By Laura Stephanie Quinn
After enduring 11 consecutive hours of surgery, the staff at the MASH 4077th was due for a break. As daybreak approached, the doctors and nurses headed off towards their quarters, while the lucky few stayed behind to monitor patients in Post-op. Hawkeye Pierce and B.J. Hunnicut headed over to the Swamp, glad that it was Frank Burns, and not one of them, that was given Post-op duty.
"Good-night Beej, wake me when the war's over," Hawkeye said as he lay down and closed his eyes. B.J. responded by yawning rather loudly and collapsing onto his cot.
Over in Colonel Potter's office, there was still paperwork to be done, so poor Radar O'Reilly, company clerk extraordinaire, was forced to hold off on his nap. Potter, too, stayed awake, gallantly refusing to go to sleep until Frank was done his shift, and the patients were out of harm's way. Father Mulcahy, as well, was still awake, much too worried about a burn victim to sleep.
"Padre, I suggest you get some rest," Potter advised. "You'll need it for the service tomorrow morning. We can't have you staying awake on a round-the-clock basis."
"I appreciate the concern, Colonel," Father Mulcahy began softly, "but I'm far too concerned with that burn victim. Perhaps I should go over to Post-op and say a prayer for him."
"Alright, but you make sure that you get your rest," Potter said before the very nervous Father Mulcahy exited. Just then, a visibly fatigued Radar entered.
"Colonel Potter, sir, here's the latest report, all typed up in triplicate."
"Good work son," Potter began, his own eyes feeling very heavy. "Now go get some sleep. Go on, I'll look after things here."
"Are you sure sir? I can stay and help out if you want."
"Don't worry Radar, I can handle things. This is what they pay me for, isn't it?" Potter smiled reassuringly, and Radar and his Teddy bear lay down for some shut-eye.
Meanwhile, across the compound, Klinger was very busy in his tent. Despite having carried stretcher after stretcher of wounded soldiers to the OR, Klinger was surprisingly alert and had no desire to sleep. Instead, he was organizing his wardrobe. This involved creating a system of clothes' division based on colour, season, and style. To the average observer, this may seem like a somewhat difficult task, but after months of pretending to be crazy, Klinger had become quite skilled at such an operation.
"Let's see..." He said to nobody in particular, "I don't think I should put the blue chiffon next to the lilac skirt. Formal wear and casual wear don't mix well."
And so he continued on through the wee morning hours, until the tedium of colour coordination became too much for even the highly experienced Corporal Klinger.
The next day was Sunday, and despite losing sleep, Father Mulcahy seemed to be in top form. He delivered a moving sermon, and led the personnel in a rousing rendition of 'Amazing Grace'.
"And now," Father Mulcahy began, "I'd like to sing a special hymn for all the victims of this war; especially the ones we have treated ourselves."
Later on that day, things turned awful for the 4077th. Chopper after chopper carrying injured soldiers flew to MASH, while an ambulance full of wounded men pulled up outside the hospital. After assessing each patient briefly, the doctors decided whose injuries were the most severe, and another round of surgery began. Thankfully, most of the patients' injuries were not incredibly life-threatening, and after 7 hours, all the victims had been patched up.
"Attention camp!" Everyone continued on to their quarters while listening to the announcement. "Tonight's meal is now being served in the Mess Tent. Proceed with caution."
"You free for dinner?" B.J. asked Hawkeye jokingly, "I'm looking for a date."
"Why B.J., I thought you'd never ask!" Hawkeye responded. The two strolled over to the Mess Tent, and after taking their yet-to-be identified meals, they joined Potter, Margaret, Frank, Radar, and Father Mulcahy.
"You know everyone, it's been a while since we've done something nice for Sister Theresa's orphanage," Potter announced suddenly, "and I've come up with something that would help out those kids and boost morale around here."
"Don't keep us in such suspense!" Hawkeye cried in mock excitement.
"Yes, we're sitting on the edge of our seats!" B.J. laughed.
"If you'd sit still and shut up, oh, sorry Father, then I'd tell you the details," Potter said.
"I'm listening sir," Radar said in between bites of food.
"Suck-up!" Frank muttered.
"Please, Colonel, I'm genuinely excited to hear your idea," Father Mulcahy stated.
"Alright then," Potter began, "It's a contest of sorts, for the enlisted men. They create a fund-raiser, and are judged on profit and creativity. The winner gets a weekend pass to Tokyo."
"Aw, Colonel, how come it's just for enlisted creeps?" Frank whined.
"Hey! I'm an enlisted creep!" Radar yelled.
"Frank, the officers have been given more leave than the enlisted men, and it's about time they're given a break," Potter explained. "Besides, Frank, you will be one of the judges. Along with the rest of you officers. I will remain impartial."
"Wow! I'm gonna think of something great!" Radar announced, "And I'm gonna raise lots of money for the kids."
"That's the spirit Radar," Hawkeye began, "Well, now that I am a judge, it's my duty to inform you that I take cash bribes. No checks please, it's such a terrible commute to the bank around here."
"I'll go announce this to the camp, sir," Radar said before swallowing the final bit of his supper. Then he nearly raced over to his office.
"I don't know how he can eat this stuff," Hawkeye said seriously, "What is this anyway? Powdered beef?"
Momentarily, the entire enlisted contingent knew about the contest, and all eager participants scurried to their quarters to begin plans. By morning, all had thought of a fund-raiser, however, only three were creative enough for competition, so the others simply forfeited. The first of the three remaining competitors was Igor Straminsky, who had decided to hold a makeshift hay ride, by fashioning a tractor and wagon out of three jeeps. The second of the three competitors was Radar, who decided to hold a race between his pet rabbits. He had even built a little racetrack out of some wood. The final competitor was Klinger, whose idea came to him in a dreamlike vision. His fund-raiser would be a fashion show starring the nurses dressed in his own line of clothes: the Klinger Collection.
A few days before his historic fashion show was to take place, Klinger was busy in his tent making alterations, and supervising a debate between the nurses as to who wears what. Klinger, being the organized and innovative one that he is, decided to divide the nurses into three groups headed by different nurses. Nurse Able's group would model evening wear, Nurse Cooper's group would model casual wear, and Nurse Kelly's group was given the distinct honour of modeling Klinger's few party dresses. However, there was one dress left, that Klinger wished to close the show with: the medieval princess gown and tiara.
Feeling it would be tacky to close his own show, Klinger found himself knocking on Major Houlihan's door in hopes that she would participate.
"Come in," Margaret said when Klinger knocked.
"What do you want Klinger?" She asked as she and Frank pretended to be in the middle of an important military conversation. Klinger explained the situation, and Margaret flat-out refused.
"Klinger, I am a judge, it would be improper for me to participate."
"Look, Major, I wouldn't ask just anybody to be the princess. I mean, there's nobody else in the camp who could pull it off but you, ma'am. I think you'd make a lovely princess, and it's for a really good cause."
"You're not buying any of that are you Margaret?" Frank asked uneasily.
"Alright Klinger, I'll do it," Margaret decided, completely disregarding Frank's comments.
"Margaret have you gone mad?" Frank cried.
"Frank! Think of the children! Have you no compassion? Have you no heart?" Margaret looked disappointedly at Frank. "I think you should leave now, Klinger and I have some work to do."
"But Margaret..." Frank whined.
"Good day Major. We'll see you in a few days at Klinger's show."
On the morning of Klinger's fashion show, Radar held his rabbit race. Most of the camp showed up, except for Frank, who felt that the whole thing was pointless. Everyone seemed to enjoy watching the two rabbits hop around their little track. Many of the spectators even placed bets.
After lunch, Igor held his makeshift hay ride, which Frank attended, but only because Margaret had promised to sit next to him. Igor had linked three jeeps together, and after much rearranging and shuffling, there was room for everybody. Space was so limited, in fact, that Father Mulcahy ended up seated on both Potter and Margaret, while Frank was forced to sit on the spare tire in the back.
Finally, in the evening, the staff gathered in the Mess Tent turned runway for the unveiling of the Klinger Collection. The audience was not to be disappointed.
"Hello all, and welcome to the first annual Klinger For Charity Show," Klinger announced. "I would like to begin by saying that Major Houlihan is no longer a valid judge, as she will be making a special appearance here tonight. So please, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. We will begin with casual wear, followed by evening wear and then party dresses."
Each group of nurses looked lovely in their designated dress. Klinger, himself, wore a special gown that was created especially for the event. Finally, after 45 minutes of Klinger fashions, Margaret made her appearance as the medieval princess. Frank, still scowling about the whole situation, was not a bit impressed. Hawkeye, however, was taken, and simply stared, gaping, at his colleague.
After the show, Potter announced how much each competitor had raised, and that the grand total was about $500 for the orphanage. Meanwhile, the officers were voting for the winner.
"Well, my vote goes to Igor," Frank said, "Sure, I had to sit on a tire, but his event was the most wholesome."
"Oh, you Puritan, you," B.J. quipped. Then he added, "My vote goes to Radar; his event was both entertaining and creative. Plus I won three bucks."
"Mine goes to Klinger," Hawkeye announced, "Did you see Nurse Able in the blue chiffon? And Hot Lips at the end there."
"Watch your mouth Pierce!" Frank yelled.
"Well, Father Mulcahy, it looks like you have the deciding vote," B.J. said, breaking the pause of silence after Frank's last outburst.
"So I do," Father Mulcahy said as he pondered. "Well, I suppose my vote goes to Klinger. His idea was very creative, and besides, I didn't have a terribly comfortable ride in that jeep today."
The group communicated the results to Potter, who immediately announced that Klinger had won. An excited Klinger cheered and leapt with joy before accepting his weekend pass.
"I'd just like to thank a few people for making this possible," Klinger began, "Here's to the nurses, and Major Houlihan in particular. And to my fellow competitors: you guys did great too! Now if you'll excuse me, I must return to my quarters and pack for my journey!" Then, smirking, he added, "Girls, I'm gonna need my clothes back."
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