Many of our nights were spent twiddling our thumbs. I didn't say most nights... but many. One such night it just wasn't very busy. A few patients straggled in with their various ailments. A skoshi cab pulled up to our door and discharged a young man in a polyester leisure suit. Kind of a baby-blue number with the flared pant legs. I remember having one very similar to that. Didn't we all? *smirk*
The guy came in, limping and holding a rag to his thigh. He looked frightened more than hurt. Seems he had a sad story to tell. He had been in one of the clubs on BC Street and had befriended one of the dancers. She had asked for a drink and he obliged. She slammed it down then asked for another. Enjoying the loud music and watching the girls dancing, he was in a good mood, so again he obliged the young woman.
Anyway... a few more drinks were purchased and she wasn't showing him any signs of being ready to render overnight assistance so he again balked when she asked for another. The marine said that he told her she wasn't getting anymore booze until they had gone to her place for "help!" With that, the girl grabbed a beer bottle from the next table, smashed it against their table and stabbed him with the remaining shard. One can only speculate as to what was her intended target, but he arrived at the ER with a hole in his thigh, high and to the inside!|
He chattered away about the ordeal as his leg was deftly reassembled. When the last stitch was knotted, he was obviously much less anxious and worried about his wound.
Now, his worries turned to how he'd get back onto his marine base without getting caught. You see, by this time he was out after curfew. Being the humanitarians that we were and, remember, it was a slow shift, I offered to drive him back to his camp. He graciously accepted and we loaded him into the "cracker box" (a field ambulance which was little more than a box mounted on a Dodge Power Wagon chassis) and headed north.
Before he made his jump, I suggested to him that he think up a better story before getting back to his barracks. He gave me a quizzical look and I explained. "Ya know, if your buddies find out that you were stabbed by a bargirl they'll never let you live it down!"|
His face broke into an expression of understanding. "I gotta tell ya," he told us, "you Air Force guys aren't as bad as I thought!"
Coming from a jarhead that was praise tantamount to the Congressional Medal of Honor!
Over the wires he jumped and plummeted to the ground with a loud moan. Off into the night he half-ran, half-hobbled. We just watched, imagining sirens sounding and search-lights scouring the compound in search of the errant marine. But no such fanfare. He just disappeared into the night and we never heard from him, or about him, again.
Sometimes it just makes ya feel good to know you helped someone "above and beyond."