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June 6th, 2001 - June 6th, 2001
RATING: PG For
Mine. Wish They Were. Really.
None That I'm Aware Of
Gets A Letter
AUTHOR's NOTES: Not Beta'd,
Spell-Checked, or Grammar Checked Beyond My Own Abilities and That Of Word Perfect's Thingy
COLONEL JOHN "HANNIBAL" SMITH'S
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
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
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.
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
You've been out there long enough.
Too long, Face.
Oh God . . . too
long . . .
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'
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.
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.
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
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.
HM MURDOCK'S JOURNAL
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 . .
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.
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
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
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
Now, it's our
turn to take care of him.
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