A Major Slip-Up

by Megan

It's impossible, It couldn't be. Margaret laid back on her bed. She just got off an 8 hour shift of OR, and usually she's a great nurse in there, but today, she was, ummmm... preoccupied. Her problem was of great proportions, and she knew it. No one else would understand the magnitude of this problem. She couldn't talk to the C/O He would make some obnoxious joke. According to Margaret, Col. Blake, was childlike, and unfit for command. What could he do, if she told him, soon the whole camp would know. Her nurses hated her, and she still isn't sure on how she feels about them. They were insubordinate, and didn't respect her. If they didn't respect her as a Major, they sure as hell wouldn't respect her problem as a person. As far as she was concerned, everyone in this camp was a fool that were unfit to serve in the United States Army. An ignorant nearsighted company clerk, a corpsman who wore dresses, and not to mention the doctors. Captains McIntyre and Pierce, Trapper and Hawkeye, were the two most disrespectful people that she has ever met. They were damn good doctors, that she had to admit, but nobody could know that she said that. And she for sure couldn't tell them her secret to those womanizers, privately she sort of thought of Hawkeye and even sometimes Trapper, as sweet guys, but if she told them her secret, they would probably broadcast it over the camp's lousy PA system. The whole camp would know by the end of the day. Then there was Major Frank Burns, that married Frank Burns, with his married face, and his married hands, and his married legs, and all the other married parts of him. He was the one who got her into this mess in the first place. He was the one to blame for this, the only one. Most people in the camp didn't like her either. She was a major, and the only one in the camp who didn't have to listen to her was the Colonel, and in her opinion he should, because she was a much better officer, than he would ever be. She considered asking the Colonel for a pass to Tokyo, but what if he questioned her motives, she could never admit it to him. Plus, what would happen to the camp if she was not there. Margaret closed her eyes. She was tired, but not because of OR. She didn't feel well. She was tired, and cranky, and nauseous, among other symptoms. Being a nurse, actually, being a woman made her suspect what was wrong. Actually, not suspect, know, and it was all that lousy Frank's Burns fault. Margaret figured that she had to tell Frank, because no matter how lousy he was, no matter how married he was, she loved him. She fell asleep, with a small smile on her face.

Reveille woke Margaret up at 6:00. She felt ready to throw up, and going to the Mess Tent wouldn't help that, but she had to find Frank. As she walked in the door to the Mess Tent, she spotted Frank sitting at a table with Hawkeye, Trapper, Col. Blake, and Radar. As usual, the two Captains were making fun of him. She walked up to them "Can it!". The two doctors shut up. "Hi Margaret." "Shut up, Frank, and come with me." She grabbed the Major by the arm and pulled him towards the door. "Ooooooooooh," She glared at the rest of the table, who also soon shut up. As she led Frank towards her tent, he started to nibble at her ear. "Hands off, Frank" "But, Maaaarrgaret" "I've got to talk to you" she replied so sternly that he put his hands away immediately.

As they entered her tent, Margaret winced. She had a terrible pain in her stomach. "Frank, I don't know how to tell you this..." "Let's not talk Margaret" Frank said as he put his hands on her chest. She slapped his face. "What is it Margaret? Just tell me." "Frank, I think I'm pregnant." "Are you sure Margaret?" "Of course I am." "But I'm married" "Yes, I know that Frank, you didn't have to bring that up." "But" "Now we can get married, you can divorce your wife, and we can get married." "But Margaret, I can't afford a wife, and an ex-wife." "Frank, do you only care about yourself? What about me, what am I going to do, being pregnant means that I can't be in the army." "Margaret, did you get this medically tested?" "Well, no" "Margaret go to Tokyo and get this tested," Frank said more concerned about himself than about Margaret. "Ask the Colonel for a 3-day pass." "Come with me to Tokyo, Frank" "I can't Margaret, they need me here, I'm a surgeon, you're only a nurse, your not as important" "Frank!" "I didn't mean that Margaret, you're a very good nurse." "Come with me to ask for a pass." "Of course Margaret."

As they walk into the office, Col. Blake had his feet up on his desk, a cigar in his mouth, and some form of alcohol in his hand. "Colonel, Margaret needs a pass to Tokyo." "And why do you need a pass to Tokyo, Margaret" Henry said facing Frank. "I need it for personal reasons, sir, and would like to request, Major Burns to accompany me." "Now, Majors, I think that I understand", Henry said with a sly look. "No sir, no, its not that sir, Margaret thinks she's pregnant." Hot Lips stared at Frank "I mean, well, I meant to say, ummmmm" "Shut up, Frank" Henry and Margaret said simultaneously. "Congratulations, Margaret, did the Major tell his lovely wife?" Henry laughed. "Colonel, please don't tell anyone." "Major, you don't have the authority to tell me what to do. You two can have a pass to Tokyo, anything to get you off my back, Radar!" "Yes, sir?" "Make up a pass for Major Burns and Major Houlihan to go to Tokyo this weekend." "Both Majors sir? Both Majors are going to Tokyo sir, this weekend sir? Both you sirs? I mean mams, uh sir and mam?" "Yes, Radar." "Okay sir."

"Henry, you mean that you sent Hot Lips and Ferret Face to Tokyo together." Hawkeye, Trapper, and Henry were sitting in the Swamp getting drunk on the liquid rat poison that came from the still. "Yessirie." "But why Henry, were you drunk at the time?" Trapper answered Hawkeye's question by saying "Henry's always drunk, that's what makes him so lovable." The captains laughed. "Aw, you guys, if you don't stop, then I won't tell you my secret." "OO OO OO" Hawk and Trap leaned forward "What is it?" "Weeell, Major Houlihan think that she is pregnant." The three started chuckling uncontrollably. "Henry, you're kidding" Trapper said when he had caught his breath. "Margaret actually admitted this to you?!" "Nope, Frank let it slip, Margaret was about to kill him." "But you can't tell anyone else." "Of course we won't tell." Hawk turned to Trapper "Who should we tell first?" Just then Radar walked into the Swamp. "Hi, sirs, can I join you sirs?" "Sure Radar, come in" Trapper said as he stood up to pour Radar a drink." "This is sure nice of you sirs, and you sirs are sure lucky that the Majors sirs are in Tokyo." "Hey Radar, guess what." Trapper handed Radar a drink. He took a sip and winced. "What?" "Hot Lips thinks she is pregnant." Radar looked startled for a moment and replied "You mean that she is ugh, a you mean the Major ugh and the Major, ugh well you know, are gonna have a ugh, I mean the sirs, or ugh the well ugh, sirs? "That's exactly what we mean Radar." "Hey, Radar can we announce it on the PA system." "Ugh, well, ugh, you guys are the sirs." "Guys, you can't do that," Henry said as he fell off his chair "Aw, what the hell." "Attention all personnel, this is Hawkeye and Trapper." "I am sure that you all know that Majors Houlihan and Burns are in Tokyo," "Well, they are there because Major Houlihan is taking a pregnancy test." "Thank you, that is all, now back to your regular boredom."

Meanwhile, in Tokyo, Frank and Margaret were in a hotel. She had taken the pregnancy test, and was in the midst of waiting for them to call her with the results. She was pacing the room, nervous. She laid down on her bed, not even noticing how comfortable the bed was, compared to the thin, lumpy, mattress on her cot at the 4077th. Frank was lying face down on the other bed. Margartet had insisted that although they were stuck in the same room, they must not share a bed. He was lying on the other bed sobbing and wishing that she wasn't pregnant. Suddenly, the phone rang. Margaret got up with a start and ran to the phone. "Hello?!" she said anxiously. "Is this Mrs. Margaret Houlihan?" the voice online other side asked. "Uh, this is Miss Houlihan, yes." "We have the results from your pregnancy test, Miss Houlihan." "Yeah, so, tell me already!" Margaret almost screamed into the phone. "I'm sorry, It's just that, well, I'm nervous." "I understand completely. The test was positive." Margaret blinked "Are, Are you sure" "Yes, congratulations." Margaret was in a daze as she hung up the phone. Frank sat up. "Was that them, what's the results?" "I'm pregnant, Frank." Frank started to throw a temper tantrum. "You can't Margaret, what will my wife say? She'll divorce me, her father will cut me out of his will, I can't afford a wife and an ex-wife. I can't, I can't, I can't." Frank was kicking his legs and banging his arms. "I can't I can't I can't" "Shut up Frank. This isn't about you, you don't have to make everything about you. You're not the one who's going to have morning sickness. You're not the one who is going to gain fifteen pounds. You are not the one who nine months from now is going to go through excruciating pain!!!" At this point, Margaret was screaming at him, she had no compassion for him, and was letting out all the anger that she ever had. "And you're not the one, who's going to have to leave the army." Margaret could barely say the last few words. She took a gulp of air, and started to sob. "Oh, Frank." "Margaret, it's only the army, it's not important, just don't tell my wife, OK, please Margaret." "Frank, the army was the only life I've ever knew. I was born in an army hospital, I spent my whole life in army housing, all my friends were army brats! I am a woman who is a major in the United States Army, and I am proud of it. I've worked hard to get where I am, and I don't want to give it all up, for a child, who is not going to have a father!" Margaret started this monologue strong, but ended up breaking down, and almost whispering at the end. "I just don't know what to do Frank." Frank gave her a kiss, that he meant more for his comfort than hers. "Do you think we should call Colonel Blake, and tell him." "No, Frank, I can just imagine what rumors are already going around camp, and they don't even know that the test was positive."

"I can't believe it." "I know" "I'll be glad to get rid of her." "Come on, she's not that bad" "Who are you kidding? Hot Lips is terrible." "Yeah, I guess you are right, she is terrible." The nurses were giggling and talking about the news that Captains Pierce and McIntyre had just tactfully announced over the PA system. Across the compound Hawkeye, Trapper, Radar, Klinger, Father Mulchaey, and Henry were talking. Actually, Henry was sitting there drunk, Radar was looking confused, and Father Mulchaey was deciding that the conversation was not for him to hear. They were talking about the same thing as the nurses, except instead of about Margaret, they were talking about Frank. "I find this jocularity, a little to rowdy, for the ears of a priest." Father Mulchaey stated with enough lilt in his voice to show that he had something to drink. "G'bye Father". "Abyssinia Father". "I can't believe it. Hot Lips and Frank are going to have a baby. I wonder what Louise would say." "Right Hawk, I wonder what would happen if two captains that shall remain nameless, made a call to lets say, maybe, Fort Wayne, Indiana." "You guys can't do that, I mean you guys are sirs, and I'm not a sir, but you sirs, can't do that to the major sirs, sirs" "Relax Radar, we were just kidding." "Yeah, Radar, we wouldn't tell the major's wife, that the majors are going to have a minor."

"Frank, when we get back to camp, I think you should call your wife. "Why should I call Lousise, If she finds out about you, then her father will cut me out of his will. I don't wanna be cut out of his will." Frank, like usual was whining. "Frank." Margaret looked at him sternly and he shut up. "Now, call her!" "Margaret, honey, there has to be some way around this. I'll give you an apartment. Near my work so I can see you. And I'll give you and the baby $200 a month. Just please don't tell my wife, I don't wanna be cut out of the wiiiillllll." "Frank, I make $400 as a major, and would have to give that up. Now when we get back to camp, you are going to call Lousise. Feel lucky that I'm giving you that long. I could make you call her now!"

"MASH 4077th, Corporal O'Reilly speaking." "Major Houlihan!" Trapper and Hawkeye, who happened to be in Radar's office looked at each other and started laughing and making snide comments, as quietly as possibly, as so Hot Lips couldn't hear. "Colonel Blake is unavailable, Major" "No, he is not in sur...." "Yes, ma'am" "I'll see if I can find him." "Now, ma'am?" "Of course, ma'am." Covering the mouthpiece with his hand, Radar faced Hawk and Trapper with a terrified look on his face. "Could one of you sirs, please wake up the Colonel. Tell him Major Houlihan wants to talk to him now." "I'll go Radar" Trapper said, as he left the office. Lifting his hand, Radar told Margaret that the Colonel would be there in a moment. Trapper returned to the office with Henry in tow, behind him. Henry had a nurse's bra on his head, and was drunk, although not as much as he has known to be. He picked up the phone. "What's the news, major." "No major, nobody else is in this room." Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar were standing in Radar's office, where Henry had picked up the phone. If he had picked up the phone in his office, they would have listened on the other extension, but Henry had picked up Radar's extension. "You can't order me to shut up, Major, I'm a Colonel." "Sorry, major, I'll let you talk." "Well major, we will be sorry to lose you." "Good luck, major." "I'm sorry, major." "Yes, major, I will see you and Ferret Face in two days." "Okay, I will see you and Major Burns in two days." " No Major, I will not tell anyone." "Of course Major" "G'bye Major." Henry turned and looked at the two doctors and his company clerk, and all four burst out laughing. They knew from Henry's half of the conversation that Hot Lips was pregnant. Hawk and Trapper realized the comical nature of the situation, but stopped laughing when they realized, without Hot Lips there to distract him, Frank's personality would become even more irritable than it already was. If it was possible for Frank to become more annoying.

Margaret and Frank were packing their bags, they had to leave the next morning for Kimpo, where Radar would pick them up. Henry was going to make arangements for her leaving the army. She didn't trust Henry, she thought that he was incompetant and unfit to command the unit, but she knew she was in no condition to face the situation herself. But considering the circumstanses, Margaret, and even Frank to a degree, were beginning to accept what they were going though. They had spent the day walking around Toyko and enjoying themselves. Margaret had bought gifts for her sister and her parents whom she could not wait to see, being as though she would be home within the week. The houlihans did not know that she was coming home, because Margaret wanted to wait until the plans were made. She even had gotten some small souvenirs for a few members of the 4077th. She thought that most of them were unfit to be in the army, but they were some of the best doctors she had ever seen, and they really were caring people underneath all the jokes. She zipped her suitcase, and slid it under the bed. She was exhausted from her busy day and Frank was already asleep as she slid under the covers, dead tired. As she was drifting off to sleep, the phone rang. She was going to let it ring. Nobody of dire importance knew the hotel phone number, or even that she was in a hotel. She had an early plane to catch, and had no desire to speak to any of the pranksters from the 4077th. Yet, as the phone was on its fourth ring, something pulled her towards it. "Hello?"

Radar just hung up the phone and walked into Henry's office. Almost simotanously, they spoke. "I've got the details on Major Houlihan's leave, sir." "Do you have the details on Major Houlihan's leave, Radar?" "Yes, sir." "A chopper will be coming at 0900 hours on Friday, to take her to Kimpo. From there she has a flight to Tokyo at 1030 hours, a flight to Honalulu and then to San Fransico. All you have to do is sign these papers okaying it." "Do I have to sign anything Radar? "Here sir." Radar handed the papers to Henry. "How's it going on trying to find a new head nurse, Radar? We need someone who has experiance. We have the best damn nursing staff in all of Korea, but they are all Lieutenants. We need someone more experienced with command." "I've been working on it, sir, but no luck yet. No units can spare a ranking nurse. I've tracked down an available nurse, that we can have temporarily until Major Houlihan is replaced." "Okay, Radar, when can we get her down here." "Monday, sir." "Okay, we will make Bigalow head nurse, until we can get someone else." "Yes, sir. I will make the arrangments. Request permission to pick up the majors at Kimpo, tommorow, at 0800." "Permission granted Radar."

"Hello?" There was no one on the other line. "Who the hell calls me this late, and then hangs up. It's probably Pierce and McIntyre. I am going to kill them when I get back to the 4077th!" Margaret closed her eyes, and went to sleep thinking about how much she hated those captians. As she was falling asleep, the phone rang again. This time, she let it ring.

Radar arrived at Kimpo to pick up Majors Burns and Houlihan. "Corporal, we have been waiting a long time for you to show up. You're late!" The truth of the matter, was that they had went into the Officer's Club as soon as their plane had arrived, and Radar could not find them. "Yes, Corporal. It is your job to be here on time." Major Houlihan would not have agreed with Frank, for she knew it was not Radar's fault, but she felt that he had something to do with the prank calls the night before, and was mad at him for that.

The chopper was due in under two hours. Frank's supposed attempts to call Lousise had both arrived when she was not home, and Margaret had been less than patient about him trying again. He had to call before she left to go home. She looked around the camp one last time. She had been there for 10 months, and it had become like a home to her. She wasn't close with anyone there, but she never was very good at making friends. Whenever she had, she would always move. She has never lived anywhere two years in a row. Margaret walked to the Swamp and entered without knocking. "Ferret Face isn't here Major." "I...I..I wasn't looking for Major Burns. I was looking for the two of you." "Us? You were looking for us. Did you hear that Hawk, she was looking for us. She's finally come to her senses." "I knew she had good taste. Now come here and let me taste you." "I am not here to satisfy your sick sexual pleasures." "You're not? Why else would you be here? We're not good for anything else." "Knock it off, Captian. And that's an order." "Ok, Ok, sorry major. What can we do you for?" "I just came to say goodbye. I'm leaving in a little over an hour. I got these for you in Tokyo." Margaret handed the things she had picked up in Tokyo to Hawk and Trapper. "Thanks, Major." "You know, you guys are excellent surgeons. I don't like to admit it, but you are some of the best doctors that I have ever seen and you are so devoted to your job and the patients. Unlike that Ferret Face, Frank Burns. He would have a hard time operating on cold cuts." Trapper and Hawk looked at each other and laughed. They were both thinking the same thing. It's not often that Margaret calls Frank Ferret Face. Although it wasn't often that a married man got Margaret pregnant, forcing her to leave the army. At least, as far as they knew. "Well anyway, I just wanted to say goodbye, and good luck." "Thank you, Major. And the same to you." "Yeah, Major. Good luck to you too." With that, Margaret turned around, and gave each captian a hug. They both knew better than to comment on that.

Margaret left the Swamp, and headed towards the nurse's tent. She knew that none of the nurses really liked her, they thought her to be too strict, and that she never really liked them, because they all were insubordinate. Margaret knocked on the tent door. What she assumed to be Baker's voice responed, "Who is it?" "It's Major Houlihan." The nurses looked at each other. What was Major Houlihan doing there? She was leaving in a hour, and she still had time to find something wrong with their work. They couldn't wait until she left. "Uh, come in Major." Major Houlihan entered the nurses' tent. The four of them were hovered over a hot plate, cooking. "What are you doing with a... Never mind. I just came to say good-bye." The nurses seemed shock, they were doing something that they knew was wrong, and the Major didn't do anything about it. "Goodbye, Major." "I want to thank you. I know that I don't show it, but you are the most skilled nurses that I have ever met, and it was a privilage to work with you." "Thank you, Major." "Good Luck, Major. Congratulations." "Congratulations, yeah right, I don't feel like this is something worth congratulating me for. And call me Margaret." "We're sorry, Maj, uh Margaret. We hope everything works out for you." With that, a tear started to form in Margaret's eye, which she did everything she could to stop. "Uh, I have to go, my plane comes in a hour. The nurses pulled Margaret into a group hug, and this time she didn't stop her tears as she walked out the door.

Walking through the compound, Margaret runs into Klinger. "I like that dress, Klinger. It shows off your legs nicely." "Uh, thank you Major." "I just wanted to say goodbye, my plane leaves soon." "Goodbye Major, and good luck." "Thank you Klinger." She continued on, and entered Radar's office. "Major, you have almost an hour until your plane leaves. Is there anything that I could help you with? "I just wanted to thank you, Corporal. You've really kept this unit running smoothly." "I try my hardest Major." "Well, you, you do a great job. Goodbye, Radar", Margaret said walking into Henry's office, as Frank walked in. "Ah, Frank did you phone your wife yet?" "Ah, uh, well, uh, not yet. That's what I'm coming to do." "Um, I'm sorry Major, I can't phone the states for another hour. There is a problem with the lines." "That's okay, Corporal. It's not your fault" Frank said. He was relieved that he did not need to call his wife, and Margaret was furious that Frank could not call. Frank left the office and let out of sigh of relief, while Margaret proceeded into Henry's office. She opened the door without knocking, and saluted Henry. Confused, Henry returned the salute. "Colonel, I would just like to thank you. Through all of your shenanigans and jokes. Even with always being drunk, and fooling around with nurses. With all of your indecisions, and the leniency that you give to the personnel here," "Now you hold it one minute Major. This doesn't sound like a thank you to me." "What I was going to say, Colonel, was in spite of all that, you still manage to run an excellent unit with a 90% survival rate, three miles from the front. You are a great Commanding Officer, and that is what I wish to thank your for." "Thank you, Major. I owe you a thank you also. You are one of the best nurses that I have ever seen, and you are in charge of a superb nursing staff. You have a very difficult job, and are able to do it fantastically. I would like to wish you good luck, and to say goodbye." "Goodbye, Colonel." She began to walk out, and then turned around and gave the Colonel one last salute, which he returned, both with tears in their eyes. Margaret left the office. "Radar, I am going to get a cup of coffee from the Mess Tent and retrive my belongings from my tent. Then you are driving me to the chopper pad." "Yes, ma'am."

Margaret arrived on the chopper pad, to see the whole camp standing there to see her off. She walked past the enlisted men, each off which saluted her. Then she passed her nurses, whom presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a hug. Next came Captians Piece and McIntyre whom each kissed her squarely on the mouth. Margaret just laughed. Next was Frank. She shook his hand, and threatened that he call his wife. As she was approaching Henry, she heard an annoucment over the camp's PA system. "Phone call for Major Houlihan". Margaret hadn't heard the chopper yet, so she ran to the camp.

"Hello?" she said as she picked up the phone. "Miss Houlihan?" "Yes, this is she. Who is this?" "I am calling from Doctor Nelson's office. There has been a mistake with your testing. I'm sorry, but you are not pregnant. I apoligize for it being so long, but we needed to track you down. Nobody anwsered when I tried the hotel, and the next time I tried, you had checked out. We had a problem finding where you were stationed." Margaret was stunned. "Uh, uh, thank you." Margaret hung up and ran back to the chopper pad.

"That was the doctor's office. I'm not pregnant" Margaret annouced to the personnel. Henry looked at her. "Does this mean you're staying Major?" "Yes, sir." Frank looked relieved, as everyone else looked frightened. The major would go back to being herself. Frank walked up to Margaret and started kissing her neck. She turned around and whispered "Your tent or mine?"

The End