"Just leave it, Corporal. Get your sorry ass over
here, right now!"
barked Goldman losing his temper with the new recruit.
Fumbling with his belongings, Cpl. Trotter, stumbled
his way over to the
Lt., nearly colliding with him.
"Sir, yes sir." he squealed, saluting.
Goldman backed away looking down his nose at the kid's
"Corporal.. Trotter, is it? What is all this crap
doing scattered all
over the place like this?"
"Bag broke open, sir." he panted nervously. Goldman
screwed up his face
and looked away.
"All right. Get it cleaned up and get settled in.
Welcome to the Nam,
kid." Goldman turned and strode away before the
soldier could speak.
"Lt. Got a minute."
"Walk with me, I'm on my way in to see the Major."
"Yes, sir." Anderson fell in step beside Goldman.
"What's up, Sargent?"
"Well, sir. I was jus' wondering what you had in mind
for your R'n'R."
Goldman returned a passing salute before answering.
"Hadn't given it much thought, Zeke. Why?"
"Well, sir, don't get me wrong now. I just think you
should get away
from this war for a good 72 hours. Get away from the
stink of this
"Too much paperwork, sargent."
"You shouldn't be spending your r'n'r working on
"Goes with the bars, Anderson."
"I hear you, sir."
"What are you going to get yourself into for three
"Clean my weapon. Wash some socks."
"That's where that's coming from." he teased, grinning
as he glanced
down at Anderson's boots.
"Tell you what. I'll go and see what Darling wants
and we'll get
together and kill a bottle of whiskey I've been
"It's a deal." nodded Anderson.
A sharp rap rattled the door.
Anderson stepped into the Lt.'s hootch.
"Pour yourself a tall one." he said holding up his own
full glass as an
"Thought any more about that R&R, Lt.?"
"Actually, I have." he grinned at Anderson.
"I'm all ears, Lt" he shrugged excitedly looking
forward to time off
with the Lt.
"Here's the plan; we head into Sin City, get good and
drunk and get
ourselves a couple of tattoos."
"Tattoos?" Anderson just looked at him.
"Not what you had in mind?"
"Well sir, now that you ask . . . "
"Okay, okay, how 'bout this; we find ourselves a
soak in a hot bath for like 5 hours then have a little
geisha walk all
over our bodies."
"Geishas are Japanese, sir."
"We'll pay them to pretend." shrugged Goldman.
"Hot bath and a massage. That's too hard to pass up."
"Let's go sign out a jeep." said Myron before downing
the last of the
The sights and sounds of Sin City surrounded them as
they made their way
through the milling crowd. Myron screwed his cap
tightly down on his
head, the brim dipping down to shade his expressive
"So, which bar do we hit first?" he asked and
casually slung an arm
around Zeke's shoulder.
"One that don't water the drinks down too much." said
Zeke turning a
happy grin on Myron.
"In Sin City?" laughed Goldman, gently shoving
Anderson in the direction
of the closest bar.
A little Vietnamese man with only one arm watched as
the two American
soldiers came into the bar and instinctively sought
out a table in a
corner where they both could have their backs to a
wall. They eased
themselves down into their chairs and instantly had
climbing into their laps.
"Sorry, not tonight darlin', find yourself another
Zeke hoisting two girls off him at once. He snorted
at the look on
Myron's face who was having his ear licked.
"That was nice, but some other time maybe. Dee-dee."
he finally said
sending the walking tongue on her way.
"I think I'll need a cold shower, not a hot bath." he
dramatically, rolling his own eyes and wiping at his
"I bring you drinks, G.I. okay?" chimed the little man
shuffling up to
"Beer." ordered Zeke.
"Beer." mumbled Myron around a cigarette.
"Ah, I bring you drink stronger than that."
Myron shot an amused look at Zeke. Then squinted up at
the man through a
cloud of exhaled smoke.
"Yeah? Why's that?"
"Cause you strong, brave American G.I. You drink
whiskey like John
"Like John Wayne, huh?" he flashed a dimpled grin at
"Like John Wayne." the little man nodded repeatedly.
"All right, bring John Wayne and Wyatt Earp two
whiskey." he shouted
hoarsely over the bar's din, pointing at Zeke and then
little man zipped away.
"Yeah, a cowboy hero, didn't he always get his man?"
"I thought that was the Canadian Mounties, Lt." teased
seeing the Lt. letting his hair down.
"Okay then, I'm Nelson Eddie. You wanna play Jeanette
"If'n it was an order I would , Lt."
A look lingered between them.
"Here, G.I. John Wayne. These plenty good. You see."
Myron threw a couple of Army dollars on the tray and
took the drinks.
The little man bowed gratefully as Myron held his
drink out and handed
the other to Zeke.
"A toast." parrotted Anderson, clicking his glass to
"A toast to what?"
"A toast to . . . John Wayne." declared Anderson.
"To John Wayne." laughed Goldman in agreement.
They uup ended their drinks and slammed the empty
glasses on the table
together with a gasp.
"I'll go get us a couple of beers" offered Anderson.
"Each." called Goldman as Zeke thread he way through
Myron smiled as he watched Zeke interact and cajole
with the other
soldiers on he way. Zeke was a good friend. Hell, he
was his best
friend. Myron had never really let anyone get as
close to him as Zeke
had. He never cared for anyone as much as he did for
that man heading
back to him with 6 beers clutched in those battle
calloused hands of
"These ought to keep us outta trouble of a while."
grunted Anderson as
he sat down.
"Or at least get some started." said Goldman grabbing
a bottle by the
neck. He watched Zeke's happy face before raising the
bottle to his
"Now, Lt., I don't mean no disrespect here,
y'unnerstan', but why in the
world would 'you' wanna get yourself a tattoo?" he
asked shaking his
"Little souvenir of the war?" grinned the Lt., seeing
the puzzled look.
"All right, that's a fair answer, Lt., my next
question is where, no
disrespect, you gonna get it put 'exactly'?"
"None taken. Don't know Sargent. . . where would you
levelled a penetrating gaze at the soldier.
"Well, Lt., I don't rightly know."
"Let me rephrase that; where would 'you' like to see
one, on me . . . ?"
Myron looked away leaving the question hanging between
Zeke stared at the Lt. a moment. Maybe these here
watered down after all. He took a deep swallow of beer
"Well sir, it would look mighty fine on that little
buttocks of yours."
Myron laughed approvingly.
"Which cheek?" he flashed a self conscious dimpled
grin at him.
"The left of course."
"Of course." he nodded in agreement. He finished off
his first beer and
started on his second.
Zeke sat back relaxing, smiling to himself. Imagining
that little round
ass with a tatto.
"Papasan!" called Myron waving the little man over.
"What, G.I. John Wayne?"
"Papasan, Nelson Eddie and Jeanette Macdonald here
need to find clean
hot bath. You find?" asked Myron.
Zeke sat silently with a shy grin on his face.
The little papasan didn't have a clue who Nelson Eddie
Macdonald were but he understood bath.
"Got just the place for you, 'eddie', come, come."
Taking their beer with them, Sgt. Anderson and Lt.
Goldman followed the
little man from the bar.
"This is gonna be great." purred Goldman and elbowed
Anderson gently as
the stepped out into the sunlight.
They hesitated just inside the door letting their eyes
adjust to the
darkness. Cushions and rugs served as furniture. A
few other G.I's on
r&r were lounging about imbibing accordingly.
Scantily clad women
casually wandered around adding to the extremely
"John Wayne and 'eddie', come in." called the little
man, inviting them
deeper into the den. Motioning them to follow him
through a sliding
Anderson and Goldman stepped into the shadowy room
feeling their sweat
begin to flow. In the far corner stood a generously
stocked bar. Shelves
of towels stood to the side of the bar. Invitingly,
in the middle of
the room sat a huge tub with plenty of room for the
two to stretch weary
limbs in. Above the tub hung a dish where a
smoldering incense cone sat
filling the room with an intoxicating fragrance.
Zeke smiled lazily, imagining the watery heat
enveloping their naked
bodies as he watched tendrils of steam rise from the
surface. He looked over at Myron and they smiled at
"Papasan. This is beaucoup good." smiled Goldman.
"You want lady, wash?"
Anderson glanced quickly at the Lt.
"No, papasan. No women. Here, now go."
Myron gave the old man a wad of money and ushered him
out the door,
sliding it shut behind him.
Myron didn't move right away. Was Zeke feeling what he
was? He needed
to gather his thoughts, think this through. Yes, he
knew they both
wanted this. Zeke was an incredible guy. He didn't
know if it was the
war making them want this but he knew he felt totally
okay about it. He
hoped Zeke did too. Gawd, it's Zeke, who wouldn't.
He felt a sudden
stirring as an image of Zeke with Percell together
came to his mind.
Straightening, he turned around. Zeke stood there
Watching him the way he did, with head bowed, giving
him that hooded
gaze of an eagle about to devour its prey.
Slowly discarding his shirt Goldman moved silently
until they stood only inches apart and only then did
he look up into
Zeke's face, seeing the same raw wanting he felt.
Leaning forward, hesitating a moment then moving in
again, he closed his
eyes dreamily and gently kissed Zeke's delicious
Their arms circled one another comfortably as their
They broke away from the kiss both a little
breathless, neither sure
what to say. They stood there arms around each other,
"Myron . . .?" Zeke hesitated a moment.
"Don't stop . .Zeke." Myron whispered hoarsely lifting
eyes to meet Zeke's.
Zeke took the young lieutenant's face gently in his
hands and closed his
mouth down on his again giving into his hunger.
"Gawd, I want you." he murmurred against Lt.'s soft
mouth as Myron
worked at Zeke's shirt, fingers fumbling with the
Myron slowly pulled Zeke's shirt tails free and slid
his hands down his
stomach and began working the belt loose. Zeke
groaned as Myron's
excited fingers fumbled about.
"Sorry." Lt. breathed softly.
"'S okay . . . it feels good." came Zeke's own breathy
answer as he
licked and nibbled at Myron's jaw.
"Zeke, . . . Zeke."
"Yes? . . . Lt?" he answered busy nibbling his way
down the young man's
"Listen, uh, we should get out of these fatigues . .
Zeke's eyes sparkled as he bent to the task of getting
his boots off.
Stripped down to his skivies, Zeke toed a boot out of
the way and
joined Myron, also still in military issued boxers,
who sat on the bench
beside the tub. Grinning happily, he leaned over and
gave Myron a quick
peck on the corner of his mouth. Myron looked at him
lazily, giving him
one of his dimpled grins that went straight to his
The steam rising from the water behind them licked at
leaving beads of moisture on their naked flesh.
"I'm going in . . ."decided Myron, standing and
hooking his thumbs in
the waistband of his skivies.
" . . . care to join me?"
He eased the boxers off over narrow hips and small
round buttocks. Zeke
took in the younger man's lank physique admiring the
long defined thigh
muscles, the firm, well shaped bottom, nicely dimpled
and as smooth as a
baby's. Ah to be the tattoo that ends up there. He
peeked at the taut
flat belly with the sprinkling of hair that lead down
"G.I. John Wayne, G.I. Eddie!"
The little papasan's raspy voice penetrated their
sanctuary as he
rattled at the door.
Myron turned away pulling his boxers back on as the
door slid open
enough for the little man to stick his head in.
"Papasan?" Zeke came to his feet seeing the worried
look on the little
"G.I. John Wayne, you go now. Come back later."
Zeke looked at Myron, who was reaching for his
"Big trouble, Papasan?" asked the Lt. pulling on a
pant leg, not liking
the look on the old man's face either.
"You go." was all he would say between nervous glances
Zeke began throwing his clothes on too, deeply
regretting this untimely
interruption as he watched the Lt. cross to the door
and peek out the
narrow opening into the main room. It was completely
"Something's going down." said the Lt. dropping to a
knee to lace his
boots. Movement from the front entrance caught his
eye. A party of five
shady looking characters strutted their way into the
Myron twisted in his crouch and flattened himself
against the sliding
door and reached for his gun. Gone. His gun and
holster lay across the
room on the floor beside Zeke's. He bit his lip to
keep from calling
out as he watched Zeke finish tying his boots, rise
The little Papasan was looking at him with regret and
behind him stood
the five thugs, glaring at him, each man carrying his
weapon of choice.
Anderson forced himself not to look in the Lt.'s
direction and tip off
the gangsters that there was another person in the
room. He raised his
out at his sides palms forward in a surrendering
The little papasan jumped , terrified, when the
apparent leader of the
motley crew barked at him.
"He say you come out. Go on knees."
After another string of orders, Papasan turned to
"You put hands on head."
Very slowly, Zeke did as he was told.
With Adam's apple working, swallowing hard, Myron
around the room for any other escape routes, any
closer weapons, and
avoided watching the Sargent make his way across the
Goldman chanced a quick side-long glance at the
frightened little man.
Their eyes met for a moment and then Zeke was there
stepping through the
door between them.
Both the Lt. and the Papasan jumped when another
unrecognizable words flew.
The little one armed man began to slowly push the door
further open. As
he did so he looked down at Goldman with terror in his
The Lt. shook his head and gestured frantically for
little man to stop looking at him.
"Lt.! Lo. . ." Zeke's warning was cut off.
Goldman turned, pushed off and dove for the pistols.
His fingers wrapped
desparately around a holster as he felt the cold
barrel of a gun press
threateningly at the base of his skull. He lay where
he was, slowly
withdrawing his hand.
Cpl. Trotter blindly followed his buddies along to the
next bar, praying
they's quench their thirst soon. He wouldn't die on
patrol, he thought,
he'd die from liver failure first.
The early evening sky was clear and pink around the
edges. The street
was buzzing with excitement, news seemed to be moving
up and down the
street like a brush fire. Service men around him
"What, and it's Roo, man."
"What's going on?"
"Someone's saying that there are a couple of G.I.'s
being held hostage
by a bunch of drug runners."
"Really? Where?" his interest piqued.
"Some opium den past the Beaucoup Bar, I think."
"Past the . . . ? Opium Den?" Trotter mumbled to no
one in particular as
he craned his neck to get his barings.
"Hey, Alb, . . Roo, why don't we go take a look?"
"Nah, probably some bullshit story some grunt's made
up cause he lost at
poker or something."
"Oh. . . . . Say, has anyone seen Lieutenant
"Not since this afternoon back at base, why?"
"Did anybody say who the hostages were?"
"Give it a rest man. The press is already covering
it, all right?"
bitched Taylor, wondering who invited this newbie
along on this pub
"It's just that . . ."
"No. Trotter, it's just nothing, okay? it's just about
us drinking and
nothing else, okay."
"But I saw . . ." Taylor's glare silenced him.
"Ease up on him Taylor, will ya." piped up Percell,
"What's got your shorts in a knot, Trotter?"
"Well, um, I saw the Lieutenant and that Sargent
Anderson going into a
bar back there."
"What?" Johnson turned and looked at the kid.
"I saw them earlier. They're here, in town. Down
there." he pointed
over Johnson's shoulder.
"Show me where exactly, Trotter." said Percell taking
the kid by the
Zeke made a wabbly tackle attempt at the thug that had
across the side of the head when Myron let out a
pained yelp from the
other room. He knocked the smaller man sidways,
taking out a table and
its chairs on their way to the floor. They struggled
in the rubble
before another of the thugs stepped in and clubbed
Anderson in the head
and sent him sprawling.
The little man Zeke had tackled scrambled to his feet
leveled his pistol at Zeke's head.
Zeke's little papasan screamed in protest and leapt
between the shooter
and Zeke as the gun discharged.
The crowd milling about in the streed dove for cover
or scattered like
frightened pigeons before an oncoming car when the
shot rang out.
Percell shoved Trotter behind him instinctively
innocent. Johnson and Taylor exchanged big-eyed
looks. Ruis and
Hockenberry ducked in reflex.
"ZeeeeeKKKKee!!!" screamed Goldman hearing the
Anderson lay beneath the little man who'd taken the
bullet ment for
him. A small entry hole in his forhead dribbled
blood. Zeke's face and
chest were covered with bits of bone, blood and brains
from what was now
a dripping cavern where the back of the little man's
head used to
He narrowed rage-filled eyes at the gunman, jaw
The growing rucus coming from the tub room distracted
all of them.
Goldman and his watcher tumbled from the room in a
stangle of arms and
legs, fists flying. Myron was visibly getting the
upper hand and when
he spotted Zeke covered in blood, his hands closed in
the man's throat
"Lt.!" yelled Anderson as a rifle butt was raised.
With a grunt, Myron dropped like a rock. The man
squirmed out from
under his dead weight and kicked at him repeatedly in
"Hey!!." yelled the sarg., easing the little
papasan's body to the
"Stopit!! Stop it!!!" he screamed getting to his
knees. The barrel of
the rifle was levelled at his face.
One of the runners positioned at the door as a
look-out began blurting
out something in rapid-fire jibberish Zeke had no way
of following. All
he knew was that it made the rest of them very
The one with the rifle held on Anderson motioned him
sharply to his
feet. He grabbed Zeke's arm and kept the gun trained
on him as he
pulled him over to the doorway.
A ring of jeeps faced the Den. An assortment of m.p.'s
and g.i.'s were
positioned around the building with weapons drawn.
"Don't fire!" called Zeke as his captor, using him as
a human shield,
eased into the doorway.
"Don't shoot." he repeated as half a dozen guns were
"Where you hit, Sarge?" called an M.P.
"It's not my blood."
The gun man squawked in Vietnamese at the crowd. A
small voice answered
and a little toothless old lady worked her way to the
front of the
crowd. The crowd watched as the gun man yelled at her
A long fingered hand came down on the woman's boney
shoulder and a
Johnny MacKay's velvety voice spoke politely into her
"Mamasan. What is he saying?"
She looked up at
Percell and Ruis boogied down a litter scattered side
street between the
Beaucoup Bar and The Hot Noodle House to get to the
back alley that ran
behind the buildings. Taylor and Johnson ran off and
the other end of the alley. Doc agreed to babysit
Trotter behind the
Advancing slowly at a crouch Percell and Ruis reached
the back corner of
the Den and chanced a glance inside through a bamboo
They could only see into the storage area and not any
of the public
rooms. Johnson and Taylor arrived, silently going
into a crouch beside
the other two. With eye contact and hand signals they
As Johnson reached in and held aside the bamboo blind,
Taylor lifted little Ruis up and through the window,
easing him down
into the room.
Ruis squatted a moment below the window letting his
eyes adjust to the
shadows as Johnson lowered the blind back into place.
He pulled his
revolver from his belt and checked the chamber. He
crossed to the door and lay an ear against it to
listen for any
Cautiously, he opened the door and peeked into the
hall. From his
vantage point, down a dim corridor, he could make out
standing with their backs to him and at their feet lay
two bodies. One
Vietnamese and the other an American G.I.
He nervously licked his lips before slipping from the
room and inching
his way down the hall to the back entrance. He gently
eased the door
open, admitting the other three and they edged their
way slowly closer
to the public rooms.
Myron woke with a jerk, a trickle of blood running
from his nose,
confusion scrambling his thoughts. He made a bumbling
attemp to push
himself to his feet not yet in full use of his motor
control. He froze
on one knee as a pistol poked painfully at his temple,
and suddenly he
remembered where he was. His eyes flicked across the
room as the leader
dragged Anderson back inside. The man gave Zeke a
shove and he crossed
over to kneel beside Goldman.
"I thought you were dead!" mumbled the Lt. grimacing,
looking at Zeke's
splattered face and shirt.
"I hear you Lt. , . . . Lord, I just about was." he
nodded in the
direction of the little papasan.
The thug leader barked at them.
Ruis and the guys froze in a crouch when they saw the
Lt. struggling to
rise. They gestured quietly to one another and
"Now what the hell do we do?" muttered Myron, stealing
a glance at
Anderson, relieved to see that Zeke was not dead.
"Wait. . . There are MPs and a bunch of GI's out th. .
He glared up at the man who'd suddenly back handed him
The rag tag band of drug runners stood in a huddle and
to Zeke and
Myron, appeared to be discussing their next move.
Goldman's penetrating brown eyes flitted about the
room looking for
anything they could use to turn the tables in this
glanced at the tiny windows across the room, at the
bar to see if there
was something there they may be able to use as a
weapon, he glanced over
his shoulder into the tub room. He looked at the
huddle before chancing
a glance down the hall. He took a double take, not
trusting his eyes,
spotting the men, then quickly looked away.
"Zeke. . . ," he brushed his hand gently against the
"our 6 o'clock."
Anderson stole a peek over his shoulder. Ruis hand
motioned to him to
drop and roll on the count of three. Anderson answered
with a barely
He looked into Goldman's questioning eyes and gave him
a quick, tiny
On three he grabbed an alarmed Myron roughly by his
collar and pulled
him against him, dropping and rolling out of the line
of fire as Ruis,
Johnson, Percell and Taylor burst from the hall taking
the huddle of
gangsters by complete surprise.
The brief volley of gun fire was over in seconds. One
thug lay dead,
the others four wisely threw down their weapons and
Zeke lay protectively over Lt.'s body, his strong arms
"Sarg, Lt., are you two all right?" asked Percell in
his raspy voice,
squatting beside them resting a concerned hand across
Zeke and Myron untangled arms and legs and climbed to
their feet to be
pounded happily on the back by the guys.
Doc and Trotter rushed into the Opium Den just behind
the MP's to see
the guys standing around the Lt. and Sarg, grins of
relief on all their
faces. Johnny nearly knocked them over as he rushed in
to see if
everyone was all right.
"Myron!" he called hurrying across the room to the
"Myron, are you all right?" he asked resting a hand on
"I think we're fine." he answered as he turned and
"Okay, everybody, it's all over, break it up. Go on
business." declared an MP as the criminals were
marched from the
"You heard the man, gentlemen, we better get back to
Anderson beginning to steer the men of Bravo company
from the room.
"Sargent." called Goldman.
"Sir?" said Anderson turning to look at Myron.
"See me in my quarters after you've freshened up, will
you." he held
his gaze a moment.
"Yes, sir." answered Zeke and he turned and followed
the men out.
"Come." he called, setting down his whiskey
The door rattled open and Zeke, freshly showered,
climbed into the Lt's
"You wanted to see me, Lt.?" he asked closing the door
Myron crossed the room, reached around Anderson and
locked the door.
"Yes, Sargent, I wanted to see if you were all right."
he brushed a
knuckle gentle across a bruise over the sargent's
"Nothin' a little lovin' couldn't mend, Lt." his eyes
went dreamy as
Myron leaned into him and pressed his soft lips to a
scratch over his
"That feel better?" purred Goldman.
"Lordy. . . Yes sir." he answered a little out of
breath and Myron's
tongue delicately traced the length of the cut.
"Would you like a drink, Sargent?" asked Myron before
laying a lingering
kiss on a bruise at the corner of Zeke's mouth.
"Don't mind if I do." he was barely able to speak, his
beginning to shake. Myron reluctantly broke away,
giving Zeke one of
his dreamy-eyed grins.
"Make yourself comfortable." suggested Myron as he
Zeke eased himself down into the easy chair, watching
with the drinks in his hands.
"How 'you' feeling, Lt?"
Standing above him, Myron handed Zeke his drink and
pulled open his
shirt revealing a cluster of bruises across his ribs.
He sucked in his
breath as Zeke reached out and slid his finger tips
gingerly across the
Zeke set his drink down and rose to stand facing the
Lt., slowly looking
over the officer's own cuts and bruises.
He trailed a finger over an abrasion over Myron's
eyebrow, rubbed his
thumb tenderly over his split lip. Myron's eyes
fluttered closed as he
took the thumb between his teeth and rolled his tongue
around its tip.
Zeke pulled his thumb away and quickly replaced it
with his mouth, his
tongue finding Myron's.
Not wanting to hurry this, Zeke broke away and slowly
began to undress
the young lieutenant's, lean, taut body.
"C'mon, Lt. . . ." whispered Zeke leading the Lt's
across the room to
the bed. Myron padded along behind him dreamily and
let Zeke ease him
down onto the matress.
"I'll get the lights." said Zeke hurrying across to
the light switch.
He stood a moment looking back at the Lt. stretched
out on the bed
invitingly, those hot chocolate brown eyes promising
delights he's only
dreamed of. He flicked the switch and pulled at his
clothes as he
crossed the shadow blanketed room.
"Lt. . . ?"
". . . Come."