Location: Twenty miles outside camp of the M*A*S*H 4077th
Date: June 17th, 1951 (Three weeks after the death of Col. Henry Blake)
Time: 10:00 a.m.
I never really thought that I would find myself this close to the front lines. Nothing looks any different than the terrain of the army hospital I served in just a few weeks ago. Same exhausting heat, same dirty grass, same poor locals, same army men running around trying to get under the nurses' skirts. The only difference is that a couple of hundred miles away men are dying.
I grip the transfer papers in my right hand, careful not to wrinkle them, and hold my sorry excuse for luggage in my left hand. The driver of the last jeep said my ride would pick me up in thirty minutes. That was an hour and a half ago.
Sighing, I sit my case down and sit my butt on top of it. Looking down at my papers I reread the name of my destination, the M*A*S*H 4077th , my new home. Most of the people I know would have jumped at the chance to be in my shoes but not me. I know exactly where I'm going and exactly who is going to be there.
My stomach turns as I picture his face, it has been so long. I hate to admit it, even to myself, but I'm nervous. When I volunteered to come to Korea, I was told there was a one in a million chance I would see someone I knew. Statistics can kiss my foot they were never of any use to me.
A honk gets my attention and I look up to see a young G.I. bumping along the road in a standard jeep. He stops the contraption in front of me and leans over, "Are you the transfer for the 4077" he asked, "or are you an angel?"
I stood, "Yes I'm the transfer and sorry, Soldier Boy, no angels today just nurses who have been standing here for over two hours," I correct him.
The G.I. gets out and helps me put my suitcase in the back of the jeep, "Sorry, ma'am, bunch of wounded came in and they needed all the spare hands and blood they could get."
We clambered into the vehicle and he roared it to life, "Well, they have one more set now," I told him.
He only nodded, "Name's Luke Perkins. What did you say you name was?"
I only smiled at him, "I didn't."
Location: M*A*S*H 4077th
Date: June 17th, 1951
Time: 10:45 a.m.
I was looking over some paperwork when Radar filed in with another arm load, "Last batch, Sir," the boy said quietly.
He gently placed the stack on the corner of my desk and began to pick up the ones I had already signed, "Where is that transfer, Radar," I asked him for probably the third time today.
"We had to send a jeep for her about forty-five minutes ago, Sir. The wounded backed us up," he said without looking up from his work.
I nodded at him as he stated for the swinging doors, "When she gets here send her in," I told him.
Radar went through the doors with his arms full and I looked back down at my work. A second later he came back through the door, arms still loaded, but now he was followed by someone else, "She's here, sir." (I think audience laughter should be added here)
Looking up, I was met with the sight of a petite girl who had the most familiar looking blue eyes. Her hat pinned down what looked to be like a lot of wavy red hair a few freckles dotted her fair cheeks. I stood and she saluted me.
I did the same, "At ease," I commanded and she obliged, "Welcome to the 4077th mobile army surgical hospital, Miss, um, let me see your form is here somewhere," I said, fumbling for the transfer form.
Radar stuck his head in again, "Top left, Sir, under the delivery orders and photos of Saddie."
A smile curled onto the girl's mouth, as I found the form, "My name is Anna, Sir, if that helps. Is Saddie your daughter?" she asked, in a friendly tone.
I read over her file, "Nope, she's my horse, beautiful old gal, just as beautiful as Mrs. Potter," I informed her, "So you're a Corporal. Not bad. Didn't finish much of your college."
"I volunteered before graduation," she said as I offered her a seat.
We both sat and I couldn't get put my finger on who this young girl reminded me of, "Well, we have plenty of trained nurses here, but our head nurse always needs help with her paperwork. You could be her assistant and help Radar and Klinger they could sure use it."
"I'd be happy for anything, Colonel," she replied, very polite.
I stood and she followed suit. I held out my hand, "Then welcome to the 4077, Corporal," I was interrupted by Radar and Klinger bursting into the room.
"Sir, we have a problem," Klinger began out of breath.
"Private Thompson's sick," Radar finished, "He was the singer for Colonel Blake's memorial announcement.
I turned to the new Corporal, "Colonel Blake was the Colonel in position before I arrived. He was killed a few days after his departure," I explained to her.
The girl nodded, "I heard, Sir, a horrible thing."
A looked at her for a moment before I spoke again, "Can you sing, Corporal?" I asked her.
She looked shocked that I had asked, "I sang in my church's Christmas Pageant two Christmas' ago. I held the solo act but surely you don't want me to," now I cut her off.
Moving around the desk, and placing a friendly hand around her back, I guided her to the door, "Nonsense. Short notice calls for short replacement. Radar get her set up and the PA system."
Radar nodded then opened the door for her and showed her out. Klinger stayed behind and looked at me, "Colonel is it me or does she look like someone we know?
"I'm not sure, Klinger, I'm not sure."
Location: M*A*S*H 4077th Officer's Club
Time: 10: 57 a.m.
Everyone milled around talking quietly or sipping drinks. Around everyone's upper arms they wore a black ribbon with a makeshift fish hook placed somewhere on the display in honor of the late Henry Blake.
I watched a lovely nurse walked past me then watched another one go the other day. Music from the jukebox played a friendly tune and I had a lovely little martini in my hand. This would be one great party if it wasn't a memorial service.
"Hey, Hawk?" BJ gets my attention by plopping down in a chair next to me, "When does this thing start?"
Taking a sip of my drink I smiled at my fellow surgeon, "Radar has promised the announcement will go off at exactly eleven o'clock."
As I finish explaining, right ion the dot, the familiar PA voice comes over the air and the place falls silent.
"Attention. Attention. Today, in the Officer's Club there will be a brunch and cocktail party, mostly cocktail, in honor of Colonel Henry Blake. The party is B.Y.O.N. Bring your own nurse. Now for a memorial poem," there was a bit of silence and a rustling of paper before the voice came back on.
"Oh Henry, why have thou gone so early.
Won't you stay a little longer?
Perhaps for a drink?
Oh Henry, Why hast thou gone?
You have to know Henry,
You are missed here
By everyone, even Frank.
You are not gone Henry
Never will you be.
No Henry, you are still here
'For we have not said goodbye
Just good night."
Sniffles were heard around the room and most of the nurses had tears streaming down their faces. Even Frank looked a little misty eyed. For a short poem I think I did an alright job, BJ helped.
"Now, following the recent absence of Private Thompson, here is our musical act," another silence. Thompson must have drunk too much again. We all waited for a few moments then my heart stopped.
I stood up, barely conscious of what I was doing. I heard BJ call my name but I ignored him as I started for the door. Footsteps followed me as I made my way to Potter's office.
"How sweet the sound."
The second verse sent me into a run. Behind me, Margret yelled for me to stop but I couldn't.
"That saved a wretch like me."
That voice. It was so sweet, so much more matured than the last time I had heard it.
"I once was lost, but now I'm found."
I busted through the door of the office, my posse following behind me. A small figure sat bent over the PA system. Radar stared up at me speechless but I just moved forward. Potter came out of his office, clearly confused.
"Was blind but now I see."
The system was shut off and the girl finally faced me.
"Pierce, what Sam's hill is going on here?" Potter asked me.
I couldn't answer I wasn't even sure. I walked forward again and the girl just looked up at me, dumbstruck. This couldn't be her, couldn't be.
She smiled slightly then looked up at me with bright blue eyes, "Hi, Uncle Benjy."
Hello! I hope you all liked this. I am a huge fan of M*A*S*H. It has been a part of my life for the longest time. Well again, I hope you liked it.