The Chequer Board
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John Turner, who has had a head injury in an air crash, is told that he has only a year to live. He decides to spend his last months making the journey to Rangoon, Burma, in a flying boat to rescue a friend who has gone native.
shell inside my head going bad on me,” he said. “That’s what they told me at the hospital. They give me about another year, as far as they can judge.” She said, “But Jackie, can’t they operate ’n get them out?” “They say not.” She had not called him Jackie for some time; it was what his friends all called him, and he warmed towards her. “They say they’re too deep in.” She said quietly, “I’m ever so sorry.” He laughed. “Not half so sorry as I am!” He thought for a moment, and then said, “I
you came,” said Morgan. “We don’t see very many people out from England, up the river here. Turner, this is my wife, Ma Nay Htohn.” Mr Turner raised his hat formally. “I’m very pleased to meet you, Mrs Morgan.” She smiled, and then laughed a little. “Not Mrs Morgan,” she said, “I am Ma Nay Htohn. We do not change our names in Burma after marriage, as you do in England. I am still Ma Nay Htohn unless we go to live in England ever. Then I suppose I shall have to be Mrs Morgan.” She held out her
Deanna Durbin? Is she well?” He blinked, and then said, “I think so. I saw her in a picture not long ago.” She said, “I like her pictures very much, ever since ‘One Hundred Men and a Girl.’” She laughed. “And Rita Hayworth—is she all right still?” He replied, “I saw her in a film called ‘Cover Girl,’ just before I left London. She was simply lovely. She dances awfully well now.” The girl sighed. “Here we see nothing but Japanese propaganda films, all about people looking at cherry trees and
stewards. I want some coolies to make up the road out to the rice mill. He came to fix the rate for the job.” The glasses came, borne by the barefooted Burman servant. Morgan sat, glass in hand, looking out over the river. “I was telling you about that evening before we started for Bassein,” he said. He sat in silence for a minute. “It’s a damn funny thing,” he said at last, “but you can usually tell when there’s something wrong. I couldn’t speak a word of Burmese at that time, but I was pretty
I wanted to take my discharge in Burma, and about the landing craft and everything. I got flown to England in a Liberator and back to Calcutta again in a York, as part of the air crew. I was only seventeen days in England.” “Fixed up your divorce, then?” “Yes. There wasn’t much difficulty about that. I got the solicitor cracking on it before I left England. It wasn’t legal for about two years, but we didn’t wait for that. I got back to Henzada in seven weeks, seven weeks to the day from the