A Dream Within a Dream

Note and Disclaimer: Obviously, nobody here owns M*A*S*H. This is something new I was hoping to flesh out. This is imaginary scenarios each character is dreaming about. I mean, everybody has fantasies. Some people just have more than others and can't make them come true. I just hope this works out. Enjoy!

She was like a mirage in the desert. She appeared almost instantly to his side in a shimmer when he arrived at his new station, M*A*S*H 4077th. She approached the jeep and smiled, in an angelic sort of way, and introduced herself as Major Margaret Houlihan, the head nurse of the camp. She held her hand out for a shake.

Major Frank Burns was no stranger to women. Granted, he was a married man, but he always had his fill whenever little Louise was not looking. And this Margaret Houlihan was a gem to behold. He took her hand strongly and shook it while he was still in the vehicle.

"Frank Burns," he said. "Major Frank Burns." He giggled.

Margaret copied him. Her laughter was to die for. "Of course. You must be the new surgeon!"

"The one and only." Frank hopped out of the jeep and watched as two enlisted men took his belongings to the surgeons' tent. "Now, where do I meet the commanding officer in this camp?"

"Oh, him." Margaret seemed to have some disdain for the CO. "He's in his office. I'm not sure if he's smoking or drinking. He might be out fishing. Who knows? That bobble head can't control this camp."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you see, he's isn't…well, you know, military. He's a draftee…or he was one. He doesn't ask for respect or follow regulations. He has been in the Army for a few years, but not like me. This is my life and I am devoted to it. How long have you been in the Army, Major Burns?"

"Frank. Please call me Frank." Even the way Margaret said his rank made him want to go to his knees. "It's been some time. Oh, maybe ten years or so? But who's counting?"

"Right." Margaret nodded. "Well, let's see if he's available, shall we?"

Frank considered it his best wish coming true. Margaret Houlihan, leading him to the commanding officer? He couldn't wait!

Of course, she wasn't too familiar with him. That was going to come later surely. But the way she swung her little hips, the way her platinum blonde hair curled and the way that green uniform danced delightfully on her body…it made Frank mad. He hadn't been so hot for a woman since Nancy, his receptionist, and he had to send her away to a special clinic and out of town, before his wife knew anything. Margaret Houlihan was a totally different animal…and an Army brat too!

Frank's heart was throbbing and his pants jiggled all the way to the colonel's office. Even then, he hardly paid any heed to this man and made sure he covered his transgression. Margaret had named this man unrespectable in so many ways and she was right, by the way this Colonel Blake spoke. He wasn't dedicated to the American way of life, like he and Margaret were. But even then, that nurse was on Frank's mind instead of some lame speech. All he was concerned about was having that body in his arms and nibbling on her ear lobes until she begged for mercy.

Maybe that was what got her to listen – those thoughts. It was a dream within a dream, a surreal fancy coming true. When Frank was finished with the colonel, he headed out and was going to ask someone for a tour. But Margaret got there first. She sashayed right on over, past the company clerk typing a report, and told him that she will show him around the camp. There wasn't anybody of equal or higher rank allowed to, she added.

Frank didn't know that was a rule in the Army for that. He thought that he memorized them all. But with the way Margaret was eying him, he knew that it was a lie to cover up something. He didn't argue it. He only followed her, outside and around the perimeter and into the circle. She pointed out every tent and warned him about certain things. Schedules had been posted everywhere and boundaries had to be respected. Privacy was an item well prized, Margaret had explained. Everybody disliked having to live out in the open.

"And what about us?" Frank asked sweetly when they reached the nurses' tents.

"Yes, indeed," Margaret said. "What about us?"

Frank didn't know how to answer that. He felt awkward standing there, unable to give Margaret a suave response. He didn't need to though. She took charge and told him that her tent was right around the corner.

"And wouldn't you know?" she exclaimed. "I left my Army manual in there. There are some things I'd like to review with you, Major Burns."

Frank obliged her, of course. There was no other way. He followed her into that black hole that was her tent door and seemed to disappear, falling into an abyss with no name. He thought that he had Margaret in the bag…or she had him…and that their relationship would stand the test of time. He finally found his mistress and she was willing! It was the perfect plan. Margaret was the woman in the apartment and he'd go home to Louise every night.

What he did not realize was that it was all a dream anyway. The meeting never happened that way. In reality, it took some wooing before they were able to consummate their very special friendship. And even then, it was fraught with fights, both ugly and passionate, and some very special nights that defined the moon and stars.

Frank woke up to Hawkeye and Trapper staring at him. For once, the two were utterly speechless. But then, one mimicked something to the other and began a charade that Frank understood the basic gist of. It was a fool that did not see that they knew that he was experiencing the best surreal recollection of his life…and that he had spoken his fantasies out loud.

He got up quickly and grabbed his towel. "I am taking a shower!" he announced. He slammed the door behind him.