IF IT'S HELD over much longer, Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer's latest pout-and-shout act may well upstage this year's version of the annual legislative follies show in Annapolis. But parental guidance is advised -- the language is even bluer than his alleged mood. And if anyone thinks these tales of executive petulance are exaggerated, maybe -- as they say -- you gotta be there. This week, the governor is big into hide-and-go-seek and kick the can, having already told the speaker of the house to stuff a proposed compromise light-rail mass-transit bill in an unconventional place. Now the state's highest officeholder can be seen darting head down and wordless across the top floor of the state house -- or not seen at all. Does it matter?

The longtime Baltimore sidekicks who still surround, humor and try to explain the antics of Mr. Schaefer say not to worry, he just gets his nose out of joint once in a while, feels a need to jolt the legislators now and then and believes in do-it-now government that has little or no truck for time-consuming legislative percolations. That's nothing new in the adversary world of governors and legislators; why, some of the lawmakers themselves have been known to throw an occasional tantrum. But any good act needs a timely finale -- and with this session of the General Assembly entering the tightening rounds, some degree of civility and compromise is in order.

There are issues to be addressed before adjournment: mass transit/rail, higher education, health care, corrections and proposals sought by local governments. The leaders of the legislature as well as other key players are not in the state capital just to tease a governor and go home. Most are members of his party, some supported his run for governor from the start, and nearly all would like to have some accomplishments to talk about when they issue their final reports to constituents. Childish behavior on the part of the governor doesn't help.