Can it be? A CEW-vignette from Shekiah?! Alas, it is! I totally don't own MASH, I'm just doing a shout-out to Charles, who is in my not-so-humble opinion, the AWESOMENESS! So with no further ado, check it out!


Charles Emerson Winchester had never been terribly good with tools, wood, that sort of thing. He hadn't ever needed to be. Well, once in high school he'd been assigned a shop class, but as well as he recalled he had cut it pretty much every chance he got and studied in the commons instead. So that's why, he supposed, he was a little bit at a loss when faced with the plywood and hacksaw in front of him.

The fact that they had a hacksaw at a MASH unit to begin with had amused him slightly. Their surgery techniques might be a bit primordial, but to that degree. Haha. The plywood had been a bit easier to come by, as Rizzo happened to have some left from the last bug-out. Charles had easily managed to salvage an end wide enough to serve as a good sign.

That's what he was doing – adding to sacred sign-post outside the mess tent. Everybody else had paid fair homage to his city of origin. Crabapple Cove was obviously Hawkeye's while San Francisco had clearly been added by Hunnicut. Therefore, Winchester found that he was the only Swampman whose city was left unrecognized. And that would not do.

Charles clumsily took the piece of wood and marked off with the stub of a post-op pencil the corners that must be cut off to form the arrow. Taking a felt-tip marker, he spelled out six letters in the remaining margin:

BOSTON.

Just seeing it there made his heart ache. Just a little. Just for a moment.

Resignedly, Charles took the hacksaw and carefully removed the corners to form a bizarre sign-looking figure that matched the others. Having completed this task, he brought his masterpiece outside to the sign itself. Pulling out the nail he had placed in his pocket, he positioned it for hammering. The only space that remained was on the very top of the signpost, but that was fitting indeed.

In the absence of a hammer, Charles had chosen a rather hearty book. His hard-back copy of Les Misérables was well up to the task, and the nail slid through the thin wood easily. Stepping back to examine his work, Charles heaved a sigh.

It was a nicely-made sign, he couldn't help but admit. He did notice briefly that all the others had mile-markings, but he didn't feel like adding that to his. He didn't even know the exact distance. It was simply too far. Much, much too far. Five thousand miles, or thereabout. But thinking that was only depressing him.

Shaking his head and giving the sign one final look, Charles turned around and headed back toward the Swamp. Though his cognac hadn't survived the trip to the 4077, but there was always that horrible concoction from the still… Thursday-afternoon melancholy didn't merit the waste of anything worth drinking anyway.

After all, if things were as they should have been, Charles would have been seeing a Boston-sign outside the fair city herself. At the airport, perhaps. Better yet, Massachusetts General. But no. It wasn't to be. And yet he still wasted time longing for it.

What did he do it for, anyway?

"Hey, Chuck!"

Charles winced to find that he actually turned around when this name was called, and winced again to see Hawkeye running up in one of his abysmal Hawaiian shirts, accompanied by their tent-mate, BJ.

"Dr. Pierce, Dr. Hunnicut," Charles acknowledged curtly. Hawkeye laughed.

"You look down. Why the long face?"

"Why not?" BJ replied, clapping Charles on the back. "We've hardly had time to break him in yet."

"If you'll excuse me, gentlemen, I was headed back to our humble lodging," Charles interjected. Hawkeye and BJ looked at each other smiled knowingly.

"No, you're going to the officer's club with us," Hawkeye replied matter-of-factly. Charles raised an eyebrow.

"I beg your pardon?"

"We've decided to introduce you to Korean beer – our treat," BJ explained.

"Actually, that's kind of a lie, we're broke…" Hawkeye reminded him. BJ shrugged.

"Your treat, then."

Charles pursed his lips, appearing as frustrated as he had since his arrival. However, something new had ignited inside of him – some kind of unknown spark. He didn't know if he'd ever been asked to go out for a drink "with the guys" before, actually. And heaven knows he hadn't given them any reason to ask him. Charles heard his response before he actually had time to think it out.

"If you insist, then."