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This page last viewed: 2017-10-20 and has been viewed 4305 times
(Almost) Instant Karma
Summary: New case, new persona, same old problems for Hannibal, Face, BA and Murdock.
Disclaimer: I don't own the A-Team, and don't mean to infringe on any intellectual property rights. I don't do this for the money, which is good, 'cause there isn't any. I do it for the jazz, man, for the jazz.
mean?" BA snarled, looking from the red traffic light to the man beside
Murdock sat in the passenger seat, eyes closed, a peaceful smile on his face.
"I said," BA repeated, "what do you mean there's something wrong with my van? There's nothin' wrong with it. It's runnin' fine."
"All I can tell you," Murdock said calmly, the hint of a smile still playing around his lips. "is that I'm listening to the engine, and she's tellin' me she's not happy."
"Happy? What's happy got to do with it? We don't have time for this now, fool. We gotta meet Faceman and Hannibal."
"Fine. I'm just telling you, you should check that engine."
BA snarled again and drove forward when the light changed to green.
Two blocks later, the engine died.
BA called Face's mobile phone to say they would be late. "That crazy fool did somethin' to my engine!" he nearly shouted. "He said it would break down, and it did!"
"But BA," Face responded soothingly. "Didn't you just pick him up at the VA?"
"Then exactly when would he have done something to your engine?"
silent as he thought. "Then how did he know?" he finally asked.
"Hell if I know," Face responded. "How does Murdock know anything? Sometimes he just does."
"That's creepy," BA grunted.
"Yeah, I know." Face looked at his watch. "So, when will you guys get here?"
"Depends on what's wrong and how long it takes to fix it." BA looked out the windshield, finally noticing that the hood of the van was open, and Murdock was rooting around in the engine.
"Hey!" BA yelled, hanging up the mobile phone. "Get outta there, fool!"
"Found it," Murdock's voice was muffled, as his head was still in the engine compartment. "A plug was loose. Got it tightened up, though. Try it now."
With a dubious expression, BA turned the key and the engine leapt to life.
around to the door by the driver's seat, wiping his hands with a rag. "Easy as ABC, man," he said with a
grin. "Let's roll."
"Here's the deal, fellas." Hannibal lit a cigar before proceeding. "Mr. Lee met with our new client. His name's Jason Boyd, and he seems to check out legit. He says that someone is trying to take over his business."
"What's his business?" BA asked.
Face smiled. "Somebody trying to take him to the cleaners?"
Hannibal groaned. "Don't encourage him."
"Come on, Hannibal," Murdock interjected serenely. "Faceman's a barrel of laughs. And laughter is very important for the health of the soul."
Hannibal looked at the other man questioningly, and then turned to Face, eyebrows raised.
"Oh." Face lowered his voice. "I forgot to tell you, it's "Zen" Murdock this week. Spiritualism is his latest kick."
"Ah." Hannibal puffed on his cigar for a moment, and then continued. "Anyway, we have a meeting to go over his business records in two hours. Face, that's you and me. We also have to check the security of his shop. BA, Murdock, that's you."
BA snarled at Murdock, who continued to smile peacefully. "Don't wanna be anywhere near this guy today. He's creepin' me out with all this maharishi mumbo jumbo."
"Fortunes of war, BA. Gotta go with what you got."
When BA and Murdock arrived at their client's dry cleaning shop, they found the lights out and the doors locked.
"Something's wrong, BA," Murdock said, his hands pressed against the alley door at the back of the business. "I can feel it, big guy. The karma here is all wrong."
"Doors are locked, fool, that's what's all wrong. Client's supposed to be here to let us in." BA stepped back and looked the building over. There was a transom window over the back door, but it was too high for him to see into.
"Here." He leaned over slightly and beckoned Murdock. "Take a look in that window. Make sure it's all clear in there before we bust in."
climbed up onto BA's shoulders and looked through the transom. Moments later he
climbed down, looked decidedly less serene.
"Three guys in there, BA," he said, eyes narrowing.
"One of them Thomson?"
"Well, there're three guys, two pointing guns, so I'm guessing the odd man out is the client."
"Now what?" BA asked.
"No problems, BA. We just have to calm ourselves, become centered." Murdock closed his eyes and inhaled slowly. "Deep breaths, BA," he said, illustrating the movements with his hands. "Relax, and the answers will become as clear as handwriting on the wall."
BA glared at Murdock in frustration. Granted, the crazy man sometimes came up with a workable plan if he had enough time and the proper inspiration, but BA wasn't sure Zen Murdock was the right inspiration. He didn't want to burst in and get the client killed, though, so he supposed it didn't matter if they waited a moment or two.
Murdock's eyes popped open. "Hide," he hissed.
"Hide, BA. They're comin' out...."
The two ducked behind a dumpster as the back door of the shop slammed open.
"Come on, Boyd." Two big men shoved the A-Team's client out the door in front of them at gunpoint.
"You're gonna see Mr. Cirino," said the first thug, with an ugly grin. "He said he wants to settle old scores with you."
The two henchmen walked Thomson down the alley, disappearing around the corner.
BA heard the sound of a car starting and driving away, and assumed it was the thugs and their hostage. He turned to ask Murdock how he'd know the bad guys were coming out of the shop, only to find him missing. He tried to figure out where the other man had disappeared to, and when, but drew a blank.
Suddenly, Murdock came trotting from around the corner from where Cirino's henchmen had been parked.
BA breathed deeply in relief, then growled at his friend. "Where you been?"
"I've been making sure our chi is flowing correctly," Murdock said with a smile.
"What? You ain't makin' sense."
"Ah, BA," Murdock held up a tracking receiver BA recognized as belonging to a homing device from the van. "I'm making perfect sense."
"You got a transmitter on the car?" BA smiled. "Good. Let's get Hannibal."
Hannibal put down the phone and glanced at Face. "We got trouble, kid. Seems our client has been taken hostage."
"That's not all," Face replied, looking up from Thomson's business records. "These can't be the real books, Hannibal. Our client seems like he's hiding something."
"Laundering money, you think?"
"Yep. Probably skimming some off the top, to boot."
"Mob?" Hannibal asked.
Hannibal gave a laugh. "That'd be appropriate, don't you think? Laundering money through a dry cleaner."
"At least they have a sense of humor," Face agreed.
"Not necessarily. BA says someone just took our client for an unscheduled road trip. And I think I want to ask him a few questions myself."
"We've gotta go get him, then?" Face grimaced. He wasn't looking forward to tangling with the mob.
Hannibal grinned, and Face recognized the clear signals of the jazz. Sighing, he put the business records in his briefcase, and they headed quickly out the door to meet with Murdock and BA.
"Essentially the amount Boyd is taking is just a drop in the bucket, but you know how the mob gets," Face said, filling the other two in on what he'd found in the business records as they followed the transmitter signal. "They hate when you take anything from them."
"We've gotta rescue this guy," Hannibal said, puffing on his cigar. "I want to find out why he brought us in on this."
"You look annoyed, BA," Murdock said. "Just relax, and breathe deeply. Get in touch with your surroundings. Think – " Murdock searched for the right word. "Peaceful."
BA glared into the rearview mirror. "Think bein' in pieces, fool. That's what you gonna be if you don't quit this guru stuff."
"Sorry, BA, can't hear you," Murdock said, his eyes closed. "I'm in my peaceful place."
They followed the car to a secluded house outside the city. It was tucked in amongst the upper class neighborhoods one finds when the land opens up and the smog clears.
"What's the plan, Hannibal?" BA asked.
"First, we get the layout of the land." He handed Murdock a pair of binoculars. "Take a look around, Eagle Eye. See what you can find."
"Hannibal," Murdock explained patiently. "Eagle Eye was several personas ago. But no worries. I'll check it out and get right back to you."
"Use the walkie talkie, Maharishi," BA growled. "Don't do no telepathy."
"Inner spiritualism, BA. That's the answer. Not cheap parlor tricks."
"Just let us know where they are and how many," Hannibal instructed as Murdock slipped into the bushes surrounding the house.
The motion detector security system had presented no challenge for BA to disable, and Murdock had little trouble hopping a fence near the back of the building. Luckily, the home owner seemed overconfident in his electronic security. There were no human or animal guards to avoid.
Murdock passed quickly along the inside of a hedge that lined the back yard until he had a good vantage point to look in a back window, into what appeared to be a den or library of some sort. An elegantly dressed man in an expensive, casual outfit was questioning the man Murdock recognized as their client, Boyd. He was flanked by the same thugs who'd dragged him from his business a short time ago.
The window was open to welcome the warm spring day, and voices carried into the yard easily. "The books," Murdock heard the man in charge say. "Where are they, Boyd?"
"I'll never tell you," Boyd responded. "You took my business and turned it dirty. You forced me to launder money for your operation. Well, I'll pay you back. Yeah, I've been taking some of your money. But I've been putting it away, safely. And now I have enough evidence, and you're going to jail!"
"You know what, Al? You're not worth the trouble you're causing me." The man rose and faced the window. Murdock shrank back into the bushes. "Take him out, Eddy. Finish him off, and burn his place to the ground." He picked up a drink, and took a sip.
message," he instructed.
Murdock returned as quickly as possible to the van and reported on the conversation he'd overheard as they headed back to town.
"That explains two sets of books," Face said.
"Well," Hannibal said. "Now that we know our client is one of the good guys, let's go get him." He puffed reflectively on his cigar. "They won't kill him at Cirino's – too messy to do it there. Probably not on the way, either. They'll wait till they're at the cleaners. Step on it, BA. We need to beat them there."
They arrived at the dry cleaners and parked in an alley up the street moments before the car containing Boyd and Cirino's thugs. Boyd climbed from the car, much to everyone's relief.
The Team had retrieved their guns from the locker in the back of the van on the way back to town, and had posted themselves in different parts of the alleyway, lying in wait for the thugs and their captive. Hannibal knew they'd have to move fast. Once these thugs got Boyd inside, he was as good as dead.
Hannibal looked at the two thugs, tied and gagged, sitting with their backs against the alley wall. It had seemed unfair, the four Team members against the two henchmen, so he and Face had stood back while Murdock and BA subdued these two. It had been done quickly, without a shot fired or vehicle demolished.
He pulled out a cigar, bit off the tip and surveyed the scene before him. Boyd, now safe but still shaken, stood between Face and BA as if still seeking protection. Murdock was putting the finishing touches on the words "Bad Guys" and the downward-pointing arrow he was spray painting on the brick wall above their heads.
Just a few loose ends, but all in all, not bad, he reflected. He chuckled as he lit his cigar.
"Nice," he announced, to no one in particular.
"Man, was I glad to see you!" Boyd beamed in relief as they drove away from the cleaners, to the police station. "I thought I was dead for sure!"
"You will be, if we don't get you to the police right now," Hannibal said. "With both sets of your books. All the police will need to put Cirino away for good, Mr. Boyd, is your testimony to go with it."
The dry cleaner nodded. "That was always the plan."
"I have the books right here in my briefcase," Face said, patting his satchel. Suddenly, he looked thoughtful. "You knew Cirino was catching on to you, didn't you?" he asked Boyd.
"Uh, yes…." the other man responded, somewhat guiltily.
"And," Hannibal continued, "you hired us to keep both sets of books safe for you?"
"You could've just come out and said something," Face said, looking a bit put out. "It's a lot easier when we're in the loop, you know."
"Would've saved us a lotta running around," BA agreed.
on, guys," Murdock said.
"After all these years, you've got to know how to go with the
"You see, BA, the forces of fate know no rhyme or reason." Murdock said later as they drove him back to the VA. "It simply is, and we must follow it."
"Man, this jibber jabber is givin' me a headache."
"Geez, BA. Your bad vibes are gettin' me all – all off-centered."
"Come on, you two," Hannibal interjected. "The case turned out well, the bad guy got caught."
even got paid," Face added.
"Out of the funds Boyd was skimming." Hannibal grinned in satisfaction. "Almost poetic."
Murdock grinned, and settled back into his seat. "I love it when the karma comes together."
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