Christmas, Doctor Covington
by Daniel Stevens
DISCLAIMER: The characters of Doctor Janice Covington and Doctor Melinda
Pappas are property of Renaissance Pictures, Universal/MCA, and Studios USA, as
are Jack Kleinman, Smythe, and also Luke, Tom, and Lil. Hitler is, of course,
an actual historical figure (most unfortunately!), as are Bing Crosby, Glenn
Miller, George Patton, etc. The situation is as close to historical fact as I
can get it, for my story. No copyright infringement is intended.
SYNOPSIS: Janice Covington and Mel Pappas are spending *another* Christmas overseas. The year is 1944. The news from the front line has been bad for over a week now, as the Battle of the Bulge is in full swing at this point.
Janice Covington is sound asleep in the London apartment she is currently sharing with her best friend, Melinda Pappas. All of a sudden, she is rudely awakened by the loud, shrill wail of the air raid siren. As soon as she realizes what it is, she blows her stack!
"Can't the Krauts let a dame get a good night's sleep for once?!", to no one in particular.
The Archaeologist hauls out of her bed, throws on a bathrobe, and then goes into the next room, where Mel is crashed out on the couch. For a second, she looks at her best friend laying there, under a blanket. Doctor Pappas' raven hair spills over her pillow, and she looks so peaceful.
Then, she hears an explosion in the distance. That prompts her to wake Ms. Pappas up.
"Come on, Mel. Air raid."
After a moment, "Huh? Janice?"
"The Nazis are dropping V-2 rockets on us again. We have to get to the shelter ASAP."
With that, blue eyes that had been bleary from sleep go clear, and hard. For just a second, Mel reminds Janice of Xena. But only for a moment. Then, the Southern Belle hops up, and likewise throws on a bathrobe. Then, both women head for the shelter that their landlord has set up in the basement.
Later that day, on a London street corner near Trafalgar Square, the two get a
look at a London newspaper. Janice is in a khaki shirt and pants, with boots,
her strawberry blonde hair done up in a bun, under a light brown fedora, as she
puffs on a cigarillo. Mel is wearing a more conservative blue and white dress,
that comes down to just above her ankles. The taller woman is also wearing
spike heels, and cheap glasses, and her jet black hair is done in a wave. Both
women also have jackets on, against the raw English December chill. Janice's is
a modified U. S. Army Air Corps bomber jacket, while Mel is wearing a U. S. Navy
pea coat. Both jackets are presents from admirers in uniform, as are the nylons
Mel is wearing. London itself looks like a city under Allied Occupation, as
there are British and U. S. military personnel everywhere they look.
The headlines are not all that encouraging. The Germans are closing in on Dinant, in eastern Belgium. However, the U. S. Third Army is heavily engaged against the German left flank.
"Don't worry, Mel. If anyone can break up the Kraut offensive, it's General Patton."
"Our boys in the 101st Airborne Division had better hope so. They've been bottled up in Bastogne for a week now."
Then, Janice spots another item in the paper.
"They still haven't found Glenn Miller's plane."
Both Janice and Mel lower their heads, in mourning for one of the musical icons of their day, who's plane had crashed a little over a week ago, on the way to a USO tour in France. All aboard were apparently killed.
Then, Janice remembers something more personal.
"Mel, are you ready for the Christmas party at the Canteen tonight?"
"I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be. You?"
"Of course.", greenish-gray eyes lighting up with her natural confidence. Mel may be half a head taller than Janice, but anyone who knows them well also knows that the tough, spunky little blonde in khaki is the one who calls the shots for them both. Still, Mel can tell that something still bothers Janice. Two people don't spend four years together as best friends, and not get to where they can almost read each other's feelings, if not thoughts.
"Janice, what's wrong?"
After a moment, "Nothing, really. Just thinking about how that idiot Kleinman stole the Xena Scrolls right out from under my nose four years ago."
"Well, between Smythe and Ares, he did have help. He'd have never gotten it done otherwise."
With a warm but sad smile, "Yeah, Mel, I guess you're right." Then, "Let's go see how much damage the Luftwaffe did last night - besides to our beauty sleep."
The two women head out, for Piccadilly Circus. They have a busy day ahead of them, what with a meeting with some Oxford faculty, another meeting at the U. S. Embassy, the nature of which is highly classified, but most definitely involves the war effort, some more Christmas shopping, and the Christmas party at the Canteen that evening.
That evening, after the party, they are back at their apartment. Fortunately,
their current home had not sustained any damage from the V-2 strikes last night.
Janice has a Bing Crosby record playing on the Victrola. The song currently
playing is 'White Christmas'. They had decided to give the BBC a rest for one
Then, Mel comes into the room. Janice gestures for the Linguist to have a seat with her, on the couch. When Mel does so, the Archaeologist pulls out a small gift.
"Merry Christmas, Mel.", as Janice hand the present to her best friend.
The taller woman looks at it, with a look of dismay.
"But Janice, I wasn't able to find a gift suitable for you! What with everything being rationed, and all."
The smaller woman looks up at her distressed friend, warm greenish-gray eyes meeting saddened blue eyes. Janice also takes Mel's hand.
"Mel, you *are* a gift to me. Especially the way you keep the Christmas spirit alive all year round, in *both* of our hearts, even through the war."
With that, the two embrace.
"And don't worry, Mel. Hitler's finished. It's just a matter of time."
"And then our side still has the Japs to deal with."
Both faces go hard with fury for just a moment, as both women remember that Mel's kid brother Luke had been aboard the *Arizona*, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor three years ago, and completely destroyed that battleship, killing all on board. Also, her older brother Tom is a pilot flying off an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Pacific. While Janice's kid sister Lil is working in an aircraft factory stateside.
Then, "Enough of the war for one night. We have a Christmas party of our own to throw - just the two of us."
"Right you are, Janice.", with a warm smile. Then, Mel gets up, and goes into the kitchen. A moment later, she returns, with a bottle of Kentucky bourbon, and two shot glasses. Sitting down, she pours the drinks, and gives one to the smaller woman.
"A toast, Mel. To peace on Earth, and good will for all. Next Christmas."
Two glasses clink together, and the drinks are drunk.
"Merry Christmas, Janice."
"You, too, Mel. Merry Christmas."
Taiko's Scrolls of the Xenaverse