Disclaimer: All original A-Team characters belong to Stephen J. Cannell. I just took them out for a spin.
Comments: Yes please.
Summary: Light-hearted fluff in which we see our guys from a different view. (Any more I give away the
"Good morning. Baby Sitter's Helper Hot-line. This is Marcie. How may I help you?"
"Hello. Can I help you?"
The pause was long. Then the adult voice cleared his throat again. "I don't suppose you have any idea on how to make pancakes, do you?"
"Yes, sir. Do you have pencil and paper ready? One cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder and salt. Sift. Add 1 large egg. 2 tablespoons butter. 1 cup milk."
In the background, Marcie could hear children's voices squabbling. Her caller moved a hand over the receiver, but his part of the conversation carried to her anyway.
"I said stop it, or no one makes pancakes for the Colonel and BA, got it? Why I allowed myself to - "
"It's Uncle duty."
Marcie smiled at the child's almost adult voice next to her caller. Uncle duty. She would have to remember to tell Jill that one. Obviously Uncle was not pleased with having his Saturday taken over by nieces and nephews. Score high marks for whichever parent had jotted down the hot-line number as help for the beleaguered uncle.
"Thank you, Marcie."
Marcie glanced at the mirror over her cubicle and smiled to herself. Poor Uncle. Wonder if he's going to have to call back?
"Good morning. Baby Sitters Hot-line. Marcie here."
"It's uh - me - again." The voice was vaguely familiar. "Would you know how to get pancake batter out of a silk shirt?"
Marcie bit her lip on the smile of recognition. "My mother recommends club soda. Sponge gently," she advised.
The phone started to fumble then suddenly his voice was back again. "M - Marcie? You haven't hung up, have you?"
"Good. Does pancake batter take paint off?" And a muffled: "Don't turn that thing on!"
Marcie's eyebrows rose. "Not normally."
In the background, the boys were at it again. "The res'pea said mix. Mix is with the thing, you stir with a spoon!"
"Knock it off! Thanks, honey!" The rushed words were followed with a definite click.
Marcie rolled her eyes again. "And my mother thinks being an adult automatically means you can baby-sit and be a parent."
"Mine, too. Maybe we should get them to answer the phone next Saturday. I'll never be ready for the Prom if we have to work until after five."
"There it goes again. Your turn, Jill."
"Good afternoon. Baby Sitters Hot-line. This is Marcie."
"How do you get the kids to eat their vegetables?"
Marcie smiled and mouthed: HIM to Jill. Jill shook her head and continued explaining how to test the baby bottle to her caller.
"Cheese sauce?" He sounded frazzled and doubtful.
Marcie could hear the boys enthusiastically endorse the idea. A new adult male voice in the background asked: "How? What's in cheese sauce?"
"Cheese, dopey," one of the boys responded scornfully.
"Have you got a jar of cheddar cheese spread? Just pop it in the microwave for sixty seconds and pour on the veggies."
"Sauce pan and two inches of water. Four minutes, but don't let it scorch."
"You're a life-saver, Marcie."
As the line went dead, Jill looked across to her. "Cheese sauce?"
"Would you eat broccoli without it?"
"Good afternn- "
"Marcie! Do you get warts from kissing a frog?"
She closed her mouth but it didn't help. The giggles kept stealing her breath as she fought the urge to roar with laughter: "I - uh - oh - uh - hee -."
Jill took the phone out of her hand and Marcie slid out of the chair onto the floor, clutching her sides. "Sorry, Marcie's not feeling well. This is Jill. How may I help you?"
"Uh - Jill? - What? No - I'm asking her now. I know I said her name was Marcie - SHE's on the other phone,
Jill forced her lips to elongate into a fishy-pucker, keeping the snicker from erupting at the unwitting double conversation. He sounded panicked.
"Sorry about that. Jill, do you know if kissing a frog is going to give the kiss-or warts? Specifically warts on the - "
"-lips?" Jill finished for him. Uncle was frazzled. No adult in her experience really believed they could get warts - did they? Hmm. Maybe she should check the encyclopedia.
"Murdock - will you wash his mouth? I'm on the phone!"
Jill closed the medical encyclopedia and double-checked the odd-questions binder. "Well ñ the medical book says warts are caused by a virus, not frogs."
"I told Murd - hey - stop that!"
In the background, just before the phone went dead, the childish voice announced: "You said to wash his mouth - dish soap was all I could find."
"Kissing frogs?" Marcie folded over her stomach again, the laughter shaking her apart.
"Hello. Baby Sitter Hot-line. This is Marcie. How can I help you?"
Uh-oh. This didn't sound good.
"Hi, there. My name is Marcie, what's yours?"
"Wills. William. Can you -(sob)- help me?"
"William. Tell me, do you know your address? The street your house is on?"
"Not inna house. Inna van," the whimper announced. "He's hurt."
"Who's hurt?" Marcie scribbled a note and passed it to Jill, hearing her cut off the conversation in passing.
"Your face is hurt? Has there been an accident?"
"Mr. Richards. He's - hurt in the cabin. Bleedin'."
Great! A hysterical kid and - the coin dropped and Marcie connected. "You're calling on a mobile phone from a parked van? William, tell me what happened, okay?"
"Uh-huh. Bad guys came and hurt Mr. Richards. BA and Emily and Gerald went looking for the others. He got sick and told me to use the radio, but its broke and then I remembered - they used the phone to call you for pancakes and cheese sauce and help on stuff ñ and I'm scared. It's dark and he don't talk to me like before." The final words came out in a panicked wail.
"The police don't believe me!" Jill hissed, staring at the noisy receiver in her hand with disgust.
"Call Brian," Marcie snapped, closing her eyes and wishing things were normal.
"Brian?" the small voice sounded confused.
No wonder, nitwit, Marcie railed at herself. "Sorry, William. Uh, where was Mr. Richards bleeding at?"
"His shoulder. He was trying to wrap one of Emily's dishtowels around it, but then he got sick an' then he closed his eyes. I'm scared. I want Emily!"
"I know. Wills, can you get another dishtowel and wrap it real tight around his arm?" Marcie asked, wishing she could pound some sense into whoever had gone off and left a little boy to deal with this by himself.
"It'll get all bloody."
"Emily won't get mad. Honest."
"Okay, don't go 'way - ."
"Wait! Will -."
The phone dropped with a muffled thud, but didn't disconnect. "Damn! Did you get Brian?" Marcie asked, glancing up at Jill.
"He's not answering. I've tried Mrs. Cross and Reverend Paul. Everyone's out -" Jill's voice took on the same panicked note as Wills.
Marcie reached across the desk and shook the shoulder of her best friend. "Don't you dare flake out on me!
Try them again. Try the cops over on Central!"
Minutes passed, and she could hear Jill finally get a hold of Brian. Before she could say anything, the timid voice sounded in her ear again: "Marcie?"
"I'm here." No use in yelling at him for leaving the phone. It couldn't stretch into the house.
"I tied it real tight and he made sounds -. What if the bad guys come back again and shoot us?"
"Bad guys? What bad guys?"
"They kidnapped us and - "
Marcie blinked at the garbled story of kidnapping and crazy car chases. Great. It was just a kid with a nightmare - or playing a joke - or - .
"Brian says to tell the police if they find a dead body it's ours. He's not getting them to believe him either," Jill announced.
Marcie could hear the crunch of steps over the open phone line. "I - some one's coming. I can hear them on gravel - "
It was a girl's voice. Marcie decided it was just a prank and almost exploded. "Baby Sitter's Hot-line. You really have the nerve - playing pranks and letting a kid get scared and - ."
An adult voice in the background filtered pass the soft apology: "Who are you talking to, Emily?"
"Marcie - she kept Wills from panicking," Emily said as the phone faded her voice.
"Marcie?" the new voice was grim, male, and annoyed.
Marcie could visualize a furious parent, but training took over. "Baby sitter's Hot-line. Is everything alright there? Should we send an ambulance as well as the police? And where to?"
This pause was short.
"We've got everything under control. Thank you."
The open line sound of disconnection buzzed in her ears. Marcie blinked as she slowly hung up, unsure of what to make of it all. "Prank. Must have been a prank," she muttered resentfully.
10:10 Two weeks later.
Marcie came in with her pictures from Prom to show Jill. A charming blonde sat on the desk with a big vase of multi-colored roses in his arms. Jill was obviously enamored with him, judging by the goofy smile on her face. When he turned to look at her, Marcie discovered his smile was potent.
"Hi." She smiled because she couldn't help it.
"Let me guess, this is Marcie, right?" he greeted.
Why did that voice sound familiar? Marcie wouldn't have forgotten meeting a hunk like this. He was movie-star good looking, and she wished she was older, 'cause she could see he was nice.
"These are for you, actually." He lifted the vase across the space and set them squarely on her desk. He stood up and the corner of his lips crinkled again. "You have pretty eyes."
"Why?" Marcie asked, looking at the roses as if expecting a snake to spring out from their midst.
Jill sighed outrageously and rolled her eyes at the good looking dude. "She's not really an idiot. Only once in a while. Read the card." Jill pointed to the card attached to the flowers.
Marcie looked at the card and opened it. In a slow voice she read: "From the beleaguered uncles of William, Gerald and Emily. Thanks. Face, BA, Murdock and Hannibal."