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Case notes

Case Notes

by Emma Peel

 

Rating: G

Comments: please, if you got 'em

Summary: What does Murdock have to do to get his release from the VA?

 

****************

 

Part 1

 

Sure, I guess, if you were looking at it all written down, cold, just like that.. I guess you could look at it and think I was delusional. I mean, just picking it up, just flickin' through it. If ya didn't know the background.

 

Look, doc. You said keep a diary. So I kept a diary. I'm a good boy, see? Do jus' as you say, gonna let me out now?

 

Nope. I didn't think ya would.

 

S'just... I'm tryin' to be honest here, and I don't really know as you are, with me, y'know? I mean what does a fella have to do to get his discharge papers round here? I don't burn stuff no more, it's been years since I done anything bad t'the orderlies, I don't even bat my eyes at the nurses no more. I thought we were gettin' somewhere. So I did what you said. I wrote it all down, I let ya read it, and now you're sayin' I'm worse'n ever.

 

Well look. How 'bout I explain some?

 

See... lemme just check. This *is* all in confidence, right? I mean, we have that doctor patient confidentiality thing going on here, right?

 

Ok. So there, where I've written down all 'bout 'C'? C's the Colonel. Now reading that you wouldn't reckon as he was a military man. But back in 'Nam... he was *the* man. Held us together when it was all fallin' apart. He's like... he's like what I want to be. He's in control. He takes a few risks, but things work out. Even when it's all goin' wrong, he.. he.. well, I guess he believes, is the difference. An' I wish I could believe, like he does.

 

So yeah. There's a lot in there about the Colonel. Hannibal, we called him back then. After, y'know, the guy with the elephants. They told him it couldn't be done, the whole alps, huge lumbering mammals thing, and he went right ahead and did it anyways. And that's what our Hannibal did. They told him he'd never get the POWs out, he went on in and did it anyways. Told him he'd never get a 'copter for shore leave, one'd turn up next day. So now, when you see what he does written down, what I've put there 'bout him, he's the same guy, see? Just a bit older; we're all older. And I guess he's got no one above him now, tellin' him what to do. Just his own conscience, which I reckon guides him better'n anyone we had giving us orders in 'nam.

 

He's a good man. He likes the little guy, looks after the little guy. I guess I like that so much 'cos.. well in here, stuck in here, I'm the little guy. 'Cept when I go out. When I go out and help, then I'm not. Then I'm

someone. Then I'm part of the team, really part of a team and I'm someone. They can't do it without me. It's Hannibal gives me that; he needs me.

 

Not that he's invincible. Not that he's perfect. His plans don't always work out, he's a little crazy, too. Guess the crazy bit's why I like him so much. That, and he doesn't much mind me. Reckon he likes me the way I am. Likes the way I can do voices, and how I howl out on take off, and the way he doesn't know who I am all the time, but he knows underneath it's me. I like how he trusts me, no matter what. He knows I'll come through. I'll always come through for him.

 

I dunno, doc. What do you think about him? Maybe you'd have to meet him. Not gonna happen, though, not any time soon anyways. I asked him about writin' it down, y'know? Here, let me show you.... right here, at the beginning. See what he said? Anything that helped me get better, was just fine by him. Try

not to put in the details, if I could help it, to keep them safe. Just in case. You know how the MPs come around sometimes. But see? Put my health before his safety. Exactly the kind of guy he is.

 

Umm. Well, I don't know from *delusional*, zactly. I can see, it's a fair question, how this might look a little per-cu-li-ar to you, doc. Not the regular kind of thing you get. Makin' flyin' chairs with trash bags, and building cabbage cannons, and.. well, all that stuff. I *know* how it sounds. But doc..

 

See, I know this system by now. I could've written anything. How I miss my momma, how I just want a reg'lar job, how it was all down to the war, how I don't hear the voices no more, anything at all. We both know that.

 

I wanted to be honest with you.

 

He's a part of me, of what I am, Hannibal. Can't help that. And it's the truth.

 

I been talkin' that long? Ok. You want to keep that for now, or you want me to write some more? No, I got plenty to write. Ok, Friday then. And you'll think on it some? What I gotta show you to get out?

 

Ok. I guess we're still friends then.

 

 

Part 2

 

Hi doc. How you doin'?

 

Glad to hear it. S'ok, I know the drill. I'll get comfortable. So.. I wrote some more stuff down for you, like I said. I just...

 

Look, you asked. You suggested, I should say. That it'd help. I don't feel any different though. I mean, all this is already in my head. It's not going to make it any different, just writing it down, is it? I could tell you all this stuff right off, it's so clear to me, it's like I can see it all happening.

 

Or I could write down all the stuff I think you want to see. How everything is coming together, how I feel normal, how I yearn to be a reg'lar upstanding member of the community. But we both know that's not how I think. And you promised you'd be honest with me. And I did the same. So when can I get out, I guess, is what I'm saying. I feel ready.

 

I guess you don't think so, huh? And you're the guy with the clipboard.

 

Yeah, I know. Takes time. It's just it's taken so long already, and I kinda think I'm nearly there, and this bit, this last little bit, when I can see the door, when I can see myself walking *through* the door, this bit is harder'n all the other bits put together. This bit when I've got some hope. This is the worst bit.

 

Ok. So, this time, how 'bout I talk some about BA?

 

BA, you can't tell from that. He's this big scary black guy. I mean huge. Like a wall or something. Don't say much, an' sometimes when he talks you'd think he's stupid, 'cos he don't say too much. I swear, though, he's the smartest of the bunch. Doesn't think with his head none; thinks with his heart. Never does nothin' he can't live with. Never walks away.

 

Out of all of them, if you read that, if you were to read it, you'd see. He's the one reckons I really am crazy; or anyways, acts like he thinks I am, or I might be, or I might be heading back that way. He growls at me. He calls me 'fool.' Y'know how I used to have Billy round here? Yeah, I know. None of us are gonna forget that in a hurry. Well, sometimes, I'll make out Billy's there, just to see what he'll do. S'all written down there.

 

He'll make out he's mad, really mad. Shout at me. Really have a go.

 

He don't mean none of it. A while back, maybe I'd have thought someone like that, someone who knows where he's at, wouldn't have time for me. I mean, he can't stand what I do. Me, the great pilot, and he won't even fly. And maybe that'd have been a bad sign, a while back. He doesn't like me actin' crazy.

He doesn't like me flyin'. Not a whole lot 'bout the stuff I do he *does* like.

 

Maybe he's mellowed out some, though. Since I first knew him.

 

If I'm in trouble. If I need help outta something. If someone *else* is callin' me crazy, gonna hurt me. He's there. He's there, lookin' after me.

 

He thinks I'm worth it. And I guess if he thinks I'm worth something, maybe I should too.

 

I dunno, doc. I thought that meant I was seeing things clearer. Well, you've read some of this, haven't you?

 

Yeah. I guess some of it sounds a bit .. nuts. He's kinda possessive about his van, that's for sure. It's kinda.. it's his freedom. His way out. And he likes to fix stuff, and make stuff. I wish I could. I just see a pile of junk, he can turn it all into anything. Into more ways out.

 

I just thought..

 

I just..

 

He thinks I'm worth somethin'. He does. An' he's smart. and he can do stuff, an' he don't worry 'bout stuff the way I do, just gets on with it. So maybe a dumb ass like me should figure I'm worth somethin' too?

 

Well, look. Why don't you think about it some more. I think I'm getting better, I do. I really do.

 

Sure. Next week. Thanks, doc.

 

 

Part 3

 

Nope. Didn't write a thing. Didn't feel like it.

 

Maybe. Yeah, I guess so. I guess maybe I am avoiding it. I just don't want to talk about him.

 

Do I need a reason? I just didn't feel like it.

 

It's not like you'll discharge me if I talk about him, is it. Is it? I don't know what you're waitin' for. I mean, I've been out, I've been out on day passes. There's people cookier'n me got full times jobs in shops and stuff. Hundreds of 'em, just walkin' about out there. I tell ya, if you could just flip this buildin' inside out, put us on the outside, make them on the inside, the world'd be a safer place.

 

See the difference 'tween you and me, when you come down to it, is that you get to choose. You choose to come in here. You choose to leave. What do I have to do to get that choice? Just tell me. I'll do it.

 

Ok, how 'bout a clue? I mean you musta worked with hundreds of men like me. Musta. How much longer? I mean, what's the longest you kept someone in, after they got to here? We talkin' weeks? Months? Years? Gimme a clue, doc, I'm dyin' here.

 

I guess it would help. You're the expert, right? It's just... difficult. Ok. Can we do this next time? I need to think some about how to say it right. It's complicated. I don't want it all to come out wrong.

 

Stupid, huh? I've lived with these guys for so many years now, in my head they're clear as anything, but I can't talk about them. I just don't want you to get the wrong idea. I just don't want to say it wrong.

 

Ok. Next time.

 

###

 

Thanks. I'll try.

 

Ok, so. Temp. They.. we.. *I* call him Face. Handsome guy. Dimples and tan and tall and stuff, y'know?

 

I been thinkin' how to put this. Why it's hard to talk about him.

 

Ok. So, BA, see. He's kinda..

 

Y'know, this is gonna sound like that book, that Dickens story. A Christmas Carol. I just want you to know that I know that, before I start. So's you know.

 

Ok. So, BA. He's like.. he's all the stuff in my past. When I was well. He doesn't like the crazy stuff, he likes the bits underneath it. And ok, he doesn't like flyin' and stuff. But he admired me for being able to do it, I know that much. If I was like I was before, before 'nam I mean, then maybe we'd be friends, proper friends.

 

Hannibal, well he likes me just the way I am now. He's a bit crazy himself, sometimes. Even when he doesn't need a pilot, he'll come get me. Likes havin' me about, trusts me not to mess up.

 

Even though you don't.

 

No, no, no, sorry, sorry, sorry, you *know* I didn't mean that. I'm just findin' this so frustratin'.

 

So I guess that means you know what Face is, an' why he's hard to talk about.

 

See, he's got this way about him. He can speak to anyone, and get them to like him, if he puts his mind to it. Just has to smile and everything he wants falls into his lap.

 

Well, no. Not everything. He was an orphan. Guess maybe that's a bit like me too, although at least I knew my parents. He misses his family, even though he didn't know them. But see, even though he's got a bit missing, people still like him. He covers it real well, most of the time. 'Cept sometimes I can see through it.

 

It's.. he's who I want to be, doc. Where I want my future to be. I want people to like me the way they like Face. Wanna be smart like he is, able to think on my feet. 'Cept I'd be better than he is.

 

If I had a girl to care about me, like Face can make them care about him, I'd never let her go, doc. I'd treat her real good. Maybe I can't find her so easy. I guess I'm not such a looker, or a charmer. But I'd sure be able to hang on to her better. Maybe it's better to be nice, than just nice lookin'.

 

He likes me just fine, doc, the way I am. He useta play with Billy, when he was about. He'd talk to me like a regular person when I was bein' someone else. Never useta mind that one bit. A guy like that, who coulda been out with his glamorous friends, who coulda been out with the prettiest girls in town, and he'd choose to spend time with me. Made me feel comfortable with myself.

 

He's all the bits of me I want to be usin' all the time. The bits people like. I wanna be like Face, doc. Not exactly like him; sorta like a mix, him an' me.

 

Whaddaya think, does that sound crazy? I mean, I still want to be me. I'm through bein' other people. I wanna be HM Murdock, whatever that means. I'm ready to do that now. I mean, really ready. Whaddaya think?

 

Yes.

 

Yes, that makes sense.

 

I see what you're sayin', doc. But I can't just.. I mean, not like that.

 

Yes, I want to be well. I want to be well more than anything. But I'm not going to lie to you. I'm not ready for that. Not yet.

 

No, I see. I'm not mad atchya. Maybe at myself, some.

 

I'll think on it. Thanks.

 

 

Part 4

 

Hi doc.

 

Yeah, I'm kinda down.

 

It's been over ten years now. I've been here longer'n any place else I've lived my whole life. I've been with these guys longer'n any other people.

 

No. I'm ready. Well, ready to begin.

 

This? I thought maybe..

 

I wanted you to see where they came from. I'd like to show you. I'd like you to understand. Or maybe I just want to explain. Yeah, that's it. I guess it's more about me explaining, to the both of us, than you understanding. I mean, you know what's been going on, and so do I. But neither of us ever said it straight out. I figure that's what you've been waiting on.

 

So here goes.

 

I brought all my notebooks. Yeah, there's quite a lot. Ten years' worth.

 

No, I'm not gonna read them all to you. But see... there must be forty, fifty, sixty stories in these. Maybe a hundred. I'm in all of them, so's BA, Hannibal, Face. My past, my present, my future.

 

S'funny. All kindsa things happen in those books. All kindsa thing I wrote down. But the one thing that always happens, is I get outta here. All kindsa ways, sometimes one of the guys gets me out, sometimes all three of them come in and get me, sometimes I go out on my own.

 

That's what I want, more'n anything.

 

I bin livin' with this a long time.

 

Look, I'm startin' this all at the wrong end. Here, let me just...

 

See these? These are pictures from when I signed up... from shore leave... all the guys I knew. This is the one I looked at the most, the edges near curled themselves off.

 

Twenty guys in that picture. Guess how many are still alive. Go on.

 

No, of course you don't. I'll tell you. Three.

 

Just three, and me, course. Four, then. Or last I knew, four. Might just be one, by now. Long time since I heard from them. I don't write them in prison no more. I used to. Hannibal, he wrote back, once.

 

Told me not to write no more. Just disturbed the other guys.

 

Ok. So I guess you know who this guy is, right? That's BA. Bad Attitude, they called him, and boy they were right.

 

He was a bit shifty back then. If you read my diary, though, he's a good man. Still got the attitude, but you know he'd lay his life down for you. Not just 'cos he was ordered to, neither. It's all different, in my head, to how it was.

 

I know the difference now, though.

 

Can you figure out which one's Face? Yeah, dimples, in the front there. Smoother'n corn oil, that man. A few people were surprised when he got turned in over the bank job. Not that he did it, no; that didn't surprise anyone. Just that he got caught. Nothing stuck to that guy.

 

And Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith. That was the one that really got to me. He put his men first, every time. Real old school. We respected him - *I* respected him, so damned much.

 

I couldn't believe it. A lousy bank job. They were my buddies, out there. My lifeline. I wanted them to be better'n they were. The last men standing, and they fell so far... I couldn't believe *I* did it. Did it for them.

 

Like a punch to the stomach. Funny, people say that all the time. I useta. Never really knew what it meant, 'til then.

 

I hated myself for it; for going along with them. I couldn't justify it to myself. They didn't even 'fess up. Cheats, and liars on top. Just.. sickenin'. Sick to my stomach.

 

So that's where they came from. You want to know the whole story, it's here, in the newspaper clippings.

 

That's not my guys, of course. My guys were never crooked. But this gang... they were the starting point. At first, when it was all blurry, I wanted them the way they were, how I remembered them, but..

 

But not them. I wanted them good. Honourable. That's what I wanted. It's difficult; you come home and everything you thought you knew, it's taken away from you, ripped away from you. I wanted something I understood, wanted it so badly.

 

So that's what I thought about. I thought about what they'd be like if it *had* been a set up. What they'd be doing now if they'd gotten away. What *I'd* be doing now, instead of being locked up in the nuthouse. It made perfect sense to me, at the time.

 

And then, as time went on.. I was used to thinkin' about them. And I guess they stopped bein' who I remembered, or just what I remembered, and they became a part of me. Extensions of me. How I felt about myself; people I'd like to be. But just bits of people. Not one of 'em would be anything without the other two; three, countin' me. All the parts makin' up a whole. All the parts makin' up me.

 

Crazy, huh? A decade of tellin' myself stories.

 

But I hear what you're sayin', doc.

 

I want to get better. I want to put them away, now.

 

I want to join the pieces together.

 

Will ya help me, doc?

 

Will ya?

 

 

END

 


Case Notes by Emma Peel

 

 


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