Disclaimer: The characters of that great TV masterpiece M*A*S*H belong to their respective companies, I am borrowing them for writing fan fiction, and I am not making a profit from them.
Thanks to Tash for sending me the inspiration for this story!
by Becca T
It was a moderate day in the 4077th M*A*S*H, in Korea. No wounded had arrived to the unit in five days, and with only one person in Post-Op, the staff had a lot of time on their hands. After the first few days of doing things and enjoying it, the personnel were beginning to feel the boredom.
In the Swamp, the lack of activity was beginning to take its toll on the residents.
"How about we throw a huge party?" Hawkeye Pierce suggested.
"We did that three days ago, and there are still a few people who are recovering from that," Trapper John McIntyre reminded him. "How about a game of golf?"
"We did that yesterday. Football?"
"We can't," Trapper said regretfully. "The ball went through the door of Hot Lips' tent, and she won't give it back."
"I really hate neighbours who won't give balls back," Hawkeye complained loudly. "It's downright rude!"
"Oh, why can't you bums find something practical to do?" Frank Burns piped up.
"If we found something worthwhile to do, we'd probably get recommended for a Section 8," Hawkeye told him. "What are you doing then, Frank?"
"I," he began, "am putting all of my small change into piles, in order of both wealth and shininess."
"Wow," Trapper said sarcastically. "I wish I had something that worthwhile to do."
"This is the third time this week that I have done this," Frank admitted. "I always say that if a job is worth doing, then it is worth doing a lot."
At that moment, Radar poked his head through the door of the Swamp. "Major Burns, sir," he began. "Problem with a patient in post-op. The one and only patient," he added.
"We'll take it," Hawkeye and Trapper volunteered at the same time.
"At least that way he might live," Hawkeye added.
"He might be suicidal," Trapper suggested.
"Oh ha ha, so funny," Frank grumbled as he left the Swamp to tend to the ailing person.
The two who remained in the Swamp sat in silence for a long time, desperately trying to think of something to do. Suddenly Hawkeye snapped his fingers, making Trapper jump.
"I've got it!" Hawkeye exclaimed.
"I've got the answer to al our boredom worries," Hawkeye calmly told him.
"So, tell it!"
"Dare games." Trapper's eyes lit up as Hawkeye continued. "Think like this. One of us sets a dare, and the other does it without getting sent to Henry or something. So simple, a child could do it."
"It's great. When do we start?"
"How about now?"
And so it began.
Hawkeye and Trapper were sauntering around the compound, and drifting closer to the Nurses' Showers. Hawkeye explained his dare to Trapper.
"This is it, nice and simple. You need to spend three hours in there, without being seen." He pointed to the Nurses' Showers.
"Simple enough," Trapper replied.
"As proof that you did it, you must remember the names of three nurses who use the showers. When three hours is up, I'll call you. Got it?"
"I got it." With an acknowledging nod, Trapper crept over to the entrance of the showers, looked around sneakily, and then crept inside.
Once inside, Trapper needed to find a place to hide. He saw a pile of dirty linen in the corner of the room. It had been used in the VIP tent, and had been put into the showers to be dealt with at some other time.
Carefully, he arranged the linen over himself so that he was concealed, and so that he could see what was going on in the room.
Outside the showers, Hawkeye sat, half reading a book, but mostly keeping an eye out for any nurses taking a shower. When two hours had passed, Hawkeye glanced up to see none other than Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan going into the showers.
"It can't be," he thought to himself. "How will he survive this?" Inside the shower room, Trapper was thinking the same thing.
Three hours passed, and Hawkeye strolled over to the showers. "Hey, Trap," he whispered. "Three hours is up."
Moments later, Trapper emerged from the room. "You want the names?"
"All part of the deal," Hawkeye reminded him.
"Okay. Helen Baxter took a shower. Now, she is someone who I have overlooked, and someone I would love to get to know…"
"Names, not a running commentary."
"Okay, names. As I said, Helen Baxter used the showers, as did Colleen Price. And boy, did I have a tough time keeping my mouth shut when Hot Lips walked in!"
"You and me both," Hawkeye laughed.
"That image shall be imprinted in my mind and memory for quite a while," Trapper continued.
"Spare the details, Trap. It's your turn to make a dare now."
"I guess it is," Trapper replied. "Since mine was not so difficult, then yours won't be either. You know that skeleton in Henry's office? He deserves a little makeover. Find some nail polish, and give him twenty colourful phalanges."
Hawkeye grinned. "Not bad, you learn fast."
"After lunch, when Henry goes for a nap."
Hawkeye had a thought. "How am I meant to get past Radar? That kid knows everything. You know, he probably knew what his mother looked like ten months before he was born."
"He can't spend the whole afternoon in there. If he looks that way, then I'll create a little distraction for you," Trapper told him.
The plan began. Radar left the office to find Colonel Blake, and Hawkeye, armed with a bottle of crimson nail polish, crept into the office to brighten up the skeleton. He had painted the last 'nail' of the skeleton when he heard Radar making his way back.
Hawkeye dived into Radar's office, and flew from there through the doors of Post-Op. Usually, the beds of Post-Op would contain patients, but since no wounded had arrived in a week, and the last patient had been sent to Tokyo with a bad infection, the room was eerily empty.
Hawkeye left through the far doors of Post-Op and strolled casually through the compound towards where Trapper stood.
"Did you pull it off?" Trapper asked.
"Henry's faithful, skeleton friend is now painted," Hawkeye confirmed. "I wonder what he'll think when he finds out."
"Do you think he'll notice?"
"Someone is bound to point it out, at sometime."
"Shall we get something to eat?" Trapper asked.
"I like the use of the word 'something' in that sentence," Hawkeye chuckled as they headed to the Mess Tent.
The next day, there was still no chance of any wounded arriving, so Hawkeye and Trapper picked up their dare contest where they left off.
"I do believe it is my turn," Hawkeye declared. "For this little trick, you will need a gurney, a Hawaiian shirt, and a willing volunteer. You are going to stand on a gurney, and the willing volunteer will push you across the compound. It will be like surfing, so that's where the shirt comes in."
Trapper grinned. "Sounds good to me. I bet Klinger will be willing to volunteer, if we told him that there is some chance of getting out of the army."
"Hey!" Hawkeye clapped his hands together. "I wonder if he still has that grass skirt and coconut bra he wore a couple of months ago. That would go great!"
Outside Klinger's quarters: "Hey, Klinger," Trapper called as he knocked on the door. "You want to get out of the army, right?"
Klinger was at the door in a flash. "That's what I put on my Christmas list last year," came the gruff reply as he invited in the captain into his room.
"Let me explain something. It's been really boring around here lately, so Hawkeye and I started that dare game, to keep us amused. With me so far?" Klinger nodded. "Hawkeye's latest dare for me to do is to find a gurney, a Hawaiian shirt and someone to push the gurney across the compound, so it looks like I am surfing."
Klinger was chuckling at the end. "So why come to me?"
"Well, it might get you into trouble, and it's boring around here so we thought you'd enjoy the amusement, and the fact that we remembered you own a grass skirt and coconut bra."
Klinger's eyes lit up. "Hey, you're right! I've still got them," he said, rummaging around in his wardrobe. "I'll do it. Give me ten minutes and then come back here."
Ten minutes later, Trapper rolled the gurney outside Klinger's tent and knocked on the door. "Ready?"
The man strolled out in his outfit, and Trapper laughed as he saw how much the man looked the part for the scenario that was about to take place. He had even found a flower for his hair, and a lei of flowers around his neck.
"You look great," Trapper laughed. The people in the camp were beginning to give odd looks as they rolled the gurney table to a flat part of the yard. Hawkeye was at the other end, awaiting their arrival.
Trapper stood on the gurney, in the stance of a surfer. "Go slowly to start with, okay?"
Klinger started rolling the gurney, and soon brought it up to a fast pace. The crowd who watched cheered and applauded. In the distance, Majors Burns and Houlihan looked on in disgust.
"So this is what they do for fun," Frank spat. "Make fools of themselves. And with an enlisted man!"
"These are the low parts of the war," Margaret sighed.
"Breaks almost every rule in the book, not to mention setting a bad example for the camp."
"Something has got to be done!" Margaret declared.
Frank agreed as they crept around the back of the Supply tent when no one was looking. Meanwhile, Trapper and Klinger were coming to the end of the road.
"Hey, slow down!" Trapper shouted.
"I can't," Klinger yelled back. "It's going too fast!"
Hawkeye could see what was happening, and he quickly moved out of the way. As Trapper contemplated jumping off, one of the wheels struck a hole in the ground. Trapper was flung into the air, and Klinger was thrown over the table.
Hawkeye, a spectator by this time, laughed along with the crowd as he strolled over to where the abrupt halt had taken place.
"Hey, Trap, Klinger, that was an abrupt yet brilliant ending. You both okay?"
Klinger looked up. "I'm great, but I think I might need a new coconut bra." He held up the item, which was now in three pieces.
"I'll buy you two for that show," Hawkeye promised him, sniggering. "How about you, Trap? You took quite a dive there."
Trapper opened his eyes. "Did I get drunk or do stars always fly around me?"
Hawkeye laughed as he helped his friend to his feet. "Come on, lie down on the Swamp. I don't think you should have anything to drink tonight. To make up for it," he added, "I'll get drunk for the both of us."
Hawkeye left Trapper at the Swamp, and went back outside to return the gurney. He decided to clean it first, because the patients would not be impressed by a muddy operating table.
Meanwhile, in the Swamp, Frank walked in as Trapper was lying on his cot and groaning about his head.
"It serves you right," Frank snorted, preparing to shave.
"I take it you watched the show then," Trapper mumbled, not opening his eyes.
"Indeed I did, and I was disgusted. You'd have thought that a distinguished doctor such as yourself might have had something better to do than make a fool of yourself in front of the entire camp!"
"I'd have thought that a disgraceful doctor such as yourself might have had something better to do than watch a distinguished doctor make a fool of himself in front of the entire camp," Trapper retaliated.