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When Dick Winters walked through the door of the Blue Boar Pub, Lewis Nixon spun around at the bar and threw his arm toward his friend. “THE CAVALRY HAS ALIVED! ARRIVED!” he announced to the other patrons. “PASS THE LORD AND PRAISE THE AMMUMITION—”
Dick caught him as he slipped off of the barstool. “Time to dry out, Nix.”
“Lemme buy you a drink.”
“You know I don’t drink.”
“Lemme buy you a water.”
Nix surrendered and allowed Dick to lead him out into the cool Aldbourne night, draping one arm around his redheaded friend for support.
“Where are you staying, Nix?”
“Shit, I dunno. Over there?”
“That’s a church.”
“I’ll sleep it off in the pews then.”
“Could you point it out on a map?”
“Dick, I couldn’t point out my own face if I was lookin’ in a mirror. Just get me to an alley, will ya? Think I’m gonna be sick.”
Dick led Nix over to a narrow alleyway, where he squatted and spat and hung his head for several long minutes. Finally he retched, twice—one long, one short—and stood shakily to his feet. “Take me to the church, Dick,” he muttered.
He laid Nix down in the front pew and crouched down to eye level. “Are you sure?” he repeated.
“Yeah,” Nix mumbled, closing his eyes. “Go on. Spast your bedtime.”
“Who’s gonna wake you up in the morning? We’ve got drills tomorrow at 0800.”
“God’ll wake me up.”
“I sincerely doubt that.”
Nix reached out, clawing the air drunkenly until he found Dick’s face. He stroked the freckled cheek lovingly. “I can take care ‘a myself. I know you’re my guardian angel n’ all, but even angels need sleep.”
Dick smiled and gently ruffled Nix’s hair. “Alright. G’night, little devil.”