"The thing is, they didn't just steal my desk," Henry added, looking at Potter for sympathy. "No, they tore down the back wall of my office to do it!" Both Hawkeye and Trapper laughed heartily at the memory.
"You should have seen the look on Henry's face as he watched the chopper fly off with his desk." Trapper commented between fits of laughter. "It was priceless."
"So was my desk!" Henry exclaimed in a mock angry tone. A moment latter his expression changed to one of mirth as he too joined in the merry laughter around him. In a happier tone he added. "My favorite stunt of theirs was when they made up this film about the camp." He looked at the culprits slyly and admitted. "At the time I was torn between wanting to kill them and wanting to laugh along with them. I tell you, it was one of the funniest movies I have ever seen."
"Are you talking about the 'Yankee Doodle Doctor' film that we made, sir?" Radar asked curiously.
"That the one, Radar." Henry nodded.
"The 'Yankee Doodle Doctor'?" BJ repeated curiously. "What's that?"
"Oh, come on, Beej!" Hawkeye exclaimed as he gave his friend a reproachful look. "Surely you've heard of the 'Yankee Doodle Doctor'. It's a classic."
"Award winning!" Trapper echoed with a large grin.
"Actually, to be honest." Hawkeye remarked, his tone turning serious. "The 'Yankee Doodle Doctor' was originally a corny, unrealistic piece of propaganda dreamed up by a two bit General and his filming clowns."
"He had Frank narrate some fluff about 'saints in surgical garb' and a bunch of other hooey." Trapper added. "So when Hawk and I realized what he was up to we made our own version of the film- after destroying his that is."
"It was one of my best pictures." Hawkeye added in a teasing tone.
"Speaking of pictures." Klinger piped up. "Here's some pictures from your 'award winning film'."
Most of the audience started hooting and clapping at the picture Klinger showed them.
"Nice legs, guys." Ellie Winchester commented as she examined the photo of Hawkeye, Radar and Trapper posing for a couple of nurses wearing their dress uniforms sans pants. Radar was wearing even less.
"Is that what they call a dress uniform?" Peg asked with an amused chuckle as she looked at the photo.
That's what Hawk and Trapper call a 'dress uniform'." Margaret remarked, giving her husband a broad grin.
"Actually that was 'bow tie and saddle shoes'." Hawkeye quipped with a wicked smile.
"Right." BJ agreed with a laugh. "That was his 'Sunday go to Court-martial clothes'."
"If you think that picture is good." Klinger commented as he flipped the slides. "Check this one out."
The laughter increased at the sight of the next photo.
"That is a perfect shot of John." Louise McIntyre commented with a large grin at her husband. Trapper merely chuckled in reply as he looked at the photo of Hawkeye, himself and Radar in character as the 'Yankee Doodle Doctor', his assistant and his patient. The crazy expression on Trapper's face in the picture was priceless.
"How did you ever get these Radar?" Hawkeye asked curiously, a delighted expression on his handsome face.
"From the film." Radar explained. "After we had finished filming the original movie, Klinger and I had made a copy of it for future viewing. It was another part of our 'if we have a reunion' idea. We figured that if we did have a reunion, that it would be a hoot to watch it. Then, when we were making up these slides we thought that it would be neat to include a couple shots from it."
"Wait a minute!" Hawkeye exclaimed eagerly. "Are you saying that you have the 'Yankee Doodle Doctor' film here?" At Radar's affirmative nod the excited star of the movie pressed. "Can we watch it?"
Radar chuckled in amusement at his friend's eager expression and admitted. "Actually, it's already on the agenda."
"Oh, goody, goody goody!" Hawkeye exclaimed excitedly as he rubbed his hands together with glee. Turning to BJ he added. "You have to see this. This was the best acting job of my entire career!"
"Which explains why he isn't an actor." Trapper quipped, shooting his friend a teasing smile.
"Don't mind him, he's just jealous." Hawkeye retorted, shooting his friend a look of mock superiority. "I was brilliant compared to him. He..." Looking back to BJ he gestured towards Trapper. "...he couldn't even remember his lines."
"I didn't have any lines!" Trapper exclaimed defensively. "All I did was honk a horn."
"And sometimes you even forgot to do that!" Hawkeye prodded wickedly.
BJ laughed at the pair and cut into the good-natured bantering saying. "I don't know, Trapper. I think Hawk can be a pretty convincing actor at times."
"That's true!" Trapper laughed in agreement. Suddenly his laughter increased as something popped into his head. When he could finally speak he looked at Hawkeye and said. "Remember 'Tuttle'?"
A broad smile broke across Hawkeye's face at the memory of the entire camp believing in his fictional friend, Captain Jonathan S. Tuttle.
"What about Johnny?" Frank asked, his ears perking up at the familiar name.
Trapper's eyes danced mischievously as he commented. "I was just thinking of what a wonderful person Tuttle was."
Hawkeye tried to contain is laughter as he echoed. "Salt of the earth. Smart, humble, generous..."
"He was always kind to the enlisted too." Radar added, his own eyes sparkling with mischief.
"A true pal!" Hawkeye agreed solemnly.
"You better believe it, Bub!" Frank exclaimed eagerly. "There wasn't a finer man alive than my buddy Johnny."
"Or a better looking one." Margaret remarked, shooting her husband a sly grin. She couldn't resist the opportunity to tease her husband about an old boyfriend of hers. "Those beautiful hazel eyes, that soft auburn hair, that strong build." Her eyes twinkled mischievously. "I wonder what might have happened between us if he hadn't have forgotten his parachute on that fateful day."
Hawkeye couldn't contain himself any longer. His self-restraint collapsing he exploded into a fit of riotous laughter, nearly falling out of his chair. He had never told Margaret the truth about Captain 'Tuttle'. That the famous, generous, popular officer that had graced the 4077th for such a short time was actually created by himself and Trapper based on Hawkeye's childhood imaginary friend. And that everyone in camp had wanted so badly to be considered a friend of the generous, humble surgeon that they had created him in their minds, convincing themselves of his existence.
Trapper's sober voice broke Hawkeye's amused cackles. "She doesn't know, does she?"
Hawkeye took a deep breath and replied, his voice husky from lack of oxygen. "No she doesn't know."
"This could get interesting." Trapper remarked to Radar as he glanced nervously at Margaret. "This may not be very pretty."
"What are you two talking about?" Margaret asked curiously, an expectant look on her face. When she'd made the comment about Tuttle's physical appearance she hadn't quite expected such a reaction from her husband. She'd expected a teasing look, maybe some witty comment, but not for him to explode into such riotous laughter. "What is going on? What's the joke?"
"Joke!" Hawkeye echoed immediately, his face sobering as he tried to figure out how to tell his wife that the man se was just praising was nothing more than a figment of everyone's overactive imaginations. "You've hit the nail right on the head."
"What do you mean?" Margaret asked, clearly still very puzzled.
"I guess the best way to say this is to just say it." Hawkeye commented slowly, glancing at Trapper briefly for support before he continued. "Margaret, I don't know just how to tell you this, but...Captain Jonathan S. Tuttle, the man that you think was so good looking and who Frank thinks was his best friend..."
"He was my best friend!" Frank exclaimed hotly. "We both had a lot in common."
"I hate to break this to you, Frank." Hawkeye said, a wicked smile on his face. "But your 'best friend' never existed."
"What!" Frank exclaimed in disbelief.
"I beg your pardon?" Margaret also stated in surprise. She looked from her husband to Trapper and then back again. "What do you mean?"
"What I mean is Tuttle was nothing more than a creation in everyone's head." Hawkeye explained at her puzzled look he went on. "Tuttle was the name of my imaginary friend when I was a kid. Whenever I was asked who broke something I always said it was 'Tuttle'. He was my scapegoat."
"And when Hawk got drafted, so did 'Tuttle'." Trapper added with a smile.
"That's right." Hawkeye chuckled. "So, since he was in Korea Trapper and I used his name to obtain supplies for the orphanage. Well, one thing lead to another and he became a living, breathing person in everyone's minds."
"But what about the file in Henry's cabinet?" Margaret asked, trying to piece this new information in with what she remembered. "The one that Frank and I read."
Hawkeye smiled slightly and replied. "Trapper, Radar and I made it up after you and Frank had asked to see his file." He glanced at his two accomplices and then back to his wife.