Here is a sequel to "War and Disorder." This time, Arthur Branch is the future prosecutor who gets the "Best Care Anywhere" at the 4077th. Several other guest characters from M*A*S*H episodes appear, including MP sergeant Ernie Connors (played by Brian Arrest & Trial Dennehy in "Souvenirs") and the ruthless South Korean Lt. Hung Lae Park from "Guerrilla Warfare."Firefrost
February 8, 2004
District Attorney Arthur Branch let out a sigh as the white-hot agony in his left hip faded to a dull red throb. It was still uncomfortable, but he no longer cared. He turned to the doctor -- Frank Snow -- who had just injected medication in his IV line. Snow was twenty or twenty-five years younger than Branch ... young enough for a special title.
"Son, if I didn't know that was morphine, I'd know now."
Snow didn't seem to be impressed at being called 'son.' That was understandable -- many of the other patients here in the Mt. Sinai ER were as old, or older, than Branch. Doctors like Snow were probably called 'son' a dozen times per shift.
Snow said, "You addicted to the stuff?"
"Hell, no. I last had it fifty-one years ago ... in a hell far off." With a far younger crowd.
January 29, 1953
A wan yellow sun peered over the hills east of Kimpo Airfield and lit Private Arthur Branch's frosty breath as he stepped out of the C-47 airplane. The northerly Siberia Express infiltrated between layers of clothes, making Arthur shiver. He hoped that no one noticed -- he was a military cop, supposed to be tough.
He found the MP station and went inside. He was welcomed by the radiance of an oil-burning stove, and greeted by the glowering eyes of a fat, half-bald desk sergeant ... Tom Rail, his nameplate said. Not the sarge Arthur was supposed to see.
"What d'ya want?" Rail said.
Rail turned to an open doorway and yelled, "Ernie! Some punk wants to see ya!"
Footfalls thudded from beyond Arthur's line of sight. The man who came through the doorway was big, with wide shoulders and a barrel chest. He had full blond hair and a cuspid grin that drew a thin line between friendly and menacing.
Arthur presented his folder of papers. "Private Arthur Branch reporting for duty, Sergeant."
"At ease, Branch." Connors opened the folder. He frowned and the corners of his mouth turned down as he read the papers. "Aces in law ... what about jungle law?"
"Jungle ... I wish, Sarge."
Connors grinned again. "Bright side, Branch ... no malaria or hemorrhagic fever in Korea this time of year."
"Fine, but I'd almost rather have malaria shivers. Doesn't often get this cold in Georgia."
Another young MP entered the room. He was about Arthur's age, but taller and thinner, with close-set eyes that appeared crossed at first glance.
Connors turned to the newcomer. "Corporal Darrell McCoy, meet your new partner."
"Arthur Branch." Arthur shook hands with Darrell, who had tobacco stains on his fingers and teeth.
"We got a job," Connors said. "There's bad moonshine at the front near Uijongbu."
McCoy shook his head. "In Manhattan, we have trouble enough with beer and whisky."
"Anyone ever leave your drunk tank needing a white cane? 'Cuz we're talking wood alcohol bad here. Some of our boys have been blinded, or worse. The 4077 M*A*S*H is treating three cases as we speak ... so let's haul ass up there. McCoy, you drive."
They drove through the most bitter cold that Arthur had ever felt. The peasants' huts made the worst tarpaper shacks around Conyers look palatial by comparison. About ten minutes after leaving Kimpo, they passed three adult peasants who were clubbing a stocky tree. With them were four children; these youngsters were gleaning nuts from the ground.
McCoy said, "Walnut trees and women ... sometimes you have to beat 'em to get what you want."
Arthur shook his head, having been brought up as a true Southern gentleman. He said, "McCoy, here's where you and I part company."
"Branch, some folks are born to be slapped around."
"So you say. You sound like a real piece of work, Mister McCoy."
"Cool it, you two!" snapped the sarge.
Cool it ... how rich! Arthur thought, shivering beneath his overcoat.
After almost an hour's ride over an iron dirt road, the MPs saw a ramshackle building on their left. Its sign -- red letters on a dirty white background -- read, ROSIE'S BAR. A sergeant with a cigar in his mouth and two-day stubble on his jaw walked out of the doorway. He looked a bit tipsy as he approached the MP jeep.
The sergeant said, "You guys come for a tuneup? Sounds like your vee-hicle needs it." His Southern accent was as unmistakable as Branch's.
"We have other business," Connors said. "And we like to be serviced by folks who can see what they're doing."
"Trust me, I'm fine," the sergeant said. "Just pull into the motor pool at the 4077th up there and ol' Luther Rizzo -- that's me -- will have this jeep a' yours runnin' smooth as a Packard in no time."
Rizzo pointed to a gate ahead; its sign read, 4077th M*A*S*H. Below that, in red blocks: BEST CARE ANYWHERE.
"Hope the docs are better than the mechanics," McCoy said. He engaged the clutch, pulled away from the frowning Rizzo, and drove into the 4077th compound.
To the left was the motor pool, where a truck with several holes in its big Red Cross symbol was being serviced by two mechanics. Farther ahead, on the right, was a tent with a sloppy-looking sign -- THE SWAMP. From inside that tent came the sounds of classical music and a soprano voice singing in French. A gap in the canvas showed a portly, half-bald man who had his head tilted back and his eyes closed; he was moving his lips in sync with the singer. Branch shook his head. Not far beyond The Swamp was a paddock in which a lean, bespectacled man wearing a peaked hat and bird-colonel rank emblems was dismounting a brown horse. McCoy drove on until he arrived at the compound's largest building, which had a COMPANY COMMANDER sign beside the doorway. He parked the jeep close by.
The three MPs left their jeep and entered the building. They found a somewhat dusky-skinned sergeant with a large nose and a "Toledo Mud Hens" baseball cap on his head seated behind a desk stacked with papers. A sign on the desk identified him as "Sgt. Maxwell Q. Klinger, Company Clerk."
"Good morning, gentlemen," Klinger said. "What can I do for the Army's finest?"
"We need to see Colonel Potter," Connors said.
"He'll be with you soon as he parks Sophie. May I ask why you're here?"
"Yeah ... nasty, isn't it. The colonel said to let you look at this." Klinger handed a folder to Connors. "Make yourselves comfy in his office."
Potter's office had many pictures ... photos of Potter on horseback, Potter with a middle-aged gentlewoman. And there were paintings; of these, two stood out: the Swamp Singer with his mouth agape in rage, and the company clerk in a pink sundress! Connors didn't seem to notice; instead, he opened the folder. Inside were papers containing notes about the three poisoned men -- Albert Harding, Terry Littlewood and Clancy Logan. Arthur didn't know much about medical terminology, but the term "intractable acidosis" on Harding's paper looked ominous.
Arthur heard Klinger say, "Sir, some MPs are waiting in your office." A moment later, Colonel Potter entered the room. He was at least sixty and walked with a slightly stooped posture, as if he was getting to be too old for his work.
"Sergeant Connors," Potter said, extending his right hand. "Good to see you." He shook his head. "Some of our patients will be lucky to say that again."
A few minutes later, Potter led the MPs past Klinger's desk and through the double doors to the Post-Op room. Most of the patients appeared to have suffered battle trauma. The nearest man's whole face was covered with bandages, and his left arm had been amputated at the elbow. Across the aisle, Private Harding was completely unmarked, but his eyes were closed, there was an oxygen mask over his face, and tubes led from his belly to some sort of machine. Attending him were a sad-faced Oriental nurse and a long-faced doctor with a droopy mustache.
Potter said, "Any change, Hunnicutt?"
"Yeah ... looks like he's on the way."
"Let's see." Potter took out a penlight and said to the nurse, "Kellye, open his eyes."
Harding's eyes were motionless, and the wide pupils showed no response to Potter's light.
Potter shook his head. "Let's look at Logan. He's the healthiest of the three by far."
Logan had black hair and a face fit to magnetize the ladies. Apart from an IV bottle which was connected to his right arm, he was free of tubes.
"Private Logan?" said Potter.
Logan opened his eyes and looked at his visitors.
"How do you feel, son?"
"Lousy ... even worse than the time I got brained in Hell's Kitchen with my own truncheon." Logan's voice was just a little slurred, as if he'd had four or five beers.
McCoy grinned. "Another Manhattan cop. Me, I walked a Greenwich Village beat."
Connors said, "Okay, McCoy, you're one-on-one with Logan. Branch and I will talk to Littlewood."
Private Littlewood was awake, but his eyes couldn't fix on anyone -- not the bathrobe-clad doctor at his side, not Potter, not Branch or Connors. Littlewood said, "Who's there?" His speech was more slurred than Logan's.
"Sherman Potter, head of this outfit. I brought a couple of MPs who want to find out how this happened to you."
"Will I be able to see again?"
"It's too early to say, son. We'll know more once the poison's all flushed out."
The younger doctor said, "Littlewood told me how the stuff got flushed in ... through a nice clean bottle of Jack Daniel's. Bet if you find that bottle there'll be a hole in the bottom, sealed with wax."
Potter said, "Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Pierce. You think Littlewood's up to a long chat?"
"Yeah, he's doing well." Pierce's deep-set eyes looked weary and bitter as he patted the young private's arm. Arthur could guess Pierce's unspoken word ... considering.
Branch spent twenty minutes with Littlewood, who had been on front-line duty at Hill 7290 with Harding and Logan. Two natives -- Whisky Walter and Bourbon Barbara, they called themselves -- had brought bottles of American-brand hard liquor. The booze tasted queer, but provided the fiery swallows that one craved in a frosty trench. Hours later, Littlewood was hung over, then the hangover turned to something else. Bad stomach pains, vomiting, weakness. His eyes seemed full of snow. He passed out, then woke to a lightless world.
Horrible thing to have happen, Branch thought. He thanked Littlewood, then went to Connors and McCoy.
The three MPs compared notes. Logan and Harding had received their liquor from a couple -- a man and a woman -- at the same hill, which was located in the combat zone twelve miles to the north. "We don't wear steel for nothing," Connors said, tapping his helmet. The trip was quiet, although evidence of recent action was visible as fresh craters, shattered vehicles, and pocked, broken trees. About twenty minutes after leaving the 4077th, the MPs approached a checkpoint which was guarded by four harsh-looking Korean soldiers. Arthur felt his heart race, for he knew that soldiers often blundered into enemy territory when a front was inactive. Thank God these troops weren't wearing red stars.
The checkpoint commander -- a lieutenant -- had the coldest eyes of all. Connors said, "Guys, meet Lieutenant Park, ROK Army Intelligence."
The MPs conferred with Park, whose fluent English seemed to be part-and-parcel of his cold efficiency. He was concerned that proceeds from moonshine sales were being used to support enemy infiltrators.
Arthur was tempted to argue that the Americans had other concerns, but held his tongue.
Park verified that the American emplacements were one mile to the northwest, then waved the MPs on. A minute later, Connors pointed to a creek which was less than a hundred yards away. There were barbed-wire fences on both sides. Connors said, "The far side of that creek is Communist territory."
Arthur shuddered, although he could see no one. The hills were studded with winter-bare bushes, and the highest summits were frosted with snow. Now and then, wind-borne dust stung his eyes. The air smelled of dirt, excrement ... and rancid meat.
Ahead were piles of sandbags surrounding tents, foxholes and trenches. The people manning them wore US Army battle fatigues ... most were very dirty. Connors said, "Let's find the company CO."
They drove to a field kitchen where troops were standing in line, but the sky began to whine before Connors could speak.
"Incoming!" Connors yelled. "Out of the jeep and find a hole!"
The ground erupted with ear-smacking claps and fiery plumes. Arthur ran to the nearest trench, which was crowded with soldiers ducking for cover. He was almost there when the trench bloomed, filling his world with flying sandbags and billowing earth. Excruciating agony filled his left leg. He realized that he was no longer on the ground. He wanted to yell. Everything flashed into blurry white bolts and asterisks, then dissolved to black.
He came to on shaking ground. His ears were filled with roaring and the detonations were muffled, but he had enough hearing to detect animal bellows from all around. After a minute he realized that the nearest yells were from his own throat.
His leg! He thought it was on fire, but what he saw was worse ... five or six inches of bone sticking out of his thigh at a twenty-degree angle! He screamed louder than before.
A skinny young soldier scuttled to him and said, "Take it easy, office sir, you gonna be okay ... MEDIC! ... take it easy, take it easy." The man's voice was curiously toneless, as if he was a simpleton. He reached under Arthur's shoulders and said, "Gonna git you to safety."
"Like that trench that got hit!" Arthur yelled. More explosions followed; the loudest torched a jeep ... his jeep. Rizzo was out of luck.
Two men joined the boy-soldier. One was a Negro medic; the other was a blond guy, twenty so so, who said to the boy, "You did good, Eddie. Now let's cover!"
They hustled Arthur into a trench. Arthur screamed as fresh agony seared deep in his leg. "Oh God ... " Where were Connors and McCoy! He yelled their names, but saw no sign of them. Close by, the medic was barking into a field phone.
After an eternity, the medic took out an injection kit. "Gonna give you a little morphine."
That needle didn't come close to killing the pain, but Arthur no longer wanted to scream. He realized that the shelling had stopped.
The medic and the blond guy put Arthur in a litter and carried him to an open-air aid station, where soldiers were clearing dirt and splinters from bloodstained tables. Other casualties were coming in and Arthur saw one man who had no legs at all. Another man had loops of what looked like thick pink pasta peering from beneath a big red dressing on his belly. Arthur felt sick and cold. He shivered harder than ever before.
The next thing he knew, two corpsmen were taking him out of the aid station just as a pair of MPs arrived with red spatters on their uniforms. Connors and McCoy! They seemed okay; Arthur guessed that the blood was not their own.
McCoy said, "Take it easy, Branch. You're gonna fly to the M*A*S*H and they'll fix you fine."
Connors added, "I know the docs. They're tops, they've fixed worse. Just promise me you'll behave yourself with the nurses ... you don't want to get in Major Houlihan's bad books."
"I promise ... oh, shit."
"What?" Connors said.
Arthur pointed to the helicopter, which seemed to be all bubble canopy and naked-frame tail. "What's a machine like that doing in the CZ?"
"Gonna get you out."
The corpsmen loaded Arthur into a pod on the port side of the canopy. Arthur guessed that the starboard pod already had an occupant ... either the legless man or the disemboweled one ... for he could hear the motor revving up. A few seconds later, he could feel the machine rising ... and his stomach churning.
He fought nausea all through the flight. Thank God, he thought upon seeing the big Red Cross symbols on the building roofs. Men and women, jeeps and trucks all were rushing up the road to the helipad.
The helicopter touched down and people rushed to him at once. Two men carried his stretcher from the chopper as another pair took the legless man. The helicopter lifted off, having been on the ground for only a handful of seconds. Arthur watched it fly away and saw another one approaching as the stretcher bearers put him in a truck. The legless man was already inside; he seemed to be unconscious. The mustached doctor -- Hunnicutt, Arthur remembered -- climbed in and kneeled beside the unconscious man as the truck headed down to the compound.
Hunnicutt turned to Arthur and said, "We meet again, Officer Branch. Welcome to the 4077th triage station."
"Think I'll keep my leg?" Arthur said, and regretted his question at once as Hunnicutt turned to a pair of corpsmen and said, "Get this guy into Pre-Op, stat," indicating the legless man.
The next man Arthur saw was Colonel Potter. Hunnicutt turned to him and said, "Private Branch is back sooner than planned. Compound fracture, left femur, and he looks shocky."
"Stabilize him and take him to X-rays."
As the corpsmen unloaded Arthur, another truck pulled into the compound. Hunnicutt and Potter rushed to it.
Elsewhere, Pierce was rushing from casualty to casualty. The Swamp Singer, now wearing a red toboggan cap, looked sad as he yelled, "Father Mulcahy!" A young chaplain, eyeglasses glinting in the sun, answered the call, kneeling beside a motionless lieutenant who had a dressing on his forehead ... and another one at the opposite end. The corpsmen carried Arthur into the Pre-Op room, which was not warm enough to stop him from shivering. His stomach felt worse. He cried, "Someone get me a basin!"
He wasn't sure that anyone had heard, but knew that he couldn't hold back any longer. He turned with all the strength he could muster and let his breakfast drop to the floor. He wept.
Then Potter and a nurse were with him. Potter listened to his body as the nurse swabbed his left arm and inserted an IV needle. She injected another medication under Potter's directions. Then Potter barked, "Why isn't this man in X-rays already!"
Minutes later, Potter looked at the X-ray image and shook his head. He turned to Arthur and said, "Branch, your leg isn't as bad as it looks, but we have to operate. I'm just going to give you something to help you sleep."
Arthur fought a horrible urge to fend off Potter's needle, then with one prick everything faded out.
He opened his eyes in the post-op room. Across the aisle, Hunnicutt was listening to the legless man's chest. The man's eyes were open, and wet. Two beds to Arthur's left, Nurse Kellye was taking dictation from a man whose head was covered with bandages from the nose up. Far to his right, near the doorway which led to the company clerk's office, three doctors -- Potter, Pierce and Swamp Singer -- were conferring beside a desk.
Arthur propped himself on his elbows. His bad leg throbbed, but it was whole ... and not in traction or a cast. Flexing it produced a red-hot needle deep in the thigh, sharp enough to make him wince. Even so, the leg felt almost good enough to work.
A few minutes later, Potter came to Arthur's side. "How're you feeling, Private?"
"Lucky," Arthur said, rubbing the leg, "What's the story, sir? Thought with a fracture that bad, I'd be in traction until 1955." "It wasn't your bone, son. You were hurt in an explosion, right? The blast drove another man's part into your leg."
"Jesus..." Arthur glanced at the legless patient.
"We see this sort of thing from time to time," Potter added with a shake of his head. "Now let's have a look."
The leg was achy, but Potter said that was to be expected. He told Arthur to rest in bed overnight. "Tomorrow we'll see about getting you ambulatory."
Arthur looked around the room. "I don't see Harding, Logan or Littlewood."
Potter lowered his head. "Al Harding passed away an hour ago. Littlewood's en route to Tokyo. Logan's at a replacement depot."
"What about Connors and McCoy?"
"No word. Phones are out."
Arthur sighed. "They might be canvassing motor pools, looking for a new jeep."
Potter smiled. "I'll tell that to Klinger. You rest now."
Arthur spent the evening drifting in and out of sleep. Just after ten, he woke and saw Klinger writing on a pad. Klinger noticed that he was awake.
"I was going to leave you a message," Klinger whispered. "Connors and McCoy are okay."
"Thanks, Klinger. Tell 'em I'll be fine."
"There's more. They've got good leads and will be making some arrests in the morning."
"Great. Hope I'll be well enough to join them. By the way, why did you pose in a dress?"
"That was my regular attire, when I used to act crazy."
"Why'd you stop?"
"Well..." The office phone rang. Klinger excused himself and rushed to answer it.
Arthur fell asleep again. When he woke, blue twilight was filtering through the frosted windows.
Servicing nature's calls by bedpan made him more eager than before to get back on his feet. Just before eight, Potter checked him over, then told Nurse Bigelow to fetch a leg brace and a cane. Walking with these aids was awkward and painful, but workable. Arthur decided to have breakfast in the mess tent.
The server -- a corpsman called him Igor -- was too thin for Arthur's liking. Never trust an eatery where the help is skinny. Igor ladled rubbery eggs, overcooked Spam and mushy homefries ... definitely not home cooking. But any hot food was appetizing in this weather.
As Arthur was finishing his meal, a familiar voice boomed, "There you are, Branch!" Connors sat beside him. "We bagged a dragon lady. McCoy's interrogating her right now."
"Let's go," Arthur said.
They drove to the nearest police post and found McCoy hovering over a young slip of a woman who was seated with her hands behind the chair. Her face was bruised. McCoy raised a hand, ready to slap her. She cringed. Close by, a cold-eyed Korean cop stood with his hands on a truncheon.
Arthur barked, "McCoy, take it easy! This isn't a boxing ring!"
"I want her cooperation, Branch."
"Maybe we'll get it. Why don't you fetch some coffee and grub for all of us. I'll see what I can do here."
"That's a good idea," Connors said. "Let's go, McCoy."
Once Connors and McCoy were gone, Arthur said in his smoothest tone, "I'm sorry about McCoy. He's tired -- spent the night at the front." He read the arrest report. "Jung-jun Shin, aka Bourbon Barbara."
Shin continued to gaze at the floor.
Arthur said, "Miss Shin, a man is dead and two others are ill because of the poison your friends made. We need names." Arthur tapped his cane against the table edge, near a pen and a pad of lined paper.
The sound made Shin shudder. However, she remained silent.
Arthur was careful to keep his voice smooth as he said, "Okay, you don't want to betray your friends. Maybe you don't have to." He went behind Shin and untied her hands, then put the pen and pad in her reach. "We just want your life's story -- where you grew up, a little about your family, what jobs you've worked."
Shin sniffled. "Can't write English."
Arthur smiled. "I never asked for English. Korean's fine."
Shin began to write. Arthur knew that her Korean interrogators would use the story to find her weaknesses and demand more information. He felt a draft and shivered ... not just from the cold.
He'd terrified this poor doomed girl with one tap of his cane, then manipulated her into letting her guard down. Part of the job, a job he was increasingly uncomfortable with.
"Good work, Arthur." It was Connors, who was back with McCoy ... and Lieutenant Park. Arthur hadn't heard them; his hearing might still be a bit off from yesterday's explosion, but he recalled that even the heavyset Connors didn't make much noise when he walked. A big quiet man was a competent man, Arthur thought.
Park looked at the Americans and said, "Thank you, gentlemen. We'll take over now."
Arthur said, "I hope Shin will get something to eat."
"Certainly. She's entitled to a meal." Park's eyes looked as ruthless as ever.
Arthur's stomach felt unsettled again, and the ache in his leg was worse. As he stepped outside, his teeth chattered. Connors said, "You don't look too good, Arthur. Let's get you back to the M*A*S*H."
Arthur felt lousy as he limped into Klinger's office, although his ears were good enough to detect intermittent bass rumbles from distant shelling. The place would be crowded with casualties before long, he thought.
For now, Swamp Singer was the doctor on call. In a pompous tone, he introduced himself as Major Charles Emerson Winchester The Third. He took Arthur's temperature and examined the leg, which was excruciatingly tender. Then said, "Goldman, take Private Branch to X-Rays. And hurry!"
Minutes later, Potter and Winchester examined the image. Winchester said, "There it is, plain as day. A bone chip which the surgeon missed." Potter glared at Winchester, who went on, "Mind you, under these conditions it's a mistake anyone can make. Fortunately for you, Private Branch, there is me ... ah, us."
"Let's do it!" Potter barked. "We'll use a local ... pull that chip, treat the infection and get you out of here, Branch. Smack is about to land on us. Someone find Kellye!"
Potter and Winchester worked quickly with help from Kellye, opening the leg without bothering to hide their work from Branch. The insides looked intricate ... if people only knew, thought Arthur, they might stop mangling each other. Potter found the chip and used tweezers to pull it out as Winchester irrigated and Kellye suctioned. It was fast becoming noisy outside; vehicles and people were milling in the compound.
Potter said, "Okay, that's it. Kellye, you close. Winchester, come with me." The two doctors rushed outside. A strong-looking blond woman peered in the door and shouted, "Kellye, soon as you're finished I need you!"
"Yes, Major Houlihan."
Kellye worked quickly, and just as she finished, corpsmen began to bring casualties into the OR. Kellye shouted, "Goldman, get Branch to the evac area."
Klinger was in charge of the "Seoul Express" evac bus. He made sure that each man, including Branch, had doctor's notes. Branch thought of asking him again why he'd quit asking crazy, but realized that the answer was in the compound, still crowded with bloody casualties and people who were trying to save them. The 4077th was in a mad zone.
As the bus began to pull away, Arthur peered out the window and saw Potter bending over a boy-soldier. Eddie! The boy's head was bloody and his limbs were flailing.
Arthur wiped the window and thought, Not Eddie. Skin's too dark.
"Man, first thing I'm gonna do in Seoul is have a long hot bath," said the guy who was at Arthur's feet.
Dear God! That was Eddie ... with an extra day's trench grime. Arthur made the sign of the cross as two corpsmen picked up Eddie's stretcher and carried him inside.
Someone was trying to yell in English, but it came out as gibberish. The man was high on cocaine or methamphetamine, Arthur thought as two orderlies wheeled him out of the ER and to an elevator queue. As long as folks kept poisoning themselves, there wouldn't be too many cops or prosecutors in the unemployment lines.
A tall, greying man came to Arthur as the orderlies parked him in line. Arthur smiled, aware that this man's eyes were similar to the pair he had first seen in 1953.
"Jack. Good of you to come." Arthur knew that Jack's father had resumed his police career after the truce. So had Clancy Logan, who later contributed a son -- Michael -- to the NYPD ranks.
People were beginning to board the elevator which would take Arthur to the floor where his room was waiting. Jack would discuss the day's docket ... then Arthur would tell his war story at last.