Nightmares Haunt the Day

By:  Alphie SVNDYJESUS@aol.com

The day was gloomy as rain pelted the city.  For the last two hours the rain didn’t let up causing Walker to almost to have cabin fever.  He had to get out somehow, but there was no action.  Guess the criminals didn’t want to get wet.

            Walker looked at his watch and realized it was only eleven o’clock.  Boy this day is going by incredibly slow.  He looked over at Trivette who, amazingly enough, was building a small house out of paperclips.  Shaking his head he looked down at his paper work and realized that he was doodling all over the paper.  This has got to be one of the slowest days yet.

            “Hey, Walker.  Do you think anything will happen today?”  Trivette said.

            “I don’t know yet.”  Walker rubbed his face.  “So far there seems to be no action what’s so ever.  I’m hoping the rain will stop sometime soon.”

            Trivette smirked. “You didn’t watch the news today, did you?”

            “No, why?”

            He looked at Walker. “Because the weatherman said that it will rain all day.  It will stop every now and then.  But it’s not going to stop.”

            Walker threw down his pen.  “That’s great.  I need to get out of here.  Do you want to go and just drive around?”

            “Sure no problem.”  Trivette put the last paperclip on his house.  “How do you like?”

            “A work of art.”  Walker said standing up.  “You should put it in a glass case.”

            Trivette smiled. “I know it’s so gorgeous.”

            Just as they were about to walk out of the company Captain Price came walking in with a huge grin on his face.  When he saw Walker the smile grew bigger.

            “Okay, Captain something must be up if your smiling at us like that.”  Trivette said.

            Captain Price nodded his head.  “You can say that.”  He waved an envelope at Walker.  “Do you know what this is?”

            Walker shrugged his shoulders.  “No, what is it?”

            “This is an invitation to Washington DC for Ranger Cordell Walker.”  He took the letter out.  “It says that Ranger Walker has been nominated for Police Officer of the Year.”

            Trivette was confused. “How could that be?  He's a Texas Ranger; we’re a specialty department that only helps if we’re needed.”

            “Trivette’s got a point, Captain.  I’m not a city officer, I’m an officer of the state.”

            “Same thing.  You are the first ever Texas Ranger to be nominated for this.”  Captain Price handed Walker the letter.  “It says that the convention is in one month and they would like for you to dress in the proper Texas Ranger style.”

            “Does that mean that I would have to shave my beard?”  Walker said while reading the letter.  “Cause I ain’t going if I have to.”

            “You don’t need to.”  Captain Price patted Walker’s shoulder. “This was a long time coming.  You really deserve this award.”

            “Thanks.”  Walker looked at the dates.  “It’s for three days.  I can’t take that time off.”

            “You can too.  I gave it to you as vacation.  Ranger Trivette and your wife even got some time off for this.”

            “Thanks again, Captain.”  Walker smiled.  “This is going to be one interesting trip.”

 

One Month Later

Walker and Alex walked down the street in Washington DC holding hands.  Trivette decided to stay at the hotel so that Alex and Walker could have some time together.  Walker was thankful for his friend’s generosity since he wanted to spend sometime with Alex before the convention tomorrow.  At the convention  everything would be so hectic that he would probably have no time to talk to Alex.  Since Trivette is his partner he would be able to be with Walker through the whole ceremony whereas Alex would have to sit and wait in the audience.

            Alex squeezed his hand. “Are you ready for tomorrow?”

            He shrugged. “Don’t know really.  Have to admit I am a little nervous.”

            She laughed.  “A little.  The night before our flight here you were up all night trying to figure out which suit you looked good in.  And you were shining your badge so much I was afraid you might polish away the lettering.”

            “Okay, I am nervous.  But this is so out of the blue for me.  It’s been along time since I even been nominated for an award.”

            “Yeah, but you deserve this.”  She sighed.  “I believe you will win.”

            “Thanks.”  He sighed. “Even if I don’t it still was a great honor.”

            Alex nodded. “That’s right.  So, what do you want to do for the rest of the day?”

            Walker smiled. “How about we walk a little more then go out to eat?”

            “That sounds great.”  Alex gave him a great big hug. “I’m proud of you Cowboy.”

            His face flushed. “Alex, people are looking.”

            “So, let them see.  Maybe they’re jealous.”  She smiled.  “I mean, you are somewhat cute.”

 

The Next Day

            The convention hall buzzed with activity as men and women walked around trying to find where they were supposed to be for the ceremony tonight.  Walker couldn’t believe how many people were here.  He was amazed at how many uniformed officers were nominated also.  He seemed to stick out with his suit and cowboy hat.

            A New York officer stepped up to Walker and started to laugh hysterically.  Five other officers followed suit causing Walker to feel really uncomfortable.

            “Man, are you in the wrong convention or what?”  Said a tall black officer from New Jersey.  “I think the Lone Ranger fan club is meeting next door.”

            “I am in the right convention and I happen to be a Texas Ranger.”  Walker said trying to walk away from the crowd of men.  But the black officer stopped him.  “What?”

            He shook his head.  “How did you get nominated for our award?  You’re a specialty department. You get your own awards.  This is the time for us to shine, not you stuck up snobs.”       

            “Hey, Walker what’s going on?”  Trivette said as he approached Walker’s side.

            Walker shook his head. “Nothing, let’s go.”

            The black officer started to chortle again.  “Brother, why in the hell are you a Texas Ranger?”

            Trivette couldn’t believe what the man said. He replies, quietly,  “Because I can be one.  Come on Walker let’s get out of here.”

            As they walked off they could hear the other officers chuckling at them.  Walker couldn’t believe that other officers treated them like this.  He always thought being a Texas Ranger was a huge honor.  Guess that was just in Texas.

            “Glad to know that we're really welcomed here.”  Trivette said, sarcastically, as they headed to a table with drinks and snacks.  “Wonder what they will do if you do get the award?”

            Walker chuckled.  “That’s one reason why I am happy they don’t allow any food in the reception hall.”

            They went to the hall where people were getting everything ready for the big ceremony.  Walker was so nervous about this award ceremony. It was truly unlike any of the other award banquets he’d attended.  One thing that made it different was that he’d had to send in an autobiography and he had to send in pictures that formed a timeline of his professional life.  Just in case if he did win. they could show a slide.

            “Trivette, this is going to be one wild ride.”  Walker said as he started to look for his seat.

            “You’re telling me,” Trivette replied, sourly.

            The rest of the night Walker sat impatiently in his seat as numerous awards were passed out to different officers.  Most of the awards were small, like volunteer work, safety, and numerous awards for good deeds.  Walker did win one award for his work with the KDOAA program, which made him nervous enough on stage.

            Finally the time came to announce the Officer of the Year.  Walker looked at Alex and Trivette while nodding his head.

            “You know guys even if I don’t win it’s still an honor to be here.”  He whispered.

            “You’ll win, don’t worry.”  Alex said, giving him a slight hug.  “Don’t be so nervous.”

            Walker looked at her dumbfounded.  “Who’s nervous?”

            “All right. Now’s the time that you’ve all been waiting for.  It’s time to announce this year’s Police Officer of the Year for 2000,.”  Said the lady announcer.  “To announce our winner is last year’s Officer of the Year, Sergeant Mark Geelman from Little Rock, Arkansas.”

            A tall man walked onto the stage dressed in his uniform.  He went up to a microphone as the lights dimmed.

            “This year’s Officer of the Year is a man that has proved himself from the very beginning.”  As he said this a picture flashed behind him on a large screen.  Walker was stunned to see that it was a picture of him dressed in his Green Beret uniform.  “When Cordell Firewalker first joined the Marines he was the smallest jarhead in his unit.”

            Walker could hear Trivette chuckling in the darkness and lightly jabbed him with his elbow.

            “Man, how old are you in that photo?”  Trivette said between chuckles.

            “Trivette, shut up.”  Walker hissed.

            Officer Geelman paused for a second then continued. “But Cordell Firewalker wouldn’t let that bother him and, in fact, at age twenty became a Captain of the Green Berets. He continued on to serve two tours in Vietnam.”  Another picture of Walker flashed on the screen this time one with his whole unit.  “Within his tour of duty he became one of the most decorated soldiers of the Vietnam War.  He received three Purple Hearts, Two Silver Stars, and The Medal of Honor.”  Another photo flashed behind him this time Walker was in his full dress Marine outfit. 

            Trivette tried to hold a laugh in, as he looked at Walker in the military dress.  He didn’t even look like the man sitting beside him.  Walker was clean-cut and so very young in the photo.  Just then the man mentioned that Walker started to take martial arts in college and showed a picture of him during a tournament.

            “Man, Walker, you look nothing like those photos.”  Trivette said, chuckling.

            “Trivette why don’t you just shut up.”  Walker whispered, fiercely.

            “After graduating the police academy with top honors, Cordell Firewalker joined the Dallas Police Department.  At that time he dropped the “fire” from his last name and became just “Walker.” They showed a picture of Walker in his police uniform, which caused Trivette to almost burst his sides trying to control his laughter.

            “Trivette, what do you see that is so dang funny?”  Walker said looking around.

            “Nothing.”  Trivette said, straightening up.

            Alex squeezed his arm. “Honey, it’s just that this is something we’ve never seen before.”

            “Sergeant Walker, during his service as a Dallas Police Officer, received five commendations for bravery and seven for courage under fire.  After serving six years with the Dallas Police Department he became a Texas Ranger in 1983.”  They showed a picture of him when he first started out.  Walker had a mustache, much longer hair, and seemed a tad slimmer.

            “I’ve always wanted to know what you looked like under that beard.”  Alex said leaning against him.  “Did you bring some pictures of you now so they can at least recognize you?”

            “Don’t you start into it, too.”  Walker said with a smile. “Trivette is enough.”

            “Ranger Walker has been serving with the Texas Rangers for seventeen years, making him one of the few senior officers that still perform street duty.”  They showed a picture of Walker taken just this year for the Company wall of photos.  As the picture was shown on the overhead,  some boos resounded from the audience.  “Gentlemen! Please! If you can’t behave like the officers you are. I will have to ask for you to leave.”  exclaimed Officer Geelman.

            When the officers quieted down Officer Geelman continued.  “Ranger Walker is one of the most respected Texas Rangers in the history of the department.  And without further-a-do I now award this year’s “Officer of the Year for 2000” to  Texas Ranger, Sergeant Cordell Walker.”

            Walker stood up from his seat and slowly made his way to the stage.  As he did this many people applauded but some booed.  He ignored all negative reactions and went up the stairs. 

            Getting on the stage Officer Geelman handed him a huge plaque that caught Walker by surprise.  It was amazingly heavy but he quickly hid his surprise and turned to face the mike.

            “Wow, I don’t know what to say.”  He looked at the plaque then back at the audience. “Well, first off I like to thank God for the chance to be here right now, then I would like to thank my friends James Trivette and C.D. Parker for always being there for me.  Also I can’t forget my lovely wife who somehow managed to still love me through all that we’ve been through.”

            The next five minutes he just talked about how he liked being a Texas Ranger and how he enjoyed getting this award.  When he was done he left the stage relieved that he wouldn’t need to talk to anybody for the rest of the day.

Two Days Later

            Today Walker finally had time to spend with Alex and Trivette after spending yesterday posing for pictures and talking to reporters.  Today they decided to just walk around and visit anything that they came across that seemed interesting.

            After spending all day sightseeing and stopping in at local stores looking for souvenirs to take back to C.D., Gage, and Sydney, they decided to go to a small, local, café to eat dinner.  As they were walking to the café they neared the Vietnam War Memorial.  Trivette wanted to go see it but Walker was a little nervous about doing so.  Finally Walker decided to go but he would look at the Wall from a distance.

            When they approached the Wall Walker stayed on the small hill as Trivette casually strolled down to the Wall with Alex.  He didn’t mind his friends going without him, he knew that they knew how he felt about the war.

            As Walker looked around he spotted a man in blue jeans and a t-shirt limping up the small hill towards him.

            “Hey, I don’t want to seem impolite but I was wondering if you’re Captain Cord Firewalker?”  The man asked.

            Walker was shocked by what the man said.  No one had called him Cord in almost 30 long years.  He was amazed that somebody actually knew his long abandoned nickname.   Who was this man?

            Puzzled he nodded his head.  “Yes, I am.  May I ask who you are?”

            The man smiled.  “Why, I’m Sergeant Mark Giller.   I served under you in Vietnam ‘til I got shot in the leg five months in.”

            Suddenly it all clicked in Walker’s mind.  He remembered now who Mark Giller was.  When Walker first met Mark he was a spunky, hardheaded twenty-year-old.  But Walker grew to like the guy since he saw that he was a damn fine soldier.  And then he remembered the day that they were ambushed while landing in a LZ.  He could see vividly two of his men getting shot down- killed on the spot. And he could still remember when Mark was shot.  Then it was him getting shot three times in the chest.  Man, that day was straight out of hell.

            “Wow, Mark! You’re looking really good.  How’s the leg?”

            Mark knocked on his left leg and grinned. “Well, pretty good, considering.  Lost it just below the knee, to infection, but at least the doctors caught it in time before it got anymore serious.”  He looked Walker up and down. “Man, you’re looking really good.”  He shook his head.  “I would never expect to run into you in Washington, D.C.  “Well, I live in Texas so…”

            “That’s not it.”  Mark said, cutting Walker off. “When I saw you winning that award yesterday it was like I was staring at a ghost.”

            Now Walker was really confused.  “Okay, I’m lost, old buddy.”

            “I remember the day that you and I were shot.  When I got shot in the leg I remember you helping me into the huey.  As soon as I was in the bird I saw you jerk and knew that you were shot.”

            Walker lowered his head as he remembered that day. “But I’m here now.”  He was amazed at how weak his voice sounded. “I didn’t die there in the LZ.”

            Just then Trivette and Alex walked up the hill to Walker.  Alex rubbed his shoulder knowing something was wrong.  Walker shrugged it off, quickly, though.

            “Are you all right, Walker?”  She asked, looking at Mark.

            He just nodded his head. “Yeah, I’m ok.”  He looked at Mark.  “What did you mean by seeing a ghost?”

            Mark rubbed his face.  “You don’t know do you.”  He sighed.  “I don’t know how to tell you this Cord but why I thought you were dead all these years is because I saw your name on the Wall.”

            “You must be kidding! My name isn’t on this Wall.”  Walker said pointing to the huge, black wall.  “That would mean that the government thought I was dead.”

            “Follow me, Cord.  I’ll show you.”  Mark started to go down the hill.

            Walker followed him.  “How do you know that it’s me and not some other Walker?”

            “How many guys have the first name Cordell?”  Mark shrugged.  “It’s process of elimination Cordell.  They have your first name and there aren’t too many Firewalker’s either, I bet.”

            Walker stepped up to the Wall as Mark pointed to a name.   Looking at the etched letters he could see that, indeed, his name was on the Wall.  “Oh, God.”

            He reached up and lightly brushed the letters, as he did so his mind was transported to a time and place that he had long forced to stay under his conscious memories.

************************

            The day was hot and humid just like every typical day in South Vietnam.  Walker sat in the Huey, looking down at the pattern of rice fields as his whole body shook from the vibrations of the propellers.  He could remember the first time he rode in a whirlybird as the Hueys were called.  The vibrations alone nearly made him vomit over the side but the dizzy flying the bird had to do a constant zig zag  to avoid heat seeking surface to air missiles. Unfortunately, the evasive movements made him sick to his stomach at first..  But now he was so used to it that it was like riding a roller coaster everyday.

            He looked up to see Sergeant Giller sitting very stiff along the wall.  He smiled and gently nudged Giller with his boot.  When he did the man jumped and cursed.

            “Captain, please don’t do that.”  Gillar said gripping his rifle even tighter.

            A black soldier name Groves chuckled.  “Giller, get use to it.”  He looked up at Walker.  “So, Captain are you ready for some action?”

            Walker nodded his head and pulled his helmet tighter to his head.  “I’m always ready.”

            Just then the pilot waved two fingers at the men.  “LZ, is down there.”  He said. “I’ll be hovering for no more then five seconds but if trouble arises I’m outta’ there.”

            “Check.”  Walker checked his rifle.  “All right, quick check.  Abby, how’s the radio?”

            A freckled face kid gave a thumb’s up sign.  “Check, ready to go.”

            “Groves, you ready?”  The big black guy nodded his head. “Terry, everything ready?”

            Terry, a thin, tall, gangly guy nodded.  “Yeah, I’m ready for any casualties.”  He put on his helmet, which had a small, Red Cross on the front.  “Even got some extra morphine.”

            “All right. Giller, how you holding up?”

            Giller nodded his head. “Doing great sir, ready to kick some VC butt.”

            “All right, we’re landing. Get ready.”  The pilot yelled.

            As soon as the chopper’s skids barely touched the ground Walker and his unit jumped out of the bird.  Just when they did Walker spotted movement in the tall elephant grass on the horizon.

            “Ambush!”  He screamed, and yelled.  “Getting down!” “Everyone DOWN!”

            Just as he said that Grove’s body jerked violently as bullets threw him around.  Walker watched as his friend fell in front of him, his face torn into unrecognizable pulp from the many bullets. 

            Quickly he looked around for Abby and finally found him lying on his back holding the radiophone.  Slowly and carefully he crawled his way to his radioman, hoping that Abby had gotten word out that they needed help.

            “Abby, whattya’ got for me?”  Abby didn’t respond. “Abby, you all right?”  Then he saw why his friend wasn’t answering back.   There was one, single bullet hole to his head.  “Oh, God.”

            “Chopper’s back!”  He heard Giller yell.  “Come on, let’s get out of here!”

            Glancing around he hurriedly got up and started to run for the chopper.  Suddenly Giller fell in front of him as Walker could see a bullet going through his knee.  Without even thinking Walker grabbed Giller by the armpits and flung him into the chopper.  Just as he was about to get in the chopper himself Walker felt a burning sensation in his chest causing all his breath to be violently ripped from his lungs.

            “Hey, Walker? Darling, are you all right?”  Alex said, really worried about her husband.

            Walker shook his head and nodded.  “Yeah, I am.”  He sighed.  “Listen, let’s get some dinner.  Mark do you want to come along?”

            Mark shrugged.  “I don’t want to intrude into your life right now.”

            “No, I don’t think they will mind.”  Walker looked at Alex.  “Do you mind, honey?”

            Alex shook her head. “No, of course not. I don’t mind.”  She turned to Trivette. “Trivette, doesn’t mind either.”  She said, speaking for her friend.

            As they walked to the café she couldn’t help but notice Walker’s demeanor.  He was so stiff and silent.  She wanted to comfort him and tell him that she was there for him but she knew that he would just shrug her off right now.  She couldn’t believe it though that everybody thought that Walker was dead.  That was really eerie.

            When they reached the café they walked in and grabbed a booth in the back.  Alex sat down beside Walker getting close to him to let him know that she was there for him.  He looked at her, gave a slight smile, and hugged her shoulders.

            “Sorry about earlier.”  He said, pulling her in tighter.

            She sighed.  “It’s all right, I completely understand.”

            Mark sighed.  “Sorry, that I possibly ruined your life, Cord.  I didn’t mean to, it’s just that I couldn’t believe it was you when I saw you.”

            Trivette smiled at Walker.  “Okay, I need to ask.  How did you get named Cordell?”

            Walker smiled, gingerly.  My mom wanted to name me after one of her Irish ancestors.  So, when I went to Vietnam I went there as Cordell, but I soon became “Cord.”

            “Now, I know why you go by plain “Walker.”  Trivette chuckled.  “Cordell is just about as bad as Gage’s first name. But I think your name can beat his.”

            “Gee, thanks.”  Walker looked up as a waitress came at their table.  “Has anybody thought what they would like to get?”

            Alex smiled.  “Not yet.”  She looked up at the waitress.  “Could you give us a few more minutes?”  When the waitress left she turned to Walker.  “Can you believe that we’re going home tomorrow?  This whole weekend went fast.”

The Next Night

            After coming home from Washington D.C., Walker was getting a lot of attention which he didn’t like at all.  Hopefully it would fade as the week goes on.  Course he hasn’t gone to the courthouse yet so no telling what they will do there.

            Stretching he sat down on the couch and rubbed his face.  He was so tired and worn out and yet he didn’t know why.  Leaning back he closed his eyes trying to get everything out of his mind.  But as he did he was suddenly flashed back to Vietnam.

*************************

            It was night and Walker could barely see anything but the occasional flare or two.  Slowly he walked through the tall elephant grass the edges of the grass cutting into his face.  He was alone in the field and he really hated it.  He had no one to cover his back if any VC showed up.

            Suddenly he heard something and turned to his left, his rifle ready.  When he didn’t see anything his heart started to pound really hard.  He hated it when he couldn’t see anything.  Then the noise came again.  Quickly he dropped to the ground just in time to avoid a rain of bullets.  Oh God, where are they coming from?  He thought to himself as he looked around frantically.

**********************

            Walker woke up with a jerk and looked around.  He could still hear the gunshots but he was in his living room.  Rubbing his face he realized that he was sweating pretty badly. 

            Looking at his watch he noticed that it was near midnight.  Where was Alex?

            Slowly he got up and started to head up the stairs to their bedroom.  When he got to the darkened room he could see that Alex wasn’t there.  Getting worried he ran back down the stairs and noticed that there was a message on their answering machine.

            Breathing a breath of relief he pushed the blinking button.  “Honey, it’s me.  I’m going to stay over at a hotel here in Fort Worth till I get the cased worked out.  Should be home tomorrow.  Hope I didn’t worry you any, I should’ve called sooner.  Sorry.”  Alex had said on the recording.

            “At least I know you’re safe.”  Walker said making his way back upstairs.

            Trivette sat at his desk typing up a report when Walker walked into the Company late in the morning.  He seemed to be exhausted as he headed to his desk.  “Hope Walker is doing all right.  He seemed to be in good spirits yesterday; hopefully he isn’t having any more flashbacks,” Jimmy thought.

            He decided he should lighten things up.  “Hey, Cord,  how you feeling?”

            Walker looked at Trivette and smiled.  “All right.  But you’d better not say that out loud anymore.” 

            “Say what anymore?”  Gage said as he went to his desk.

            “Nothing.”  Walker said, looking at Trivette.

            Gage pointed a finger at both of the men. “You know how I hate being left out in the middle of something that I don’t even know about.”

            Trivette smirked. “Walker’s had a nickname in his youth.”

            Walker shook his head. “Trivette, no.”

            “It can’t be anywhere near as bad as being named Francis.”  Gage sat down.  “I don’t know why you guys are making a big deal over it.”

            “Drop it, Trivette.” Jimmy knew when to quit.   He went back to typing on his laptop. “See what I mean.”  Gage said throwing his hands up in the air.

            “What are you complaining about now?”  Sydney said while walking into the company.

            Gage shook his head. “You wouldn’t understand.”

            Sydney shrugged.  “Okay.”  She smiled towards Walker.  “Congrats on the award.”  She studied the wall behind him.  “Where’s is it ?”

            “At home.”  Walker suddenly shook his head and smiled at his friends.  “Crazy fly.”

            Trivette nodded.  “Yeah, I’m about to put a Venus fly trap in here to catch it.”  He lied saving his friend’s sanity.

 Ever since Walker had returned from Washington DC he noticed that he shook his head a lot.  Trivette knew that Walker was having flashbacks from Vietnam.  Which seemed to have begun that day when he saw his name on the Wall.  Trivette couldn’t blame his friend for acting so strangely.  If he saw his name on the Wall that’s suppose to list only dead or missing men he would probably just go crazy.  He was amazed at how calmly Walker handled it.

            “Hey, Walker.  Got a case you can start helping me on.”  Trivette said holding a folder in the air.  “Pretty boring.  Just the usual meth lab case.”

            Walker took the folder. “All right, thanks.”

            As Walker headed for his desk he started to hear the faint sound of shooting.  He tried to ignore it but it soon overpowered his hearing.  Stopping in mid-stride he shook his head trying to get the noise out.  But the noise started to turn into flashbacks.

            “No, leave me alone.”  Walker said aloud, grabbing his head.

            When the vision was gone he took a deep breath and looked around.  Everybody in the Company was looking at him.  Slowly he started to make his way to his desk hoping that the men would turn away.  One by one they did but that still didn’t make Walker feel comfortable.  He had made a fool of himself and for what? 

            Instead of sitting down in his chair he turned around and headed out of the Company.  He wasn’t embarrassed, he just wanted to get away from everybody.

            As he went to the elevator he noticed that a lot of people smiled and waved at him.  That told him that they didn’t see his little incident in the Company just now.  Hopefully word won’t spread around about it.

 

One Day Later

            The day dragged on uneventfully as Walker sat at his desk finishing up a report that he’d started a week ago.  Even though the case was closed Walker had nothing else to do.  He really didn’t want to go back to work but it wouldn’t be like him to not show.  But he also understood that he couldn’t let something like this get to him.  If he did that it would affect  every aspect of the way he lived his life.

            Rubbing his face he was about to get up when he heard a familiar voice.  He looked up to see Mark standing at the secretary’s desk.

            When Mark spotted Walker he smiled and quickly as he could walked up to him.

            “Cord, surprise.”  He shook Walker’s hand.  “I was in town for a business meeting and thought I’d see what the famous Texas Ranger headquarters looked like.”

            Walker pulled Mark into a hug.  “Glad you’re here.”  He suddenly realized he was in the Company and quickly pulled away.  “Sorry, about that but I really need to talk to you.”

            Mark shrugged.  “Okay, no problem.”  He looked at his watch.  “How about over lunch?”

            “Sure, meet me at C.D.’s Bar and Grill.  It’s located in the stockyards.”

            “All right, see you then.  And hey I’ve got something for you to look at too.”

            As Walker watched Mark leave he rubbed the back of his head and went back to his desk.  He noticed Trivette looking at him.

            “What?  He's a close friend, okay?”  Walker snapped going back to his work.

            At lunch Walker waited in C.D.’s for Mark to show.  Alex and Trivette were there too but when they sat down with him he just got up and moved to another booth.  He didn’t offer any excuse as to why. He just told them that he needed some time alone with Mark.

            After five minutes of waiting Mark walked into the bar with what looked like a photo book.  He went over to Walker’s booth and sat down.

            “All right, so what do you need to talk about?”  Mark said, pushing the book aside.

            Walker glanced down at his hands.  “I’ve been having….”

            “Flashbacks.”  Mark finished for Walker.

            “Yeah.”  Walker rubbed his thumbnail.  “How’d you know?”

            Mark sighed.  “Happens to all Vets that serve in any combat situation.  I have them but it’s just part of my life.”  He picked at the place mat.  “They’re hard to deal with too.”

            “You don’t understand though, I rarely ever get flashbacks from Vietnam.  I know it sounds weird, but I don’t.  This is the first time that they’ve overpowered my life.”

            “Maybe I can help.”  Mark picked up the photo book.  “I brought this for you to look at.”  He handed it to Walker.  “You can keep it ‘til I go back home.”

            Walker opened it up to the first page and saw that it had the Unit’s insignia on it.  The unit’s badge had been a sword on it with three lightening bolts over it.  Looking under the badge Walker could see Mark’s name badge.

            “I can’t borrow this.”  Walker said closing it and pushing it towards Mark.

            Mark shook his head. “No, borrow it and look at it.  It might help you.  It’s helped me.”

            “Thanks.”  Walker sighed.  “Well, do you want anything to eat?”

            “Can’t. Cutting it close as it is.”

            Walker nodded. “Okay, how about you come over to my place and we can talk about things there.”  He wrote down his address on a napkin.  “I’ll be home around eight or so tonight.”

            Getting up, Mark put the napkin in his pocket.  “See you then.”

            As Mark left the bar, Trivette came up to Walker. 

            “Hey, you’ll never believe what just went down.” he said sitting in the booth.                    

            “What?”  Walker said standing up.

            Trivette looked up at Walker bewildered then shook his head.  “That case we thought was closed.  Well, Lane Moner just appeared at the warehouse district.”

            “Let’s go.”  was all Walker said as he walked out of the bar with the book.

            When they arrived at the warehouse district Walker parked. He quickly spotted Moner walking casually around.  This is going to be to easy, thought Walker as he got out.

            “Moner, FREEZE. You’re under arrest.”  Walker said taking out his gun.

            Moner turned towards them.  “Ugh, not you again.”  He said running off.

            “Why are you going to make this hard?”  Walker said running after him.

            The chase was quickly ended though, as Moner tripped and fell on some building material.  Walker was all over him in a New York minute, and as he did his mind flashbacked.

*********

            He was in Vietnam in a small village and surrounding him were a group of villagers.  Looking down he saw that a VC was tied up tightly, his eyes looking daggers up at him.  Without even thinking Walker reached out and started to choke the VC.

            Trivette just stood next to Walker as he cuffed the guy and helped him up.  Suddenly without warning Walker took the guy into a headlock.  Quickly, Trivette tried to push Walker away but he wouldn’t budge.  One more attempt and he still couldn’t let Walker release the suspect.  Then he looked into Walker’s eyes and saw that look.  If he didn’t get this guy away from Walker he would surely kill him.

            “Walker, let go!”  Trivette yelled finally kicking Walker lightly in the knee.

            Walker let go and as he did he looked down at his hands and started shaking his head.         

            Trivette took the suspect and started to head to Walker’s pick-up.  As he got there he handcuffed the guy to the pick-up’s roll bars and got inside the cab.  When Walker got inside his head hung low.

            “Are you all right, Walker?”  He said patting his friend’s shoulder.

            Walker quickly brushed Trivette’s hand away.  “Just leave me alone, all right.”

            Trivette stared at Walker wondering what was going on in his friend’s mind.  He knew that after they’d come back from Washington DC, Walker had begun having flashbacks, but he didn’t know how bad they were until now.  How could he help his friend?

            At the courthouse Walker remained really quiet as they turned the suspect in.  As soon as they were done checking the suspect in Walker went back out to his truck.  Trivette knew right then that something was really wrong with Walker.

            “What’s going on Walker?”  He asked stepping in front of Walker.

            Walker pushed past him. “I’m going home for tonight.”

            “What’s the matter Walker?”

            “Listen, Trivette, I’m going home.”  Walker said, grimly, as he got into his truck.

            As Walker drove off Trivette shook his head and went back to the Company.  Just as he sat down at his desk, Alex walked in with a smile on her face.

            She looked around. “Where’s Walker?”

            Trivette shrugged. “He went home early today.  Says he's not feeling well.”

            Alex started to worry, immediately,  since Walker never went home early.  What could be wrong with him?  She had been noticing that he had been acting a little strange since he came back from Washington D.C.  And she also knew that he was having flashbacks from Vietnam. Could that be what was bothering him so terribly?  Could those memories be hurting him more then she knew or understood?

            She went to Walker’s desk and used his phone to call him.  After ten rings she knew that he wasn’t home yet.  So she tried his car phone, but even then she didn’t get any answer.  Something was really wrong with Walker and all she do was hope that it was not irreparable.

            There was a nice breeze as Walker walked around the river’s edge.  He tried to get the memory of the arrest out of his mind but it didn’t seem to work.  He couldn’t believe that he could’ve lost that much control.  It wasn’t like him at all to do that.  What was wrong with him?

            He sat down on a log and placed his head in his hands.  What is he going to do about this?  He couldn’t just live the rest of his life worrying about the next flashback or worrying about what he might do.  Why couldn’t his life be back to normal?  Why did he have to go to Washington D.C.?  If he hadn’t gone he wouldn’t be having these flashbacks.

            Taking a deep breath he looked at the disappearing sun. He sat there listening to nature and just watching the sunset.  Finally after the sun was fully engulfed by the horizon he got up and headed back to the house. 

            As he walked up the hill leading to his backyard he could see lights on in the kitchen.  He knew it was Alex fixing dinner.  But how would he confide in her about what was going on?  Maybe if he acted normal she wouldn’t suspect anything.

            Taking a deep breath he opened the screen door.  As soon as he walked in Alex turned to him with a steely look in her eyes.

            “Where have you been Walker?”  She asked walking towards him.

            He shrugged.  “I was just walking around.”

            She sighed then went back to the stove.  “Dinner is ready.”

            Walker shook his head. “Not hungry.”

            This time Alex put the plates on the table and looked her husband full in the face.  “Walker, Trivette told me that you weren’t feeling well.  What is wrong?”           

            “Listen Alex, I’m fine.”  Walker sat down at the table then looked around.  “Where’s Mark?”

            “Oh, he called saying that he couldn’t come today.  But he will come tomorrow.”  She sat down.  “He said that he had a business meeting that he couldn’t put off.”

            Walker nodded. “Understandable.”

            The rest of the night Walker was quiet and seemed to be really tired.  Alex tried to talk to him but he would just shrug her off or sit down on the couch and look straight in front of him.  After two hours of this she finally had to confront him.

            Sitting on the couch she rubbed his shoulder. “You look really exhausted Walker. Why don’t you go to bed early?”

            He shook his head. “I’m fine.”

            “Walker, you always say that.”

            “Alex, I am fine.”  He stood up.  “I’m going out to the porch and sit.”

            Terribly frustrated, Alex watched as Walker went outside and sat down.  She wished she could talk to him but she knew that was virtually impossible.  Instead of going out there she went upstairs to get ready for bed.

            By the time she was done taking a shower and dressing for bed it was nearing ten o’clock.  Slowly she climbed down the stairs not sure if Walker had come back in or not.  But as she looked in the living she realized that he wasn’t there.  Worried she looked outside and saw him asleep in the swing on the porch.  Smiling, she went outside and gently shook him awake.

            “Cowboy, let’s go upstairs and sleep.  I think the bed is definitely more comfortable.”

            Walker stretched and looked around.  “I fell asleep.”  He slowly stood up.  “Sorry.”

            “About what?  You’re exhausted.”  She patted him on the back.  “Come on let’s get you to bed and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.”

            Later that night Alex woke up to Walker thrashing wildly around.  Quickly she slipped out of bed before her husband could accidentally hit her. Looking down at him she noticed he was sweating profusely.  She also heard him mumbling something that she couldn’t quite understand.  Before she could shake him awake he woke up screaming.

            He looked around frantically while sucking in air.  Finally after a few minutes he calmed down enough to rub the sweat from his face.

            Alex tried to rub his shoulder but he brushed her off. 

            “Walker, do you want to talk about it?”

            He shook his head.  “No, I think I’ll be fine.”  He lay back down on the bed.  “Sorry about waking you up.”

            She lay back down as well.  “No problem.”

             The sun slowly made it’s way into the bedroom as Alex woke up and stretched.  When she did she noticed that Walker wasn’t in bed. “Where did he go to now?”  She thought getting up and putting on a bathrobe.

            As she went downstairs she glanced at the living room and spotted Walker sitting on the

sofa looking at the book that Mark gave him.  A tear slowly swelled up in the corner of her eye as she realized how much of an effect this whole thing had on Walker.  The nightmares all pointed to one thing and one thing only -- he had survivor’s guilt.  How could she have not seen it before?

            Looking more closely at Walker’s face she could see the tears glistening in his eyes.  Slowly, she went over to him and sat down.

            Walker looked at the photo of the unit and couldn’t believe that only two of them walked out that day alive.  How could that have happened they were so prepared for anything?  Why couldn’t he see the ambush coming?

            Most of these men died because of him.  He was their Captain. He should have prepared them better.  He let them down, and he missed them.  Thirty years later, he still ached for their absence.  And he couldn’t understand why he was the lucky one to make it out alive.

            “Honey, what’s wrong?”  Alex asked in a low voice.

            Walker looked at her.  “It could’ve been me Alex.  I was one of the lucky ones.”  He says this so quietly that he wasn’t sure if Alex heard.

            She rubbed his shoulder.  “Yes, you were lucky.  But you got to remember that it was God’s will for you to make it out there alive.”

            He nodded.  “Yeah, guess you’re right.”  He looked down at the book.  “Thanks for sticking with me.  I’ve been a real jerk lately.”

            Alex gave him a hug.  “I understand.”  She smiled. “I think everything will be okay.”

            “Yeah.”  He sighed then moved the book over to Alex.  “This is a part of my life that you haven’t seen yet.  Now, please don’t laugh all the way through it, OK?  I mean, I was really young.”

            “Okay, I understand, “Cord.”  She looked at Walker and saw him smiling.  Everything will be okay, Alex thought.  And, with luck and someone to listen to him, the nightmares might fade as well.