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Title: What Just Happened?
Summary: Does the team really want to learn all the details surrounding Face's youth?
Warnings: Non-con sex
What Just Happened?
"Did you get a copy of the New York Times, Face?" Hannibal asked for the second time.
Realizing his question was going to be ignored yet again, he grinned at the reason why it was being ignored. Seated in his usual place in the van, and fondling a cigar, he listened to the all too familiar conversation that had become commonplace these past few months between his lieutenant and their newly acquired reporter.
"Why won't you tell me?" Amy lamented.
"There's nothing to tell," came the now predicable reply.
As usual, Murdock excitedly offered, "I'll tell you some more about Texas!"
And so it continued, Amy trying hard to convince Face to give her his childhood story, and Face effortlessly dodging her questions and tossing out the occasional bargaining line, "What's it worth to you, sweetheart?"
Given that she really wanted his story, she sometimes indulged the playful lieutenant and responded in such a way that made all eyebrows in the van raise in anticipation of the lewd suggestion, "I just might be able to make it well worth your time."
'That,' Hannibal thought, 'was highly doubtful.' Nobody really knew what Face's past was, and a romp in the sack wasn't likely to produce any answers, not truthful ones anyway. For whatever reasons, Face kept that part of his life to himself. And since his lieutenant had made it through Viet Nam without confessing every unfair thing that ever happened to him (as every soldier did at one time or another), it probably was one of those things best left unsaid.
"Please!" Amy begged. "You're the only one who won't get specific about your childhood. Murdock talks to excess about growing up in Texas, and I can't shut BA up when he gets to talking about his mother and living in Chicago, and Hannibal's told me plenty about growing up in the Midwest. You're the only one who won't give me any details!" She frustratingly looked around at the rundown neighborhood and added, "And we're practically in the neighborhood where you grew up; I would think that you would have fond memories of this area and want to share them!"
Hannibal wondered whether or not he should interfere. He wasn't quite sure why she wanted all this information, useless information in his mind. But she was a reporter skilled at digging for answers, and as much as he thought it to be a waste of time, she certainly didn't, and so the questions persisted until he finally heard BA growl, "Why you asking all this stuff?!" 'Precisely what I was going to say,' Hannibal mused to himself.
The attractive brunette hesitated, but only briefly before answering, "I'm writing a book. At least I want to write a book and I was hoping to have a draft of some kind ready to give to you guys very soon."
"Really," Face responded with only a hint of interest.
"Yes, really," she mimicked back. "And I have all the information from everyone but you!"
Hannibal listened as she once again pummeled the conman with questions, and then he turned his attention to her book. He liked the idea. It may be just what the team needed to swing public sentiment in their favor. It could be an opportunity to tell the country their side of the story, and it also might be just what they needed to flush out some individuals who may have information that could help their cause. As much as he liked the idea, he felt he couldn't place his stamp of approval on it, not just yet anyways. He'd ponder it a little longer and think it through a little more thoroughly. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard a tone in his lieutenant's voice that he didn't often hear.
"You went and did what?" Face asked.
"I said I spoke to Father Maghill last week after we came back from Bali."
'She just crossed the line,' Hannibal thought, and he bit off the end of his cigar.
"And what did he tell you?" Face asked, his voice losing that familiar playfulness that she enjoyed.
Amy was taken aback by the sudden change. She felt the silence hang over her much like it did when she was a little girl getting in trouble for something. She stuttered, "N-not much really. Just that you arrived at the orphanage when you were eight or nine years old, and you lived there" she stopped abruptly debating whether to add some information that he had told her. Under her breath, she said, " or in juvenile hall until you left for Viet Nam at around age sixteen, or so."
That was already different information than what Hannibal knew. Face had always asserted that he arrived at the orphanage at age five, he never mentioned juvenile hall as a place of residence, and he said he was eighteen when he enlisted. He wondered what Face would have to say about her newfound knowledge.
Surprisingly his lieutenant just smiled and dismissed her comment, "You got me, kid. You did your homework and now you know the truth about my childhood. Unfortunately, unless you want a lot of boring stuff, that's pretty much the story."
Attempting to steer the conversation in a different direction, Murdock chimed in, "My offer's still good, Chiquita. There's still plenty more to tell about the great state of Texas! Did I ever tell you about the first time my uncle took me up in his plane? He was a professional crop duster but in those days you weren't called a professional anything, you just did it because you owned a plane and could fly it ."
Ignoring the droning of the pilot, Amy felt her anger rise at the thought of hitting another brick wall where Face was concerned. She was sure that speaking to Father Maghill would have produced more than a smarmy remark, and she was sure there was much more to tell. Lashing out, she unthinkingly argued, "I can get more information on you, Face! There are records, and paper trails, and several nuns I wouldn't mind talking to. It might take a little longer, but I'll eventually get the information I want."
Hannibal leaned his head back in exasperation. She had no idea who she was dealing with and a statement like that was almost laughable. He reminded himself that if she was going to be a part of his team, he was going to have to talk with her about her so-called method of extracting information. He shared a glance with BA and then waited for his lieutenant to respond.
Face smiled knowingly at the reporter until she looked away in embarrassment, partly because she had laid all her cards on the table, something she had not intended on doing, but more so because she let Face rile her. Sticking her chin into the air as an act of strong defiance, she stood her ground.
Still smiling, Face began, "Amy, you have pretty good credit so far, dont you? In fact, aside from a late payment on a credit card back in July of '81, your record is spotless."
She looked at him unbelievably, immediately knowing that her privacy had been invaded.
He continued, "And your reputation at work is without reproach. From what I have learned, I'd say you were on the fast track to becoming one of the top reporters for the newspaper, a mere stepping-stone to a bigger and more prestigious career, wouldn't you agree with that?" He paused to allow his train of thought to be processed accurately. The incredulous expression on her face was what he wanted to see and which also allowed him to continue.
"If you decide to probe into my past any more than what you've already done, your credit as you know it will be forever changed; your impeccable reputation at the Courier will shock even you, and your affiliation with The A-Team will cease to exist."
Narrowing her eyes, she exclaimed, "You wouldn't!"
"I would," Face's reply was stone cold serious. "And it would take less than an hour to do it all."
Amy seethed. Face had never come on that strong or that stern before. He was always so playful and laid back, but he was dead serious about what he could do, and would do, if she continued pressing for answers. 'I wish I knew what you were hiding, Face!' she screamed inside her own head. Exasperated, she folded her arms and looked away.
Hannibal knew Face was quite capable of doing everything he said he would do. But what surprised him was the overkill. He could have made his point by just threatening to mess up one aspect of Amy's life. But he chose to make his point vividly and without any mistaking his intentions. There were obviously things in Face's past that the conman wanted to keep quiet. For the first time, Hannibal actually mused to himself, 'I wish I knew what you were hiding, kid.' A glance back to Murdock and a glance from BA told him that they were thinking along the same lines.
"LOOK OUT!" Murdock yelled.
BA slammed on the brakes at the sudden image of a small child darting in front of his van.
BA was the first one out, frantically searching the street for signs of the child, while Hannibal dropped to his knees and looked under the van.
"Where'd he go?!" BA demanded, anguish covering his face. Murdock raced to the side of the street where there was a thick swatch of overgrown grass. The child was nowhere to be found. Nervously, they came together, still searching the area.
Sweat poured off BA's face and Hannibal put his hand on his shoulder, "Take it easy BA. We'll find him."
"He ain't no where 'round, Hann'bal! That kid just vanished!"
"Are you sure it was a child? It could have been a dog or something?" Amy asked, not too sure herself of what her mind's eye remembered seeing.
At this point, they weren't sure of anything. At the time, it seemed so real, but now, without any body or small child anywhere around, it seemed so unreal.
"Hey," Amy pointed out, "where's Face?"
In the commotion, they hadn't realized that Face wasn't there. Amy ran back to the van and looked inside. Shaking her head to the others, they started staring at one another in a total state of confusion. Did Face see where the boy went and take off after him? Or, was Face so angry that he took off when BA skidded the van to a halt, not bothering to look for the child that ran into the road?
"What's going on?" Murdock asked the question that was on everyone's minds. Then, looking past Hannibal, Murdock spotted something. Without taking his eyes off what he was seeing, he tapped his colonel's chest and pointed, "Colonel, look."
Down the grassy hill and about 30 yards away, there crouched a small child inside the entrance to a sewage tunnel.
BA took off as did Murdock and Amy, but Hannibal lingered a second, wondering where his lieutenant was and getting a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach. When he caught up to the others, BA was trying to coax the small child from the tunnel; he wasn't having much success. Murdock then tried, but to no avail.
"Come on out and let us make sure you're okay," Amy took over and said soothingly.
The tunnel was too small for any of them to fit in so they didn't have much choice but to try and convince the child to come to them. They caught a glimpse of some very blonde hair. Hannibal nodded to BA who quietly positioned himself on top of the tunnel, laying in wait for an opportunity.
"Keep talking, Amy," Hannibal whispered.
"What's your name ? We didn't see you in the street . Are you hurt?" She waited as a few more features became visible in the darkened tunnel. "My name is Amy Allen, what's yours?" her voice was soft and friendly and with each sentence, a little more of the child could be seen. Eventually, a small voice was heard.
Amy strained to hear, "What did you say?"
The voice came again but it was still inaudible. Amy leaned forward and said, "I still can't hear you. I promise you that we won't hurt you, just come out a little more so we can make sure you're okay."
The small voice echoed from the tunnel, "Did my mommy send you?"
Amy didn't want to say no, but she couldn't say yes either. "Did your mother tell you we were coming?"
The young child inched closer to the entrance, warily observing the lady and the two men behind her. "Where's my mom?" came the soft voice.
As the child neared the light, they could tell he was a very young boy. His hair was much too long, his face was dirty and his clothes were filthy. Amy continued, "I'm sure she'll be coming along any minute. Come on out and we'll look for her."
The boy hesitated, then came closer to the entrance. Slowly he crawled out and stood up thinking he was still far enough away that he could escape back into the tunnel if he had to.
Hannibal narrowed his eyes, confused by what he thought he was seeing. He slowly looked back to the van, then back at the boy.
Amy stooped down and smiled, "Hi. We were worried that we might have hurt you when you darted across the street. Do you mind if we take a look and make sure you're okay?"
The boy looked at each person, then he remembered the big man with jewelry and asked, "Where'd the other man go?"
Hannibal pointed almost directly at the boy, but slightly over his head. The boy turned and saw the huge black man straddling the tunnel just inches away. BA sensed that the boy was too scared to run and so he softly spoke, "I ain't gonna hurt you, lil' brother. I was drivin' the van that you ran in front of and you scared me to death."
The boy backed away from the man and ended up bumping into the woman. Amy put her arms out to steady the small child half expecting a fight, but there wasn't any. She turned the boy around and began looking for any injuries while soothingly speaking.
Hannibal asked Murdock, "You notice anything unusual about that boy?"
"Aside from being filthy and malnourished?"
Hannibal sadly agreed that the child was neglected.
"He doesn't appear to have any injuries from being hit," Murdock replied.
That wasn't what Hannibal had in mind. He looked around again, hoping his lieutenant would appear. Murdock followed his eyes and also looked around. Face had been very irritated in the van but it wasn't like him to disappear like this, even if he was familiar with the neighborhood. There were plenty of places he could have slipped behind during the search for the boy; they were driving through an old rundown L.A. neighborhood with a brick row house on one side and an abandoned lot on the other. Being the early morning hours, there were few cars on the street and fewer people on the sidewalk. BA would have fit into a neighborhood like this, but Face would stand out like a neon bulb in a new lamppost. Hannibal decided to turn his attention to the boy who was now allowing Amy to fix his clothes and smooth his hair back. He was still wary, but he was talking more and seemed to have warmed up to Amy nicely. Hannibal walked closer and listened to the boy explain, "My mommy is coming back. She left for a while but she's coming back."
Amy asked, "When will she be back, do you know?"
The boy shrugged, then looked down at the ground.
Amy changed the subject, "Well, I'm happy to say that you don't have any injuries from the van."
BA smiled and nodded, he too had joined the others who were now standing around the small boy.
"Are you hungry?" Amy queried, hoping to take the boy's mind off his mother.
The boy quickly looked up with excited eyes, but just as quickly, he looked back down again and shook his head. "No."
Hannibal kept staring at the child, seeing a resemblance that he wasn't going to allow himself to see. Even Murdock and BA were looking at the child strangely, like there was something familiar about the boy. So as to not frighten him, in a low voice BA grumbled, "Where'd that foo' Faceman go?"
Amy, who was still steaming over the threat, replied, "Probably decided to start ruining my credit."
They all looked around the lot at the run down makeshift playground, then down the street and back up again. Only Hannibal kept glancing back at the boy between his searches.
After hearing the boy's stomach growl, Amy asked her question again, "Are you sure you're not hungry? That sounds like a hungry stomach." She playfully poked his small belly and tickled him. When she didn't get the response she wanted, she asked, "When was the last time you ate?"
The boy lifted his shoulders and dropped them again. As an afterthought, he said, "It was raining."
Amy looked at Hannibal and whispered, "It hasn't rained for three days." Not waiting for a reply, she took the boy's hand and excitedly said, "C'mon, we'll take you to get something to eat."
But the boy pulled his hand away and said, "No! I won't leave here! My mom's coming back for me and I have to be here!"
Startled, but not deterred, Amy soothingly said, "All right, we'll bring the food to you. What would you like?"
While Amy was taking his order, Murdock stated, "It looks like he's been sleeping in the sewer for three days."
BA added, "I've seen marks like those before," referring to the red marks on the boy's arms, "they're rat bites. What kind of mom leaves her kid like this?"
Hannibal looked back at the van and the other two followed his gaze.
"Do you think Faceman just took off?" Murdock asked.
BA growled. "It ain't like him to sneak away, 'specially if he thought we hit that kid."
Hannibal pondered the question as they sat atop a beat up old picnic table watching Amy and the boy eat at another table. It was obvious that he hadn't eaten in a while. Finally, Hannibal stated, "Something really strange is happening here. And if you want to know what I think," he paused, and the others briefly thought he might not finish his thought. But then continued slowly, "I think that boy is Face."
"What!" Murdock and BA exclaimed in unison.
"I can't explain it," Hannibal said, "I just have a feeling. Look at that kid. Doesn't he resemble Face?"
They had to admit that there were more than a few shared characteristics, but the idea of him being their Faceman was simply too fantastic to believe. Hannibal nodded his head and the three left their picnic table and joined Amy and the young child at the other one.
"What's your name, kid?" Hannibal asked.
"Richard, but my mom says I shouldn't use my real name," the boy replied with a mouthful of buttered biscuit.
Murdock and BA looked at Hannibal as if he'd lost his mind. Hannibal continued, "Where'd your mom go?"
"I don't know. She told me to stay here."
"Where's your dad?"
"Don't got one."
"Did your mom walk away, or did she get in a car and drive away?"
"She took the bus."
"What color was the bus?"
The boy shrugged, intent on eating his food.
Amy interrupted the inquisition and asked, "Any sign of Face?"
Neither BA nor Murdock could bring himself to tell her what Hannibal thought. Instead, they shook their heads.
Amy looked worried and quietly confessed, "I didn't mean to upset him. In fact, I've never seen him angry before, he's usually so upbeat and happy. I'm really sorry if what I did was wrong, I only wanted to learn a little bit about his childhood."
Hannibal simply replied, "I have a feeling he's not far."
Several more minutes passed in silence. The boy couldnt finish all his food. He left it on the table and walked over to the swing. He was obviously becoming very sad and kept looking across the street to the bus stop. "What'll we do?" Murdock asked.
"We can't leave him here," Amy stated. "We'll have to call Social Services. In the meantime, I could take him home with me and give him a bath and"
Cutting her off, Hannibal asked, "And then what?" Already knowing the open-ended question had no answer, he continued, "I don't think we should interfere with this boy's life. In fact, I think we should get back in the van and continue on our way to meet with Mr. Lipski."
"Without Face? Aren't we going to look for him?" Amy queried.
"Like I said, I have a feeling he's not far away."
Reluctantly, the empty bags of food and trash were collected. Amy waved to the young boy and said, "We have a meeting to go to. But we'll be back to check on you in an hour or so. Okay?"
The boy waved but he was too sad to do much else. He would lift his head and stare across the street whenever he heard an automobile sound, but when it turned out to only be a car, he'd go back to scuffing his feet and staring at the ground.
Hannibal knew they shouldn't be a part of this boy's life, at least not yet. He thought that the sooner they stepped away from it, the sooner Face would reappear. But he also knew that no person with an ounce of humanity could leave a child alone in a park in this part of town. Not waiting for the others, he headed toward the van. Once there, the four stood and stared at the small child dangling his feet off the swing. Amy was the first to object, "Are you sure we should just leave him, Hannibal?"
A group of older boys approached the park. Several of them pulled out cigarettes; a few others pulled out marijuana joints. They seemed oblivious to the young child until one of them decided to approach the boy.
Amy started across the street, but Hannibal stopped her. "Listen, we can't interfere with this boy's life. Don't ask me how I know that, I just do."
Amy looked at the older boys who were now surrounding Richard. "You can't tell me that you're going to walk away from that!"
Hannibal looked quickly at the scene, then away. "That's exactly what I'm saying. If we don't, we may not get Face back!"
Amy looked stunned, and confused. "Face? What do you mean by that? This isn't about Face! This is about a small frightened child who needs our help!"
"No, it's not!" Hannibal began to say more but was cut short by Murdock's voice.
"Forget about her, Colonel!"
Hannibal looked up in time to watch BA's imposing figure sneak up behind the boys who were surrounding Richard. Hannibal dropped his head in despair, as he knew there was no way of stopping his sergeant.
BA stood quietly behind the boys and put his hands on his hips and listened for a minute. One of the boys was trying to convince Richard to smoke a cigarette and they weren't going to take no for an answer. And Richard looked like he was trying to figure a way to get to the tunnel. When one of the older boys grabbed the little boy's arm, BA bellowed, "Take your hands off 'em!"
Unaware that anyone was standing behind them, the delinquents spun around and stared at the imposing black man. The tallest one of the group and the one who had tried to grab Richard shouted, "Let's get outta here!"
A watched them scatter in different directions and then turned his attention back to the scared boy. His eyes were bright blue, identical in color and shape to Face's. BA smiled down at the boy, using a smile that he used exclusively on children. It took an added wink from the big man before Richard relaxed and walked up to him and slowly put his small hand inside the large hand. BA winked at him again and together they walked to the picnic table. Effortlessly, BA picked him up and sat him gently on the table. "You don't gotta try none of those cigarettes, you got that?"
The boy nodded.
Hannibal walked up to the table with the others. Inside he was glad that BA did what he did. He was sure he wasn't going to be able to stand by and watch anything happen to the boy, but he knew he had to at least try to not interfere. He looked from the scared boy to his sergeant. He'd get no apologies from BA and if he wasn't careful, what he could get was a black eye. Amy fawned over the boy and made sure he was all right. She sat next to him and put her arm around him. He pushed closer into her and held her hand.
"You still think this boy is Face?" Murdock asked.
Amy looked up quickly. "What!" she exclaimed.
Ignoring the reporter, Hannibal looked at the boy and said, "Richard. You said your mother calls you Richard, right?"
The boy nodded.
"And you said that she told you that you shouldn't use your real name sometimes, right?"
The boy nodded again.
"Is Richard your real name?"
"Does your mother call you by any other name?" Hannibal pressed.
"What name does she call you?"
Richard had fallen asleep on Amy. She had wrapped her arms around him to keep him warm and he snuggled close to her and laid his head on her lap. With a full stomach and the feeling of security, it didn't take long before he dozed off. Amy stroked his hair, wondering when the last time this kid had a bath. She touched his arms and felt just how skinny he was. Her thoughts were obvious. "I don't think I can believe that this boy is Face," Amy whispered. "Just because his mother sometimes calls him Templeton doesn't mean this is Face."
"If it's not him, then where is he?" Murdock asked.
Amy shrugged, confused by everything. "But Father Maghill said he didn't come to the orphanage until he was eight. He can't be more than five years old now. That means that he lived on the streets for three years. Impossible isn't it?"
Nobody knew the answer to that.
After some discussion, they agreed to take the boy with them. BA wasn't about to leave him alone in the park again, nor were Amy and Murdock, and since they'd already interfered in his life, Hannibal agreed. BA gently picked him up and carried him to the van. "He don't weigh no more than 30 pounds, Hann'bal." He placed him on Amy's lap and she held him, occasionally pushing back the loose strand of hair, while they drove to the Lipski meeting.
During the ride, Hannibal kept rethinking the events of the morning. The only thing different about it was the near accident with the boy; but if the boy was actually Face, how could he be both in the van and in the street at the same time? He rehashed the conversation in his mind. "Murdock, what were you thinking just before you saw the boy run across the street?"
Murdock thought back. It took a minute to remember the conversation but finally he replied, "I was wondering what was in Face's past that he wanted to keep hidden from us." Shaking his head knowingly, he continued, "I remember thinking that this was the first time when I actually wanted to know about his childhood."
Hannibal looked at BA and asked the same question. BA remembered thinking the same thing, "I also wanted to know. He's never tol' none of us about it."
Remembering the threat, she replied, "I remember being angry at Face. But just before BA hit the brakes, I was wishing I knew what Face was trying to hide."
Hannibal looked at his men, "I was thinking the same thing. What was so bad in his childhood that he's never told any of us about it? This thing has something to do with the fact that all of us were thinking the exact same thing at precisely the same time." Then he looked specifically at Murdock since the pilot was the one most likely to believe a story like this.
"That might explain what happened to Faceman, but how does that help us get him back?" Murdock asked.
Hannibal had no idea. "I haven't thought that far in advance yet; I'll let you know when I figure it out." Before turning back around to think, he stared a moment at the sleeping boy. The innocent expression seemed far too familiar to him.
Richard woke up just as they arrived at the warehouse. He rubbed his eyes and asked, "Is my mom back?"
Amy looked into his sad eyes, then reached out and straightened his hair, while slowly shaking her head.
"Where are we?" Richard asked, realizing that they weren't in the park any longer.
"You fell asleep, and we had to leave, but we couldn't leave you there so we took you with us," Amy explained.
The boy's expression changed sharply, "We have to go back! She'll come back and I won't be there! We have to go back!" he screamed. Tears seemed eminent in his large crystal blue eyes.
The boy jumped from the van quick as a cat and started running down the sidewalk. Murdock jumped out and in a few long strides, caught the boy by the arm.
"No!" Richard screamed. "Let me go! I want my mom!"
Murdock picked up the struggling boy and carried him back to the van, trying to soothe his fears, "Hang on a minute, young fellow. I know the bus routes over there, and there aren't any buses scheduled to arrive at that stop."
Richard didn't believe him and yelled, "You're lying! My mom's coming back!"
Murdock continued to hold the boy and talk to him in a manner that sounded very comforting. "I didn't say she wasn't coming back, just that there aren't any buses coming by the park for the next couple of hours and we have this meeting to make." Changing the subject, he continued, "How would you like to be part of this meeting?" Appealing to the boy's adventurous side, the pilot continued, "We'll make you an official part of our team. Do you know any math?"
The boy furrowed his brow and shook his head.
Quick as a whip, Murdock declared, "Perfect! You'll be our accountant. That means you'll handle all our money."
To a boy who never had any money, this part sounded appealing to him. "What'll I do with it?"
"Well, when the man hands it to you, you count it and then invest it. But don't worry too much about doing all that, we'll help you."
He thought a minute and then asked, "After this meeting, we'll go back to the park?"
"Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die," Murdock made all the appropriate hand movements.
The boy looked to Amy for confirmation and she nodded her head.
Inside the warehouse, Hannibal conducted the meeting and introduced the tattered young boy as the team's accountant. Mr. Lipski looked skeptical, but decided not to question it and handed over the envelope full of money. The boy stared at the money like it was some kind of freakish bug. Richard never left Murdock's side during the brief meeting and seemed to pay close attention to every detail.
When the meeting concluded, Richard climbed into the van and crawled onto Murdock's lap, "You promised we'd go back to the park and wait for my mom."
Murdock smiled. Then he whispered, "Just punch that angry mud sucker up there in the arm and tell him to get a move on!"
Richard punched the large man; BA winked at him and turned the van around and sped off. Hannibal took the envelope and placed it in the compartment under his seat.
As Richard sat on the pilot's lap, Murdock was able to see how much the boy really did resemble Face. The bone structure of the face and his profile were just too similar to discount. When they arrived, Richard jumped out and ran to the bus stop and waited.
"I can't take this, Hannibal. This is breaking my heart," Amy lamented as they sat in the van and watched the small boy gaze down the street desperately trying to see a bus. "If this is really Face's childhood, no wonder he doesn't share it."
"I got a feeling it gets worse," Murdock announced quietly. He looked around at his friends who were silently asking him to explain. "I can't explain it, I just get a weird feeling that this is the tip of the iceberg."
After two hours of waiting, Richard finally walked slowly back to the van, hands shoved deep into his pockets and shoulders drooped over. He crawled into the opened side door and dangled his feet. After several minutes of observing the boy, Amy finally knelt down in front of him and lifted his chin up gently by a finger. "Hey, dont look so sad, Richard."
In a voice beyond his young years, he asked, "Will she ever come back for me?"
Amy looked at him, but didn't respond.
Even to a five-year-old boy, he knew what the silence meant.
"How about some ice cream?" Amy asked.
Richard shrugged, not much was going to cheer him up. "Well," Amy started again, "we'll get some ice cream, then we'll get you a much needed bath and some new clothes. How does that sound?"
The boy didn't respond; he just continued to fiddle with the torn fabric of his shirt.
BA drove to a small strip mall that contained both an ice cream parlor and a store where they could get the boy some new clothes. The party of four adults and a rag-a-muffin child drew some attention but they took a booth near the door and ordered. The young boy picked over his ice cream and eventually said he had to go to the bathroom. The men's room was within view so he slid out of the booth and scuffed his feet to the lavatory.
Once he was out of earshot, Murdock asked, "How are we going to get Face back? And can we be sure that that kid is actually our Faceman?"
"This is just too strange to believe," Amy added. "Even if it's truewhich I'm not saying it isbut for the sake of argument let's just say it is, how can this physically happen to him? Face is a grown man! He was fine just seconds before the van stopped, and then he vanishes but supposedly comes back to us as his former self at the age of five!?" She shook her head at her own synopsis.
BA grumbled, "How come we ain't so sure Face didn't take off and he's waitin' for us right now back at the beach house?"
Murdock added, "He was pretty angry in the van. He could have made his point with Amy easily enough, but he sort of over did it, don't you think? So BA might be right, he could have hot wired a car and he's sitting on the beach right now."
Hannibal studied a spoonful of ice cream while listening. Once again, he was expected to come up with answers he didn't have, nor did he know how to go about finding them. "He wouldn't have missed the meeting with Lipski." At least he knew the answer to one question. But all the others would have to wait as the commotion in the bathroom caught everyone's attention in the ice cream parlor.
Richard was running out of the room and a man was yelling, "That kid just stole my wallet! Stop him!"
As Richard raced towards the door, BA shot his arm out and grabbed the fleeing boy around the waist. He struggled and screamed, "Let me go!" But BA scooped him up and held him tightly.
The man came running up, "That boy just stole my wallet! As I was washing my face he slid it right out of my pocket! I wouldn't have known except he dropped it as he was leaving and I recognized it!" The man grabbed the boy's arm and jerked his wallet out of his hand. "I'm calling the police!"
Hannibal stood up and said, "That won't be necessary. He's with us and we'll take care of it."
The boy screamed, "Let go of me! I don't know these people! Let me go!!!"
The man from the washroom wasn't easily deterred, "I think the police should be called. He almost got away with it!"
"Like I said," Hannibal soothed, "we'll take care of it. My friend here," and he pointed to BA who was easily holding the squirming boy, "is part of the Big Brother program in L.A. and we just picked Richard up to spend the day with us."
The boy got renewed energy and shouted, "My name isn't Richard!"
Ignoring the outburst, Hannibal continued, "It would be greatly appreciated if you didn't involve the police and let us take care of it. You have your wallet back and nothing is missing, right?"
The man looked through it quickly, still shaking from the experience, but he had to agree that nothing was missing, "Yeah, sure, okay! Just next time don't send him to the bathroom alone." And he turned and left the ice cream parlor.
Before Hannibal could reprimand the young boy, Amy whispered, "Look at him!"
The four men looked at Richard who was being held by the arm by BA. He was the same boy but he was different in some ways. First off, his cloths were different and although they were still old and torn, he wasn't wearing the same ripped shirt and jeans that he was wearing when they came into the ice-cream parlor. Second, he looked older. His features were more refined and even though he was still filthy and in bad need of a bath, he now appeared to be around the age of seven or eight.
BA remarked, "What happened in there?"
The boy continually tried to break free while he angrily spat, "None of your business! Now let me go!"
Hannibal laid some money on the table and nodded to the others. The scene they were creating was just getting worse so rather than wait for the police to show up, he moved the scene to the van. BA plucked the boy off the ground and sat him roughly in the seat. He didn't let go until Murdock had him firmly by the arms. Hannibal toned, "What do you think you're doing?"
"Until you interfered I was getting my lunch! Tell this creep to let me go!"
Even his voice was different. Murdock asked, "Where do you live?"
The boy grudgingly answered, "I live around here, now can you please let me go?"
"Show us where you live," Hannibal said.
The boy looked up sharply at the older man, and that's when Hannibal knew that he was lying.
"When was the last time you ate, Richard?" Amy asked.
"My name isn't Richard! Stop calling me that!"
"What is your name?" she asked gently.
But the boy didn't answer."
Frustrated, Hannibal said, "Let's get to the beach house."
During the drive, Amy reached over and tried to move a loose strand of hair out of his eyes, but the boy withdrew and stared. Amy tried to explain, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you." Remembering the sweat boy that she cradled earlier, and then looking at this boy, it was hard for Amy to believe it was the same person. The rest of the trip was strangely quiet.
As Murdock opened the door to the van, the boy's eyes flickered in search of an escape. He'd seen that same look hundreds of times before. "Are we going to have to hog tie you to keep you here?"
BA came around the side and took the boy's arm and gently but firmly guided him into the beach house. Amy quickly looked in each room and called, "Face?! Face!?" but there was never any answer. Hannibal already knew there wouldn't be, as did Murdock and BA.
"He's not here, Hannibal," Amy reported. She looked at the boy sitting on the sofa and guarded by BA and said, "Why don't I make Richard something to eat."
Before she was out of the room, he resignedly responded, "Stop calling me Richard."
She turned back around and decided to sit down next to him, but instead of reaching out to smooth his hair or straighten his shirt, she kept her hands to herself and gently asked, "What is your name?"
After a minute's pause, he slowly answered, "Templeton."
"What happened to Richard?" she asked.
There was no reaction from the boy. He stared straight at the floor, not so much a blinking.
Amy nudged him on with a smile and very soft rub on his leg.
Finally, the boy responded, "Richard's gone."
The cold tone of the statement caught everyone off guard. It seemed the only thing left to do was to stare at the boy who continued to stare at the floor.
Amy brought out some sandwiches and Templeton ate two. He drank two glasses of milk and a handful of cookies.
"For someone so skinny, you sure can eat," Murdock declared.
Feeling better after eating the food, the boy gave a small smile and said, "I have to. I don't never know when I'm gonna eat again."
"Shouldn't you be in school?" BA grumbled.
The boy looked as though he was pondering that question, then replied, "Naw, I've tried to go but once they find out I don't have" the boy stopped short, realizing he was about to reveal something he didn't want to. He closed his mouth and remained quiet.
Hannibal asked, "Where's your mother?"
Without hesitation, he responded, "I don't have one."
"Everybody has a mother," Hannibal pressed.
"Not me," he responded. The boy yawned and pulled his legs up. When no more questions seemed to be coming his way, he closed his eyes and almost fell asleep. But he jerked and startled everyone in the room.
Amy got his attention, "Templeton?"
After a confused minute, the boy focused on her.
She continued, "Why don't you give me your cloths and I'll wash them while you take a nap. I promise they'll be waiting for you when you wake up."
The boy wanted to accept the hospitality, that much was evident; but he was extremely leery of the offer. "You promise you'll give them back to me?"
"Cross my heart," she smiled her answer. "Follow me," she lead him down the hallway and opened the door to Face's room. "This will be your room. You can leave them on the floor here and I'll wash them and put them back here. Is that okay?"
Templeton walked into the master suite bedroom and his eyes opened wide. "This is where I'm going to sleep?"
Amy smiled and replied, "Yep. This is your room." Then, she quietly shut the door. Within a few minutes, the door opened slightly and a pile of cloths landed at her feet.
In the living room, Murdock asked, "So what's happening now. Is he growing up before our eyes?"
As Amy walked past, she commented, "Do you think he's lived on the streets for the past two years? He couldn't have been more than five then! How could he have survived?"
"By stealing and God knows what else," Murdock replied.
BA asked, "How old do you think he is now?"
Hannibal took out a cigar and fondled it. Once again, too many questions and too few answers. Amy walked back into the room and said, "Look at this!" She laid four wallets on the table. "I found these in his pockets. He must be lifting people's wallets to get money to buy food."
"He could be gettin' money doing other things," BA reminded everyone.
Hannibal picked one up and opened it. After reading the date on the driver's license, he reminded everyone of another fact. "The year to our young Templeton is 1961."
Amy finished folding his clothes and carried them to his door. She heard him inside and so she knocked. When he opened the door, he looked a little confused. "I have your clothes, feel free to take a show" she stopped mid-sentence. Dropping the clothes she pushed open the door and exclaimed, "Templeton, what happened!?"
Murdock was outside doing a routine security check but Hannibal and BA heard the exclamation from the living room and went to the bedroom door. They were not prepared for what they saw. The boy standing before them was slightly older, maybe ten or eleven years old now. He was wearing a pair of tattered boxer shorts and nothing else. But what was so appalling was the cuts and bruises all over his body. He had been beaten and beaten badly.
Hannibal took charge and demanded, "What happened to you!?"
The boy backed away but was stopped by the bureau. He didn't respond to the question but his eyes searched the room. "Stay away from me! All of you!" Looking for anything that would keep his attackers at bay, he pulled opened drawers while never taking his eyes off them.
BA pushed into the room and upon seeing the boy's injuries, he furrowed his brow and growled, "Who did that to you?!"
Suddenly, they found themselves standing before an angry and frightened boy who was now holding a loaded .357 magnum pistol. The gun was easily recognizable as Face's and he always kept it loaded in his bureau.
Hannibal put his hands up and acquiesced. "Take it easy kid. I know you're scared right now but holding that gun on us isn't going to make anything any easier. Why don't you put the gun down and we'll talk."
"You stay away from me. I don't want to talk anymore! It hurts! You're never going to hurt me again! Nobody is!"
"Do what?" Hannibal mumbled back confused. "We're not going to hurt you. We want to help you."
"I heard Father Jones last night. I saw him take money from you. I've heard the other boys talk about the sex! You said you would stop if I didn't like it! But you didn't! Nobody ever stops! I hate it! And I don't want to do it anymore! I WON'T do it anymore!" the boy screamed, holding the gun with both hands.
Amy clasped her hand over her mouth and muffled, "Oh my God! You were raped!"
"Templeton," Hannibal soothed. "Please put down the gun"
"Shutup! Get in here and move away from the door," came the shaky voice.
The three moved slowly across the room and watched as the battered boy shuffled to the door. Never taking his eyes off the three people, he held the gun with one shaky hand while picking his clothes off the floor with the other. When he had them in his arms, he slowly backed out of the door, directly into the arms of the tall pilot.
Templeton yelled and struggled for all he was worth, discharging the gun into the ceiling. The loud bang and kick of the gun scared him so bad that he dropped his clothes and tried to run. But their hands were all on him and as he struggled and screamed, he begged them to not hurt him anymore.
Templeton was unlike anything they'd ever seen. He never stopped fighting and it took both BA and Murdock to completely immobilize him. All words of comfort were lost on him and finally Hannibal remembered that Face stored some knockout juice in case they needed to subdue BA. He went into the bathroom and returned with a syringe and small bottle. "Hold him still." He filled the syringe with a very small amount and then plunged it into the boy's arm. A few seconds later, they began to feel the fight leave his body and before a minute passed, he was too groggy to stand on his own.
BA gently laid him on the bed. Breathing heavily and sweating, the team looked down at the drugged boy in the beaten body, and then at each other.
Murdock took a breath and angrily spat, "What happened to him?!"
Hannibal and BA just looked at him, "You don't want to know."
Amy sat on the bed and stroked his hair and pushed some loose strands away from his face. He was continuing to develop into a nice looking boy. But he was bruised and bleeding and Amy took a tissue and wiped away some blood that had formed around his eye.
After Hannibal had caught his breath, he said, "He referred to a Father Jones. Did Face ever talk about a Father Jones?"
Murdock shook his head, "Not that I remember. He always maintained that he was raised by Father Maghill since about the age of five."
Amy countered, "But Father Maghill said he didn't come to him until he was nine or ten. He said that they never could determine his exact age."
"So he hasn't met Father Maghill yet," Hannibal concluded. "So who's this Father Jones?"
"He's going to be out for a couple of hours. Amy, stay with him and call me if you need me."
Hannibal had that determined look in his eyes and Murdock asked, "What are you going to do, Colonel?"
Curtly, he responded, "I'm going to make a few phone calls."
An hour later, Hannibal joined Amy and the others in the bedroom. For whatever reasons, Murdock and BA didn't leave the boy's side and watched carefully as Amy cleaned his cuts and gave him a sponge bath, inspecting his body for broken bones and other signs of physical abuse.
"What'd you find out?" Murdock asked, thankful for the interruption.
Hannibal waved his unlit cigar in the air and it was evident that he was angry. "I found out that there was an orphanage named St. Bartholomew's in greater L.A. It was very large and housed only boys, and it was led by a preacher named Father George Jones. Only in 1964, Jones was convicted of child prostitution and several other sex crimes."
"And Face must'a been one of the boys molested," BA growled.
Hannibal nodded, the anger still evident on his face.
Murdock stated, "When this Father Jones got arrested, did Face become homeless again?"
"No," Hannibal continued. "The state found homes for most of the boys and that's when Face went to the Sacred Hearts Orphanage with Father Maghill."
"Did the boys who were abused get any help? Did Face get any counseling?" Amy asked.
"Not likely. It was such an embarrassment to the Catholic diocese as well as the state of California that they tried to keep it quiet. A few newspapers ran the story but it didn't get much publicity because orphans didn't have many rights."
"So Face lived in hell for several years just trying to survive the streets of L.A.," Murdock surmised. "And then, when he finally gets a home, he's sold to the highest bidder." Looking at the battered face and torso, he added, "And every step of the way he had to deal with it alone. At least until Father Maghill took him in."
They looked at the sleeping boy. Even in his sleep, he looked like he was running away from something. BA had seen this type of kid in his neighborhood, all messed up from the beginning. And all too often when help finally arrived, it was too late; the child was lost in a society that didn't care.
As they were staring, Templeton began to stir and slowly wake up. Hannibal decided that three men peering down at him probably wouldn't be the best way to wake up. He nodded his head and everyone but Amy left. Thirty minutes later, Amy and the boy came out of the room; he had showered and his once baggy clothes now seemed a bit snug on him. He was subdued and quietly sat on the sofa's edge.
Eventually, he nervously asked, "Are you going to tell Father Jones what I did?"
Hannibal answered, "No."
The boy looked up; he was leery of the response and it showed as his eyes flickered around the room and landed on the front door.
Hannibal's voice became very gentle and he soothingly eased the boy's mind, "Nobody here is going to hurt you, or touch you in any way you don't want. And you're never going back to that orphanage."
The boy flashed his eyes at the older man. "You mean I can leave?"
"Not just yet," Hannibal gently responded. Thinking now might be a good time to get some answers, he continued, "Do you mind answering a few questions for us?" Without waiting for a response, he continued, "How did you end up at St. Bartholomews?"
Templeton ruffled his own hair as if he were trying to remember exactly how it all happened. "Some man caught me. He's called a truant officer or something like that. I was living under the boardwalk and going to school. Well, not really going to school but one of the kids at Freedom Hall Prep School was teaching me things." His eyes brightened but he never smiled, "I know how to read and I can do my numbers. I'm better with my numbers than reading though." He paused in memory, then he continued, "One day, this man coaxed me out and handcuffed me. Next thing I knew I was being taken to St. Bartholomews."
"How long have you been there?"
With down cast eyes, he responded, "A year."
Hannibal walked around the room and came to stoop in front of the boy. The resemblance to his friend was incredible. He was now developing the same features that he'd carry with him into adulthood: the chiseled jaw, the dark eyes and dirty blonde hair. His well-proportioned body was also beginning to develop. Hannibal studied him until he realized he was making the boy uncomfortable. Quietly he asked, "How long have people been hurting you?"
Templeton stared into the older man's eyes and said, "A year."
For the first time, Hannibal put a gentle hand on the boy's knee and gave it a tender pat. Almost inaudibly, he whispered, "I'm sorry, Templeton. I wish we could have been there for you then."
Confused, the young boy cocked his head and looked at the older man. There was something about the hardened face that made him feel safe. But he'd never known a safe life. And there was no reason to believe that this man wouldn't end up hurting him just like every other man he thought he could trust had done.
He pulled his leg away from under his touch.
The late afternoon sun was bright as they drove west into the city.
"Where are we going?" Templeton asked.
Murdock responded with a grin, "To a place you're gonna like!"
Templeton smiled warily, "The carnival?"
Murdock laughed, "No, not the carnival. What sort of places do you like?"
The 11 year old sat back and pondered the question, "I like the beach. We go there sometimes on the weekend."
Amy asked, "Do you surf?"
"Yeah, a lifeguard taught me last summer. It's so much fun." Upon hearing his stomach growl, he tucked his arm around his waist and rubbed.
"Are you hungry again?" BA murmured. "How do you stay so skinny with all that you eat?"
The boy didn't see the humor and simply answered, "I'm always hungry there's never enough to eat." Remembering that his earlier question was never answered, he excitedly asked, "Where are we going?"
"We're taking you to a different orphanage," Hannibal replied.
The excitement left his face and his eyes lost their sparkle. Sadly he responded, "Oh."
"This one's different. You'll be safe there."
Unconvinced, the boy nodded and rubbed his stomach.
"Ah Hannibal," Amy said, suddenly remembering something. "I should probably mention that Lynch has the place staked out. I saw the MPs last week when I went to visit Father Maghill. He said they'd been there for the better part of two weeks, ever since Face was seen leaving the place."
Hannibal pondered the new information.
"Hey! I've got an idea!" Murdock said. "Why don't we stop and get a bite to eat. I could use something, and I'm sure that big ugly mud sucker sitting up there could eat!"
The boy grinned at the growl BA threw to the backseat. Murdock continued, "I know of a great little deli just down the street from where we're going. It's small but it's got great sandwiches and freshly made chips. How 'bout it?"
It was hard to tell what the boy liked more, the idea of eating, or the idea of not going directly to another orphanage. Either way, the young blonde boy seemed grateful for the diversion.
BA parked on the curb and the five meandered into the New York style delicatessen. They sat at a table near the large window and watched the cars drive down the boulevard. Just after they ordered, they heard screeching wheels outside followed by sirens. Peering through the large picture window, they watched a late model sports car speed up the street towards them. Several police cars came from the opposite direction and blocked the street. The driver of the car had no choice but to slam on his brakes and skid into the parked cars.
BA jumped up and yelled, "My van! He almost hit mah van!"
As the police pulled the young boy from the driver's seat and they could easily see his features, it was Amy who exclaimed, "Oh my God!" Looking around, the abused boy was nowhere to be seen.
Murdock, Hannibal, BA and Amy stared silently at the scene unfolding in front of them. The boy the police pulled from the car was Face. It was exactly how Face looked when they first met him back in Nam. He wasn't just a skinny kid anymore, but a well built teenager with long sandy brown hair and perfectly lined white teeth. Even as the police roughly manhandled him out of the car and had him spread eagle across the hood, he seemed to be smiling at them. The teenager was quickly patted down for weapons, handcuffed and jerked backwards towards a waiting squad car.
Hannibal put a hand on BA's arm to prevent him from busting outside and creating a scene. At this point, there wasn't much the team could do for Face.
A voice bellowed from the sidewalk and the officer escorting Face to the squad car stopped and turned, but made no attempt at accommodating the request until the command came a second time. There was no mistaking that it was no longer a request but a full blown order. "You heard me sergeant! Bring that boy to me!"
The sergeant grudgingly jerked his prisoner around and marched over toward his captain. After a few heated words were exchanged, Hannibal watched as all three entered the deli. Another officer cleared the premises of everyone but Hannibal, Murdock, BA and Amy. It was if they weren't there, like the officer didn't see them standing by the window.
After the place was cleared, the sergeant angrily spat, "Will you believe it now, Captain?! Your boy here is a major screw up! He can't stay out of trouble!"
The Captain remained expressionless and allowed his subordinate to vent.
The sergeant continued, "I told you he couldn't go straight! Some kids are just bad seeds, and this is one of 'em!" The whole time he was talking, he was still holding the boy in front of him, and the boy still had his hands cuffed behind his back. "You know what they're gonna do to him again?" Smugly, he sneered, "He's going back to Juvie, and that's where he'll stay until he's old enough for prison, and since he's only 16 or 17 years old, that gives him at least a full year there! And I can't wait to tell Father Maghill what a complete screw up he really is!"
The last word hadn't left the sergeant's lips before the boy swung around and, in one fluid motion, wrapped one arm around the officer's neck while simultaneously pulling the officer's gun out with his other hand. The once smug police officer now had his own weapon pointed at his head.
Face stared at the captain and hissed, "I'm not going back to Juvie! I'll die before I go back there!"
The captain watched the color drain from his sergeant's face and as much as he might have enjoyed it, he knew this boy was dead serious about not being sent back to the Juvenile Detention Center. Attempting to calm the boy, the captain put both hands up and soothingly said, "Templeton, you have to release Sergeant Hanes? We can't talk like this. You'll only make matters worse."
"Did you hear what I said?!" Face shot back. "I'm not going back to that place!"
"Templeton, listen to me. I'm going to put my gun on this table. I'm going to do it very slowly, and you know that I'm not up to any tricks." True to his word, he slowly pulled his gun from its holster and placed it on the table. "Now, you have to let Hanes go so we can talk. I just want to talk to you, that's all. Maybe we can work something out, but you have to let Hanes go."
"There's nothing to talk about. Besides, if I shoot good ol' Hanes here, I certainly won't go back to Juvie."
In a voice much sterner than earlier, the captain toned, "Release Sergeant Hanes, Templeton! I can't help you if you won't let me!"
Face's expression quickly changed as he responded to the authoritative command. Seemingly upset with himself for making the Captain angry, he suddenly pushed the man away from him. Captain Patterson ordered, "Hanes, get out of here and tell everyone to stay back. I don't want to smell a swat team anywhere around. And," he added in a low voice, "if you disobey me, I swear you'll be pushing paper until you retire!"
Hanes scurried out the door.
Face still held the gun but he watched the captain warily, completely ignoring the other people in the room. Finally, Captain Patterson said, "Templeton, I want you to testify against the guards at the detention center."
Face laughed sardonically, "You're kidding, right!?"
"No," the captain was dead serious. "I've been working on a case against them. It's not a great case, but with your testimony"
The sandy-blonde boy cut him off, "I might as well take this gun and point it at my head and pull! After they throw me back into that place, I'm as good as dead!"
"No, you're not. You're not the only boy who will testify. I've got two others."
Face lowered the gun slightly, thinking about the possibility of getting back at those men. But then he raised the gun again and replied, "It won't work, Captain. You're forgetting one small detail who's going to believe me? Who's going to believe someone like me over those guards?!"
"We'll have to make them believe us! Like I said, there were other boys who were raped just like you. I think we can do it, but you have to trust me. Have I ever let you down?"
Face took a deep breath. He looked out the window at the line of police cars and police officers. He knew one thing for certain, if he didn't trust the captain, he wouldn't be leaving that place alive. Changing the subject, he asked, "Captain, why do you care what happens to me?"
Captain Patterson scratched his head and replied, "I don't know, kid. Maybe because something about you reminds me of myself." Thinking that may have sounded too stupid, he continued, "Or maybe it's because you don't deserve the kind of life you've been given."
Face laughed but it was void of expression and humor. After another moment's thought, he placed the gun on the table and looked at the cuffs still dangling from one wrist. Smiling, he said, "You think Hanes will get in trouble for leaving the keys within my reach?"
Patterson smiled and nodded, "You can bet on it. I'll see to it."
The humorless smile left the boy's face and his eyes turned pleadingly towards the captain, "Please don't send me back to Juvie."
"I'll do everything within my power to prevent that," came the paternal reply.
Face took a deep breath, then snapped the cuffs back around his wrist and waited as Patterson called on his radio to have two officers escort the boy out. As they rushed in, few words were spoken and the Captain watched as they escorted the blonde to an awaiting squad car. Just before they pushed him inside, Templeton stood up and yelled back to the Captain who was standing in the open door watching.
"Captain Patterson? Will you tell Father Maghill what happened? I don't want some beat cop showing up at the orphanage to tell him."
The captain nodded his head and yelled back, "I'll take care of everything, don't worry."
Knowing that Patterson would talk to Father Maghill seemed to take the weight off his shoulders and the boy graced everyone with a fantastic smile. He winked and yelled back at his mentor, "Don't look so sad, Captain. I'll survive I always do." With that, he was pushed inside the car and driven off.
The Captain walked out onto the sidewalk, not realizing that four people had followed him. Hannibal walked up to him and looked at him. He bore a remarkable resemblance to himself, same height and weight, same blue eyes, same silver hair. The officer even pulled out a half smoked stogie.
Hannibal asked, "What'll happen to him?"
Patterson looked at the man for the first time, and then he looked back down the street at the retreating car, "I don't know. If he gets Judge Jenkins, he might well get sent to a worse place than Juvie." Disheartened, he answered the question he knew the stranger wanted to know, "Viet Nam."
Long after the blonde boy was driven away, the police lingered and cleaned up the place. Hannibal, Murdock, BA and Amy stood on the sidewalk watching the flurry of activity. BA had already inspected his van and, miraculously, there hadn't been any damage to it. He helped the tow truck driver hook up the white sports car and tow it away. As the activity died down, the question of Face lingered in the air.
Hannibal had no idea that Face's life had been such a mess. It was hard to connect the easygoing conman with that horrendous childhood. Murdock interrupted his thoughts, "Can we believe any of this?"
Hannibal raised his eyebrows and shrugged.
As the last of the cleanup crew left, Amy offered, "Face could confirm it for us."
A familiar voice from behind asked, "Confirm what?"
The four whipped around and stared. The impeccably dressed blonde man walked up to them.
"Face!" Amy exclaimed while throwing her arms around his neck and hugging him. "You're back!"
Face stumbled backwards from the sudden hug but put one arm around her waist and returned the affection.
Murdock practically pushed Amy aside to embrace his friend and BA gave him a hard pat on the shoulder. Hannibal stood quietly watching the warm greeting.
Confused, Face seemed at a loss for words but he finally managed to say, "Had I known this was the greeting I was going to get for bringing back a newspaper, I would have done it earlier in the day." Seeing the confused look on his teammates, Face held up a copy of the New York Times, "Remember? Hannibal wanted a copy of this paper this morning? I remembered that this newsstand down the street sells them and probably wouldn't be sold out of today's edition."
Narrowing his eyes, Hannibal queried, "Uh, Face ," Not too sure how he wanted to phrase his question, he let the sentence fall.
"Yeah Colonel?" Face asked, completely obvious to the curious looks and stares of his friends.
Hannibal exhaled and continued, "This may seem like an odd question, but I hope you'll do me the favor and indulge me." Another thoughtful pause followed, and Face returned a very quizzical look. Finally, Hannibal asked, "Do you mind telling us what you did today?"
Had anyone else asked the question, Face probably wouldn't have answered, but when Hannibal asks, he usually has his reasons. Definitely thinking it was a ridiculous question, Face acknowledged the request by responding, "I was with you guys all day. We ate breakfast, met with Lipskiby the way Hannibal, don't forget that the money's in the seat compartment; we went back to the beach house, I took a napI was really tired for some reason. And now we're getting ready to eat at this deli that Murdock highly recommends." Looking around at his friends like they were idiots, he said, "I know you have a good reason for asking me that question, but right now I'm hungry and," rubbing he neck, he said, "I'm a little stiff " Switching to his arm, he added, "and my arm is sore; so I really dont care what your reasons are right now you can do me the favor and indulge me later with an explanation. In the meantime, is anyone else going to join me?" He slapped the folded newspaper on his colonel's chest and walked past them into the delicatessen.
The four people left standing on the sidewalk were dumbfounded.
"What just happened?" Murdock asked, mouth agape.
When no answer was forthcoming, each reluctantly followed the lieutenant inside and sat down at the same table next to the large window. The silence was awkward and finally Face asked, "What's going on? Did I miss something while I was getting your paper?"
Since Face was looking directly at Amy, she felt compelled to answer, "No, not really. I was just telling everyone that I don't think I'm going to include anyone's childhood in my book any more. I got to thinking that it's not really all that relevant to the story and and I don't want my credit or my reputation ruined."
Face smiled and agreed, "That's a good decision. Nobody's really interested in our boring childhoods anyway."
Hannibal leaned back and stated, "Some day, perhaps, maybe you could tell us more about yours."
As Face perused the menu, he half-heartedly responded, "Not much to tell.... just your typical childhood growing up in a big city."
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