[ jeeps ]

by lt. mac

Rain had been falling steady for the last two days.
The compound looked like a lake. Nobody ventured out of doors if they didn't have to. Zeke, hunched inside his poncho, glancing nervously over his shoulder, stood before Dr. Seymour's hootch and knocked softly at her door. He held a wilting bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine behind his back as he waited for Jennifer to answer the door.

He was the luckiest guy alive, he thought. To have a smart, successful and a mighty fine woman falling for him, was more than a man could ask for.

The door swung open and Jennifer was there smiling down at him.

"Come on in Zeke." she said stepping back from the door.
Nodding, he clumped up the steps. He handed the flowers and wine to her and stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, his poncho dripping water on the floor. Taking in the decor, he saw that she'd managed to find some candles. The room was bathed in the warm glow of their flames. He pulled the poncho off, bunched it up and tossed it in a corner.

"The flowers are lovely, Zeke. Thank you."

"Your welcome, m'ame." he smiled shyly at her, not knowing where to put his hands, finally digging them deep into his pockets.

"Why don't we have a seat." suggested Jennifer, suddenly feeling just as nervous.

"Yes m'ame." replied Anderson, looking around for a suitable place to sit. There was a straight back chair, but piled high with books. And there was - the bed . . .

Jennifer eased herself down onto the bed and, smiling up at Zeke, patted the mattress beside her.

Glaring lights, blaring music, prostitutes for hire, smoke so thick you could cut with a knife, a never ending supply of gut-burning hootch, explosive altercations, over as soon as they start, boisterous men celebrating the fact they'd lived through another day in the Nam.

Just a regular Saturday night in any bar in Sin City.

The "Beaucoup" bar practically throbbed with noise and bodies. The owner, Tran Hgoh thought the gods had smiled down on him busy nights like this. The war could go on for ever in his opinion, it was 'beaucoup good for business'.
Not even the torrential rains that had been falling from the skies for the past two days could dampen the American g.i.'s thirst and lust.
Tran watched these intense, loud foreigners as they drank his liquor and shopped for sex to dull their fears

Well keep them scared, he thought, it's 'beaucoup good for business'.
Bravo Company, fresh back from the jungle and enjoying two days of R&R, sat nursing drinks, or played cards or flirted with potential bed mates. Smooth talking, lady's man Marcus Taylor was in fine form tonight doing his shuck and jive number on anyone who'd listen. An endless rhetoric spilled from his smooth chocolatey lips and by the time he'd stepped up to the bar to order a round, he had a heavy duty poker game set up in a back room. Marvin Johnson, in all his quiet tolerance, just rolled his eyes and went and joined Danny Percell at a table just off the dance floor. Danny sat staring dreamily at a pretty American nurse, beer bottle practically forgotten in his hand, his shy demeanour never letting the idea of going over to her and asking her to dance, enter his mind.

Revved up and raring to go, Alberto Ruiz practically bounced on his chair, groovin' to the tunes. He loved Carlos Santana. He pulled back on a brew and was glad to be alive. They all were. He was hoping a cutie across the room batting her false eyelashes at him felt the same way and was ready, willing and able to help him celebrate that fact.

G.I.'s and civilians milled about, restless and jittery.

The 'ambience' of the Beaucoup was a mixture of pent up hostility and a desire to feel totally alive. It was still early and everyone seemed to be controlling themselves. But as the booze seeped into bloodstreams, tempers would be lost, fists would fly and a couple of grunts would probably be looking at two months of latrine duty or 30 days in the stockade But boys would be boys. And this was a bar. And this bar was in the middle of Viet Nam, where they risked their lives to take a piece of real estate only to see it back in V.C. hands by nightfall, where they saw buddies blown to bits right before their eyes, where children were used as human bombs. When they hunkered down in places like the Beaucoup bar, they had reason to get a little combustible.

This particular Saturday night, sitting at the far end of the bar, in shadows and hidden from view of most of the patrons, was a forlorn Lieutenant Goldman. He was in major 'feeling-sorry-for-himself' mode and didn't feel like socializing with the men. Besides, he thought to himself, killing one bottle and catching the bartender's eye for another, none of them really wanted to 'hang out with him'. Hell, they worked for him 24 -7, why would they want to spend their personal time with him too. Nobody wanted to 'hang out' with Lieutenant Myron Goldman, son of a 5 Star General. Hell, he didn't want his own company tonight. Yep, a little black rain cloud hung heavily over his corner of the bar.

He poked absently at the little avalanche of cigarette butts spilling from the ashtray before him when a hand slapped him on the shoulder. The butts and ashtray skittered across the bar as he jumped.

"Hey, Lt!" said easy going Marcus Taylor, missing the 'mood'.

"Taylor." nodded Goldman. Oh great, the perpetual boy scout, gonna try and cheer me up I bet, I wonder if the Boy Scouts have cheer up badges? Maybe I can order him to leave me alone, he thought as he drained another beer.

"So, what are your plans tonight, Lt?" asked Marcus leaning closer to be heard over the music.

"Getting drunk." mumbled the Lt. signaling the bartender again.

"Sounds like an excellent idea sir, mind if I do the same?" grinned Taylor throwing down money for the beers as Goldman eyeballed him.

"Suit yourself, private." he went to work on the bottle in his hand.

"That rain is making the streets into soup ain't it?"

"Yep." came the monosybalic answer.

"Good to be inside and dry for a change ain't it sir?"

"If you say so."

"You see what they're showing at the mess tonight sir?" asked Taylor innocently mistaking Myron's brooding for boredom.

"You asking me out on a date, Marcus?" he snapped an annoyed glare at the man.

"No sir. I just thought . . ." Taylor started before Myron turned a smoldering look on him.

"Private! Is this going somewhere?!" he finally blurted out, banging his beer down on the bar, glaring at him.

"No sir. Sorry, sir." Taylor grabbed the beers and fled back to his buddies.

Clothes lay in a careless heap on the floor by the bed. Candle lit shadows danced on the walls. On a tangle of bed sheets, she lay back in the pillows looking up into the smoldering eyes that took in every inch of her. She should be feeling shy, she thought, lying there exposed. but the way Zeke looked at her made her feel good. She wanted him to touch her. She closed her eyes and sighed as his big calloused hands reached out and caressed her, arched her back as they cupped her breasts. Shyly, he moved between her legs and settled on top of her.

"God you're beautiful." he sighed as he pressed his lips to hers.

She felt him hard against her belly and pressed her hips against his. He gasped and she took the opportunity to dance her tongue around his. She wrapped her arms around his neck and opened herself to him. He felt her shudder as he entered her and stopped afraid he was hurting her.

"No, Zeke, . . don't stop, not now." she sighed. Thank God he thought because he didn't think he could have if she'd asked him. A throaty groan escaped him as she thrust her hips up to grind against his, taking his full length to her core. Slowly they began to move together in rhythm, both feeling the wave building deep inside.

Marvin, eyed his wristwatch for the sixth time in about as many minutes, not concentrating on the hot and heavy poker game going on in front of him.

"Man, are you in or out?" asked Taylor impatiently on a winning streak.

"No, man, I'm out. You should be too." he answered throwing down his cards and looking down at his watch again.

"What's the rush, Johnson?" mumbled Ruiz, the tip of an obscenely fat cigar clenched in his teeth.

"We're gonna miss curfew, guys." muttered Johnson knowing they'd be pushing the pedal to the metal all the way back to base. He flopped back in his seat and waited. He resisted the urge to look at his watch again.

He rolled his eyes at Percell who just shrugged and threw a couple of bucks on the growing pile.

The room was now nearly in total darkness. Candles had burned them selves out. Wine bottle and glasses lay empty on the floor by the bed. Zeke pulled the sheet up around their sweat covered bodies as they lay entwined. Jennifer nuzzled closer against his neck. She stroked tenderly at his chest, dragging a nail around a nipple. He wrapped his arms around her hugging her tightly to him. He caressed her back, sliding his hands down to cup her irresistible bottom. She kissed her way up his chest, lingered a moment at his throat tasting his salty sweat, feeling his pulse beneath her lips. Licked playfully at his stubbly chin and played slowly across his lips before slipping into his mouth.

"OH MOMMA! Come to Daddy!!" gloated Marcus raking his winnings into his cap.

"Thank you gentlemen. Nice doing business with you." He beamed at the brooding grunts that stared at him.

"Can we go NOW?" demanded Johnson adjusting his cap firmly on his head.

"Sure." shrugged Taylor, smugly.

The guys filed out of the room and headed through the bar to climb into their jeep and dee-dee outta there.

"Hey guys, look," motioned Percell towards the bar. The Lt. sat motionless, sagging over the bar, chin resting heavily in hand. A cigarette sat burning in the ashtray, another was wedged between his fingers, forgotten. His eyelids drooped at half mast over bleary eyes.

"He don't look so good." said Percell stating the obvious.

"Shouldn't we do something?" asked Johnson checking his watch.

"No." said Taylor, shaking his head, ignoring the looks from the guys.

"But . . ." began Percell.

"I said no, Danny. We're gonna miss curfew, ain't that right, Johnson?"

"Yeah, but." he agreed reluctantly.

"Then, let's go. 'sides, Lt. don't wanna be riding back to base with the likes of us." stated Taylor as he glanced back at the bar and left.

Jennifer, wearing Zeke's shirt, searched nooks and crannies for a bottle of Scotch she thought she had.

"Take a look up on that shelf over there." suggested Zeke enjoying the sight of her clad only in his shirt. She was practically swimming in it. It came down to her knees. Sexy knees he thought. He sighed and locked his fingers together behind his head as he watched the shirt slide up the back of her legs as she reached for the shelve.

"Damn it!" she huffed, and turned to catch him admiring the view.

Even in this dim light she thought she could see him blush as he quickly went about straightening the sheet across his stomach.

"Enjoying the view, soldier?" she asked moving towards the bed.

"Yes m'ame, I am. " he managed, laying his hands across his responding lap.

"Is this view any better?" she asked hoarsely as she unbuttoned the shirt and let it slip to the floor.

"Goodness!" he grinned brightly at her.

Taylor flopped down on his bunk happily counting his winnings.

"We ought to tell the Sarg about the Lt." suggested Percell easing himself down on Johnson's bunk.

"Yeah, I think you're right." agreed Marvin.

"I'm telling you guys. Forget about Goldman, man. He don't need us babysitting him." argued Marcus.

"I don't know, Marcus. Sin City ain't exactly the best place to be alone in this time of night, especially if you're drunk." piped up Ruiz agreeing with Percell and Johnson.

"What you got against the Lt. anyway. He'd do right by you if you were in a spot." debated Johnson seeing that Taylor wasn't with them on this.

"He's an officer. He don't need no grunt's help." he argued lamely.

"Ah, that's it, I'm gonna find the Sarg." said Danny as he got up and stomped away.

"Yeah." Johnson followed on his heels out the door.

Laying in the dark with Jennifer sleeping curled in his arms, Zeke was at peace. He pressed his lips to the nape of her neck and listened to her moan in her sleep. He breathed in the wonderful smell of her. If he died tomorrow in battle, he would die the happiest man in the world. This delicate creature asleep in his arms had captured his heart. Totally and completely. Zeke was happier than he'd ever been in his life. He wished this night would never end. He nestled closer and drifted off to sleep.

"You knock." whispered Johnson pointing at the door.

"No. You knock."

The two g.i.'s stood in dripping ponchos outside Dr. Seymour's quarters.

"It was your idea to tell him." returned Johnson, not wanting to knock at Dr. Seymour's door any more than he wanted to step on a VC mine.

"But what if he's. . , y'know." argued Percell in a raspy whisper back.

"Maybe we don't need to tell him." said Johnson, looking for a way to bow out gracefully.

"We gotta tell him." Percell said shaking his head.

"Then knock on the door." whispered Johnson loudly.

Zeke listened to the muttered argument going on just outside the door but couldn't make any of the words out.

"Zeke. Go and see what they want or tell them to go away." came Jennifer's sleepy voice. He kissed her behind the ear and she purred like a kitten. He slipped out of bed, and into pants as he crossed to the door. He yanked it open startling the two soldiers so badly they nearly bolted away.

"Johnson. Percell. Could this possibly wait until morning?"

"Uh, well, no, don't think so, Sarg." mumbled Percell.

"It's the Lt., Sarg." added Johnson.

"What's wrong?" he asked, all business.

"Well sir, he's still back in Sin City at the Beaucoup bar, sir."

"What do you mean he's still in Sin City?" he asked, glancing down as Jennifer stepped up beside him tightening the belt on her robe.

"He was still sitting at the bar when we left."

Zeke flicked on the lights and gathered up his clothes.

"I'm sorry, Doc, you gotta believe that." he stopped and looked down at her for a long moment.

"Nothing to apologize for, Zeke, just hurry back." she smiled at him with smoldering eyes.

"Mind if I ask you to wait up, m'ame." he grinned his boyish little grin at her and glanced at the door before bending over her and giving her a kiss that took her breath away.

The few remaining patrons at the Beaucoup bar were all in pretty much the same state Lieutenant Goldman was. Too stoned or drunk to cause anyone any trouble. Tran didn't think he'd have any trouble getting them out of there before he conducted his little side business. He found it very amusing that the people who spent all their money on his liquor and whores were the very people he helped to kill in the fields with the arms he moved for the VC.

He unlatched the back storage room where he held crates of stolen weapons and stepped outside to breath in some fresh air after spending a night in a room full of chain smoking American soldiers, while he waited for the truck to arrive.

Myron sat up with a start catching his knocked over beer bottle just before it rolled off the bar. Beer gushed out across his arm and down his thigh.

"Shit!" he spat shaking off his arm.

He slid off the stool and swayed dangerously. Focusing, he shoved himself into motion and headed for - the head. He felt like he had a horse bladder's worth of beer to dispense of. Like everyone who's ever been drunk and had to walk through the obstacle course of tables and chairs to get to the bathrooms, Myron feigned dead sobriety. And like every drunk who's ever feigned dead sobriety, Myron lurched from every chair and table until he got to the entrance that lead to the johns. And like every drunk that made it that far without mishap, Myron leaned heavily against the wall and slid his way down the hall to the waiting relief he now desperately needed.
'I'm gonna piss for an hour', he thought as he pushed his way into the (urine and vomit smelling) bathroom.

The canvas backed truck coughed it's way down the deserted back street to the rear of the Beaucoup bar. Tran hurried back inside and quickly ushered the remaining stragglers through the front door and locked it behind them. Hurrying back through the bar, he stepped outside to greet the arriving men. He ushered them into the bar and served them tea before they began the strenuous job of transferring the crates of weapons onto the truck.

Myron stood weaving slightly, above the hole that served as a crude urinal, his eyes closed in utter bladder bliss, his smoldering cigarette dangling from his mouth.

He pushed through the door drying his washed hands on his shirt and came to an abrupt halt looking into the surprised faces of the VC carrying a crate between the two of them.


Time seemed suspended for a second then fall into painful slow motion as the VC dropped the crate and grab for their guns, as Goldman pulled his pistol from its holster and backed into the bathroom. Tripping drunkenly over his own feet, time kicked into high gear and he went down hard on his ass as bullets flew close over his head.

Zeke, reflex braked as he heard the distinct sound of gunfire then gunned it and doubled his speed as he entered Sin City.

Getting his legs under him, the Lt. managed to reach up and yank the tiny room's door shut as bullets bit through it's thin wood. He reached for a crusted mop and rammed it's handle through the door's handle. "Shit!" he yelped as a chunk of flying wood sliced across his cheek. A trickle of blood began running down the side of his face.
Struggling to his feet, he glanced around in a panic. He looked down at the urinal hole with a disgusted grimace on his face, considering it for a moment as an avenue of escape. He spun around as the door rattled under a blow. He kicked his way into a stall and climbing up onto the toilet, hoisted himself up into the tiny window above it and wriggled out through it.

"Shit!" he grunted, landing unceremoniously on his head and shoulder with the rest of him following to land in a heap. Slipping and sliding trying to get some traction in the mud he staggered wildly into the main street right into the speeding jeep. He hit the jeep running and skidded up across the hood as Zeke hit the brakes. He bounced off the windshield as the jeep fishtailed to a stop and he landed with a bone jarring slam in the middle of the muddy street.
Not waiting to see if anything was broken, he began hauling himself to his feet. Zeke sprang from the jeep.

"Lt??!!" he called reaching for him.

Goldman batted away the outreached hands as he shoved Anderson back to the jeep. Confused, Zeke just climbed back in behind the wheel as the Lt. spills himself into the back.

"Go!Go!!! GOOOO!!!!" he screamed coming up on one knee, raising his gun aiming at the opening of the alley.

Zeke floored it and Myron tumbled forward, nearly falling off the back of the jeep. They sped out of there with bullets flying by their heads.

White knuckles gripping the wheel, Zeke chanced a glance over his shoulder at the Lt. lying in the back of the jeep.

"Are you hit, Lt?!" he yelled.

Goldman was lying on his back making strange noises. "Lt?" he called again slowing the jeep to a safer speed as it bounced down the road.

"You, . . . you hit me. .ee. ee. . with the jee. .ee. .ep." gasped Myron between fits of laughter.

"I apologize for that Lt." he said, sending the prone man off on another fit.

Zeke just grinned and shook his head as he listened to the man giggling and snorting uncontrollably behind him. Every time he thought it was through it started again.

"Are you hurt?" he finally ventured in a silent moment from the back.

"No. Just very. Very. Drunk."

"Yes, sir. I ain't gonna argue with that fact."

Goldman, muddy and soaked to the skin, carefully maneuvered over the back of the passenger seat, not wanting to be thrown out of the bouncing vehicle and plopped down on the seat right into a puddle. He glanced down at his crotch then over at the poncho clad Sargent, as the cold wet seeped up through his fatigues.
Zeke smirked at the expression on Goldman's face and the two laughed out loud together.

"Shit." groaned Goldman a bit more sober than when he'd crawled through the bathroom window back in Sin City.

"No disrespect, Lt. But what the hell were you doing back there?"

"Trying to drown some demons." he answered plainly. "Did you?" asked Anderson, glancing briefly at the young lieutenant.

"I miss her, Zeke."

"I hear you."

"I miss her, and making love to her, and talking about being back in the world with her when my tour was up." Zeke heard the ache in the strained voice. The two men were silent, lost in their own thoughts.

"Tran's moving weapons for the VC." stated Goldman, breaking the silence, as the jeep sped through the night, its headlights cutting wedges into the dark night.

Anderson glanced at the Lt., gearing down as he took a sudden corner.

"Hang On! Hang ON!!" he yelled as he yanked sharply on the steering wheel and slammed on the brakes to avoid driving into a crevasse in the soupy road.
The vehicle dropped into the hole where the road had once been. Myron was spit from the jeep as its nose rammed into the opposite side of the crumbling wash-out and lay flat on his back a moment gulping in deep lungfuls of air before he considered moving.

"Zeke?" he called rolling over and coming up on his knees.
"ZEKE!" he screamed not able to make things out in the dark. One of the jeep's head lights pointed into the trees the other crushed when it hit the ditch. Myron looked around, frantic.
"ZEEKKEE??!!!" he croaked desperately, climbing to his feet and stumbling to the jeep.
"Zeke? OhmyGod,OhmyGod,OhmyGod!!" he whined, panicking.
Anderson sat hunched over the steering wheel, not moving. Blood ran from a jagged slash across his forehead. Goldman spun around looking for, what, he wasn't sure what, and stumbled about in a panic.
"Focus, damn it." he hissed at himself fighting the panic that was creeping up inside him, forcing himself to get a grip here. He climbed awkwardly into the jeep and squatted beside Zeke. Thank God, he was breathing. He then checked along his body to see if he could feel any broken bones. He was rewarded with a pained moan as he pressed at Anderson's ribs. He wormed himself around and grabbed at the glove box door, spilling its contents into the mud.

"Fuck." he grumbled in frustration, retreiving the supplies.

With muddy hands, he tore open a gauze pad and pressed it against Zeke's head wound. Tearing open a box with his teeth, he unravelled a length of bandage and gingerly wrapped it around Zeke's head securing the gauze pad over the wound. He chose to ignore the blood that was already beginning to seep through it.
Holy Fuck. What have I done? he groaned desperately. He rubbed at his face vigorously attempting to clear his head. He hopped out and circled round to the driver side of the jeep and, moving very carefully, pulled the unconscious sargent out of the jeep and stretched him out on the ground.

"Zeke." he sat down in the mud and cradled Anderson's head in his lap. "Zeke, wake up. . . ." he croaked.

"Jennifer?" sighed Anderson in a daze.

"No, Zeke, sorry, it's Myron." he smiled down at him. "Oh." he grunted sounding very disappointed.

"We had a little bit of an accident."

"You're bleeding." observed Zeke.

"I am?" he asked looking down at himself.

Zeke raised his arm, it felt like lead, and pointed at Goldman's arm.

"Shit. So I am." Myron's snorted and his stomach rolled when he looked down to see a chunk of flesh hanging open on the inside of his arm. In his panic, he hadn't felt a thing.

"Better wrap that up, sir." he let his arm drop and drifted into sleep. Myron sat there too weak to get to his feet, the gaping wound beginning to throb painfully.

Percell stood in just his boxers by the door peering out into the wet night hoping to catch sight of the Sarg. and Lt.'s jeep come roaring into camp. The rest of the guys sleeping behind him, emitting a varied cacaphony of night time noises behind him.

"Not back yet?" whispered Johnson coming up beside him rubbing sleep from his eyes.

"What are you doing up?"

"What about you?"

"No, they still ain't back yet. I'm getting worried, man."

"The Sarg. and Lt.'ll be okay, Danny." comforted Johnson.

"I don't know Marvin . . . "

the two craned their necks as they heard a jeep approaching. It wasn't them.

"We gotta do something, man."

"Will you two shut up." came a muffled complaint from the shadows. Decision made, Danny dressed and slipped from the building, still not exactly sure what he planned on

Zeke woke slowly and looked around, confused. He felt his forehead and winced.

"Hi." Myron's worried face hovered above his.

"Where's Jennifer?" he asked, still rattled.

"Back at the base."

"Where are we?" he made a feeble go at sitting up but hurt too much to succeed and settled back against Myron's thigh again.

"Somewhere between Sin City and the base."

"Right. The jeep?" it was coming back to him slowly. "Not going anywhere any time soon." answered Goldman weakly, beginning to tremble from the wet and cold.


"Yes, Sargent?"

"I can smell her." he smiled warmly to himself.


"I was with Jennifer tonight." he focused on Goldman. "Oh . . . Zeke. . . I'm sorry." he groaned feeling worse by the minute.

"She's beautiful, sir."

"Yes, she is, Sargent."

"I think she loves me." he sounded like an excited little boy.

"I can understand that, Anderson, you're a lovable guy." he said, teasing him.


"Yes, Sargent?"

"Any chance of getting out of this rain anytime soon?"

"You think you can move?"

"Won't rightly know, till I try, sir."

"All right, let's do it then." encouraged Goldman, although he wasn't sure he could himself. He'd been getting gradually dizzier. He thought you got sober as time went by, not drunker. He didn't connect his declining condition with the steady blood loss from his gaping wound.

The gentle knock brought her fully awake and she rushed to the door and threw it open only to see Privates Percell and Johnson standing at the foot of her steps in dripping ponchos, and miserable faces. "Sorry to disturb you, m'ame," apologized Percell, his pale blue eyes looking up into hers.

"But, we were wondering, m'ame . . . if'n Sargent Anderson would be here with you."

"They're not back yet?" she looked down at her watch. She had made the assumption that unfinished business with the Lt. had kept him tied up and unable to return.

"No m'ame." Percell stood wringing his cap in his hands nervously.

"Meet me at the motorcade." she blurted slamming her door and grabbing her clothes.

Myron was surprised to still find the two of them on their feet. They may have felt and looked like they'd both stepped on a VC land mine but they were slogging their way back to camp. He could see that Zeke was in terrible pain yet the man kept going.

He had an amazing drive to survive, thought Goldman, where the average guy would have lied down and given up, Anderson would pull himself up and tell himself to keep going. His attitude was infectious. He saved many a life in the field wih that dogged determination. With Anderson leaning heavily on him, Goldman wrestled with the wave of incredible guilt that overwhelmed him. It was totally his fault that Zeke was hurt. He and his stupid self pity. None of this would have happened if he hadn't been so selfish. Had he jeopardized the friendship he'd built with the man beside him. Would their relationship be different now out there in the field after this? Anderson gave no indication that he was angry. But Goldman wished he'd yell at him or hit him or something, but he guessed that Zeke was concentrating his energy, for now, on making it back to base.

They were going to Sin City.

Johnson drove. Dr. Seymour sat stiffly beside him, a pistol cradled in her hands under her poncho. Percell sat perched in the back, poncho flapping out behind the vehicle. The trio rode in silence, none of them wanting to speak the thoughts that were going through their heads.

"Lt., listen." whispered Anderson suddenly.

The two stopped and listened. They could hear the throaty engine of the jeep approaching from far off. "It's one of ours. Who the hell is out here this time of night, 'sides crazy people like us?" he sagged heavily against Goldman, riding a wave of pain that stabbed at his gut.

"Come and sit down. We'll wait here for them." Myron grunted as he lowered the exhausted man to the ground against the trunk of a tree.

"Sorry, Lt."

"What are you apologizing for?" he asked, surprised. "I'm slowing us up." he looked away, feeling guilty.

Cradling his injured arm against his chest, Myron squatted beside his friend. He cupped Anderson's chin and tilted his face up to him.

"If anyone's going to apologize here, Zeke, it's me. I got you into all this. I nearly got you killed because I couldn't handle the way things ended with that bi. . . with her. I'm the one who's sorry?" he finished resting a hand on Zeke's shoulder.

"I hear what you're saying Lt., no hard feelings."

"Thanks Sargent. You wait here, I'll flag down whoever that is."

Johnson stared through the rain splattered windshield trying to stay to the middle of the road where the pot holes were less likely to swallow up the undercarriage of the jeep.

"Maybe they're hole up somewhere waiting for the rain to let up or something." Percell finally said cutting into the silence.

"They'll still be sitting here after the war's over if they're waiting for the rain to stop." countered Dr. Seymour over her shoulder.

"Maybe they're waiting for first light." offered Johnson, looking over his shoulder at Percell.

"LOOK OUT!!!!" yelled Percell and Jennifer in unison.

Goldman appeared out of nowhere as he stepped out into the road holding out his good arm at them.

Johnson pounded the brake to the floor and the jeep shuddered to a stop as it smacked into the Lt. For a moment nobody moved and the only sound they could hear was of rain hitting leaves and splashing in mud.

"Shit,damn,fuck!!" came a pained disembodied expletive.

Jennifer sprang from the jeep and ran around to the front to find Goldman sprawled in the muddy road on his back, clutching at his arm.

"Myron!" she dropped to her knees beside him.

"Not me. I'll be all right. Zeke. Check Zeke." he motioned across to the trees, trying to get up.

Johnson and Percell came to his aid as Jennifer splashed her way over to Zeke's side.

"What are you doing here?" he looked up in surprise.

"I was about to ask you the same thing." she sank down beside him.

"Seem to have run into a little car trouble."

"How do you feel?" he grunted as she probed his belly.

"How's the Lt?" he asked covering his pain.

"I'm more concerned about you right now."

"Are you okay, Lt?" asked Johnson, feeling terrible for not stopping the jeep on time.

He looked over at Percell as the Lt. started giggling.

"That looks bad, Lt." Percell grimaced, motioning at Goldman's arm as he helped him over to the jeep. The Lt., just shook his head chuckling, as he eased himself down in the jeep.

"Are you sure you're all right?" asked Johnson for about the fourth time, feeling horrible that he'd hit the Lt. with the jeep.

"I think so, Johnson. Stop worrying." he was really hurting but didn't want to upset the private. He did however find it quite funny that he had been hit by two army jeeps in one day. That had to be some kind of record, he thought, snorted again to himself.

"I'm gonna go and see how the Sarg and Dr. Seymour are doing." said Percell.

"You better go help. I don't know how bad Sargent Anderson is."

Goldman motioned Johnson away way.

"Yes, sir." and Johnson followed.

Myron risked a glance at his forearm. Blood had started oozing from the wound again when he'd hit the ground. Gritting his teeth, he pressed the flap of flesh closed, nearly passing out from the pain. Once his head cleared, he climbed awkwardly into the back of the jeep and waited while the others made their way across the road. Anderson, moving under his own steam, eased himself gingerly into the passenger seat. Johnson climbed in behind the wheel and Percell helped Dr. Seymour into the back as he climbed in.
Arm tucked protectively against his chest, blood staining the front of his shirt, the Lt., rested his head on his knees and fought the dizziness that threatened to send him tumbling out the back of the jostling jeep.

The jeep roared up to the dispensary. Jennifer hopped out ordering Anderson to shut up and Percell and Johnson to carry him inside.

Sitting up on an examining table, refusing to lie down, Anderson let Dr. Seymour poke and probe him for internal injuries and broken bones. Percell and Johnson stood off to one side muttering to each other.

"Johnson, would you kindly tell me what it is that you two going on about over there?" asked Anderson as Seymour removed the filthy dressing on his head.

The two men exchanged a frightened glance.

"Come on now, none of us is getting any younger." he cringed as Jennifer pressed on the healthy lump on his forehead.

"Well, Sarg. Johnson here's afraid he's in for a lifetime of latrine duty." explained Percell.

"Come again."

"Johnson here's afraid . . ."

"I hear you, Percell, I just don't understand. Johnson, why don't you tell me just what's got you thinkin' of latrines."

Marvin swallowed nervously wringing his cap in his hands.

"I hit the Lt."

Anderson sat there staring at him, slack-jawed.

"You what?!"

"He didn't hurt him, just knocked him over." dismissed Jennifer working Anderson's shirt off but getting little cooperation from him.

"Why'd you hit him? What'd he do?" he kept at him not believing that mild-mannered Johnson would even think of hitting an officer.

"He came out of nowhere. I couldn't stop in time." he looked down at his boots, embarrassed.

"You. . . " a grin spread across Zeke's face. "are you saying . . . , you hit the Lt. with a jeep?" he tried to keep a straight face.


The three exchanged concerned looks as Anderson roared with laughter.

Goldman raised his head as the dispensary door slammed. Looking down at his arm he was a little relieved to see the blood had slowed and the edges of the wound were staying closed, well, the flap of skin wasn't hanging open at least. He got himself out of the jeep and stood for a moment, his legs feeling like jelly. He glanced up at the door to the dispensary but guilt and pride and whatever other stupid emotion makes people make decisions, decided to avoid the people in there right now and he headed for his hootch. He'd drop by the dispensary in the morning when he could be seen by someone else. He'd just wrap the arm in a towel or something for now and that'd be fine.
He immediately retrieved a bottle of scotch from his desk when he clomped into his quarters, spun the cap off with his thumb and downed a mouthful. He stood a moment feeling the heat snake into his belly. Grabbing a towel, he eased himself down on his bed.
He looked at the scotch bottle then at his arm then looked at the bottle again. He took another very large swig, took a deep breath, and before he really thought it through, he up ended the bottle and sloshed a healthy serving of it over the rip in his skin.
The bottle went one way, he went the other. He howled in agony, and stuffed the towel between his teeth to bite back the shriek of pain he emitted. He stomped around madly, flapped the blistering arm, shocked by the intensity of the self inflicted torture not thinking he was going to be able to stand it. He collapsed on his bed panting, as it began to finally subside to a dull throb.

"Jesus!Fucking!Christ!" he hissed staring down at the offending limb. He took the towel and after a couple of painful failed attempts, got it wrapped securely around his arm.

"Holy shit." he breathed, looking for the discarded bottle finding it and retrieving it from under the desk where it had rolled to a stop. He took another deep swallow, grimacing as it burned its way down, and eased himself down into his pillow.

Recovering, Anderson wiped away the tears. Although he almost was set off again when he saw the expressions on the faces before him.

"Everythings gonna be just fine, Johnson. You two get back to your racks, it's late now, y'hear."

"Yes, sir." they answered in unison, happy to be gone.

"You were very lucky." said Jennifer.

"Yes, m'ame I was. Is the Lt. gonna be okay?"

Jennifer looked around, stepped around a divider.

"Where is he?" she came back, a puzzled look on her face.

"His hootch most likely." he said sliding off the exam table.

"No, you're not going after him again. You need to rest. Those are nasty bruises. I want you in bed." she stood, fists on hips.

"I want you in bed too." teased Zeke.

"Soldier. Go to bed. That's an order." she turned to leave but Zeke grabbed her arm and pulled her against him.

"I always obey orders, m'ame. I just need to know which bed you're ordering me into." he looked deeply into her eyes.

"Oh." she stalled.

"M'ame?" he held his breath.

"Oh, well, we are going to have to monitor you through the night because of that bump on your head . . . and since I'm your physician, I guess I should have easy access to my patie. . . ." his mouth closed down on hers. Jennifer melted against him but steeling herself, she pulled away.

"I'm going to go see if Myron is really okay. He wouldn't let me examine him when we found you. I'll see you back at my place and you better be in bed when I get there."

"Like I said m'ame. I always obey orders."

Dr. Seymour knocked and waited. Knocked again, louder.

"Go away." came the gruff voice from inside.

"Lt. Goldman, it's Dr. Seymour." she heard him moving around inside and the door finally opened.

"Aren't you going to ask me in?" she hesitated on the bottom step.


"Zeke's fine, by the way." he stood with his back to her as she spoke.

"Just a couple of nasty bruises, but we both know how hard his head is."

She saw him physically relax.

"He's concerned about you."

"Oh, I'm fine. Just a little wet." he shrugged.

"I'd like a second opinion."

He finally turned and faced her. His towel-wrapped arm cradled against his chest. Shirt front stained with blood.

"You're bleeding." she gasped staring at him.

"Not like before." he said looking down at the towel.

"Come and sit down. Why didn't you tell me." she asked, concerned leading him over to a chair.

Goldman just shrugged, not knowing what to say.

"Let's have a look." she carefully unwrapped the towel to expose the gash along Myron's forearm.

"Ouch." she said looking into the simmering brown eyes of the handsome lieutenant. He looked away, embarrassed.

"You're going to need stitches. Come back to the dispensary with me."

He looked at her a moment.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing." he denied.

"Myron . . . talk to me."

"I don't think I'm the most popular person in Zeke's books right now."

"Oh." was all she said and waited.

He gave her a quick look then away.

"He'd never have been injured if he wasn't out looking for my sorry drunken ass."

"I see . . ." she nodded wrapping the arm up and pulling Goldman to his feet.

"Can't you just patch it up here or something?"

"You're coming with me."

"But . . ."

The door opened and Anderson hobble in without knocking.

"Sargent." the expressive brown eyes flashing in surprise.

"Somebody call a cab? Thought you'd like a nice safe jeep ride over to the dispensary, Lt." he grinned devilishly at the young and very soggy Officer.

Goldman tilted his head and looked through the door past Anderson. The nose of a jeep could be seen from where he stood.

"Uh. . .thanks, Sargent. But I think I've had my fill of jeeps for the day. I think I'll walk." Myron's familiar lop-sided grin warmed Zeke's heart.

Jennifer just shook her head as the two went off in fits of giggles and snorts. She'd never understand men.

"Excuse me, gentlemen. Zeke. Bed. Lieutenant. . ." she finally cut in pointing at the door.

Carrying the bottle of scotch she kept stashed in her office, Jennifer eased into her quarters. Zeke had found the box of candles.
As she quietly eased the door shut she heard the sheets rustle behind her.

"Doc . ." she heard the hunger in his voice.

She pulled her poncho off and let it fall to the floor behind her as she crossed to the bed where he waited under a cool white sheet.

"How's my patient?" she asked standing over him working on the buttons of her shirt.

"In need of medical attention."

Jennifer stepped back and undressed slowly as he watched. Anderson lay there a moment devouring her with his eyes, then silently drew the sheet back. Surprised for just a moment, Zeke sank back against the pillows as Jennifer, hands caressing his body, crawled onto the bed and straddled his hips. He felt her against him, hot and wet. He closed his eyes as he felt himself stirring.
What this woman was doing to him could drive him mad. Make him forget he was in the middle of a war no one thought they would win. He sucked in his breath as she took him in her soft cool hand and guided him into her. His muscles tightened across his belly as she, oh so slowly eased herself around his aching manhood.

"Oh, Lord." he sighed. Jennifer rewarded him with a sexy throaty laugh. She moved her hips against him and groaned, lost in the pleasure. His hands slid up her thighs, thumbs brushing though her mound on their journey up her body to find and cup her breasts. Rough, battle scarred fingers stroking at her delicious nipples. She leaned down to find his slightly parted mouth with her hungry tongue. He met her with growing hunger. He groaned deep in his throat as she began to move. Slowly at first then as their desire built, he pressed deeper and deeper. Their strokes bringing them to an heart stopping climax that left them both panting and sweaty.

Afterwards, Jennifer lay snuggled against Zeke's muscular body, head on chest, leg draped across his. She lay there listening to the steady, brave beating of his heart. This was what love was, she thought, sliding her hand possessively down his belly, tracing the trail of hair that lead to her private piece of heaven.
She chuckled happily.

"What?" she heard his voice boom through his chest.

"Nothing. Just happy."

He lifted her chin with a finger.

"So am I, doc. For the first time in a long time."

"I know."

"You make me want to live forever, Jennifer."

He found her mouth with his and ended any further conversation.

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