Part II


The little golf ball rose into the clear blue sky which too often was pierced by bullets instead. It was descending like a bomb over its target when something intercepted it. Trapper tossed the golf ball up and down in his right hand as he proceeded toward a now irate Henry Blake.

"McIntyre, what do you think this is I'm playing? Baseball?!"

"Sorry, Henry. May we play through?"

"Henry, we're here to discuss a little R&R."

"Oh no! You two will not be skipping out again to 'play doctor' in Tokyo."

"We're appalled that you think we would consider such a thing," Hawkeye said, trying to look shocked. "That's not what we had in mind at all. It is our educated opinion that Radar is in great need of some time off."

"Well it has been some time since he's been on R&R," Henry considered. He thought a moment and raised his eyebrows. "Wait a minute, what makes you two so concerned all of a sudden?"

"Henry, he's sitting in his office moping like his puppy just died," Trapper observed. "This thing with the USO singer really has him depressed."

At first Henry had been surprised to hear that Radar needed some R&R. For the past several days Radar had seemed the happiest Henry had ever seen him. His face was curled in what appeared to be a permanent smile. These moments were the rare ones when Henry actually saw him around the office.

More often than not, Radar was off somewhere with Cindy. He sped through the paperwork every morning and every evening, wasting no time. One day Radar simply dropped a stack of papers on Henry's desk, said "Sir, just sign where I put the red X's and I'll be back for them later" and dashed out of the office.

But now Cindy was gone. "Of course, the little guy must be upset," Henry realized. "You can tell him he's got three days in Tokyo."

"Do you think you should send him there alone..." Trapper said, "I mean considering his condition?"

"What do you mean..." Henry began, sensing he was being had.

"Well, we were thinking he could use the company of a doctor...or two," Hawkeye chimed in.

"Besides, Henry," Trapper continued, "thing's are slow around here. There have been very few altercations since they forced back that last North Korean push."

Henry didn't feel like arguing; in fact, he actually agreed with some of what they were saying. Sure their minds are probably in some Tokyo gutter or geisha house as it may be...but their hearts are in the right place. "Okay, but you two better watch out for him. I want him home in one piece."

"Sure, Henry."

"And here it is," Hawkeye said, "our home away from home."

The trio stopped in front of a little club with a neon sign outside that said "The Show Me Club." However, with the neon in much of the sign burnt-out, the letters left lit spelled out "home." Still, the club's front stood out among the storefronts along the street. It had large oval windows on either side of wooden double doors.

Entering the smoke-filled air of the club, Radar followed Hawkeye and Trapper to their regular table in the upper right corner near the small stage. According to many people's standards the stage was drab and unimpressive. Its purple carpeting was worn through in many places, showing the plain wood underneath. The curtains on either side were plain, dusty, and discolored from the years.

However, this club was in the middle of Tokyo in the middle of a war. The audience was filled with soldiers and officers on leave who felt they had found nirvana in this little dive. Besides the uniforms worn by some, there was no evidence a war was going on. Everyone left the war outside when they came home.

"Three beers," Hawkeye ordered.

After the waitress had walked away from their table, Hawkeye gave Radar a little nudge with his left elbow. Leaning over in his direction, Hawkeye said, "I think she had her eye on you."

"No..." Radar protested meekly. He shook his head and looked away, slightly embarrassed by his implication.

"Sure she did," Trapper affirmed. As they both grinned and tried to coach Radar on, he started to smile, denying it and looking downward. Hawkeye and Trapper were both happy to see Radar smiling again. In the past couple days their attempts to cheer him up had been fruitless. It was all too evident that Radar followed them around to the sights not because he wanted to, but because he somehow felt obligated to. At the geisha houses Radar brushed off the geishas trying to entertain him.

Now, at last, there was a smile on the little Corporal's face. But just as quickly as this glimmer of hope appeared, it died.

"No, she wasn't looking at me," Radar insisted, this time with some disgust in his voice.

Hawkeye and Trapper became silent with his remark. Frowning, they exchanged a look that said they were both thinking the same thing...their efforts weren't working. They felt like concerned parents who were trying to cheer up their child who wanted a puppy but couldn't have one. No matter what toys the parents produced, no matter what games the parents suggested, it didn't take the sad child's mind off of wanting the puppy.

"I think you'll like the entertainment," Hawkeye finally said. "The past couple of times I've been here they had some pretty good comedy acts..." Just then someone stepped out onto the stage to set up a small drum set. "...And I hear they have some good music," Hawkeye continued, not expecting a band to be setting up. Although he had been there six times before, he had never heard a musical act on stage.

One musician walked out with a guitar and another followed with a bass guitar. As they all tuned their instruments the waitress reappeared with the three beers and set them down on the table. When she turned to walk away, Hawkeye and Trapper looked at Radar's face hoping to see some flicker of life.

Radar stared coldly at the band tuning up on the stage. His mouth was cemented in a grimace. His eyes were squinting in contempt. There was a noise on the stage and the speakers emitted a metallic shriek as the microphone was tapped. Hawkeye and Trapper watched in astonishment as Radar's face began to glow and his scowl transformed into a radiant smile. Turning to search for the center of Radar's attention, they were even more shocked to see Cindy on stage in front of the mic.

Back | Forward