five minute challenges go like this: you get the email, you check the time, and then you write, based on the three words sent out to the list. after five minutes, you stop. all from the mash-slash list.

> He *would* have--

to smell that good.

Fresh from the shower, he comes into the Swamp. Which doesn't smell so good. Even fresh laundry, fresh sheets, are a turn-on. Every time you take a nurse out, you make sure to make sure there is a clean sheet handy, if you can help it. Because there's nothing nicer than the smell of industrial laundry detergent, nothing better than the knowledge the linen, or clothing, or whatever, you're in is *clean*.

BJ smells clean. He throws his kit down on his bed, wrapped in just a robe and wearing Korean sandals. "Back from the spa so soon?"

"Well," he answers, digging around in his trunk for clothing, "I would have stayed longer but they were over-booked. Had to reschedule my facial."

"The nerve." You inhale. Socks, and laundry, and Frank's cologne, sure, but there, that faint whiff-- soap, and BJ. He smells so clean.

You cough, pretend casual with a magazine. Is it sad, you wonder, that even BJ can turn you on now, freshly showered and pulling on army-issue boxer shorts?

He asks, "Whatcha reading?"

You glance down, having no idea what's in your hands. "Frank's mail. Dunno."


"Beej." He glances up. "Wanna do laundry later?"

"yeah, that'd be nice." It's as close to a date as the two of you will ever get.

> You can't possibly--

ever get over this kind of thing. Whatever you see, here in Korea, is not going away. This kind of thing can't be burned or scraped away. Third degree burns, straight through five layers of flesh. Six even. Emotional.

Hawkeye looks as worn as you feel, and he slings an arm around your shoulders as the two of you stumble, in dirty grimy scrubs, back to your tent. Your boots have blood on them. Someone dropped a sponge, halfway through the second round of shelling, and your boot has little flakes of blood. You don't even remember whose.

"BJ," he says. "BJ, c'mon, it's time for bed."


"You were staring, there. Come on." His voice is gentle, just soothing enough to get your boots and socks off, scrubs on the floor. Fatigues on the floor. head falls to the pillow. God.

"Hawk," in a quiet minute as he's pulling the blanket up over you, "I dunno if i can do this."

He can hear that little 'i'. That voice of hopelessness. He sits on the bunk beside you, is as tired as you are and yet he still finds enough to answer. "Sure you can. cause if you can't then I can't."

"Can't without you."

"No, I know." He lays down as well, two feet away and always two feet away. Since you moved here, your bunks have never been more than those two feet apart.

> There's this problem--

in post-op that Mulcahey can't take care of, and klinger doesn't know what to do with, so off Hawkeye goes to try and stop the bleeding, sew up some of Frank's stitches that somehow came loose.

Frank likes it without Hawkeye in the operating room. BJ doesn't. BJ hates not having that constant stream of jokes and quips and laughter. Laughter is the best medicine, BJ thinks, and snorts. "What's Hawk doing, anyway, ordering a pizza for later?"

"Quit your joking around, Hunnicut!" Frank whines. "it's bad enough with Pierce in the operating room, no need to have you running off at the mouth as well."

"Better he runs off at the mouth than you run off on another patient, Frank." And he's back. BJ spares him a glance, a smile that, even with the mask on, he sees and returns. "Better let Frank close that one, and you and me start work on this. Multiple shrapnel wounds, lots of work."

BJ moves away from his patient. Working with Hawkeye makes his hands shake less, because Hawkeye, though totally and completely unsure in every other place in camp, is a rock in the O.R.

BJ mumbles, "glad you're back." Hawkeye just nods, and starts working.

> Come home one--

night," he says to you.

You shake your head.

His house is up in the San Francisco hills, up on the top of the world. You've only been here twice, including this trip, into the actual city, and once you got lost so deeply in the twisting streets that you drove around for hours in your rental car, just looking for the restaurant BJ was meeting you at.

"Come home," and his voice is soft and entreating, and sincere, so fucking sincere. He wants you to go home with him and meet his wife and daughter, while you're in the city. It's too soon. He says, "come home with me, Hawk," anyway, and cuts your strings.

"No, I gotta." You push away from the table, stand up, stumble away from your chair. Table leg almost trips you. "no, I gotta get outta here. Have a, meeting. With the hospital administration."

"Hawk, it's eight thirty at night. What kind of meeting is it?"

You shrug, wildly step away. "Okay fine," with a roll of your eyes, "I'm meeting a nurse at nine. Who runs, something. at the hospital. and I gotta." You take a breath. "I gotta go."

"Hawk." He stands up too, keeping his eyes on you. BJ has blue eyes. BJ has blue eyes, and a beard, and you still think that you can't recognise him, now that he's wearing some color other than green. "Hawk. come home with me, one of these nights."

"I gotta." You turn around, almost trip over your own feet. "I gotta go.

> Well, actually, there--

--is one thing you can do," Hawkeye said, draining his martini glass. "Pour me another."

Radar stumbles on his way to the still. "I don't think we need another."

"No," and Hawkeye takes his feet off Frank's bunk, puts them back on the floor. "You don't need another. I need several."

BJ comes in, lets the tent flap fall with a little 'swoosh'. "What's the occassion?"

Radar stands, caught trapped, by the still, canter in hand. "Uh."

Hawkeye stands up, and claps BJ on the shoulder. "My friend," he starts, and then gets distracted by Radar. "Pour me another, I say."

Radar does as he's told. BJ covers the hand on his shoulder with his own. "Are we celebrating, toasting? What? I feel out of the loop."

"We're toasting the absolute miserable mess our lives have become," Hawkeye replies, and sits down heavily on his bunk. "Almost twenty six hours in OR, three hours sleep, another twelve in post-op, and now we get twelve hours off."

"And you're gonna spend it with a hangover."

Hawkeye shrugs, sipping and making a face. "I think the potatoes we used for this batch were rotten."

BJ sits down beside him, and nods with his head for Radar to leave. Before Radar exits, stage left, he gives BJ the liquor. BJ replies, sniffing it carefully, "yeah, probably. most things over here are."

Hawkeye leans his head on BJ's shoulder, and lets the homemade martini spill all over his knees. "I'm so tired," he says, and BJ takes his glass, puts it by the bed without a word. He strokes Hawkeye's hair, until he can hear him breathing deeply, evenly. Asleep.

> don't touch that -

dial, folks, we'll be right back with more of American Bandstand right after these messages!"

Flip, flip, flip. News, news, game show. Commercial. News. People all over the country were flipping channels, looking at the same things that you were looking at, looking at the same programs and the same television shows. Someone out there was looking at the same useless garbage, watching the same news anchor not talking about the rest of the world, focusing in on local news, local problems.

out there, somewhere, BJ might be watching the same channel, and it wouldn't be the same news because San Francisco won't care about the state of industry in Maine, or what the weather was going to do in this part of the country tomorrow.

Flip, flip. Commercial, commercial. Even the television programs -- "but daddy, I want to go out to the" -- wouldn't be the same in California, because they were aired three hours later on the west coast, something about time zones. The American Bandstand that you just flipped past, BJ wouldn't be getting it for another three hours.

The sitcom on channel ten -- complete with laugh track -- would be played at nine thirty, Pacific Standard Time. You'd probably be in bed by then, your father laughing at you -- "Hawkeye, since when do you go to sleep before midnight?" -- but lately it's been important to get enough sleep. It's occurred to you, once or twice, that you're sleeping off years of sleep debt, so him laughing doesn't bother you much.

Flip, 'Leave it to beaver', flip. Flip. Ten o'clock news; it was seven where BJ was, him and Peg might be sitting down to watch news as well, the early news program. Weather in San Francisco; cold, raining. You can imagine it but the news anchor keeps talking about the fisheries industry on the Maine coast, pointing at a map and feeling important.

Flip. Commercial for dog food. Flip. flip. flip. Car commercial, the latest model. Flip. A woman talking about cambell's soup. Flip. American Bandstand again. You've been through all the channels twice, three times over, sitting close to the television to turn the knob, and watch all the commercials. They're the only things that might be the same on a television in California.