Beam Me Home, Scotty!: 17, GI Jane & GI Joe

So, as Vogler tells us in The Hero’s Journey, it’s time for the Return with the Elixir.

Well, at least for two out of three of our heroes.

Sitting in the empty passenger area of another gate, both Jane and Kirk stare forward.

“So, what was that?” Kirk says, eyeing Jane.

Jane looks at him. “OK, Mr. Brainsmart-Self, I give. You tell me!”

Kirk looks down and shrugs.  “I don’t know. Maybe we should do something with it all?”

Jane shakes her head, eyeing him as well.

“So I’m really stuck with you for the rest of my life now?” she says.

Kirk looks back at her. “As if you haven’t been already?”

Jane chuckles and looks down.

After a minute or so, Kirk asks, “We feeling better?”

“A little bit,” Jane replies. “I guess.”

Kirk looks out a window, toward a runway. “Well, they did say there wasn’t going to be a major life shift from one plane ride, but I guess we know more now than we did before.”  He turns back to her. “Right?”

“You mean” Jane says, still looking down, “that it might be time to stop blaming that girl back there for not knowing what she was doing all the time?”

After a pause, Kirk shifts in his chair. “You didn’t throw away that card the Doc gave you, did you?”

Jane rolls her eyes.  “No!”  She looks at Kirk.  “And yes, I’ll call and get names of therapists in Atlanta from him. Satisfied?”

“Hey,” he says, smiling. “Just asking. We’re kind of in this together, you know?”

“Now I do,” she says, shaking her head.

Kirk leans back and puts his hands behind his head.

For a few seconds, both say nothing.

“Comfy?” Jane finally asks.

“I shouldn’t be?” he replies.

After eyeing him another few seconds, Jane asks, “So if we work together, we’ll figure this combat stuff out, you and I, at least more than we have already?”

Kirk closes his eyes, breathes deeply, and then looks back at her. “I’m game to try. What have we got to lose? What do you say?” He smiles. “Deal?”

Jane smiles as well.  “Deal.”

Jane gets up to start walking toward the baggage claim area, but then notices Kirk reaching into his pants pocket.

“What are you doing?”

Kirk pulls out something.

Ahmed’s chocolate bar.

“Seriously?” Jane says. “You actually have the nerve to sit there and eat that while I don’t have anything in real life?”

Kirk takes a bite, then looks at her and grins. “Rank has its privileges.”

“Just my luck,” Jane mutters to herself. “I’ve got a brain with an attitude.”

“And you’re surprised?” Kirk asks, chomping away.

Jane shakes her head.  And smiles.

“See you later?” she says.

“You always know where to find me, girl,” Kirk replies, as he and the chocolate bar slowly begin to fade.

At that she turns and begins to walk forward.




Standing in the far corner of the Logan Airport terminal, Joe looks out the huge glass window, toward the planes and the ocean beyond, his weathered backpack on the ground next to him.

“So,” comes the familiar voice behind him. “We done?”

Joe turns to see, in casual, civilian clothes, Colonel James T Kirk.

“Don’t you even go there,” Joe mutters.

“Go where?” Kirk asks, stepping right up to him.

“You know what I’m talking about,” Joe says. “I don’t know what that was back there. I don’t care. I’m not going back into therapy, period. Out of my face!”

“So sorry, pal,” Kirk says, not moving. “Hate to remind you, but my face is your face, and I ain’t going nowhere, got it?”

For several seconds, they stare at each other.

“Look,” Kirk says, “I don’t want to go through therapy again any more than you do, plus it’s clear that you and I aren’t ready for it anyway.  But we now know what we need to do if we’re ever going to hope to get over this. I’m as tired of seeing Top every night as you are. We have got to do something.”

“Do what?” Joe says, turning back toward the window.  “It’s been fifty years.”

“And it’s still almost every night,” Kirk says, approaching even closer. “And we now know that it isn’t you fifty years ago who’s yelling at us.  It’s us, you and I, right now, today!  God damn it, Joe!”

Kirk’s voice catches.  He steps back.

Joe looks down at ground. “I don’t know.”

After a few seconds, Kirk whispers.  “Please. Call Junior.”

Joe whips around. “I am not going to call him.  We’ve . . .

Kirk grabs Joe by the shoulders.

“We’ve what?” Kirk says through clenched teeth.  “Managed to blow every conversation with him in the last 30 years because we’re both Class-A a**holes?  Jesus, Joe, we’re the f***ing parent, not him! You know what we’ve got to do.  We can’t keep living like this, Joe.  We can’t keep pushing everyone away.  We’ll get the service dog, fine, I don’t care, but Joe…”

Kirk’s voice catches again. For seconds, neither says anything.

“Right there, in your right pocket,” Kirk whispers. “Take it out. Call him. No big deal. Just call him. Please.”

Joe stares at him, not wiping away the tear that has formed in his own right eye.  He looks down at his pocket, looks back up.

“It’s 7:30 in the morning. He’s in Saint Louis. It’s only 6:30 there, he won’t even be up, and…”

Kirk backs up, laughing.

“What?” Joe asks.

“Well, my friend,” Kirk says, putting his hand on Joe’s shoulder. “Actually it is 10:00, and actually you’ve been standing there for the last two and a half hours, and actually I’ve been the one who’s been trying not to get ourselves arrested on suspicion of being some crazy, old hippie-terrorist.”

Joe backs up. “Two and a half hours?”

Kirk nods.

Joe wipes away the tear. And smiles.

“So,” Kirk says, “given that, sir, how about we move and you give Junior a call?”

Joe looks down, picks up the backpack, flings it over his shoulder, looks up at Kirk, then walks right past him, toward Baggage Claim. Yet after only a matter of yards, he stops and turns to see Kirk staring at him.

A few seconds, and then Joe nods and waves Kirk forward.

Kirk nods and does so.

Joe turns back, and just as Kirk catches up, Joe pulls the phone out of his pocket.

Joe stops. Kirk stands next to him.

Joe looks at the screen, looks at Kirk, walks forward, presses a button on the phone.

Kirk smiles.

And fades as Joe lifts the phone to his ear.


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