"Give me that." He grabbed the phone. "Hello, Colonel Lacy?"
"Yes, Colonel Lacy here."
"Lacy, it's Potter. How bad was my man Pierce?"
"Well, he didn't let me get inside him."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, he let me fix his leg, but that was it. Pierce asked for local and said if I tried to do anything else he'd kill me. I wrapped his chest, broken ribs. He left, though."
"Your man's insane, Potter. He asked me for five boxes of penicillin and told me to send them on a chopper with Hunnicutt."
Hawkeye was at that moment limping to the next MASH unit. There wasn't much time left for some of those patients and he knew it. Hawkeye knew infections only too well. He'd encountered some new ones here in Korea. He rubbed at the tape on his chest. Hawkeye was quite tired and felt sick. He wanted to rest, but there were boys in his mind he'd treated for infections in the past. He remembered all of them Marines, Army, even Koreans.
Their faces reminded him that he couldn't let those at the camp now suffer or die. Still, he decided he'd have to go against his heart's orders and listen to reason. If Hawkeye didn't sit down soon he too would be joining those dying in post-op Hawkeye sat down and relaxed, but only for a minute. He couldn't waste any time getting there.
As he was walking, Hawkeye stumbled upon an old woman standing in the middle of the street with a frying pan in her hand. He looked at her like she was crazy. "Do you speak English?" The woman mumbled something in Korean and hit Hawkeye in the head. He fell into a deep sleep.
When Hawkeye next woke up the woman was standing over him screaming "Henry, Henry!" But she knew no English. Hawkeye's first thought was, How can she even be saying that? Henry isn't a Korean name. A man came out holding a box of gauze and some scissors.
"Henry? Henry!" Hawkeye automatically tried to sit up, but the pounding sensation in his head made him lay back down once again. There was old Henry, just standing there. He was wearing the shirt and pants from the suit he went home in. Henry mumbled some Korean to the woman and she did the same back. "I thought you were dead." Henry stared at him blankly. "Look, I know I've gotten ugly, but I'm still Hawkeye."
"Yeah it's me. We all thought you were dead. What happened?"
"I thought someone would be looking for me by now. Those blunder heads didn't notice when I didn't get off the plane?" Hawkeye looked at the man and shook his head. Henry looked at Hawkeye strangely
"Your plane was shot down, Henry. According to the records, you submitted your ticket at the airport."
"So those soldiers did steal my ticket! Man! I can't believe this."
"What happened, Henry?"
"Well, I was walking over to the airport in Tokyo when these two men approached me and asked me where I was going. I think they recognized me from the 4077th. I told them I'd been discharged from the army."
"Big no-no, Henry you should have known better."
"Well, they beat me up real bad and one of those guys must've stolen my ticket. When I woke up, I found two guys taping me up. They put me in a crate and took me back to Korea. They dropped me off in the middle of nowhere. I finally broke free of the crate and this old woman hit me over the head with a frying pan, and now here I am. She didn't know ‘4077th,' and I didn't know where I was. Wandering around blindly seemed like a bad idea."
"How'd you learn the language? I seem to recall you being able to speak about as much of the language as I do."
"The old woman nursed me back to health. While she was at it, she taught me Korean. That's all she knew how to speak."
"Not bad Henry...you're talented."
Hawkeye smiled at his friend as he came to his feet. Henry stared at him in confusion. "And just where do you think you're going, Mr. Pierce?"
"I have to get penicillin over to the 4077th. If I don't, a lot of boys will die."
"Gotta hate the war; Just when you find out I'm alive . . ."
"I have to leave again. Come back to the 4077th, Henry. It's just north of here, a couple of miles. Everyone will be glad that you're here, and your family would love to hear about you. They think you're dead. Sorry I can't wait for you."
"No...Hawkeye, don't tell anyone I'm alive. I treat sick people and do a lot of stuff I wouldn't be able to do at home. Here I save people."
"I understand." Hawkeye began to walk away.
"Oh, Hawk, before you go, here. It's only five boxes, but . . ." Henry handed him the penicillin. Hawkeye let out a salute and was on his way.
"BJ?" Colonel Potter gave BJ's body a slight shake. He turned around slowly, trying to open his eyes. The thought of being blind hit him like a sledgehammer. BJ let out a heart-chilling scream. All the patients stared at him.
"Sorry. Is Hawkeye back yet?" He questioned the Colonel.
"Well, son...Hawkeye's not back yet. He's alive, though. He managed to send us twelve boxes of penicillin. He's one stupid idiot. I told all the other M*A*S*Hes to be on the lookout for him. Somehow Hawkeye manages to sneak out of every one, but not before leaving a note where he's headed next. Hawkeye wrote that he's going to the front line for the last two boxes. Just a few more kids need it."
"He's going to the front line?"
"I'm afraid so."
"No! He can't."
"No one really knows the description I give to them."
"I am sorry son, I wish there was more I could do."
"What about my eyes?"
"I don't know BJ...we're hoping for the best but with the flash burns who knows?"
"Yeah...the people you love can never give you a straight answer. I wish that something would be clear in this situation." BJ turned away from Colonel Potter. He didn't want to hear about anymore surprises. It was the surprise of that last shell that nearly cost BJ and Hawkeye their lives. Now Beej may not get his sight back. How would he deal with it? Hawkeye said he could handle it but BJ was another story. He wasn't willing to accept it.
One mile and I will be there, Hawkeye thought to himself. Only one mile left until Hawkeye would be at the Aid Station. He was crawling on the ground by now. There was no way he'd be caught that high up. Think of how many ways he could be hit. A grenade hit four feet in front of him. Luckily, he was still alive. Hawkeye went right into the Aid Station and asked for the penicillin. The medic gave Hawkeye the last two boxes the 4077th needed. "You have a lot of injuries, Hawkeye. I'm surprised you made it that far," the aid surgeon commented.
"But if I didn't go this far some guys at the hospital would die, and I don't go for that. Hey, whose binoculars are those?" Hawkeye had his eye on the black leather binoculars on the table.
"They're mine. My mom shipped them to me. I can see all the way to the Front line with these babies."
"Can I take a peek, Captain?"
"Sure, Hawkeye, be my guest."
"Thanks. Well this is some war that you have going on...look at all the fighting."
"I try not to."
"I can understand why.
As Hawkeye looked through the binoculars, he saw a general standing at the rim of a foxhole screaming at his platoon. As he adjusted the binoculars, Hawkeye saw that a lot of the guns were aimed at the general. No more! I don't want them to do any more work tonight. They're half-staffed, but they'll still get sent the same number of casualties. They can't take it. Some of the wounded may not be able to, either. Hawkeye thought.
He limped out as far as he could before crawling on the ground. There was almost complete silence. There were men screaming out for the medic. As Hawkeye came closer, he heard the General's speech.
"We're here to win, boys. Failing is not an option here. You cannot disappoint me. If peace means killin' we'll show them!" All the men cheered out.
"Excuse me, General, but . . ."
"What's your rank?"
"I'm your superior officer. You will direct me as sir."
"Get down, sir."
"Who are you to come in the middle of my arena and tell me to get down? I have been here longer than you have, and you presume to tell me what to do?"
"General! I have no time for this!"
"This is my war, and you're trying to tell me what to do?" The general went on, but Hawkeye noticed the Chinese soldiers and the North Korean Soldiers and the guns they pointed--all were aiming toward the one foxhole, towards the general.
"I don't care what you do. I'm trying to save lives, yours and your boys'. If you get wounded today, you have a good chance of dying." Hawkeye saw the shell coming. He stood up and shoved the general into the foxhole. The general landed safely, well almost. His head hit a rock, but he was still breathing. A minor concussion wouldn't kill him.
Suddenly the guns began going again. That was something that Hawkeye didn't want. One gun shot off Hawkeye's dog tags. The bullet ricocheted off his neck. He also caught pieces of shrapnel in his neck and in his lower back. There was a cloud of smoke. With that the sight of Hawkeye was gone. But he was still alive. He'd fallen into a nearby foxhole but not before grabbing the barbed wire. Many bodies fell on top of him. As Hawkeye lost consciousness, he hoped fervently that the other soldiers would keep down, keep the casualties light.
He took a lot of shrapnel as the bombs exploded around him and the medic that had picked him up and begun carrying him back to the aid station. With his face even more swollen than before, no one would recognize him.
"Attention! Attention! All personnel! Incoming wounded by chopper and ambulance. All medical teams--what's left of you--report to triage!"
"Lap sponge," Frank exclaimed in surgery just minutes later.
"Lap sponge," Nurse Able replied.
Over at Colonel Potter's table, they were having some difficulties. "Margaret, look at the metal in this guy. As Hawkeye would say, he could be the tin man. I'll have to show him all of this when he wakes up. The guy's face is one big blister. He's got awful burns. His neck--I wish I could take the time to fix his throat now. He won't be able to talk until all the holes are closed, but his pulse is too weak to take a lot of time, and I've got to over-sew the holes in his aorta. Look at this guy! If you look at his right leg, you can see stitches that have recently been taken out. I feel sorry for him. His hands look like they've been through a blender. I've never seen a guy get hit so bad."
"Colonel, he looks absolutely appalling. Is he going to make it?"
"He's not dying if I can help it."
"Oh, boohoo! Just let him die, Colonel. I'm working on way more guys than you today. Metsinboum scissors," Frank remarked
"Mets," the nurse replied.
"Burns, one more comment like that and I'll have you court-martialed. Nobody dies for convenience in my OR."
After surgery, the Colonel's patient woke up slowly out of a deep sleep. Stupid General! He thought. No one ever listens. Man, am I in pain. Don't they serve any morphine around here? "
Doctor!" Nurse Kellye screamed.
"What now?" Frank snapped back. He got up out of the desk and turned around.
"John Doe's awake."
John Doe? Everyone seems to be asleep except for me, he thought. As he saw Frank approach, he tried to speak. Not a word, not even a sound came out. No! What's going on here? Ferret Face, you know who I am. You have to know! The man thought.