“We was young,” Mathias said, “had that young blood pumpin’ through our veins. Fargo wasn’t quite ready for us. We were two guys out of the army and a lot of pent up testosterone. There’s two way to get rid of it; plenty of women or a good ass kickin’. We didn’t score well in at least one of the departments. Women are not attracted to chipped teeth or black eyes.” Mathis tapped his front tooth. “A cap, a reminder of Fargo and I ain’t as tough as I thought.”
“Tell me about it,” Wilson said.
“The one armed guy,” Mathias said. “We were dinking all night and it was about four in the morning. We stumble into the diner we were at the morning before; the one with the short order cook with one arm. The place was dead, a couple of truck drivers, couple of hookers, a waitress, and the one arm cook; there might have been another drunk or two. We was making a real raucous of things; tilting the pin ball machine, talking loud, bothering people; especially the hookers.”
“Anyway the one arm guy tells us to leave,” Mathias said. “I told him the place was dull as a Sunday morning sermon. He didn’t smile. I said ‘didn’t you get it, it’s like as useless as a one armed paper hanger.’ Man, the steam was coming out of his ears. You said ‘I can’t believe you said that’ and started laughing so hard you fell off your chair. Then I told him to lighten up. I put both of my hands out and said, ’Okay, let’s play slap jack.’ That’s when he chipped my tooth.”
“You got your clock cleaned by a one armed guy?” Steve said chuckling.
“Yeah,” Mathias said, “But he turned to you and you ran out of there like a bat out of hell.”
“We were pretty insensitive,” Wilson said.
“It all started when he started yelling at the waitress,” Mathias said. “We were being chivalrous in our own drunkin’ way.”
“It seemed like all we did was go from one bar to another,” Mathias said. “Got kicked out of most of ’em.”
“Did I say anything about the army or Nam?” Wilson said.
“No,” Mathias said, “You were adamant about that. Anytime I brought up anything about the Army, Nam, or Fort Ben you said there is nothing to talk about and that was final.”
Wilson slowly shook his head.
“Do you think it’s time to talk about it?” Mathias said.
“I want to,” Wilson said, “but there’s nothing there. Sometimes I feel like it’s water behind a dam and other times a brick wall with nothing on the other side.”
“You’ve never sought help?” Mathias said.
“No,” Wilson said, “and for some reason I’m resistant to it. I don’t trust psychiatrists or psychologists. It seems bizarre. I don’t remember ever going to one, but I know I was under the care or skepticism of Haverston. My brief meeting with him was enough to tell my why I don’t trust shrinks. He thought I was faking amnesias 30 years ago and he still thinks it. How can you deal with that?”
“Maybe you should try someone else,” Mathias said.
“I can’t,” Wilson said, “not until I find out who I really am. Then they can work on that one, not the others.”
“The others,” Mathias said, “Like Devon Ennis.”
“Whose Devon Ennis?” Wilson said.