Enemy Equilibrium

by Robert Pilkington

It was an ordinary day at the 4077th M*A*S*H. All surgeons were busy in the OR, piecing back together what used to be called 'soldiers'. The four surgeons in the camp were all present. Captain 'Hawkeye' Pierce, 'Trapper' John McIntyre, Major Frank Burns and Colonel Henry Blake. Major 'Hot Lips' Houlihan was also there, along with her shift of nurses. Major Burns finished a patient and called to the corpsman for another. A soldier was brought before him, on the operating table.

"What is this?" cried Frank, looking down to the Korean soldier. "This man is North Korean!" The others looked up, the Major was right.

"So what, Frank?" asked Trapper.

"I refuse to operate on this...man!" said Frank. Hawkeye looked down to the patient as he finished a patient of his own.

"Frank," said Hawkeye, "if you turn the operating table around, it'll be a South Korean."

"That's not true!" yelled Frank.

"Would someone please operate on him, instead of arguing!" cried Henry. Reluctantly, Frank moved toward the patient while behind him, Hawkeye carefully clamped a rib-spreader on his head. The Korean boy lost his horrified look and began to laugh hysterically.

"What's so funny?" demanded Burns. The others looked up and some began to laugh. One who didn't was Hot Lips. She took the operative tool of Frank's head and showed it to him. Frank turned to the others, who were still laughing.

It was inevitable that right after the OR shift that Major Burns went to Henry along with Major Houlihan. The stood before the Colonel and explained one of their usual complaints:

"That sort of behavior should not be allowed at all Colonel!" said Major Houlihan. "Captains Pierce and McIntyre are a disgrace to this unit." Henry sat in his chair and listened.

"They have no right, no right Colonel, to embarrass a superior officer!" cried Frank.

"We want to press serious charges." Explained Houlihan. Henry plainly looked to Frank.

"Is this true Frank?" he asked.

"Every word." Said Frank. Henry sighed.

"Radar!" yelled Henry.

"Yes, sir?" asked the clerk who was already beside the Colonel. Henry jumped in alarm.

"Radar," commanded Henry, "don't do that!"

"You wanted to see me, sir?" Radar asked.

"Go get Pierce and McIntyre."

Radar went off and reached the Swamp. Inside Hawkeye was trying to get some sleep and Trapper was reading a novel his wife sent him.

"What is it Radar?" asked Trapper, not looking up from his book.

"The Colonel wants to see you guys in his office," spoke the short Corporal, "right away."

"Is he sending us home?" asked Hawkeye, his eyes still shut. Radar remembered the Major's mention of charges.

"Maybe." Said Radar in an unenthusiastic tone. Slowly the Doctors put on their robes and entered Henry's office. Upon seeing their wardrobe the chief nurse mumbled a disgusted comment.

"What is this, Henry?" asked Hawkeye, lazily.

"Are we going home?" asked Trapper.

"In hand cuffs!" replied Frank. The Captains soon got the idea and turned to Radar and told him to be more specific next time.

"The Majors, here, want to press charges." Explained Henry. The Captains looked at the Majors and Hawkeye stuck out his tongue.

"Did you see that?" demanded Hot Lips. Henry sighed again.

"What are the charges, Henry?" asked Trapper.

"Unbecoming an officer and unacceptable behavior in the OR." Announced Houlihan. Hawkeye sighed.

"Wasn't that yesterday's complaint?" Hawkeye asked.

"You guys need to be more creative." Spoke Trapper. The Majors tried hard not to burst out yelling.

"I want them arrested!" demanded Frank.

"Take you're arrest and shove it where a proctologist would find it!" suggested Hawkeye. The Majors were stunned.

"Or a gynecologist." Added Trapper.

"Are you referring to me?" screamed Hot Lips. Trapper looked at Frank.

"Not at all." Said Trapper. Frank turned to Henry.

"Colonel!" he pleaded. Henry stood up.

"Now stop it!" he yelled. "These fights can't continue. Where here to work as a team, and there's no 'I' in team!"

"But, there's a 'm' and a 'e'." added Hawkeye. Henry glared at the doctor.

"You all know how hard surgeons are to come by," continued Henry "So, I'm afraid I'll have to ignore your charges, Frank." Frank stepped toward Henry.

"You can't!" yelled the Major.

"We won't stand for it!" cried Hot Lips. Trapper pushed a chair toward the Majors.

"I will demand that the Captains are to behave respectively in OR." Added Henry. Hawkeye and Trapper looked at each other. They had heard that many times before. Frank stood trying to control his anger.

"It is clearly seen that there is no military justice in this camp!' he yelled. He then turned to the Captains. "But don't worry," Burns said, "I'll get even, somehow." The Majors stormed out of the room. Henry sighed again and sat down. Trapper headed toward the Colonel's liquor cabinet.

"Don't worry about them Henry." Trapper said.

"Yeah, you know the deal," added Hawkeye, "they cry 'court marshal' and all the Generals don't believe them."

"Hopefully," said Henry, "they'll be eaten by wolves."

The Captains had a quick drink and headed for the door. Henry stopped them.

"It's bad enough you guys behave like kids in the compound," explained Henry, "but could you guys ease up in OR? Please?" Trapper and Hawkeye looked at each other.

"How could we resist that Colonel face?" Hawkeye said to Trapper both of them smiling. And then, without another word, they left.

The Captains headed toward the Swamp to continue what they were doing before. As they approached tent 6, Frank burst out, looking quite mad and heading for Hot Lips tent. The Major made no recognition that the Captains that were approaching. They entered the Swamp.

"Can you believe those two?" asked Trapper. Hawkeye lay down on his cot.

"Frank thinks that all the war should be stopped because we had fun in surgery." Hawk replied.

"Frank wouldn't know how to have fun in surgery," said Trapper, "he's too busy making sure that the wounded men keep saluting while he operates." Trapper poured himself a martini and raised it to the air.

"To ferret face and his endless complaints." Suggested Hawkeye.

"To needle nose and free will to court marshal." Said Trapper.

"To all that is 'by the book'," Said Hawkeye, "which includes Frank, who edited the book." Trapper laughed and put the martini glass to his lips, but instead of the gin pouring into his mouth, it spilled all over his chest.

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