The Green Room







(2010) 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.


"Of Pies and Light Bulbs"

by Thompson Girl



Braddock opened the front door to the Green Room, looked out, then closed the door again.  He stood there a moment, contemplating, then headed for the kitchen, where Billy was brewing a pot of coffee.  In their real coffee maker, not his helmet.  For which he was greatly appreciative.

"Billy?" Braddock asked.  "We get new orders?"

"No, why?"

"How do you feel about foxholes?"

"They've saved my life a few times, but I hate digging 'em."

"Do you know why," Braddock said, "our nice front lawn has been turned into a foxhole?"

"What?"  Billy hurried to the front door and yanked it open.  Braddock wasn't kidding.  A large hole had been dug right in the middle of the front lawn.  Not only that, but the sprinklers had gone off at 6:00 am and it was one of the muddiest foxholes Billy had seen in a long time.

That might not have been so unusual -- stranger things had happened to the basic geography of the Green Demesne overnight -- except that the foxhole was occupied.  By Lt. Hanley.  His uniform was so steeped in mud he was hardly recognizable.

Which, again, may not have been so unusual -- except he was sitting in the mud, leaning back against the foxhole wall, knees drawn up, eating a large slice of olallieberry pie off a good china plate (are there bad china plates? Billy wondered).  From the euphoric look on the lieutenant's face, Billy assumed it was a very delicious slice of pie indeed.

"This isn't good," Billy said.

"Tell me about it," Braddock said.  "He didn't leave any pie for us."

"No, he's supposed to be talking."  Billy wanted to say Hanley was supposed to be "yammering" except he worried that if he used Hanley and yammering in the same sentence, he'd wind up in the stockade.  He went on, "White Queen can't get off her current story until he starts talking, you see.  And until she gets off that, she can't work on... well, on other things.  You know how those writers get."

Braddock considered the lieutenant, then said wistfully, "Must be awfully good pie."

Just then, Saunders approached the front door carrying a box.  Braddock pointed to Hanley.  "Hey, Saunders, can't you do anything about the lieutenant?"

"Sorry, that was the last slice of pie."

"No," Billy said.  "About the fact that he's not talking."

Saunders paused, glanced over his shoulder at the lieutenant, then faced forward again.  "Nope, sorry.  Have you tasted that pie?"

"No, but I'd like to," Braddock said.

"But Sarge--"

"Sorry, Billy," Saunders said.  "I've got to get this inside."  He indicated the box he was carefully carrying.

"More pie?" Braddock asked hopefully.

"Light bulbs," Saunders said.

Billy and Braddock exchanged a look.  "Are you kidding me?" Braddock said. 

"They're very special light bulbs," Saunders said. 

"If they don't come with flaky crust and fruit filling they aren't special," Braddock complained.

Billy and Saunders exchanged a look.  "One track mind," Billy apologized for his squad mate.

"No, Braddock," Saunders said.  "They're epiphany light bulbs.  Every writer keeps a few of these around for her characters to use when required.  White Queen ran out, that's all."

"Does that have anything to do with the fact that the lieutenant has pie and none of us do?" Braddock demanded.

"I like light bulbs," Billy offered.

"I like pie," Braddock said.

Saunders grimaced.  "And I'd like the both of you to shut up and let me get these delivered."  He shouldered his way through the door and disappeared into the Green Room.

"Well," Billy said.  "At least we have fresh coffee."

"Had, mate," Spike said, as he shouldered his way out of the Green Room.  "Thanks!  You lot make the best around."

They watched him pull his jacket over his head and skirt the foxhole at a run, carefully holding his coffee mug to avoid unnecessary spillage, not even giving Hanley a second glance in his haste to avoid the morning sun.

"That's it," Braddock said.  "No pie, no coffee.  I need a drink."

"Plenty of water in the kitchen," Kirby said.  He shouldered his way out of the Green Room (and what happened to all the normal leaaannnning? Billy wondered, and where had this shouldering come from 'cause he was tired of getting bumped aside) carrying a large covered box.   Kirby couldn't move smoothly enough to keep the bottles from rattling inside.  "Water's good for you, boy."

"Hey!  Wait a minute," Braddock protested.  "Is that all our beer?"

"Uh," Kirby said hurriedly.  "Something like that.  Poker match at the Green Fort.  Gotta scram."

"Billy," Braddock said.  "Ever get the feeling you should've stayed in bed?"

"I'd be careful about that top left-hand bunk if I were you," Steve McQueen said as he shouldered his way out carrying a stack of bed slats clearly stolen from their barracks.  He was whistling cheerfully as he went.

Billy and Braddock looked at each other.  "About that muddy foxhole in the middle of our front lawn..." Braddock said.  "It's looking awfully inviting."



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