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Poems, Prayer, and Promises Poems, Prayers, and Promises
By Terri Spencer

Face awoke from the nightmare, gasping for air and shaking. It had seemed so real. Hannibal, BA, and himself had been marched out to the place of their execution, and tied to a wooden stake. The firing squad was there, with their M-16's, ready to kill the prisoners. Face's mouth went dry, and he was sure that he would collapse because his knees were shaking so hard.

"Any last requests," Colonel Simmons bellowed.

Then from between the soldiers came a beautiful, blonde, scantily clad woman. She came over to Face, and held up a bottle of his favorite wine. Then, she had walked away before he had a chance to drink it! Face had protested loudly. After all, what was the reason for asking for a last request if you weren't able to sample it? When Face had turned to Hannibal for help, Hannibal was in that silly Aquamaniac outfit telling Face that he'd see him on the other side.

Then came the "Ready! Aim!" and "Fire!" Face still heard the shots, and felt like dream bullets had pierced his body. Trying to shake off the fear that he felt, he got up from his cot.

"How did you sleep?" Hannibal asked him.

Face wanted to yell at his commander: "HOW THE HELL DO YOU THINK I SLEPT?!!WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE EXECUTED TOMORROW, IN CASE YOU DON'T REMEMBER! WHY AREN'T YOU WORKING ON A PLAN TO GET US OUT OF HERE??!!" But instead, in an effort not to show Hannibal and BA how scared he was, he sarcastically answered his friend. "Like I didn't have a care in the world." He went and gazed out of the jail door. Tears came to Face's eyes, and he blinked them away. After all, he was a soldier, or had been at one time. He had thought that he had accepted death. After all, in combat you accept the fact that you may die, which would be an honorable death im service to your country, or be taken as a prisoner of war. He had never thought that he would be led like a sheep to slaughter in front of a firing squad though. There would be no honor guard, no prayers, and no absolution. Instead, there would be a grave with a metal marker saying:

TEMPLETON A. PECK
BORN AROUND 1950
DIED 1986
CON-MAN, TRAITOR, MURDERER

A forgotten grave. Uncared for and unmourned.

Face bit his lower lip in an effort to keep from crying. He tried saying some prayers that he had learned at the orphanage while growing up. But for the first time in his life, the words brought him no comfort. Instead, just confusion on why God was letting this happen to him. Then, he heard it. A soft song that he hadn't heard in a long time, but had always brought him comfort before, even though it wasn't his usual taste in music. Face preferred Chopin or Mozart, not country and Western. "Somebody must have left a radio on." Face thought. "I don't know who you are, but thank you for making a little of my last day better." Tuning out BA's snoring and Hannibal's quiet mumbling, which told Face that he was trying to work out a plan of escape, Face used his exceptional hearing to listen to the song.

I've been lately thinking about my lifetime
All the things I've done, and how it's been.
And I can't help believing in my own mind,
I know I'm going to hate to see it end.

Face couldn't help thinking the same thing. Right now, he couldn't help but think that about his own life, and what he had done with it. Try as he might, he couldn't remember anything good at the moment. But still, he didn't want it to end either.

Seen a lot of sunshine,
Slept out in the rain.

Face started to smile. Yes, he had seen a lot of sunshine. And in basic training, Special Forces training, and Vietnam, he certainly spent a lot of time sleeping in the rain.

Spent a night or two all on my own.
I've known my ladies pleasures,
Had myself some friends,
Spent a night or two in my own home.

Unbidden tears rolled down Face's face as the words drifted over him. He had spent a few nights alone before meeting the team. And even though he and Leslie Becktall hadn't slept together, Face did fall in love years later with a woman that looked just like Leslie. And they had spent quite a number on evenings wrapped in each other's arms, making love under the moonlight. And he had the best friends a guy could have. Hannibal, BA, and Murdock had become the family that had been denied him in his youth. And even though Face never really had an actual home, he always felt like he had a home with the A-Team.

And I have to say it now,
It's been a good life, all in all.
It's really fine to have a chance to hang around.

Face couldn't argue with that. He had had a good life for the most part. And he felt privleged to have lived.

Lie there by a fire,
and watch the evening tire
With all my friends, and my old lady,
sit and pass the pipe around.

And talk of Poems, Prayers, and Promises,
Things that we believe in.
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care.

How long it's been since yesterday,
What about tomorrow?
What about our dreams? And all the memories we share?

During their years on the run, the team had spent many nights talking about their hopes for the future. Hannibal's had been to buy a ranch and breed horses. He had been raised in a ranching community up in Michigan, and loved horses. Hannibal insisted that horses had nobility, and should be treated as such. BA had dreamed of bringing his mama out to Los Angeles, or he would go back to Chicago, and together they would start a center for children. BA believed that if a child had a place to go other then the street, where they could feel safe and get guidance, then a child wouldn't turn to crime. Murdock for once got serious. He just wanted to get his pilots license back. And he wanted to start an aviation school for those who dreamed of soaring with the Eagles. Being an orphan and never having a home of his own, what Face wanted was a house with a white picket fence, a wife and children. And of coarse a dog. The All-American dream. And now, those dreams were going to end tomorrow. Were the memories going to die too?

Days they pass so quickly now,
Nights are seldom long.
Time around me whispers when it's cold.

The changes somehow frighten me,
still I have to smile.
It turns me on to think of growing old.

Face's eyes welled up again. He wasn't going to have a chance to grow old! He was going to die while he was still young for a crime that he didn't commit! He wasn't ready to die! He had barely lived!

Although my life's been good to me
there's still so much to do.
So many things my mind has never known.

I'd like to raise a family.
I'd like to said away
Dance across the mountains on the moon.

"Yes, my life's been good to me, despite what has happened," Face thought, unable to stop the tears. "I've had Father Maghill and Father O'Malley looking after me when I was a child. And I've had Hannibal, BA, and Murdock looking after me for the past seventeen years or so. I've been pretty fortunate to have so many people care about me. I sure would have liked to raise a family though. I think I would have been a good father. Lord knows I had the best three examples a guy could ask for."

Face started to softly sing the last part of the song, creating a perfect harmony with John Denver. And he was able to not only hear the music with his ears, but to feel the words in his soul. And I have to say it now

It's been a good life
all in all.
It's really fine to have a chance to hang around.
Lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
With all my friends and my old lady sit and pass the pipe around.
And talk of Poems, prayers, and promises
Things that we believe in.
How sweet it is to love someone.
How right it is to care.

A hand settled on Face's shoulder, and he looked into the eyes of his friend and commander John "Hannibal" Smith. Hannibal started singing the last part of the chorus, adding his baritone to Face's second tenor.

How long it's been since yesterday.
What about tomorrow?
What about our dreams?
And all the memories we share?

As the last strains of the music faded, the two men watched the second hand tick down the moments of their lives. And thought of the memories they shared.

 


Poems, Prayers, and Promises by Terri Spencer

 

 


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