Attention, all Personnel! Incoming wounded, and Iím too tired to comment...
Hawkeye yawned and threw his cap across the scrub room, where it landed neatly in the laundry basket.
"Good shot, son!" said Colonel Potter, attempting to throw his hat there also. BJ picked it up from the floor and chucked it into the basket along with his bloodstained smock. "Short shift for a change, huh?"
"Only eleven hours! A record for the army. Maybe this police action is turning into an un-war."
"If weíre lucky."
"Augh!" broke in Charles, throwing his scrubs away from him with an expression on disgust. "I hate this place! Why are we discussing an eleven hour shift to be short! Oh, for Tokyo, and the peaceful strains of Rachmaninov..." he stomped off.
"Hey, Charles, coming for supper? What about you, Hawk?" called BJ.
"I think Iíll give it a miss, Iíd prefer to die in my bed," said Hawkeye, yawning again. BJ shrugged. "Suit yourself. Iím starving."
Hawkeye waved the others off to the mess tent, walking tiredly back to the Swamp. Suddenly he heard a soft scream, and the thud of something hitting the door he was just passing. He knocked before entering.
"Margaret, are you all right?" he demanded, finding the blonde major curled against the wardrobe sobbing, as far from the door as possible. When she didnít reply he went and sat down next to her, putting an arm around her shoulder. She hugged him tightly, crying on his shoulder and letting her terror out like a five year old child. Eventually she pulled back and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. She pointed a tremulous finger at the book sprawled on the floor by the door.
"Hawkeye, get that away from me..." she said, her voice strange. Hawkeye jumped to his feet and picked up the book by its spine. He didnít ask any questions, but threw it across the compound before returning to Margaret. He sat down again.
"What happened, Margaret?" he asked gently. The nurse took a deep breath and calmed her breathing before replying.
"I had just returned from the OR, and I didnít feel like any food."
"The food doesnít feel like food."
"Thatís why I didnít go. Anyway, I sat down on my bunk. I was so tired, I was half dozing as I sat there... and then I heard Korean voices. I froze, because they didnít sound friendly and I could hear gunfire in the background. I thought our camp was being attacked!" She paused as if daring him to deny her, but Hawkeye said nothing.
"I then heard a voice speaking in English, so loud is was like inside my own head, and I thought I saw that girl Ė Sao Yung Ė open my door. I was so scared by this time, I just picked up the book and threw it! What is it, Hawkeye? We have to burn it, itís not real!" her breath started becoming more ragged, and the surgeon held her close again.
"Iíll go and burn it now, Margaret," he said comfortingly. "And Iíll call Sidney Freedman, and ask whatís the deal. No, I donít think youíre going mad," he added at the look on her face. "Iím more worried about Parker. He was the one speaking Korean. No, you go and get some food, talk to the Colonel and BJ, get this out of your mind before you sleep. Oh, and donít eat the lamb. I saw a cat wander into the kitchen yesterday and not come out." He grinned and was rewarded by a weak smile from Margaret, who got to her feet
"Okay, Hawkeye. Iíll do that. And, Hawkeye - "
He looked up at her from his seat on the floor.
" Ė thank you," she finished lamely, before closing the door quietly behind her.
Charles rolled his eyes and left BJ and the Colonel laughing uproariously at one of Potterís wisecracks. Turning off to the Swamp, he stumbled over a book covered in dust and a page torn. Picking it up, he saw the title was in Korean, and sniffed. Pocketing it in his jacket without another thought, he wandered back over to the Swamp, lifting a hand to acknowledge Major Houlihan just going in to the mess tent. Opening the door, he sneaked over to the other side of the room and picked up Hunnicuttís glass. Theyíd stolen his Cognac; damned if he was going without a drink tonight, and he was too tired to walk over to the Officerís Club. Taking a sip, he grimaced at the raw spirit before folding his jacket over the back of the chair and put on his light. Some music would be nice, he thought, rummaging amongst his records.
Hawkeye kicked at a stone impatiently. The book had vanished off the face of Korea. This didnít entirely surprise him, the book was too scary for words in that sense. BJ came out of the mess tent and looked surprised at his friend.
"Kicking Korea to kingdom come, Hawk?" he inquired.
"Nah, just thinking, thatís all," said Hawkeye moodily.
"Better stop that. Donít you know the army forbids that kind of thing?" BJ replied, taking Hawkeyeís shoulder and turning him back to the Swamp. "I thought you were dead tired."
"Dead, yes, tired, even more. Youíre right," said Hawkeye, not bothering to resist as he was propelled back to his tent. Arriving there, BJ yawned and without a pause lifted Charlesís record player off the record, took back his glass from the majorís hand, and sat back down. Charles blinked.
"Thanks for getting me a drink Charles! Much appreciated," said BJ, raising the glass to the annoyed major.
"Now see here Ė " started Charles.
"Iím too tired to argue, even with you, Charles, so shut up," interrupted Hawkeye, lifting a jacket from the back of the chair and shoving it under his pillow, fluffing it up before collapsing onto the bed and closing his eyes almost immediately. BJ shrugged, and Charles opened his mouth to protest, but BJ laid a finger to his lips.
"Sssh! Itís sleep time!" he stated in a stage whisper before putting down his glass. Looking at his sleeping friend, he wondered if he should make Hawkeye take off his boots at least, but decided he probably needed the sleep more.