“I Need Some Sleep”

By Big Daddy O’Reilly

 

This stillness and quietness of a typical night in Korea could either be comforting, or frightening. Sometimes, it brought back pleasant memories of quiet night’s sleep, back stateside; but for nights where you have trouble sleeping, the stillness and quietness can make a person paranoid… could someone be out there? Could someone be planning something? Could an enemy attack strike at any moment? None of those things seemed to phase B.J. however, as he tossed and turned in his cot; he kept grunting as he rolled around in his cot, having a million thoughts racing through his mind. He rose up, turned on the light above his cot, and re-read the letter he had gotten from his wife that day, shaking his head, and mouthing, “damn” as he read along. A soft glow through the darkness of closed eyelids told Hawkeye that morning was approaching, but when he opened his eyes, he saw it wasn’t the dawn at all, but his best friend up, reading.

 

HAWKEYE: [Sleepily] Havin’ a good read, Beej?

 

B.J.: [Without looking up] I didn’t wake you, did I Hawk?

 

HAWKEYE: Not at all, I always open my eyes and talk to people at… [Looks at alarm clock] a quarter to three in the morning…

 

B.J.: Hmm. Sorry.

 

HAWKEYE: [Sighs] What is it this time?

 

B.J.: … Sometimes I just can’t get over being stuck over here, and not being able to be the provider for the family, like any man should.

 

HAWKEYE: [Jokingly] Well, look; you get $300 a month, that’s a start…

 

B.J.: Peggy’s thinking of getting a job to help support her and Erin while I’m over…

 

HAWKEYE: Look Beej, there’s a lot of loved ones back home who are having to step up to the plate because of the Army and it’s “infinite” wisdom to randomly select us from our practices so we can run around playing soldier…

 

B.J.: But she shouldn’t have to!

 

HAWKEYE: [Ducks head under pillow] Life’s unfair, Beej.

 

B.J. was still upset at the idea of Peggy taking on a job to make a better income for the family, while he’s stuck serving overseas in the war. He didn’t like it one bit; and knowing how slow the mail is, she’d probably already find a job before his response can get to her. Radar was sound asleep, snuggling his teddy bear closely, and dreaming of home - milking cows, gathering eggs from chickens, and playing fetch with his dog Ranger, when he felt someone shaking his shoulder.

 

B.J.: Radar? Hey Radar?

 

RADAR: [In his sleep] In… a minute, Uncle Ed…

 

B.J.: Come on Radar, wake up!

 

RADAR: [Wakes up] Huh?! What is it, sir?

 

B.J.: Radar, can you get me San Francisco?

 

RADAR: [Groans] Now?!

 

B.J.: It’s really important, it can’t wait!

 

RADAR: [Groans] Can’t it wait till morning, sir?

 

B.J.: No, now, please…

 

Radar reluctantly arose from his cot, grabbing his glasses, and making his way over to the control center, while ringing HQ in Seoul.

 

RADAR: [Over microphone] Sparky? Hello? Sparky? Oh, yeah hey Spark, listen… [Pause] Hey! [Pause] Look Sparky, I know it’s almost three in the morning, I’m not happy about it either, but I gotta place a call to San Francisco… yeah… what? Uh… well, how about some “magazines”?

 

B.J.: [Whispers] Hawkeye’s not gonna like that.

 

RADAR: [Covers microphone] Listen, at this hour, Sparky’s gonna want somethin’ good… [Back to Sparky] Yeah? Okay, I’ll stand by… [Hands microphone and headset to B.J.] He’s patchin’ a call to San Francisco now.

 

B.J.: Thanks, Radar! [Sits down]

 

RADAR: Is it alright if I go back to bed now, sir?

 

B.J.: Huh? Yeah, go ahead.

 

RADAR: Thank you, sir…

 

Radar shuffled back to his cot, and plopped down, falling back to sleep, while B.J. spoke with his wife over the phone. The next day at breakfast, Radar slowly carried his overflowing tray over to his usual spot next to Colonel Potter.

 

POTTER: You alright, son? You look like three days of bad weather.

 

RADAR: [Pause] I’m fine, Colonel… just sleepy.

 

B.J.: Thanks again, Radar.

 

RADAR: [Eyes slipping shut] Welcome sir…

 

Moments later, business grew heavier once again, as choppers bearing wounded flew over the Compound.

 

PA ANNOUNCER: Attention, all personnel, incoming on the helipad, all shifts report to OR on the double.

 

Litter jeeps rushed up to the helipad to transport the wounded to the hospital down below, but not before the surgeons gave them a brief look over to see what they would be dealing with; hours later, in OR, things were growing a little restless – more patients were waiting for surgery in Pre-Op, while fewer patients were being sent to Post-Op.

 

POTTER: We’re starting to fall behind here, boys…

 

B.J.: Well, I’m on the rebound, Colonel.

 

HAWKEYE: [Jokingly] So am I, just before I put this kid under, he told me all about his Dear John letter from home, I think we could fast be an item.

 

B.J.: [Jokingly] I’m afraid the difference in your ages could be a problem.

 

HAWKEYE: [To his nurse] Well, how about you? What are you doing later this evening?

 

NURSE: [Sternly] Sleeping.

 

HAWKEYE: [Sighs] Ah… sleeping is one of my favorite pastimes.

 

NURSE: Really.

 

HAWKEYE: Oh yeah, I could’ve been on the Olympic Sleeping Team… what say I pop over to your tent around nine-ish, and let me give you a demonstration?

 

NURSE: Save your energy, doctor.

 

CHARLES: Pierce, can’t we have an end to these sleazy conversations while some of us do some actual work around here?

 

POTTER: What ARE you doing, Major?

 

CHARLES: Colonel, this poor man has a mess of shrapnel in his colon…

 

POTTER: Dammit, Winchester, how many times must I tell you – neatness don’t count in meatball surgery!

 

CHARLES: As I have asked you before, sir, do you want it done “good”, or do you want it done fast?

 

POTTER: Good AND fast, we’re falling behind Winchester!

 

CHARLES: Colonel, I refuse to rush through this procedure, I could very well overlook a hole or two in this man’s colon, he will have internal bleeding in Post-Op!

 

POTTER: I’m not rushing you, Major…

 

CHARLES: THANK you, sir.

 

POTTER: I’M TELLIN’ YOU TO PICK UP THE DAMN PACE!

 

CHARLES: COLONEL!

 

POTTER: WE GOT MORE BOYS WAITING TO BE OPERATED ON IN PRE-OP, WE CAN’T SPEND ALL DAY REMOVING SHRAPNEL FROM ONE KID’S COLON, THIS ISN’T TOKYO GENERAL, THIS IS A MASH UNIT! PATCH ‘EM UP, AND MOVE ‘EM OUT!

 

CHARLES: BUT, SIR…

 

POTTER: MOVE IT!

 

HAWKEYE: I’ll take him, Colonel…

 

CHARLES: Colonel… as I have said before… if I am such a bother to your surgical staff, then why not send me somewhere where I may be of more use, like Tokyo, or even the States?

 

POTTER: Because we need every surgeon we can get, and with time, you WILL get used to routine around here, and that’s an ORDER!

 

HAWKEYE: [Walks over to Charles’s table] Okay, step aside, Charlie, let a pro handle this.

 

CHARLES: Now see here…

 

HAWKEYE: MOVE!

 

CHARLES: Very well. [Rips gloves off] I am going to take a brief break, while you “children” play God.

 

Charles then stormed out of OR, still furious at the way he’s constantly being rushed through his procedures.

 

HAWKEYE: Maybe it still isn’t too late to bring ol’ Ferret Face back.

 

B.J.: Please, Winchester may be slow, but at least he isn’t incompetent!

 

POTTER: Hear! Hear!

 

Later that evening, Charles, still furious over what happened in OR, stormed into the Swamp, and sat down on his bunk, where he proceeded to play one of his favorite Beethoven records to help calm him down… it seemed to work for a while, until his tent mates showed up.

 

HAWKEYE: Good news Charles, your patient’s gonna survive after all.

 

CHARLES: Pierce… you have the most impeccable timing… I was FINALLY getting over that escapade in the OR this afternoon, and then you had to come in and ruin the moment for me, once again.

 

B.J.: How about me, Charles?

 

CHARLES: You, I can tolerate.

 

B.J.: Really? Aw… I was trying to ruin the moment for you, too!

 

Charles sneered at his immature bunkmates; like everyone else in camp, he could not wait for the war to be over. Early the next day, while the Swamp rats were making up their bunks for the day, Klinger strolled into the tent, bearing letters from home, and wearing a new, lavender summer dress, with purple heels, and a white hat.

 

KLINGER: Mail!

 

HAWKEYE: Oh goodie! Anything from a Sheila, Joyce, or Gloria, addressed to a certain “Foreign Co-respondent”?

 

KLINGER: Nah, just a letter from your dad.

 

HAWKEYE: ‘Bout as good as it gets.

 

B.J.: New dress, Klinger?

 

KLINGER: Just finished it last night! A new original addition to the ever-growing “Klinger Kollection”… I figured it all out - when this war’s over, I’m going to be the most successful fashion designer on the south side of Toledo!

 

CHARLES: [Chuckles] As if you’d be a success anywhere else?

 

KLINGER: Just you wait, Major… and here’s your mail for the month as well… and with that, I bid you all a hasty, ado.

 

Klinger stepped out of the Swamp, while Charles went through his mail, until he saw a letter from his father, that struck him curious; Charles opened the envelope, and read over the letter, his face turning even more sour the more he read.

 

HAWKEYE: [Reading his letter] Hmm… my old Alma Mater’s constructing a new campus closer to downtown Crabapple Cove…

 

CHARLES: [Reading his letter] Outrageous… simply outrageous!

 

HAWKEYE: Oh, I don’t know Charles, the old campus has a statue out front… if they move it, just think of all the little pigeons, who’ll be happy to see a fresh face in the neighborhood.

 

CHARLES: My stocks have plummeted nearly fifty percent in the last month! This damn war!

 

HAWKEYE: [Sarcastically] Aw, don’t worry “Ch-ah-les”, with your independent wealth, you can buy them out in the next quarter!

 

CHARLES: Hold the phone…

 

Charles continued reading his letter, this time, his once soured face slowly began to smile more and more, as he read.

 

B.J.: Do mine eyes deceive me?

 

HAWKEYE: I do believe ol’ Doc Winchester is finally breaking in a new face.

 

CHARLES: Of course, of course! What an inspired idea, father!

 

B.J.: Care to share?

 

CHARLES: My father, who is very influential in the stock market back home, has suggested I move all of my shares to Pericles Diapers… their numbers have shot up nearly three times, and are looking steady in the months to come… just imagine how much more money that would make…

 

HAWKEYE: And just imagine how many fewer accidents you’ll have with all those diapers.

 

CHARLES: Ha-ha… [Looks over letter] Wait a moment… what is today’s date?

 

HAWKEYE: What difference does that make? Every day’s the same day in Korea.

 

CHARLES: It says here I should move my shares by noon, local time, on November the 10th

 

B.J.: And let’s see… that would be… around two o’clock tomorrow morning here…

 

CHARLES: You’re right… we are over the dateline here…

 

HAWKEYE: If only we could all share the same time zone…

 

CHARLES: Then that’s when we’ll do it… before two o’clock, tomorrow morning!

 

HAWKEYE: I have a wonderful tip for you, Charles…

 

CHARLES: [Chuckles] I highly doubt that.

 

HAWKEYE: [Cheeky grin] You should try moving all your shares to Pioneer Aviation!

 

CHARLES: “Pioneer Aviation”? Never heard of it. Besides, Pierce, my father has far more wisdom than you will by the time you reach his age.

 

Sure enough, at around 1:30 in the morning, Charles casually strolled into Radar’s office, and over to his bunk.

 

CHARLES: Ah, Corporal.

 

Radar remained asleep.

 

CHARLES: Corporal?

 

Radar continued to sleep, though he did roll over slightly, so Charles reached down, and tapped Radar on the shoulder, to which he promptly shot his eyes open; Radar looked up, but without his glasses, and still not quite familiar with Charles around camp, he was nothing by an undistinguished blur to him.

 

RADAR: Who’s there?

 

CHARLES: Major Winchester, you…

 

RADAR: Oh, sorry Major, but without my glasses, I can’t see very well when I don’t have my glasses on to see…

 

CHARLES: Well, perhaps you should put your spectacles on your face, so you can see what you’re doing.

 

RADAR: Oh, I can still see my dreams pretty well even without my glasses.

 

CHARLES: Ahem.

 

RADAR: Oh… sir, please?

 

CHARLES: O’Reilly, THIS is important, I need you to place through a call to Boston!

 

RADAR: [Groans] Now, sir?

 

CHARLES: Of course, and you better hurry, before it will be too late!

 

Radar moanfully arose from his cot, and grabbed his glasses.

 

CHARLES: Corporal… how old are you?

RADAR: Uh, I’ll be nineteen next week. [Chuckles]

 

CHARLES: And you still sleep with a teddy bear?

 

RADAR: Well… only when I’m in bed…

 

CHARLES: Up, Corporal, up!

 

Radar winced, as he made his way back over to the control center for another midnight call.

 

CHARLES: I want you to get me Pericles Diapers.

 

RADAR: Uh, sir? Excuse me, but uh, there’s some rubber sheets in the Supply Tent that you might find might be of some use for you, sir.

 

CHARLES: Not for me, you “non-com-poop”! This is strictly business, I must move all of my stock shares to Pericles Diapers before noon, November 10, local time in Boston!

 

RADAR: Right… [Rings HQ] Sparky? Sparky? Are you there, Sparky? Yeah, it’s me again, Sparky… [Pause] I know, Sparky, I know… but uh… listen, our new surgeon, Major Winchester, wants to get through to Dericles Pipers in Boston so he can wash his socks…

 

CHARLES: No! I want to move my STOCKS to PERICLES DIAPERS!

 

RADAR: [Covers microphone] Uh, sir, at this hour, Sparky’s gonna want somethin’ really good in return… uh… would you… would you mind parting with some of your vintage wine?

 

CHARLES: Absolutely not! You may offer him anything, BUT!

 

RADAR: [Back to HQ] Sparky? How would you like a real neat phonograph with lots of “Beet-hoo-von” records?

 

CHARLES: DON’T YOU DARE!

 

Charles snatched away the headset and microphone from Radar.

 

RADAR: Oh! Don’t make ‘im mad!

 

CHARLES: Who is this? [Pause] Yes, Sergeant Pryor? Now listen to me VERY carefully, I am Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, and I have a very important business call to make to Pericles Diapers, in Boston, Massachusetts, if you would be so kind as to get on it right away. [Pause] What? No, you may NOT have my phonograph. [Pause] Oh… since I’ll be doing much better for myself soon enough… how does… say, $200 sound? [Smiles] Wonderful… [To Radar] You have to know how to negotiate, Corporal.

 

RADAR: I do, sir…

 

Fifteen minutes later, a happy Charles rested the headset and microphone on Radar’s desk, while Radar had fallen asleep, leaning over his incoming/outgoing mail trays.

 

CHARLES: Thank you very much, Corporal.

 

RADAR: Hmm? Oh… yeah, sure sir.

 

CHARLES: You, and your… friend… may go back to bed now, as I will, myself.

 

Radar watched Charles step out of his office, as he went back over to his own cot.

 

RADAR: Boy! I’m gettin’ sick of this… if someone wakes me up one more time to make a phone call… I’ll… I’ll… do… somethin’!

 

Radar pulled the covers over his head, and huddled down into his cot. As if he was the only who was having troubles, Margaret’s recent letter from Donald wasn’t doing her much good either; ending their honeymoon early was probably one of the poorest choices she made, she felt like pouring her heart out to him, but she knew that simply writing him back wouldn’t do much help, not to mention it would take too long… she’d call him instead… however, Margaret had trouble mustering herself up to place a call to him. All day long, when she wasn’t assisting in OR, or on duty in Post-Op, she’d try to make her way to Radar’s office, but something always came to her mind that would make her think otherwise… someone else walking in wanting to use the phone, someone like Hawkeye eavesdropping on her conversation on Potter’s phone. As the night wore on, Margaret tossed and turned in her own bunk, longing for her newly wedded husband, fighting the urges that came to her in her sleep… she couldn’t take it anymore, she had to talk to him, and right away. Margaret grabbed her robe, and dashed out of her tent, down the Compound, and into Radar’s office; Radar was sleeping with his wool cap on, and it would soon become apparent why.

 

MARGARET: O’Reilly?

 

Radar didn’t respond. He simply pulled the earflaps of his cap over his ears, acting like he was ignoring whomever it was who was trying to wake him.

 

MARGARET: Corporal O’Reilly!

 

Radar still didn’t respond, this time, he pulled the rest of his cap over the top of his head, covering his eyes.

 

MARGARET: Come on Radar, please get up!

 

Once again, Radar didn’t respond. This time, he pulled the covers over his head, and held onto them tightly.

 

MARGARET: UP! O’REILLY, AND THAT’S AN ORDER!

 

RADAR: [Muffled] I’m sleepin’!

 

MARGARET: And you’re also going on report if you don’t get out of bed, and get on the phone to my husband, a certain Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscott, in the next ten seconds! One! Two!

 

If there’s one person in camp that could strike fear into Radar’s little heart, it’s Major Margaret Houlihan, especially when she gets worked up about something; with less time than it takes to take, Radar shot up from under the covers, pulled his hat off, and grabbed his glasses.

 

RADAR: I’m sorry, sir. [Double take] MA’AM!

 

Radar dashed over to the communication center, with Margaret on his tail the whole time.

 

MARGARET: Please, make it quick, Corporal, I MUST talk to Colonel Penobscott!

 

RADAR: Right, I’m on it… [Grabs headset and microphone] Sparky? I’m sorry Sparky, but I need to get, uh… Lieutenant Donald Colonel Penobscott!

 

MARGARET: He’s stationed in Tokyo!

 

RADAR: Yeah, he’s stationed in Tokyo!

 

MARGARET: And I MUST talk to him, immediately!

 

RADAR: Right, I MUST talk to him, immediately… I mean, Major Houlihan… I mean, SHE wants to talk to him… what? Okay… [To Margaret] he’s patching us through to Tokyo, Major…

 

MARGARET: Give me!

 

Radar jumped out of the chair, as Margaret took the headset and microphone, waiting for someone to pick up.

 

MARGARET: Hello?! Yes, I’m calling Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscott, please tell him its Margaret! [Pause] WHAT girl he was with last night? I’m his WIFE, I’m with a MASH unit in Uijongbu, and I wasn’t with him last night! [Pause] Yes, you best put him on! [Under her breath] What the… [Aloud] Donald? Donald, it’s Margaret! Oh, sweetheart, I’ve missed you so much! [Pause] I know it’s only been a few days, but it feels so much longer than that… Donald… what was that I heard about you with some girl last night? [Pause] A nurse whose doctor’s jeep broke down on the way to an aid station, and you were offering to escort them there yourself? [Pause] Oh Donald, you’re SO considerate!

 

Radar yawned, and rolled his eyes, as Margaret continued to babble on about how she wishes she could spend some more time with Donald, so much, that she told him that she would ask Potter if he would let her visit him in Tokyo. After Margaret was finished with her phone conversation, Radar made a decision of his own right then and there. Early the next afternoon, Radar was dictating a requisition for Colonel Potter regarding the shipment of supplies they need for the upcoming winter season.

 

POTTER: Read back to me what we’ve got so far, Radar.

 

RADAR: Yes sir… uh “To I-Corps. Seoul. Request shipment of supplies to MASH 4077 – coats, gloves, ear muffs or woolen jeep caps, long underwear and sleepwear, heavy-duty winter boots, extra blankets…

 

POTTER: And, don’t forget we’re about to run out of light bulbs.

 

RADAR: Right sir… [Writes down] “and we’re running out of light bulbs”…

 

Potter puffed his cigar, as he turned in his chair to look at his window, to see a very light dusting of snow was falling outside.

 

POTTER: We skipped our “early fall”, and went straight to an early winter, look at that.

 

RADAR: [Looks out window] Oh yeah, it’s snowing! Wonder why the Army ordered that?

 

POTTER: God only knows, Radar.

 

RADAR: Oh! [Pause] Uh… Colonel?

 

POTTER: Having spelling problems again, son?

 

RADAR: Oh, no sir, I was just wondering… can I go outside and play in the snow?

 

Potter looked out his office window more carefully.

 

POTTER: It’s just a light dusting Radar, there’s not enough to play in.

 

RADAR: Oh, that’s okay sir, uh… I can build a “dirt man”!

 

POTTER: It’s not even sticking to the ground, the ground isn’t cold enough.

 

RADAR: Well… I like to catch snowflakes on my tongue, see?

 

Radar gave Potter a demonstration by sticking his tongue out, acting like it was snowing in the office, bobbing too and fro, trying to catch the invisible snowflakes, as Potter sat there, revealing a half-smile at Radar’s somewhat silly antics.

 

POTTER: [Chuckles] Alright, alright, son, you’re dismissed, but, make sure you send out that requisition as soon as you can!

 

RADAR: Oh, yes sir… I’ll put it in my outgoing box on the way out!

 

Radar walked out of Potter’s office, into his own, where he dropped the list of requisitions into his outgoing mailbox, before stepping outside. As much as Radar really did want to stop and try to catch snowflakes on his tongue, he actually had other ideas in mind, which is why he was really anxious to leave Potter’s office. Meanwhile, in the Swamp…

 

HAWKEYE: Hey Beej, check it out, Korea’s suddenly got a scalp condition.

 

B.J.: Comes from using too much shampoo.

 

HAWKEYE: As if we couldn’t find any real poo.

 

Both Hawkeye and B.J. chuckled, as Charles sneered.

 

CHARLES: Why… WHY must EVERYTHING be such a big joke with you two?

 

HAWKEYE: Not EVERYTHING is such a big joke with us, Charles…

 

B.J.: Only certain things… Klinger’s nose…

 

HAWKEYE: B.J.’s feet…

 

B.J.: Hawkeye’s madness…

 

HAWKEYE: Your ego…

 

CHARLES: Very cute… gentlemen… but do you honestly believe that behaving in such an insane manner in this God-forsaken hellhole will keep your sanity intact?

 

HAWKEYE: Like my virginity, I lost my sanity twenty years ago, and I haven’t seen it since.

 

B.J.: I lost a lot of things when I got here, and my sanity was only one of them.

 

HAWKEYE: I remember you came in with sanity… didn’t take long to break you in on a domestic model.

 

B.J.: Easy to do in a nuthouse like this.

 

HAWKEYE: Speaking of which, have you heard about Klinger’s latest scheme?

 

B.J.: Does it involve nuts?

 

HAWKEYE: Close, he said he’s sent home for a camel.

 

B.J.: Well, when we’re short on litter jeeps, and Potter’s horse isn’t up to it, we can transport wounded on each hump.

 

HAWKEYE: [Laughs]

 

CHARLES: Have you two finished?

 

HAWKEYE: Um… Beej?

 

B.J.: [Shrugs] Hmm… yes.

 

CHARLES: Thank you.

 

Later that evening, Colonel Potter strolled through the Post-Op ward, to observe how things were going; moments ago, Margaret informed him of a problem patient that Hawkeye was dealing with. Potter found Hawkeye sitting next to the patient in his bunk, and walked over.

 

POTTER: Pierce?

 

HAWKEYE: Colonel…

 

POTTER: How’s it going?

 

HAWKEYE: [Sighs] He’s not responding… he’s unconscious, his pressure is dropping…

 

POTTER: [Reading chart] His temperatures below 90 degrees… hypothermia?

 

HAWKEYE: That was one of my suspicions… hell of a good time to run short on supplies…

 

POTTER: No blankets? Hot water bottle?

 

HAWKEYE: I’d like to ship him to the 121st, but I’m afraid we might lose him on the trip over there. What do you think we should do?

 

POTTER: You’re chief surgeon, you tell me.

 

HAWKEYE: [Pause] Thanks that really helps, Colonel…

 

POTTER: I’ll see if I can’t get I-Corps on the horn, and see if they got our requisition yet, meanwhile, maybe we can isolate him in a tent with a few heaters in there.

 

HAWKEYE: That’s not a bad idea…

 

POTTER: Get a medic to help you, I’ll move out of my place for the night, we can keep him in there.

 

HAWKEYE: I’ll get B.J. to clear out the spare bunk in the Swamp.

 

POTTER: Good boy… I’m getting on the horn…

 

Potter continued through Post-Op, and stepped into Radar’s office.

 

POTTER: Radar, I need you to get on the horn the I-Corps…

 

Potter hung a right, and stepped into his own office, but then stuck his head back out the door, when he realized he didn’t receive a response from Radar.

 

POTTER: Radar?

 

Radar wasn’t in his office… and neither was his cot. Shortly later, Potter stepped back into Post-Op, where he saw Hawkeye, and Goldman were easily transporting the freezing patient out of the ward.

 

POTTER: Pierce, have you seen Radar?

 

HAWKEYE: No, not lately.

 

POTTER: It’s really strange, he’s not in his office, and his cot is missing too.

 

HAWKEYE: Maybe the sandman had a debt to pay off, and took them as collateral?

 

POTTER: Pierce? I’m not in the mood.

 

HAWKEYE: Well, I don’t know what to tell you Colonel… I know there’s been some in camp who have been looking to sacrifice a virgin…

 

POTTER: Pierce.

 

HAWKEYE: Maybe he went to the Officers Club for a graph nehi?

 

POTTER: Nope. Just came from there, he wasn’t there. Rather strange… I better page him, he’s gotta be around here somewhere.

 

The skies grew darker outside, as a PA announcement crackled through out the camp.

 

PA ANNOUNCER: Attention, attention… would Corporal Radar O’Reilly please report to Colonel Potter? Corporal O’Reilly report to Colonel Potter, on the double.

 

If Radar was in camp, he would have heard the announcement, but the fact of the matter was that Radar wasn’t in camp; as a matter of fact, Radar was across the road, behind Rosie’s Bar. Radar had set up his cot behind Rosie’s Bar, and grabbed as many blankets as he could get a hold of, knowing it was going to be a brutally cold night that night. Finally, a good night’s sleep… at least, that’s what he thought as he fell asleep. Moments later, a stray dog wandered by, sniffing out something to eat; it saw Radar in his bunk, and immediately ran over to the young Corporal, and began licking his face.

 

RADAR: [Giggles in his sleep] Cut it out Ranger.

 

Radar lightly smacked away who he thought was his beloved stateside dog, as he rolled over on his back, and start snoring. The dog sniffed under Radar’s blankets, and grabbed his teddy bear in its teeth, deciding it was a tasty new treat, though after licking it for a minute, the dog decided it wasn’t as tasty as he thought. With nothing else to do, the dog wandered off closer to camp, planning on burying the teddy. Meanwhile, Hawkeye had settled his freezing patient down in Colonel Potter’s tent; with the stove heaters burning, and covering him in two blankets – one that was already on Potter’s bed, and the other from his bunk in Post-Op, Hawkeye hoped this would warm his patient enough until the new supplies would be delivered to camp.

 

HAWKEYE: Keep an eye on him, and call me if you notice any significant changes in his temperature.

 

NURSE: Yes, doctor.

 

Hawkeye slipped on his coat, and stepped out into the freezing night, as B.J. and Potter walked up.

 

POTTER: Pierce, I want you and Captain Hunnicutt to start searching this half of the camp, I’ve got Klinger and Father Mulcahy searching the other half; Radar’s gotta be around here somewhere.

 

HAWKEYE: Boy, if we have to go searching for the leprechaun, there better be a pot of gold in it for me.

 

B.J.: Don’t forget, I’d get dibs on some myself.

 

POTTER: Move it out, boys!

 

With that, Hawkeye and B.J. set out to cover the northern half of the camp to look for Radar, while Potter made his way back to the hospital, but as he did, he happened to glance towards the middle of the Compound, where he saw something rather unusual unfold.

 

POTTER: What in the name of Sam Hill…

 

By the signpost in front of the Swamp was the stray dog, holding Radar’s teddy bear in its mouth, before dropping it to the ground, and begin its digging.

 

POTTER: [Calling] Pierce! Hunnicutt!

 

Hawkeye and B.J. ran up to the Colonel.

 

HAWKEYE: [Phony French accent] You called, mon Colonel?

 

POTTER: Take a look at this…

 

Potter pointed out the dog that had just finished digging its hole, where it dropped Radar’s teddy bear, and proceeded to kick dirt on it.

 

B.J.: Shall we break out the shovels and dig him up?

 

HAWKEYE: Not for a job like this… just grab him by the top of his head, and pull him out, like a carrot.

 

POTTER: Not so fast there, boys… that dog didn’t bury Radar, but it obviously knows where he is.

 

HAWKEYE: Maybe our four legged friends got tired of his brethren being eaten by the locals, and decided to give one of our own a taste of the same medicine?

 

POTTER: Pierce… come on… let’s just ease over, and…

 

As instructed, the three eased over to the dog, but once the dog realized what was going on, he barked, and ran off.

 

POTTER: After ‘im!

 

The dog ran down the Compound, while Hawkeye, B.J. and Potter gave chase.

 

HAWKEYE: Oh to be in the dog house, now that spring is here…

 

The dog made a wide U-turn, and continued running in the opposite direction, while the three doctors did the same.

 

POTTER: Keep your peepers peeled for Radar, we might find him along the way…

 

Potter was right. After a few seconds of chasing the dog out of camp, and across the street, the three ran behind Rosie’s, following the dog, until something unusual caught them off guard.

 

B.J.: Hey, wait a minute!

 

The three stopped dead in their tracks, and turned their attention to the cot that was buried underneath a pile of blankets. Potter stepped over, and pulled the blankets back, to find a shivering, yet sleeping Radar underneath them.

 

HAWKEYE, B.J. and POTTER: Radar!

 

Early the next morning, a drowsy Radar awoke in Post-Op, feeling nearly lifeless from the cold he had caught during the night; when the nurse on duty noticed Radar was awake, she alerted Hawkeye, who was checking another patient’s chart.

 

HAWKEYE: Welcome home, Radar.

 

Potter then walked into the ward.

 

POTTER: You gave us a hell of a scare, son.

 

RADAR: [Groans] Sorry about that, sir…

 

POTTER: [Sits next to Radar] What were you doing out there in the middle of the night freezing to death?

 

RADAR: [Groans] Oh Colonel, I was just so sick and tired of everybody waking me up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night and have me make phone calls for them while I sleep.

 

POTTER: Nobody wakes you up for a phone call, unless it’s an emergency, Radar.

 

RADAR: That’s what they all say Colonel, but half of the time their emergencies are really all that “emergent”…

 

POTTER: I see.

 

RADAR: I just wanted a good night’s sleep was all Colonel, I figured if I moved my bed somewhere’s else, I wouldn’t have to worry about anybody finding me to make phone calls for them… and behind Rosie’s Bar seemed like the best place for me to hide from everyone else.

 

POTTER: I get the picture son… don’t worry, I’ll make sure this won’t happen again. No more phone calls unless they’re a complete and absolute emergency, and you won’t have to sleep out there and catch yourself a death of cold.

 

RADAR: Yeah, I really appreciate that Colonel, sir.

 

HAWKEYE: In the meantime, I unearthed a little buried treasure for you…

 

Hawkeye handed Radar his now dirtied teddy bear.

 

RADAR: Gee, what happened to him?

 

Both Hawkeye and Potter chuckled. Needless to say, Hawkeye hypothermia patient did improve in his condition; isolating him in a small tent with more than one stove burning, and keeping a steady eye on him helped raise his temperature to around 95 degrees. Still lower than normal, but not nearly as dangerously low as it was before. Sure enough, after a couple of days, Radar was feeling much better, but was more happy of the fact that he was sleeping better too, as Potter initiated a new camp regulation that nobody was allowed to make phone calls after 22:30, unless one has received word in the mail of a true emergency, along the lines of a family crisis… which is why weeks later when B.J. woke Radar again in the middle of the night to call Peggy, he said it was along the lines of a family crisis. Other than that, and an incoming call late another night from Potter at a commanding officers conference, Radar was able to sleep more peacefully at night. Of course, those nights couldn’t compare to the nights of sleeping in his own bed when he received his hardship discharge months later.