Coming back to the present situation, Hawkeye thought about the best way to approach this. Would he try to shoot all three of them at once? Would it be possible? He also knew that he was running out of time, with the North Koreans standing there watching him and with Margaret needing immediate surgery.
Somehow, he mustered up the courage and felt his finger on the trigger. He took a deep breath, and before actually realizing what exactly he was doing, he had shot the gun several times. The soldiers who had been standing were now lying on the floor. "What have I done?" he thought to himself. "Oh, God, no!" he screamed. He rushed over to the soldiers on the floor. Blood was everywhere. He put his fingers on the neck of the first soldier. One dead. He got up and frantically ran over to check another one. Dead. He checked the third. No pulse. Slowly, he came to the realization that he had shot and killed them all. He was momentarily in a state of shock. He had to sit down. He couldn't really believe it.
"That's some sharp shooting you have there, Doc," the other doctor slapped him on the back as a way of congratulating him. "You downed three at once. Where'd you learn to shoot?"
"First time. Call it beginner's luck," Hawkeye said with a sarcastic tone in his voice. Now he was being congratulated for killing? It didn't make sense to him.
"Can someone help me get the Major ready for surgery. I'll need an assistant," Hawkeye said to the doctor standing there.
"OK, you got it. Anything - just name it. Man, you saved our lives," the doctor was so happy that Hawkeye Pierce was able to save the day. If only Hawkeye himself shared that same enthusiasm.
They sat in Colonel Potter's office. "Pierce, I am proud of you. You made the right decision. Instead of allowing everyone to get killed, you chose to take a stand, and it wasn't an easy one for you to take."
"The Major helped me decide which stand to take. Colonel, those were people I killed. How do I live with that?" Hawkeye was now having serious doubts about his earlier actions. With Margaret lying there hurt and the North Koreans literally breathing down their necks, at the time, he felt there was no other alternative.
"Son, look at it this way. You saved one life, perhaps several. That is why you did it. Not for the glory, not for the praise you received. You did it to save the life of someone you care about, and the lives of the wounded and the other doctors there. There's nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about."
"No, but why does it feel so awful that I did the "right" thing?" Hawkeye asked him.
"All I know is that sometimes we are placed in situations where we need to choose the lesser of two evils. What you did today was a true act of bravery, and I don't say this often, Hawkeye, but I am proud of what you did. Damn proud. To be honest with you, I never thought you would ever do what you did, but by killing those soldiers, you saved the lives of countless others," Colonel Potter told him. "Why don't you pay the major a visit in Post-Op? I am sure she'd like it."
"I don't know if I am ready to see her yet," Hawkeye confided in him.
"She was the reason I picked up the gun in the first place." For more than one
reason, too, and that was what was really bothering him, but he didn't feel like
discussing that with anyone just yet.
"BJ?" Margaret called to him. He was making his rounds in Post-Op, and she was still recovering from her wounds. She woke up feeling refreshed and much better this morning. She was happy about that because the past few days, she had been in pain and not really in the mood to talk to people.
"Yes, Margaret? What can I do for you? It is nice to see you smiling this early in the day," BJ came right over to her. She was looking healthy again. He felt terrible about the ordeal that she and Hawkeye had to go through. He also knew that it was long from over, as he watched his bunkmate throughout the last few days.
"Can I ask a question?" She began. He nodded, so she felt OK to continue. "It's about Hawkeye."
"OK, so what do you want to know? " BJ knew where the conversation was heading, and he knew he couldn't offer too much more than she already knew.
"Well, since we have been back, he has avoided me, ignored me, even when he is on duty in here. He tries to get others to deal with me. It is like he is scared of me, for crying out loud," Margaret couldn't hide her impatience with him. She was tired of it. She knew he could hold a grudge, but for this long? She had never seen him like this.
"Well, Margaret, you aren't far off. He did something I never thought he would do
when he shot that gun to save your life. Now, you are the reminder of what he did. You
also are someone he so deeply cares about, but he can't figure out a way to deal with it.
So instead of dealing with you right now, it is easier to ignore you. Just give him time.
He is confused, and just needs the time and space to work it out. He always does,
right?" BJ smiled at her as a way to cheer her up. He felt awful that there was no
more he could do. He and Hawkeye had already spoken about this several times, and he
concluded he should allow Hawkeye the time he needed to work it out. BJ was fairly
confident that his bunkmate would come around, although he wasn't sure when it would
"Hawkeye?" Margaret said as she knocked on the door of the Swamp. She walked in and looked at him. He looked defeated. His eyes didn't have the same spark she usually saw in them. She hadn't seen him crack a smile in the week or two they had been back at the 4077th, and it really began to feel as though he was trying to avoid her. She was beginning to feel terribly concerned about him. Now that she was up and around again, she decided to end the silence once and for all.
"I want you to know that what you did out there is something I never thought I'd ever see you do, and I owe my life to you. You saved me. If you hadn't pulled the trigger when you did..."
He quickly interrupted, "Major, first of all, I did it because I was ordered to. And secondly, I killed people, not North Koreans, not Americans, but people. They were people, God damn it!!" He gulped his drink and slammed his glass down on the nearest table, and began to pour another.
"No stop, Hawkeye," she grabbed his arm to stop him from pouring more. He pushed her away from him. "If it makes you feel better, I would have done the same thing."
"That's the point. You didn't do it, I did. I have to live with it and you don't. Margaret, this isn't doing either of us any good. Please leave."
"Damn it, Pierce! Do I have to get down and kiss the ground you walk on? You saved my life. You saved other people's lives. Doesn't that count for something? Or don't we matter as much as the soldiers who were trying to kill us? Why can't you get out of your self-pity and self-centeredness and see that other people were affected by this, not just you?" With that, Margaret stormed out of the tent. She had her say. Let him deal with it. She was so frustrated and fed up with his attitude towards her. She decided to try and not let it bother her, as she headed to the Post-Op for her rounds. Once there, she grabbed the door open and slammed it behind her. Everyone in Post-Op looked at her, some in disbelief of what she had done. She saw Major Winchester on duty and approached him.
"Well, Major Houlihan, it is nice to see that we can tell time," he said in a arrogant tone of voice. He was not amused that she was late for her rounds, which meant that he would be interrupted in his routine.
Margaret glared at him. Of all days, why was it today that she would be stuck working with him? "I'm sorry I'm late, Major. I had something to take care of," she answered him in an equally snobby voice, not caring in the least to confide in him.
"Well, I know that dealing with Hawkeye Pierce ranks right up there with meeting the President of the United States, but I would appreciate it if you could show some consideration. We have work in here to do, too," the major would not let her forget this one.
"What I do on my time is my own business, MAJOR. When does it become your issue?" Margaret persisted. She was so angry and frustrated to begin with, and now this. Could this day get any worse?
"When you stroll in late and have the nerve to have me cover for you. Furthermore, back in the Swamp, I never hear the end of this thing between the two of you. That's all Pierce will talk about. Honestly, I don't care," Major Winchester went back to his appointed rounds.
Back | Forward