(My Attempted Show of Homage)
Scene One: Colonel Potter’s office
Col. Potter is behind his desk, reading a letter by the intense brightness of his office lamp.
The office stands out in sharp contrast to the rest of the camp, mainly because it’s neat and clean. The surface of the desk features sharpened pencils, stacked papers, and several framed family pictures. At the center front edge is an abrupt, shiny statue of a bronze stallion. Along the nameplate fastened to the statue are the words, “Our Bucks Stop Here”.
Radar O’Reilly is entering as Col. Potter speaks.
Potter: Radar! Get in here!
Radar: Yes, Sir. I already have, Sir.
Potter: Oh, tell Pierce to get in here … You’ve already what?
Radar: Told Pierce, Sir.
Potter: Told Pierce what?
Radar: To report.
Potter: What report, Radar? Oh, yeah, that reminds me, I got this report for Pierce in the mail. Get him in here pronto.
(At that moment Hawkeye Pierce enters the office.)
Hawkeye: Anybody home? Ah, there you are. May I borrow a cup of sugar?
(Hawkeye heads to the make-shift liquor cabinet in the corner behind the desk. He begins rummaging around as he makes a selection. He holds up a bottle in front of his face.)
(Col. Potter looks from Hawkeye to Radar.)
Potter: I can’t figure out how you do that.
Hawkeye: This part’s easy. Wait till afterward.
(Radar is edging toward the door.)
Radar: May I be excused, Sir?
Hawkeye: Why certainly, Radar.
(Col. Potter nods his head at a chair.)
Potter: Pierce, sit down. I have some bad news.
Hawkeye: Good! I need something to cheer me up, shoot!
(Hawkeye has poured himself a drink. He sets the bottle on the desk.)
(Col. Potter grimaces.)
Potter: There’s no easy way to say this. So, I’ll just say it. Someone up there in the pay master division says you’re through, Son.
Hawkeye: But, I’m so young … Come on! What is this? What do you mean, I’m through?
Potter: Not what you think, Pierce. The head of the payroll department says here that you owe THEM for so said advance payments and so forth, for taxes and blah, blah, blah.
Hawkeye: I what? I owe them?
Potter: What it all boils down to is this, they’ll hold all future payment until the balance is satisfied. Starting immediately. Sorry I had to tell you.
(Hawkeye jumps to his feet. He paces back and forth. He pounds the desk and kicks the chair.)
Hawkeye: How could they do that! That’s highway robbery! It’s un-American, disloyal, rotten, lowdown, dirty, evil, and just not fair! This is worse than being through … what am I saying, I am through.
Potter: Pierce, does money mean that much to you? It’s not the end of the world, you know.
(Hawkeye places both hands on the desk. His eyes bulge. He screams.)
Hawkeye: I’ll die!
End scene one.
Scene Two: The Swamp
One of the many general purpose tents used on the compound to shelter multiple troops. This particular one is shared by the head surgeons, Hawkeye Pierce, Frank Burns, and B.J. Hunnicutt.
The view zeroes in on the group, along with Radar O’Reilly, huddled around a foot locker being used as a card table.
BJ: Come on, Radar, you’re holding up the game.
Hawkeye: We don’t have time for these insufferable long pauses, now play!
Radar: All right, already … here it goes!
Frank: Careful! I’m hot, I’m hot!
Radar: You are? Wait a minute.
Hawkeye: Way to go, Frank.
BJ: Frank, if you’d just shut your mouth…
Frank: Get off my back, will ya? You’re just jealous.
BJ: Of a silly card game?
Hawkeye: Frank Burns, a.k.a. the Duke of Diamonds.
BJ: The Earl of Aces
Hawkeye: The King of Kings
BJ: His majesty the Queen!
Frank: Stuff it in your hat, Honeycutt!
Hawkeye: You’re a real, Heart, Frank.
Frank: And, nerts to you too, wise guy! I figured you’d want to play for money…
BJ: Frank, don’t you ever get tired of teeth marks on your feet?
Hawkeye: So that’s it! Very sneaky B.J., “No Hawkeye, poker’s getting old. Let’s play something different.” Any way Frank, who told you about my money problem? Radar, you didn’t?
Radar: No, Sir! I swear I didn’t, honest.
Frank: I think it serves you right. They’re just paying you what you’re worth, zilch!
Hawkeye: What I want to know is, how did my affairs become public knowledge? How did this get around, huh, B.J.?
BJ: They don’t call Margaret, “Hot Lips”, for nothing.
Frank: Leave Margaret out of this! She is not a sneak, why she wouldn’t have found out it if, if, if…
BJ: If what? Did you choke on your foot?
Frank: Well, if Radar wouldn’t pass the mail so … unsecured.
Radar: I never tamper with Colonel Potter’s or anyone else’s mail!
Frank: That’s exactly what I mean.
Hawkeye: What’s Frank up to Radar?
Radar: He reads the mail. He read your notice.
BJ: That’s a federal offense.
Frank: It was not! I was merely carrying out a security check, that’s all.
Radar: He reads all of Col. Potter’s mail.
Frank: You snitch!
Hawkeye: Are you insane!
BJ: For what, illogical, reason this time, Frank?
Frank: Security measures.
Radar: He told me that the Koreans might try to brainwash the colonel.
Hawkeye: Brainwash? Are you insane?
BJ: For the love of pete, brainwash? Through the mail?
Frank: Well yeah, why not? It could happen. How do you know it hasn’t already? Did you geniuses ever think of that?
Hawkeye: He does eat more rice.
BJ: This is a bunch of nonsense.
Frank: You just weren’t smart enough to realize the threat, Honeycutt.
BJ: All of the mail is already screened, Frank.
Radar: That’s what I tried to tell him, all transactions go through clearance, section C4-11.
Frank: Nothing’s perfect. The North Koreans could be intercepting our mail anywhere during the deliverance route and adding the brainwash material. Now stuff that in your pipe and smoke it. So there!
(Frank Burns throws up is hands and marches out of the swamp.)
Hawkeye: Who was that masked man you ask? That my friends was the, “Range Loner”.
BJ: I hope he hasn’t done any permanent damage for his sake.
Radar: Sorry Hawkeye, but he outranks me.
Hawkeye: Don’t apologize, I don’t want anyone’s sympathy. I can work it out.
BJ: So, you have a plan, big guy?
Hawkeye: I’ll cut down on expenses.
BJ: Oh, I see … and what are these expenses.
Hawkeye: Things I don’t need.
BJ: Wine, women and song?
Hawkeye: No, no, no, I said things I don’t need.
BJ: Hawk, you’ve got to start somewhere. First off, will you accept a loan?
Hawkeye: Now you’re talking, how much can you spare?
BJ: Hmmm, nothing, but we know you will accept a loan.
Radar: I’m tapped out.
BJ: OK then, cutting expenses it is. I’ll help you.
Hawkeye: You’ll help me? You’d help me commit suicide!
BJ: What are friends for?
Radar: B.J.! You wouldn’t … would you?
BJ: No more of that expensive wine.
Hawkeye: Okay, okay, take the blood of my life.
BJ: Camp food is paid for, so no meals or snacks from down in the village.
Hawkeye: My body, take it, take it…
BJ: No gambling or side bets, especially poker, you’re a lousy player.
Hawkeye: And my soul … I am beaten, defeated, and lifeless.
BJ: And no nurses.
Hawkeye: Hold it! I was only kidding about committing suicide.
Hawkeye: Beej, don’t kick a man when he’s down. What’s a nurse every now and then have to do with anything?
BJ: Think of the money you’d save. You spend a fortune on the nurses, admit it.
Hawkeye: I’m a sucker for the uniforms.
BJ: Nip the problem in the bud, as a wise old man once said.
Hawkeye: Oh, you just made that up!
BJ: No, I did not, but I’ve been in your shoes.
Hawkeye: That’s what they all say.
BJ: No kidding, Hawk, I have two things working against me this very minute.
Radar: What’s that, Sir?
BJ: A wife and her credit card.
Hawkeye: Okay, I’ll do it. What choice do I have?
BJ: It’s the only way, Hawk. It won’t be easy.
Hawkeye: You’ve got to help, it was your idea.
BJ: Whoa, I merely made a few suggestions…
Radar: Sir, It’s your duty, I mean it’s a friend’s roll.
Hawkeye: Yeah, a sweet roll, like he said.
BJ: All right, deal me in.
Hawkeye: It’s his deal.
(Radar spreads out the cards he’s been holding on top of the playing surface.)
Radar: Old maid!
End of scene two.
Scene Three: The mess tent
One of the largest structures on the compound. Three meals a day are served here. Coffee is available at any time.
It has been another tough day of meatball surgery. The doctors, nurses, and staff have gathered for a cup, or two, of coffee.
We focus on one table. On one side sits Major Margaret Houlihan, Major Frank Burns and Corporal Maxwell Klinger. On the other side is Captains Pierce and Hunnicutt.
Frank: Okay Hawkeye, confess.
Hawkeye: No Frank, I did not put the honey in your shoes.
(Frank looks down at his feet)
Frank: You didn’t.
Margaret: How did you know what Frank was going to say?
Hawkeye: I’m wearing a pair of his socks.
Klinger: So that’s why the laundry was all stuck together.
BJ: Now that I think about it my clothes did come back with a nice maple scent.
Frank: That’s not funny.
Hawkeye: You’re right, Frank. It was blueberry.
The characters continue to banter and bicker back and forth. They hardly notice that Colonel Sherman T. Potter has entered the mess tent, retrieved a cup of coffee, and has slid onto the bench next to Hawkeye.
Potter: Quiet! Can’t a man have some peace around here?
Margaret: Col. Potter, you are just the man we want to see…
Hawkeye: I even got a front row seat.
BJ: You packed the table tonight.
Klinger: May I be excused, Sir, from the war.
Frank: Would you guys shut up and let the lady speak!
Hawkeye: Sure, go right ahead, Klinger.
Potter: May I say something?
Margaret: By all means, Sir.
Frank: I am all ears.
BJ: And feet.
Hawkeye: Dipped in honey.
Potter: What I have been trying to say, Hawkeye, you are off the hook.
Frank: But Sir, I’m pretty sure my toes are sticking together.
Potter: What in the blue blazes are you telling me that for?
Margaret: Off the hook again? He’s weaseled his way out of every complaint and report we’ve brought against him.
Frank: Certainly can’t be for bribery that’s for sure.
BJ: Frank, don’t be you just one time.
Potter: Settle down, Pierce. Burns, these doctors have better things to do than to have to remove your foot from your mouth.
Hawkeye: Or, from anywhere else on your person.
Potter: Back to business, I noticed that they spelled Pierce wrong on the official communique.
BJ: That could be someone else altogether.
Potter: Precisely, so I had Radar send a telegram. They radioed back and confirmed the error.
BJ: Congratulations, Hawk!
Hawkeye: It was nothing … literally.
Frank: How lucky can you get?
Margaret: He makes me sick.
Klinger: Look at him. So, calm and cool. By the way could I borrow a ten?
BJ: You are taking this fairly well.
Hawkeye: That’s because I have a stash of money in your keep that I’ll be spending like crazy tonight.
Radar burst through the door. He looks about frantically and lunges over to Col. Potter.
Out of breath and unable to speak he waves a piece of paper at the colonel.
Potter: Just don’t get drunk too fast, Pierce, bad no the liver. Before I go on, they acknowledged the error but they told us that it looks like you Burns, made the list. Payment to be withheld effective immediately.
Hawkeye: Welcome to the club with no members the fees are too high.
Frank: I only have one thing to say…
(Frank passes out and falls over backwards.)
BJ: Well said, Frank.
Potter: Oh, what’s this Radar? Another telegram?
(He grabs the paper and Radar collapses to the floor.)
Potter: You see Radar, I told you to salt your food more. Let’s see what all of the to-do is about.
Klinger: I’ve got a fiver that says Radar comes to first.
Hawkeye: You’re on.
Margaret: Oh, get up Frank.
Hawkeye: That’s it coax him Margaret.
BJ: What was the message Colonel?
Potter: Well, it says, uh, Radar and his chicken scratch, uh well, syringes, tape, sponges … what? Oh, wrong side. Hmm, Barnes. Not Burns. Computer mix up. When sleeping beauty comes around tell him the good news, Margaret. Let’s go Radar, duty calls.