Nothing could ruin the perfect morning or so thought the wary young surgeon who happened to be a Captain at the 4077th MASH unit in Korea. This thought was soon forgotten as a cloud of dust appeared on the road just outside of the compound. This cloud of dust soon began to settle as a jeep came to a stop in front of the lounging Benjamin "Hawkeye" Pierce. "What can we do you for? Our rates are decent but the food isn't anything to brag about." Hawkeye shielded his eyes from the blaring hot sun. It was only April and the weather was already unbearable.
The man, more like boy, from within the jeep began to speak. "Major Hawkeye Sir?" His accent was clearly Korean. "General Hopkins is due to arrive here at 13 hundred hours, Sir. He requested that I see to his arrangements before he comes." With a loud creak and a shuffle of feet the young man stood at full attention in front of the open mouthed Pierce.
"What are you doing?" Hawkeye was on his feet in a jiffy, tying his open robe around his waist. "I thought I told you not to do that around me?" He gave several passing nurses a cocky smile as he grabbed hold of the boys arm and yanked it down out of the salute that it previously held. "Listen, Chow Zein, wait a minute. Did you just say that General Hopkins, General Martin Hopkins is coming here?"Hawkeye could feel the headache that was coming with the Generals arrival.
"Yes Sir. General Hopkins wishes to see his favorite doctor again and to make sure that the army is treating his well. Is that bad, Major Sir?" Chow Zein, personal assistant to the General, asked.
"Listen kid. I'm just a lowly Captain who doesn't even want to be here so please don't say that word around me. Isn't there anyway of changing the Generals mind?" Hawkeye was worried. No one in camp, not even Henry or Trapper, knew about his promotion that happened more than 6 months ago during a stay in Seoul.
"No Sir. When his mind is made up...There is no stopping him. Why worry? You saved his life, you should feel honored that he remembers you." Chow stated sincerely.
Hawkeye sighed and shook his head. "Ya. Your right Chow. Go do whatever you need to do and I'll let Henry know that the General is coming."
"Sir? Where is your gold shinny leaf?" Chow pointed to his own Army issue fatigues then to Hawkeyes.
"I left it in my other pants. Now get a move on. I know how the General dislikes orders being disobeyed." Hawkeye watched as Chow took off to do his duty, not wanting to make the General angry. "Oh boy. It started out to be such a fine day too." Pierce mumbled as he entered the swamp and headed straight for his footlocker which was buried under several months of nuddy magazines. After pushing the Pierce collection to the floor, he begins to rummage around inside. The object of his search was a small brown envelope which held several gold oak leaves along with his promotion papers.
With a sarcastic whoop, he pulls the envelope out from under several new uniforms. One of which was a dress uniform of regular army and the other two were just everyday fatigues. Also contained within the foot locker was a hard hat with the gold oak leaf set in the front and a regular issue hat, also with the gold oak leaf on the front. There was also a set of new dog tags within the envelope. Dog tags which marked Benjamin Franklin Pierce as a doctor and a Major.
These were all the things that he swore no one at the 4077th would ever see. But now he might have to let them see. No matter how stupid some of the people looked, there will be questions asked as to why the General was visiting a mere Captain and a brass hating one at that. That could possible be explained, Hawkeye was used to making up stories and excuses. That's how he kept himself sane and out of the stockade over the months as the war waged on. But what couldn't be explained would be when the General started to ask questions about Major Pierce and that's when all hell would break lose. He didn't want Henry or anyone else to get into trouble.
With a heavy heart he opened the envelope and let the leaves fall out into his hand. "So much for civilian soldier." He grumbled as he reached up and attached the gold oak leaves to his collar. He no longer had his Captain bars. They had been lost a few moments after he stepped foot on Korean soil. "How am I going to pull this off?" He placed his hands on his hips after having removed his robe which was covering his old fatigues. "I better dress for the occasion. Wouldn't want to disappoint the General. Should I go with a nice sky blue or maybe a buttercup yellow." He looked into his footlocker once again. "I think olive green would do nicely. But since I already appear to be dressed..."
He smirked and pulled out a pair of brand new boots and not the cheap kind either. "At least my feet will be warm. A hundred and ten degrees in the shade is rather brisk to me." He raised each leg and kicked the thin sandals off his feet, making them fly across the tent and land on Trappers side. "Come my trusty feet, we must make ready for the big cheese." He slipped on a pair of clean socks and then the shinny new boots. "I feel the urge to be unhuman already." After he retrieved his hat from within the locker he closes it and places the many dirty magazines back on top, making it as messy as before. "They won't suspect a thing" He then lets out a mad scientists laugh as he pulls the robe back on, making sure that the collar was turned up and hiding the shinny new brass on his neck. The hat is then tucked into his pant pocket, also carefully hid from view. He wasn't going to let anyone know about his little secret unless it was necessary.
Looking at his watch he frowns. "What was I thinking? He won't be here for at least 2 hours and I'm already acting like regular army." Hawkeye looked around before sitting on the edge of his cot, rubbing his hands together and waiting.