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This page last viewed: 2017-10-17 and has been viewed 1535 times
Teaching Them A Lesson
Rating: - PG
Summary: - The Team go back to school in an attempt to break a dangerous protection racket.
Disclaimer: - I don't own the team, they belong to Stephen J Cannell. I just use them for pleasure and no profit. Jo-Jo is mine though.
"So, in 1509, Henry VII died, and his second son took the throne as Henry VIII. Now we all know about Henry VIII having six wives but it is about the circumstances surrounding the disposal of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, we are interested in today."
As Edward Tarrance, history teacher at St Francis High School, continued to lecture his class on the Tudor period, Timothy Campbell glanced at the clock on the wall. He had deliberately chosen a seat near the door of the classroom. If he was lucky, he could make a quick getaway when the bell rang. He glanced at the clock again. Only five minutes to go and he was away.
He jumped out of his daydream and turned to see Edward Tarrance standing by his desk, glaring at him. He gulped nervously.
"Did you not hear the question I asked
Edward Tarrance sighed. The bell rang and the rest of the students started to collect their belongings and drifted out of the classroom, heading towards their next lesson. Tim started to pack his books away and was heading out of the door when Edward Tarrance called him back.
"Campbell. A word, if you don't mind."
Tim closed his eyes and sighed. He opened them again and saw Edward Tarrance tapping his pen against the desk impatiently. He dragged his satchel off his desk and approached the front of the classroom.
"Not paying attention in class, were you, Campbell?"
"No, sir. Sorry, sir."
"Mind on other things, Campbell?"
Tim looked up and saw his teacher smiling at him. Tim hated that smile. He knew what was coming next.
"Do you want another detention, Campbell?"
Tarrance sucked his breath in and looked at Tim thoughtfully.
"It'll cost you, Campbell."
Tim's stomach flipped over.
"But sir, I can't give you that. I can't afford that."
"$20, Campbell or detention. Now, will you be able to get the $20 to me by the end of the day?"
Tim nodded and Tarrance sighed with satisfaction.
"And remember, if you mention this to anyone, it'll be extra punishment."
Tim shuddered. Tarrance placed a hand on his shoulder and escorted him to the door. As Tarrance opened the door, he came face to face with Harold Mason, the school principal. Harold Mason looked at Tarrance and glanced down at Tim.
"Everything all right, Mr Tarrance?" he asked.
"Fine, Mr Mason," replied Tarrance. "Just a couple of attention problems, nothing that can't be sorted out."
Mason smiled kindly down at Tim.
Tim glanced at Tarrance who squeezed his shoulder. Tim smiled at the principal and nodded.
"Yes, sir. Everything's fine."
"Off you go then," he said and Tim raced down the corridor and didn't stop running until he reached his locker at the other end of the school building. He didn't know how much longer he could afford to pay off Tarrance but the alternative was far worse. Who knows what horrors he'd be forced to endure. He opened his locker and pulled out an envelope. He opened it up and withdrew his bankbook from it. He slid out a $20 note and replaced the book back in his locker. For a few moments, his gaze lingered on the picture of the shiny new bike he was saving up for. He had cut the picture from the catalogue and taped it to the inside of his locker. He smoothed the picture down and sighed. He'd never be able to afford it now. He looked at it once more then closed the locker, securing the padlock firmly. The money his dad had sent him for his birthday was nearly gone and term didn't finish for another week. Maybe he could earn the money back over the summer holidays.
"You went to school here?" Face stared at Amy in amazement. "Really?"
"Why is that so hard to believe?"
asked Amy. "Even you went to
school once, Face."
"But I couldn't imagine you running round with a short skirt on and bunches bouncing either side of your head."
Murdock stifled a giggle. Amy glared at him.
"I never ran around in a short skirt. It was normal length and we weren't allowed to run in the corridors," she said, haughtily.
Face smirked and whispered "Prefect" under his breath. Jo-Jo giggled.
"As it happens, I was a prefect," responded Amy. She wandered into the Reception Hall and gazed round. It was just as she remembered, nothing had changed since she took her exams and headed off for college. The pictures on the wall caught her eye and she smiled as she realised what they were. She beckoned to the team.
"These pictures are taken at the end
of your last year."
She scanned the wall until she found her year. She pointed to a girl with long, wavy brown hair, tied at each side of her head with blue ribbons.
Murdock put his arm round Amy's shoulders.
"So, Faceman was right about the bunches then?"
Amy elbowed him in the ribs.
"I bet you ran in the corridors like everyone else," said Face.
"I told you, it's forbidden to run in the corridors," said Amy as the bell rang out, signalling the end of another lesson. They all suddenly stepped back as several hundred children raced past them in an attempt to be first in the lunch queue.
"Running is forbidden, eh?" said Face, raising his eyebrows at Amy, who ignored him. Jo-Jo put her arm through Hannibal's.
"You're quiet, Uncle John. What's up?"
"Just thinking about why we're here," he replied, looking at Amy.
"I don't really know," said Amy. "Like I told you, the principal here is the same guy who was principal when I was here. He knew I worked on the Courier and he knew I filed a lot of stories on you guys. He says he has a job for us."
"All I'm saying is that this had better be legit or we're all in for a long detention, courtesy of Decker."
Amy shook her head.
"Hannibal, please credit me with some common sense. Harold Mason is one of the nicest guys you could meet. I'm sure he's legit. If he says there's a problem, then there's a problem."
They all turned as they heard the sound of a door opening. From the side entrance to the hall, Harold Mason entered the room. He smiled warmly as he saw Amy and crossed the hall to meet her. He held his hands out and shook Amy's hand.
"Why, Amy Allen, you haven't changed a bit," he said. "Still as delightful as ever."
Amy smiled and blushed.
"Mr Mason, it's great to see you again."
"Please call me Harold. You're no longer one of my students. No need for formality any more."
Amy smiled again.
"Harold, I'd like you to meet some friends of mine. This is Hannibal Smith, Templeton Peck, HM Murdock and BA Baracus. Otherwise known as The A-Team. And this is Jo-Jo, an honorary member of the team."
"You came, I can't believe it. The A-Team. I've read so much about you, usually written by Miss Allen."
Amy blushed again. Harold Mason chuckled and led the team towards an empty classroom.
"Please, take a seat, everyone. Let me tell you why I need your help. What did you tell them, Miss Allen?"
"Only what you told me over the phone, which wasn't much. And it's Amy."
"Well, I couldn't say much over the phone, never know who's listening in. We have a small problem going on in the school. Some of the teachers here, not all mind you. Some of the teachers are involved in a protection racket. They single out individual pupils, usually one per class they take. So that's about seven pupils a day. They find some excuse to speak to them after the lesson, usually a minor thing, like not paying attention in class or missing homework. They then charge the children a sum of money to ensure that they don't get a detention or a black mark against their names. The children usually pay up, probably being threatened with something worse if they didn't."
"So, how do you know all this?" asked Hannibal.
"One boy came to see me. He told me everything. Unfortunately, he won't make it an official complaint. You see, none of the students know which teachers are involved. They know only the one who targets them. There are several of the teachers involved so if one were to be suspended or fired over this, the others would then target the boy or girl who reported it. The kids are too scared to say anything."
"Do you know who is involved?" asked Face.
"I only know one. Edward Tarrance, the history teacher. I caught him with one lad, Tim Campbell, yesterday. Tim claims everything was fine but I could tell from the look on his face and the speed he left the classroom when I dismissed him, that kind of gave it away. I just need the proof and the other teachers involved."
"So what do you want us to do?" asked Jo-Jo.
"Catch them. Get me some kind of proof that I can then dismiss the people involved and prosecute them. I want this kind of despicable behaviour out of my school."
Hannibal stood up and shook Mason's hand.
"Congratulations, Mr Mason. You've just hired the A-Team."
Mason beamed at him.
"I can pay you."
"No need, sir," said BA. "Lil' kids shouldn't be scared to go ta school. We'll do this for free."
"Right, I think, Mr Mason, that you need to call a full school assembly and announce the new staff."
"New staff?" asked Amy.
"We need to be on the inside so we're all going to work here."
"I don't like the sound of this."
"Amy, you'll teach English, BA will teach Physical Education, Jo-Jo, you'll take the music class."
"I wonder why."
Hannibal put his arm round Face and Murdock.
"Face, you'll be the new drama
"If anyone can give lessons in taking on new personalities, it's you. Murdock, I need you outside the classroom. You need your ears in the corridors, listening for any dropped information. You'll be the new janitor."
"And what exactly will you be doing, Hannibal?" asked Amy.
Hannibal grinned, his blue eyes twinkling with the jazz.
"I'll be the new headmaster."
There was a collective groan from the rest of the team, but Hannibal just chuckled.
"And so, on to the final piece of news," said Harold Mason. He was standing at the front of the assembly hall, dressed in a long black robe, with a purple trim. It was the official dress of the headmaster. "When school resumes again after the summer break, I will no longer be the headmaster."
A ripple of surprise and amazement spread through the hall, both pupils and teachers were taken aback by this surprise announcement. Harold Mason continued.
"I appreciate that this is a sudden and unexpected shock but for personal reasons I cannot disclose, I will be leaving this state and therefore this job. I would therefore like to introduce to you all, my replacement and your new headmaster. As of the start of next semester, your headmaster will be Mr John Smith."
Harold Mason gestured for Hannibal to step forward and Hannibal took the podium.
"First of all I'd like to introduce myself. My name is John Smith and as Mr Mason has announced, I will be taking over as headmaster, following summer vacation. I'd like to stress first and foremost, that I see no reason for anything major to change immediately as the school is running quite efficiently at present. However, things may change in due course but both staff and pupils will be informed as and when these things may occur. However, there will be a few minor changes to the teaching staff and I'd like to introduce them now. Mr Baracus will be taking over the Physical Education department, Miss Allen will be taking English and Miss Lynch will be the new Head of Music."
There was a murmur of appreciation from the male section of the school as Amy and Jo-Jo were introduced. They had all agreed to give Jo-Jo a new surname and it had been her idea to take Lynch's name. It would distance her from Hannibal and so no one would guess there was any connection between them all.
"I'd also like to introduce Mr Peck, who will be in charge of the Drama department. There will be also a new janitor starting after the holidays, as the current one is leaving also but I have yet to appoint a new one. These are the only changes I will be making for the time being and I look forward to a new school year."
Hannibal sat down to a polite round of applause and Face leaned over to speak to him.
"Did you notice any kind of reaction amongst the staff, Face?"
"Only one, bloke sat nearest the door."
Hannibal glanced over.
"Tarrance. Mason pointed him out earlier."
"He looked rather surprised at the announcement."
"I'm guessing he's the ringleader. Now, all you have to do is get on the right side of him and hopefully, you'll be recruited into his little scam."
"I still don't see why it has to be
"Because you're the best one to pull it off."
"But won't he suspect it's all an act, what with me being the drama teacher and everything."
"Face, you can convince him. I have complete faith in you, Lieutenant."
Face gave him a weak smile.
As the final pupils left the school premises for the start of the summer vacation, Hannibal watched them from the window of the headmaster's office. There were still a few teachers hanging around the building but in general, the building was quiet. There was a knock on the door.
"Come in," called Hannibal. Amy stuck her head round the door.
"Hey, kid," said Hannibal. "How's things?"
"Hannibal, you wanted to see me?"
Hannibal motioned her into a seat. Amy sat down and looked at Hannibal, expectantly.
"Amy, I need a favour. I know it's asking a lot of you and it could be risky if anyone from the school finds out."
"What's up, Hannibal?"
"I need some digging doing at the paper, but no one must know. I don't want any of the teachers here connecting you to the paper."
"A few of the teachers know already. They used to teach me."
"I'm not asking you to phone from school. Do it from home or use the phone in the van. You can even use the phone in here if necessary but try and keep it low key. I may need some information getting as this case goes on. I need you to get a contact at the paper, someone reliable and someone you can trust."
"I know just the person," smiled Amy.
"Welcome back to another school year," said Hannibal. Five hundred pupils stared at him from the assembly hall. "I hope it will be a wonderful year and produce some outstanding academic achievements. I'm sure you are all looking forward to getting back to studying so I won't keep you any further."
Hannibal left the podium and the pupils started to filter back to their classrooms. Hannibal started walking back towards his office. Face caught him up.
"Murdock started this morning. I got him out of the VA."
"Good. I'll need to know if anything out of the ordinary happens, like
hushed conversations in corridors, that kind of thing. Did you brief him?"
"I told him to keep an eye on Tarrance and I pointed him out to Murdock when we got here."
"Excellent, now haven't you got a class to take?"
"Hannibal, I'm really not looking
forward to this at all. Just what
exactly will you be doing whilst the rest of us are playing teacher to about
thirty unruly, undisciplined teenagers?"
"I've got a very busy morning planned, Face, and first on my list is a nice cup of coffee served by my delightful secretary, Miss Barnes."
Face rolled his eyes and made his way towards the drama hall. As he passed the music room, he caught sight of Jo-Jo sat at the piano. Thirty pupils were staring at her in complete awe, concentration etched on their faces.
"If I'd had a teacher like Jo-Jo, I'd have paid more attention in school," thought Face and headed off down the corridor. He turned the corner and entered the drama hall. He groaned inwardly as he saw thirty fifth-formers scattered around the hall.
"Why do I always get the older ones?" he thought. "Why can't I get the nervous new starters?" He swallowed nervously as they all turned to stare at him. Today was going to be a long day.
"And so, the main thing to remember, that if you want to be successful actor, you have to be able to convince your audience that you are who you say you are. It's called a con."
A ripple of laughter sounded through the hall, and Face smiled.
"You might laugh but it's true. An actor is a professional conman. He spends his life convincing his audience that he's a different person. So for your assignment this week, I want you to con somebody. Nothing major please, but for instance, convince your parents that they've won the lottery, but please tell them the truth before they go out and buy that three million dollar boat they've been dreaming of."
The bell rang and the pupils started to gather up their books and bags. Face turned to collect his own papers.
"And whatever you do, don't con your parents into thinking you've got malaria just before my next class. I'd like to see you all here next lesson, please."
The pupils filtered out and Face noticed one young girl hovering near the stage. He wandered over to her.
"Are you okay? Can I help you with anything?"
"I'd like to introduce myself," she said, holding her hand out. "I'm Sheryl Farmer."
"Hi Sheryl," said Face. "Did you want something in particular? Was there something in the lesson you didn't understand?"
"I take it Mr Smith hasn't mentioned me. I'm your new student teacher. I'm here to help you and also learn from you."
Face shook his head in amazement.
"My god, you teachers are getting younger every day."
Sheryl laughed again.
"John didn't mention me then."
"Han… I mean John tends to forget certain things from time to time. I swear he likes to keep me on my toes."
"You've worked for him before then?"
"Yeah, I transferred with him from his last post."
"He seems really nice," said Sheryl. "He was really nice to me this morning when I started."
"He's a character all right," said Face. They made their way to the door. "So I'll see you for the next lesson, then."
"Sure. See you later, Mr Peck."
"Call me Face."
"Just a nickname."
"It suits you. Until next time."
She walked down the corridor and Face watched her.
"Don't let Jo-Jo catch you looking like that."
Face jumped as Murdock's voice sounded from behind him.
"Murdock, don't do that."
"Sneak up behind me."
"Just emptying the bins, Faceman. Hannibal wants to see you, as soon as you've finished."
"Thank you," retorted Face and headed off towards Hannibal's office. Murdock just chuckled.
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