Chapter 4 - The Odd Turn Of Events
Scully's partner was stung by the words just said. Words that the partner didn't like to hear, but words that Scully had said nevertheless.
"You're afraid to face the simple truth."
"Oh, really? In my experience, there are no simple truths."
"There are if you just accept them, and don't needlessly complicate things with extraneous details."
"Define extraneous details, if you would be so kind."
"I won't. I'll just choose to ignore them, thank you very much. That defines extraneous. No, this time we go for the heart of the matter."
"You still love Hawkeye Pierce!"
Jack Scully was sure he would regret those words, but he had said them. He was certain the deer-in-headlights look of his wife, Lt. Colonel Margaret Houlihan, meant the end of their impromptu two-year marriage. For now, anyway, he was dead wrong.
"No, Jack! Please. I left Hawkeye, remember? I married you. Now what does that say?"
Having skirted the limits of his relationship with Margaret, Jack was unwilling to dare any more. For now, he had a lie he could live with. He hoped he did, anyway. Gently, he kissed her on the lips.
"It tells me I'm a chump. Why am I worrying? We have each other, and Hawkeye has his new girl, so all is right with the world."
Scully realized his error too late.
"When did you speak to Hawkeye?"
"It was a wrong number, honey. I kept him on, and asked how he was doing, that's all. He met somebody in Vermont, they got together, on and off, and she came to visit at his Dad's house-I---think it might even have been this weekend, now that I think about it. So what?"
Margaret looked lost.
"I'm glad he's happy. Do you-want to take a run?"
"Include me out, sweetie. Some of us are getting older, and don't think that running the Eastern Seaboard before breakfast is good exercise."
"You don't look older."
"But I do feel it. You go on ahead. Going North?"
"Is that supposed to mean something?"
Jack just smiled.
Margaret forced a smile, and ran off, and none too soon for Jack Scully, who coughed up in the bathroom sink, thankful that what he saw was more brown than red today.
"Greenhorns won't respect a D.I. who gets sick, Jack! So you're not sick."
But Master Sergeant Jack Scully was, in fact, quite ill, and getting worse. Raised in a household that looked upon illness as an excuse not to strive physically or mentally, he ignored his condition. He would regret this later, as would his wife, and her former fiance.
Right now, that former fiance was getting a roaring headache as his new girlfriend, Samantha, argued with her mother, Endora, over-well, everything.
"Samantha, I did not search you out to argue! Now, if your birthday-suit soiree with this meager mortal is done, return home to where you belong. Why, whatever will you do with him when he's old and decrepit, and unable to maintain the pace you two had going on?"
Hawkeye mumbled, "Birthday-Suit Soiree?"
Samantha was livid.
"Mother, you were spying on us! Oh, Hawkeye, I'm sorry. She does this kind of thing to me."
"That's all right Sam. I have nothing to hide-anymore, that is. You know, Endora, some mothers have the common decency to hit their daughter's paramour with a frying pan, rather than just watch."
"How Dare You!"
"Are you nuts? You stalk your daughter, come into my Dad's house unannounced, play peeping Tomasina, threaten to dump me in the Pacific, and you talk about me daring?"
"When did she dump you in the Pacific?"
"I didn't! Somehow, the spell backfired. But this one won't. 'You who claim that I did stare, shall now become unto a chair!' There, that should...."
Hawkeye and Sam both stared down.
"Well, well. Looks like Dad is gonna get a Louis XIV seat for his den."
"Hawkeye, please. My mother is not for sitting on....heheheh!"
They both laughed, but then took stock of the odd situation.
"Why is your mom a Chair?"
Sam shrugged like someone certain she could change her mother back.
"All mortals have a resistance to offensive magic. In most people, witch, warlock, or otherwise, it's negligible. But you're not most people. That biological potion they gave you-was it perhaps alien in origin?"
"I think the Frankensteins at Immunita used some kind of meteors, or somesuch. Why do you ask?"
"My guess is, the part that built up the rest of you also increased your resistance to magic directed against you-to the point where the user is hoist upon their own spell, to coin a phrase. Add to that, witchcraft as we know it doesn't work reliably on alien life. Now, how do I change her back, though?"
"Hawkeye, she is still my mother, no matter what she's done."
"That's not what I meant. Darlin, stand back!"
Oddly, Hawkeye was staring at the chair. He made no gesture, except to move his hand over the chair. Incredibly, Endora changed back. She was dizzy, and sat down on the floor. Sam was dumbfounded-but no more so than Hawkeye.
"It was so weird, Sam. There were these lines all around her, and I just kind of pulled on them, and whammo."
Endora was giving up.
"Since the spell was cast against him, and backfired, he could see the lines of force that kept me a chair. It's been known to happen-rarely. I beat a strategic withdrawal, my dear. But rest assured, I will return. So, Buckeye---"
"What have you. What are your intentions toward my daughter--other than those acrobatics I witnessed?"
Hawkeye silently cursed Endora, because this was an honest question, one he had been avoiding. But no longer.
"Given time, Endora, I think I could love Samantha. But I once pushed a good woman away by boxing her in. If Sam needs time, or doesn't feel that way, I'll learn to live with it. Oh, about decrepit, I age slower than you people do."
"You see, Samantha. In your dotage, he'll abandon you for a sweet young thing. Oh, don't be cross. I'm just kidding. You, Pierce, are a rare commodity. A straightforward mortal who's not a stiff, and not intimidated by my daughter's power."
Endora then said the last words her daughter ever expected to hear.
"I approve of your relationship."
Then, imperious as ever, she waved her arms and vanished.
"I never imagined she would..oh, my! Hawkeye, did you mean what you said?"
"You bet I did. You make me feel-well, you make me feel-period. It's been a while since I could say that. Just--give me time--okay, Sam?"
"Fine by me, lover-boy. But we only have 3 hours."
"Til what? Til I have to decide?"
Sam headed back for Hawkeye's room.
"No, silly. Til your Dad gets home."
Smiling an evil smile, Hawkeye headed back for more. He closed the door.
"Oh, Fudge! I Forgot."
"That's your own fault, lady. You should never have tried a disrobing spell on me."
When he came home, Dan Pierce didn't bother to knock on his son's bedroom door. He did chuckle, though.
"Good thing I gave up that whole floor to him."
Later, he knocked anyway, soup bowls in hand. To his shock, the bowls vanished from his hand.
"Good soup, Dan!"
Dan shook his head.
"Oh, yeah. I'm gonna wanna hear this explanation-if they ever emerge, that is."
October 31, 1962
It had been a year since Samantha finally moved in. For sake of some propriety, she continued to stay in the room once used by Hawkeye's step-sister Henrietta, but that didn't mean much. To any busybodies who pressed, Dan said that the two were engaged.
"Well, that may as be, Doctor Pierce, but if they haven't said I Do, then..."
The woman's husband interrupted.
"Will you please leave the poor man alone? It's none of your concern, especially now that we're moving!"
The woman left in a huff.
"Sorry, Dan. You know how she can be. Say, where are the two lovebirds?"
"They----flew out to San Francisco-yeah, flew-to visit with two of my Ben's wartime buddies, names of McIntyre and Hunnicutt. Those two don't get on, so they're visiting the Hunnicutts last."
"Just so long as they're happy. Hey, gotta go, Dan. I'll call you when we reach Connecticut."
"Take care, Abner. You too, Gladys. Good people, those Kravitzes, but the wife is a nervous wreck."
Dan was glad that Hawkeye and Sam had found one another, but for all he liked his possible future "witch-in-law", he still couldn't shake Margaret. In his heart, he thought of those two as belonging together. Samantha was wonderful, but it was Margaret he saw Ben with. Back at his home, the water company truck was just about finished.
"Yessir, Doctor Pierce. The water filter we installed in your bathroom should remove that sulfur taste you complained of. Good day, sir."
Dan was impressed that the water company had finally responded to his complaint of many years. That evening, he would taste his new water, and enjoy it greatly. There was a reason for this.
"So you put it in?"
"What does the filter contain, precisely?"
"Something the Company came up with. A hallucinogenic derivative of Lysergic Acid. The effects should take a few days. But isn't this overkill for one old man, sir?"
The Man puffed on his Cigarette, then shrugged.
"Ask his son. I warned Pierce after Henry Blake's---accident, not to ask any more questions about Immunita. I mean, I had my own father committed. Why does he think his is invulnerable?"
With that, the man who would one day be the prime nemesis of two crusading FBI agents turned his attentions toward removing a President.
As Peg Hunnicutt opened her door, she saw her daughter Erin being bear-hugged in her Cinderella costume by her favorite non-Uncle, Hawkeye. The 12-year old was laughing, hugging Hawkeye right back. BJ walked up, and laughed at the same scene. Then, to Peg's shock, Hawkeye's new girlfriend turned around, and was herself shocked. BJ shook her hand.
"Hey, you unlucky lady, you. So you got roped in by that bum who's crushing my little girl. Well, your loss. Er-Samantha, is it? - I was just kidding. I like Hawkeye. Really. Truly."
But BJ just saw his wife and Sam staring at one another, as though in recognition. They smiled, then hugged.
"Peggy! Oh, how long has it been?"
"Too long. I heard your name, but didn't make the connection."
BJ looked confused, and Hawkeye walked over, too, while Erin went trick-or-treating.
"Peg, you know Samantha?"
"Yes, honey. BJ, there's something--I have to tell you-I--in private. Oh, God! I never expected this to come up."
Utterly confused, BJ walked off with Peg. He would get more confused.
"How long have you known Peg?"
Before she could answer, BJ came roaring out, and was walking down the street at a good clip. It wasn't Hawkeye's pace, but it was quick-and angry.
"Quite a while. That is, I've known Peggy for quite a while."
Peg came out, more than just a little bit tearful. As Sam went to comfort her, she pointed at Hawkeye, and then the door.
"Oh! I'm just--I'm gonna--Why don't I find BJ, and bring him back. Good idea. Oy!"
Traveling at a good but not a crazy clip, Hawkeye went to find his one-time best friend amid the long, sloping streets.
"Are you all right, Peggy?"
"If he comes back, I will be. Oh, Samantha! I've been so stupid!"
"Weell. You'll get no argument from me, there. You really should have told him-years ago!"
"I thought it would never come around, though. I mean, I hardly use it anymore."
Crying, Peg twitched her cheek, and a handkerchief appeared in her hand.
"What will I do if BJ's really upset with me, Samantha?"
"Oh, Peggy. He's your husband. I can't tell you what the answer is."
Despite her tears, Peg smiled a little, and joked.
"But you have to have all the answers, Sam. After all, you are my Big Sister."