MAR 26
R&R
Holiday: Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

"Shit!"

Face dropped down on the cot, hair wet from his shower. He felt as if he was still under the faucet, the damn air was so full of moisture. He wondered sometimes why he bothered to clean up anyway. It never took more than a few minutes before he, like everyone else, was soaked clean through again. He shook his head. When it wasn't humid, it was raining; when it wasn't raining, it was humid. The tent smelled like mold; his clothes smelled like mold.

Hell, he smelled like mold.

"Hey, Faceman!"

Face groaned. Not Murdock. Not now. He was comfortably wallowing in self-pity and Murdock never left him alone in that comfort.

Never.

Murdock dropped down on the cot beside him, a big grin shining down.

"What do you want, Murdock?"

"We got three days' leave, buddy. Three whole days! Jerry's gotta take a run down to Da Nang, says we can ride along with him. Have to find our own way back, but you can handle that okay, can't you?"

"Murdock, I don't want to go to anywhere. I just want to sleep."

"Sleep?! C'mon, Face, you can sleep in Da Nang - only you can have some nice soft company to sleep with. Like Lan Truong. Hmm? Remember Lan?"

Face definitely remembered Lan. Small, sweet, soft - and she could do things to him...he sighed.

"I'd like to, Murdock, but I can't. I can't move. Besides, Lan and her family were relocating to Saigon."

"So we'll find somebody else. C'mon..."

"Murdock..."

"Face, look. We got a three day holiday. We gotta make the most of it."

"It's not a holiday, Murdock. It's a four hour trip in a truck with no shocks over roads filled with mud to a city filled with a thousand guys looking for women and beds just like us. Two and half days in a third-rate hotel with a fan, if we're lucky, and a couple women who'll probably give us the clap, and then I have to find some way to get us back here before Hannibal has our heads. Does that sound like a holiday to you, Murdock?"

Murdock sat back, pushing his cap up on his forehead. "You really that tired, Face?"

"Murdock..."

How to explain this without sounding like a complete bastard?

"Murdock, we just got back from a visit with the friendly neighborhood Cong. A very, very nasty visit. Right now, as long as I don't leave this tent, I don't have to look at, talk to, or otherwise engage in any activity with anything or anyone that isn't American. Now maybe that sounds racist and stupid and totally disgusting, but that's the way I feel and I don't give a damn about that or any fucking holiday!"

He stopped suddenly, realizing that his voice had risen considerably in volume, and that Murdock was now standing. He felt his face go hot.

"Murdock, I..."

"Don't worry about it, man. No problemo." Murdock abruptly stepped out of the tent, and Face fell just as abruptly back on the cot.

Well done, Lieutenant...

He woke hours later. He must have been more wiped out than even he had thought. The tent was dark.

Almost.

He wiped his hand over his face and squinted. In the far corner was a some kind of plant with... flashlights? And off to the side of that was a gourd of some kind. Was that a face carved in it? And it was lit, too. Face sat up, and that's when he noticed the eggs sitting on the small stand next to the cot. He could smell the spray paint on them.

"Happy Holiday, Face."

Murdock sat in the other corner of the tent, across from the lighted plant. Face could see he had a bottle of beer in one hand. With the other he proceeded to throw a large handful of paper shreds at him.

"What...?"

"You didn't want to go on a holiday, so I brought it to you. Wasn't sure exactly what kind of holiday you'd like, so I brought as many as I could find. Got enough beer and eats to last the next three days, too. Well, if we don't eat too much." Murdock smiled happily. "So, what do you want to call this holiday?"

"Call it?"

"Hey, it's your holiday, man. You can name it whatever you want."

Face shook his head, smiling wryly.

"Okay. How about I-Will-Never-Snap-at-My-Best-Friend-Again Day?"

Murdock reached over and handed Face the bottle of beer.

"That has a real nice ring to it, Faceman."

FINI