"Excuse me, Nurse ...?“
Face gave the nurse behind the reception desk of the psychiatric ward of the VA his most charming smile.
"Cindy. It‘s Cindy, Mr. Simperton.“
Cindy was yet another new nurse at the ward. Face felt a sliver of remorse for loosing the nurses their jobs on a regular basis, but it was quickly squashed. Murdock needed him now, just as he needed the team and the VA sometimes, too. Everything else was unimportant.
"But of course. Nurse Cindy, would you please be so kind as to tell me: What IS that smell?“
"Oh, I‘m so sorry, Mr. Simperton. It‘s our patient, Mr. Murdock. He‘s making french fries.“
"In his room?“ Face asked. He didn’t have to fake his astonishment. It was the worry that he had trouble keeping out of his voice. His friend had cooked up some harebrained schemes over the years, but this was dangerous. Not to mention why the personnel of the hospital would let him do this?
"Have you no idea how dangerous this is? Not only to the patient but also to the rest of this ward? Not to speak of how your gorgeous hair will smell of french fries in the evening.“
"Well, uhm, yes, Mr. Simperton.“
"I‘m sorry, Nurse Cindy, I‘m afraid I‘ll have to take Mr. Murdock with me. Health Care Regulations and all that. Until this phase is over, I have to keep an eye on him. This way he is a danger to all interacting with him. Would you be so kind as to show me to his room, please?”
"French fries, Murdock?“ Face asked resignedly when they were sitting safely in the Corvette and speeding away to their meeting point with Hannibal and BA.
"‘Course, Facey. French vs Fry, the ultimate champion fight! Did you know it wasn‘t actually the French who invented french fries?“
"What?“ Murdock sometimes changed gears so fast, even Face had trouble keeping up with him.
"It was most probably the Belgians,” Murdock answered his own question seriously, before falling back into his spiel again, holding up two fries.
"Aaaaaand here comes Mr. Fry! Look at him! Dark tanned, his skin glistening with oil! Will he give Mr. French a run for his money?“
“I don’t know, Murdock,” Face laughed, “he looks kind of skinny. And what are you anyway? Referee? Promoter? Reporter?”
“Face, Face, Face,“ Murdock shook his head in indignation. “Prize fighting french fries are the future of the industry! It’s the sports event to come! And I am the promoter, of course!”
“Well, then, you know what will happen when BA sees this,” Face said, trying to dissuade Murdock from his latest crazy scheme. “I’m afraid Mr French and Mr Fry won’t see the end of the day.”
“Fighting sports do demand sacrifices from time to time,” was Murdock’s unhelpful, if diplomatic answer.
When Face and Murdock arrived at the meeting point, Hannibal and BA were waiting for them by the van. The client was nowhere in sight.
“Where’s the client; Hannibal?” Face asked in lieu of greeting.
“Went on ahead.” Hannibal’s answer was accompanied by a wink. Face groaned.
Great. That meant they would have to fly and this was Hannibal’s way of telling him to think of something and fast to get BA on the plane. Face really, really hated it, when the Colonel did that but there was no way he could say no.
Not after all that they’d been through.
Face took a deep breath. No time to dwell. He had a job to do.
Hannibal had insisted that they eat before they embarked on their journey to the client.
It was the perfect opportunity to get Murdock away from BA, whose fingers were already twitching after Murdock had almost shoved Mr French and Mr Fry into BA’s nose during a very enthusiastic promotional speech.
By now both fries looked much the worse for wear and Face figured that a quick trip to a burger chain might help cure Murdock of his current obsession.
Face sighed. But knowing his friend he’d use this craziness to keep himself functioning throughout the mission, so Face would indulge him. As usual.
And just there was the idea he needed for BA. Even if he did hate doing this to his friend every time they needed to fly.
The trip to the burger joint had provided Murdock with more ammunition. Now he not only had a new Mr French and Mr Fry, but a whole fight ring, including trainers, medics, announcers and spectators set up on the wooden picnic table they were having lunch at.
While everyone ate – not their fries, as those were immediately snatched up by him – Murdock continued to expand his setup. When he was done and everyone had finished their burgers, Murdock looked around to see whether he had everybody’s attention.
And then he launched into his role again, shouting, whispering to unseen reporters and fellow promoters, playing out the fight, while Face and Hannibal looked on indulgently.
BA soon had enough though and swept the whole ring, with spectators, medics and trainers onto the floor. Only Mr French and Mr Fry escaped the catastrophe because they were safe in Murdock’s hands.
“Aaaaaand here’s Mr BA Baracuuuuuus! Will he join the fight? Will he squash our heroes? Or will they team up against him in the ultimate fight?”
"Shut up, you fool!“ And BA snatched the two fries from Murdock‘s hand and stuffed them into his mouth. He munched on them for a moment, throwing Murdock a happy glare.
At which point his eyes rolled into his head and BA collapsed onto the floor.
"Aaaaand the winner is: Mr. French and Mr. Fry!“ Murdock proclaimed, dancing around the fallen man.
Hannibal smiled and threw a glance at Face. Face deciphered it to mean: 'Well done, kid.’
Face couldn’t help but smile back.
Now the only problem left was how to get BA into the Van without any of them breaking their backs.
As he pondered that problem, Face laughed softly.
The A-Team was off on another adventure. This was the life and he wouldn’t give it – or the people in it - up for anything in the world.
No, not even a fully pardon.