Mathias and Winston went to the house about 100 feet from the shop. He met, Bea, Mathias’s wife. Mathias invited Wilson back to the shop. “We should talk,” Mathias said.
Mathias offered the desk chair to Wilson and he sat in he chair next to the desk He pulled the chair away from the wall to sit closer to Wilson.
“So, what do you want to know?” Mathias said.
“What did I do at Fort Ben?” Wilson said.
“We worked in the motor pool together,” Mathias said. “I was already at Fort Ben when you came back from Nam. You were in bad shape. You were in the infantry and they assigned you to the motor pool as a driver. Come to find out, you were as good of a mechanic as anyone so you started doing mechanical work.”
“You said I was in bad shape,” Wilson said. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t know what the hell happened to you over there, but when you first came to the motor pool you drove and stared into space just sitting behind the steering wheel, motionless.” Mathias leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees.
He pressed his lips tightly. “You went to a shrink two or three times a week.”
“Haverston,” Wilson said.
“Yeah,” Mathias said.
“That’s how I got your name,” Wilson said. “He’s still in practice and I visited him a little of over a week ago.”
“We started to hit it off, again.” Mathias said. “We reconnected from our time before basic. We did some things together. I got out before you did. You said you were being extended for some administrative reasons; never know what that meant. I always worried about you. Then one day, like today, out of the blue about a four or five months after I got out you came here. I lived with Dad and Mom then.”
“All of this is new to me,” Wilson said.
“We went to Fargo one weekend,” Mathias said. “We painted the town. I remember this one place we went into we was really hoopin’ it up and you said this place has very low standards and the owner ask you why and you said we ain’t been kicked out yet. He kicked us out.”
“It sounds to me like we weren’t good for each other,” Wilson said.
“But, I was good for you,” Mathias said. “I helped you to come out of it.”
“Did I ever say anything about Nam?” Wilson said.
“You were there,” Mathias said, “and that was all, you said nothing else about it.”
“Something else is strange,” Wilson said. “Somewhere along the line I gave up drinking. I’ve reunited with my family in Atlanta, even though I haven’t a clue as to who they are, and they tell me I never drank.”
“You were never a big drinker,” Mathias said. “just enough to be funny, loud, obnoxious. I was the one that always passed out. Do you remember the night I puked down the window and it went inside the door. I passed out in the car and when I woke up the puke was dried to my face and it glued my cheek to your plastic seat covers. We took the car to the motor pool and tore the door panel apart and cleaned out the puke. Well, I was the one to clean it out.”
“That’s one I’m glad not to remember,” Wilson said.
“How long you plan to stay?” Mathias said.
“Long before you ask me to leave,” Wilson said. “Actually my next stop is Missoula.”
“Why Missoula?” Mathias said.
“Once you find out you may want me to move on,” Wilson said.
“Give me a try,” Mathias said.
“The man I want to see in Missoula is a lawyer,” Wilson said. “Apparently he was my lawyer when I was in the army. Haverston said I killed another soldier in Nam and that my amnesia was a way of me getting off. There was never enough evidence to bring me to trial, but I was given a general discharge .”
“War can do strange things to a man,” Mathias said, “but you’re no killer.”
“I know I have killed,” Winston said. “Every now and then I catch a quick vision. It’s like a micro burst. I feel a jerk of a rifle.”
“That could be a memory from target practice,” Mathias said.
“No,” Wilson said. “I get sick and cold; my heart beats heavy.”
Mathias grasp Wilson’s shoulder. “I think we should go to Fargo.”
Wilson smiled. “Sure.”
“We’ll have a good time even though we’re to old to do the things we did back then,” Mathias smiled.