“I can’t believe this, Jeanie! You can’t just do that and expect results, especially with little rats running around the camp!”
About a week after I put the note on Henry’s desk, he finally caught up with me (with some free time he finally…well, freed up for some odd reason) and was yelling at me about the letter. I knew that I was in deeper trouble than I thought when I was called into his office and told to immediately sit down, without a decent greeting. Not to mention, Henry’s face was beet red before he even started yelling at me.
Come to find out later, Radar had, apparently, seen the letter on the desk and wisely kept it from Henry. In the meantime, our C.O. decided that he saw it in Radar’s hands at oh-nine hundred in the morning, after a shift in Post-Op with a few nurses VERY early in the morning. Not to mention, Majors Burns and Houlihan saw it and read it, complaining to Henry about it when he came into his office after that particular shift, mostly about the waste of paper for such “personal reasons”, seeing everything I had typed in there.
“Sometimes, you have to see things to believe them,” I answered smartly, feeling my anger come up, my own blood pressure rising. “Did you read it?”
“Don’t give me an attitude!” Henry yelled back, knowing that I was angry about the unfairness of the fight. Waving my thoughts, feeling and suggestions paper, Henry sighed. “Do you see this? Look good and long at it, Jeanie. Your suggestions for the camp – as well as how you feel about everything and everybody in general – are going off in smoke. Majors Houlihan and Burns apparently had read this already and are getting me into loads of trouble for this! General Clayton called me this earlier this morning to ask me about the report they sent over the phone…again…after seeing this silly little waste of paper! This time, they might as well court-martial me! Do you really want that?”
“Why?” I asked, trying to reason with Henry, trying to be fair without yelling back. “This is my folly. I wasted the paper and ink. Why not talk to me about it and punish me accordingly?”
“Because Radar hid it from me and the Majors were kind enough to steal it from him late last night,” Henry replied, slamming the papers on his desk and hurting his fist. Sighing, he rubbed his forehead and his hurt hand. “Really, honey? You have to bring up stupid things like this? Don’t you have anything better to do in the camp? Don’t you have anything that keeps you out of trouble after your shifts?”
I put my feet up on Henry’s desk, trying to be a smartass and relax. “Henry, it’s not like you’re the one who feels the hot water –”
“Get your feet off of my damned desk!” Henry yelled (irritated) as he saw what I did – feet knocking off papers – and I did not care to mend it. For once, I was mad at Henry for calling me into his office and discussing my feelings in such a careless way. Didn’t he even care about them?!
“Again, Henry,” I tried again as I put my feet down, “this isn’t your fight. It’s mine. And if the Majors want to talk to me about something like this, then that’s fine with me because I could seriously care less about them. I just wanted to bring it to your attention, since you’re the Commanding Officer here supposedly. Or, are you still the Commanding Officer here? Does Radar still command this camp? Or does Lorraine help you, like she did with the household, even though she’s more than a world away? I mean, if she found out that you were going out with the nurses, like Leslie Dish – who, after all, was going after Painless Pole a while back before he went back to the States – she’ll be devastated. She’s not going to want to help you anymore. In fact, I see a divorce in your future. After all, Lorraine can be a pretty vindictive woman when she wants to be!”
“Don’t start with me…” Henry looked like he wanted to growl (he got that way when he was angry enough with me and I knew it) and was going to say something when Hawkeye came into the office without preamble, just opening the doors without asking for permission to enter.
Instead of being in uniform, the Captain was in a red bathrobe, blue sweatpants and bare feet underneath. He didn’t even bother to put on his uniform in the morning apparently. His five o’clock shadow was also apparent, which would make Frank Burns go insane.
“Pierce, what do you want?” Our Commanding Officer sighed, knowing he had double the trouble on his hands if some of the Swampmen were around. Even with just Hawkeye, Henry had some trouble on his hands.
Well, Trapper wasn’t behind Hawkeye, as I saw as I double-checked my surroundings, so it was a good sign for Henry. Otherwise, he would have had me (irate as hell) and the Captains hotly behind me (obnoxious as hell). It would not have made a good scene.
“I take it I’m interrupting a very important conversation here,” Hawkeye answered Henry finally after a few seconds (I assumed that he didn’t have coffee), looking at me the whole time, as if he had not seen me before that very moment. “Hello, gorgeous! Am I missing something here, or do my eyes deceive me? Have I stumbled upon a mirage in this desert heat?”
“Pierce, what do you want?!” Henry’s patience was at the end of its rope and I could tell. He wanted to kill something and it wasn’t just me he was pissed with.
“I don’t know, Henry,” the newly-made Chief Surgeon admitted (in a ceremony a week ago). “I wanted to come in here to ask you for a certain something, like to get a certain creep out of the competent doctors’ tent, and then I came upon this pretty –”
I blushed, knowing that Hawkeye was paying attention to me, and Henry noticed it.
“Hands off, Pierce,” he said in his fatherly tone as he interrupted the Captain.
“Ahh, do I hear a father’s voice?” Hawkeye asked, laughing. “Oh, come on, Dad, let me take her to the prom! Please? Please? Please?” He then processed to jump up and down like a child, being plain obnoxious, even for me. Then again, it’s how Hawkeye copes with this place, I guessed.
“Yeah, come on, Dad,” I instigated, joining in on the fun, trying to make myself forget how angry I was with Henry and the rest of the camp. “Can I go to the prom with Hawkeye? Please? Please? Please?”
“All right, you two!” Henry banged his fist on the desk again, knocking more papers off of it. “Get out of here! It’s bad enough Majors Houlihan and Burns are in here all the damned time and writing reports behind my back. Out of here, on the double, NOW! Jeanie, I will talk with you later, so don’t think you’ve gotten away with this. Pierce, just…try to be more military.”
“Yeah, sure, Henry,” I answered sarcastically as I got out of the chair quickly, knowing that I was putting my toe in some pretty hot water, and walked straight out of the office. I think Hawkeye knew it too, for he stopped jumping up and down and ran out of the office doors with me, laughing his ass off.
“That was some face you gave it, a nice touch to the reply,” he said, laughing still and patting me on the back. “Hey, Captain, that was pretty good in there. I take it you know Henry a little ways back?”
I smiled broadly, laughing too. “Yeah,” I admitted with ease. “I’ve known Henry since he was in medical school. I was just a kid and his patient half the time. It’s kind of a long story from here to there and back again. Well, I knew his wife and well…he came along for the ride when she was still single and living alone and he wanted to marry her. They lived together, got married, had kids and had a life. I considered myself to be in the background.”
“That’s Henry, all right.” Hawkeye was still laughing pretty hard – there was a twinkle in his blue eyes – and he looked at me with a new set of sight, so it seemed. I was somebody he could talk to and it was easy because I was no nurse who was looking for his attentions, but somebody who was her own woman. I was an equal.
“Yeah…” I had to go and trailed my sentence. Major Houlihan had me on Post-Op duty for the day and I wanted to leave (even though I had seven hours behind me already), but with Hawkeye around to talk to me, it didn’t seem like I wanted to. I wanted to be around him and be laughing, joking and be happy. I wanted to be giggling all the time. But, alas, I was no beauty for him, no nurse that he wanted to chase within a whim really. Before that day, he could have glanced at me and know I was not there.
Or, was I? Did he not care until he saw me alone?
“I know you’ve been around these parts for a long time, but I never knew your name,” Hawkeye acknowledged after he ceased laughing, as if to break some ice between us as I looked to the doors to Post-Op and the O.R. “What is your name?”
I looked at Hawkeye, thinking for two seconds, and then stood in attention and saluted, as if it was all a mock joke, yelling as I saluted, “Captain Jeanette Karen Morrison, Sir! I have Post-Op duty with Major Houlihan and Lieutenant Baker in fifteen minutes. Request permission to leave your sight now, Sir?!”
Hawkeye shook his head and put his thumb to his nose, wiggling his fingers and sticking out his tongue in his own mock salute, replying, “You have my permission…Jeanette, I think your name is. Or, did I hear Henry call you Jeanie in there?”
I relaxed. “It’s Jeanie. I’ve always liked to be called that.”
“Ok, then…Jeanie, why don’t you meet me in the Swamp after your shift tonight?” For once, Hawkeye looked serious. “Don’t bring Dad over there. I don’t think he’ll approve of you going in there. I’ve been a bad influence with his children apparently. And my track record isn’t the greatest.”
And with that, Hawkeye – ever the joker, ever the mysterious man – turned around and left me pretty damned quick, walking out the doors and humming a song from long ago and dancing with the next nurse that came within his way (Nurse Cain just pushed him away, his lips trying to kiss her, but missing as she moved away in disgust). I only smiled and shook my head, knowing the truth behind the man.
Or do I? I thought as I walked through the other set of doors to Post-Op.