The Right Place at the Right Time
A Hogan's Heroes story
By Deana Lisi
I don't own any Hogan's Heroes character. Bummer.
Hogan glanced behind himself towards the door of barracks two, relieved when he saw Kinch quickly run out and dash into his place in line.
Schultz hadn't noticed yet that he hadn't come out with the others, and continued to count, unaware that a piece of paper was being passed through the men, on its way to Hogan's hands. When it got to Newkirk, he accidentally dropped it.
Hogan heard the Englishman's sudden intake of breath, and saw the paper roll out in front of them. He quickly bent down and picked it up, sticking it into his pocket just as Colonel Klink came out of his office.
Everyone held their breath, unsure if the Kommandant had seen.
"What is going on here!" Klink exclaimed, heading towards them.
No one spoke; fear filling the chest of each POW.
"What do you mean, Herr Kommandant?" Schultz asked.
"Schultz!" Klink exclaimed. "Is everyone accounted for?"
The guard looked puzzled. "Yes, I counted every single prisoner!" he answered.
"Well count them again!" Klink said, rushing past them and going towards the barracks. "This door is open! One of them could have run back in and escaped out the window after you counted!"
Each POW breathed a collective sigh of relief, though Kinch inwardly kicked himself for accidentally leaving it open in his haste to join the roll call.
Schultz gasped and quickly turned, recounting everyone before sighing with relief himself. "No, Herr Kommandant, every prisoner is still here!"
"Good," said Klink, strolling back over. He stood in front of Hogan. "You should teach your men to close doors! What is the American phrase…'do you live in a shed'?"
Hogan grinned. "It's 'do you live in a barn'. Sorry, sir. I guess everyone was just so excited to come out here and see your smiling face."
Klink went, "Mpfh!" and walked back towards his office.
The prisoners broke formation and went back inside, where Hogan took out the crumbled piece of paper and opened it.
"Sorry about that, Colonel…" Newkirk said, referring to dropping the paper.
Hogan waved-off his apology, knowing that it had been an accident. "London wants us to bomb a bridge two miles south of here tonight."
"Great!" Carter exclaimed. "I have the perfect explosives for it!"
"Don't you always," LeBeau said, with a smile.
Hogan nodded at Carter and looked at his watch. "We leave in an hour…we can be there and back before lights out." With that, he headed to his quarters. Crossing to the wall under his top bunk, he pulled away a piece of wood and took out a map. Walking over to his table, he spread it out, before hearing a sudden knock on his door. "Come in," he called. When it opened, he glanced over to see who it was. "Newkirk?" he said, before bending over the map.
The Englishman came in and closed the door behind himself. "Colonel…" he said. "Do ya mind if I sit this one out?"
Hogan looked at him again, wondering if he'd heard wrong. "Sit this one out? The mission?"
Newkirk gave him a wry expression.
The colonel stood up straight with a puzzled frown, suddenly noticing that the Englishman looked pale and had a pinched look, as if he were in pain of some sort. "What's wrong?"
Newkirk approached the bottom bunk—slowly—and sat on it, wearily raising a hand to his eyes. "Me 'ead's throbbin' like it 'as its own 'eartbeat," he said. "It feels like someone's stabbin' it with me lockpick when I stand, sit, bend over...." He sighed. "In other words, whenever I bloody move…that's why I dropped the paper out there. I'd never make it out the ruddy tunnel like this, nevermind walkin' two miles…"
Hogan frowned with concern; for Newkirk to admit to being in enough pain to prevent him from carrying out a mission, it had to be bad. He quickly sat beside him on the bunk and put a hand on the corporal's forehead to check him for fever.
"I'm not sick, guv," Newkirk said. "This 'as 'appened before."
Hogan removed his hand. "What causes it?" he asked, bewildered.
Newkirk shrugged. "They call it a 'migraine'."
"Have you seen a doctor for it?"
"Once. Said they don't really know what causes 'em, an' ta take aspirin when it 'appens."
"So why didn't you…oh." Hogan realized that they'd run out of aspirin a month prior when a cold had run through the barracks.
"Usually I take some when I feel one comin' on," Newkirk told him. "An' they prevent it from gettin' too bad, an' sometimes they'll even make it go right away…" Suddenly, he inhaled sharply and closed his eyes, fisting his hand in the hair on the left side of his head.
Hogan, alarmed, grabbed his arm. "Newkirk?"
The Englishman inhaled again and held it for a few seconds, before letting it out shakily. He opened his eyes again, before closing them halfway. "Ow," he said, his voice not much louder than a whisper.
"Lie down," Hogan told him, pushing on his shoulder. "I'll check with the other barracks to see if anyone has any aspirin."
Newkirk obeyed. "Thanks."
Hogan stood and crossed to his door, quickly leaving and spotting his other three men sitting at the table. "Fellas," he said. "Anyone have any aspirin?"
Everyone shook their heads.
"Have a headache, sir?" Carter asked.
Hogan shook his head. "No, Newkirk does; a real doozy. Did any of you know that he gets migraines?"
The three men looked at each other.
"I've known," Carter said, frowning.
LeBeau looked insulted. "How would you know if I didn't?" he asked, having been at the Stalag just as long as Newkirk had.
"I saw him holding his head one day as if it really hurt," Carter told him. "He said it's happened to him for years and aspirin helps if he takes it quick."
"What exactly is a 'migraine'?" LeBeau asked, not even really sure.
"A throbbing-real-bad headache that hits a person on one side of their head," Carter explained. "Movement, light, and sound make it worse, and it can even make the eyes hurt or see funny things. It can even upset the stomach. Sometimes, it can go from one side of the head right to the other."
The three men stared at him.
"What?" Carter blinked. "I know stuff too you know!"
"You mean Newkirk described it to you," said LeBeau, half-jokingly.
Carter gave him a sheepish look. "Well, that too."
Hogan shook his head. He would've chuckled if he didn't have a man in severe pain in the next room. "You three run to the other barracks and hunt down some aspirin. Anyone else in here have any?" he asked the other residents of Barracks Two.
Everyone shook their heads, and Carter, LeBeau, and Kinch headed out.
Hogan went back into his room, seeing that Newkirk had thrown an arm over his eyes. He remembered what Carter had said about light making the pain worse, and the fact that Newkirk hadn't even gotten up to turn it off himself showed how badly he was hurting. Hogan quickly shut it off, switching on the small desk-lamp on his table and angling it away from the bunk. "Newkirk?" he said.
"Humm?" the corporal mumbled.
"The guys are hunting down some aspirin. Is there anything else we can do?"
Newkirk tried to smile, but was too busy trying not to grimace from the pain. "No, guv. Thanks."
Hogan sat in the chair near his table, hoping one of the guys would succeed in finding what Newkirk needed so badly.
A few minutes later, the three men rushed into the room. Carter triumphantly waved around what he was holding. He handed Hogan a matchbox, which contained six of the pills. LeBeau likewise had six, and Kinch had the jackpot, with ten.
Carter went over to the bunk and sat on it. "Newkirk?" he whispered. "Are you awake?"
The Englishman moved his arm and cracked open an eye. "Yeah."
"We found twenty-two aspirins for you, boy! Enough for you to take eleven times!"
"I think I'm gonna need 'em all," Newkirk said, wincing as he slowly sat himself up. It apparently wasn't slow enough, for the stabbing throbs increased once he was upright, making his whole body flinch. He gasped and held his head.
"LeBeau, get some water," Hogan said, taking two of the pills out of the matchbox.
Carter, still on the bed, grasped Newkirk's arm to keep him steady, and was surprised to feel it shaking slightly. Like he'd said, he knew about Newkirk's migraines, but he never saw one of them get this bad…probably because they always had a supply of aspirin when Newkirk needed them.
LeBeau quickly came back with a glass, and they watched as Newkirk swallowed the pills, handing the glass back and covering his left eye with his hand. He squinted at them with just his right eye. "Thanks." He laid down again and took a deep breath, letting it out in a sigh.
"Here, mon ami," said LeBeau. "Maybe this will help." He reached forward and placed a wet cloth over the Englishman's eyes and forehead.
Newkirk reached up and adjusted it. "Oh, that's great, Louis. Thanks."
"Is there anything else you need?" asked Kinch, wishing he could contribute in some way.
"No," Newkirk replied. "Just some quiet."
"Well, you'll definitely get more of that in here than out there," said Hogan. "Come on, guys," he said, taking a step towards the door.
"Colonel," Newkirk suddenly said.
They turned around to see him struggling to sit up. Hogan reached out and stopped him with a firm hand on his shoulder. "What are you doing?"
"I didn't mean ta throw ya out of ya own room," Newkirk said. He winced as his sudden motion increased the throbbing in his head. "I can…rest…in me own bunk," he said, his voice tight.
"No," Hogan said. "Stay right there. You're not throwing me out; I was going to head into the tunnel anyway and make sure everything is set for the mission."
"The mission!" Carter exclaimed. "How is he supposed to—"
"He's not coming," Hogan said.
Newkirk frowned, trying to sit up again. "Maybe I should," he said, suddenly nervous about not going. "I don't like the idea of not bein' there in case—"
"Nothing will go wrong," Hogan said, applying more pressure to Newkirk's shoulder to stop him from moving.
Newkirk relaxed against the pillow, looking troubled now. "I shouldn't've said anythin'," he replied, even as he put a hand on his head and closed his eyes in response to the increased throbbing.
"We can all see that you'd never make it," Kinch cut in. "If you came anyway, like that, you could be a liability to us."
"Just rest," said Hogan. "That's an order. We'll be back before you know it. "
Newkirk sighed. "Good luck, then. Carter?"
The Englishman moved his hand and peered out from under it. "Grow eyes on the back of yer 'ead. I won' be there ta keep an eye on ya."
Carter smiled. "Don't worry, buddy. This'll be a piece of pie."
The American sergeant's words had the desired effect. "Cake, Andrew," Newkirk answered. "Cake."
Carter nodded. "That too!"
Newkirk managed to smile slightly, and watched as they left the room. He sighed again and raised both hands to his head, having forced himself not to outwardly show his pain too much. He hadn't had a migraine this bad in a long time, having always had aspirin on hand to halt its progression. He hoped that it wouldn't get any worse than it was now…though he knew that he might've taken the aspirin too late for it to do any good…