The ritual of feeding and clothing Simmons (bringing him a tray of Mess Tent specials, perhaps a change of clothes when he stank badly enough that even for the M.P. smelled it from the outside and complained about it) continued for a few days after I volunteered for the job. I was still teased for it, but I didn’t mind it at all. However, I knew something was bound to happen sometime if I wasn’t careful enough (ah, revenge was a sweet thing to many people, even to me), but that time came soon enough, was bound to come soon enough.
Simmons always sneered when I visited him until that day he saw me. It was one of the last times I saw the Major, one visit out of three: the last sights of the monster I never wanted in the first damned place, the last times I saw him for who he really was.
“What brings you here, little whore?” he asked me when I came in that day, knowing all about Hawkeye and our night in the Supply Room.
Everybody knew about it (camp news, rumor or not, seem to spread rapidly) and said nothing because they knew it was coming, even Henry, I must say. However, to my surprise and even to Hawkeye’s, nobody said anything about it (teasing or jokes, I mean). It just seemed like a normal night at the 4077th, even for us. I was pleased.
However, that was not quite the problem I was thinking about at the moment as I looked at Simmons. At the moment, I had no patience for his snide remarks that day and only wanted to be kind enough to being a meal (tomorrow, I was supposed to being him clothes, eww). That was all. So, I replied the best way I could: to remind him of his punishment.
“Major Daniel Simmons…if that is what your name and rank are still…you pulled the book out on us and you are now suffering from our retribution. You are now accused and convicted of fraud, corruption, rape, sexual assault of a U.S. Army officer, assault to two U.S. Army officers and many other charges which I can never remember. You can ask Radar for more information, if you are so inclined.”
I put the tray of food down on the small table by his cot, continuing. “You know I’m being nice and volunteering to help this lovely M.P., since nobody else wants to help you and they need extra hands on deck. I also have some spirit left to be kind, but it’s given me a new perspective on everything, especially of you, and I thank Father Mulcahy for it.”
I paused, thinking. “You have no power, Simmons. You never had any to begin with. Now, why don’t you cut down to the chase and tell me why you hate me so much?”
Simmons was not chained or shackled to anything, which made him more dangerous (in my opinion) and this scared me every time I went to drop off his things. Usually, he would ignore me or torment me every time I came in, but, for the first time ever, he would come up close to me, facing me with his icy blue stare. He did it for a while: just leaving me transplanted into the ground with cement around my feet, and stared at me, deeper into my soul.
The feeling of being stuck felt familiar, like I had been there before, but I could not tell where it came from.
After a while, Simmons finally answered me, getting me out of my reverie as he turned his head away from me. “Captain, what I hate more is someone who thinks they have more power than I do. I despise women especially, who think they have the upper hand. When I met you for the first time, I had to make you suffer. I knew you to be one of them.”
Simmons turned back to me and then moved closer once more, taking out his finger and tracing my face with it carefully, outlining the old, familiar lines on it.
“Sergeant Grant is now suffering under hard labor at Leavenworth for what he did to an officer, as I’ve said,” Simmons continued, smiling. “Would you allow me to do the same? Would you allow me to rot in a military prison for the rest of my days, degraded down to nothing, just as he was recently?”
This action, this touching of my face with his finger, was making me sick to my stomach. The voice behind it – seductive and secretive, especially at the last sentences – made me want to puke in his face. It made me apprehensive of the situation, careful in everything from that point on.
Where was Simmons going with this? What’s going on here?
I knew that Daddy mentioned Simmons being a rapist, and I pointed it out to them when listing his charges (or what I knew of them when eavesdropping with Radar). However, I did not expect Simmons to try to do the same to me…seduce me, I mean. It made my back stiffen as soon as I thought of it as we stood there, but there was the want to stay where I was, in order to know the inevitable, just like those times Clarence came to my bedroom at night and sexually abused me. There was no need to scream for help just yet, no need to run away. It was the curiosity that made me want to stay.
That was what made it so familiar, why it made me stay where I was…why I was transplanted by that gaze…
I didn’t want to be there again. I was no whore. I was a woman reborn, a woman ready for her next serious relationship. Why was I standing there with another rapist? Why should I tolerate it once more, relive the worst moments of my life: the torment, tears and frustration?
I felt like I had no choice anymore. And that was when a need to escape filled me.
As soon as Simmons turned back to look at me, I spit in his eye in reply (hitting dead center of one), trying to get the invisible slime off of me.
“You damned bitch!” Simmons yelled at me as he rubbed his eye, trying to get my saliva out, his finger off of my face for the time being.
“Damned right, I am one,” I replied harshly, knowing that I was tougher than I felt, knowing that I was untouchable to Simmons…or, so I felt. “Touch me again and you’ll find out what I can do. I am capable of worse.”
“Really, Captain?” Simmons asked as he stared back at me, his initial angry gone and the offending liquid out of his eye. “Are you really as rough-and-tumble as you show? Or, are you just threatening me with that pathetic boyfriend of yours, your idiotic friends and that worthless Commanding Officer you call a father? Even your own blood father and brother can do nothing for you now.”
I was fuming inside because of the insults, but I didn’t want Simmons to know about it, making him all warm inside. Like what Henry told me years ago, to fight with an idiot was taking yourself to their level and allowing them to beat you with some experience. Simmons was such, wanting me to be at his own level so he could beat me at his own game. However, his game was something I did not expect…something I provoked the last time I replied to him that day.
“Stick it, Simmons…if you know how to,” was my only response as I turned on my heel and went for the door, wanting to join Hawkeye in the Mess Tent and be rid of this…this animal for the rest of my days.
It was all I wanted: to join Hawkeye in the Mess Tent and to ask him for some time alone tonight because our first night in the Supply Room had been so special. I wanted to be with my lover, my sweetheart, in order to forget the compassion I was showing to a scumbag who hurt me the most. I was only in the Christmas spirit, after all, thanks to Father Mulcahy. I would come back for more, and show Simmons how I feel, and it’ll be over. He’ll go to his rat hole in the States and brag about it, even if it is prison. We’ll hear about him soon enough and shrug, working on the wounded, as we’ve always done since Day One, and somehow forget all about him.
However, I did not expect that, when Daddy accused him of those things a while back, Simmons was going to use it to his advantage and, for one last time, commit a crime of the highest humiliation. The stakes had gone higher – he wanted something in the vein of severe revenge, for sure – and all he wanted was the prize. All he wanted was a piece of the pie, to show that he, too, could grab it, share it, and then spit it back out because he had too much of it.
My thoughts were on Hawkeye usually in my off hours and Simmons knew it, resented it. He knew that he had to do something about that egotistical attitude of mine, this constant thought process of mine, before he left us for good.
Before I even opened the door…before I could get back out into the cold winds of Korea and join the real Christmas cheer once more…Simmons lunged for me, his large arms grabbing me by the waist and quickly throwing me onto his cot. I had not realized what he had done until his face – that icy stare – was upon me once more as he jumped on top of me, his pants zipper and buttons coming undone quickly in one flash. His Army boxers only covered him soon enough, green all around and hard underneath it all, and I knew he wanted something quick.
Then, I knew what I was up against.
However, to get out of it was not the problem really. Not to repeat history was the problem I usually had with men that hate me more than anything in life, my stepfather included.
I think Simmons knew it too. That was what he using to his advantage…once more.
I looked up to my captor. Simmons’ mouth was drooling saliva down his chin, his eyes slowly turning from blue to red and his face turned bright pink with each heavy breath he took. He sounded like a bull trying to rip my clothes off, a man out of breath and trying to recapture the air that is so readily given to him.
Simmons’ appearance – and even the action itself – did not frighten me in the least, because it had been so familiar to me, so much like a routine that I accepted it, regardless of the dangers it posed. I was more surprised, really.
But then again…his words to me were not endearing.
“Do you want to tell me about mercy, Captain Jeanette Morrison?” Simmons asked me, scaring me for the first time in a while as he took a knife to my throat…something totally different from the script. “Do you want to tell me anything, hmmm? No yelling, remember, or your pretty throat will be cut from ear to ear and they’ll find you smiling blood.”
I said nothing, wanting to scream all of a sudden, despite the new danger of death above me. I wanted some help to come quickly! But at the same time…
Where is the M.P.? Where is he? When is he coming? I need him now!
“You have nothing to say, Captain?” Simmons licked his lips, sucking back up the saliva he was dripping from his mouth. “You know the drill, of course, since you’ve been lovely bait to Clarence Lowes for so long. I’ve heard so many stories from your stepfather. I knew him briefly, of course. He even showed me pictures of you and your brother, mentioning to me that you’re prettier naked than in clothes. Let’s see if he’s right…?”
“Get off of me!” I yelled loudly, trying to get out of his grip, but failing because his physical hold was tighter than the mental one. “Help me! Somebody, help me!”
“Ahh, such a pity, then, that I have to squish this lovely flower myself,” Simmons said out loud, mostly to himself, taking his knife from my throat and dropping it on the floor. Then, he balled his fist and pulled back, a slow motion I could follow, but could not see to the end.
I blacked out once more, thinking about Hawkeye and wishing he could be there to help me.