What are you doing to my hat?” Remo struggled in his wheel chair.
“I’m from F-1. Your tests came back okay. You don’t have any pathogenic bacteria cohabitating on your body. You’re outta isolation but I gotta do some final disinfection of the parts of you that came back from Nam–like your hat.”
“Speak English and be careful with my happy hat.” Remo stared at the hat. “Are you new? I don’t know you.”
“All your uniforms are in the laundry and cleaners to get sterilized from Asiatic germs. Since you won’t let this Aussie hat outta your sight I’m doing you a favor. I’m spraying some bug juice to make it sterile and safe for you to keep it outside on the colostomy ward.” The corpsman smiled. “And Remo, I’m going to be your best friend here.” He extended his hand. “Achilles Spinelli–Acky. I’m head hospital corpsman on F-1.”
“Colostomy ward? It smells like shit out there. What does it matter about my hat?” Remo moved his wheelchair to follow the corpsman named Acky outside. “And I don’t need any best friend. I make my own friends.”
“I’m just following rules Remo. Do you want your hat to remain part of your wardrobe?”
“Yeah, it’s my happy hat.”
Acky finished his germicide spray and handed it to him. “Okay. It’s now back in regulation and hospital compliance.” Acky plopped the hat on Remo’s head. “It’s a good thing your head didn’t lose weight like the rest of you. It still fits.”
Remo cocked his head as they moved outside the isolation room. “We goin’ to F-1 now?”
“Yes we are. I’ll be with you mostly during the day shift. I’m the main floating relief corpsman for lunch breaks with the G-wards.” Acky kicked the door stop in place.
“What are the G-wards and who gives a shit anyway?”
“The G-wards are for orthopedics. You and I are going to be quite important to the plaster patients or rather they’re quite important to us.” Acky stopped the wheelchair.
“Us? What the fuck is this ‘us’ shit.”
“Remo maybe I’m your second best friend. Your first best friend is also my best friend–Cros Bizetes.” Acky grabbed the wheelchair handles and moved briskly out onto the ward. “We’ll get all your stuff.”
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