Part 2: 'Bottle Fatigue'
Ten hours later the tired surgery staff lugged themselves over to the Officer's Club for a drink.
"Anyone know what time it is?" Margaret asked as she walked through the door of the Club.
"Quarter past catatonic." BJ replied as he entered behind her.
"I've got twenty past." Potter corrected wearily.
"Maybe we ought to synchronize our exhaustion." Hawkeye suggested as he sat down on a stool and leaned tiredly on the bar.
"At times like this I feel a debt of gratitude to that old Kentucky gent who discovered you can do more with barely then make soup." Potter remarked as he too sat down at the bar.
"You are referring of course to Bourbon, the grape Nehi of alcoholic beverages." Charles commented in a superior tone. "I prefer something a bit more elegant myself."
"Who give a rat's hat." Potter snapped with mild annoyance. "So long as it numbs the noggin."
"Here you are folks, hot off the press. Last month's bar tab." Igor announced excitedly as he started passing out slips of paper to each one of them. "Don't push every body gets one."
"Just put my tab on my tab." BJ commented after glancing at it quickly.
"Okay, this time you've gone too far!" Hawkeye objected hotly. "This isn't a bill it's a phone number. Thirty-eight dollars and twenty cents." BJ laughs as Hawkeye remarks to him. "I can't be responsible for this, I must have been drunk at the time."
"I double checked it, sir." Igor assured him gently.
"Thirty-eight dollars!" BJ compared their bills. "Mine's only twenty-two. You win fallen away."
"I'm not surprised, Pierce the way you bend your elbow." Margaret remarked, then to Igor added. "Give me a double Scotch."
"There must be over one hundred and fifty drinks!" Hawkeye exclaimed.
"Gin and tonic." BJ ordered.
"Bourbon neat." Was Potter's request.
"Cognac." Charles said.
"I could have saved this money and bought a Studebaker." Hawkeye complained.
"Big deal." BJ shrugged unconcernedly. "You'd have just driven it to some bar."
"This is just the tip of the ice cube." His friend raved excitedly. "What about Rosie's…what about the Still?"
"Relax Pierce." Charles remarked calmly. "Even my own alcoholic consumption has increased since I landed in this leper colony, but when I go back to civilization it will return to normal as it will for all of us."
"How do you know that? I don't." Their comrade replied, his tone slightly panicked. "I've never gone home from a war before. How do I know I won't set up a still in my own living room."
"Hawk, there's nothing to worry about." BJ tried to reassure him. "You'll see."
"Yeah, I'm going to see now." Hawkeye told him seriously. "I'm not going to drink anymore." BJ and the others chuckle slightly in amused disbelief. "I mean it, I quit!" He exclaimed firmly.
"Oh, I get it." BJ joked lightly. "Quit now, avoid the Christmas lush."
"Pierce, a two ton bar tab is no reason to take the pledge." Potter told him seriously.
"Not forever, just for a week." Their friend replied. "I just want to prove to myself that I can do it." Looking at BJ he asked. "You want to join me?"
"Are you kidding?" BJ exclaimed incredulously. "I quit not drinking when I was a kid."
"Okay, have it your way." His friend remarked determinedly. "But I'm going to put myself to the test."
The next morning BJ and Charles were both rudely awaken by the off key, jovial singing of their fellow tent mate.
"The dawn is breaking!" Hawkeye sang loudly and brightly.
"Ah!!" Charles exclaimed in annoyance. "You filthy swine!"
Hawkeye laughed mischievously and turned his attention to his best friend, who was still sleeping. "Hey, come on! You don't want to be late for your hangover."
"Ah, Hawkeye!" BJ exclaimed and gave his friend a look of deep annoyance. The look soon changed as he carefully examined his friend's appearance. "Hawk you're shaved…cleaned, pressed." Hawkeye gave his friend a large smile of agreement. "It's revolting." BJ added as he returned his head to his pillow.
"What is it? Parent's Day?" Charles asked as he pulled himself to a sitting position on the side of his cot.
"Oh, sure." Hawkeye replied. "Poke fun at the able body. While you two were embalmed I found out that there are gallons of hot water at this hour. I showered twice, shaved, shampooed. It's fun getting up without the wrath of grapes."
"Good Morning, men of medicine." Klinger greeted as he entered the 'Swamp' his tone light and teasing. "Mail call!" BJ and Charles both groaned in annoyance. "Excuse me, I seem to have stumbled into the critical ward."
"Actually they're rejects from triage." Hawkeye jokingly replied.
"Sir, you look wonderful!" Klinger exclaimed in amazement. Hawkeye pretend to be embarrassed by the comment. "What happened to the souse we've come to know and pick up off the floor."
"I'm spending a week on the wagon." His friend told him. "This is the new Hawkeye Pierce. No preservatives."
"You're quitting drinking?" Klinger exclaimed in amazement.
"Uh, huh." Hawkeye confirmed.
"I'd better call my broker and dump my seagram stock." Klinger told him.
"Corporal, I believe you mentioned mail." Charles moaned. "Will you please complete your appointed rounds."
"Oh, yeah sure." Klinger sounded disappointed to be reminded of his pending duty. "Light load postal patrons. Winchester, C. E. III."
"Give me that!" Charles snarled as he grabbed the letter from Klinger's hand.
Turning to Hawkeye Klinger admonished. "Next time I make this delivery I expect you to keep this man on a leash." Hawkeye chuckled as Klinger left.
"My sister Honoria." Charles informed them in a very hung-over tone.
"Isn't she the lady wrestler?" BJ asked into his pillow.
"Spare me your delirium tremens, wit." His bunkmate spat out in annoyance.
"Hey, Beej!" Hawkeye exclaimed eagerly. "Get up, get dressed! We got time to play some golf."
"Are you kidding." BJ replied incredulously. "I'm in no condition to drive."
"See what you've done to yourself." His friend accused seriously. "Your body is a temple and the Philistines have dropped in."
BJ turned to look at him, his eyes full of annoyance. Raising himself up on one elbow he grabbed hold of his friend's shirt and whispered warningly. "If you don't leave me alone I'm going to tell Charles about you and Margaret getting married!"
Hawkeye looked at his best friend in surprise. "You wouldn't?" He exclaimed, examining the other man's face closely. Seeing the look in his eye he said. "You would."
"In a minute, if you don't leave me alone in peace." BJ confirmed.
Hawkeye paused for a moment, contemplating his options. "I think I'll go see how Margaret and Maggie-Rose are doing this morning."
"Smart idea, Hawk." BJ agreed seriously releasing his friend's shirt and returning to his pillow.
"One question, Beej." Hawkeye asked after a few moments of thinking.
"What is it?" BJ asked in mild exasperation.
"Am I usually that hostile when somebody tries to get me up?" He asked curiously.
"At least." His friend mumbled into his pillow causing Hawkeye to frown thoughtfully.
Margaret looked up at the knock on her door. "Who is it?" She asked curiously. Very few people were up and around so early in the morning, despite the fact that Army regulations dictated an even earlier rise.
"It's your adorable doctor coming to say good morning." A voice called through the door.
"Come in Hawkeye." Margaret beckoned, even more surprised to find him on the other side of her door. When it opened she couldn't help but smile at his neat and clean appearance. It wasn't often that he was shaven and neatly pressed as he was now. "I must admit I'm surprised to find you up and about so early this morning. I thought you normally didn't rise before eleven."
"Normally." Hawkeye admitted. "But I felt like getting up earlier this morning. And since there's nothing much going on in camp I thought I'd come over and see how my two girls were doing." Margaret couldn't resist the smile that spread across her face at his referring to her as 'his girl'. "How about a good morning kiss?" He suggested hopefully, stepping a little closer to her.