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Strike That

Strike That!
by Cathy Fisher

Rating: G

Summary: A little after-mission pouting by a very important member of the Team.
Disclaimer: The A-Team and accessories don't belong to me and I'm not making money off them.
Comments: This is a bit of fluff I wrote to recover from the stress of my first week on a new job. It is also a bit of an experiment for me -- my first attempt at writing a story in present tense and my second attempt at 1st person POV. It's a response to Captain Marina's recent Van Challenge. No one count words, please. I never stick to those word limit thingies anyway and I'm only about 600 words off. <g>

Strike That!

"Hey, BA."

*** Oh no, not again. ***

"I'd like you to meet Rosie. You see, Tiny and Pointy started talking, and they decided they liked each other. So..."

"Give me those, you crazy fool. Hannibal! I've had enough. They's toothpicks, not people. Toothpicks, got it?"

This has been going on for over 200 miles. BA's not the only one who is getting rather ticked. A slight chuckle from the passenger seat is the most Hannibal is willing to devote to the argument, though, and Face is so busy figuring out finances that he seems to have tuned everything else out. I wish I could do that sometimes.

There is a slight scuffle behind me and a jerk on my steering column. My wheels screech in protest as we lurch into the opposite lane. My headlights go huge in fright as I notice the car heading straight for us. Fortunately, BA recovers in time to jerk me back into the correct lane just in time to swing wide and pull into a driveway. It's only then that I feel the pinpricks on my inside and realize that Murdock has dropped all of his toothpick people across the inside of the van. Man, do those things itch when they hit the carpet!

"BA! Look what you've done!" Murdock wails in distress. His is nothing to mine.

That's it! This is the end. I am not going any further! As my wheels coast for the garage, I abruptly cut my engine. I feel a brief spurt of satisfaction when BA grunts in surprise and confusion. I've never failed him before, but I've had it.

Over the last few days, I have been through countless car chases, jumped a gorge, took a few bullets in the back doors and sides, played chicken with a truck, crashed through a roadblock, and blown a tire. I am dusty, tired, worn out, and just plain irritated.

As the guys file out of the van and close the garage door behind me, BA pops my hood to try to figure out what is wrong. I notice the others going into the house, though Murdock hovers in the background, always ready to help -- or irritate BA as the case may be.

***No, there's nothing wrong with my oil. I have plenty of that. ***

***Well, it does feel nice to have a clean air filter after all the dirt roads you've driven me on, but that's not gonna cut it, buddy***

***Nope, not the battery either. You installed a new one just last week, remember. And you can ignore the starter and my electrical wiring. It just annoys me when you fool with those***

"Ouch!" BA jumps in surprise as I send a burst of electricity through my wires, shocking his fingers.

"Hey, BA, maybe she just needs..." BA rounds on Murdock as he starts to speak, driving him against the garage wall with the force of his glare.

"Shut up, you crazy fool. This is all your fault. If you hadn't been jibber jabbering on 'bout them stupid toothpick people, I'd..." He stops, as if realizing the unreasonableness of his statements. With a last growl, he slams my hood down and stalks into the house.

With a sigh, Murdock watches him leave, then walks over and picks up a polishing cloth. Starting at my back door, he begins to wipe me clean of all the dust and grit of traveling. His fingers are gentle as they wipe the bullet wounds, and I sigh in pleasure at the massage and the wondrous feeling of being clean once more.

Wiping all my windows with window washing fluid, he moves around to my front hood and pulls out the polishing cloth once more.

"You know what, Bessy? Can I call you Bessy? When I was little, my dad had a van he called Bertha, but you look more like a Bessy." He's rambling a bit, but I don't care, as long as he continues that wondrous polishing.

"The big guy's not really mad at you, you know. I don't think he's even really mad at me. At least I think." He looks doubtfully toward the door leading to the inside. "It's just been a difficult mission for all of us. And maybe I did push his buttons too many times this trip."

He sighs a little as he continues polishing. I take a closer look at the pilot who is now rubbing in silence. Maybe I'm not the only one who is tired. I feel like wincing as he scrubs the bugs off my front grill, but once they are gone, I can breath so much better, and I relax a little further.

Moving on to my headlights, he continues, his voice soft and soothing. "I know you're tired, and it's been longer than usual since BA has been able to give you a tune up. But, he really loves you, you know that? We all do. We depend on you to get us safely out of trouble. You're a big part of this team, and we wouldn't be the same without you."

I have to catch myself before my windshield wiper fluid begins to leak out of my headlights. I've never really thought of myself as a part of the Team. I've always thought they took me for granted, except for BA of course, who usually pampers me. But even he has been neglecting me for several days.

Usually Murdock and I just tolerate each other. He is constantly the cause of things happening to me. He's irritated bad guys enough that they blew my windows out, he's painted a smiley face on my backside (how humiliating), he's brought all manner of odd things inside me, including a cake that he hid and left to mold. My insides smelled terrible for a while after that. And finally, this toothpick episode.

Just as I remember the pinpricks itching in my carpet, I feel him sliding my side door open and removing each tiny annoyance. I give a sigh of relief as the irritation slowly disappears.

"There now," Murdock soothes as he returns to my front, polishing my headlights again. "Isn't that better? I'm sure as soon as BA calms down, he'll come back and give you a proper tune up."

No sooner has he said that then the door to the house opens and BA walks in, glowering at the pilot.

"Whatcha doing with my van, fool. I tol' you never to touch it." He walks over, looking at me suspiciously. He is sometimes too jealously protective of me, but who can blame him with some of the stunts Murdock has pulled. Still, his features soften a little as he takes in my clean appearance.

Murdock brightens visibly as he notices the tentative look of approval in BA's dark eyes. I beam a little brighter as he looks me over and his lips form an almost smile. It snaps back to a scowl though, as he turns back to Murdock.

The pilot merely shrugs and smiles. "I just thought she could just use a bit of cleaning and a pep talk. She's had a hard few days, too, you know. We just talked a bit, and I practiced my counseling skills." He grins brightly and gives me a wink.

"It's a van, you crazy fool. Vans don't talk." BA's growl is lacking the fury of earlier though, and he walks around me, his fingers trailing over my paint job, stopping briefly to examine the bullet holes.

"Try to start her up," Murdock encourages. "I'm sure she'll work for you now." I'm not so sure, but I have to admit I'm feeling better than I was.

"Don't be ridiculous, man," BA grumbles as he finishes inspecting the bullet holes, checking to make sure none hit the gas tank. "You don't fix engine problems by talking to it."

Murdock looks like he is about to argue, but the door to the house bursts open just as the distant sounds of sirens fill the air.

"I hope you have the van fixed," Hannibal barks as he hurries into the garage closely followed by Face, "because it looks like Decker has found us again."

My inward groan is echoed by the sighs of dismay from BA and Murdock, but Murdock gives BA a pointed look and clears his throat.

"Sergeant?" Hannibal questions, looking at the both of them. BA glares at Murdock, but opens the driver side door and reaches in to turn the key anyway, his eyes fixed on the captain.

My good mood vanishes as I feel the key turn, but one look at Murdock's expectant face reminds me of his kind words and the soothing bath he gave me. With a slight groan, I force my engine to start. As it roars to life and settles into its customary purr, BA looks over at Murdock in astonishment, and I feel like giggling at the look on his face and the satisfied smirk on the pilot's features.

There is no time to say anything, however. The sirens are getting dangerously near. As Face throws open the garage doors, the rest of the Team hop inside. Once Face rejoins them, I throw myself into reverse, my tires squealing as they race down the driveway and onto the street to start all over again.

It's all in a day's work for a member of the A-Team.

The End

Strike That! by Cathy Fisher



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