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Remembering a Man with a Dream

August 28th: Remembering a Man with a Dream

By: Tee

Rating: G

Warnings: None

For: Sebastian’s Pal

 

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August 28, 1983

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There was a definite feeling of urgency in the air. The usually quiet and taciturn BA Baracus was barking orders like a drill sergeant.

"You almost done in there, Face? Ain’t got all day, you know!" A large meaty palm slapped the bathroom door.

"BA, I swear…" Whatever else he might have said was cut off by the sound of an electric razor.

Murdock bounded into the hallway, a Superman bathrobe pulled tight over his rumpled sleepwear, pointing a thumb back over his shoulder toward the kitchen. "Why don’t you leave the Faceman alone? Come eat your breakfast."

"We ain’t got time for breakfast if you all are gonna take so long." BA grumbled, but left the bathroom door on its hinges and headed for the kitchen.

The table was stacked with a wide assortment of foods. Pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage, toast and cut fruit. A pot of coffee simmered on the back burner of the harvest gold electric range. A container of orange juice sat on the sideboard, its lid slightly askew.

Hannibal came into the doorway and nudged BA further into the kitchen. "Move along, BA. You’re holding up the show."

"We gotta get going, Hannibal."

"BA," there was a long pause as the Colonel checked his watch. "It’s 6:45. We don’t have to be at the rally until 11. I think four hours is plenty of time to go 35 miles."

"What if the subway is closed? What if …"

"BA, we will be there. I promise." With a firm hand, Hannibal guided BA into a chair and then went to the refrigerator to pour out a glass of milk.

Murdock came back in, fully dressed this time, in khaki pants and a T-shirt emblazoned with the motto "I never met a burger I didn’t eat."

"You’re not gonna wear that are you?" BA glared at the pilot.

"Uh, well, I was." Murdock ran a hand over the front of the bright white shirt.

"Man, don’t you guys take this seriously?"

Face came in at that moment and headed for the orange juice. He was curious about the conversation, but knew better than to ask. BA in a foul mood was a bad thing, but at least he was mad at Murdock and not him.

"What’s wrong with this? It’s brand new. Doesn’t have one single stain or rip or anything?"

"If you don’t know…" BA set about cutting his pancakes into tiny chucks with violent motions of his knife and fork.

"Face," Hannibal set down his newspaper and rolled his eyes. "Do you have a dress shirt and tie that Murdock could borrow? And a tie for me?" He tugged at the collar of his plain white shirt.

"Yeah, sure." He frowned his puzzlement, but said nothing else as he set down his juice to go scout up two more ties.

"Happy, BA?" Hannibal asked, cursing himself as the word got out before he’d thought them through.

"How am I supposed to be happy with you all just dilly-dallying around?"

Hannibal put up his hands in surrender. It was useless to tell BA that there was no way they would be late. At this point, there was nothing else to do but bite their respective tongues and let him have his way.

The three other team members sat silently at the table as BA continued to rant on about the evils of the world in general and people who were late in specific. He never noticed the rolled eyes and the thin-lipped expressions as his team members suppressed any rude comments.

They left the house at 7:30 am, all in white shirts and black ties, although BA had ripped out the sleeves of his shirt, and headed up the road to the metro line stop.

Face paid for four tickets as BA paced. Other travelers stayed well away from the glowering man. Hannibal found them seats and they sat down, Hannibal and BA on one side of the aisle, Face and Murdock on the other. Five minutes out, Face and Murdock began to play "I spy" and kept themselves entertained.

They disembarked at the White House stop, but they weren’t there for a tour of that historical landmark. Rather than wait for a shuttle or a cab, the four men set off at a brisk pace down 16th Street and then up Constitution Avenue. Large groups had already begun to form. The grassy area before the monument was filled with people. It had already begun.

In the humid Washington afternoon, the four of them stood silently, watching and listening and sweating. Politicians and activists, pop singers and actors all gave speeches and made promises.

Then it was over. The crowds drifted away, back to their homes and their lives and their jobs. Slowly the four team members did, too. Silent, lost in their own thoughts, Hannibal deftly guided them up Constitution Avenue.

Face noticed first that they weren’t turning at 16th Street to pick up the metro where they’d gotten off, but was quickly shushed with just a shake of the head from his commander.

Murdock noticed at 15th street. He, too, bit down on his questions. It was a nice afternoon. There was no need to rush as they strolled down the long, grassy walkway. Then they were walking between the large stone buildings that flanked "The Mall" between the Smithsonian and the National History Museum.

They’d begun to talk again. Idle chatter about how muggy it was, and how much ivy was on the buildings. "I know it sounds stupid," BA started softly as they walked on. "He preached about peace and non-violent confrontation. But it was because of Martin Luther King that I joined the army."

"It doesn’t sound stupid to me," Face said, not looking at the big man to his left.

"Me, either," Murdock chimed in.

"America’s come a long way in twenty years," BA said, his voice still pitched low. "But we ain’t done yet."

"No," Hannibal agreed. "Not yet. It was such a shame to lose a great man like Dr. King. He made us think. There’s never anything wrong with that. Even now, twenty years after his "I have a Dream" speech, he’s still making us think. Take stock, not settle."

BA nodded. He looked at the three men with him. Not "white men." Men. He knew that with them he was not "a black man." He was a man. Peace begins with small battles won.

"I’d like something other than take out," Murdock jumped in. "Doesn’t feel right to have burgers and fries after such a monumental day."

"I’d normally say a nice restaurant, but my feet are tired and I’m sorely in need of a shower," Face grinned. "We can barbecue steaks."

"We’ll get all the fixin’s and have somethin’ at home." Even if home was a scammed four-bedroom house on the south side of Springfield, Virginia.

They came to a stop at the Reflecting Pond at the far side of the Mall. The Capitol Building was before them, the Washington Memorial behind them, and behind that, the Lincoln memorial, where they had been that morning. For just a moment, they stood, quietly reflecting on the grand and graceful monuments around them. They thought back over the last twenty years since Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous speech and the changes in America. They also thought about themselves. And the changes in each one of them.

Twenty years, and most of those years, they’d spent together.

After shopping and showering, they made a feast. BA barbecued the steaks on the backyard stove while Hannibal and Face chopped vegetables for salad. Murdock put on hot water to boil corn on the cob, and put a pot full of pork and beans to simmer on the back burner of the stove.

They stuffed themselves, and then flopped in various chairs around the living room. The console TV sat in the corner on mute. Dan Rather silently mouthed the news while pictures of that day’s "I have a Dream" twenty-year anniversary rally flashed over his left shoulder.

"My Dad’s brother had a job as a delivery driver for a TV store. He had bought a television that had been damaged in shipping. We all went over to his apartment on Hudson Street to watch the march on his set. There must have been twenty or thirty people in his apartment. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop." BA recounted, his bejeweled hand idly rubbing his full stomach.

"I was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, at the time." Hannibal fished a cigar out of his pocket, but he was too content to even go to the effort to light it. He rolled it in his finger for a moment before letting it rest between his teeth. "I remember watching the highlights on the news in the O Club that night."

"I was in junior high at the time," Face recalled. He toed off his loafers and propped his feet up on the coffee table. "But I remember the nuns led us from the classrooms to the auditorium. They had a TV set up on the stage and we all got to watch it."

Murdock turned his gaze away from the news to look at his three comrades. "I don’t remember hearing the speech at the time. I think I was in my first year in high school and my grand dad had just started to pay for my flying lessons, so not much else but that interested me. But I do remember that the Amazing Spiderman debuted in the Fantastic Four anniversary issue."

Even BA joined in with the laughter with only one muttered, "Only a fool would remember that."

"Don’t be too hasty, BA." Face chimed in. "That Spiderman #1 is worth a pretty penny now."

Hannibal pushed himself to his feet and stretched again. "Who’s for banana splits?"

Murdock sprang up with more energy than one person should have. Neither Face nor BA moved, but BA raised a hand indicating he’d like to join in.

The two men moved into the kitchen and began to assemble the desserts.

"Colonel?"

"Yes, Captain?"

"Do you think Dr. King would like our dream?"

Hannibal thought the question over, chewing on the end of his cigar. "I hope so, Murdock. I really hope so."

The End

By: Tee (Tory) Fischer

March 2003

For the words to "I have a Dream" try here: http://www.mecca.org/~crights/dream.html

Or you can listen to it online at www.historychannel.com


August 28th: Remembering a Man with a Dream by Tee

 

 


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