When Good Majors Go Bad

by Stephanie Rengaw


Author's note: This story takes place between Margaret's engagement and the height of Frank's insanity. I'm sorry if some of the dates are messed up, I kind of molded the time to my advantage.:)


When Major Frank Burns found out about the impending marriage of Major Margaret Houlihan and Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscott, it appeared that he was taking it like a "man". But, in reality, he was slowly and surely going nuts.

At first, he was convinced that Margaret was putting him on, pulling his leg. But she wasn't. So, to keep himself sane, he decided to keep a journal.


"Corporal O'Reilly, I would like to requisition a notebook." blurted Frank as he entered the company clerk's office/room.

"Yes sir, major..." began Radar.

"You don't have to say sir and major, corporal." Frank frowned.

"Sorry major, sir."

"That's better."

"Anyway, sir, I have about five green notebooks right here, but if you want another color..."

"I don't particularly care what color it is. Why aren't you on your feet? I'm a superior officer, you'll stand at attention until I tell you to be at ease!" stormed Frank.

"Yes, sir!" Radar leaped to his feet and stood at attention. He had gotten up so quickly that he had knocked over his chair. "Should I get you your notebook now, sir?" He asked tentatively. ‘Oh, geez, I hope he doesn't blow up...' thought Radar.

"Yes, you may." replied Frank calmly. He gave a small nod as he received the book. He left.

"Phew..." Radar slumped down into his chair with a long, exasperated sigh. The only problem was that his chair wasn't there. "Yagh!!!" he screamed as he flew out onto his back.

"What in the name of Beelzebub is going on in there?" shouted Colonel Potter from the next room.

"Uh, nothing sir! I just... tripped!" lied Radar as he started cleaning the mess he had made. ‘There's just something really wrong with Major Burns...' he thought.


December 27, 1951

Margaret is marrying Donald Penobscott. Imagine... Major Margaret Penobscott...


In the mess tent, Igor was serving a very bad excuse for food... as always.

Frank sat on the bench next to BJ Hunnicutt. "Hey guys!" he said with a false smile.

"What do you want, Frank?" Captain Hawkeye Pierce through a mouthful of "Mashed Potatoes."

Frank looked at Hawkeye, then at BJ, then at Hawkeye again, obviously shocked, "What's that supposed to mean? Just because I say ‘Hey', it doesn't mean I want something!" said Frank indignantly.

"No? Okay then." with that, Hawkeye and BJ left Frank and sat on the other side of the tent. Frank stuck out his tongue at their backs.

Radar passed by, "Um, major Burns? What did you want that notebook for?" he asked nervously

"None of your beeswax, you... you... Buttinski!"

"Oh. Sorry to disturb you sir. Bye sir." Radar rushed off for some papers that needed signing by colonel Potter.

"Stupid enlisted personnel. I don't see why..." Frank's thought was cut off by the sight of Margaret entering the mess tent. "Oh, Margaret... why are you doing this to me?" he thought bitterly. He was saddened even more when she only gave him a disgusted glance as she sat down with Hawkeye and BJ.

"I'm going to get her back if it's the last thing I do..." he vowed.


December 28, 1951

I will have Margaret. Penobscott absolutely cannot have her without a fight. What does Margaret see in him, anyway? I'll kill him if I have to. I'll kill everyone in this camp if it's necessary to get her back.


Hawkeye relieved a fuming Frank from Post-OP duty. Frank looked at his watch, "You are a full 106 seconds late! Explain yourself!"

"Only 106 seconds late? Hold on a little longer, I'll be back when it's 300 seconds..." joked Hawkeye.

"Oooh, you think you're soo funny don't you?" Frank stomped off to the swamp.

"What's wrong with him?" Hawkeye asked no-one in particular.



"Rise and shine, everyone. Your breakfast today is incoming wounded, arriving by chopper and ambulance. All shifts report to Pre-OP immediately!" announced the PA in a fit of static. Everyone groaned.

"I didn't even have time for my 8:00 martini!" complained Hawkeye

"Tell that to MacArthur." BJ rolled his eyes comically.

"You two make me sick!" said Frank.

"What a coincidence... you make us sick too!" retorted Hawkeye.

"No, that's just because we drink too much, Hawk." corrected BJ. "The pukey dizzy feeling you get is Frank." At this, Frank threw a pillow at his roommates and stomped out of the Swamp.

"Was it something I said?" asked BJ.

"If it was, tell me what it was, so we can say it again!" quipped Hawkeye as he started going to Triage.



Everyone was tired after the 50-hour session. Surgeons and nurses alike slunk off to their tents.

Margaret was surprised to find a large white paper heart on her pillow. It had a note written on it.


"I love you with all my heart and soul. I really want to see you before the wedding. I LOVE YOU!!!

It wasn't signed.

After reading it more than five times, Margaret flopped onto her cot and smiled. "Donald, you are so romantic!" she whispered into the air.

Right outside her tent, in the shadows, lurked the true writer of the note. When he heard the name Donald, the hopeless romantic ran to the motor pool, his eyes streaming with tears.

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