A Strange Chapter in Our Lives

by Kitty Pierce

Okay, so the bit about Tuttle isnít exactly necessary, but it was fun :P Hope you enjoy the rest of the story! Any comments, critical or otherwise, are welcomed! n.n


"Hey, hey Beej!" gasped Hawkeye, laughing to himself and stuttering out the words over his drink. "Thatís a good one! Why donít you just make up a sur- surj- doctor instead to do your work!?"

"Heh, thatís a good idea, Hawk!" BJ struck a pose, flailing his drink in the air and nearly tipping it on Margaret, who was giggling into her Scotch. "Make up summone! Captain Joe!"

"No no," said Hawkeye solemnly. "Captain Tuttle." He sniggered gently and took another drink. "Damn, that was a good one!"

Margaret focused on the dark-haired captain with faint incredulity.

"Thatís not very fair to a Ė a Ė a dead man," she said indignantly. Charles raised a muzzy head. "Tussle? Tuttle? I heard ohim onech? Left all his inshura Ė money to the orphan place, right?"

"What a man," said Margaret, raising her glass. She looked at the helpless Hawkeye who nearly spilt his drink he was laughing so much. "Wass with you, soldier?"

"Tuttle has been my besí friend before BJ! Since I was a little kid! You ever actually see Tuttsle?"

Margaret lowered her glass and her voice to a whisper. "Donít let on, you guys... I donít think I did ..." Hawkeye turned away laughing even more and drained his drink with a flourish.

"That is because, dearest Magr- Magresh Ė Magpie, Tuttle never zisted!" He giggled. BJ looked puzzled and blinked owlishly. "I heard this one. Tuttle jumped out a parachute Ė no, jumped out a plane withOUT a parachute, right? He existed?"

"Nope, never did," giggled Hawkeye some more. Margaret sobered up enough suddenly. Motioning to BJ and Charles, she said loudly, "Weíre going back now, Pierce, you want to be taken back to the Swamp?"

"Swamp rat, thatís me! Rat rat rat...."

Charles staggered to his feet. "Iím intrigued. What more of Captain Tuttsle?"

"Come on," said Margaret, taking Hawkeye firmly by one shoulder and BJ took the other. "Aw, break up the party, Margaret!" he complained loudly. The group wove their way to the Swamp, where Hawkeye was tipped onto his bunk, and Charles and BJ flopped down. Margaret shook the edges of alcohol from her voice.

"Now, buster, what the hell do you mean about Captain Tuttle?" she said sternly in her best Major voice.

"Tuttle, Tuttle, my dear imaginary friend," said Hawkeye merrily.
"You made him up?" said Margaret, aghast. "How?"

"Me and Trap and Radar did it! We...we..." Hawkeye suddenly stopped as it filtered through to him what he was saying. BJ was sitting up looking interested. Charles seemed to have fallen asleep.

"Oh damn." Hawkeye said quietly. He blinked blue eyes appealingly at Margaret.

"Please please donít tell anyone!" he pleaded. Margaret tried to harden her heart, but the Major in her was soon overcome by the part of her that wholeheartedly wanted Hawkeye safe and well and out of trouble... she shook her head and gave a small smile.

"Not a word. But dammit! You have to tell me how you did it!"

"In the morning, Major... Iím too sloshed right now..."

"Now or else Iím telling the MPís, Captain Pierce."

Inwardly Margaret smiled with awe. How on earth did they manage to create an entire person? And his personal record, Tuttleís description, that was him speaking...

Hawkeye sat up and shook his head carefully in case it fell off.

"Youíre a cruel woman, Margaret," pointed Hawkeye accusingly. "Okay, okay... lessee... Me and Trap smuggled some supplies out for Sister Tresa, and told her it was Captain Tuttle so she didnít know it was us. Right?"

"Yes..."

"Well, then we got on to making order forms for the orphans, and Cap'n Tuttle had to sign, vis a vis me. Then Radar was giving the form to Henry Ė good old Henry! Ė and he inquired whothe hell was Capín Tuttle. Radar, bless his Iowan socks, covered for us and told Henry that he was a new man that heíd met that morning. Henry had the custom of keeping his brain in Radar for memries, so he believed him. But then Henry made Tuttle OD. Instead of Ferret Face, remember? You and him, Margaret, was Ė were- suspsps Ė suspishous, so we quickly had to make up a personal file! Heh, you liked the sound of that description, didnítya Margaret?"

Hawkeye paused to giggle gently. Margaret leaned forward, something suddenly nagging at her.

"But General Clayton said he had sent Tuttle!"

Hawkeye had the grace to look slightly red-faced. "Radar patched the call to me, and I pretended I was the general."

BJ looked interestedly between his blushing friend and the shocked major, who also began to blush furiously as well. "Oh ho! What did you say, Hawk?" he asked delightedly.

"Highly inappropriate things," said Margaret, flicking back her hair and composing herself once more. "Well, go on, Pierce. How many more rules did you break?"

Hawkeye looked injured. "Come on, Major, it was all for the good of the orphans! All Tuttleís back pay went to the orphanage, and his GI insurance! We could have done anything with that money, but we didnít. Why donít you think about that, huh?"

"But how did you have the raw gall to stand and do that damn eulogy! You had the whole camp nearly in tears for someone who didnít bloody exist?"

"I must say I didnít bargain on that," admitted Hawkeye. "But I think I did pretty well, huh?" Margaret just shook her head in speechless amusement, and BJ burst out laughing.

"Gee, that was crazy Hawk! I never woulda thought of that!" The captain unsteadily raised his glass. "Hereís to the most successful prank yet!" Hawkeye tipped his glass merrily in return.

"Thanks there olí buddy. And, Major?"

Margaret folded her arms.

"Impressive, Hawkeye. And you two scoundrels didnít steal anything, so I guess Iím not too angry. But you got the whole camp believing in him! I even thought he was real..." Hawkeye suddenly burst out laughing as a new thought struck him.

"And Henry... kept saying heíd met him for lunch! All the time! And old Ferret face wanted to be roomies with an imaginary guy!"

BJ was flopped back on his bunk giggling helplessly and Margaret started laughing too. Hawkeye pointed at her.

"See! I toldya youíd like it!"

"Oh, Pierce, just never... do that again! Or impersonate Generals either!"

"Aw, come on Margaret, all for a good cause. You were so regular army back then." Glancing over to BJís bunk, he saw his best friend fast asleep with his glass lolling out of his hand. "And you sound gorgeous over the phone, you know that?" he said, grinning playfully. Margaret hit him.


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