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Bear With It

Title:Bear With It

Copyright2002

Author:Reckless

Rated:PG (it probably could pass for G, except there are some innuendos)

Disclaimer:The A-Team characters belong to Stephen J. Cannell and Universal.

Comments:Special Thanks to Bri, Fingers, Pam, Partly.All types of comments are welcome.

 

Summary:A silly little story written in response to a private challenge from

Bri: Set in the second season.Murdock loses his bear and enlists

Face’s help to find it.No angst allowed.

 

 

-----------

 

“I can’t believe you talked me into this, Murdock.”

 

The pilot looked up from his cone of cotton candy, sticky pink sugar all over his face.“Why not, Faceman.You promised.”

 

Face rolled his eyes.“I said we’d replace Bogey.But this?”Face raised the BB gun.“I mean . . . Come on.A man has to have standards.I used an M40 in Nam to take out an NVA general at 800 yards.This . . .Face waived the gun in disgust.“This is beneath me.”

 

“You gonna fire, mister?”A child’s voice interrupted Face.

 

Face looked down and saw a small boy in a yellow sweatshirt.Five or six, by the look of him.Through a shock of nearly black hair, the boy looked up with awestruck, dark, round eyes. The boy repeated.“You gonna fire.”

 

“Oh the Faceman’s gonna fire, my son,” Murdock said.“He’s the best shot in this here part of the wild west.”

 

Face grimaced.“Murdock, we’re in North Hollywood.Come on, can’t we just go to the Toys ‘R’ Us on Sherman Way?”

 

“Shush, pardner.”Murdock put a hand on the boy’s shoulder.“My pal here wants ta see you shoot up them bad guys.He wants Gary Cooper in High Noon.Jimmy Stewart in Winchester 73.John Wayne in Rio Bravo.Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles.”

 

“What?” Face said.

 

“Ah never mind,” Murdock said.“Just shoot.”

 

Face silently mouthed ‘Gene Wilder?’Then, deciding there was no point asking, he shrugged and rolled his eyes again.“Fine.Anything to shut you up.”

 

He raised the gun to his shoulder.His index finger played slowly across the trigger.His eyes narrowed as he lined up the sites.Face inhaled, exhaled half the air and held the rest. His target perfectly in view, he squeezed the trigger.

 

The yellow ducks on the conveyer belt never had a chance.

 

*************

 

“Can we go now?” Face asked as Murdock clutched the stuffed gray bear protectively.

 

Whaddya mean?Go?Now?” Murdock protested.“We just got here.Look around you, Faceman.This is paradise.How could we possibly go?”

 

“Murdock, it’s just a stupid local fair.You dragged me here to get a bear and I got you a bear.‘Sides.I’ve got my own plans of paradise.Remember Linda?She promised to forgive me for running off to Africa if I made it up to her tonight.”

 

It was Murdock’s turn to roll his eyes.“Linda, schminda. Come on, Face.You, me an’ Bogie have time for a few rides.I saw a Scrambler over there.”

 

“A Scrambler?You mean like one of those things that spins around and around until I’d lose my lunch all over my nice silk suit?”

 

Murdock grinned.“The very one.”

 

“No thanks.”

 

“No way, Jose.”Murdock had a grip on Face’s arm and started dragging him across the fairgrounds. “Bogie and me are gonna show you some real fun, Faceman.”

 

Face tried to pull away, but Murdock had him too tight.“Linda’s fun,” he groused, but he knew it was a losing battle.“Hey . . . Cut it out.You’ll tear the silk.Just let go and I’ll do it.But just one ride, okay?”

 

Murdock released Face’s arm.“Okay,” the pilot said.Then he looked at the gray bear.“See, Bogie, what did I tell you.Beneath all that hair gel, capped teeth and fancy suits, there’s a little boy in there tryin’ to get out.”

 

Face shook his head.He knew this could be a long night.Instead of fighting, he decided to play along.“So tell me something, Murdock.Why’d you name this bear Bogey too?”

 

“I didn’t,” Murdock said smugly.“This one’s Bogie . . . With an I-E.Not Bogey with an E-Y.”

 

“Oh.”Face decided against debating the finer points of Murdockian logic.Instead, he just sighed.“So after the ride can we go?”

 

Murdock stopped walking and turned.He gave Face a grave look.

 

“What?” Face said nervously.

 

Murdock raised an arm and placed it on Face’s shoulder.In a somber tone, Murdock said, “You, my friend, are in serious need of . . .He paused dramatically.“A night of fun.Just look around at all the splendor that North Hollywood Lions Club’s Annual Charity Fair has to offer.”

 

Face groaned.“I am in need of a night of fun, Murdock, but kiddie rides and the Ferris Wheel are not exactly what I have in mind. Linda.Champagne.”His voice grew wistful.“An ocean view.Satin sheets.”

 

The grip on Face’s shoulder tightened, pulling him out of his daydream. “Not tonight, muchacho.”

 

Face stumbled slightly as Murdock dragged him towards a sign labeled “Scrambler.”Beyond the gate, Face saw an tangle of small cars spinning up and down through the air, twisting and turning on what looked like the arms of an octopus. “I think I’m gonna be sick.”

 

*************

 

“All buckled in there?” came the tweedy voice from the control booth.

 

Face just glared at the teenager’s acne-marred face.

 

Murdock ignored Face’s sour look and raised both hands.With his left, he waggled Bogie.With his right, he gave a thumbs up.

 

Beneath them, motors began to whirr and rumble.The small car shuddered.

 

Murdock grinned maniacally.“And weeeeeeeee’re offfffffffffff.”

 

Face shut his eyes just as the car lurched to the side and spun on its axis.He fell to his right and into Murdock, who let out a loud whoop.The car slid back and jerked in the opposite direction.

 

“I know I’m gonna be sick,” Face muttered.

 

The car picked up speed and rose in the air, dropped suddenly, rose again, twisted sideways and spun.

 

“WAHOOOOOOOOO!!!” Murdock screamed. “Come on, Faceman, open those baby blues.”

 

Face groaned, trying to keep his dinner where it was supposed to be.

 

Aww, let me see them,” Murdock begged as the car did another twist.

 

“Okay, okay,” Face grumbled.He raised his head, figuring the world would not be dizzying if he were looking at the sky.Face opened his eyes and shut them immediately.Th–that’s not sky.”

 

“Nope,” Murdock said smugly.

 

“We . . . We’re upside down.”

 

“Yeah,” Murdock said happily.Ain’t it cool.

 

The car lurched again and Face realized it had flipped over. Tentatively, he opened one eye and let out a breath as he saw that at least the sky was in its proper location – above his head, not beneath his feet.The lights of the carnival flew by as the car continued to spin, but Face decided it was no worse than one of Murdock’s chopper rides.

 

“WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!” Murdock screamed again throwing up both arms into the air.

 

At that very moment, the car jerked to the right and sent Face crashing into Murdock’s side.The pilot slipped forward against the bar holding them in place and his hands flew open. Face saw a flash of gray fly past.

 

“BOGIE!”Murdock yelled.He spun in his seat and tried to stand, but Face caught him and pulled him down. “BOGIE!!! I lost Bogie!”He tried to pull away again, but Face and the restraining bar stopped him.

 

“Sit down, Murdock,” Face said, a tight grip on Murdock’s leather sleeve.“You just dropped him.We’ll get him when the ride’s over.”

 

“But . . . but . . . he’s out there all alone . . .”

 

“We’ll–” Face stopped abruptly as the car took another somersault and he once again found himself staring at the ground.“Holy spit!” he shrieked.For a moment, the car rotated clockwise as their heads looked at the black cement.Then the car flipped again and they were right side up.Face let out a breath.“We’ll get him back.”

 

Murdock crossed his arms.“I don’t wanna ride anymore.”

 

“That makes two of us,” Face shot back.

 

*************

 

The ride mercifully ended and, grateful to have survived, skin and suit intact, Face stumbled out of the car onto the ground. He would have kissed the ground, but he decided it might dirty the suit.

 

“Thank God,” he said as he steadied himself on wobbly legs.

 

Murdock leaped out and began calling, “Bogie?Where are you?Bogie?”

 

Face felt his cheeks turn red when he saw the teenage ride operator stare curiously at the pilot.“Murdock, will you shut up? They’re people looking.”

 

“I don’t see him, Faceman.Bogie?Come on, boy?Bogie?”

 

Face looked at the teenager and sighed.“Did you see a gray bear?My friend dropped it.It’s . . . It’s for . . . um . . . for his daughter.She’s . . . she’s . . . um . . . sick.”

 

The teenage boy narrowed his eyes.

 

‘Yeah, kid,’ Face thought.‘I wouldn’t believe that one either.’

 

Faceman, you gotta help me find him.He’s just a poor widdle bear out in the big city.”

 

Face rolled his eyes.“This is hardly a big city.It’s a local fairgrounds.”

 

The teenager looked dubiously at Murdock.“You sure he’s okay?”

 

Face grimaced.“As okay as he’ll ever be, but I’ve got his release papers and everything.”

 

Murdock looked up and his eyes widened. “BOGIE!!!” he shrieked and pointed over the metal fence that circled the Scrambler.

 

Face followed Murdock’s gaze and saw a small gray lump about 20 feet beyond the fence.Thank goodness.Now they could get the bear and get out of there.“Okay, Murdock.There it is.”

 

Murdock took a step forward and then froze.His jaw dropped.“Hey!”

 

Face looked back at where the bear lay.A boy – no – the boy – the boy in the yellow sweatshirt from the shooting gallery bent over to pick up the fallen bear.

 

“HEY!WAIT!” Murdock yelled.He waved his arms.“That’s my bear!”

 

The boy looked up in their direction.Eyes wide, he pulled the bear to his chest.

 

“HEY!” Murdock screamed once more.

 

For a split second, the boy’s nearly black eyes fixed on Murdock’s brown ones.Then the boy spun around and began to run.

 

“BOGIE!!!!”Murdock yelled again and took off like a flash.He vaulted the metal fence and raced off after the boy in yellow.

 

Face stood and watched.Surrounded by the multi-colored cars, he watched the tiger on the back of Murdock’s brown leather jacket grow smaller and he heard the shouts, “Stop that boy!” and “Bearnapping!” echo through the carnival.

 

With a sigh, Face walked past the dumbfounded teenager and over to the gate. Pushing it aside, he finally exited the Scrambler.Shaking his head, he started to walk in the direction Murdock had run and muttered, “Why do I let him do this to me?”

 

*************

 

“Come on, Face,” Murdock urged as he ran along the walkway past the stalls selling homemade arts and crafts.

 

Face jogged after his friend, wondering how the boy had disappeared.

 

“Wow.Look at that.”

 

Face looked up to see that Murdock had stopped and was staring wide-eyed at a taffy machine.The two metal prongs twirled and pulling the white substance apart.Then the prongs moved closer to one another and the stretched-out taffy collapsed, only to be pulled apart as the prongs continued to rotate.

 

“Please, Faceman.Pretty please with sugar on top, and nuts and cherry too.”

 

“Murdock,” Face said in exasperation.“It’s just candy.We’re looking for the bear.Then we’re leaving.Now come on.”

 

Murdock frowned.“You don’t know how to have fun.”Ignoring Face’s glare, the pilot pulled out his wallet and popped a five-dollar bill in front of the taffy seller.“Two please.”

 

Face knew there was nothing he could do, so he just waited as the vendor handed Murdock two bags.As Murdock walked away from the counter, Face said, “Let’s go, Murdock.We haven’t seen the boy since he grabbed your bear. The kid’s gone.”

 

“Nope,” Murdock replied.“He’s here. I know it.I’ve got a sixth sense about these things.”

 

“Good thing BA isn’t here or he’d be telling you the only sixth sense you’ve got is a sixth sense of nuttiness,” Face cracked.

 

“Now that hurts, Facey,” Murdock said. “How can you hurt your best buddy right after he bought you a bag of salt-water taffy?”He held out one of the little bags containing the white and red striped candy.

 

Face shook his head, but finally took the bag.“Only to get you to stop going on about taffy. It’s not even the real thing. We’re in the Valley, not by the ocean.”

 

Murdock unwrapped one of the sticky sweets and popped it in his mouth. He made an exaggerated chewing motion and then his eyes lit up.Umph . . .He appeared to have some trouble freeing his teeth, but then managed.“Good. Try some.”

 

‘Could this get any worse?’ Face wondered.“Fine,” he snapped, taking one of the candies, ripping off the paper and popping it into his mouth.“You satisfied?”

 

“You haven’t chewed it.”

 

Fi–” He could not finish the word because his teeth lodged in the soft taffy and he had to strain to extricate them.

 

Murdock beamed.“Good, huh?”

 

Actually, it was pretty good.Finally breaking the lock the taffy had on his teeth, Face managed, “Yeah . . . Reminds me–”

 

“Of the taffy you used to steal from the Santa Monica pier when you were a kid?”Murdock finished the sentence for Face.

 

“How’d you know about that?” Face asked, surprised.

 

“You told me, muchacho.”

 

“I did?”

 

“Yep.”Murdock took the opportunity to sit down on a bench and dug into his back once again.He held out a piece of candy.As Face popped it into his mouth, Murdock explained.“In Miss Lucy’s club in Saigon.You told me all about sneaking out of the orphanage and hopping on the back bumper of the bus to Santa Monica.”

 

Mmhhiii . . .Face freed his teeth.“I did?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“I must have been drunk.”

 

Murdock nodded.“As a skunk.”

“Wow.”Face fell silent for a second.“But I didn’t steal.I selectively liberated them from their oppressive maker.”

 

“Right, Face.I’m sure your stomach was less oppressive.”Murdock chuckled wryly.

 

“To a ten-year old, it sure was,” Face said.

 

“Right,” Murdock repeated.“And that ‘selectively liberated’ line never works.You got two weeks in the brig for ‘selectively liberating’ General Jackson’s bottle of wine.”

 

“Actually, it was a 1948 Chateau Lafite Rothschild.”Face sighed. “And worth ever minute in the brig.”

 

“Was it worth every minute of Hannibal’s guard duty and obstacle courses?”

 

“Okay.Okay. You got me.”Face waved a hand.Then he grimaced, “You would think Hannibal really believed Charlie was gonna attack the latrine.”

 

Murdock laughed.Naw.He only thought that when you screwed up.” Before Face could react, Murdock looked up and pointed across the fairgrounds.Leaping to his feet, he said, “There he is.”

 

Face’s eyes followed and he saw a flash of yellow through the crowd.

 

The chase was back on.

 

*************

 

Huffing and puffing, Face came to a stop in the middle of the fairgrounds.To his right was the Ferris Wheel.To his left was a roller coaster.Bending over to catch his breath, he listened as the riders screamed, terrified and exhilarated, as the small cars snaked, flipped and looped.

 

“We’re never gonna get him,” Face gasped to Murdock.The pilot bounced on the balls of his feet like a prize fighter waiting for the opening bell and scanned the area.

 

“There!”

 

Face groaned.Not again. “Where, Murdock?”

 

“On the coaster.Just getting into the car. Come on, if we run, we can make it.”

 

“Let’s get him at the exit,” Face said.“He can’t–”

 

Face never finished the sentence.

 

*************

 

“Don’t . . . ever . . . do . . . that . . . again . . .”

 

“What’s wrong, muchacho?” Murdock asked. “I thought you liked roller coasters.”

 

“Don’t . . . ever . . .”

 

Aww, c’mon Facey.It wasn’t so bad.There aren’t many triple-looped roller coasters at these small fairs. Usually, they’re just up and down.”

 

“Don’t . . .”

 

“Okay,” Murdock said.“No more roller coasters.”

 

Face took a deep breath, thankful that he had only eaten a few pieces of taffy.Seeing Murdock step ahead, Face surreptitiously looked back at the triple loop. ‘Wow.We really went on that?’He felt a momentary flash of the Jazz.

 

Then he remembered why Murdock had pulled him onto the roller coaster in the first place.Face looked around, but saw no sign of the dark-haired boy in the yellow sweatshirt. “Damn.Where’d he go?”

 

Murdock surveyed the crowd.He closed his eyes and chewed on his lip.

 

“What are you doing now, Murdock?” Face groaned.

 

“ESP.”

 

“What?”

 

His eyes still shut tight, Murdock explained.“ESP, Faceman.I’m sending out mental waves and Bogie will respond with mental waves of his own.”Murdock placed both index fingers to his temple.

 

“Bogie’s a stuffed bear.”Face rolled his eyes.He knew reason would not work, but something compelled him to fight the losing battle. “Bogie doesn’t have mental waves.”

 

“Shush,” Murdock ordered.“I see . . . It’s coming . . . Yes . . .I see . . .Murdock’s eyes snapped open and lit up.“The sideshow.”

 

“The what!”

 

Too late again.Murdock was moving at full bore.About twenty feet away, he stopped at frantically waved his arm in a circle to motion Face forward.“Coming, muchacho?”

 

*************

 

“The sideshow, Facey.”Murdock pointed proudly as they neared the tent. Aww . . . you gotta love it.A whole world you don’t even know is out there.Come on, Faceman.”

 

“No,” Face said.“We’re trying to find your bear, remember?I’m not setting foot in there.We have no reason to think the kid’s inside that tent.”

 

“But he might be, Faceman.We’ll never know if we don’t look.”

 

Once again, Murdock’s hand snaked out and grabbed Face.He could have fought, but the one thing he had learned this night is that Murdock would not be deterred.Letting loose a loud sigh, he said, “Fine.But this is the last time, Murdock.I’m starting to think you don’t really want to find your bear.”

 

Murdock ignored the barb and pulled Face toward the entrance of the tent. “Don’t be such a stick-in-the-mud. You’ll love it in here.Hey, if you don’t, we could try and get them to start a new exhibit.How does ‘the grumpiest man in the world’ sound?”

 

“Murdock,” Face warned.

 

“Okay.We can try something a little more snappy.‘The Wizard of Hair Gel’?”

 

“Murdock!”

 

Murdock thought again.Then he snapped his fingers.“I’ve got it. ‘The Lethal Lothario.’”

 

Face grimaced.Then he thought for a minute.“Actually, that’s not half-bad.”

 

“Come on,” Murdock pulled Face through the entrance.

 

They stepped inside and let their eyes adjust to the darkness.Face scanned the people who stood in front of crowds and stages with signs like “World’s Strongest Man,” “Fat Lady,” and “Two-Headed Donkey.”No sign of the yellow sweatshirt.

 

“He’s not in here, Murdock.”Face looked to his side, but it was too late.

 

Murdock, wide-eyed and enthralled with the display, was already rushing to the first display.Woowee.Lookee at this, Faceman.A 500-carat diamond.”

 

Face rolled his eyes.“I don’t think so, Murdock.A 500-carat diamond would be in a museum, not in a cheesy sideshow.”

 

Murdock stuck his tongue out at Face, but had already moved to the next display – a man-sized cage.“Whoa! Get a load of this.”

Face walked over and stepped back. "What the hell is that thing?"

 

There was a pause as Murdock read the sign.“It says here that it's a Snakeman. Half-man, half-snake.”

 

“Freaky,” Face said, actually impressed.

 

Murdock concurred with a quick “Yeah” before he moved on to the rest of the displays.Omigod, Facey. You won’t believe this.”

 

Face knew that was probably true.But he shrugged and moved on anyway.Only about 25 more displays to go.

 

*************

 

Finally emerging from the sideshow tent an hour later, Face checked his watch.10:30.All chance of making up with Linda were long gone.Toys ‘R’ Us was out of the question too.With a sigh, Face said, “Can we go now?I just want to crawl into bed.”

 

Aww, come on, that was fun.Don’t tell me you didn’t think the ‘hydra’ was cool.”

 

‘He can’t make me admit it,’ Face swore silently.Out loud, he said, “The only thing that was cool about the ‘hydra’ is that people will pay money to see two two-headed snakes tied together.” He smiled.“Boy, there is someone I could take lessons from.”

 

Murdock smiled.“You could be the king of the sideshow, Faceman.Nobody’d have to teach you anything.”

 

Face beamed at the thought of “Templeton Peck’s World-Famous Carnival Side Show.”

 

Murdock’s should interrupted the vision. He pointed excitedly across the grounds. “There!”

 

“Not again,” Face groaned.But when he looked, he saw the dark-haired boy with the yellow sweatshirt. The stuffed grey bear was visible in his arms.He was waiting in line under a sign that said “Tsunami.”

 

“Is that a water ride?” Face asked hesitantly even as Murdock dragged him toward the line.

 

“Don’t worry,” Murdock assured.

 

Face tried to pull himself free.“I’m not going on a water ride.This suit is expensive.”

 

Murdock shook his head and pointed.“Look.See those boats.All they do is go up and drop into the water.The splash isn’t that bad.”

 

Face looked at the ride.He watched as an empty boat rose and then dropped.There was a splash, but it didn’t go that far into the boat.If they sat in the middle of the boat, it looked like they would stay dry.“Okay. But we’re not sitting in the front.”

 

Murdock beamed.“No problema.”He pointed at the boy, who was just inside the gate, waiting to board the boat.“If we hurry, we can get in there with the kid and catch him on the way out.”

 

They entered the line about 15 people behind the boy.The people immediately in front were grumbling.

 

“Finally.”

 

“About time they got this ride going again.”

 

“Thank god.We’ll get to go before the fair closes.”

 

Face rolled his eyes.He couldn’t believe people would get that worked up about a water ride that probably wouldn’t even get anyone wet.

 

*************

 

“That . . . is . . . enough . . .” Face spluttered.He tried to brush back his soaking-wet hair, but the water from his sodden sleeves only made things worse.He looked down to see the silk plastered against his body.

 

Murdock shook his head, spraying water like a dog that had just climbed out of a pool.

 

“This suit is ruined, Murdock,” Face moaned.“Ruined, did you hear me?”

 

Murdock shrugged.“Don’t blame me.How was I supposed to know that we’d get so wet?It didn’t look so bad when we watched.”

 

Face growled.“Those boats were empty.They didn’t have the weight of 40 people causing a splash.Remember . . . things like gravity and displacement.”

 

“Oh,” Murdock pouted.“So now you’re gonna get all scientific on me?”

 

“THAT’S IT!!!”Face finally snapped.“I’ve done everything you wanted.Gone on every stupid ride and attraction at this place.I did the fun house, the Tilt-o-Whirl, the Ferris Wheel, the carousel, the Rock-o-Plane.For god’s sake, I even paid for you to go on a helicopter ride that just went up and hovered even though you do that all the time. Enough is enough.”

 

Murdock’s face fell.Very quietly, he asked, “Didn’t you have any fun at all?”

 

Face started to shoot back with a “No,” but then he stopped.For all the exasperation, some of it . . . some of it had actually been fun.“Well . . .”

“You did, didn’t you?”Murdock’s face lit up again.“You did have some fun.Don’t lie to me, Faceguy.Tell me the truth.Admit that you had fun.”

 

“Okay, okay.”Face waved his hands.“I’ll admit that some of it was okay.”

 

“The taffy?” Murdock pressed.

 

“Yeah.”Face couldn’t suppress a sheepish smile.“The taffy was good.But I wasn’t planning on spending the night eating candy.I was supposed to spend it with a woman.”

 

“But you spent plenty of time with women tonight,” Murdock said.“Come on . . . remember the carousel.”

 

Face rolled his eyes.“Those were not women.They were mothers.Mothers have children.And mothers on carousels have little children.Little, crying children who need diapers changed or ask lots of stupid questions.Mothers on carousels are not available for fancy dinners at Chez Henri – or late nights at my place.”

 

“Aw . . . come on.Some of those ‘mothers’ were pretty attractive.”

 

Face suppressed a smile as he remembered the ride.He couldn’t deny it.“Oh . . . Okay . . . The carousel wasn’t bad.”

 

Murdock beamed.“See . . . You did like things.Taffy, the carousel . . . I bet you even liked the roller coaster.You did, didn’t you?”

 

Face hesitated.

 

“The roller coaster?”Murdock put his hands on his hips and waited expectantly for a response.

 

“Okay . . . On reflection, yeah, the roller coaster was fun.”Face added, “But only after I got back on solid ground.”

 

“I knew it!” Murdock shouted and jumped up and down with glee.“You just needed to let loose a little, muchacho.Under all that grumbling and whining, there is a little kid just trying to get out. I just knew if I got you here–He froze and stopped short.

 

Eyes narrowing, Face studied his friend suspiciously.“Did I catch that right?This was all a plot to get me here?”

 

Murdock swallowed.“Uh . . . If I said yes, what are my odds of walking home to Westwood?”

 

“Try 100 percent.”Face glared.

 

“I plead the Fifth.”

Face threw back his head in disbelief.“You conned me?This whole thing was a con?The bear?Pulling me onto rides.Getting wet?”

 

Murdock dropped his head and studied his Chuck Taylor All Stars. “I just wanted you to have some fun.I mean, you even saw the fat lady tonight”

 

“I didn’t want to see the fat lady tonight.I wanted to see Linda.” Face said.

 

“Oh please, Face.You can get any girl you want on any night.For once, you needed to let down your hair.Or at least let it get wet.”Murdock paused.“And you did have some fun.”

 

Face studied the pilot during a long silence.“You really did this so I would have fun?”

 

Murdock nodded slowly, but didn’t look up.

 

“It wasn’t so you could go on a bunch of rides?”

 

Murdock shook his head.“The VA has a field trip here tomorrow.”

 

Face shook his head from side to side.He could not believe he had been tricked like this.But still . . . “You really did this for me.Murdock . . . I . . . I don’t know what to say.”

 

Murdock looked up carefully.“Say you had a good time?”

 

Face stood silently and looked around.Slowly, his face broke into a real grin.“Okay.I had a good time.Even if it means a ruined suit.”

 

“Hooray!” Murdock cheered.

 

Face was not sure what to say.After another silence, he finally said, “Thanks, buddy.”

 

Murdock reached out a hand and placed it on Face’s shoulder.“Any time.”

 

Face laughed.“So how about we get another bag of taffy and head for the car.”

 

“Sure thing, muchacho.”

 

Murdock smiling proudly and Face thinking silently, they walked side-by-side toward the candy stall. Just before they reached it, Face glimpsed a spot of yellow on the steps of a game booth.Above the yellow was a dark head of hair.

 

‘There he is,” Face said quietly.With Murdock close behind, Face stealthily approached the boy.

 

The boy looked up as they neared.Seeing Murdock, the boy grinned.“Hey, mister, you want your bear back.”

Murdock glanced at Face and then back at the kid.The pilot smiled.“No, kid.Bogie did his job.You go on and give him a nice home.”

 

Face felt his jaw drop and he looked at Murdock in surprise. “Murdock?”

 

“Oh come on, Faceman.You don’t really think I’d get that worked up over a stuffed animal?”He grinned. “Let’s get that taffy and go.‘Sides.Tomorrow, after the fair, you can take me to Toys ‘R’ Us.”

 

Standing in an ever growing puddle of water with his suit hanging limply against his frame, Face just watched his friend saunter off toward the candy stall.Face would never win.He knew it. And, if he admitted it, he probably didn’t want to.


Bear With It by Reckless

 

 


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