Part 6 - The Golem, Colonel Flagg, and other Picture Postcards
Connor Macleod looked up at the 20-foot tall monstrosity that had torn through the Emperor's elite, called Christ's Avengers. They were called this for a reason. Their mission was to depopulate Jewish ghettos-with extreme prejudice. But some Jews reminded the soldiers that Christ himself was a Jew. Their resolve to keep their lands was firm. The bigotry of those charged with punishing the wrong people for the Crucifixion, though, was stronger.
A common hate-rallying cry for these types was that Jews used the blood of Christian children in obscene rituals. But when the Elite came, anyone who looked too Mediterranean was beaten for sport. Siddig-Ben-Moshe, Immortal Kabballa-Master of Prague, didn't need any one type of blood. He used all the blood, and hate, that had been cast upon his people. From this he forged the Golem, to avenge them. He then remembered why his teachers, one of them Simon Magus himself, had said never to do this. The thing was uncontrollable. It did not discern between holy house or any other house.
"Siddig, how do we stop it? I came here to correct my debt to Ramirez, whose broken sword you re-forged. But I didn't sign on for this!"
"I'm sorry, Connor Macleod. You kept the avengers back from the ghettos these past six months - til now. Then, I felt like I needed something more. My God, what have I done? There's no way we can get on top of it to re-write its secret name!"
Connor had seen the thing re-grow limbs, and reattach its head. Thinking quickly, he ran up a flight of steps, and made a slicing jump, cutting the Golem through its trunk, neatly in half. The Highlander then dismembered it, scattering the parts about. With four powerful chops, he decapitated it, and tossed the head to the man who would one day be Doctor Sidney Freedman.
"Write quickly, Sid! It's already beginning to reform!"
"I then cast a spell to make everyone forget the role of kabbala in it all. It became a legend that no one believes, like the Scotsman honor-bound to fight alongside Jews. We became good friends, Duncan. He even introduced me to Sigmund Freud, in the 1880's. Changed my life!"
"One type of sorcery changed for another, eh, Sidney? But tell me-why hasn't anyone taken note of the boy, Walter O'Reilly? With a feeling that powerful...."
"A favor for Henry Blake, Duncan. He knew the dogs would be after Radar like a piece of meat. It's a minor spell of security. Except for me and Henry, resting in Abraham's bosom, he instinctively avoids our kind, and they him, til he is ready. Easily broken, but first an enemy would have to know it was there. Walter may take it all, Macleod! But for now, he's quite vulnerable."
"What of Connor's problem? The visions of this planet, Zeist, and General Katana?"
"Powerful Immortals like your kinsman sometimes see alternate realities. Other worlds, like in that Jimmy Stewart movie. I may have to send him there, to resolve it, someday."
"I know nothing of other worlds, Doctor Freedman. I hope to keep it that way. "It's A Wonderful Life" may have been a Christmas movie, but that part scared me silly!"
As they talked, and Duncan began to write his next letter to Connor----death was stalking Father Francis Mulcahy.
I hope that the Eternal Life promised by the Good Book is full of happiness and unrestrained love. Because the one posessed by our kind often stinks so high as to affront that selfsame Paradise. For me, though, if I were to find it, I'm not sure I could see it for my self-involvement.
But I digress. My last letter, though brief, told you that I had informed Sidney Freedman of your concerns. He says he can lift these burdens from your heart, take the Red Sky and the Reborn Ramirez from your visions. By his odd accounting, he has told me that you two are to meet once a decade on the decade til 1990 or so. How he knows both of you will survive til that point is unclear to me; but he says that by that time, Juan Ramirez will rest easier. For fear of a jinx, I will not voice the obvious meaning to that casting. He says, in an odd coincidence, that only a combination of psychologist and sorcerer could see you through this "Alternate Reality". Heh. Tween' Science Fiction, Kabballic sorcery, and Freud, I think I fear dear Sigmund the most. I'm not sure I want to know what goes on in my mind---I heard that, Connor!
At the Officers' Club, I sat and shared awkward drinks with Margaret Houlihan and with Ben Pierce. She does not wish to be alone with me. She fears her own sweet heart so much, that my truthful declaration of love swept her back. Margaret actually asked Frank Burns to sit with us, but he just walked off and laughed, that odd, nervous laugh so notable of Clan Burns.
As the dance between Ben and Margaret reached fever pitch, I'm afraid I did not acquit myself very well. It's just that Ben was not enough of a gentleman to stand aside in the face of one who wanted the woman he was content to play 3rd-grade games with. The problem, as always, was that Margaret was just as much a schoolgirl. Content to stand and look indignant when Pierce would raise her skirts, but never following through or asking him to do the same. It started out civilly enough
"So, uh, you two----happy?"
"Of course we are, Pierce! Why wouldn't we be? Are you trying to imply something?"
"Truce, Margaret! I'm just glad that you and Duncan are, ya know, getting along. I mean, the camp is buzzing about your romance, except for the nurses, who'd like to sting you both!"
"Well, thanks...Hawkeye. I'm...sorry that you and Nurse Breslin..er, Walton, couldn't work things out. Duncan, they were old sweethearts. But, as usual, something got in the way!"
"Now who's implying something? Are you saying my ego shot things down with me and Carlye? Huh?! Duncan, you should know, if I'm King Ego, then you should know who the Empress is!"
Connor, an Immortal knows when to keep his mouth shut. This was one of those times.
"Who just declared a truce? I only meant that happiness is, ya know, elusive, Pierce. Besides, your ego is the size of Texas!"
"All right, I'm sorry. It's just that I'm touchy about Carlye. My one real shot at love, and she can't bend for me, as I would for her. I'm never gonna find anyone like that, ever again--even if live to be 400!"
"Don't lose your head, Pierce! Like a bolt out of the blue, love'll find you again! There's someone out there for you, somewhere! Maybe right in front of your nose. Just gather your broken heart pieces together, and make it stronger as a result! What do they call that process, Duncan?"
I was staring hard at both of them, Connor. Some conversations just should not take place.
"I've heard that process referred to as a Quickening, Margaret."
"So, Duncan, what you're saying is, I should just charge off, sword in hand, and get back into the Game? I don't know. I mean, I like female company, obviously, but I like an interested party to maybe come to me first."
"Be a man, Pierce! Only the Hunters bag the heads of deer. You go your way, you're begging to be cut off at the shoulders!"
"I suppose you're right, Margaret. I mean, time is precious, and none of us is going to live....Hey, Duncan, you all right?"
"Yes, Duncan? Why On Earth are you banging your head against the wall like that?"
Frustrated with their stupidity, Connor, I threw in the towel. I was up against it, with these two. I felt I was getting in the way. But I would try one more time.
"My problem is, Margaret Houlihan, that I Love You, with all my heart and all my soul. I can easily see asking you to change your name to mine...although, after all this, I may choose my Mother's maiden name of Macleod, you understand."
The look on her face, that of a deer in the headlights, told me all I needed to know. Ben's face was contorted in a panic he would never admit to. I was trying to steal his playmate. Who would punch his arm, then?
"Yeah, Pal! take it from someone who knows. Putting the vise-grips on does not clear a lady's head. You've got something terrific going with a terrific someone. Don't move so fast!"
"Listen to him, Duncan! He's talking sense! He's had enough relationships to know how to go in these things -That wasn't a shot, Pierce- I think we should listen to Hawkeye on this!"
"That's enough of the two of ye! I've had it! You two tell me listen to the other, but ye do not listen well at all. Does it not strike ye that two persons of such differing temprement agree so heartily on waiting and avoiding? Do ye not see that all yuir dumb jokes and all yuir Iron Maiden discipline are defenses against yuir own hearts? I'm a relative stranger, and I kin it! You two are waiting for death to surround ye before it's gathered that you're crazy about one another?"
"You're out of line, Mister!"
"Yeah, Duncan! Just what do you want from us, buddy?"
"ACh. I want ye to invite to me to your damned wedding, when you are through passing by each other, that's what I want! You call yourself, Hawkeye, Ben, but you are painfully shortsighted. And, "Hot Lips", I know who it is those lips run hot for, and it's nae me or Frank Burns!"
I then walked away, having said enough.
"I think so."
"Too bad he knows nothing about relationships."
"No. Nothing at all. I mean, seriously, Pierce--You and me?"
"Seriously? It'd be fun for 3 days before we went at each other with pick-axes!"
"Exactly. I mean, we'd be....I have to go. I have to mention something to Major Burns. A project we'll be resuming."
"Yeah, uh, we'd never work...Would you know it, I gotta go, too. Arrogant Scotsman! Who the hell is he to say when true love hits!"
"My Auntie Amanda always used to say it came at you like a buzz in the back of your skull! She --wasn't really my Aunt. She was a klepto! But a good person. Good night, Captain."
"Good night, Major!"
Under his breath Pierce muttered, "Sweet Dreams, Margaret!"
Under her breath, Houlihan said, "I don't love either of them. And if I keep saying that--I just might believe it!"
As I left, I saw BJ Hunnicutt by the door. He was graciously trying not to smile.
"So-horry, Duncan. But if you want to see those two married, I got news! None of us are gonna live that long!"
At that, I merely threw up my shoulders and said, "Must everyone utter something like that this evening!?"
I must stop my letter for now, Connor. For just then, over the PA, came terrible news. Pierce and I were needed in OR. Myself, as a blood donor, and Ben as a surgeon. Our patient--the Padre. Someone had stolen my Bowie knife and stabbed Father Mulcahy. I was in the Officers Club, but since someone tried to make it appear that I did it, an Intelligence Officer is conducting an inquest. His name is Colonel Sam Flagg, and his name seems to strike a sour note with all but Frank Burns. Upon his arrival, I felt as though I were being regarded--and Sidney and Walter with me.