An Unexpected Guest

There was demand for a new surgeon to be sent to the 4077th. Potter wrote a remark in his files that a Dr. Hunnicutt would replace Dr. McIntyre. It was not clear at the moment if there would be a replacement surgeon for Lt. Col. Blake. Potter felt bad when he remembered that the plane which was carrying Blake back home was shot down over the sea. 'He nearly made it...' he thought.

Somebody knocked on the door. "Come in!"

He looked up from his paperwork when Gen. Mitchell entered the room. "Hi, Sherman, nice to see you. You're looking good!"

"Hello, Maynard, what can I do for you?"

"How are you doing here, and how's your wife? Do you like the paper pushing?" the General asked with a broad smile.

"I'm fine and I think Mildred also. What has happened that you've come personally to meet me in my office? How are you? How is your wife doing?"

"I am fine, and Elisabeth too, thank you. I said to myself, 'let's have a look what this old stud Sherman is doing.'"

Col. Potter sensed that there was something going on. He had known Maynard Mitchell for years now. It was this certain behavior that made Potter suspicious. "Mitch, don't play games with me. There is a reason for your visit. Stop talking platitudes."

Gen. Mitchell sat down and looked at Potter. "Sherman, what do you know about the 4077th?"

Potter had no idea what his superior had in mind, so he replied a little bit grumpily, "You know damned well what I know about it." Potter leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath from his cigar. "What's the matter?"

General Mitchell had not expected anything else from his old WWII buddy. After a few seconds of thinking he began to speak. "I have been there a few times. The 4077th is famous for its success rate. You know that 97% is really an amazing number. I will tell you something about the people there. Henry Blake, the former commander, was everything but a soldier. He was a good doctor and most of the people there liked him very much. He didn't care about the complaints from others as long as their medical work was okay. As you know, he got his discharge but didn't make it home. Now Major Frank Burns is in command. He has a bad reputation as a surgeon, and nobody seems to like him. At the moment he is driving the people nuts with his silly orders. He is only supported by the head nurse, Major Margaret Houlihan. Rumors say that they are having an affair, but I don't care about that. Houlihan is a good nurse and also very good looking, that's all I can say. The whole unit works under great pressure and that leads to some crazy actions. That brings me to their chief surgeon. Capt. Benjamin Franklin Pierce is an excellent surgeon, but he is truly no soldier and he never will be one. Only his ability to save the lives of other people saves him from a court martial. Most of the staff love him because he can make them forget where they are, even if it's only for a few minutes. Then we have a famous soldier, Corporal Klinger - you know, the guy dressed as a woman to get a Section 8 - who despite this is doing his job very well. Corporal O'Reilly is the company clerk; he knows how to deal with the supply units to get all the things one needs - and more. He seems to be the person who actually runs the camp. They also got a new surgeon, but I don't remember his name right now."

Potter interrupted him, "His name is Hunnicutt. But stop for a moment. You wouldn't tell me this long story without a good reason. I'm not that stupid."

Gen. Mitchell's smile ran away from his face. "For two months now Major Burns has been in command. And the morale gets worse day by day. This man is truly a moron, but we need him as surgeon even if he does a lousy job. We thought that they would get along with only three surgeons, but we've seen that we need a fourth one."

Suddenly Potter had a feeling that perhaps he wouldn't like what was about to come.

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