Do you ever get days when people just don't want to listen?
Warning: Bit of profanity (use of the word 'Jesus')
Murdock opened the door to his bedroom and walked proudly out holding a slightly dog-eared piece of paper. The Captain strode over to Face, who was at the kitchen table sipping at his morning coffee and checking out the Business World newspaper.
"Face!" Murdock called from across the room. "Hey muchacho, wanna hear my poem?" He asked as he approached the dubious Face waving the piece of paper.
"Ah Murdock, I'm a little busy right now," Face mimicked Murdock by waving his newspaper a few times in front of his face.
"Do it again! Man this heat is hot!!"
Face stopped and looked at the impish grin and shook his head in concession revealing an amused smile. "Do I have to?"
"Yep." Murdock replied with a firm nod.
Face sighed, "Oh Murdock, must I? I mean can't I listen to it later?" He proposed to the Captain who was perched on his chair next to Face.
"Well." Murdock began to consider.
"Oh thank you!" Face exclaimed, relieved he was not going to be subjected to improper verses and silly rhymes of H.M Elliot. Picking up his paper, he continued to read, leaving an upset Murdock on the other side.
Sullenly, he stood up and taking one last glance at the newspaper, Murdock walked back towards his room. The hand gripping the piece of paper slowly began to crumple it up. Then, suddenly, a Cheshire cat smirk dawned on his gloomy face.
cursed as he furiously polished at a scratch on one of the van doors. He swore
to kill Murdock for persuading him to let him help wash his precious baby. Just
when he thought his day could be any worse, the annoying whistle of a happy
Captain attacked at his ears. Growling loudly, B.A threw down the cloth and
went to investigate.
On the other side of the van, Murdock sat on the floor of the van with his legs dangling out of the slid-open door.
"Oh hi big buddy!" the perked up Captain greeted. "I didn't want to disturb you, but seeing as you're taking a break."
"Shut up Foo'!!" B.A interceded. "I told you I'd kill you if you come round here again!"
A puzzled Murdock looked at the fuming Sergeant making pounding noises with his fist in his hand. "You mean you meant what you said earlier?"
"GRRRRRRRRR!!!!" B.A replied, getting more and more frustrated.
"Alright!" Murdock said holding up his hand. "And to think I came here to read ya a poem!" He informed skittishly.
B.A lunged towards the now standing Captain, causing him to sprint rapidly away from him. "Don't ask me to help you wash you van again!" Murdock shouted from a distance.
B.A just growled disapprovingly and continued to work on the scratch.
As the creased piece of paper became more crumpled, Murdock walked depressingly along the path, hidden by trailing willows and bush saplings. Suddenly, the cold steel of a gun planted itself into the unaware Captain.
"Colonel!" Murdock immediately greeted. Turning around he found his commanding office grinning happily on Murdock's recognition.
"Hey Cap'n, what you up to?"
Overwhelmed at Hannibal's interest, Murdock pulled out the crumpled paper out of his breast pocket. He always knew he could count on the Colonel to listen. "I wrote a poem, wanna hear it?"
"Sure Cap'n." Hannibal replied as he watched the youthful Murdock press out the paper as best as he could. It was times like this that he wished he had settled down and had kids.
Murdock cleared his throat and proceeded to read, "A poem by H.M Elliot."
"Shhhhhhhhh!" Hannibal told Murdock as the Colonel scouted the area with his eagle sharp eyes.
"What?" Murdock asked, but as he looked up from his poem, the Colonel had gone. All he could see were the bushes bustling quietly. Letting out a sigh, Murdock headed back to his room. He felt the inner child dying within him and he didn't know what to do. All he wanted was to read his poem, he'd do anything for his team mates and they knew it, but still, they refused to listen to his little request.
Face was hungry, it was mid-day and after strenuously collecting the items the team needed, he headed into the kitchen to find B.A downing a glass of milk.
"Did ya get them then?"
"I got everything but the pantyhose - I really don't know what Murdock wants them for."
"The crazy fool, I don't know what he wants anything for, he's just crazy." B.A voiced.
"He try to read you his poem, huh?" B.A nodded as he wiped the milk moustache away with a bandana. "I managed to charm my way out of it."
"You'll scam 'til you die won't ya Face?"
Face through his hands up in defence, "Hey, a man's got to do, what he's got to do!" With a charmed smile, Face looked about the room. "So, where is he?"
B.A just shrugged causing his gold to jingle. "Last time I saw him was this morning."
"Me too," Face second. He looked concerned as it was unlike Murdock to just 'vanish' so to speak without causing a ruckus or something attention grabbing. Instantly, Face put down his bottle of water and headed off to investigate Murdock's room. As an automatic reaction, B.A took on rear guard and followed the Lieutenant.
As they reach the door to Murdock's room, Hannibal came into sight. He seemed a little flustered, but content as he grinned with an unlit cigar in his mouth. "What's up guys?" He asked as the removed his leather gloves.
"We were just seeing how Murdock is." Face informed.
Hannibal removed the cigar from his mouth and looked seriously at his second in command. "Why? What happened?"
"Well, me and B.A haven't heard a peep out of him since this morning and its worrying. So, we thought he might be in his room or something."
"What did you do to him? The last I saw of him was this morning, he was about to read me a poem or something and I had to trail off after something. I thought it was an intruder and found out it was just a cat. I came back and he wasn't there -- I presumed he was with you guys."
"Well," Face writhed a little, "I said I didn't have time to hear it, I was looking at the Stocks."
Hannibal gave a stern look, not harsh, but Face knew he shouldn't have passed him off like he did. "You know he's still fragile about that whole episode last week, I thought we agreed to take it easy on him, huh?"
"I kind of forgot -- but you know how annoying he can be at times." Face defended.
Hannibal looked at B.A who also couldn't keep eye contact, he dare not ask what B.A did. Hannibal reached for the door handle and pushed it open firmly. Each man was relieved, yet still concerned at finding the room empty. After what Murdock had witnessed last week, Hannibal wanted to keep a close eye on him so they took time out in the country for a while.
Each man was now filling with guilt. They forgot that Murdock was human, feelings and all other things too. He was just so energetic and kept the team alive, no matter what they might of thought of him.
"Hannibal!" B.A called as he pointed to a piece of paper lying on his bed. The Colonel wasn't sure if he was ready for what might be on the paper, and right then, he didn't eliminate anything.
Hannibal made his way over to the paper as B.A and Face watched, praying it wasn't what they thought it was. Picking up the flimsy sheet, Hannibal began to read to the men.
"A poem by H.M Elliot.
My life is hard, it gets me down, but I have myself a
Tortures of men and their screams, but I have myself a
My mother has gone I'm all alone, but I have myself a
Am I insane? Who knows, but I feel pain, but I have
myself a sweet embrace.
Do you care to know that embrace? I shall tell you if
My sweet embrace comes in three forms: a leader that's
on the Jazz; a con-man that cons for others and a man
that is a tower of strength - literally!
Hannibal our leader, a father I never had. A man that
sees all and hears all and someone I trust my life to.
Face my friend and dearest brother. His company is
sacred, filled with memories of fun.
B.A's always angry at me, but I know he cares. He
keeps me in line and guides me like the bright star he
Whenever I need a helping hand, they are there.
Whenever I need someone to talk to, they are there.
This is my sweet embrace, my friends, my family. We
are not the same, yet we make one man, united we
stand. They treat me an an equal and they take me as I
am. This is my tale of happiness, I am lucky, to them
I owe my life."
Hannibal fought the tear as he looked up to see B.A and Face looking shameful and upset. "Jesus Christ! What have we done?!"
kicked aimlessly at the gravelled path that he slowly followed with his hands
in his pockets. The leaves whispered as the cooling breeze disturbed them. A
bird's song could be heard in the distance, but they went unnoticed by the
strangely depressed Captain who was questioning he very existence. Several hours
ago, he thought he had everything; friends and a family rolled into one, but as
the voices replayed in his head, he realised he had nothing. He didn't even
have his insanity to block out his pain. It was all gone.
Sighing listlessly, Murdock walked off the track towards the lake, hidden behind the strong, green trees that stood tall. Finding a grassy patch next to the still water, Murdock sat down, feet outstretched along the side of the bank. As he stared blankly across the clear water, thoughts of freedom entered his mind. All he had to do was to return to the VA and take his test showing he was sane, but then, he would be imprisoned for his supposed involvement back in 'Nam. Murdock knew there was no way out, so what could he do?
Faint calls disturbed Murdock from his unhealthy thoughts, as he instantly recognised their voices. Who wouldn't? A man that could growl a bear into submission would easily be remembered. Murdock didn't know what he wanted, did he want to reunite and forgive his friends again for ignoring him, or was it time to go? He picked up a perfectly square pebble and ran his thumb over its surface. That's how he felt: a square pebble surrounded by perfectly round ones. Murdock felt he was always the extra man, that somehow, they felt dutiful in involving him in their 'adventures' after putting him in the VA. He didn't mind it too much, it was always fun and Murdock didn't exactly fit in with the quiet life! Sighing deeply, Murdock tossed the pebble into the lake causing a ripple to distort his reflection. As the ripple calmed, returning the water back to stillness, the reflection was gone.
The three men searched professionally for their friend not leaving anything unturned, as their piercing sights observed all.
"Split up guys and rendezvous back at the cabin in two hours!" Hannibal called his orders. "With or without him." His final words saw Face and B.A look at their commander. They knew the Colonel was being logical, but they would have searched all night if they had to. Hannibal just continued off the track into the territory he was used to, except he wasn't tracking the enemy and trying to stay alive, he was tracking for the missing part of his soul. Four men were now down to three and each of them felt the missing void and to make it even worse, they had split down to one man. Incomplete as they felt, they had to do it if they were to become whole again before nightfall.
It had been an hour and with no result, B.A was becoming grouchy. Not because of the humidity clawing at his sweating flesh - he was used to that, but because of his futile attempt at diverting the blame on to Murdock, knowing full well it wasn't his fault. B.A had given up calling for the Captain; he knew that calling the fool was not going to reveal Murdock if he didn't want to be revealed. His gold jingled as he ploughed through the bushes, trying to watch for anything that resembled Murdock.
B.A felt a strange vibe in the air, it felt electrical, something was happening and he didn't like it. It was making him feel very out of control and for a man that had to be in control of every situation, it wasn't helping his concentration. B.A growled deeply to himself as he tried to ignore the dancing shadows that seemed to be laughing at him. B.A's mental strength was weakening and he seemed to not be so certain about things. His indecisiveness began to emerge.
Face's cotton suit had attracted bits of bramble that imbedded itself into and tore at the fabric. The sweat soaked into his hair making it limp and dangle out of place. The Lieutenant, searched the adverse terrain trying hard to block out the vivid nightmares he witnessed in 'Nam; fearing that around the next tree there would be a bullet-ridden body; fearing that it might be Murdock. He knew the thought was ludicrous but the nagging idea squeezed at his mind making him edgy. It was times like this Murdock made light of Face's problem. At the time, it seemed annoying but Face could see what the Captain did and how it helped him.
Pushing his hair back with his fingers, Face looked up, through the trees. He wondered why the sky was blue, but it didn't work, it didn't have the same ring as when his close friend: a dear brother said it.
Hannibal was determined to find his Captain, the man who respected and trusted him, even when the odds were against them. Beating himself up about how he could do this to Murdock, Hannibal pursued harder. Crazy as it was, Hannibal had always treated them all as his sons and this caused him to blame himself even further for not protecting him. As the first signs of a storm rumbled in the sky, Hannibal prayed it wasn't too late; he prayed for another chance.
The sky was darkening fast as the rain clouds engulfed the evening sun.
"MURDOCK?!" The Colonel shouted. As he looked at his watch, droplets of rain formed on the watch face. Swallowing hard, Hannibal gave one last look ahead before turning around and backtracking to the cabin.
The men stood on the porch soaked to their skins as the lightening showed their worrying expressions. Hannibal wiped at his rain-soaked face and turned to face the others,
"I've got a bad feeling about this."
The other two agreed silently with their dubious expressions as Face sighed deeply.
"What are we gonna do Hannibal?" B.A finally asked.
Hannibal didn't have an answer, who did? It was a question without one.
"He's not a baby now, he can handle himself," as soon as they left his mouth, Hannibal knew that it was rubbish. Sure he could look after himself, but in the state he was when he left? "We best get change before we catch our death of colds." Immediately, Hannibal had wish he hadn't used that term as the piercing glares from Face and B.A made him aware of it.
Silently, they opened the door, to find the fire glowing gently, casting soft warmth around the room. The thunder rolled outside, but the three men were captivated by the aura in the room to hear it. A curled up figure lay on a woolen blanket on the floor in front of the fireplace next to two neatly placed high-tops.
B.A and Face looked at their Commander for guidance and as to answer; Hannibal produced a tired smile and nodded his head.
"Everything's gonna be fine."
Uncertain, but accepting, the two men walked quietly off to their rooms. Checking that both doors were closed, Hannibal made his way over to the wooden rocking chair and removed the throw. Making sure no one was looking, he gently covered the sleeping figure and then, smiling contentedly, he returned to the rocking chair and moved it closer to his 'baby' and rested in it. As Hannibal watched every breath he took, he gave a satisfied smile.
"Everything's gonna be fine."
The End :)