"Four more days of his sobriety is going to drive me to drink." BJ complained as he was joined by Margaret and Klinger.
"He got mad at me this morning 'cause he didn't get any mail." Klinger grumbled in irritation. "No wonder! Who'd want to write a grump like that."
"For you information, Corporal Captain Pierce is not behaving like a grump just for the fun of it." Margaret said in defense of her absent husband. "When a person gives up drinking it has a physical affect on the body. It's temporary. For the time being we can be understanding and supportive."
"I've got a better idea." Klinger exclaimed with a sudden inspiration. "We tell him he needs a malaria shot and we fill the hypo with booze..." Both BJ and Margaret rolled their eyes in reply.
Later in the Mess tent Hawkeye, BJ, Margaret, Potter and Mulcahy were eating lunch. Hawkeye was, as usual, smelling his food. However today the little ritual was getting on everyone's nerves more than it normally did.
"Football locker room...no..." He sniffed again. "...a hyena's cage...no, no, wait..." One more sniff. "...the inside of a fisherman's boot in Newark. That's it! The potatoes on the other hand..."
Potter reached over and placed a hand on Hawkeye's arm to stop him. "Son," The older man warned gently. "I think it would be a lot easier to get these vittles down without the nasal appraisal."
"I call them as a smell them." Hawkeye informed the other man, completely unrepentant for his comments. "Since the veil of alcohol has been lifted from my brain, I have discovered a whole new world out there and you have no idea how disgusting it is."
"Look Captain, I understand what you're going through." Margaret remarked, desparately trying to remain calm. "It's admirable, it's noble, it's an inspiration to us all, but I think I speak for the entire congregation when I say SHUT UP!" The others voiced their agreement with whole hearted applause.
"Is that so!" Hawkeye chanllanged, looking right at her.
"Yes that's so." Margaret exclaimed, her own voice rising in anger. "We're all tired of your tea totaling tantrums."
"Oh, I get it, you want me to start drinking again, don't you?" Hawkeye gave her an accusatory look.
"That's not what I said!" Margaret exclaimed in annoyance.
"Ah that's what you want." He glared at her as if daring her to deny.
"Oh, Hawk don't be paranoid!" BJ told his friend firmly.
"You'd like that wouldn't you?" Hawkeye ignored his bestfriend and gave Margaret another challenging look. "The old doctor Pierce from Souse Korea. He was all the rage with that cute little wobble in his walk not to mention his rosy cheeks with eyes to match. That's what you want, isn't it Margaret?"
"If everything is so damn clear to you, Mr. Keen Senses, how come you haven't noticed that I'm the one who's been defending you." She rose from her seat to leave, but paused and glared at him angrily. "That is up till now!"
"Well, you don't have to get huffy!" He called after her as she marched angrily out of the Mess tent.
"I don't know, Pierce." Potter told him seriously. "I think she has a good case for the huffs."
Hawkeye's face reflected his sudden feelings of guilt for snapping at Margaret. Even though he hated to admit it, he knew that she was right and he was acting incredibly childish and paranoid. Before he could comment, a nurse passed by and said. "Excuse me, Doctor." The gestured for him to follow her away from the table.
"Lieutenant Mendenhall." He greeted lightly, pasting a smile on his face. He figured there was no sense biting someone else's head off. He's already alienated the one nurse that meant a lot to him, no sense alienating any others. "How can I help you?"
"Tonight's duty roster is out." Mendenhall told him confidentially and then looked at him expectantly.
"And?" He asked, not quite sure what she was getting at.
"And I'm not on it." She replied happily, then clarified the importance of her news. "Do we still have that date?"
Hawkeye felt his stomach knot up as he remembered their date for that evening. He'd asked her out last week – before Maggie-Rose had showed up, before he and Margaret had gotten married. "Um, actually Lieutenant, I'm afraid that I can't make it tonight." Glancing through the tent screen towards Margaret's tent he sighed slightly and looked back to the perplexed nurse standing before him. "Something else has come up."
The Lieutenant folded her arms and gave him an angry look. "Oh, I see. I suppose the great Dr. Pierce has another date for tonight."
"No." He quickly assured her as he glanced back towards Margaret's tent across the compound. "But I do have a very important friendship to salvage if I can. Please excuse me." With that he turned and left the tent.
"Good choice, son." Potter commented under his breath as he watched the younger man leave. He was so hopeful that he and Margaret would realize what a wonderful couple they would make and decide to make their marriage a permanent thing. He loved both of them very much and wanted to do everything in his power to help them to realize how right they were for each other. But he wasn't about to interfere too much – at least not yet. He'd wait and see how things went on their own, but he was not above giving them a hard shove if they needed it.
Meanwhile across the compound, Hawkeye knocked somewhat hesitantly on Margaret's door.
"Who is it?" An angry voice called through the door.
"A very humbled surgeon looking to apologize." He replied, his repentance evident in his tone.
Unfortunately in her present state of anger Margaret couldn't hear his remorse. "Go away Pierce!" She told him angrily. "I don't want to talk to you right now!"
"Margaret please." He begged through the door. "Let me come in. I want to talk to you."
There was the sound of the door lock unlatching and then the door opened. "You have two minutes to state your case." She told him tersely.
Hawkeye nodded and wordlessly entered the tent. Looking around he noticed the baby wasn't around. "Where's Maggie-Rose?" He asked, pointing to her empty footlocker.
"Kelley and Able took her for a walk." Margaret replied coolly as she folded her arms across her chest.
"It's nice that others are taking an interest in her." He commented casually. "It's good for her to get use to people."
Margaret merely gave him a look of impatience and said. "You're down to one minute, Pierce."
Hawkeye sighed and decided to just get it over with. "Margaret, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I behaved like such a childish idiot in the Mess tent. I didn't mean what I said, I know you don't want me to start drinking...I was being a paranoid fool." When she didn't respond he continued. "I appreciate you standing up for me, I really do. I can't believe I was stupid enough to miss your support this past few days. I guess I was so wrapped up in my own little world that I neglected to notice the effect I was having on others. I know I've been a fool, but will you please forgive me?" He stepped closer to her and put his hands on her arms. "Please?" Without giving her a chance to reply he bent down and placed a soft kiss on her cheek. "I think I'll die if you don't." He then bent down and kissed her other cheek. When he pulled back he looked into her eyes and could easily read the conflict of emotions in her face. Part of her wanted to stay mad at him for a while longer, but another part, a part she was only recently learning existed, wanted him to take her in his arms and kiss her. As if to maintain face, or perhaps to aid in squelching her newly awakening feelings, the first part won out.
Backing away from him she moved to the door and held it open. In her well know 'Major Houlihan' demeanor she ordered. "You've said your piece, now get out!"
Hawkeye hesitated for a moment, giving her a pleading look before moving towards the door. "I meant what I said." He told her sincerely before taking his leave. "I really am sorry." Bending down he kissed her cheek again. "I'll see you later." He said a little sadly as he turned to leave.
Before he got out the door the PA suddenly announced: "ATTENTION EVERYBODY! INCOMING WOUNDED! GET YOURS WHILE THEY LAST! TELL YOUR FRIENDS!"
"I guess it'll be sooner than later." Hawkeye commented over his shoulder to Margaret as he started jogging across the compound to the ambulances that had just pulled in.
"I've got a prisoner on the gurney, doctor." Klinger announced as he entered the Operating Room.
"Over here, Klinger." Hawkeye replied and motioned to the empty table before him.
"Thank you!" Klinger exclaimed eagerly as he motioned for two corpsman to bring in the next patient. "Our next contestant comes to us all the way from Peking. His interests include Mougouguipan and collecting and trading American prisoners. How about a big M*A*S*H welcome to..."
"Just get him on the table!" Hawkeye snapped in annoyance. He was still agitated because of his argument with Margaret and the past eternity he just spent in the OR was not doing anything to ease his frustrated feelings. He certainly wasn't in the mood for any OR Vaudeville routines. Pulling back the sheet that covered his new patient he was extremely annoyed to find that the man was still partly clothed. "Klinger what the hell is this? This guy's pants are still on!"
"Don't blame me, oh Surly Surgeon." Klinger retorted sarcastically. "I don't peel them, I just push 'em. Corpsman!"
"Alright, never mind it's too late now." Hawkeye told him, mildly apologetic. "Just don't do it next time, alright!" As he prepared to begin surgery a slight movement from his table caught his eye. "Wait a minute!" He exclaimed as he dove to restrain the man. He grabbed the man's arm as he started screaming at him in Chinese. The two men began to struggle madly with each other.
"Pierce, what the hell are you doing over there?" Charles demanded in annoyance as he watched the commotion at the other table.
"This crazy lunatic's got a live grenade!" Hawkeye explained as he continued to try to subdue the other man. At his words everyone started speaking at once.
"How the hell did he get a grenade in here?" Potter shouted above the roar of voices.
"Don't panic!" Hawkeye replied. "He's holding the handle and I'm holding him!"
"Somebody give him a hand!" Potter ordered to which Hawkeye cried.
"No, no, no! Stay back!"
"Alright, listen up." Potter quickly recanted. "Everybody that doesn't have to be here skitdattle pronto!" As everyone quickly did as he said he urged Hawkeye. "Just hang on tight there, your fingers are the only thing standing between us and kabloe."
"Just think of me as five little Dutch boys." Hawkeye replied, his voice strained from effort. The Chinese man struggled harder, continuing to shout at him angrily. "Easy! Take it easy!" His restrainor ordered urgently.
"Somebody get on the gas and get him under!" BJ ordered seriously.
"I'll do it!" Margaret cried and ran for the anestisia tank. "The tank's broken, the gauge snapped off."
"I'll get an ether mask!" Klinger cried from his position at the prisoner's feet. "Roy!" He called for another corpsman to take his place holding the man's feet down. Once relieved he ran out the door in search of the ether yelling. "Keep calm! I'll be right back!"
"How long do you think you can hold on?" BJ asked anxiously.
"For the rest of my life!" Was Hawkeye firm reply.
"Okay Pierce we have to put the pin back in that grenade." Potter told him calmly. "Where is it?"
"Search me!" Was Hawkeye's quick reply.
"Well use something else in there, you dote." Winchester cried angrily. "A needle, swab, anything!"
"This is no time for experiments." Potter exclaimed eagerly. "That's a commie pineapple. We got to find the pin it came with. Okay anyone with a free hand get down on your knees and look for that pin." Margaret and Father Mulcahy both dropped and started searching every inch of the floor around Hawkeye's feet.
"And for God's sake find it fast!" Hawkeye urged desperately as his patient started pushing against his grip again, screaming in frustration.
"Father, as long as your down there..." Potter began.
"I'm praying already, sir." The padre assured him.
"You got us all wrong!" Hawkeye told the angry Chinese man frantically. "We're doctors, were good guys. Look at the white hats."
"Pierce," Potter cried anxiously. "whatever you do try to calm that boy down."
"Calm him down?" Hawkeye repeated in a puzzled tone. "What do you want me to do – sing him a song?"
"Music has charm, Hawk." BJ replied eagerly.