Summary: An alternate ending to the episode.
Category: Garrison’s Gorillas
Genre: WWII Drama
Word Count: 1645
The Big Con was the pilot episode for Garrison’s Gorillas. In it, Telly Savalas played an unsavoury character by the name of Wheeler. Wheeler was a bully, only interested in his own welfare. The mission was to replace a set of U.S. counterfeit money plates that the Germans intended to use to flood the states with funny money. But the plates had already been used and the Germans were getting ready to ship the money by train. Chief was charged with setting fire to the boxcar of money as a diversion while Casino changed the plates. Wheeler entered the boxcar and he began grabbing the fake money as did Chief. Wheeler tried to stop Chief from burning the money; they fought in the burning boxcar, with Chief ultimately killing Wheeler, staggering out of the car injured and then appearing in the tank uninjured. The remaining members of the team climb into a tank to escape. This alternate ending takes place directly after the boys have entered the tank to make their escape. This is my take on what should have really happened. All series dialogue is in italics.
Chief was pressed against the side of the tank, breathing heavily and with his hands held up and away from his body as Garrison passed him on the way to the gun turret. “What’re you doing?” Chief demanded breathlessly.
Garrison took a moment to pause in front of Chief, noting the darkening bruise along the left jaw line and cheek, the blood on his forearms and the redden hands. Garrison sighed; they didn’t have time to tend to his injuries. He didn’t have time to worry about his missing man; knowing Wheeler, he had probably taken the opportunity to make a run for it. Although the guilty turn of the head of the man in front of him, as though Chief could read his thoughts, gave him pause to ponder exactly what the Indian knew. But first they had to prevent the Germans from salvaging any of the counterfeit money and then get out of the rail depot before reinforcements arrived. “The krauts are trying to put out the fire in the money car.”
Garrison relaxed with his left foot propped up on a wooden box, smoke idly drifting into the air from the cigarette held loosely in his left hand, the elbow of which was resting on his raised left leg. He took a drag on the cigarette, content to wait until Actor had finished bandaging the cuts and burns on Chiefs arms and hands before continuing the conversation. The bruised ribs had already been bandaged for support despite the Indian’s objections that he was fine.
“And you’re sure he was dead?” Garrison asked as Chief pushed himself away from the wall with a barely concealed grimace and paced stiffly around the wooden crates in the bombed out building they were currently sheltering in.
“He was dead,” Chief confirmed tiredly as he sank down onto a crate and leaned against the wall, his left arm pressed tightly against the bruised ribs.
“Turn it up, warden,” Goniff complained as he stood and undid his belt, dropping the belt and gun onto the crate behind him. “‘E was a rotten apple; we’re better off without ‘im. You know what.” Goniff pulled off the cap he was wearing, allowing several bills to float to the floor. “Money crazy, that’s all ‘e was. You ca…” Goniff smiled sheepishly at Garrison as the Lieutenant closed his eyes briefly before plucking the remaining bills from the top of the pickpocket’s head.
Garrison’s foot dropped to the ground. “Alright, let’s have it?” he demanded grimly as he struck a match and lit the bills he’d dropped into his tin helmet. Goniff emptied his pockets. “C’mon, c’mon, that’s it,” Garrison muttered as the little Englishman handed over the rest of his stash. “Is that it?” he demanded.
“Warden, I swear,” Goniff replied solemnly.
“Alright,” Garrison turned around and headed towards Actor. “Any other contributions?”
Actor calmly blew out a cloud of smoke from the cigarette he was smoking before dropping the spent butt on top of the burning money. “Lieutenant, Sir,” Actor began with a smile, “How could you think for a moment that…”
Garrison smiled almost sweetly at his conman and waited.
“Maybe my disguise fooled you, huh?” Actor reached up and pulled of the false moustache and patted his face. “It’s me, remember?”
Garrison remained unmoved by the words; instead he nodded at the tin helmet he held.
“Let’s have it.”
Actor sighed. “If you’re that insistent about it.” He pulled a bundle of bills from his pocket, gave them a quick kiss and then threw them into the burning helmet.
Garrison turned away from Actor, casting a look at the two remaining cons. “Alright gentlemen. Casino, Chief, shall we gather round the fire or do I have to make you strip?”
Chief pulled a roll of notes from inside his jacket, causing Garrison to raise his eyes and look pointedly at Actor for a moment before returning his attention to the two cons. Chief hung onto a fallen beam and leaned forward, slapping Goniff on the shoulder with the money before throwing it into the fire.
“What, so ‘e’d never guess?” Goniff pleaded as he rubbed his shoulder where Chief had hit him.
“That’s right,” Chief muttered as his money fueled the fire.
Casino stepped forward, “What are you going to do? This crook…” He pointed at Chief, “…was holding out on us. I mean, we figured we’d split up everything that he took as long as he took it. You know.”
“Climb down off my back,” Chief warned as the last of his money landed in the helmet.
“Now Warden, I don’t know why you’re so sore; you got away with a couple of thousand yourself, didn’t ya?” Goniff asked with a smile.
“What are you talking about?” Garrison gritted as he glared at Goniff.
“Come on, Warden,” Casino urged, “You wouldn’t want to turn your pockets out would you?”
Garrison slipped his hands into his pants pocket, grimacing as he pulled out a bundle of notes.
“Now then you’re not going to say you were framed, are you?” Goniff asked with a smile
Garrison looked at the smiling faces of his team and sighed. “Alright, alright, you’ve had your fun but from here on in, it gets tougher so you had better shape up.”
Casino frowned. “From here on? What about our paroles?”
“You’ll get them when the other six million of us get ours. It’s for the duration, baby — the duration and six months,” Garrison replied as he tossed his notes into the flames.
“The duration and…” Goniff repeated in disbelief.
“Six months?” Chief questioned.
“It figures,” Actor stated
“How about that? You can’t trust anybody,” Casino smirked.
Garrison threw the last of the money onto the burning pile and checked his watch. “Alright, come on; let’s get out of here, quick.”
“You’re the boss,” Chief stated as he pushed himself to his feet and slipped gingerly between the fallen beams, intent on taking the point position despite his bandaged hands and aching ribs.
“That’s right, matey, you’re the ruddy boss,” Goniff grumbled as he stepped past Garrison and followed Casino and Chief out of the building.
Garrison looked up and caught the smile on Actor’s face before the conman turned and followed the others. Garrison paused for a moment, took one last look at the burning money, and with a smile and shake of his head, followed his men out of the building.
Garrison quickly caught up to Actor, who was last in the line as they followed Chief through the woods. “Is Chief going to be alright?”
Actor glanced at Garrison but continued following the others. “Does it really matter? This mission or the next — the duration and six months.”
Garrison grabbed Actor’s arm, pulling the man to a stop. “Look, it wasn’t my idea; I didn’t know anything about it until the briefing. And yes, it matters. I’ve lost enough men in this war and I don’t intend on losing anymore.”
Actor studied the determined expression on Garrison’s face for a long moment, reading the honesty of his answer. Actor nodded. “He was lucky, considering. The burns are superficial, but even so, we have to be careful they don’t become infected. There were no broken bones that I could tell and the bruises will heal in time. He’s stiff and sore but he’s not going to admit it, nor is he going to admit that he’s not going to be able to use that gun he has slung over his shoulder or his knives with any accuracy with his hands bandaged.”
“That won’t be a problem; I’ll take point if you cover our back trail.” Garrison moved to step around Actor.
“Ah Lieutenant…” Actor paused. “I do see one more problem.”
And what would that be, Actor?” Garrison queried tiredly.
“Well, it is just a small problem really,” Actor stated, “but I feel I must point out that we are Americans, dressed as German soldiers, in occupied France, miles from our rendezvous point and with an injured man. What happens if we get caught? How are you going to get us out of it?”
Garrison pursed his lips and then smiled. “You’re the conman, Actor; I’m sure you’ll think of something.”
Actor stared after Garrison’s retreating back before a smile spread across his face and he followed in the wake of the others. The duration and six months. This could just turn out to be an interesting adventure, provided they all lived through it.