Lay of the Land

by Stacey

Doctors Pierce and Hunnicutt strolled leisurely through the tall grass on the hillside a few hundred yards from the M*A*S*H compound. Their golf clubs were placed lightly on their shoulders and their eyes were trained on the ground beneath them.

"I swear BJ," Pierce said, taking aim and swatting a rather tall strand of grass with his club, "one of these days you're gonna have to learn to hit your ball out of the rough."

Hunnicutt bent over to inspect a particular mound, but cast it aside when it turned out to be litter. "That'll be kind of rough considering this entire place is nothing but rough."

"Ah ha!" Pierce held up the golf ball victoriously before placing it back where he'd found it. "Now," he said, setting himself up carefully, "let a pro show you how it's done."

He grasped his club, squinted his eyes slightly, swung his club back then quickly forward, slicing the ball at a wicked right angle. The small white mass sailed off in an odd direction to disappear over a hill.

Hunnicutt turned slowly to gaze at his friend, "A pro, huh?"

Pierce shrugged and put the club across both shoulders, "I never said it was at golf."

Hunnicutt shook his head and sighed, starting off in the direction the ball had sailed. "Come on Ben Hogan, our ball's in the rough again."

They headed off together, each taking an occasional whack at a strand of grass. "You know something?" Hunnicutt said at length.

"No," Pierce answered, "I know everything."

Hunnicutt let the comment slide unnoticed, "I don't even like golf."

Pierce's laugh turned into a shout of surprise as his right foot suddenly disappeared into a small animal burrow. He lost his footing and unceremoniously fell to the ground. Laughing hysterically, Hunnicutt stooped down beside his friend, "Are you alright?" he asked between gasps for air.

Pierce gave BJ an annoyed look as he removed his leg, which had fallen in up to his knee. "Nothing hurt except my pride," he responded.

As his laughter died off, Hunnicutt pointed at the leg, "Are you sure? Nothing sprained or broken?"

Pierce got to his feet and tested his right leg a few times, "I may be a doctor, Beej, but even I can tell you that I'm fine. Just a little sore."

Hunnicutt likewise got to his feet, pointing in the direction their ball had gone, "Maybe we better call off this hunt before one of us gets killed."

"What?" Pierce countered, draping his club over his left shoulder, "Us? Get killed? Out here in the middle of a war? BJ, that's absurd."

The brush behind them exploded into noise as Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly rushed over to them.

"What's the matter, Radar?" Pierce asked as he twirled his club between his fingers, "Lose your virginity?"

"No sir," the young man replied, a bit breathless, "it's right where I left it."

Both surgeons roared with laughter at the corporal's helpless look.

"Uh sirs, you're needed back at the compound."

"Why? Does Charles have a hangnail?" Hunnicutt asked with a sneer.

"No sir, choppers."

Right on cue, the sound of helicopters could be heard in the distance. The doctors exchanged tired looks as they headed back toward the camp. "Looks like our game will have to wait," Hunnicutt said.

"That's okay, I'm better at shooting par on this course anyway," Pierce said as he looked up at the approaching helicopters.

They began to run toward the landing pad when Pierce suddenly broke off with a grunt, grabbing his right leg in surprise. Hunnicutt stopped and turned, "You okay?"

Pierce nodded and began jogging toward where the choppers were already landing, Hunnicutt at his side. "Probably gonna have one helluva bruise."

Major Charles Emerson Winchester the Third made a sound of disgust as he closed his personal trunk. "Petty cleaning girl has misplaced my best pair of argyle socks." He opened the trunk again just to be sure and promptly slammed it shut. "Those socks were a gift from my mother!"

He stopped his grumbling as the door to the Swamp swung open and Radar stuck his head in. The sound of choppers suddenly registered in Winchester's brain and he got to his feet as the boy said, "Wounded coming in, Sir."

The PA system outside promptly came to life, "Attention! Attention all personnel! Incoming wounded! Lunch break's over!"

Charles hurried over to a jeep carrying two wounded men while Radar ran over to Pierce and Hunnicutt who'd just arrived back at the camp in a jeep of their own.

"Ah ha," Winchester said, "how good of the two of you to come and join us."

"You know us, Charles," Pierce retorted, handing his club over to Radar, "we never pass up an opportunity to play doctor."

Winchester threw them a sardonic smile as he turned and shouted, "Corpsman!"

A young man came running over and Charles pointed to the injured man, "Get him started on some plasma. He can wait."

As he headed over to the other soldier, Pierce and Hunnicutt made their way over to the ambulances that were bringing the wounded down from the landing pad.

"Looks like we got our work cut out for us today, Hawk," Hunnicutt said as he opened one ambulance's door and peered inside. "Corpsman!" he shouted as he disappeared inside.

"Well," Pierce responded as he climbed into the other vehicle, "Uncle Sam wants to make sure we have job security. Corpsman!"

"Get him into pre-op right away," Hunnicutt told the young corpsman, "Prep him, I'll take him first." To Hawkeye he shouted, "Well in that case he can take my paycheck and send me home." He turned back to the corpsman, "The rest of these men can wait. Get them started on plasma for shock."

"Yes sir," the young woman replied and she was gone.

Hunnicutt emerged from the ambulance simultaneously with Pierce and watched as his friend began to limp over to the surgical tent. Hunnicutt hurried over to catch up to him. "Leg bothering you?" he asked quietly.

Pierce nodded, "Feels like I may have strained something, my leg feels like it's too big for my skin."


"That's a pretty accurate diagnosis for a doctor."

BJ smiled as they entered the washroom and began to put their scrubs on. "You gonna be okay?"

"Not until I'm on American soil."

"I hope you boys can keep the jokes to a minimum for awhile," Colonel Sherman Potter said as he entered the washroom. "We've got some pretty banged up boys out there."

"How's it look, Colonel?" Hunnicutt asked as he began scrubbing his hands.

"Like a blasted war. The only good thing is that the wounded aren't that many. Should be outta here by tonight."

"That's good because it's only today," Pierce said as he worked his way over to the sink and began scrubbing in.

Colonel Potter tied his scrub around his waist as he stared at Pierce, "What in blazes happened to you, son?"

"Oh," the doctor replied nonchalantly as he turned the water off with his elbow, "I took a little trip."

"Is that so?" the Colonel responded, turning his water on, "You wanna enlighten me?"

"He stuck his foot into an animal hole, Colonel." Hunnicutt said with a smile.

Potter shook his head and shut his water off. "Be careful, son, God only knows what kind of critters we got living around these parts. Anything bite you?"

Pierce stopped by the double doors leading into the surgical room. "Don't think so, didn't feel anything."

"Well," Potter said, joining the two doctors by the double doors, "better let me check when we're through here. Just to be safe."

Pierce cocked his head to the side, a mischievous glint in his blue eyes, "Only if you promise to respect me in the morning."

The Colonel shook his head and walked through the doors, Pierce and Hunnicutt close behind. "Come BJ," the surgeon said, "I do believe our table is ready."

"Scalpel. Give me some suction here."

"Lap sponge. Hand me the forceps, I'm gonna play metal detector."

"Retract this bowel please, I can't see didley."

"Nurse, would you be kind enough to try and keep your mind on this patient?"

BJ glanced up from his surgical table and scowled and Winchester, "What's the matter, Charles? Lose your humanity?"

"Ha ha. For your information Hunnicutt, I did lose something."

"Your marbles?" Came a reply from across the room.

"No Pierce," he sneered, to the nurse he instructed, "suction." He glanced back up and continued, "The girl that does my cleaning lost a good pair of my argyle socks."

Hawkeye and Hunnicutt exchanged glances over their masks. "Uh, they gray ones with the red and black trim?" BJ asked timidly.

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