TRANSCRIPT: Interview carried out at the residence of Margaret Carter, March 15 1974. Present: James Lytton (JL, interviewer), Margaret Carter (MC), Timothy Dugan (TD), Jacques Dernier (JD), James Falsworth (JF), Gabe Jones (GJ), Jim Morita (JM).
JL: I want to start by thanking you all. It’s an exceptional honor to meet all of you together.
TD: You’re gonna pay us back by writing Cap the biography he deserves, son. We picked you out of all the historians Director Carter here approved because you seemed to have your head screwed on right--
JF: Neither likely to make him out as a complete saint, nor to do a hatchet job on him.
JD: We need you to show the man and the soldier. That’s what Cap deserves.
JL: Thank you. I--
MC: Before you start, we need to get something clear. We’ve had a long conversation about this, trying to work out what Steve--Captain Rogers would have wanted. And I think we were all agreed, that if it was possible to tell the truth, he would want the truth to be told. However much anyone else would have wanted him to lie. So, the truth is--Steve Rogers was a homosexual, and during the war, he was in a relationship with Bucky Barnes.
JM: I think we’ve shocked him so bad he can’t speak.
TD: You want a brandy, son?
JD: I think you should give him a brandy even if he doesn’t want one.
JF: Remember to breathe, Mr Lytton. In and out, there’s a good chap.
JL: You’re serious?
MC: Completely. I rather thought that you’d have this reaction, so I want to show you something. Steve gave me these for safekeeping before his final mission. Said he couldn’t risk them being lost or damaged. I... I always rather hoped I could give them back to him. [Note: MC is referring to the photographs I24 and I25 (copies only, originals still in the care of MC). I24: Portrait photograph of James Barnes in uniform, 1942. I25: Two photobooth pictures, James Barnes in uniform, Steven Rogers pre-serum in civilian clothes, 1942]
JL: A kiss on the cheek could still be--
TD: Son, if you ain’t going to believe us, there ain’t much point in us continuing.
JL: Sorry. It’s just a little surprising, that’s all. I, er, I’m not sure where to start now.
GJ: The beginning?
JM: Peggy was the first to meet Cap, Dum Dum was the first to meet Bucky--
JD: This book is going to be about Cap, so he should start with Cap, yes?
JL: Sounds good.
MC: Well, you have access to the less classified official military records, and I’ve re-read them, and everything in there is accurate, as far as it goes. What they don’t say is how much Steve stood out in basic training. I’ve read historians saying that we took only men who were originally 4F, or who otherwise were in less than good health. That’s not true. Steve was the only one of the group who wasn’t originally certified as fully fit. He was the only one chosen by Erskine on the basis of character alone. He must have been three inches shorter than the next shortest recruit, the only asthmatic. But he tried to keep up with them, and he never complained, even though he almost passed out every night in the mess hall. I think that saved him from being bullied by the other recruits, actually. Bullies want a reaction, and the most likely reaction you’d have from Steve was that he’d fall asleep at you. But he had absolute determination, intelligence, and integrity.
JL: Did you know then about his, ah, proclivities?
MC: [laughs] I don’t think he had the spare energy for proclivities of any sort during training--
GJ: When I was in basic, if you’d offered me sex with Mae West or four hours asleep, I’d have taken the sleep, no hesitation.
TD: Four hours sleep and a comfortable bed, I’d have turned down Mae West and Marlene Dietrich at the same time.
MC: I’ve spent my life working in intelligence, and I’d like to say that I worked out Steve’s sexual orientation as soon as I met him, but I didn’t have a clue until Italy.
JM: He was sweet on you, though.
GJ: We’re here to tell the truth, right? And the truth is that Cap was sweet on you--
TD: Not as sweet on you as he was on Bucky--
JD: He had a big heart. [laughs] A lot of sweetness to share.
JM: What I was meaning was that would be a good reason not to notice that he didn’t usually bat for that team.
MC: I am not as certain of Steve’s feelings as these gentlemen so obviously are. He was a good friend. I don’t know, I had the feeling that he was used to women not taking him seriously, because of his size. Then after the serum, I think most women were only looking at him, rather than paying him any attention, if you get my meaning. So I don’t know that he was sweet on me, more that he recognised that I saw him as Steve, not as either an invisibility or as Captain America.
JF: Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
MC: Yes, well, I’m quite sure you have made up some dreadful happy ending for the three of us, probably involving a house in the country and raising chickens, but I think that says more about you than about either me or Steve and Bucky.
JD: I am now trying to imagine Bucky raising chickens. A more city man I have never met in my life.
GJ: You remember him with the cows?
TD: I swear if I lose my marbles, the image of Bucky backing away from a cow will be one of the last things I remember--
JM: Going into a Hydra base outnumbered and outgunned, fine. Cows, hell no.
JF: Really, anything with four legs that wasn’t a cat or a dog made him nervous--
TD: Not that he was scared, o’course. Saying Bucky was scared of cows was a sure way to get a smack upside the head. He said they were untrustworthy and unpredictable and it was just necessary caution.
JL: Getting back to Captain Rogers before the serum--
MC: I think that throwing himself on the grenade is really indicative of what he was like. He wasn’t popular, he was half-dead from pushing himself too hard, and he was still prepared to make that sacrifice for the greater good.
JL: You were there during the procedure that changed him--
MC: Most of that is still highly classified. I’m afraid for security reasons I can’t add anything to what you’ve been told.
JL: I wasn’t going to ask for details about the procedure, I was more looking for people’s reactions. I mean, we’ve all seen the pictures from before and after; that was a huge transformation.
MC: It was certainly impressive--
TD: Impressive, sure, that’s the word you’re looking for.
MC: Dugan. Yes, all right, by any standard Steve was very attractive.
GJ: I’m sure Howard said you got awful feely--
MC: Howard is a great exaggerator. I reached out because I was taken aback and it was an instinctual reaction to see if he was real. I never even made contact.
TD: That’s her story and she’s sticking with it.
MC: I distinctly recall one time when you were rather drunk you told me that if you were going to go queer for any man, it would be for Steve Rogers.
TD: Won’t deny it. So I don’t see why you’re denying checking out the merchandise--
MC: I’m denying it simply because it didn’t happen. Anyway, back to the subject. People’s reactions were much as you’d expect - shocked, impressed, that sort of thing. But it was all rather overtaken by the actions of the Hydra agent and Dr Erskine’s death. Steve was almost forgotten in all the flurry after that.
JL: So the records are correct that you didn’t see him again until Italy.
MC: Yes. It would make sense for Dugan to take over the story at this point, I think.
TD: Right, let’s get the basics right to start with. Me and Bucky, we were both in the 107th. Rest of these guys were in different units, didn’t meet them until we all were in the same Hydra prison. Actually, I’d been with the 107th for about six months, already in Italy, when we had a big transfer of new recruits from the US, which is where Bucky arrived. Made a hell of an impression. Guy had a swagger, an honest to god swagger. And he checked out other guys, open as anything. ‘Course I knew there were queers in the army, we weren’t dumb, but none of them were quite so open as our Bucky.
JL: Didn’t that cause him problems?
TD: Not as much as you’d think. You gotta remember he was a helluva fighter, tough as nails street kid. First night the new recruits turned up, guy comes up to him, calls him a fairy, Bucky tells him to cool it because he’s too ugly for him to consider screwing. You could see the guy trying to work out if he could take him in a fight, and then deciding to just back off. Him and a few others tried to get Bucky separated so they could take him down, but Bucky was just naturally popular, you know? So he had plenty of guys he’d gone through basic with watching his back, so when those guys caught up with him they were facing down a bunch of guys, not just Bucky. He watched their backs as well, course. He was so good at staying out of trouble that right up to the point we got captured I thought the guy had a charmed life, like he’d walk out of the war without a scratch on him.
GJ: You have got to tell the story with the signals corporal.
TD: Oh, that ain’t suitable for family listening--
GJ: Weren’t we going for truth?
TD: There’s such a thing as too much detail.
GJ: You don’t tell it, I will. It’s too funny to leave out.
JF: There is a lady present--
MC: Who has already heard the story, more than once. Go ahead, Dugan.
TD: So we join up with a signals unit. Bucky takes a shine to the signals corporal right off, and you can tell it’s mutual. Then one night, I’m with the lieutenant and says to me that he’s lost his copy of some important message, we need to go to the signals tent to get the copy. Nothing unusual about that. But we go into the signals tent and Bucky’s screwing the corporal, got him bent over the equipment case. They stop, but there ain’t no getting dressed or anything like that, Bucky just grins and says, “Can we help you sir?” like nothing’s happening. And you just hit autopilot, so the lieutenant asks where this message is, the corporal tells him, mind that they haven’t moved, they’re still in mid-screw, the lieutenant gets the signal and we get out of the tent, and you can hear they’ve picked up where they left off. We get about ten feet from the tent when the lieutenant says to me, “Dugan, did that just happen?” and I say, “If you mean Sergeant Barnes screwing Corporal Jones, yes sir.” and he says, “Fucking West Point does not fucking teach you shit about war.”
JL: Was he disciplined for that?
TD: Jones was disciplined for not properly maintaining radio monitoring, and Bucky got a reprimand basically for distracting him at his post. ‘Course, Bucky's version was that since there were two of them listening out for an incoming transmission then proper monitoring was being maintained. Nothing about them screwing. Lieutenant says, we get them thrown out of the army, they get to go home safe and that ain’t a punishment.
JM: He had an eye for the ladies as well, though--
GJ: Including brunette SSR agents, if you get my meaning--
JM: Yeah, we should have mentioned that it wasn't just Steve who was sweet on Agent Carter--
MC: As far as his interactions with women are concerned, saying Bucky was sweet on someone is rather like saying a lion is sweet on an injured zebra.
JM: That's unfair. He'd back off when he was sure a dame--woman--wasn't interested.
MC: That's true. He did take a hint much better than some I could think of--
TD: Mentioning no Howard Starks--
MC: But he was definitely predatory in his approach. I must admit. I never saw him flirting with any man who wasn't Steve, so I can't say if he was different--
JF: I think that's a good point about how the two of them were different. Bucky flirted with men and women differently, because I think he saw men as equals, but not women. Cap, everyone was equal to him--
GJ: Yeah, you'd better put in a damn big part about how we were the only non-segregated unit in the entire US Army. I don't think it had even occurred to him that it might be a problem when he recruited us, then when people tried to make it a problem, he made it totally clear that he'd go to the wall for us to fight together. Helluva thing to live up to--
JM: Me and Gabe, first mission, we admit to each other that we're terrified that we're gonna screw up. Because Cap's put himself on the line for us, and now the brass is watching, and suddenly we're not Jim and Gabe, we're every single Japanese-American and bl- African-American in the whole US Army--
GJ: I was honestly more scared of screwing up than of being killed.
JM: Me too. Course, screwing up and getting killed in the process would have been the worst!
JD: I think I was most worried about us screwing up as a group. Because there were people who saw me fighting with Americans rather than my own countrymen as a betrayal. Stupid. I followed a man, not a country--
JF: Though one can see how you'd make that mistake, given certain naming and clothing choices--
JD: The comics were Captain America. I followed Captain Rogers--
JF: Who happened to be dressed as Captain America--
JD: I am trying to make a point here, Monty, be quiet. We had to succeed as a group to prove the group could work. If we had failed, we were misfits, dropouts from our own armies or units. We succeeded, and we became an example of what can be done when men work together. We followed our Captain because of who he was, not because of how he was dressed--
JF: In my case, very much in spite of how he was dressed. Not that I'm anti-American, it's more - dressing up as your flag? It's just not the done thing. I spent my entire time in mild second-hand embarrassment.
GJ: I loved the suit. Kinda felt like we were in the comics, and the good guys always win in comics.
JM: I think that after the first few months, right up to the point we lost Bucky, I kinda believed that. That we couldn't lose, because we really were the comic book heroes.
TD: Which is basically saying we were cocky, stupid bastards right up to the point we lost one of our own--
GJ: Then we were stupid bastards half-mad for some sort of revenge.
JF: Half-mad is an understatement.
[Silence in recording]
JL: So the rest of you all met Bucky before you met Steve?
TD: The Hydra prison. We'd all got the wrong side of some Hydra units in different places, got taken to the same work camp.
JF: Where Bucky saved my life before he even knew my name--
GJ: Yeah, I think we've been making him out as a playboy and nothing else. He was a damn good soldier too--
TD: [laughs] Mark of a damn good soldier to have a damn good time when he's not fighting.
JF: The remnants of my unit had been in the camp for a little over a week when the 107th were brought in. We were put to work with our own units, but we could pass messages between the cages at night. So, when Schmidt came to make his selections for his experiments that night, they may have only been there a few hours, but they knew what that meant--
JD: They all died. We took the bodies to the furnaces. So we knew how they died.
JF: Every time he came he was obviously looking for something particular - he'd only check over men with a particular hair colour or skin colour each time. Each time it was different. That night he picked me. And as soon as he did, I heard "Hey!" It was the strangest thing, I suddenly felt like I was in a film, because I'd only really heard accents like that in films. Bucky told Schmidt that since he was the ranking officer, he took responsibility for us, and he wasn't going to let him take me. Now bear in mind that Bucky didn't know me from Adam, and we weren't even in the same army. Schmidt asks him if he was offering to go in my place, and he said yes. For a man he's never met.
JD: I think I had been there the longest of all of us, and I had only twice seen men volunteer to be taken over others - and they were all men who had fought alongside each other. I had never seen a man volunteer for a stranger.
JF: Then another voice pipes up--
TD: It was one of ours, guy in the 107th; he'd never gotten on with Bucky, but I don't think that was what was going on. Docs had wanted to take him back from the front line with combat stress weeks before. He'd cracked, pure and simple. So he says, "take the fairy, better off without him."
JF: Schmidt turns to him, asks him what he means, the chap tells him, Schmidt turns back to Bucky and asks him if he's a homosexual, Bucky actually stares the man down, gives his name, rank, and serial like he's challenging him to a bloody duel. And Schmidt says, which I remember exactly, "A homosexual is an interesting variable. Later, Sergeant." Then he took the chap who had told him to take Bucky.
JD: He did not last long. We took him to the furnace the next morning.
TD: So Schmidt came back for Bucky. And by the point Cap arrived, we'd pretty much given him up for dead. Nobody lasted that long.
JF: I definitely thought I was in a film then. Actually, I thought I was seeing things. Chap turns up in red, white, and blue, frees you, claims to be Captain America? Much more likely that I'd been hit on the head by one of the guards than it was actually happening--
GJ: I think we all thought that, but Bucky had it even worse, he said it took him two days to really convince himself he wasn't hallucinating.
JD: We took their weapons and we fought our way out. We found each other, and we were a unit from the first moment we did. The others may think I am being superstitious, but I believe it was meant to happen. I was born to fight alongside these men.
JM: No, I felt like that too. And I'm the least superstitious person I know. It felt right immediately, like I'd known you all my life and fought beside you for months, not as if we'd barely met.
GJ: I agree, but this is sounding a helluva lot like a cheap romance--
TD: Ain't many cheap romances where they realise they were meant to be together because they simultaneously blew the heads off two guards--
JF: It made me think of the classics from school - that the gods had fated us to come together for great purpose, that sort of thing. And of course, we had our Achilles and Patroclus, which makes it fit even more.
TD: Nope, ‘cause you told us that story, and there is no way Cap would ever have been such a sulky bastard.
JF: But the general parallels, everything from choosing the short, glorious life--
GJ: Oh god, don't let him start--
JM: If you want, Monty can bore you at length about how we were in a Homeric epic. Just leave us out of it--
GJ: You'll need at least three hours, and a helluva lot of coffee to keep you awake.
JF: Oh, all right, all right. Barbarians. One thing I will say is that we had much better weapons, taking those guns from the Hydra--
MC: Gentlemen, even though Mr. Lytton is aware that all this is classified unless advised otherwise, I would remind you--
JF: Ah, sorry, old chap, the fun bits are top secret.
JM: So, whether we found each other for some mystical purpose, or because the universe just wants to give Monty an excuse to be a ancient bore, we were fighting Hydra, and we were winning - then the whole place blows up--
GJ: And someone says, "Has anyone seen Captain America?" And we realise that the last we've seen him was him going looking for Bucky--
TD: He was a goner for sure. And then, out of a burning doorway, walks not just Captain America but Bucky too. Like seeing two dead men walking--
JD: Bucky looked dead. I have never seen someone look that bad and still be walking, before or since.
TD: Stubborn as a mule. You could tell Cap wanted to help him, and Bucky didn't want it. Like he was set on walking out of there on his own.
JF: So, Hydra chaps all dead or running away, we regroup, someone calls Cap “Captain America,” and Bucky gives him this look--
GJ: And I think it was the first time he'd even really noticed what Cap was wearing--
JF: Very understandable to think you're hallucinating, in the circumstances.
TD: And Bucky says "Steve?" and I think to myself, so this is Steve then. Oh, did I miss that? So, back before Hydra, soldiers always talk about sweethearts, even if they have to make 'em up. Someone asks about Bucky's, and he gets all mysterious on us, so I ask him later, when there’s just the two of us, figuring it’s gotta be a guy, right? And he says, yeah, his name’s Steve. And I know Bucky gets these packets full of drawings from Steve. Nearly all of them are pin-ups, and not printed ones either, drawn ones. Bucky hands ‘em out. But there's always a landscape in there as well, somewhere in New York, and he keeps that one. They must have worked that out before Bucky shipped out. Keeping up morale--
GJ: Keeping up other things as well.
TD: And so I get to realising all these beauties have been drawn by Bucky's boyfriend--
JM: What, did you make a bonfire of them and swear never to touch yourself ever again? [laughs]
TD: Hell, no! Told him that if Steve was really his sweetheart he could get him to draw more of them for us! [laughs]
GJ: He never drew any pin ups for us. I kinda feel left out.
JM: There's probably a lot more time for drawing on a USO tour than in a commando unit. And a lot more models.
JF: Oh, Jim, you're doing yourself a disservice, you'd look lovely in chorus girl outfit-
TD: Anyway, Bucky's looking at Cap like he has no idea what's going on, and I say, "You never told us Steve was Captain America." Bucky just shrugs, then says he ain't got any idea about anything anymore.
JD: But he was still alert enough to be the one who said that we needed maps and water and transport to get back again. It was Cap who made it happen, who we followed, but Bucky was still being a Sergeant.
JM: And when we find there's not enough functional transport and most of us are gonna have to walk, he volunteers to walk.
TD: And the stupid bastard walks for hours, it's other guys who were injured who call the halt. He damn near collapses, Cap catches him, holds him up as he pukes his guts out--
JF: There is an incredible surreality about taking orders about setting up a perimeter and scouting out an area from a man in a stage costume who is holding up another, vomiting man.
GJ: So we were setting up camp, as much as you can with almost no equipment, Bucky pushes Cap away, stands up on his own, and that's the point Cap tells him he's being a stubborn asshole--
TD: In those exact words--
GJ: And I don't know what happened but he just went like a rag doll, sort of flopped onto Cap, who catches him, then manages to sit the both of them down--
JM: We make the camp round them. Cap was still giving orders, still checking that everyone was ok, that we were looking out for being ambushed, all of that, all the while with Bucky curled in his arms--
TD: The only time I ever saw Bucky looking even a little vulnerable. Like I said, tough as nails--
GJ: The only time not connected with cows--
TD: [laughs] Yeah, his only non-livestock moment of vulnerability. And that was true love, because Bucky was stinking, not that the rest of us were any fragrant, but he reeked of piss and puke and chemicals--
JM: When we got back there wasn't even a debate about who got first in the showers, and we knew there'd be hot water for maybe ten of us, and normally that would mean you'd sell your own grandmother to get in first. That bad.
TD: He walked the whole damn way. Once we had to get moving again he stood up, walked. I know some people say that it was a set-up, that no one could have been tortured and then walked back--
GJ: The pictures were a set-up though. They were taken just before we shipped back to London, was that two or three days after?
JM: Can't remember, but the other side of being washed and fed and getting clothes that weren't falling apart.
JD: They wanted to ask us many questions about how Hydra worked, about what we had seen. I wished that I had understood more, so I could answer their questions better, but I think that if I had understood more I would have been killed and not able to tell them anything.
TD: We stuck together through that as well, just felt right--
JF: I think I felt some responsibility for Bucky as well--
TD: Yeah, the doctors wanted to check him over, and he went white as a sheet, and I took the medic aside, told him that Bucky had damn well been experimented on, to leave him be, we'd watch him, if anything happened we'd make sure he was ok. I persuaded him--
JF: I think the fact that you hadn't put your gun down for the persuasion helped that--
GJ: He was facing down all of us, not just Dum Dum. We're damn persuasive.
JM: Probably a good thing that Cap had been taken off for some debriefing or something-
TD: Yeah, so staging a one-man invasion gets you a helluva long time talking to brass and intelligence. Musta been hours from when we got back to seeing him again. We'd all got washed, fed, interrogated, and we were spare parts. Didn't even have our own tents to go to, and it was raining hard. So we sorta commandeered one of the supplies tents, and we were all just sat around on the crates when Cap came back.
GJ: Could tell he had no idea what to say. Can't really ask, "How was the torture and experimentation?"
TD: But Bucky asks him what the hell happened to him, and we had no idea about Cap changing, so no idea what he was talking about. Cap says it's classified, Bucky says that if he's not going to tell him the truth then he can just leave, Cap says that it was an experiment to create the perfect soldier, and that's where Bucky lost it--
JM: He wasn't yelling, because you can't do that in camp without everyone hearing, but he was right up in Cap's face, angriest I ever saw him. I can't remember half of what he said, but it was all about taking dumb risks with his life--
GJ: And you could tell that Cap hadn't expected that at all--
TD: You save a guy's life, you expect them to be grateful, not pissed--
JF: If it hadn't been raining I'd have been out of there like a shot. Marital arguments are not a spectator sport. I didn't catch most of what was said because I was too busy trying to be very interested in the manifest of the crate I was sitting on--
JD: He said that he would do a hundred more risky things if it saved Bucky's life. A romantic. There is not much that you can say against that--
TD: Yeah, there is, Bucky called him a sentimental moron. You were gonna leave that out deliberately, weren't you?
JD: You have no romance in your soul, Dum Dum.
JM: He called him a sentimental moron and then kissed him, that's kinda romantic--
GJ: Kinda weird. Especially if you've never seen a guy kiss another guy before--
JF: Not the most romantic of kisses either, given that Cap was more than a little surprised--
TD: I think he was making a point, kissing him in front of us five--
JD: I think he was so tired he had forgotten we were there--
GJ: Nope, see, I think he just did it to shut Cap up. Which it did.
JF: As a method of silencing a senior officer it certainly has the merit of novelty--
GJ: Only the first time you do it. [laughs] I'm imagining all of us kissing General Phillips--
JF: I'd thank you to not make me imagine anyone, male or female, kissing General Phillips.
JM: I remember now, Dum Dum was the one who stopped them arguing, said something like they were a pair of morons who deserved each other, and if they wanted to carry on arguing they could do it somewhere else--
TD: I should become one of those marriage guidance counsellors.
GJ: We spent the next couple of days like that, spare parts. Which is how we got to talking about what to do about Hydra. I think we all knew how bad a threat they were, worse than the other stuff we'd come up against, but it was Cap who had the idea about how to do it. If one man can take out a base with surprise, then why not keep doing that? And we told him that even in guerrilla warfare you worked in groups, not alone--
JD: He did not ask us then, only when we were in London. But I think he was working it out from that point. Finding out what skills we had, how we could be useful--
TD: And of course he'd seen us fight--
JF: Not all that much, actually, when you think about it. We'd done most of our best work before he got out of the building. I think he was judging us as much on the way we were together.
MC: He certainly didn't mention you specifically before London. But he had a plan before he left Italy, I'm sure of that. And senior command were already thinking in terms of a small international strike force. That was why all the men who had been taken prisoner by Hydra were brought to London, rather than being sent back to their appropriate armies or units - men who had already experienced combat against Hydra were useful. I don't think that the strike force was envisaged as being quite as small as your group, and I think that the personnel chosen would have been different--
TD: Damn well worked, though.
MC: Indeed. But I would remind you that the SSR's larger strike teams were also successful--
GJ: Not as good as us.
MC: You're starting to sound insecure, gentlemen.
JL: So you all knew about the relationship between Steve and Bucky before you became the Commandos?
GJ: Well, yeah, the kissing was a clue. I remember being a little worried, you know, you hear stories--
JM: I'm gonna admit, me too--
JD: I was also concerned.
JF: I wasn't, but that's a Public School education for you. Broadening in some very specific ways--
GJ: Wait, are you saying--
JF: Not me personally, I was far too busy having unattainable desires centred on Matron. But it was everyday enough.
JM: Didn't last long though. Nothing like being stuck in a tent in the rain with someone for three days to prove they're not going to make a pass at you--
TD: It was interesting, seeing Bucky being proper sweet on someone. You were right, he was more like a hunter when it came to dates. Not with Cap--
JF: Not to the extent of being soppy though--
TD: A total change of focus. Not that he stopped flirting with anyone who caught his eye. Don’t think he could. Would have been like asking him to stop breathing. But it was always Cap he was really looking at--
JD: Like a compass. You may make the needle move, but it will always come back to north.
JL: I think because we have limited time with you all together, I’d like to get some general impressions of things. I’ll be coming back to each of you for further interviews on the details of operations, but I’m interested in your thoughts as a group on some things. So, firstly - what did you think of Captain Rogers?
JF: [laughs] Well, we’ve already told you that to start with we thought he might be a hallucination.
GJ: Some people said that they thought he was too good to be true, but I think that’s only if you didn’t know him--
JM: Not that he wasn’t good. He was good, honorable, loyal, brave, everything that you could ever aspire to be--
JD: But he was a man, and he had faults and weaknesses, the same as anyone. Stubborn was one of them--
TD: A little prudish--
JM: Really? He blushed at Gabe’s joke about the four nuns, but I blushed at that too. I didn’t think he was prudish at all--
GJ: Compared with Bucky, he was prudish, but that’s a damn unfair comparison. [laughs] Bucky could smile obscenely--
JF: Usually directed at Cap--
TD: That’s what I mean about prudish, Bucky would smile that smile and Cap would get flustered--
JF: Yes, because Bucky would do that in meetings with four star generals, and if he was in Cap’s sightline and they couldn’t see him, he could be really very expressive. Very expressive. I mean, if you were in that situation and your good lady basically intimated in detail what she wanted to do to you after the meeting, you’d be flustered too.
JM: I think you can put down not being able to ignore Bucky as a weakness--
JD: But he tried to be even-handed. I think he knew that he would pay him more attention naturally, so he tried to compensate. Be very deliberately fair.
TD: Yeah, that’s right. There coulda been some nasty favoritism, but he made sure there wasn’t.
GJ: And sometimes the bravery went over the line into being stupid--
JM: But we knew that from the start. Guy who does a one-man rescue mission that deep into enemy territory is a long way over into the stupid side of brave.
JD: I do not know about the others, but if he had asked me to follow him on a mission where there was no chance of survival, I would have followed him, without question.
TD: Yeah, no question--
JM: Yeah. I mean, that last mission, I didn’t rate our chances very highly at all, but it didn’t cross my mind to even suggest that it could be a bad idea.
TD: But don’t forget the most important: Cap always paid his round. More than his round--
JF: Couldn’t get drunk, paid for the rest of us to get drunk. No better mark of a true gentleman.
JD: Every day that the world continues without him, it is a poorer place.
[Silence on recording]
JL: I’d also like to ask you what you thought of the comics--
JF: [laughs] Dear god, the comics--
GJ: Oh, yeah, if only one of us had had a camera when Bucky found out they’d turned him into a kid in tights--
JM: That expression was priceless--
TD: Course, I’d seen the Captain America comics before I’d met Captain America. Never guessed I’d be in them--
JM: We weren’t even told we were being written into them, it was only when we joined up with a regular unit that some guy says “Look, it’s the Howling Commandos!”
JD: And we were very confused, because we had never heard of the Howling Commandos. We were SSR Strike Unit One.
JL: So the name was the invention of the comics?
TD: Yeah, completely. But once it’s out there, you gotta embrace it. Coulda been a lot worse--
JF: Indeed, they could have drawn all of us as fifteen year olds in tights. But they did badly enough anyway. Mangled everyone’s accent beyond all recognition--
GJ: Bucky got it worst though. All his stuff in the comics was “gee willerkins” and shi--stuff like that--
JM: He couldn’t introduce himself to anyone, they’d ask where his tights were and why he looked so old--
TD: Only the stupid ones did that. The ones who really deserved a fist in the face--
GJ: Which they got--
TD: If Cap wasn’t looking; if he was, they’d get it later--
JM: You had to be dumb to say something like that to Bucky. You could tell just looking at him that you didn’t want to start a fight with the guy--
JF: He threw a fair few punches for us as well--
TD: We looked out for each other. Us versus the world. Most times it was ok, but some guys in regular units had a real problem with us. Thought that because we were in comics we weren’t real soldiers. Thought they could take us down a little--
GJ: Not to mention the ones who had problems with mixed units--
JM: Remember the set of good ol’ boys who thought that just because Cap was somewhere else and they outnumbered us three to one that they could beat us?
GJ: Never gonna forget it. It was great--
TD: Pack of loudmouths with glass jaws--
JM: After a few like that, word gets round that you don’t mess with us.
JF: I did always wonder a little how much Cap knew about all that. Whether he was turning a blind eye to his men getting into fights, or if he genuinely didn’t know--
JD: I am certain it was the blind eye. Remember that he grew up with Bucky. You do not grow up with a man like that unaware that he fights.
TD: We’d have gotten into fights without the comics, but those comics definitely got us into fights.
JL: And I think I have to ask - what did you think of the relationship between Steve and Bucky?
TD: Stupid, stubborn bastards were made for each other.
JD: I have only ever met perhaps three other couples who were so in love--
JM: And he’s French, so that’s an expert talking.
JF: I - er, this is going to sound terribly soppy, but I always thought that they were lost in similar ways, both into the snow and ice, and we’ve never found either of them, well. That the symmetry was meant, in some way. Reunited in death, that sort of thing.
GJ: We looked for him, you know. Stark went looking for Cap, and there was nothing we could do compared to his fleet of ships. We were feeling like spare parts again, didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Then, it was you I think that said it, Jacques, asked what Cap would have wanted us to do in the circumstances--
JM: And we all knew: look for Bucky’s body. Because we’d left one of our own behind--
JD: We looked at the time, after he fell. We knew that there had been airmen who had fallen without parachutes from higher and survived because they had fallen into snow. Even though we were behind enemy lines, we looked for as long as we could--
TD: Cap called it. At the point that even if he’d survived the fall, then the cold would have killed him.
JM: Hell, I never want to see anyone’s face like that again as long as I live--
GJ: That, right there, is something you gotta get about Cap. No favoritism, no risking the unit beyond what was right, even for the guy he loved most in the world. There’s some people who are good until the going gets tough, but not him.
JF: So Stark was scouring the Arctic, and we went back to the mountains. We looked for weeks. I think I could still navigate that whole valley system in my sleep. Twice we found bodies, but they weren’t even from our war, an Italian and an Austrian from the first war--
TD: Gave ‘em the burial we couldn’t give Bucky.
JM: It had thawed as well, since he fell. So once we’d looked everywhere he could have fallen, then we went down the valley, anywhere a body could have washed up--
GJ: And all the time we’re hoping for a message that they’ve found Cap, because we knew he could last longer than anyone after a crash in the snow. But every night we looked at each other, and we knew it was getting more and more likely he was dead.
JF: We got as far as the villages down from the mountain. I don’t know what they must have made of us, asking about whether they’d buried any bodies that had washed down in the meltwater.
TD: And then - Jesus, this should not hurt this bad after all this time--
[SIlence on recording]
JD: They told us they had called off the search. I - I cannot--
GJ: I never- I still can’t accept it--
JM: Perhaps if we had buried them.
GJ: Yeah, perhaps. But I guess I always sorta still think of them as away, not gone. Like when Bucky would be the one who scouted ahead--
JF: Perhaps- perhaps it’s true. They are scouting for us. It’s Shakespeare - death is the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns. You need scouts for uncharted country.
TD: Yeah, I like that. You still talk a helluva lot of bullshit, Monty.
JM: Are you all right, Peggy?
MC: I’m fine. Thank you.
JL: I think I’ll leave it there. Thank you.
TRANSCRIPT: Interview carried out at Stark Industries Headquarters, April 20th 1974. Present: James Lytton (JL, interviewer), Howard Stark (HS).
Note that HS did not wait for the recording equipment to be set up, which is why this recording and transcript begin in mid-sentence.
HS: --don’t live in the past, and don’t particularly care what they said about him--
JL: But I think it’s quite important--
HS: Mr. Lytton, my time is money, and it’s only the good words of Director Carter that mean I’m even talking to you. You want to know what I thought of Captain Rogers, and that’s what you’re going to get. First: the guy was brave, seriously brave. To volunteer for the process, and then to go single-handed to rescue his best friend, that’s brave. Second: he was a natural tactical thinker. Military planning is not my area of expertise, but I appreciate expertise in other people. And he was damn good at it, could sniff out weaknesses and go straight for them. Third: He was a genuinely good person. Virtuous. Perhaps a bit too boy scout for my tastes. You can be too chivalrous around women. If he’d ever stopped stepping back around Peggy then perhaps he’d have gotten more than one kiss before hitting the Arctic. So, that’s Captain Rogers for you: brave, militarily capable, virtuous and honourable.
JL: And Bucky?
HS: Bucky Barnes? Can’t say I knew him. Rogers was pretty upset about him dying; they’d been friends since they were children, hadn’t they? Unless there is anything else you need to ask, I think this interview is at an end. The company archivist has instructions that you are to be given any relevant material that is suitable for the public domain.
JL: Er, thank you, Mr. Stark.
TRANSCRIPT: Interview carried out at Charlie Sanders’ residence, December 10th, 1974. Present: James Lytton (JL, interviewer), Louisa Brown (LB), Charlie Sanders (CS).
Note: Louisa Brown was born Lewis Bronski.
JL: Thank you both for talking to me--
LB: No, thank you getting us back in touch. We lost touch after the war, my fault, that’s what you get for being a war bride and following your guy to Frisco--
CS: It’s been great to catch up--
LB: And a great excuse for a trip to New York. It’s been so long since I’ve been here I hardly recognise it.
CS: And thank you for letting us listen to that part of the interview with the Commandos. I never knew they knew--
LB: Well, we never could communicate properly in letters during the war. Everything was read and censored, and you didn’t want to cause anyone any trouble.
CS: And letters had to find you, so they could be a long time in coming. I’d read comics with Captain America and the Howling Commandos before I got the letter from Bucky saying that he was fighting with Captain America--
LB: And Steve never wrote that he was Captain America right up till then, just vague stuff about being in the army but not being on the front. I’d assumed he was in the medical corps, can’t remember why.
CS: I think he was kinda embarrassed about the stage show, but when he was on the front line, that was ok. And I think he didn’t want to draw attention to what happened to him--
LB: Whatever the hell that was, you could guess it was classified to all hell. I wish I’d met him afterwards, just once, because I still sometimes can’t believe that was him--
CS: C’mon, even on the newsreels, it couldn’t be anyone else, even if he was taller--
LB: Taller? That’s what you noticed? Not that they turned him into some modern Adonis?
CS: [laughs] Guess I’m still waiting for Bucky to warn me off talking about Steve like that.
JL: So all I really know is that according to the 1940 census you two lived with Steve and Bucky--
LB: Yeah, I wanted to ask about that, isn’t that supposed to be locked or confidential or something?
JL: Er, I have some privileged access because of the official nature of the biography--
LB: They’re going to let you officially say that Captain America was a queer?
JL: I don’t know. I’ll just have to write it and see. From the interviews, I think that’s what he would have wanted, so I hope so.
CS: Well, I’ve spent enough time on the barricades to say that I don’t think this will get published in my lifetime. But you never can tell.
LB: And another thing, how did you find me? I’m not going by the same name as I was back then.
JL: I was talking to a colleague, saying that I couldn’t find any trace of a Lewis Bronksi after he’d left the army at the end of the war, and she said it would be a hell of a coincidence if it was the same person, but she’d been interviewing a woman who used to be a Lewis Bronski. She gave me your book [Note: the book is ‘Lipstick at Iwo Jima’, Closet Publishing, San Francisco, 1972], and there wasn’t much in there about before you joined up, but enough for me to get on the phone and at least ask you.
LB: You start talking to academics and they start giving away all your secrets--
LB: I was kidding! It’s kinda an open secret. I want it kept out of print for some family reasons, but I don’t mind people knowing who I was.
JL: So, I think, to start at the beginning - how did you meet Steve and Bucky?
CS: I went to the same school as them, but they were a couple of years younger than me, I didn’t really know them then. Then - I’m not really sure how we became friends. How we went from hanging round the same bars to being friends. There were five of us, I guess from about ‘36 we were a group, went around as a group--
LB: They were a gang of reprobates--
CS: We were not! We never got into any trouble, even managed to avoid getting picked up in any raids. We were good boys.
LB: I don’t believe you just said that Bucky was a good boy.
CS: He was, though. He always came across as a bad boy, but that’s not what he was like. Yeah, he got into fights, but never with anyone who didn’t deserve it. And yeah, he broke a few hearts, but that doesn’t make him bad.
LB: Well, you keep thinking that--
CS: Go on, name some things that made him bad.
LB: He could have damn well treated Steve better.
CS: I - yeah, yeah, he could.
LB: Right, Mr. Lytton, so Steve and Bucky were always a thing. An item. Except when they weren’t, and when they weren’t, it was because Bucky had gone off with some other guy--
CS: Or girl--
LB: Yeah, sometimes girls - usually guys, though. He’d still come back most nights though, and they never stopped sharing a bed, and that must have been even tougher on Steve--
CS: Not that Steve ever complained, though.
LB: No, he didn’t. Never seen anyone so stupidly in love with someone. He’d forgive Bucky anything--
CS: I kinda think Bucky was stupid for Steve as well. Difference was, he listened to what people said--
LB: Why a handsome guy like Bucky stuck with Steve, which was dumb, Steve was always kinda cute--
CS: Oh, you thought Steve was cute--
LB: Shut up. Anyway, Bucky would get offers, and sometimes he wouldn’t turn them down, but I don’t think him going off with a guy for a night bothered Steve--
CS: I think Steve knew he couldn’t, ah, keep up with Bucky all the time--
LB: I don’t believe you just said that!
CS: Pretend you didn’t hear that.
LB: So I don’t think it was the one-night things that were the problem, it was when he really started dating someone. It didn’t happen often, and he never put his heart into it, so it’d be over in a few weeks, but the atmosphere in those weeks? Second worst thing about sharing an apartment with them.
CS: What was the worst?
LB: Having to be Lewis and not Louisa because I was living with guys. Obviously.
CS: So I think Bucky had this sort of image of what was expected of him, and it wasn’t what he wanted, and he swung between the two poles--
LB: It was like there was elastic between them. It’d only stretch so far before it would snap back and they’d end up together again. I - this is going to sound weird, but when I found out they died within a few days of each other, it sort of made sense. The elastic had to snap back, you know?
CS: Because of the way we got the news, I heard that Steve died before I heard Bucky had, and all I could think of was what the hell Bucky was going to do without him. Then I found out it was the other way round--
LB: And finding out Steve had taken out half the Third Reich on Bucky’s behalf, well, that was Steve all right.
[Silence on recording]
CS: You remember their double dates?
LB: Oh god, how could I forget? Right, so, every few months Bucky would get Steve to come with him on double dates with girls. And, of course, the second girl that Bucky persuades to come with him is always disappointed with Steve--
CS: And they both come back, sometimes together, sometimes Steve comes home first, and Steve would say something about no dame ever wanting to date him--
LB: Never mind that any girl who was half-awake would be able to tell he wasn’t interested--
CS: But the way Steve said it, it was like he wasn’t worth anything. And Bucky would tell him that was bullshit--
LB: And they would have the exact same argument each time, almost word for word. After the first couple of times I got wise and made sure I was out those nights, because they’d always end up home early, because it would always be a disaster.
CS: But they kept up with it, because Bucky had a plan--
LB: Oh, the plan--
CS: He told us it one night, snowing too hard to consider going out, so we were drinking in the apartment, Steve had already fallen asleep on him. I actually asked him why they kept going on these dates. And he had this whole thing worked out - they’re going to get girls, best friends or preferably sisters, they’re going to have a double wedding, they’re going to move to the suburbs and live next door to each other, and their kids are going to grow up together--
LB: There was no way he’d have said that sober.
CS: Yeah, it was the sort of thing that twelve year old girls come up with. But I think he really meant it--
LB: Yeah, I don’t think it would ever have worked, even if he could have gotten a girl for Steve, but he thought it could.
CS: It would have been a complete disaster. Bucky and the suburban dream?
LB: I can’t even imagine it--
CS: I’d have given him three months, tops.
LB: You think he ever told Steve?
CS: I doubt it. He usually kept his plans to himself until they’d come to something. But I think he could have gotten to the suburbs. The pair of them, they were making something of themselves. I mean, both orphans, nothing much going for either of them, but they worked hard, grabbed opportunities when they could. Even though some months Steve was so sick he couldn’t work, and almost all Bucky’s money went on medicines, they were still putting money by.
LB: Yeah, I always got the impression they were going somewhere. And I think that Bucky joining the army, that seemed to fit at the time, that was somewhere he really could make something of himself. But Steve following him, being accepted? Didn’t expect that. I’m still trying to remember why I thought he was in the medical corps.
CS: Steve’s the reason we joined up. He’d been getting on at us to do the right thing since Bucky joined up, but I think we both thought - there’s enough guys in this country that the army doesn’t need another pair of queers--
LB: And then after Bucky’s left he shows us his papers, he’s going too, and I think, shit, I’ve got four inches and twenty pounds on Steve, if the army needs men that bad I’d better sign up. But that the army could damn well take me as I was.
JL: Hence lipstick at Iwo Jima?
LB: Exactly. Woulda been easier if they’d sent me to Europe rather than the Pacific, it’s not so hot in Europe that your makeup melts!
CS: I was the same. Apart from the lipstick. I thought if it was bad enough for them to take Steve, I’d better step up. The two of us, and four other guys who were friends with Steve, we put him on the train to basic and went from the station to the recruiting office--
LB: Recruiting officer’s face was a picture, because I think only you and maybe Freddy could really pass for straight. It was - actually, the army wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I even had some fun, and of course I met the guy I’ve spent nearly thirty years with! But war - well, saying that war is hell is a cliché, ain’t it? But it’s true. But I don’t regret it. It was still the right thing to do.
CS: Being friends with Steve - the guy always had the courage of his convictions. Always did what was right, even if that was going to cause him trouble. And it made me want to be more like that. So I don’t regret joining up, even though I hated just about everything about being in the army. Even before we got to the front line.
LB: I don’t think any other guy could have made the six of us join up on the same day, without even directly asking. Our Steve was special. It’s a damn privilege to have known him. And that would stand even if he’d never become Captain America.
CS: Not everyone thought like that though. He got some guys’ backs up, and not just the bullies he’d pick fights with--
LB: Fights that Bucky spent a helluva a lot of his time saving his ass from. I’ve been pretty hard on Bucky, but he looked after Steve. Bucky might’ve been the only reason Steve lived long enough to become Captain America--
CS: Steve would throw himself into fights there was no way he could win, just because it was the right thing to do. He’d defend anyone who was being picked on. Without a fighter like Bucky to back him up, that could have gotten fatal--
LB: And Bucky wasn’t always around to watch him, so he got beat up real bad sometimes. I learned how to put in stitches because he came home hurt so often.
CS: But it wasn’t just those sort of guys who didn’t like him. Some people took the way he was personally, like he was deliberately trying to show them up, that he was good just to make them look bad.
LB: And of course, Bucky’s fan club hated him. They’d have scratched his eyes out if they thought they could get away with it without Bucky finding out.
CS: We ended up living together because Steve got into a fight on Louisa’s behalf--
LB: It wasn’t on my behalf, he got involved in a fight that had already started. It must have been ‘38, I think? Anyway, my guy had dumped me. Told me he was getting engaged to a real girl. But he’d waited until we were out at a bar before telling me that. And I was pretty cut up, walked out, and because I was cut up I wasn’t being as careful as I should have been. Didn’t notice the three guys who got me cornered until there was no way out. They set to beating me up, when Steve pitches in, all 5’6” of him against three of them. But, though I say so myself, I’m a pretty mean fighter, even in heels, and that was enough to tip the balance. We sent them packing. I recognised him from the bar, but we didn’t know each other at all. He asked if I was ok, offered to walk me home, and that’s when I realised that if I’d been dumped I didn’t have a home to go to, so he took me back to his apartment. Nothing like that, just because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. Steve was an absolute gentleman. There aren’t enough of them in the world.
CS: So me and Bucky roll home a few hours later, and you were there on the couch, pair of you looking like hell--
LB: I’ve missed your compliments, Charlie--
CS: Steve said you’d been kicked out, and Bobby had just moved out, so you moved in. I met you and five minutes later you were sleeping in my room.
LB: Hey, it worked--
CS: It did, I’ve had far worse roommates. The four of us shared for, what, nearly four years?
LB: Lot of good times. If it hadn’t been good, I’d have been out of there much sooner. I was never much good at being a guy--
CS: I remember that, you’d come in the door, clothes already flying off as you got to the bedroom, then back out a couple of minutes later, proper clothes on.
JL: You said Bucky, er, dated other people, I was wondering if Steve--
LB: Is that what people are calling it these days? You want to know if Captain America screwed around?
CS: The answer is no--
LB: Almost entirely no. With a couple of exceptions.
LB: If this book actually gets published, it’s going to break America’s brain, Charlie, even without that. Might as well tell the truth. He was a really good guy, but he wasn’t a living saint. So a couple of times when Bucky went off with someone else, well, Steve did too. And I’m not going to have anything said against him for it. Damn well needed a distraction from being treated like that.
JL: Did either of you, err--
LB: [laughs] We’re not answering until you actually ask the question.
JL: Did either of you ever sleep with Steve Rogers?
LB: [laughs] And that is the wrong question! Our apartment was ok, but the heating wasn’t really up to a bad winter. So when it got real cold we’d all pile into the same bed to keep warm. You ever see those nature documentaries with the penguins? How they keep the little ones in the middle of the huddle to keep warm? Like that, a bunch of queer penguins with little Steve Rogers in the middle. There wasn’t room for sex in there--
CS: [laughs] You’d have run the risk of falling out of bed, and it was far too cold for that.
LB: So, yes, we both slept with Steve and Bucky, frequently, fully dressed and completely innocently.
CS: And speaking for myself, that was it--
LB: Same here. Cleaned both of them up after fights, held Steve while he was having another asthma attack, nothing more - I sound like his mom, don’t I?
CS: Steve was always sorta the apartment mom. Made sure we were all ok. You were deputy mom--
LB: Yeah, deputy mom sounds like me.
CS: I’ve wondered a lot, what would have happened if they’d come home. You got more latitude during the war, got away with things that you wouldn’t have in peacetime. I mean, even if his command knew he was a queer, they’d probably have ignored it during the war, but afterwards? What would he have done?
LB: Steve would always have done the right thing--
CS: But what would the right thing have been, if he couldn’t square his patriotism with who he was? Being the Captain America that America needed him to be, or being Steve Rogers?
LB: He’d have tried to be both--
CS: And they’d have broken him.
LB: Yeah. Yeah, I think you’re right. He’d have stood up and said what he thought was right, and god knows what they’d have done to him for that. Jesus, that’s depressing. When dying in a plane crash might be your best option. I’d always imagined them coming home and sorta making everything better for us. Like, if there was a queer everyone could look up to, then people would turn round and go “hey, it really is ok to be gay”. But you’re right. It’s almost as dumb a fantasy as Bucky’s little suburban dream.
CS: It’s a nice fantasy, though.
LB: I knew this was going to be depressing, but I didn’t realise how bad. Not just making me think of them, but everyone we lost. And that things still aren’t much better. I watch my back in this city just as much as I did back then, perhaps more. I still need to be able to fight, and I’m getting too old for it.
CS: I think you’re being too down on things. I think we have changed things for the better. And I think- you know how you want your parents to be proud of you, even if they’re not around anymore? I - I kinda want Steve to be proud of what we’ve done. Sorry--
LB: Charlie, he would have been so damn proud. You haven’t just been standing up to a couple of guys who were bullies, you’ve been standing up to a legislature of bullies, standing up to whole cities. He’ll be looking down from heaven, because if Steve Rogers didn’t get into heaven then no one’s getting there, and he is proud. And hell, you’re making me cry now too, I’ll look like a panda, you bastard.
[Silence on recording]
LB: I don’t think either of us are in a fit state to carry on with this interview--
JL: It’s fine, I’ll leave, thank you so much for talking to me today.
CS: You can come back with other questions, just not, not right now--
JL: It’s ok. Thank you. Thank you.
From: Director Carter
To: Public Relations
November 2 1978
Re: Captain America Biography
While I am keen to proceed with the publication of this biography, other senior command staff and world council members are unanimous that this biography cannot be published at this time. However, I hope that public opinion and the opinions of council members will change in future; therefore, this decision will be reviewed in five years’ time.
The interviewees have already been advised that anything concerning this is regarded as being Top Secret unless they receive communication from us to say otherwise. If any make contact with you regarding the reasons for the book not being published, please advise them that this is due to operational concerns.
The biography, transcripts and other material are to be archived, security status 2.
From: Director Carter
To: Public Relations
November 14 1983
Re: Captain America Biography
Unfortunately, the emerging GRID/AIDS issue has strengthened the resolve of other senior command staff and world council members that this biography cannot be published. My views on the matter remain unchanged. Since this situation seems to be ongoing, this decision will only be reviewed in ten years’ time.
The security status of the archive material is to be upgraded to status 3.
From: Director Casey
To: Public Relations
November 20 1993
Re: Captain America Biography
There is not a unanimous view between senior command and world council members as to whether the time is right for the publication of this biography. However, the majority are still opposed to publication. Review will be in five years’ time in light of this.
The arrangements for the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Captain Rogers’ disappearance are also to be vetted for references to any facts which are not known to already be in the public domain.
The security status of the archive material will not change.
From: Director Casey
To: Public Relations
November 25 1998
Re: Captain America Biography
After much discussion, senior command and world council members have agreed that this biography may be published. Some passages which were removed from the original biography due to being classified are now in the public domain, so these may be reinstated. Revisions are attached to this memo.
The security status of the transcripts and other material not included in the biography itself will be retained.
Steve is very careful with books. They’re expensive, and they need to be treated with respect.
On the table in front of him is a laptop and a messy spread of manila folders. Some of them are personnel folders, almost all of which have ‘deceased’ stamped on them. The others are marked as interview transcripts. On top of the folders is a hardcover book.
He’s snapped the spine of the book so hard it has almost split in two.
The pages the book is broken open on are glossy, showing reproductions of photographs. On the left side Bucky smiles out from the page, smart in his army uniform, the same portrait taken of so many young men. On the right there are two photos, obviously half a photobooth strip. Bucky is in uniform, but here he’s pressed against Steve, Steve half on his lap. In the first he’s kissing Steve on the cheek, still half-smiling, still with one eye on the camera, while Steve smiles and looks at the camera. In the second Steve is kissing Bucky on the cheek, all his attention on Bucky, and Bucky is smiling at him. Both the portrait and the photobooth pictures are worn around the edges, a little water-damaged at one side. They’ve been carried a long way.
Steve’s fingers ghost over the pages again.
He comes to a decision, stands up, picks up his jacket, and heads for the door. He stops with his hand on the door handle, then turns back. He takes a pair of scissors from the drawer in the kitchen and comes back to the table.
Neatly, carefully, he cuts the pictures from the book and slides them into his wallet.