesn't have the strength. He can't punch himself anyway. He broke his own arm yesterday, but he can't punch himself, could never do that. His skin crawls, it numbs then burns with the pain of stings and grubby sweat. So he claws it out. Now the infection is in his skin. It burns him and they won't let him out, so he claws. The dried blood under his fingernails begins to smell. Still he claws. There's some skin that bears no pattern. He's white here, different, an abomination to the creed called man. So he scratches. He claws, he tries to scrap it out from him. But it's below the skin and just beyond reach.

Day 7
Today's a good day. He's too tired to care now. He's just depressed, too tired to wake and to afraid to sleep, to go back to that animal he was such a short time ago. He can do this, he knows he can. It's just one day after another. If he doesn't look too far into the future, he'll be ok. The mosquitoes sting his hands making them swell and itch. He can do nothing now, his hands are useless. Perhaps if he lies very still time will forget him as the world has and he will simply slip out of it and then leave this life. If he stays still enough he might just be able to forget to breath and forget to live, his heart might forget to beat. Then he won't have to do this alone. He asks time to forget him, stays quiet and prays for the rain outside to stop falling. He concentrates and sees the droplets slowing in their descent until finally they draw to a complete stand still and he is no longer a part of this wretched world.

He's so uncomfortable in this heat and the infections covering his body never give him peace. But today his mind is still. And that's enough for today.

Day 8
Hey! Please is anyone up there? Someone's gotta be up there. Let me out. Let me out PLEASE! Why won't you listen to me? Jesus can just one place not itch? Look I said I'm sorry. I'm ok now I promise. I'm ok now. Why won't you listen to me? Why? ANSWER ME! For fuck sake answer me! Why won't you talk to me? You fucking freak show bastards! Don't leave me here to rot! Oh please open the door, please! D-don't leave me here. Hello? HELLOO???? I-I won't fight you anymore, look I'm all better now. I'm fucking cured ok? Let me out! LET ME OUT!! Please let me out…. Please…. Why don't you answer? Why leave me here? Why?

Day 9
He hasn't stopped sobbing all night. As he sleeps the tears weep from the soft cracks of his eyes. No one cares and no one's here. He murmurs to himself because there's no one left who can hear his cries. Then as the darkness fills the cracks once again in this world without reality or reason, air moves. It's distant but moving, the air is definitely bringing something. The air is sliced, he knows that sound all too well. The air is being pierced now. The noise is deafening. He covers his ears and screams as his headache rages. His body shakes as his muscles fail him and as the voices and lights stream through to his world, he feels afraid and cowers into his corner. He tries to shrink away, but they rip him from his world regardless.

Day 10
Drugs once again course through his body. And for the first time and a long time he feels peace. If only he could stay like this forever. But he's no longer listed as Missing In Action. He's been found and so now he must begin to live. He walks from the tent filled with decaying beds and feels the second chance.

Day 11
I don't want to go to work. I can't face it again, not without… no, I can't turn back to that. I gotta find something else. I can't let them see why I left. I can't let them see I failed them, fucked it up royally for myself and everyone else. I don't wanna be here, it's too scary, I can't take it anymore, I wanna get out. I gotta get out!
(Hey, you coming?)
Uh….. No, no thanks. Stay away…. I ah I don't, well I….
Oh what the fuck?

Day 12
Today doesn't exist. He's not here.

Day 13
It didn't mean a thing, it couldn't mean a thing. I'm not going through this shit again. I can do it I gotta do it. Fuck what's the point? I could die tomorrow. Shit! Something give me a reason, fuck anything, I just need a reason. Tell me any crap I need a reason. Oh my fuck, there's nothing there. I can't do this. OK get a grip. I can do it once a week. Or maybe just on odd days. If I work in the day I can do it at night and it won't really be like doing it, will it? Nah I'll control it this time, just like last night. See I did it once and that was enough for me. I didn't want it again. Actually it wasn't the same as before, it was more soured, panicked. Nah, I just didn't enjoy it, couldn't relax into it. I'm sure it'll get sweeter, and it was good, I'm not complaining. Oh Jesus FUCK!!! What am I doing? I gotta talk my way round killing myself? Right. No promises. I won't do it tomorrow.

Day 14
Man look at those guys, these at the gym, these at the bar. Where the hell am I? Sitting in a blanket with my cold. Thanks, thanks a lot. This is what I get for trying to be like you? Man I fucking despise you. I'm so much better than you, you an your fucking gerbil like traits. What you on a treadmill all day just so you can beat me at arm wrestling in the evening. That doesn't even make sense! Ya hear me? Why don't ya crunch those abs to wipe yer ass! Fucking won't listen to me will ya? Hey! Yeah I'm talking to you ya fucking gerbil boy. Yeah you heard me, you're a fucking cog in the machine that's gonna be replaced tomorrow and as you go to the junk yard scrap metal shining through your body you're gonna smile and say ohhh thank you uncle Sam, fuck me harder one more time. Wake up man! You fucking here just to fucking die, why bother? Yeah? Well that's a good answer. Go on see if you can actually reach me. No mother fucker can get to me cos I'm not even here anymore, you bastards killed me when I stepped into this fucking wasteland! You pump them irons cos you can't exercise your brain one inch beyond yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir! You better stop cos they don't make body bags in super poser size. And hitting me again makes you feel real tall I bet……..

Day 15
Well they were hassling me. They think they're so great just cos they spend all day in the gym, who's out there fighting? They… oh what's the point, you're not interested in my truth. OK I'm sorry, I won't do it again. Can I go?
I'm fine, I just got a short fuse when it comes to meat heads like that Sir. I'm back in my routine fine. No I don't need any time off. I'm good to work. Please, please don't, I don't wanna be alone again. I just wanna be with my unit, wherever they are. No I have to work…. Yes I know I said I was sick before, but I'm fine now, I just got this cold, it's nothing though. Please don't keep me back, I can't be alone, I really can't. Just let me do my job. I don't wanna talk to anyone. Jesus why can't you understand? I just want to do my job, is it too much to ask? I'm fine, really. Yes it's been a bit tough readjusting. Well for a start there are people, daylight and English speakers again, oh not to mention food and medical facilities, a bed, toilets need I go on? I'm not depressed. No I'm not miserable, I just wanna do my job. (I'm gonna smack him one if he doesn't shut up….. probably better not to…. Maybe) Yes I know we're short on men. Kitchen duty?? Oh c'mon! Uh yes Sir. Thank you Sir. Fuck! Talk about your whipped puppy.

Day 16
He snipes and bickers at every opportunity. His nerves are shot and he just can't function with the people who were once his friends. They assume it's his cold and the punishment detail. Everyone knows he hates kitchen duty. But he does derive a certain amount of satisfaction from his second job now. No one really checks the exact content of the food the kitchen serves and that small fact gives him hours of happy satisfaction. He's actually quite happy, he can't really sleep. His body keeps jumping him through new hoops of trickery, doing anything it can to get what it wants. Now it's playing the ill game. His temperature fluctuates so he carries an extra shirt around his waist. He watches the jets fly over head and wants to be a part of that, away from the grunts, from the dirt and heat. If he could just experience that G force again it might help the ache his displaced bones pound through his body. But he is here, in the dust and with the lowest form of life there is. Surely this is not a reflection of himself? He's better than they are, he should not be down here with them, listening to their abuse, smiling as they jar him in a high five to his splint bound hand, and refusing to so much as wince when they roughly grab his shoulders shake him the lean on him in that pseudo friendly manner. That's it, these grunts have no manners, they're barely human so why should they have any manners. He doesn't want to talk to them anymore. So he stops talking.

Day 17
He gets drunk tonight. It's the best release he's had for what seems like forever. He loves that feeling of released control. He enjoys vomiting on the bar, it feels good to be normal. He tries to smoke, but that's not him. He's never liked that. Addictions come easy and he's had every one, but he's never smoked, he never could. If he could smoke of course everything would be easier. He could have a crutch. So he tries again and coughs for about five minutes. It's not going to happen. So he reaches up once again and begins to scratch. Not violently like before, but just enough to know he can still feel. Just enough to know he's still alive. His legs jump under the table and he just needs to get low. So he crawls under the table. It's nice here. They call him crazy, but at least they've stopped trying to talk to him now. At this point they'll do anything to get their old friend back. This man under the table never smiles unless it's fuelled by sarcasm and venom.

Day 18
Shit! Shit! Shit! Get your fucking ass licking bullets outta my face! Oh don't you start boy! I got enough on my plate without advice from a back seat drivin' grunt! You think you can do any better ass hole? They ain't aiming at you, they aiming at me fool! You are so lucky I'm not talking nowadays….. Oh fuck off with your rockets! Does anyone actually have a gun back there? Geeez no wonder you guys come back full o fucking holes, you can't fucking use a gun! Shit why won't my legs stop shaking? I have to…. I can't hold on…. I gotta be held, Oh shit I'm all alone, I don't want to be alone, it can't happen not again. Don't leave me down here. Don't leave me down here. Wake up boy! Get with it come on. Ground. Get out. What? No Go. I said GO! Quit fucking around. Rocket. FUCK! YOU BASTARDS!!!! You just killed my fucking chopper. That's it I'm sulking big time now, you thought you'd seen sulking before well boy….. Owwww! Yes thanks for pulling me to the ground grunt, I do know how to use a gun, unlike the trigger shy bastard on my chopper. Hey where you goin? Don't leave me here. Hey you gotta get me outta here, don't leave me here again. Look I'm straight now, see, no problem here. I don't wanna be alone again, Jesus! Don't leave me!! (He's dead Captain move it!)

Day 20
I really hate the jungle. I hate everything. But I especially hate the jungle.

Day 21
Why is it not over???? The doc won't give me anything this time, said I just got cuts and bruises from my walk in the jungle. Walk in the jungle?? OK you are trippin doc. I just spent a day and a half in crap I don't ever wanna think about again. I try not to hold my head too much, but I gotta rub my head. It's a classic give away but I'm suffering here. I had to shave it to hide the lil sign. No big deal, I've shaved my head a few times, it grows quick in this climate and I need to see a new me in the mirror. This me is in control, functioning and doing well. This me is gonna make it. And if my body here would catch up with my mind I'd feel a whole lot better about this situation. I'm sure I should be feeling better now, I am getting better right? I think I was healthier before. Now I can't stop eating and I got no energy. Why doesn't this stop? Am I gonna be like this forever? I really may as well start again cos I was happier then and I was more alert, I was fitter and had more spring. Now I'm all slow, freaked, getting fat and yeah I'm fucking miserable. I'm not meant to be all clear in the head, I need it to function. My body just doesn't work right without it, I think I just gotta accept that this is the way things are. I'm a waster, it's how I work best. So tomorrow, I'll jack up.

Day 22
The base has changed since he returned from the jungle. People have died, gone missing or have transferred. It's not the same anymore and it seems that all of the regulation he had known and followed since he started here have all changed. Nothing he does is right, and everyone seems to be correcting him, especially those his junior and it's enough to make him lash out again. But he doesn't. He holds it in and tells the ones he told in the basement. He's trying never to be alone now, he doesn't trust himself when he's alone. He knows he'll do it again so if it's late he delays for a day and if it's earlier he makes the ones around him tell him it's not possible, or that he has some severe allergy to the wrapping it comes in. They sometimes tell him he has no time just yet because he hasn't washed his face, so he spends the next hour watching the trees sway and meticulously rubbing his face in a dry and constant pattern. People sometimes ask him who he's talking to, or if he requires any answers to his questions. He tells them it's his way of remembering maps. He tells them that each grid is a conversation and each tree is a sentence. It works for now. People know the truth, but they have their own problems. Right now it would be easier to have their happy go lucky friend back, but he seems set in his need to be seriously deep and depressing. They're confident as they are with all their comrades that in time they will all revert to their normal selves or simply be wiped clean from existence. It's all they have left to give them hope in this place far from anything one would call an existence.

Day 23
I can't go out there, not today. I'm ill. Yes Sir been throwin up all night and feel like I ain't done yet. I'm sorry, I feel terrible, but I can't. I just can't. `Sides there are a load of other pilots there do a better job then me, one o them can do my shift no problem right? I'll do a double shift later to catch up I promise. No I don't need a doc, I just need to get this bug outta my system and I'll be right tomorrow. Yeah, thanks Sir. He's makin me go to the doc anyway.
Hey doc. Yeah just a tummy bug I reckon. Nah can't keep anything down. Nope the cold's hangin on in there too. I think it mighta been summit I ate. Yeah I'm flyin good with the arm. Nah the splint's fine, I'm starting to move my fingers without too much pain now. Yeah it still twinges a bit when I'm up there, course it does. Uh no thanks, I need to be fully aware when I fly and I can't be on painkillers. No I don't want that. I don't care if it's just vitamins! Hey I said NO! Damn it listen to me! I don't want any pills, syrups, remedies and I especially don't want any needles. Sorry, but I'm fine, I just don't want any drugs, I gotta be alert ya know? Sorry I just don't trust em. Look I'll sleep it off and I'll be fine, really. Yeah thanks, uh I got a phobia to needles and allergies to half the stuff they mix with drugs, yeah so you can see why I don't trust em, every time I take em I end up more sick en I was before. Crazy huh? My arm? Doesn't it say in my records? Well uh, it happened while I was MIA, yeah I was pushed into a cellar and landed on me arm. Huh? Well I was pretty messed up when I got back, I can't really remember how it happened. If it says I did it in the chopper crash then I probably did. I can't really remember exactly when I did it, it's all gone into a blur. No, I wasn't in any fights. How the heck can you tell how it was done? Does it really matter anyway? These cuts? I got them in my last lil jungle trek a few days back. No, I'd rather keep my shirt on. Whaddaya mean hurting myself? As if anyone would do such a thing!! Nah look I came here cos my CO told me I had to check out my dodgy tummy. You making me leave with a history of fuck knows what. I'm outta here doc, go analyze someone else! You won't tell, you won't say one fucking word boy. Ahhhh! No one's listening to you anyway, they just telling you, you did it wrong. They don't care about you. They stopped talking to you. You're alone, you could be invisible and they wouldn't know any different. How do I know if you're even alive? You know there's only one way. It's not too much blood, and at least you know your knife is clean. Ahhooo! They'll never know, just say a cat scratched you. Or more realistically you cut yourself poking about in the chopper. Fuck it they'll believe anything, aahhh, the locker could have done that one. Oww it hurts, make it stop. No. Please. We know we're alive now. Oh. Never tell them the truth, they'd never understand, ok? Ok I won't tell. No you won't, not ever.

Day 24
He wakes up late today, his friends dragging him from his cot and into the copper. He isn't given a choice. He has to work. He had slept all day yesterday and through last night, it just wasn't like him. He is usually so hyper, so full of energy. Are these his true colours? His friends aren't sure. But he's good at his job, in fact he's the best. It's worth keeping him close. They keep the hope that he'll bounce back. They humor his strange turns, his sudden flights of fancy and his rambling and ranting about things they've never heard of or know about. It's a little entertaining once you get past the worry factor. But the man they had first met seems to be fast disappearing. That man has become shy and only comes out between rantings when there are few people around. Then the man they used to know comes out and smiles in that reflective way, that way that fills them with hope for getting through this war. When this guy comes out it seems that he's done it all before and is quietly confident about all outcomes. This man is friendly and kind, generous and funny. He's their friend and belongs to them alone. He doesn't come out much now as they are rarely alone for him to surface. They are usually faced with the brash and sarcastic man who is stubborn and argumentative then needy and moody. He's the life and soul of the party for a brief moment then he's picking a fight the next, turning enemies on their toes and talking to himself with no particular regard to his surroundings. Then he smiles and tells them they're all crazy! He friends don't know why he's hiding himself, they just know that he's loosing himself in amongst the many personalities that have attached themselves to him. They wonder which among them will be next.

Day 25
He's just bored today. There seems to be no entertainment and he wishes for a life that's far removed from his own. He feels tired and he doesn't know why. His cold is gone now and well we all know the stomach problem was more a problem located further north in his body. Sometimes you just can't face the day, it's just impossible sometimes. If he were home now he would be going out on the town tonight instead of flying out to a thunderous greeting of hate carved in bullets. There's not much to his life, it all feels a bit empty and he's bored now. Perhaps he should make a new him. But how? He shaved his hair, perhaps he could grow a goatee? Maybe not. He needs to do something. He's been sulking for far too long now. It's become a sort of competition between him and his body, mind and brain. Four very separate entities and all with very clear ideas about what they want. He wants a bit of peace although make it interesting peace. His body it turns out is beginning to prefer not having any drugs, he actually feels like he might get it in shape now. His brain is twisting and turning, squirming out of any possible decision he tries to make. He has deep suspicions that his brain is in cahoots with his mind. Because his mind is sulking, it refuses to activate in any way until it gets the stimulation it wants. So now he's bored.

Day 26
Awww c'mon, it's just a lil puppy dawg. He don't bite an he's toilet trained. Now I know he yaps a bit but he really needs a home an who's gonna give one to him in this war place. He's a victim you know an deserves our sanctuary. Why? Ain't it obvious? Cos we destroyed his home! He was doin fine till he got caught in the cross fire. Look every team needs a mascot right? I mean those guys over there got a pet snake! Least mine's more cuddly! So… Team mascot, right? Well? What d'ya mean well? Well Taa daa! That's what's well! I promise I'll take real good care of him an you won't even know he's here, well ok you'll know he's here but he won't be a problem I promise. Look someone's gotta fly back with me, gunners are not skilled in the art of conversation…. Well no more than a dog is anyway! And I just don't like it when…. Nothing…. No, it's no… Look I'm keeping him ok? Alright! Alright! I was gonna say I don like to be alone ok? Well you're the pick of a bad bunch but you guys are ok. Well if I had my way it'd just be me an the puppy dog here. Nah I dunno his name yet, he hasn't told me yet. All in good time! Geez you'd think you guys ave just had a baby! Ya here that boy? You're at mascot status now! Soon you'll be a Captain jus like me, yes you will, good boy… no down! Down! DOWN!! Uh we're still working on that.

Day 27
He wonders if he can tell anyone. It seems to have been so long ago now. But what would they think? No, they wouldn't treat him the same way if they knew. There'd be that eternal doubt in the back of their mind. And who could blame them? Even now, a day away from his salvation, he sits there in the bar nursing a solitary beer while all around him are getting ripped. They laugh and wonder why he's quiet, but he can say he's tired. He's happy not to be the center of attention tonight. He only has one more day to go. Then everything will be ok. Everyone knows the twenty eight day rule, everything will be ok after twenty eight days. He won't have to have anymore cravings, he won't wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats with that jolt of falling that only the fallen can experience. He won't have that sudden feeling of displacement wondering what's missing from his life. He'll no longer miss that part of him he's ripped out. After twenty eight days he can be healthy and his body will no longer ache every time he sees or hears an association. If he can just make it through tonight he'll make it through the war and then Vietnam. He sits alone in the crowd, a small man missing his pride, but a happier man or at least he's trying to find a way to be happy. He's not sure if he ever will experience the true bliss of ecstatic happiness again. It makes him sad when he thinks of his new life away from the only thing that could ever make him happy. He so desperately wants to replace it, but his cylinders are all firing now and he knows that he must replace it with himself. Somehow this small man doesn't seem enough to fill that void. And then the eyes that always watch bars find him. Yes he's the easy target. The one that seems a little detached from the boozing crowd. The one that seems a little too sad and a little too lost in his own thoughts. The one that used to be in a different groups of friends at this time of night. (Hey, you comin?) Huh? Uh….. Now it's the decision time. Which group of people is he truly with?

Day 28
He wakes up, it's the twenty eighth day. He's a little disappointed to say the least. There's nothing, not even a card saying well done old chap. He doesn't feel any different to yesterday, not really. He has a low dull pain that runs from his head to his back to his stomach then to his mouth creating that wonderful metallic taste that been there for a month. That glorious taste that convinces him he's sick every morning until he realizes that perhaps this is just the way mouths taste. Maybe they're suppose to be like that? He gets up and breathes in the morning air. At least that tastes good, hot dusty gas fumed and humid but better than if he'd woken up with a load of junk in his body. He wonders if the cravings or withdrawal symptoms will ever leave him. He doesn't think so but he's starting to feel a little happier now.

The End.

28 Days by Cabaret



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