"Charles, I need your help. I asked Klinger to come as soon as he's off duty." Hawkeye had gone back into the Swamp after his aborted date with Rose and thought. Finally, he decided what to do. Margaret would never listen to him if he tried to get her to stay away from Donald, and he could never tell her the reason. How did you tell your best friend that if she went to Seoul to surprise her husband, she'd most likely interrupt him with another woman? So, he decided to throw as many glitches into her travel plans as possible. With Charles and Klinger's help, he could make sure that she spent more time than necessary in OR and Post-OP, make certain that her jeep and chopper didn't arrive, and see to it that her plane reservations were phony so that she couldn't get a flight out. And, if all that failed, he would get a pass to Seoul for the weekend and foil Margaret there.
"What is it, Pierce? And why aren't you off with your latest doxy? Short date? Having performance problems?" Charles sneered at Hawkeye over the top of the collection of poetry he was reading.
He chose to ignore the insulting last of this. "Yeah, a real short date. Listen, Charles. Margaret's in trouble..." He told Charles the story, including his plan to ruin her traveling plans.
When he was finished, Charles's face was one giant thundercloud. "Do you mean to tell me that her husband" he choked on the word, " is off in Seoul right now, cheating on her with little tramps like that one you were just with, and she's here, excited as can be to surprise him? Of all the unmitigated gall! What do we do to him?"
Klinger walked in as Charles was finishing. "Do to who, Sirs?"
"Donald Penobscott. Now, here's the plan. We're just not going to let her get to Seoul. Here's what we're gonna do..."
Margaret whistled as she scrubbed her hair in the shower. She was going to see Donald, and she was certain that they could patch things up while she was there. She was supposed to leave in the morning, and, with the lack of patients due to the latest lull, it looked like things would come off without a hitch. She just hoped that Klinger had put in a jeep requisition for her like she'd asked. Other than that, she was set. She mentally went over a checklist. Her bags were packed, she'd asked for a jeep, and she'd called the hotel Donald was in, just to be certain he was where his CO had said he would be. Yes, she was all set to make amends and patch up their rocky relationship.
"Okay, Charles, did you get everything ready?" Hawkeye sat innocuously in the O-Club, sipping a martini. Plan number one was to get her so drunk, she'd never be able to function in the morning. A colossal hangover would put a chink in her armor, and she might not be able to put up such a fight when she discovered that her jeep was missing. On the off chance she could manage a coherent sentence when she awoke, the only thing she'd be able to do about the jeep would be to ask Potter to let her borrow his, which Potter would be only too happy to do. Unfortunately, Potter's jeep was scheduled for an accident that night. It would be so unfortunate that Potter's jeep would roll down a hill and crash into the garbage dump the very day that Margaret needed it. And of course, she'd never figure out where in the world her luggage had disappeared to. Klinger was going to abscond with it that night, while Hawkeye fed Margaret liquor, and Charles released the brake on Potter's jeep. And, if all else failed, they'd make Nurse Baker fein a horrendous illness so that they were shortstaffed. Kellye was with BJ at the 8055, and her replacement was utterly useless for anything but a gold medal in what Margaret has so quaintly called "The Bedroom Olympics." She dropped clamps and scalpels and contaminated her gloves every five minutes. She'd almost sliced off Charles's pinkie when she dropped a scalpel into the open chest he'd been working on. Needless to say, she never worked with Charles again. At his emphatic request. Anyway, Hawkeye thought merrily, they were covered.
She came in to the O-Club at 7:35. Right on schedule. Her shift had ended five minutes before. Hawkeye nodded imperceptibly to the bartender. They had a deal worked out. Whatever Margaret ordered, make it a double. Don't charge her any extra, Hawkeye would take care of the bill. And, never make her ask for more--have a refill in front of her before the previous drink was gone. If she did stop drinking, Hawkeye would fake some sappy story about Crabapple Cove, propose a toast, and buy her another.
He needn't have worried that she was going to stop prematurely. She kept tossing down scotch until Hawkeye thought she'd float away. She finally got to her feet, albeit unsteadily, and Hawkeye hurried to reseat her. Charles and Klinger were still gone, and he didn't want them to get caught.
"So, uh Major, what do you think of, uh, our newest nurse?" He had lighted upon the perfect subject to keep her at the bar.
She signaled to Mr. Quang for another scotch. "I think she stinks," she slurred. "Dropping clamps, cutting Charles's pinkie off. She stin..." Margaret fell off her barstool.
Charles and Klinger walked in at the same moment. Hawkeye caught her and slung her up into his arms. Mission accomplished.
What was that horrible noise? Margaret wondered. She raised her head a fraction of an inch off the pillow, and quickly let it fall back to its original position. Her head felt as if it were going to fall off. She groaned softly, and fell back to sleep.
An hour later, she awoke again. The headache was just as bad, but she had to get up. She was going to see Donald today. She sat up with a struggle, and swayed dizzily.
She stumbled to her footlocker and removed three aspirin. After gulping them down with no water, she pulled a robe on. As she stumbled out the door, she headed for OR.
"What's she doing in here, Able?" Hawkeye frowned at the sight of Margaret sitting with her back to the occupants of the room.
"She has a hangover, Hawkeye. She hooked herself up the oxygen. It works, you know. And she's running fluid through an IV into the pedal area. Cures hangovers quick, that's for sure. She's got sunglasses on, and she refuses to part with them." Able paid no attention to the hungover Major--they had more pressing matters. "That patient over there, PFC Forrest, still has a fever and elevated WBC count. The new surgeon, Colt, was sloppy. I assisted him once and he was careless. He could have missed a piece of shrapnel. That, or a perforation of the intestine."
"Great. We traded BJ and Kellye for an idiot doctor and an incompetent nurse. No wonder we have the highest survival rate of any other unit. We may have to go in again. I'll let Charles know. It looks like I may have an unexpected trip to Seoul coming my way." He frowned. They were going to have to open up a man for no reason other than the incompetence of the new doctor, and it looked as if Margaret was determined to make it to Seoul. Double damn. He wondered how she'd get around the missing jeep. He'd forgotten about the travel orders that Klinger had removed from the pocket of her clothes the night before.
Margaret stood up and disconnected the IV from her foot. She felt better, but she didn't know if that was from the aspirin, the oxygen, the IV fluids, or the Bloody Mary that she'd wrangled out of the cook. The tomato juice had taken some doing, but she got it. In all probability, it was a combination of the four.
It was almost time for her to leave. She was supposed to leave around 1300 hours, to make it to Kimpo for a flight at 1400 hours. It was 1230. She had to go make sure that her jeep had arrived.
Klinger hid fearfully under a blanket in Post-Op. Major Houlihan was after his skin because her jeep was missing. He told her very truthfully that he had requested that supply send the jeep two weeks ago, just as she had wanted. He omitted the part about canceling the order. She didn't care. She was steamed. An irate screech sent Klinger under the covers again.
"Your jeep was destroyed last night? Nooooo!" Her howl of anguish permeated the entire camp.
"I'm sorry, Margaret. It was found this morning in the garbage dump." Potter looked genuinely upset that he couldn't help her.
They were interrupted by an announcement. "Choppers on the pad. No wounded."
Margaret looked at Potter, a gleam in her eye.
"No, Margaret. That chopper is here to evac patients. There'd be no room."
"That's okay--they have empty pods, don't they?" She was already running for the pad. "Have that good-for-nothing clerk get my bag!"