(In the middle of a family picnic being held to celebrate FRANK’s 85th birthday. FRANK holds a photograph of a group of air force pilots posing together.)
FRANK: See this picture here? I know, you can hardly believe that’s me. I had a full head of hair back then and that was the only reason why Mary Lou decided to have me, you know. My hair was straight n’ blond—nothing that great in my opinion – but it sure beats my current gray n’ sparse. I’m sure you agree.
Let me tell you something about this picture, and not just about my looks – although I don’t mind talking about that. No, see the other men next to me and how nice we look in the uniforms we’re wearing? Don’t be fooled by their outer skins. These were a couple of dirty sons of—sorry, I mean, here, I’ll just tell you what they did. This ugly mug on the far left with the dopey grin, we called him Barry on account of his deep voice, though you wouldn’t guess it with how skinny he is. On our camp we had a few nurses with us, but those gals never even acknowledged his waves nor his jeers, so he became obsessed about them getting to notice him. Now, the guy next to him, that’s Will. He wasn’t as queer looking as Barry but strange enough with his freckle covered arms that made him look like a spotted dog and he followed Barry around just like one too. You see, Will was feeding Barry’s obsession with vulgar talk about those nurses. Saying things like, “What’chu think all those ladies do in that tent at night knowing how many men are around?” or “Oh, how I’d like to get a view of those ladies in the shower. Just a glimpse of those nice, supple—” Things like that! It was obscene.
No no, I can’t tell you more of what they said. I wasn’t really listening no how. Me, being a good Mormon boy—which I’d have been on my mission if it wasn’t for the war—I just ignored their talk, or tried to. It was very difficult. Those sweet, beautiful young women had no idea about the nasty things Will and Barry said about them.
I told you, I didn’t have nothing to do with it! No siree. I thought about other things when they talked, like about Bible stories or something, you know, like King David’s story. Bible war stories. I mean, we were at war, so why not think of something relevant while those two idiots were lusting after those nurses. (Wipes forehead.)
It’s sure hot out here. Kind of a wretched day to have a picnic, even if it’s to celebrate my birthday; Though, I suppose it’s my fault being born today eighty years ago and all. If only I’d been born in the spring or fall. It’s my parents blame actually, but since they’re probably here listening to us in spirit, I ought to not say anything. Not if I want a sure beating once I join them!
What? Oh yes, sorry, my story. Where was I? Oh yes, Barry and Will. I told you we were all pilots, right? No? Well, I guess I’ve told you now. We were all in the air force and trained to fly, but even when there isn’t much action you still gotta do your routine flights. Just so you stay sharp because otherwise you get lazy and forget things, and that goes with anything! I was on a routine flight one afternoon and I decided to fly over camp just because I wanted to get a good look at it from above. Everything was different above and you could see everything on camp that wasn’t under a covering, and that’s when I noticed it. The nurse’s showers had no ceiling. You see, they hung curtains up around their showers so no one would see them cleaning themselves, and since there were so many men around, there was usually someone guarding the showers if someone else was using them. That’s why Barry and Will could never get a look at them even if they talked about it all the time. But there was no one guarding the skies—no one but God, which is why I promptly flew away when I realized it. I saw, well, not really much to be honest. It was so high up, but I’d never seen a naked woman before. I couldn’t get it out of my mind after that. She had black hair and pale skin, which I imagined was very soft, but I didn’t see nothing much other than that. I promise! Except, I kept on thinking about Eve and how she’d been naked in the garden. I wasn’t as innocent as Adam, so seeing even just the little I saw from above. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. (Wipes forehead.)
When I touched down, Barry and Will could see that something happened while I was flying. I was determined to not tell them, which made them even more suspicious. Will would poke me, saying, “What happened, Frank? Whaddya see up there that’s got you all hot n’ bothered?” And Barry would say, “Come on, Frank. If you saw something, you need to report it. We’re at war, so anything out of ordinary could be a problem.” I’d respond with silence, but they followed me everywhere: to lunch, to our tent, when I went to take a piss. I got sick of it. So finally I exploded. “Leave me alone! I was flying over camp and saw that the nurse’s showers don’t have a ceiling, so you can see in there!”
That was my mistake, telling them. After that, they wouldn’t shut up about it. “What? Good Mormon boy Frank gawking at naked women so later he can flog his log?” They didn’t leave me alone. Will even left a dirty magazine under the pillow on my cot for a joke, and I finally saw my real naked woman then. I haven’t told anyone about that until now though. I couldn’t even tell Mary Lou, not even when I knew she was about to die. Maybe I should’ve. I think she suspected. She was always asking me why I was late coming home on some of the weekdays, and I always told her they kept me at the office late. She was always so trusting of me and if I had, it’d have killed her sooner than she was willing to go. I just couldn’t. Hopefully God understands it wasn’t my fault that I saw that. It wasn’t like I was seeking out those kinds of things. Not at first. Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you about this. I don’t even know why I did. I suppose it’s being eighty and all. You almost get to a point where you don’t care what you say. Or maybe I needed to confess to someone before it got too late.
What I meant to tell you is that after Barry and Will found out about it—being able to see those naked nurses from above, I mean – they started their routine flight patterns above camp every day just to look down at the nurses. But the nurses weren’t stupid and realized what they were doing almost immediately. Barry and Will didn’t tell the nurses they found out I was the one who’d figured it out, so I wasn’t reprimanded like Barry and Will. They got stuck on latrine duty for what seemed like months. Except they didn’t mind much because those two were noticed by those nurses just like they wanted. Barry got slapped by one of the women, but that black haired nurse—her name was Lucy—she ended up dating Will after the war and marrying him. I never did tell him that she was the one I saw naked. I never told anyone this before now. Not even God, but I guess he already knows.