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The Letter

by Charon

 

DATES WRITTEN: June 6th, 2001 - June 6th, 2001

RATING: PG For Language

DISCLAIMER: Not Mine. Wish They Were. Really.

WARNINGS: Sickness Talk

EPISODE SPOILERS: None That I'm Aware Of

SUMMARY: Face Gets A Letter

COMMENTS: Sure.

AUTHOR's NOTES: Not Beta'd, Spell-Checked, or Grammar Checked Beyond My Own Abilities and That Of Word Perfect's Thingy

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1

 

COLONEL JOHN "HANNIBAL" SMITH'S MEMOIRS

June 24th

 

Face held the letter in his hands, and I saw that they shook. Hell, they always shake when he gets one of those letters. And he gets them once every six months, without fail.

 

I know what the letter's about -- we all do -- but it's not something we talk about. You just watch him get them, watch his hands tremble, and then watch him walk out of the room to open it. Today he's chosen to go out to the porch -- it's certainly a beautiful enough day. The Cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the grass is a bright green, and the sky is a brilliant blue. An absolutely perfect day.

 

Murdock and B.A. are here too. Frankie's Dad took a turn for the worse, so Stockwell gave him time off, or else he'd've been here too.

 

We never say anything to each other as Face walks out of the room. We're here for silent support.

 

I guess you want to know why. Well, Face has had a rather . . . full . . . life you could say. Full of wine, women, and song. Mostly the women part though. And that was okay. No one really thought anything of it . . . until the Disease hit like a friggin' plague in the nineteen eighties.

 

And you know which one I mean.

 

Anyway, Face's taken his letter out of the room, just like he always does -- every six months, without fail. Then he'll come back into the room, just like he always does -- every six months without fail. Then he'll burn the letter, just like he always does -- every six months without fail . . .

 

C'mon, Kid. (feel kind of silly calling him kid after all these years, but he'll always be a kid to me, I guess) Come back into the room.

 

Please, Face. You've been out there long enough.

 

Too long, Face.

 

Oh God . . . too long . . .

 

 

Part 2

 

DEAR MAMA

June 24th

 

Face got another letter today, Mama. Same kind's he always gets every six months, and he's always shakin' when he gets `em. His hands start first, then it moves up ta' his shoulders, then he tightens his lips so's we don't see them shake too.

 

But we DO see `em, Mama, and it's killin' me not to be able ta' beat th' . . . sorry, Mama, I know you don't like profanity, but it's killin' me not ta' be able to beat the heck outta' what's

scarin' him so bad. There ain't a thing I can do, but sit by and watch him take his letter outside, and that's killin' me too.

 

Hannibal and Murdock and me glance at each other, but then look away. It's killin' all o' us. Ain't nothin' any o' us can do ta' help him wit' this thing, but like you once said, Mama, sometimes there ain't nothin' ta' do but leave things in the hands o' God. And if anyone needs ta' be in the hand o' God, Mama, it's the Faceman, `specially now.

 

And speakin' o' the foo', he's been on the porch a while now. Makin' me nervous.

 

I think I hate letters, Mama. Ain't no good come o' them. Army Notices, Arrest Warrants, and even yo' death came to me in a letter. Those're the only things I ever got outta' letters.

 

Faceman's been out on the porch too long.

 

I hate letters.

 

Love Always,

Your Son,

 

Scooter

 

 

Part 3

 

MOI AGENDA

June 24th

 

Well, here it is, June already, and I've gotten another of those letters. I get them twice a year, without fail, and I'm so afraid that one of them will decide my fate for the next six months,

that I don't want to open it. However, by the same token, I'm too afraid NOT to open it.

 

So, just like I always do, I leave the room. It's such a beautiful day that nothing would dare to spoil it, so I hedge my bets (is there any other way to live?) And take the letter outside. I can see my hands shaking, and I know that Hannibal, Murdock, and B.A. can see it too, but thankfully no one says anything. They actually never say anything when I get my letter, though they all know what it is. I'm so grateful for their silence that I could cry.

 

Me crying. That'd be something to see, wouldn't it, Agenda? See the handsome Face that can get anyone to do anything it asks, all twisted up, red, and tear-stained. Hardly an attractive picture, I must say.

 

I shake that image off and concentrate on my letter. I've had a good life. I can't complain, although I do. I mean, sure, I'm a wanted criminal and all, but I've known some great people, some not-so-great people, and then the greatest people ever -- Hannibal, B.A., and Murdock. However, I have made some pretty bad choices and decisions along the way in my life, too.

 

I've got the Little Black Book that proves it. My Little Black Book of Death I guess you can call it. There's names in there that've been crossed out, faces long forgotten, but whose legacy

might live on (really bad pun there, Temp . . .) and who were all killed by the same thing.

 

I finally open the letter, but before I read it, I say my Ritual Prayer: Thank you God for the last six months. Do I get a free roll and get another six?

 

I look at the letter.

 

Apparently not.

 

I've been out here too long. I know they'll know, but I can't go in.

 

I can't even stand right now.

 

 

Part 4

 

HM MURDOCK'S JOURNAL

June 24th

Entry #3,761

 

Aw cripe. It's that time again. Six months ignored, and suddenly, here comes another letter. Poor Face. It's a hell of a thing to have to go through. We can all see that from the way his

hands are shaking like little fluttering leaves on a slender tree as he holds the thing.

 

He's outside . . .

 

*THUMP*

 

Thump?

 

 

HM MURDOCK'S JOURNAL

June 24th

Entry #3,762

 

It was the thump that got me, Hannibal, and B.A. up suddenly. I thought Face'd been out on the porch for too long, but I'd hoped -- we'd all hoped -- that he was just savoring the day. It

was so beautiful out. But, none of us talked to each other during Face's absence. We never do when he gets his letters, but we all heard the thump.

 

I know we all had the same look of fear on our faces as we ran to the porch. We stopped just as suddenly as we'd started, as we got out there, and saw that Face sat on the porch step, his shoulders hunched, and as still as any rock, even as the letter waved gently in the pleasantly warm breeze.

 

He looked up, and his obviously beautiful blue eyes were dulled and filled with tears he refused to let fall. I hadn't seen Face cry in a long time, and I'd never wanted to see it ever again.

A face that good-looking, should never be as sad as his when he cries.

 

"It's positive." He announced quietly, and his voice was small, brittle, and lacked the usual timbre it normally vibrated with. "I have it. I have AIDS." The tears finally spilled down his cheeks and me, B.A., and Hannibal just looked at one another.

 

I mean, what do you say when your best friend's just told you that he's been handed a death sentence in microbial form? Something that can't be shot, beaten up, or planned away?

 

Hannibal moved first and sat beside Face and put his arm around the trembling form. I took the other side, and B.A. stood protectively over our little group, and we just held onto him as he cried.

 

None of us have ever deserted each other before, and there ain't no damned disease in this whole world that'd make us desert now. Not after all we've been through together.

 

I looked over at Hannibal, then up at B.A., and I knew they thought the very same thing. From Vietnam on, Face had taken care of us, always seen that we had what we needed and/or wanted.

 

Now, it's our turn to take care of him.

 

 

LE FINIS

 


The Letter by Charon

 

 


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