“I don’t know,” was all he said. Davis gave him a look. It was somewhere between disgust and disbelief and pity. Davis stalked off.
Mac felt distinctly uncomfortable but he made it through the rest of his shift somehow. He was quiet again that night at home. He complained he didn’t feel well when Kate tried to persuade him to tell her what was wrong. More than anything, he wanted a drink. He fought the urge and instead watched Angus play on the floor. He was laying on his stomach, running a toy car along the stripes on the rug. He was making a little “pbbbbbb” sound. Mac watched him until Kate took the toddler off to bed. Mac’s hands had finally stopped shaking.
Later, lying in bed next to Kate, Mac stared at the ceiling. He couldn’t remember. He remembered bits and snatches of Lester. He remembered the war like it was a disjointed nightmare. He didn’t remember how he had become Angus MacIntosh. His mind was racing and it seemed like the more he tried to think about it, the more confused he became.
He slipped out of bed and got dressed. He walked down the street towards the bar two streets away. He usually tried to avoid even walking on that street. He didn’t need the temptation. Tonight he was drawn there like a moth to a flame though.
Mac sat on a stool and ordered a drink.
The next thing he knew, he woke up in what seemed to be a hospital room. A pretty woman with red hair exclaimed something and rose from the chair where she was sitting. He didn’t know who she was but she seemed to know him. She kept calling him by a different name. Nothing made sense. He closed his eyes again.
It was dim in the room when Les opened his eyes again. The red haired woman was still there. “Welcome back,” she said with a smile. She was pretty.
“Are you a nurse?” he asked. Was this a military hospital?
The woman’s face clouded. He didn’t understand her expression. “It’s Kate,” she said, “Kate. Your wife.”
“What? I don’t know you,” Les said.
The woman quickly left the room and returned with a man that looked like a doctor. “Hello,” the doctor said, “I’m Dr. Wilson.” He opened Les’s eyes and shone a light into them. He checked his blood pressure.
“Can you tell me your name?” the doctor asked.
“Private Lester Van Tassell.”
The woman looked really alarmed. She and the doctor exchanged looks Les didn’t understand.
“Can you tell me the year?”
“1945,” Les said confidently. Then he asked, “Doc, where am I? Am I still on the base?”
“Hill Air Force Base?”
Les was confused. He’d never heard of Hill Air Force Base.
“Fort Ord,” he said.
“In California?” the doctor asked.
Les looked again at the pretty young woman. She looked stricken and he had the feeling that whatever was bothering her was his fault.
“Was I wounded in battle? Is that why I’m in a hospital?” Les asked, “I thought we were on leave.”
“The war’s over,” the doctor said gently. “It’s 1949. You’re in a hospital in Ogden, Utah. You were found face down on a street behind a bar. You look like you’ve been in a fight? You really don’t remember any of this?”
“I’m in the army,” Les said stubbornly. “I’m in the 84th infantry. I need to see my commanding officer.” Les tried to sit up but the pounding in his head forced him to lay back against the pillow.
“You’re Angus MacIntosh,” the woman said, she was crying. “You’re my husband. We have a son.”
“I’m sorry,” Les said to the woman. He didn’t know what she was talking about but he was sorry she was sad. Sorry she was so confused.
Check back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion and see what happens to Les!