[If there’s something that the world doesn’t have enough of, it is most certainly A Few Good Men fanfiction. I’m currently appearing in a local production of the play by Aaron Sorkin, playing the role of Captain Isaac Whitaker — a very minor character who only appears in the first few minutes of the play. I have time backstage, so please allow me to present my humble theory of what happens to the character when he leaves the staqe.]
“This shirt does not fit.” Isaac told his reflection. “Nope. Just doesn’t fit.”
He turned sideways, and looked at himself in profile. His stomach bulged and pressed against the buttons of his shirt, the second above his belt seemed to be wincing in pain as it strained against the crisp khaki. The rest of his frame still held a warrior’s shape – broad shoulders and thick arms – but the irreverent curve of his gut better suited a comfortable chair, or a plush barstool, or a voluminous couch.
“Just gotta get a bigger shirt.” Isaac told himself philosophically. “All the running just isn’t burning this pooch down.”
He turned back forward, and sucked in his stomach. His men always seeemed a little skeptical when he told them about his morning PT. 2.6 miles at 0600 every morning, from his front door to the end of the farm road on his property. Then a quick shower and chow, hopping into his car and driving into the city for the 0830 morning meeting. He’d tell Kaffee or Weinberg about his morning jog and their eyes would always slowly dip down to his stomach.
“Those fucking guys.” Isaac straightened the points of his collar, adjusting the gold insignia at his collar.
On one side were two gold branches for the JAG Corps, on the other an eagle for his rank. Captain Isaac Whitaker, administrator of the Washington branch of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps for nine years — seven from retirement, gut busting its way out of his tightly tailored uniform shirt.
“Maybe I should eat a salad for lunch during the week,” he mused. “Salads.”
Isaac turned from the mirror hanging on the closet door and sat down at his desk. A stack of legal briefs were neatly organized on the left-hand side, color-tabbed with translucent tape. Blue tape for any Class B misdemeanors or below, green tape for Class A. He tagged them himself when they were brought to him – he wouldn’t waste any of his men’s time with such menial organization. It helped him plan his time, work through the stacks. Clean and calm, folders came in and folders went out — assigned to the best available litigator on his staff. Isaac liked to have a nodding familiarity with every case that came through his office. From the most standard Drunk and Disorderly to the occasional more serious offenses requiring a full court-martial. If there was one thing his time in the Navy had instilled in him it was a serious devotion to knowledge of the battlefield. It didn’t matter that now his battlefield was made of paper instead of water and dirt.
“Hey, Captain.” Weinberg stuck his head through the door. “There’s some lady here from Internal Affairs. ”
Isaac looked up, the brief still open in front of him. “What?”
“Some lady. Here to see you. From Internal Affairs,” his officer repeated.
“Oh, yeah. Bronsky called me and said something about her stopping by. Some case they want to reopen. Send her in.” He flexed his hands on the desk and sighed.
Isaac took off his glasses for a moment, and pinched his rubbed his brow with both hands. His eyes fell on the front of his shirt again.
“Just doesn’t fit. Damn thing just doesn’t fit.”
His office door swung open, and he put his glasses back on. He stood to greet his guest from Internal Affairs.
It turned into a long day.
The lady from Internal Affairs, a Lt. Commander Joanne Galloway, had been the herald of a red ball case. Isaac had needed to dig around in his desk for a few minutes before he found the appropriate scarlet tape to mark the folder. Some Marine in Guantanamo Bay was dead, and two of his squadmates were charged with the murder. Division was giving a lot of attention to this one – the base commander at Gitmo was a favored son, slowly making his grand ascension to the Pentagon. They wanted the case done quick and quiet with no collateral damage. He would need to keep close tabs on this one and make sure his guys didn’t let the whole thing go pear-shaped.
The 1500 staff meeting was quick and to the point. Division had pre-selected Kaffee as the lead counsel for the Defense so it was just a matter of briefing him on the particulars, and letting Commander Galloway fill in the blanks. Kaffee was a good litigator, a whiz at the plea-bargain. No way this thing would ever see the inside of a courtroom. Perfect, as far as he was concerned.
After the meeting he worked through the rest of his case-load for the day, but he went ahead and put in a few phone calls. First a few minutes shitting in Bronsky’s ear for sending this little package for his office to deal with. Bronsky laughed and they made plans to get a drink on Friday — first round on him. Then a few messages with some connections in Division, and to a friend or two at the Pentagon. Just to see how much crossfire his guys would be dealing with.
The battlefield was paper, but he wasn’t going to let his men march out without some covering fire and as much intelligence as he could scrounge up.
Isaac walked out of the office about an hour later than usual. The parking deck was mostly empty, yellow lights buzzing against gray stone. His white Buick Regal was parked in a corner near the entrance, the rest of the row was empty. He dug in his pocket for the keys and spent a moment finding the keys as his mind wandered. He was tired, maybe he’d skip his morning jog tomorrow. Get a little extra sleep. Not doing a damn bit of good, anyway.
He unlocked the door and tossed his briefcase into the passenger seat. He slid into the driver’s seat and leaned out pull the door shut.
A small pop came from the front of his shirt. A sudden looseness.
Isaac looked down and saw that the second button from his belt was gone. “Shit. Goddamn it.”
He slammed the door and began to fish around the floor of the car. He peered all around, lifting his feet to search — but the button seemed to have vanished. “GOD. Goddammit.” he slammed his head back against the seat in frustration.
His eyes came up to the rear view mirror.
That’s when he saw the mask.
The mask that the man in the backseat was wearing. It looked to be made of black wood, narrow slits for the eyes and mouth. Isaac felt the familiar pressure of a gun being pressed firmly to his neck.
“Captain Whitaker, how pleasant to see you again.” the masked man said cheerfully. “Drive.”
” You can call me Isaac.” he replied, and turned the key to start the car.
[To be continued.]