Norman left the padded cell after examining Marco with the restraining gear in place. Marco was all right physically. He went back to talk to the corpsman on duty.
“Crumbett?” Norman walked toward the corpsman in the chart anteroom. “What’s been going on?”
Corpsman Second Class Chauncy Crumbett was sitting in the small gray workroom at the standard gray, Navy-issue desk writing in the chart.
“Have a seat, Doc.” He appeared nonchalant. “It was pretty weird.”
“Speak to me Crumbett.” Norman’s demand was assertive but non-threatening. He sat on the other Navy issue armless gray chair.
“I heard some commotion coming from 6-D, you know, Gupas’ and Marco’s room. I was almost run down by Gupas running past me. He locked himself in Farnswort’s office. Marco was picking up stuff from one of them boxes he says he has to deliver to the family of his dead friend Leon. I think what happened was Gupas opened one of the boxes when Marco was in the head taking a leak. He found Gupas taking apart the contents of the box and made a grab for him but Gupas got away.” Crumbett paused and then looked at the notes he wrote in Marco’s chart. The five-second pause seemed like 50-minutes to Norman.
“Come on Crumbett, don’t stop now.”
“Yes, sir. Marco looked okay when I got there so I went to see about Gupas in Farnswort’s office. Gupas refused to come out. He said Marco would kill him.”
“What about Ensign Zettler and Marco? Was she there? Did you leave her with Marco?” Norman was on the verge of getting testy.
“No. After I saw Gupas was okay, I called the MPs up here, which is what I’m supposed to do. That’s when I heard Ensign Zettler screaming at Marco.” Crumbett continued a little more animated. “I got there just before the Marine MPs. I saw she had this jar the size of a quart of soda she’s holding away from him and he’s shouting he wants it back. Marco grabbed the bottle and pulled it away from her. Her uniform got caught in the struggle. I didn’t see Ensign Zettler get hit or anything. Marco wanted to put the bottle back in the box. A few seconds after the scuffle and right after her clothes got torn, the MPs came in and took over. He didn’t struggle much once we put the bottle back in the box and closed it up like Marco wanted.”
“Is the bottle still in the box?” Norman stood up to go to room 6-D.
“Yes. It is.” Crumbett was wary. “I guess you can see it. It was somethin’, I’ll tell ya. Even in Vietnam I never saw anything like it.” Crumbett continued talking as they both walked into 6-D.
Norman opened the box with Marco’s address on it and found a large bottle wrapped in an olive drab poncho. He unwrapped it and held it up to the light. Norman’s breathing stopped at full inspiration and he held his breath involuntarily. He stared wide-eyed at the contents of the 32-ounce-size glass container.
Forty-eight human eyeballs, floating in clear liquid, stared sightlessly back at him.
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