Just Plain Useless

Note and Disclaimer: Of course, I don't own M*A*S*H. Miss any stories about Frank though?


It had taken some hours before Margaret and I emerged safely from the tent. It was well past three in the morning and all was not well. While some personnel helped us in the end when we screamed for help, it was with great embarrassment that we admitted our misdeeds and ordered them to put it to rights. Bad enough that they all knew about the letter home to my wife and the wooing I groveled to in order to have Margaret back in my loving arms. Now, they connected the dots and snickered to see us in this state of great love.

Margaret was as furious as I was. "Frank, we have to find Colonel Blake," she hissed as some enlisted men started reassembling the pieces of her tent. "An official report has to be made."

"What?" I was surprised. "Major, what do you mean?"

She took me by the arm and guided me to one side, away from those dirty, eavesdropping rats. "What I mean is, we first make it official and then we take action if nothing is done."

"I see." I liked it already. "Report him too."

"That way, General Barker won't have any issues," she continued. "We went through the chain of command first."

Margaret had a wonderful idea in incriminating the colonel. I nudged her to begin this scheme. Walking as far away from her as possible to show that I was not close, we soon arrived at Blake's tent door and knocked. He did not answer immediately. We heard some shuffling and maybe some whispers to use the rear hole to escape. Margaret and I exchanged annoyed glances and waited until the colonel opened his abode to us.

"Colonel, we have some business we desperately need to put on report," Margaret began ever so bravely.

"Can't this wait?" Blake asked. He sounded whiny. "It's oh-something somehow in the morning."

"No," Margaret pushed. She was growing shrill, the poor darling. "It's about your maniac surgeons!"

Blake pointed to the building. "My office. And let's make this snappy."

We obeyed him, efficient and strict in our steps. The colonel was not directly behind us though, as regulations stipulated. Margaret and I stopped before the opposite doors and waited for a few minutes before checking on Colonel Blake. He had ducked back into his tent for something and was soon waddling out with a lit cigar in his mouth, twirling a key between his fingers!

"Disgusting," I mumbled.

"Oh, Frank, say it again," Margaret purred softly.

I repeated the sentiment just for her. It was true. How gross and negligent of this CO to show off his undisciplined civilian habits and garb! We were in the throes of a war against North Korea, fighting the Communist Reds to get out of Pusan, and he dared to act like nothing was happening! Here was this man, this commanding officer, daring to sport his pajamas and robe and smoke. He even whistled an unmilitary tune!

Margaret and I went inside the building when Blake drew closer and silenced himself. We passed that weasel of a company clerk, who was supposedly sleeping on his cot near the phone, and waited until the colonel was with us. He unlocked the doors and turned on the lights and allowed Margaret in first. I followed her and Blake drew behind me. We found some seats before his desk and he took his behind it.

I should be there.

I didn't want to perish that thought. It made me warm inside thinking of it, enough that I will share it with Margaret later. That chief's chair should be mine! I mean, I applied for command school and didn't manage a spot because of the war. However, I have the ability and skill to take control of this outfit. With my schooling behind me as a doctor and a surgeon and my wonderful patriotic attitude, I imagined myself rising to the rank of colonel. Blake will be running away from me once the orders came in!

And we'll see who truly can run this camp. It's hardly in shape!

"Colonel, we must protest the treatment of certain personnel in the camp," Margaret said, picking up where she left off. "This is an Army base. As such, we need to follow proper military procedures and guidelines. There are regulations that desperately need to be followed."

On and on Margaret went, from A to Z and everything in between. Finally, when she took a breath, I continued. We did not name anybody specifically, although we referred to those sneaky captains pretty often and not by name. However, the talks soon got into everyone else who was on our nerves, from the revolting and unsanitary cook to the servers in the Mess Tent and even the lazy sergeant who was in the Motor Pool. There was no stopping us now!

Blake did not seem sympathetic when we finished. "So, you disturbed me this early in the morning for these petty complaints?"

"We thought them legitimate ones!" Margaret was livid by the question.

Blake sighed, opening his arms indifferently. "Look, we're a few miles from the front lines and ready to leave when the lines shift. We're not the fighting machine, we're the people who patch the soldiers and civilians up. We've got tact and organization when the time comes and we do it well. We're not the best people at military discipline though. What did you expect? Fort Dix?"

"Colonel, I must protest!" Margaret declared. "You are not taking us seriously!"

"Should I? This isn't a life or death situation, is it?"

"Well, I don't see why not! It might be eventually. I mean, you're the commanding officer here, are you not?"

"Last I checked, I was assigned to this hellhole as the head bird here, despite what my wife thinks I can or cannot do. What is your point, Major?"

I was upset by the lack of respect, especially in the presence of a lady. "Colonel, I must add to what Major Houlihan is saying. You cannot allow this to go on! This is an outrage! You're allowing this fine institution to be mocked by a group of children!"

"And just who do you think you are, Frank?" the colonel challenged. "You're nothing more than a school bully, tattling on your classmates."

Margaret and I were utterly speechless. She sputtered a few wordless noises before rising and leaving. I did the same, insulted. We both decided that it was not worth it to salute this pretend superior officer. I slammed the doors behind me for good measure before stopping at the phone. It was tempting to call someone higher up and to file a grievance. Nobody would blame me in the slightest!

When I reached for it, Margaret stopped me with her gentle touch. "There's a typewriter," she mentioned, pointing to the wonderful machine nearby. "It's best to have it on paper. Word of mouth can be used against us."

She had a good point, that angel of mine. Nobody was going to miss this device, especially that sneaky little company clerk (I swear, I thought I saw him perk at the proposal too). I picked it up, ensuring there was enough ink, ribbon and paper with it, and tailed Margaret to her tent. It had been tied back up. It will serve as our place of retribution.

Colonel Blake was useless, just plain useless, and so was the personnel here. We had no loyalty to him and shouldn't if he did not comply with Army regulations. We had all rights to have him (as well as the rest of the camp) on report.