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People Out in the Snow

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It's cold enough that I caught myself jealous of BJ today, wrist-deep in the guts of a split-open soldier. While the doctors worked, I warmed my hands over the body. I could see the steam rise from where I suctioned away blood.

All Dad said, really, was call the Red Cross. Call HQ Seoul. You have a lawyer? he asked. You want me to put in a call for you? General Thomas and I go way back.

No, I say, and I wish I hadn't called at all.

I'll get through this one myself, I say, and O'Reilly looks over at me from the file cabinet, wads of cotton stuffed between his ears and his earphones. Everything okay, Major?

Everything's fine, I say. If Donald calls, tell him I don't want to talk to him. Tell him to expect a call from HQ. Tell that bastard I want my money back. But I don't say that part out loud. Radar shrugs.

He died, the boy BJ was working on. Made it to post-op, but the infection burned through him like white phosphorus, and he only stuck it out another hour before Klinger bagged him and moved him outside into the snow.

It was the infection that kept him so warm tonight, and I flex my knuckles, because my hands have gotten cold again. I think of that boy, and I make a mental note to clean the freezers tomorrow.

We can't just leave people out in the snow. It's not proper. It's not fair. It's not done.