The Green Room
(2008) 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.
"Es ist der Fehler von Hanley"
by Thompson Girl
Hanley was cooking bacon and eggs in the kitchen for himself when he heard a voice muttering, then the distinctive pop of a cork being pulled out of a wine bottle in the main room. Curious, he pulled turned off the flame on the stove and poked his head around the corner. It was Kirby, slouched diagonally on the couch, head thrown back, guzzling wine straight from the bottle.
"Kirby!" Hanley said.
The B.A.R. man jumped as he bolted upright, spilling wine down the front of his jacket. He wiped ineffectively at the red stain and grimaced at Hanley. "Annnnh, Lieutenant, what'd'ya have to do that for?" He held up the bottle. "This is some of the good stuff. You know, one of those bottles they were singing the praises of at the last Recon? I been saving it for a special occasion."
"It's only 8:30 in the morning!"
"Yeah, well, sometimes you just gotta get drunk, and there's no better time than the present."
Hanley raised an eyebrow. Kirby sounded and looked anything but celebratory. In fact, he looked positively distressed. "What's going on?" Hanley asked. "Why aren't you over with White Queen and those nurses?" He hid a smile, then said admiringly, "She got off to a great start on this year's NaNo, didn't she?"
"Annnnh," Kirby muttered and took another deep swallow.
Hanley frowned. "Well, she did, didn't she?"
"Well, yeah, but that's not the problem."
Hanley crossed his arms. Kirby's drinking and not getting to the point was wearing thin. And his bacon and eggs was getting cold. "I'm waiting."
Kirby sat up again. "Lieutenant, it's like this. All those writers, they keep us more than busy in a normal month, right?"
"So, then here comes November and this ridiculous namo-nano thing, and White Queen has to go crazy. Our workload goes through the roof."
It was true, Hanley thought. And it wasn't as if the other writers had stopped writing either. But still. "We're surviving," he said.
"Sure, sure," Kirby said. He downed some more wine. "That was when there was only one of 'em doing it."
Hanley cocked his head ever so slightly. "Only one of them?" he echoed.
"Yeah. Now there's two."
Cold fear washed over Hanley. Kirby had to be mistaken. He took a step back, as if the distance would change those words. "Two of them?" Funny, his voice didn't seem to be coming out quite right.
"Thompson Girl's joined her."
"But...." Hanley blinked. "But I saw her. She got more than her day's quota yesterday on her new novel. I know because I was in it...." He trailed off, glanced quickly at Kirby to see if he'd caught the slip. But the B.A.R. man was hitting the bottle again, hardly paying any attention. Good, Hanley thought. He wasn't entirely prepared to admit to his moonlighting activities.
Kirby shrugged. "Well, she threw it out."
Now that was a slap in the face. A days' work... for nothing? It went against his very fibers. It was like taking that darned hill, that one everyone else loved but represented the worst time of his life, that one that was all for nothing in the end. It so floored him, he was at a loss for words. Finally, he said, "So she's starting over?"
"Writing nothing but our stories? Just like White Queen?"
Hanley sighed and waved a hand at the Green Room. "I suppose this counts too, doesn't it?"
"Yeah. A warm up or something, she said. All six hundred words of it."
Hanley nodded to himself, contemplated exactly what that meant for the month ahead, shuddered, then let his shoulders slump. "Anything left in that bottle?" he asked.
Kirby passed it over, silently, and Hanley took a long, very long swig.