The Green Room
(2007) No infringement upon the rightful owners of "Combat!" and the characters thereof, is intended. Any resemblance between real people and the characters in this story is purely coincidental and no insult is intended. This piece of fan fiction is for enjoyment only, and in no way will the author gain monetary profit from its existence.
"The Boys of Summer"
by White Queen
"Ahhhh." Littlejohn smiled as he sank into the comfy couch, swung his bare feet up to rest them against one armrest, and propped a pillow up behind his head against the other. He took a long pull from an ice-cold bottle of Coke, then set it on the floor within easy reach. He propped a thick, spiral-bound book against his raised knees, flipped through the first few preliminary pages, and settled down to read.
Behind Littlejohn's head, the Green Room door opened. "I don't care what you say, Caje," Kirby declared, "it is way too hot out there to play baseball." He wiped his arm across his forehead and headed for the ice box in the kitchen.
"If you didn't try to steal every base on every pitch, you might not get so overheated." Caje followed Kirby in and pulled off his sweat-soaked shirt, revealing taut, glistening muscles.
Billy Nelson came in last and let the door slam behind him. "Hey, Littlejohn, you shoulda seen that game. I've never seen anybody catch as many fly balls as LeBeau did." Billy stopped halfway to the kitchen, turned, and pointed at the book Littlejohn was trying to read. "Hey -- is that -- it is! Hey guys, the fanzine's here!" He bounded toward Littlejohn, closely followed by Caje and Kirby, who rushed out of the kitchen, each clutching a frosty beer bottle.
"Hold it right there!" Littlejohn stood up and held his fanzine far above their eager hands. "First of all, you guys stink. Do the rest of the world a favor and hit the showers."
"But Littlejohn," Billy pleaded, "I wanna see how the stories turned out!"
Kirby glared up at the book held high over his head. "Yeah! We all worked long and hard on them."
"I suppose that's why we all got our own copies." Littlejohn pointed at the stack of fanzines across the room on what usually served as their poker table.
"We did? Oh boy!" Billy led the rush toward the table, but skidded to a halt before he touched the fanzines. "Wait, I don't wanna get mine dirty." He looked at his dirt- and sweat-covered hands, then headed for the shower room.
"The kid's right." Kirby sighed and followed Billy, with Caje close behind.
Littlejohn smiled as the closing of the shower room door returned peace and quiet to the main room. He settled back onto the couch and rearranged the pillow until he was comfortable again. He'd almost made it to the second page of the first story when the Green Room door opened again.
Brockmeyer grumbled, "Whose idea was it to chase those rustlers into the desert?" He stomped toward the kitchen, spurs jingling with every step.
Grady Long said, "Hey, how was I supposed to know there was a desert on the other side of that valley? I'm new here, you know." He pulled a dusty ten-gallon hat off his head and slapped it against one Levi-clad knee.
"It's not Grady's fault," Saunders said, removing his own cowboy hat and running his fingers through shaggy blond hair that had been clean only that morning. "That desert wasn't there before. One of the writers must've installed it recently."
Doc closed the door behind him. "Probably White Queen. I hear she's been playing tent with Rudolph Valentino lately."
Saunders frowned, but before he could comment, Grady said, "They can add things?"
"Sure." Doc sat down at one of the chairs near the poker table and began pulling off his boots. "Used to be just our Green Room and the forest. Now we've got a couple mountains with a valley, a nice swimming hole, not to mention the baseball diamond over near Colonel Hogan's Green Tunnel."
Brockmeyer reappeared in the kitchen doorway, the beer bottle in his hand nearly empty already. "We got the valley when Captain Kirk needed somewhere to land his Green Shuttle."
"And there's the Green Crypt on one edge of the forest, don't forget those guys." Doc pulled off his other boot. "Any time one of the fanfic writers does a crossover story with us and some other world, there's the possibility we'll get more neighbors." He picked up his boots. "All makes for some great R&R -- we can play cowboys or go sailing or...." His half-shut the barracks door behind him, cutting off the rest of his words.
Grady shook his head. "Guess I shoulda gotten here sooner -- sounds like there's never a dull moment."
Littlejohn finally spoke up. "I wouldn't get too used to the fun and games, fellas."
"Why not?" Grady stopped halfway to the barracks, hat in one hand and untied bandanna in the other.
Littlejohn held up his fanzine.
"It's here already?" Saunders sighed. "Now the writers'll start reading each others' stories and get all inspired to write more. Well, we knew this little break wouldn't last." He unbuckled his gunbelt and gazed regretfully at the six-shooter it held. "Never does."
"Oh come on, Sarge, you like working as much as the rest of us," Brockmeyer said. He drained what remained of his beer, tossed the bottle in the recycling bin next to the icebox, and began unbuttoning the checkered shirt he wore. "Let's get cleaned up and start reading. I know what story I'll read first." With a smirk, he headed for the showers. Doc, Grady, and Saunders followed, all in various stages of undress.
When the doors to the showers had closed, Littlejohn once again opened the fanzine. But he was not destined to read in peace, for the Green Room door opened a third time. In tramped Lt. Hanley and Braddock. Hanley had a double-barreled shotgun cradled familiarly under one arm. Braddock carried another shotgun, a rucksack, and six dead rabbits.
Hanley had barely taken two steps inside when he spotted the stack of fanzines. "Finally!" He thrust the shotgun butt-first at Braddock. "Hold this."
Braddock managed to grab hold of the weapon before it hit the floor, although he had to drop the rabbits to do so.
Hanley was already seated at the table, admiring the picture on the inside title page. He looked up briefly, saw the heap of rabbits on the floor, and said, "Just put those in the kitchen, will you, Braddock? I'll get to them in a few minutes." Then he went back to flipping through the fanzine.
Littlejohn gave Braddock a sympathetic look. "At least he didn't tell you to clean them too."
"Shh! Don't give him any ideas." Braddock leaned the shotguns against the wall beside the couch and grimaced as he stooped to pick up the rabbits. "I sure hope the fanzine coming means we'll be going back to work on some stories soon."
"Braddock, do you mean to tell me you're tired of the easy life?" Littlejohn asked.
"Easy? Is that what you call dragging a gun, ammunition, and lunch all through these woods, then fetching and carrying dead game? You go on one of the lieutenant's little safaris sometime. Chasing Krauts is a breeze compared to them!" Braddock carried the rabbits into the kitchen, still grumbling.
Littlejohn sighed, looked at the fanzine he held, and sighed again. "He's right," he said to no one in particular. "Things do quiet down once we get back to work -- there's no time for peace and quiet when we're on R&R." He sat up, grabbed his Coke bottle, and looked around for a safe place to put his fanzine where no one could get their grubby hands on it. He finally settled for the top of the bookcase that held their well-thumbed paperback novels. He put his fanzine far back against the wall where no one except possibly Hanley could see it, much less get at it without a chair, then headed for the kitchen.
"Littlejohn," Hanley called after him, "would you mind skinning those rabbits?" He was too busy reading his copy of the fanzine to listen to Littlejohn's reply. Which was probably just as well.