Up, Up and Away

Note and Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own the storylines, plots and characters of M*A*S*H (as always, yada, yada, yada). This was inspired by the movie Up, which I finally saw over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, helping me to install another chapter of "The Klinger Chronicles". I hope you all enjoy!


As I look down upon the last of this hell that they all call Korea, I rub my hands with glee and remember the long-ago whispers, telling me that I, Maxwell Q. Klinger, am a genius. It does take a good mind, after all, to get those whispers of joy, but it is also a hard road filled with dread and fright.

Granted, it's a bit cold up here in the skies of freedom, but I cannot help myself, thinking of how wonderful I am today (and every other day that I'm escaping and scheming for my Section Eight and the ticket home to Toledo). I mean, making a hot air balloon (with a little basket weaving, sewing and some reading) was a great idea to escape the boredom that makes me the company clerk down below, several miles away. However, it does make it a little hard to navigate when there's a huge balloon above me, making shadows in every directions. It makes this Lebanese man nervous to think that anybody could shoot me down, even if it's obvious that I'm on the U.S. side of things.

However, this is my last chance, I think. I have to get out of here before they all eat me alive!

I know that it was so cruel of me to leave again, but I was getting pretty tired of the demands and the complaints. Nobody appreciates me really. Nobody's been happy about anything I do. Anything I say is even used against me. They all think that I'm going to escape, but when I'm just thinking…and then escaping when they push my buttons too many times. Then, and only then, will I make my grand vanishing act.

I mean, during all this time recently, Radar's been writing and saying how wonderful it is to be home and all, so everyone's in an uproar about it, forgetting about little old me, the corporal with many tricks up his sleeve. They've been talking about his letters all the time that they haven't noticed that I've been trying to create another escape route out of here. Hell, even Major Houlihan has been excited about Radar's letters and she hasn't been bothering me.

Talk about a miracle! I was free for a while!

For a while (before I was ignored and left to my devises), I thought that building that chariot and dressing as a biblical figure would save me. Alas, it was too bad that Major Winchester caught me on the last night and then persuaded Captains Pierce and Hunnicutt that a costume party was a good idea…after I lied to Major Houlihan about it and how I wasn't going to be walking out of camp again.

Now, in the skies over war torn Korea, I look down at the pocked landscape and sigh with some relief, knowing that, so far, nobody would shoot a balloon made out of old laundry baskets from the Korean ladies and olive green puke Army blankets from my tent. I think our side would recognize me. The other side…well, they would scratch their heads at this hairy Lebanese man from the other side of the war.

Dammit.

I now see a large cloud of dust following me and it's going pretty fast, almost as fast as my large balloon is going (which is kinda slow). As I squint and see the clouds turning into a clearer sight, I see some men down below, pointing up at me (even the one navigating) and –

My heart sinks with fear, knowing that I was being followed via jeep because I was reported A.W.O.L. once more.

They're after me again! The chase is on.

Quickly, I turn to the one thing that has kept me almost insane in this place called Korea. There are my prized possessions and have helped in me getting my Section Eight, even when I was called an animal (amongst many other things).

Grabbing what was left of my Klinger Collection from my bag, I toss the clothes in an array of fashions, letting it drop downward in random spirals that resembled vultures picking up their prey. As I tended to the fire that keeps the air in the balloon, I kept a careful eye on what destruction my dresses were doing to the men below, seeing that…

They missed! My clothes missed their mark!

Dammit! Double drat and dammit!

I turned back to tend to the fire again, keeping it going to stay in the air and not sink down and be arrested for the two hundredth and something time. Oh, I knew that I had very few chances left to get out of here alive, since I was about due for my last confinement at the camp…or a trip to the stockade, whichever comes first. However, I needed to be free.

In the meantime, if I escape this time, I could get back to Toledo in one piece and fulfill my destiny. I could claim that false identity that I created and pull out the money that me and my friends had set up long ago, before Fort Dix…

Finally, I thought that enough was enough. I took a quick peek back at the jeep following me. The three men below me were still pointing up, but they were also looking at the clothes floating by them as the wind and dist kicked them around. While one of them shot at a few of them (the last of the Klinger Collection destroy in a blaze of fire), the other two seemed to be laughing at the situation, even the one behind the wheel. I mean, my bloomers hit a windshield, but the driver didn't seem to mind. His head fell back, his smile seen from the many miles up in the air, where I was.

I shook my head, willing the balloon to go faster. I only had a few miles to go before I hit the coast of Korea, slowing pushing to the sea and into Japan.

Toledo, here I come!