Note and Disclaimer: Yep, I still don't own M*A*S*H. This one is a surprise for the reviewer jcott3 (here's your challenge) and the sixth story in the series "By the Graveside". Enjoy!
The Lord taketh and the Lord giveth, as they say in the Bible…or that was what the VA pastor said at some funeral he went to some months ago. Something to that effect. The tattletale did not care much anyway.
And it was no mattereither, mused this tattletale. It was with little remorse that he came here. He was pressured, to be honest, and all because of some local newspaper here in Bloomington that broadcasted it. Upon hearing that everyone else was paying their respects to this dead man, he borrowed some money from his mother-in-law (pretending that the safe buried in the backyard did not exist) and took a trip to this lame town. There, he stood before the grave of his former commanding officer, the ever-stupid and forever annoying Henry Blake.
Boy, he sure got all the glory and fame!
It was with too much fanfare that this man held the reins of the most famous M*A*S*H in all of Korea and died leaving it, the tattletale lamented. He always hated being the subordinate. It was through a lack of discipline and management that characterized Henry Blake's tenure. Oh, there were times when he took those ropes away from old Henry and showed the camp perfect military action. Those had been proof of his complete control in the commander's seat.
The tattletale always recalled those moments with glee. Yes, it sure was the best days when he was commander. He had a beautiful woman at his side, a company clerk who tended to his every whim and a camp that he dominated. What better life was there? Could the tattletale have asked for more?
No. No, no, no!
It all went to hell pretty quickly. All of those times, his power was taken away. And why? Because of those two other surgeons, the tattletale recalled. First, it was Pierce and McIntyre and then the former had a new buddy after that discharge, Hunnicutt. But the first friend that Pierce had was what the tattletale focused on. It was then that Henry Blake was alive, allowing them anything their hearts desired.
It was easy to move onto the next person when Henry did not listen to any complaints. The tattletale recalled always calling or writing to the next officer above Henry's head. Squealing had always been the name of the game. Whether he got his way or not was another story. Mostly, he never did. A few times, he came close, ever so close, to winning that chair, but he was always defeated by those maniacs.
For Lieutenant Colonel Frank Burns, this was the end of the line. He felt that he had more now than what the Korean War gave him. Because of his departure, he had ways to see Margaret Houlihan and without his wife knowing (although Margaret did not meet him in return). He was in charge of the VA in all of Indiana, which allowed plenty of travel away from his family. Plus, he was at a rank that he sought for and did not receive until after Margaret had broken his heart and left him for Donald Penobscott.
As for Henry Blake…well, he had kicked the bucket when his plane went down over the Sea of Japan. Frank had no obligations to him anymore. He had done his duty and had visited this graveside. His nagging mother-in-law can now be satisfied that he, as a former member of the 4077th, had done his bit and visited the poor slob. But Frank had other things to complete before leaving for home.
Frank checked the area around him. Nobody was looking. He kicked some of the beer bottles to one side and smashed the half-empty scotch against the stone. He picked up the bra with the lightest touch and tossed it in another direction. He finally pocketed most of the military decorations, deeming them unfit for a man like Henry Blake. Frank himself deserved them more.
And that would be his final insult. Nobody needed to know that Frank did it.