For What It's Worth
By Lucky_Ladybug


Cpl. Maxwell Q. Klinger looked up from the floor he was mopping, and was surprised to find Major Margaret Houlihan sprawled on the floor.

"Why, Major, what are you doing down there?" he asked.

Margaret looked at the corporal in annoyance. "Corporal, you were supposed to be done mopping hours ago!" she scolded.

"I was running late, Major," Klinger protested.

"You're not supposed to run late!" Margaret replied. Klinger offered his hand to help her up, but she smacked it away. As she picked herself up, she added angrily, "Next time make sure everything is done on time, Corporal!"

"Yes, ma'am," Klinger said sarcastically, returning to the floor.

It wasn't long before Hawkeye came in. The usually good-humored captain was in a sour mood today.

"Klinger, where's that penicillin I asked for?" he demanded.

"I'm sorry, sir, but I tried as best I could," Klinger replied. "Sergeant Dylan said he would send some out as soon as he could."

"But that was almost a week ago!" Hawkeye protested.

"Well, don't blame me!" Klinger snapped.

"All I know is that we've got sick kids in there who need penicillin!" Hawkeye said. "But it just so happens that we don't *have* any penicillin, and if we don't get some soon, those kids might die! You want that?" He stormed out without waiting for an answer.

"Yeah, blame it all on me, why don't you!" Klinger called after him. "I tried! Radar did too, but he didn't have any better luck . . . and I don't see you yelling at him about it!" He sighed. "Boy, everyone's in a bad mood today."
Klinger finished mopping the floor and had just put the mopping supplies away when Colonel Potter cornered him.

"Klinger! Where did in the name of Marco 'Blessed' Polo did you put those reports?" he demanded. "Radar's been looking all over for them and he can't find them anywhere!"

"Oh boy. Another one," Klinger said to himself. Aloud he said, "Colonel Potter, sir, I had them right on the desk!"

"Along with the gazillion other things you left there for Radar to sort out?"

"No sir, indeed not!" Klinger replied indignantly. "I didn't leave anything for Radar to sort out! I used my own personal filing system!"

"And Radar wouldn't have to sort through that?" Potter growled. "Do you have any idea how messy that filing system of yours is?"

"Begging your pardon, sir, but do you have any idea how hard it is to suddenly take over as temporary company clerk while the regular company clerk goes on R&R?" Klinger returned, frustrated. "Especially when you're constantly reminded that the regular CC does such a much better than job than you?"

"Klinger, those reports were supposed to go out yesterday!" Colonel Potter replied, not quite listening.

"Colonel Potter, sir, I found the reports," Radar called suddenly from Potter's office.

"So he actually found them before the war ended," Colonel Potter said, hurrying over to his office, leaving Klinger standing there looking very upset.
Hawkeye ate slowly and sullenly. Finally B.J. said, "Aren't you going to tell me exactly what each piece of food smells like?"

Hawkeye sighed. "I don't have it in me today, Beej. We need that penicillin!"

"Don't worry, Hawkeye. We'll get it," B.J. replied encouragingly.

"I wish I had your confidence. It's been nearly a week since Klinger called Dylan about it!" Hawkeye grumbled.

"He tried, Hawkeye," B.J. said.

"He didn't try hard enough!" Hawkeye shot back.

Hawkeye was suddenly interrupted by Klinger, several tables over. In a high-pitched voice he said, "Look at all this tasty food, Teddy!"

"What the . . ." Hawkeye turned to look. Klinger was all dolled up in one of his classic wigs and a gingham dress, and in his arms he held . . .

"My teddy bear!" Radar exclaimed indignantly. He rushed over and snatched the bear away from Klinger. "You could've spilled food on him!"

"Hey, hey, don't get so testy," Klinger shot back. "I wasn't planning to feed it!"
Klinger was heading back to his own tent when Colonel Potter stopped him.

"Klinger, Radar just talked to Sergeant Dylan," Potter began.

"Oh, and let me guess, sir, he won't be able to get the penicillin to us for another month," Klinger said sarcastically.

"Actually, no," Potter replied. "It's actually good news—he's found the penicillin, but he has no way to get it here. I want you and Radar to go pick it up from the aid station where he is."

"Why me, sir?" Klinger asked suspiciously.

Potter answered Klinger's question with one of his own. "Do you have a problem with that, Klinger?"

"No sir," Klinger said slowly.

"Good. Then it's settled. You and Radar will leave tomorrow morning. Goodnight, Klinger." Colonel Potter headed for his own tent.

Klinger sighed. "Goodnight, sir," he said.
Neither Klinger or Radar was in a very good mood when they started out for the aid station the next day. Klinger had been yelled at by Charles because Klinger hadn't been able to get a hold of the cologne that Charles wanted, and Radar was still upset about the teddy bear incident . . . and the disaster area Klinger had turned the office into.

"I can't believe you used my teddy bear in one of your crazy Section 8 stunts!" Radar fumed.

"Hey, I wasn't going to hurt it!" Klinger said. "And I was going to give it back to you." He gasped as a tree loomed into view. "Hey, kid, watch it!" Radar steered the Jeep away from the tree just in time.

"And why is everything always in such a mess when I get back from R&R?" Radar went on. "It takes me a couple of days before I can figure out how to put everything back in its rightful place!"

"Forgive me, O Organized one," Klinger said sardonically.

"I still can't find last week's report!" Radar scolded.

"As I remember, when you were first put in as the company clerk, you were pretty bad at it!" Klinger returned.

As Radar opened his mouth to retort, Klinger suddenly yelled, "Watch it, kid, there could be land mines around here!"

Just as Radar replied, "Don't try to scare me, Klinger!" there was a loud booming noise and the Jeep came to an abrupt halt.

"We struck one!" Klinger exclaimed as he and Radar were both flung out of the Jeep.

Radar landed several feet away and blacked out.
When Radar awoke, he wasn't where he had been before, but instead was laying on a patch of grass quite a ways from where he had landed. It took him a few minutes to collect his thoughts. He saw the Jeep was just a skeleton, blown to bits by the land mine it had struck.

How had he got on that patch of grass? That wasn't where he had landed. And . . . he looked around, remembering something else. Where was Klinger?

As he scanned the terrain, he gasped when he saw the other corporal laying a few feet away, motionless.

"Ohmygosh!" Radar exclaimed, pulling himself to his feet and limping over to Klinger. The sleeve of the corporal's dress was torn, and there was a gash on his arm, which, luckily, didn't look too deep. His dark brown eyes, usually so vibrant and full of life, were closed.

Radar shook Klinger gently on the shoulder. "Klinger! Hey, wake up! Say something . . . please!" Klinger remained unresponsive.

Frantically Radar looked around for the radio, and found it several feet away, looking not too much the worse for wear. "Please work," Radar said softly, attempting to dial up the 4077th. He breathed a prayer of thanks when Colonel Potter came on.

"Radar, what's going on? Have you got the penicillin yet?" he asked.

"No sir," Radar replied in a small voice.

"Well, where are you?" Potter demanded.

Radar's words came out brokenly. "Colonel Potter, sir, the Jeep . . . landmine . . ."

"Whoa, whoa, hold on, son. Slow down. Take a deep breath and try again," Potter urged.

Radar gulped. "The Jeep hit a landmine, sir, and we flew out. I blacked out, and when I woke up . . ." He paused, remembering his odd location.

"Yes? Go on, son," Potter encouraged.

"Sir, Klinger's been hurt," Radar said shakily. "I found him laying on the ground. He's not moving, and I can't get him to wake up!"

There was a pause. Then Potter asked, "Son, can you see whether he has any head injuries?"

"There's a cut on his forehead, sir, but it doesn't look real serious, I don't think so, anyway . . ." Radar paused. "But I think he might've hit his head on this rock here . . ."

"A rock!" Radar could hear the concerned edge in Potter's voice. "Radar, do you know approximately where you are?"

"Not that far from the 4077th, sir," Radar replied. "Maybe a few miles . . . We're in a clearing where two or three land mines have gone off, and the Jeep's a total wreck . . ."

"Okay, Radar, stay calm," Potter interrupted. "I'll send help."

"Oh, thank you, sir," Radar said, greatly relieved. He paused. "Oh, and sir?"

"Yes, Radar?"

"Please hurry, sir. I . . ." Radar's eyes filled with tears. "I think Klinger must've saved my life. . . . And I don't want him to loose his."
It seemed like forever before the rescue Jeep arrived. When Radar finally heard it coming, he jumped up to greet it, nearly falling over in the process.

"Oh sir, thank goodness you're here," Radar gasped, greeted the lieutenant who was driving. "Klinger's over there." He pointed. "I still can't get him to wake up," he added worriedly, wringing his hands.

As the lieutenant got out of the Jeep, he had to catch Radar to keep him from falling over. "Are you sure he's the only one who's hurt, Corporal?"

Radar struggled to stay upright. "Oh, yes, sir. I'm fine, sir. Klinger's the one who's hurt. Don't worry about me, sir."

The lieutenant went over to Klinger, looking a little taken aback by the dress he was wearing. He kneeled down on the ground next to him, gently prying his eyelids apart and shining a penlight at his eyes, and then checking his pulse.

"What do you think, sir?" Radar asked. "Is he hurt bad?"

"I don't know for sure," the lieutenant replied slowly. "He might have a bad concussion. We'd better get him back to the 4077th on the double."

The lieutenant loaded Klinger on the stretcher and put him in the back of the Jeep. "When we get back to the 4077th, I want you to have your ankle looked at," he declared to Radar. "You might've twisted it when you flew through the air."

"No, no, really, I'm fine," Radar insisted, and promptly grabbed the Jeep to steady himself after another near-collapse. The lieutenant just shook his head.

As Radar stumbled to get in the Jeep, he turned back around and whispered, "Hang in there, Klinger. Please!"
When the Jeep drove into the 4077th, Hawkeye and BJ came out to meet it.

"Radar! What happened?" Hawkeye gasped. He and BJ had just gotten out of the O.R. and knew nothing of what had gone on.

"The Jeep hit a land mine," Radar explained for what seemed like the umpteenth time. "Cpl. Klinger's hurt really bad!"

"Alright, let's have a look," BJ said as he and Hawkeye lifted Klinger out of the Jeep to examine him.

After a few minutes, Hawkeye sighed and shook his head.

"What? What is it, Captain Pierce?" Radar gasped.

Hawkeye looked at Radar very seriously. "Radar, Klinger took a pretty hard knock on the head."

"But he will be okay, won't he?" Radar demanded.

Hawkeye sighed. This was going to be very hard to say, especially to Radar. "I have to be honest with you, Radar. He might never wake up."

Radar looked at Hawkeye in disbelief. "No," he said, shaking his head. "No! There's gotta be some mistake. Isn't there anything you can do?"

"I'm afraid all we can do is hope and pray that he will wake up," Hawkeye replied softly.
Radar rubbed at his eyes. It had been such a long day, with everything happening . . . And now Klinger might die. . . .

"If I'd only kept my eyes on the road and not been arguing with Klinger about such silly stuff," Radar moaned to himself, limping over to his desk. He had twisted his ankle, but not as bad as it might've been.

"It should be me laying in there, not Klinger," Radar went on. Even though he didn't want to, he fell forward at his desk and dosed off.

He was abruptly awakened by someone coming in. He looked up. He hadn't ever heard the door open or shut, but there, standing before him was Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger, clad in a black dress with matching gloves, a hat, and a veil.

"Radar, I would like to have a word with you," Klinger declared.

Radar just stared at the other corporal, and then gasped, noticing something. "Klinger! You're . . . you're . . . floating!!"

"You're darn right I am!" Klinger replied.

"But . . . but . . ." Radar backed away, realization dawning. "Ohmygosh, Klinger, you're a . . . a GHOST!"

Klinger grinned eerily. "You bet I am! I'm dead, Radar, and it's your fault! If you had just concentrated on the road, we wouldn't have hit that land mine, I wouldn't have sustained a fatal concussion, and you wouldn't have your *twisted ankle,*" he finished contemptuously.

"Klinger, I . . . I'm sorry," Radar managed to say.

"Yeah? A lot of good that does me. I'm dead and it's your fault!" Klinger moved closer to the other corporal, pointing his forefinger at him accusingly. "It's your fault, Radar!"

Radar backed up until he tripped over the chair and fell on the floor.

Suddenly he heard an older, gruffer voice mixed in with Klinger's accusing one. "Radar! Radar! Wake up, son!"

Radar looked around, confused. He was laying on the floor tangled up with the chair, but instead of Klinger, Colonel Potter was standing over him.

"Sir?" Radar said.

"Radar, you fell asleep at your desk," Colonel Potter said. "I came in and found you tipping over in the chair!"

Radar slowly got up. "How's Klinger doing, sir?" he asked.

Colonel Potter shook his head. "About the same."

Radar picked the chair up. "So he's still alive, sir?"

"Barely." Colonel Potter sighed. "It's nearly one in the morning, son. Why don't you go to your cot and get some proper shut-eye? It's been a long day."

"I don't know if I can sleep, sir," Radar replied softly. "I didn't mean to go to sleep before. I feel so bad about yelling at Klinger the way I did. . . ."

"I know, son. I do, too," Colonel Potter agreed.

"I can't help thinking that if . . . if I hadn't been arguing with him, I wouldn't have ran the Jeep over that land mine," Radar said. "That it's . . . my fault Klinger's laying in there nearly dead." He turned away.

"Now, Radar, you've got to remember: this was an accident. You couldn't have known it was going to happen." Colonel Potter laid his hand on Radar's shoulder. "This was not your fault, Radar."

"I sure hope not, sir," Radar said softly.
Radar didn't feel like going back to sleep, so instead he went over to the Post-op ward. Klinger was laying on a cot near the door, very still.

Radar plopped into the chair next to the cot. "Klinger, I don't know if you can hear me, but if you can, I just wanted to say how sorry I am for what I said. I didn't mean it, Klinger, I swear." He paused.

"I'm pretty sure you must've saved my life, because I can't find any other explanation as to how I wound up on that patch of grass safe from the mine field when I didn't land there, so I also wanted to say thanks." He nearly fell off the chair and he then realized how tired he really was.

"Well, I guess I'd better go. . . ." He stood up slowly, reluctantly. "Hang in there, Klinger. You're too young to die!"
Hawkeye sighed as he finished doing his rounds, and he removed his stethoscope slowly.

"How's it going, son?" Colonel Potter asked, suddenly coming in.

Hawkeye rubbed his eyes. "Not so good, sir. We need that penicillin badly. The kids are getting worse. And I feel terrible for yelling at Klinger about it. He tried his best to get it."

Potter nodded. "That he did." He paused. "But now I have some news that should make you smile. Sergeant Dylan has finally managed to secure some transportation and he's bringing the penicillin in today."

Hawkeye's eyes brightened, but he still looked grim. "At least something good is happening around here," was his only comment. He glanced over at Klinger. "I wish I could say the same for him."

"He'll be alright, Hawkeye," Potter said in what he hoped was a reassuring tone. "Before we know it, he'll be frolicking around in the latest autumn fashions."

Hawkeye half-smiled as he walked out of the Post-op. "Colonel, I wish I had your confidence."

As soon as Hawkeye was out of earshot, Colonel Potter shook his head and said to himself, "I wish I did, too."
Margaret sighed. She and Klinger had never gotten along that well, but she always felt bad about yelling at him after she'd cooled down, especially if he had been right and she had been wrong, or if whatever she had been complaining about was beyond Klinger's control.

She winced, remembering that almost everyone at the 4077th had yelled at Klinger about something before he and Radar had gone for the penicillin—herself, Hawkeye, Colonel Potter, Radar, Charles. . . . She also suspected Klinger had gotten into another argument with Sergeant Rizzo at the motor pool, though she wasn't positive.

She shook her head. It seemed, though, that no matter how deeply someone hurt Klinger, he never held a grudge. And though he was always prancing around trying to get out of the Army, he was always willing to help someone in need.

Unseen by Radar early that morning, she had been listening to him talking to Klinger. When the company clerk had mentioned how he figured Klinger must've saved his life by taking him out of the mine field, Margaret knew instantly that that's exactly what Klinger had done if he was able. He probably had just managed to get Radar to safety when a land mine exploded nearby, sending him crashing into that rock . . .

She looked back at Klinger, then slowly walked out of Post-op.
Father Mulcahy had been up at Sister Teresa's orphanage for the past couple of days and hadn't heard anything of what had happened until he arrived back at the 4077th later that day.

BJ came out to greet him. "Father! You're back! How were things at the orphanage?"

"Quite well, but some of the children were very lonely," Father Mulcahy replied.

"We had some action around here, but not for the better," BJ stated.

"Oh my. What has happened?" Father Mulcahy asked worriedly.

"Well, Radar and Klinger went out to get penicillin from Sergeant Dylan and on their way, collided with a land mine," BJ replied solemnly. "The end result: Radar has a twisted ankle and Klinger is in a coma."

Father Mulcahy was dumbfounded. "Oh my. Oh my goodness," he exclaimed.

"Radar will be fine," BJ continued, "but Klinger's fate is a bit more uncertain. He might never wake up."

Father Mulcahy removed his hat, shaking his head. Finally he said, "I will be praying that it is not his time to go yet."
All through the rest of the day and week, people dropped by to check on Klinger. Even Sergeant Rizzo came by and seemed worried.

Radar kept vigil at Klinger's bedside every night and he found himself praying,

"Dear God, hi, this is me, Walter. Please, dear God, let Klinger live. He saved my life! Oh, it should be me laying there instead of him. . . . Please don't let him die! Please . . .!"

As Radar repeated his prayer, he found himself unwillingly dosing off to sleep.

Amid strange dreams of Klinger appearing to Radar as an angel and waving goodbye, Radar once again heard a voice calling to him. But this time it wasn't the voice of Colonel Potter . . .

"Kid! Hey, kid, what's the matter?"

Radar snapped awake. As his eyes focused, he gasped in disbelief. "Klinger??!"

"Kid, you were whimpering in your sleep," Klinger said. He was propped up on one elbow looking at the other corporal.

"Klinger, you're awake!" Radar exclaimed in delight, jumping up and running out into the compound, calling to everyone, while Klinger looked after him, confused.

"Would somebody please enlighten me as to what's going on here?" Klinger demanded.

"You've been out of it for a week," a patient across the room replied. "Everybody was pretty worried."

"That's right," Colonel Potter said, coming in. "We didn't know if you were going to make it, son."

Klinger paused. "I think I remember vaguely what happened . . . with the land mines." He sighed ruefully. "We didn't get the penicillin, sir."

"That's quite alright, Klinger. It's been taken care of, so don't you worry about it."

Then Radar returned with the rest of the camp.

"Ahh, so Sleeping Beauty has finally awakened," Hawkeye wisecracked.

"It's good to have you back among the living, Klinger," BJ said. "You seemed pretty far gone for a while there."

Klinger grinned. "It's the Toledo spirit, sir. The will to want to return—and not in a pine box!"

Even pompous, arrogant Charles had something to say. "Welcome back, Max. Your cheerful personality and raucous antics have been missed."

"Why, thank you, major," Klinger said, especially touched at Charles speaking up.

Everyone also asked for Klinger's forgiveness for yelling at him the week before. Klinger accepted their apologies readily.

After everyone else had gone back to their various duties, Radar stayed with Klinger.

"I can't help feeling that I'm the one who caused all this trouble," Radar confessed. "If I had just kept my eyes on the road . . ."

Klinger grinned. "Hey, it wasn't your fault, kid. No hard feelings."

Radar looked relieved. "Oh, that's good." He paused. "While you were . . . unconscious, I came and talked to you. . . ."

Klinger interrupted. "I know."

Radar looked at him funny. "How could you know, Klinger?"

Klinger shrugged. "I don't know, Radar, but somewhere through the haze and everything I heard you. I really did."

Radar looked awed. "Gee . . ." was all he could say.

"I did save you," Klinger went on. "When you crashed right in the middle of the mine field, I pulled you to safety. I was already just semi-conscious then, and the debris from the Jeep went and set off a few more land mines, including one no less than a foot from where you'd been laying. I guess one of the land mines really knocked me for a loop or something . . . I can't really remember. But I do remember I saved you."

"Thanks, Klinger," Radar said softly. "You nearly got killed trying to rescue me."

"Hey, it was nothing," Klinger replied. "You'd have done the same for me. Friends?"

Radar grinned. "Friends," he agreed.