M*A*S*H (MASH) s09e07 Episode Script

Z406 - Your Retention Please

- Yablonski.
- Ho.
Hey, Hutch, this is your lucky day.
They finally forwarded this from your old unit.
- I'd glad I got it before I go home.
- Horner.
Klinger, Maxie.
Maxie? Maxie.
It's from Laverne.
- Corporal, can I have my letter, please? - Huh? Oh.
Oh, yeah.
- Yeah.
Here, Father.
- Oh.
- Good morning, Klinger.
- Good morning, darling.
- Come again, snookums? - Huh? Oh.
I'm sorry, sir.
It's a letter from Laverne.
Laverne the ex-missus who left you high and dry for that butcher boy? Morty's a sausage maker.
That's below butcher in the Toledo social register.
But everything's changed now, sir.
Listen to what I read so far.
"Dear Maxie, You are much in my mind these days.
"Taking up with Morty was a terrible mistake.
The man's soul is made of animal by-products.
" Guess that makes you feel pretty happy, huh? - Seeing the sausage king put through the old grinder.
- It's more than that, sir.
Can't you read between the lines? She wants me back.
Oh, that's music to my eyes! Hold on, Mr.
Is this the same woman you described as a chippy, a leech and a vampire? All lies to save face, sir.
You don't get over a goddess.
- What else does the little Aphrodite have to say? - Let me see.
"Thank goodness for Gus.
He helped me realize the error of my ways.
" Oh! Good old Gus.
I knew I could count on him.
- Who is this Gus cuss? - Gus Nagy my best friend.
A while back, he wrote me Laverne and Morty were having fights.
So, I told him to do his best to keep the fur flyin'.
- Ah.
- [Laughing.]
"And so, dear Max "I wanted to let you know before you hear it from anybody else.
I am marrying Gus Nagy.
" I can't believe it.
I just lost my best girl and my best friend in one lousy sentence.
Now, pull yourself together, son.
You'll bounce back.
When you get home to Toledo you'll find a new girl and a new friend.
I'll be the laughingstock there.
It's like Nero Wolfe said "You can't go home again.
" - [Helicopter Approaching.]
- I had one shot at true happiness and now it's killed me.
I tell you what, Max.
After you're done in O.
, take the next 24 hours off.
That's Doc Potter's R.
For a broken heart time.
- [Charles.]
Damn it.
Hold that book steady.
- Sorry, Doctor.
Charles, just turn to the last page and find out how the operation comes out.
Leave him alone.
If he's reconstructing nerves via library book the least you can do is shh! There must be an ellipsis.
It doesn't say how to prevent scar tissue.
Doctor, you might try wrapping the nerve endings with tantalum foil.
- That'll protect them.
- I beg your pardon? - [Clears Throat.]
I said you might try - I heard what you said.
Since when does a noncommissioned amateur presume to instruct an officer and a physician on proper surgical technique? Clamp.
I know the procedure, sir.
Back in the States, I observed Dr.
Worsely performing it.
- Dr.
David Worsely? - Yes.
Ho, ho, ho.
He was a pioneer in peripheral nerve surgery.
The fact that they granted this neophyte sightseeing privileges does not qualify him as a consultant.
I wasn't a sightseer.
I was a technician on his surgical team for over a year.
Why don't you listen to Hutchinson, Charles? What you're reading is history.
He was there when it was made.
Winchester, close the mouth and open the mind.
A thought strikes me.
Hutchinson, what would you say to tantalum foil here? - Good idea, sir.
- Oh.
After all, you're the doctor.
Hey, old-timer, I'm lookin' for Colonel Potter.
Could you speak up, sonny? My bird and I are a little hard of hearin'.
Sorry, sir.
Uh, I thought, uh Eh, that's okay, Sarge.
I'm subbin' for my company clerk.
- What can I do you for? - Sergeant Joe Vickers, sir.
Area retention officer.
I've got the names of your enlistees who are due for discharge.
I wanted to talk to them about re-upping.
I trust you brought your portable torture kit.
No high pressure from me, sir.
I just wanna point out the big picture.
You remind me of a "feller" who once tried to sell me a dead mule.
Said it'd be no problem to feed and it didn't kick.
That's a good one, sir.
Uh Oh, I have this, uh, memo for you too, sir.
As, uh, C.
, you're obliged to try to get your officers to, uh, extend their tours.
You'd better talk to the commander about that.
I'm just the company clerk.
## [Humming.]
Oh, Charles.
Read any good books lately? Professor Hutchinson just came in.
Why don't you go over and thank him for that lesson he taught you today? Bandy your japes, apes.
But the reason I was chosen to do that operation is that I can read.
One might even say that I'm the pick of the "litterate.
" Evening, laddies.
Say howdy to Sergeant Vickers.
He's our friendly neighborhood retention officer.
Too bad he didn't come to a friendly neighborhood.
No offense.
We just don't like war-to-war salesmen.
Hey! You're a great bunch of kidders.
I like a good joke myself.
In that case, may I present Major Winchester? Major Winchester.
You must be a career man.
L [Chortles.]
[Chortling Continues.]
Let me ask you something.
Doesn't it bother you to sweet-talk young kids into risking their lives all over again? - Hey, I'm just offering a little free advice.
- Like how to avoid old age.
Nothing I like better than the free exchange of ideas.
That's Sergeant Hutchinson over there.
He's on that short-timers list of yours.
Oh, yes.
Excuse me.
Enjoyed shootin' the breeze.
- Oh.
Wait a minute.
- Let the man be, Pierce.
We all got our little tasks in life.
- Incidentally, there's a meeting in my office tomorrow at 0900.
- What about, Colonel? - I don't wanna let the kitty out of the burlap.
- [Vickers.]
What's with you? - Rest assured, it'll be short and sour.
- [Hutchinson.]
Shut up.
! - [Chairs Bumping.]
- [Objects Crashing.]
- Cut it out.
- What are you talking about? - What did I say? - What's all the hugger-mugger? Don't ask me.
I was tellin' him about army opportunities, and he jumps me.
Don't give me that "opportunities" bull.
I'm a registered nurse, just like all these women here.
When they came into the army, they were made officers automatically.
I should've been, too, but they made me a lousy private.
The army won't recognize me as a nurse because I'm a man so I spend half my time pushing a stupid broom.
- He's right, you know.
- This man's army is very discriminating.
You bet it is.
You got a lot of nerve, buddy.
Look, pal, I don't make the rules around here.
If the service isn't your cup of joe, fine.
I'm not here to shanghai anybody.
Why bother? There are plenty of other fish in the barrel.
There's a lot of get-ahead guys that think the army would make a darn-swell career.
- Not for me, buddy.
Forget it.
- ##[Jukebox.
Big Band, Ballad.]
Hey, give me a chance.
You got character.
I don't make this offer to just anybody.
Sarge, I got a great-lookin' gal to go home to not to mention my wife so it just ain't in the cards.
Another glass of cheer.
You think you got it rough? Look at that guy.
- ## ["Harbor Lights".]
- [Sighs.]
Boy, he looks terrible.
What's his story? He got a "Dear Maxie" letter.
- Says he's got nothin' to go home to.
- Oh, yeah? Well, that's a shame.
Allow me.
Some tune, huh? The greatest.
For a certain little lady and me, that was our song.
This drink's on me, Maxie.
Don't call me Maxie.
Only Laverne called me that.
And - And - That's it, pal.
Get it off your chest.
Tell Joey all about it.
You're right, Joey.
Who are you? A buddy, someone who cares.
Joey? You ever have your best friend stab you in the back? Not since the army became my best friend.
You ever suddenly feel that you're lost that there's no place left for you to go? I used to.
That was before the army became my home.
- Oh.
Really? - Sure.
Think about it.
The army feeds you, clothes you gives you a place to sleep.
Every guy in khaki is family.
Oh, that's beautiful, Joey.
- The army is beautiful.
- To the army.
Max you've got character.
- I wouldn't make this offer to just anybody.
- What kind of an offer? What you need is an anchor something that won't run out on you.
You know what I'm talking about? The army.
You're way ahead of me, Max.
Did you ever think about reenlisting? Where do I sign? Okay, I got somethin' to tell ya and I don't wanna hear so much as a titter, a snicker - or a guffaw from anyone.
- You hear that, Charles? The subject of this meeting is the army.
So far, so good.
I have been directed to address you on the possibility of making the army your career.
- [Muffled Whimper.]
- [Laughing.]
- [Laughing.]
[Laughing Continues.]
[Charles, Laughing.]
Army Career I'm sorry.
If I held that in, my teeth would've exploded.
- You gotta be kidding.
- Gentlemen, please, it's impolite to laugh at the senile.
- What'd he say? - Loss of hearing is the first sign.
Will you clowns keep quiet! Some of us are interested in what Col.
Potter has to say.
Go on, Colonel.
- Why, thank you, Major.
- [Kissing Noise.]
You blow one more kiss, Pierce, and those lips will never walk again.
I'd like to hear this too.
- [Making Kissing Noises.]
- Oh! Blow it out your bugle! - Colonel, please continue.
- Gracias, Padre.
Now, I think you'll admit the army presents unique opportunities that can't be had anywhere else.
That's very true.
What other job lets you die for a living? Certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The army provides a chance to see the world.
Scenic tours of all the great battlefields.
- It provides a home.
- Where even the buffalo wouldn't roam.
That's it.
Lecture's over! Class dismissed! Except you, Pierce.
Since you insist on behaving like a dunce you can cap it off by staying after school.
- Why me? They were bad too.
- Yeah, but you're the top Katzenjammer.
Since I gave Klinger the day off, you can fill in for him.
File these.
Ah, the X-rays.
I should've known he'd file them under "E.
" Good morning, Captain.
You people certainly divide up the diddly work democratically.
That's why we're over here to make the world safe for diddly.
I'd like to leave these for your C.
It's the names of all the reenlistees.
- How many pigeons did you bag? - I signed up two fine young men who realize they have a solid future with Uncle Sam.
Let me see them.
I want to know who to untie.
"Rizzo, L.
" Mm.
"Klinger, M.
" Klinger? That one was pure gravy.
Six years.
He wasn't even on the list.
I'm afraid the gravy's on you, Vickers.
- Klinger is strictly a homing pigeon.
- Huh? You must have gotten somebody else.
Nobody hates the army more than Klinger.
He's spent his entire career trying to get season tickets to Section Eight.
Gee, I don't know.
This Klinger dark, hairy guy, big beak.
Let me see that.
When I saw him in the "O" Club crying in his beer over some skirt named Laverne [Fingers Snap.]
It was all over but the signing.
Vickers, you're a vulture.
Doctor, you operate your way.
I'll operate mine.
[Clicks Heels.]
See ya.
- ##[Jukebox.
"Harbor Lights".]
- Klinger, come on.
Get up.
- Huh? - Get up.
The maid wants to put fresh linen on the bar.
Oh, please.
Didn't you read the "Do Not Disturb The Dead" sign? - This is no time to let a sleeping drunk lie.
- ## [Stops.]
Oh! Don't! All I have left of Laverne is that song.
Klinger, do you have any idea what you did last night? - Last night? - Last night, yeah.
- Last night.
- Last night.
It's all one fuzzy blur.
That's great.
That's perfect.
I must have passed out after I reenlisted.
- What? - I said I passed out.
- Why do you think I was lying here? - You don't remember what you did.
You didn't have any idea what you were doing last night.
- How could you? - But I did.
Give me a little credit, Captain.
I may be a rummy, but I'm no dummy.
The army provides you with a home and a career.
This from the man who built himself wings and tried to flap his way back to the States? Now the army's my best friend.
I may get shot in the stomach, but I won't get stabbed in the back not the way I did by that wife-stealer Gus Nagy.
So, you mean You mean Laverne and Gus [Bawling.]
Oh, Laverne! Klinger.
Klinger, come here.
Get-Get up.
You're gonna get over Laverne in a little while but that's no reason to throw away the best years of your life.
- I haven't.
- What do you mean? Well, it's not official until I raise my right hand and Col.
Potter swears me in.
Ah! Yes, Virginia! There is an escape clause.
Come on.
You really had me going there for a while, you little devil, you.
You'll get changed.
You'll get all cleaned up.
Oh, good idea.
I'll do that.
Right after I see Col.
Potter and take the oath.
He was drunk.
He didn't know what he was doing.
Sure, I did.
I was drinking.
Look, Vickers caught Klinger with his heart down.
It'd be criminal of you to swear him in now.
- You just can't do it.
- Slow down, Pierce.
The boy's not drunk now.
Let him have his say.
Face it.
I'm a poor kid off the streets.
The only real experience I have is hustling pool.
Now I have a chance to rise through the army's ranks and make something of myself.
- Pretty sober thoughts, Pierce.
- Come on.
He's crazy.
Nobody but an idiot would ever reenlist.
I wonder if you can think of any exceptions to that rule.
Take your time.
I can wait.
I'm going to be here a while yet.
- That's a hint, by the way.
- Colonel, I didn't mean Pierce! I've had it up to here with your forever putting the knock on the army! The military has produced some great men George Washington, Andy Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt.
And if Klinger wants to re-up, I'll be proud to swear him in.
- Thank you, sir.
- Oh, no.
- After he's had some time to cool off.
- Thank you.
- Oh, no.
- Son, this is too big to rush into.
Take some time.
Think it through and through.
- You understand? - Yes, sir.
The colonel is very wise.
This is a major step, and I shouldn't take it in the heat of passion.
Smart lad.
I'll be in here when and if you're ready.
Now get going and start thinking.
- Colonel - Pierce, you just get going.
Now, look, I want you to go sort this out.
I'll keep doing your work so you can give it your full concentration.
Thank you, sir.
I'm gonna sort real hard.
- [Potter.]
Come in.
- Sir, I thought it out.
Well, I must say you have a very nice leg up on your recovery.
Gee, Doc, I don't know how to thank you.
Actually, I wasn't alone.
Sergeant Hutchinson here served as my foil.
- Well, thank you, Doc.
- Don't mention it.
One day, you'll be proud to announce that you had the honor of observing the great Dr.
Anything I should know from here on out? - Ask the expert.
- Just keep a close watch.
If there's infection, the tantalum acts as a foreign body and you have to remove it.
If you'll excuse me, I have to sweep out the lab.
It just doesn't seem fair.
He's as good a nurse as any of us here.
## [Harbor Lights.]
- ## [Stops.]
- That's enough from the hurt parade.
As long as the "Harbor Lights" are on, you're never gonna see things clearly.
Oh, I see things very clearly.
That's why I'm writing Gus.
"Dear Scum.
" I figured I'd start slow and then really let him have it.
Gus knew I still loved Laverne.
I told him that when I wrote him.
I don't understand something.
If all this happened because you wrote Gus in the first place how were you gonna make things better by writing Gus in the second place? What do you want from me? I can't just sit and wallow in self-pity.
Oh, Laverne! Laverne! Klinger, listen to me.
You're yelling at him, but you're crying for her.
If you wanna communicate with Laverne, why don't you write Laverne? - Hey.
Maybe you got a point there.
- You bet I do.
I'll make it easy for you.
I'll be your personal secretary.
You just talk.
Tell me what you want to say.
[Clears Throat.]
My dearest precious flower.
Thank you for your note of October 16.
It's always good to hear from you.
- And how are things in Toledo? - No, no, no, no, no.
This-This is not an application for a car loan.
It's a love letter.
Let your heart do the talking.
Laverne this is gonna knock you off your pins, but I still love you.
All right.
When I give my heart away, it's for good.
- Good.
- I even loved you when you were married to me and you cheated on me with Morty.
After all, you're only human.
I was thousands of miles away and there was Morty with his thriving sausage business to bring home the bacon.
- Boy, that must have hurt.
- You bet your life it did.
- I have feelings, you know.
- Don't tell me.
Tell Laverne.
Laverne, I have feelings, you know.
I don't need you and Gus to use my heartstrings for a taffy pull.
- Attaboy.
- When we got married it was supposed to be for better or worse.
Only I gave the better, and you gave the worse.
What are you gonna do about it? I'll tell you what I'm gonna do about it.
Laverne! I'm washing my hands of both of you! You're rotten to the core! You deserve each other! Sign it "John Hancock.
" It's my Declaration of Independence.
Okay! That's wonderful.
At last you're a free man.
- You got your whole life ahead of you.
- I'm a free man! - Right.
- I'm also an idiot.
- What do you mean? - There's just one hitch, and it lasts six years.
What do you mean? What are you talking about? I went to the colonel and had him swear me in.
You mean, after all he said Colonel Potter swore you in anyway? Yeah, yeah.
He even welcomed me aboard.
Oh, I'm so stupid! What have I done? Don't worry about it.
You're gonna be all right.
You just relax and let hotter heads prevail.
I don't believe this.
You took advantage of an emotional cripple.
I don't believe this.
You took advantage of an emotional cripple.
- That's no better than Vickers.
- Look, I had no choice.
Klinger came in here all het up.
Said if I didn't swear him in, he'd drive to "l" Corps and find somebody who would.
What's the difference? All you did was save him a trip.
The difference is that I had a chance to hear those immortal words "I, Maxwell Klinger, do solemnly promise "that I will faithfully execute the office of Soldier and will to the best of my ability preserve" Wait.
"Office of Soldier"? That doesn't sound like the oath I took.
That's because you've never been elected president of the U.
Of A.
- Huh? - Klinger didn't say exactly what oath he wanted.
I figured he wouldn't know the difference, and it bought us a little time.
I've overstepped the bounds of common stupidity.
I owe you an apology.
Maybe now you'll realize that olive drab and gray matter don't necessarily clash.
Touche, Colonel.
Klinger's gonna be as relieved to hear this as I am.
You mean he's done an about-face again? He sure has.
He's sitting in his office now thinking he's a prisoner of war.
And you left him alone? I knew it.
That cuckoo's flown the coop.
And I'm the one who opened the cage for him.
I never should have made him chief executive.
- I'll get on the horn and notify the constabulary.
- Tell them to be gentle.
They may not respect the man, but they must respect the office.
- All right.
Listen up, folks.
- [Fingers Snapping.]
Last couple of weeks, we've all benefited from the stateside savvy of a crackerjack corpsman Sergeant Barney Hutchinson.
However, due to matters beyond our control the man is not getting the recognition he deserves.
So our very own Major Houlihan has come up with a brainstorm thatjust might even the score.
- Major.
- Oh.
Sergeant Hutchinson, front and center.
- Any news on Klinger? - No, but I've got a call in to the White House.
These are my old lieutenant's bars.
For your remaining three weeks, you shall have the unofficial rank of honorary first lieutenant.
- [Margaret.]
- [Chattering.]
- Congratulations.
- [Hawkeye Laughing.]
- [Charles.]
What the - [Man.]
Hey! It's Corporal Godiva.
Good grief.
What is this disgusting spectacle? Oh, it's Klinger on Sophie, and they're both naked.
What in the name of George Armstrong Custer do you think you're doing? This demonstration is intended to dramatize that I am unfit to wear any uniform.
- I am incompetent.
I'm insubordinate.
- And indecent.
This is a protest.
I was drafted behind my back.
- So, can I be discharged? - Discharged? - You're gonna be impeached.
- [Both Laughing.]
- [Laughing Continues.]
- [Hawkeye.]
Exactly what you need.
- Tell me, Lieutenant Hutchinson.
- ##[Jukebox.
- How does it feel to be a member of the ruling class? - It feels terrific.
That's speaking unofficially, of course.
If anyone says you're not a real lieutenant, they'll have to answer to me.
- [All Chattering.]
- Just think.
Even if I didn't know it for a couple of hours there, I was the leader of the entire free world.
It just goes to prove the American Dream is not dead.
Any boy can grow up to be first lady.
## ["Harbor Lights".]
Will you excuse me for a moment please? - [Scratch.]
- ## [Stops.]
Any requests? It's my nickel.

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