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Chippendales Are Us
Author: Mistress Lrigtar
Rating: PG - 13 (language, violence, gratuitous nudity)
Summary: When a scam goes bad, Face finds he's signed a contract for the team to work at a nightclub. Now he has to figure out a way to get out of the contract and get the teams' help in the process, otherwise they are going to find themselves onstage and expected to go the Full Monty. Will BA break every bone in Face's body? Will Hannibal see this as an opportunity to advance his acting career? Will Murdock believe he is the future role model for the Chippendales? And will Face discover he has hidden sexual inhibitions?
Warnings: fluffy, fluff fluff, wrapped up in a thin plot. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Don't own them, etc. Just having a little fun for free.
Copyright: November 2005
The bar was nice enough, as far as bars go. The shelves behind the counter were lined with varying brands of liquor, wine, and beer they had available. There were even a few imports.
At the back of the establishment was a stage where local bands played on the weekends.
There were a few posters plastered in the front window advertising upcoming events at the bar.
Face hefted a stack of similar posters and his briefcase in one hand and lugged a box of some sort behind him with the other. He had chosen this bar after much deliberation and investigation. It wasn't too central a location to attract undue attention, but central enough to have a steady clientele and profit.
He walked over to the bar. The barman was polishing glasses, getting ready for the Happy Hour crowd and eyed Face.
"Good afternoon, sir," Face said, placing his posters on the bar top and setting the box on the floor by his feet.
"Afternoon," the barkeep replied. "What can I do you for?"
Face smiled and held out his hand. "I'm Templeton Peck."
"Harry Roberts," the bartender replied, not offering his hand in return. "If you don't want a drink, we ain't open."
Face's grin broadened. "Mr. Roberts, I see you are a man who means business. That is very good to hear. Very good."
"What exactly do you want, mister?" Harry said, shelving the glass and placing both hands on the bar to peer closer at Face. "You ain't one of them Chippendales are you?"
Face looked around, just to make sure there wasn't anybody else in the bar. "Ah, excuse me?"
"You know? One of them dancers." The bartender said.
"Right, I know what you are talking about and no, I am not," Face said and smoothed his tie nervously.
"Shame, 'cause they bring in good money."
"Well, if you would like to bring in some extra cash, Mr. Roberts, I have just the thing for you," Face said and plopped the box he had been carrying on the counter.
"What's that contraption? Looks like a speaker with a tape deck," Harry said, examining the box.
Face beamed at his interest. "This is a new invention straight from Japan. It's a Karaoke machine."
"A carrot what?" Harry asked.
"Karaoke, sir," Face said and pointed to the darkened stage. "It allows people to get on that very stage you have there and sing their hearts out for a small cover charge."
"Who'd pay to do that?" Harry asked incredulous.
"People would pay. With the right advertising, I can have this place packed wall to wall with people clamoring to sing 'Jesse's Girl'. You could make a small fortune."
"A small fortune, huh? And what do you get out of this deal?" Harry asked skeptically.
"Me? Merely a percentage," Face replied. He pulled some paperwork out of his briefcase.
Harry Roberts looked Face over with interest and glanced at the paperwork. He then pulled out some similar paperwork of his own.
"Your proposition sounds kind of interesting. I'd be willing to give it a try if you could do me a favor in exchange."
Face looked at Harry and down at what looked like some kind of contract. "What's this?"
"I had an act supposed to come through here cancel on me," the barkeep said. "I'll have to refund tons of money. Won't be good for my business. So, I am mighty interested in your machine, but only if you can make right this act."
"What was the act?" Face asked, mildly curious.
"Some performers were supposed to come do something called the full monty. Had my lady clientele in a tizzy, let me tell you. Did I mention some of the beauties that come in here?"
"Um, no you didn't," Face said. "So, you just need some performers?"
"Yep, just a few men," Harry drawled. "Seems a fair deal – I use your machine and you get me an act for the full monty. You'd clear $20,000 easy with that act. In fact, if you and a few of your friends did it you could have all that money for yourselves. Ain't much to it and all."
"$20,000?" Face choked, surprised.
"Sure thing," Harry said, and shoved his contract at Face. "You game?"
"Mr. Roberts, you have a deal," Face said.
"Alright then. If you would just print your name here," Harry said, pointing to a line at the top. "State that you and some of your associates will be performing here. And sign at the bottom."
Face signed his name with a flourish. There was no way he'd make twenty grand with the Karaoke machine.
Harry Roberts signed Face's contract as well.
"You think you can get me the act by Saturday?" Harry asked.
"Um, yeah, I know some people I can ask," Face replied, wondering whom he was going to ask.
"Alright. We'll try out your machine on Friday then. Stop by tomorrow and we'll work out the money details," Harry said.
Face headed for the door and realized there was one other question he needed to ask.
"Mr. Roberts, what exactly is the full monty?"
"Male strippers, Mr. Peck. See you tomorrow." Harry smiled at him and went back to polishing his glasses.
The last of the customers had left Harry's place and it was getting near closing time. He was wiping down the bar when two men dressed in dark suits came in.
They walked over to him and sat on stools in front of him.
"Long time, Harry," the taller of the two said.
"What do you want, Freddie?" Harry asked.
"Where's the money you owe us?"
"I don't have it yet. Come back after this weekend and I will," Harry said, reaching for the gun he kept hidden by the cash register.
The second thug lunged over the bar and grabbed Harry's arm, twisting it behind his back. "Don't even think about it."
Harry cried out in pain and Freddie leaned in.
"Finnegan's tired of waiting," Freddie said. "I'd hate for anything bad to happen to that pretty girl you have going to UCLA. Since you don't have the money, we'll be using your place for some business transactions."
Harry gritted his teeth. "You can't use my business as a front!"
"I can do whatever I want until you pay Finnegan what you owe him. You gamble and lose, you pay."
"I'm just trying to put my daughter through college," Harry said.
"Then you won't mind if we use your establishment," Freddie said. "Cal, let him go."
Cal shoved Harry into the shelves behind his bar. Harry's outthrust hands broke the glass shelves, cutting him and causing bottles to crash to the floor around him.
Freddie and Cal ambled out the door, chuckling.
Harry cradled his cut hands, trying to wrap them with the towel he'd been using earlier. Things were spiraling out of control. He hoped that Peck character didn't back out. He needed the money this weekend was bound to generate more than ever.
Face fretted the entire drive over to the VA. He had called Murdock that morning and told him to be ready and waiting. Face didn't have the energy to con his friend out this time around.
When he pulled up to the front of the VA, Murdock bolted out the door and jumped into the car. Normally Face would have taken offense at the pilot getting his feet all over the car's leather seats, but today he merely peeled out of the parking lot before the orderlies knew what had happened.
Several miles down the road, Murdock breathed a sigh of relief and settled back into his seat. He glanced over at his friend.
"So, what's up, Faceguy?"
Face didn't take his eyes of the road. "I, um, thought it would be nice to spring you is all."
He fiddled nervously with his tie and checked the rearview mirror for pursuers. Murdock studied him carefully. After all these years, he could read his friend pretty well.
"Yeah?" the pilot drawled. "What's 'really' going on?"
Face sighed and finally looked over at his friend for a brief moment. "Murdock, I need some help."
"Uh oh, what did you do this time?" Murdock asked, wondering if he really wanted to know.
"What? How do you know it's something I did?" Face asked, offended.
"I know you," Murdock said.
Face was silent for a moment, mulling over whether he should tell Murdock or not. He was beginning to think he would have been better off trying to deal with Harry Roberts on his own. However, it was too late now. Murdock wouldn't let it rest until he knew the trouble Face was in.
"Ok, I found a bar to try out the Karaoke machine," he began, but a howl from Murdock cut him off before he could continue.
"That's great! When? Where?" Murdock asked, barely able to contain his glee.
"Friday," Face said. "It's a bar called Madrigals."
"Perfect, Faceman," Murdock said and looked over at his friend. He didn't look very excited about the whole deal. "What's wrong?"
"Well," Face began. "Ah, there's uh a bit more to the whole deal."
"Oh?" Murdock asked and then groaned. "Oh no! This isn't going to be like that time when the rednecks nearly killed you because of the Cowboy George incident."
"No, no, no. It's nothing like that. Honest." Face said. He reached over and opened the glove compartment. Some papers fell out into Murdock's lap. "I, uh, just have to provide the bar owner with some other, ah, 'entertainment' as well."
"Other entertainment?" Murdock asked, looking at the papers. "Like what?"
"Oh, a performing act, is all," Face said, and again smoothed his tie.
Murdock flipped through the papers and saw Face's signature at the end. He turned back to the beginning and read through the contract quickly. When he came to one portion his eyes widened and he looked over at his friend.
"Did you read this before you signed up yourself and your 'associates'?!" Murdock asked, incredulous.
"We're going to get paid $20,000!" Face said defensively.
"That doesn't answer my question. Did you 'read' this?" Murdock asked again. "Do you have any idea what the full monty is, Face?"
"Yeah, male strippers," Face said. "What's the big deal? I mean it's not like strippers get completely naked."
Murdock shook his head. "You have no idea? How can you of all people not know?"
"What?" Face asked.
"Face, the full monty means 'the complete thing'," Murdock said. "In other words, everything goes."
Face slammed on the brakes, nearly causing an accident. "What do you mean 'everything goes'?"
"It means exactly what you think it means. It's the whole she-bang. The entire package. The full enchilada," Murdock snickered.
"I'd appreciate it if you would not paint elaborate analogies, Murdock," Face said, and resumed driving.
Murdock continued laughing at his friend. "Have you told BA and Hannibal yet?"
"Um, no," Face said. "I'm supposed to meet with the owner of the bar today to work out the details. That's where we are headed now. I was hoping I could get out of the contract."
Murdock smirked. "Good luck with that one. For a conman you sure do get conned."
Face gritted his teeth. "You're not helping."
"Am I supposed to?" Murdock asked. When Face didn't answer he looked over at him. "No way, Face. You can't be thinking what I 'think' you're thinking."
"It'd be an easy twenty grand," Face said.
"Hey, I'm crazy, I'll do anything and don't even need to get paid," Murdock said. "But you might want to think about taking out a life insurance policy before you tell BA."
Face had no comment for this remark and continued driving in silence to Harry Robert's bar.
When they arrived at Madrigal's, Face pulled into a spot by the curb and grabbed the contract from Murdock. He stuffed it in his breast pocket and got out of the car. Murdock jumped over the door and ignored the glare Face shot him.
They walked into the bar, only to find it empty.
"That's odd," Face said. He reached under his jacket to make sure his gun was in its holster. "Harry?"
Harry Roberts poked his head out a door behind the counter. "Oh, Mr. Peck, it's you." He came out to stand in his usual spot.
Face noticed the bandages on his hands immediately and that Harry's right arm was in a sling.
"What happened to you?" Face asked, momentarily forgetting that this was the man that had conned him into signing the contract.
"Clumsy," was all Harry said.
Face and Murdock exchanged glances and walked over to the bar.
"Are you here to iron out the details?" Harry asked.
"Um, yes, about that," Face said, and pulled the rumpled document out of his pocket.
"You're not backing out. You signed that contract," Harry said.
Before Face could answer, the two men from the previous evening entered the bar. Upon seeing Face and Murdock talking to Harry they walked over.
"Get out," Freddie said to Face. "We got business with Harry here."
Face grinned at Freddie, "Well, as you can see we are conducting some business of our own. So, if you don't mind waiting…"
Freddie grabbed the lapels of Face's jacket. "Listen up, pretty boy! I said get out!"
Face smiled weakly up at Freddie. "Ok, I can see your point. We'll be going."
Freddie released Face's lapels and shoved him against the bar. He then turned to his partner. "These pretty boys are all alike. Pansy-assed wimps."
Face nodded slightly at Murdock. They moved at the same time; Murdock lunged at Cal as Face drew his gun, grabbed the back of Freddie's jacket, spun him around and slammed his face into the bar.
Harry backed away with a cry of shock.
Murdock made short work of Cal, shoving him over a table. Both Cal and the table toppled to the floor.
Meanwhile, Face had his gun to Freddie's head. "Nobody calls me pretty boy!"
"Don't forget the pansy-assed part," Murdock chimed in, kicking Cal in the gut for good measure and to ensure that he stayed down.
Face glared over at him and then turned his attention back to Freddie. "Now, I suggest you and your partner get out of here before you really get hurt."
He dragged Freddie to the door and shoved him out. Murdock did the same with Cal.
Freddie turned around and yelled at Face and Harry who had come to the door. "You won't get away with this! We'll be back!"
He and Cal got into a black Lincoln Town Car that was parked behind the 'vette and left.
Face turned to Harry. "Would you mind telling us what that was all about?"
"They're the reason you can't back out of that contract," Harry said.
Face had not thought it was a good idea to leave Harry alone after the incident with Freddie and Cal. Therefore he had called Hannibal and BA and asked them to meet him and Murdock at the bar.
"Hannibal said they would be here in about thirty minutes," Face said, taking a seat next to Murdock at a table near the bar.
"Did you tell them?" Murdock asked.
"No, I told them I had a potential job for us," Face said. "Hannibal seemed skeptical enough about that. I decided not to press my luck."
Harry came over and set down two glasses of soda for them before taking a seat himself.
"Thanks again for that with Freddie and Cal," he said. "Although I have to admit that I wasn't expecting a door-to-door salesman to be carrying a gun."
"Door-to-door salesman?" Face asked, looking offended.
Murdock jumped in before Face could say anything more. "Harry, how did you get involved with thugs like that in the first place?"
Harry sighed. "I've gotten in over my head. I'm not proud of it. I am trying to put my daughter, Casey through college. I have this place mortgaged to the hilt and the bank won't give me any more loans. I was desperate, so I borrowed money from Danny Finnegan."
"Who's this Danny Finnegan?" Face asked.
"He runs an illegal gambling den." Harry cut them off before they could interrupt. "I know; it was a mistake. My business has gotten better lately and I was able to pay him back. But, now he says I owe him interest. I don't know what to do."
"Sounds more like you've gotten involved with an arm of the mafia," Face mused.
"Irish Mafia?" Harry asked. "Is there such a thing?"
Murdock nodded. "Yes. They may not be as high-profile as the Italian Mafia, but they exist."
Harry looked worried. "See why you have to do the shows? Those three shows will bring in enough for me to pay Finnegan back and you'll get the money I promised you as well."
"Wait a minute," Face said. "Three shows?"
Murdock looked at his friend. "You really didn't read that contract did you?"
Face opened his mouth to reply, but was again interrupted by the door of the bar banging open. The three men turned to look and saw Hannibal and BA enter.
Both Harry and Face cringed at the sight of BA, but Murdock quickly reassured the bartender. "Don't worry, those are our friends."
Hannibal and BA took the remaining two seats at the table.
"So, Face, what's this about a job for us?" Hannibal said.
"Hannibal, BA" Face began. "This is Harry Roberts. Harry, Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith and BA Baracus."
Face quickly recounted Harry's story about Danny Finnegan, leaving out the part about the signed contract.
Hannibal got out a cigar and chewed on it. "Well, Mr. Roberts. I don't know if my lieutenant told you, but we don't come cheap. It sounds like you are already in over your head. How are you going to pay us?"
"But Mr. Peck didn't tell you about the $20,000," Harry said.
"What's this about $20,000, Face? Seems like if Mr. Roberts has twenty grand he doesn't need our help." Hannibal turned to Harry. "Not that I don't want to see this Finnegan put away, but the simplest solution would be for you to just pay that money to him, Mr. Roberts."
Harry shook his head. "I don't have the money I owe Finnegan yet."
"Then where does this $20,000 come in?" Hannibal asked, looking confused. "Face?"
Face shifted in his seat and ran a hand through his hair. "Well, you see, Hannibal. I convinced Harry to use the Karaoke machine I was telling you about."
Hannibal looked skeptical. "Face, a Karaoke machine is not going to bring in that kind of money."
"I know," Face said, dodging around the subject.
"It's not the Karaoke machine, Mr. Smith," Harry butted in. "It's the contract Mr. Peck signed for himself and his associates."
"Contract?" Hannibal asked. "What kind of contract?"
"For a performing act," Face said. "With you being an actor I figured it would be right up your alley, Hannibal. Not to mention that it's easy money."
"What kind of act are we talking about here?" Hannibal asked, looking around the bar and taking in the stage. "Face, we aren't a band."
Face fiddled with his tie. "It's, um, not for a band."
"Ok," Hannibal said patiently. "What's it for?"
"Performing," Face said.
"Man," BA said. "You're goin' round in circles! Tell us what kind of act it is!"
Face sighed. "Ok, but promise you won't get mad." He looked pointedly at BA when he said this.
"Why would I get mad?" BA asked. "You the one that signed the contract."
"Face?" Hannibal asked again.
"Ok," Face started. "Here's the deal. Harry needed someone to fill-in for an act that cancelled on him at the last minute. If we don't come through he'll lose even more money."
"We?" Hannibal asked.
"Uh, yeah, the act requires several, ah performers, and I uh, kind of signed us up," Face said.
"Us?" BA asked. "I ain't no performer!"
"OK, BA's right, Face, you're still not telling us what we need to do. Spill it," Hannibal said.
Face sighed. "Ok, I signed us up to do the full monty."
Both BA and Hannibal looked even more confused.
"Full monty? What's that?" BA asked.
"You're joking, right?" Hannibal asked.
"Um, no," Face said.
"Let me see the contract," Hannibal said calmly.
Face pulled the document out of his pocket and handed it to the colonel.
Hannibal read over the contract and shook his head. "Strippers, Face? That isn't really our line of expertise."
"Strippers?!" BA bellowed, and knocked his chair over. "Strippers?! I ain't taking my clothes off for nobody, Faceman!"
Harry looked extremely worried. "But I've promised the ticket buyers at least four men. Mr. Peck signed the contract for all of you."
"What?!" BA asked and moved towards Face.
Face scrambled out of his chair. "We're going to get $20,000!"
"You're gonna need it to pay your medical bills when I get done with you!" BA yelled.
"BA, you promised you weren't going to get mad," Face said, backing away.
"I didn't promise nothin'!" BA growled, lunging at the conman.
Murdock tried to hold BA back and Hannibal decided he'd better join him.
"Now, BA, let's calm down," Hannibal said.
BA ignored the both of them and lunged again, dragging them with him. Face danced out of their way.
Murdock let go of BA and applauded. "There you go, Face! Practicing already!"
With two less hands holding him back, BA grabbed Face's lapels, with Hannibal still holding on to one arm.
"You always getting' us into messes!" BA said.
Face tried to choke out a response.
"Uh, BA," Hannibal said. "I think you're choking him."
Harry looked on with a worried expression. "I think he's turning blue."
Hannibal and Murdock tried to pry BA's fingers off Face.
"Aw, come on BA, it could be fun!" Murdock said. "Just think; you may be bitten by the bug."
"Wha'chu talkin' about, Fool?" BA growled.
"The acting bug, ol' chap," Murdock replied, and loosened BA's grip on Face.
Face slipped out of his jacket and ran towards the door of the bar, leaving BA standing there holding an empty coat.
"We ain't done, Face!" BA yelled.
"I'm sure we can work something out," Face gasped. "Later!"
He ran out the door, closely followed by an enraged BA.
Hannibal and Murdock exchanged glances.
"What do you think will happen when BA finds out what the full monty means?" Murdock asked.
"I think, Captain, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Hannibal said and lit his cigar.
Harry looked at the two of them with a shocked expression. "Does he normally act that way?"
"Oh, don't worry about him. He's really just a big teddy bear underneath that gruff exterior," Murdock said.
Hannibal chuckled. "You know, Murdock, you might be right. This could be fun."
Hannibal, Murdock, and Harry were sitting at a table in Madrigal's discussing Danny Finnegan further.
"We need all the information you can give us on Finnegan," Hannibal said.
"Wait a minute," Harry replied. "I don't have a clue what end is up here! I thought Mr. Peck, Face, whatever you call him was a run-of-the-mill conman I could take advantage of. Then he and this Mr. Murdock waltz in here and take out two of Finnegan's goons. Then to top it all off, you and that hulking bouncer show up. Who are you people?"
Hannibal looked taken aback. "We're the A-Team."
"The A-Team?" Harry cried. "I've read about you guys! You're criminals to!"
"Mr. Roberts," Hannibal said. "We were falsely accused. We don't go around harassing business owners and taking their money. We're here to help you and are not going to take advantage of you."
"It's true, Harry," Murdock said. "We're the good guys."
"And I am not a run-of-the-mill conman!" Face said, popping up from behind the bar.
"Where'd you come from?" Harry asked.
"Back door." Face looked around. "Where's BA?"
"I sent him to check out some of Freddie and Cal's hangouts Harry told us about," Hannibal said. "Maybe the drive will cool him off a bit."
"Yeah right," Face moaned. "I'm dead."
Murdock had wandered over to survey the stage. He was shaking his head and making tsking noises.
"This is never going to do!"
"What are you talking about?" Face asked.
"This!" Murdock whirled around, waving his hands. "There's no pole. Any self-respecting stripper has to have a pole. It's a standard prop."
Face gritted his teeth. "We are not going to use poles or anything of the sort, Murdock."
He groaned and sat at the table with Hannibal and Harry. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"How about chairs?" Murdock asked, following Face over. "Chairs are good. What should we wear? Maybe we should wear our uniforms. Ladies love a man in uniform."
"Yeah, I'm definitely going to be sick." Face jumped up and ran to the bathroom.
"What's with him?" Murdock asked, all innocence.
BA returned with news that he had tracked down Freddie and Cal and followed them for the better part of the afternoon. The two men had harassed other business owners along the strip where Madrigal's was located and then had holed up in a dinky bar called Egan's.
Harry nodded his head at this information. "Yes, that's where Finnegan can be found on occasion."
"We should go and have a chat with Mr. Finnegan," Hannibal said. "Face, you and I will check it out. BA, Murdock, I want you to stay here in case Freddie and Cal decide to drop by."
"Will do, Colonel," Murdock said.
Face managed to avoid BA as he and Hannibal left the bar.
"Did you see the way BA was looking at me?" Face asked. "If looks could kill I'd be dead by now."
"Well," Hannibal said, getting out a cigar and lighting it. "I have to admit, Face, I don't know what you were thinking."
"I'll tell you what I'm thinking right now," Face said as he started his car. "If we can nab this Finnegan guy maybe we won't have to do the Chippendale's act at all."
"I figured out of all of us, you'd be the last one to be so worked up about it," Hannibal replied.
"I don't want to talk about it," Face said and then changed the subject. "What are we doing here anyway, Hannibal? Do you have a plan or are we just going to walk into Egan's?"
"That was the plan," Hannibal said.
"Oh, that's a great plan," Face sarcastically replied.
"Yeah, it is," Hannibal said, and smiled over at his second.
Egan's was a shabby looking place on the inside and out. A cheap sign with the bar's name hung over the doorway. The bar consisted of a long counter to the left of the door and a few tables by the windows opposite the bar. At the back of the room was a door and two arcade machines.
"Nice place," Face said. "Real cozy."
A buxom redhead was tending the bar.
"Can I help ya, fellas?" she asked with just a hint of an Irish accent.
Hannibal and Face walked over to the bar.
"We're looking for Danny," Hannibal said.
"Who's askin', em?" The barmaid responded.
"Johnny," Hannibal said. "I have business with him."
She gave them the once over and then walked to the door in the back. Knocking, she stuck her head in, said a few words, and then came back to Hannibal.
"He'll be right out."
Face smiled at her. "So, what's your name?"
"Maggie," she answered, softening slightly.
"Maggie. That's a pretty name," he replied. "Do you think we could have a bottle of scotch and a couple of glasses while we wait?"
She nodded and got the glasses and bottle.
"Thanks, Maggie," Hannibal said. "You can leave the bottle."
He poured two glasses, accidentally sloshing some onto the bar. He set the bottle near Face's elbow. While they waited, Hannibal got out a cigar and puffed on it slowly.
Maggie went to hover by the back door. After a few more minutes the door opened to reveal a tall, fair complected redheaded man, followed by Freddie and Cal. Freddie's nose was sporting a bandage across the bridge.
"You're handy work?" Hannibal whispered to Face.
Face shrugged. "He called me 'pretty boy'."
"Hey!" Freddie yelled. "That's the guy who was at Harry's this afternoon!"
Danny Finnegan raised a hand to prevent Freddie from lunging past him.
"What can I do for you, wankers?" he asked. "Don't believe I know anyone named Johnny."
"I hear your boys were in Harry's this afternoon making trouble," Hannibal said matter-of-factly. He rolled his cigar between his fingers.
Face casually put his hands in his pockets and leaned against the bar.
"Yeah? What's it to you?" Danny asked.
"Harry's paid you fair and square, pal. I'm here to tell you to lay-off," Hannibal said.
"Em, ya hear him, fellas?" Danny looked at his two partners. "He wants us to lay-off."
Freddie leered. "Hey, pretty boy. It's three against two this time. What do you and your grandpa think of that?"
Hannibal glanced at Face. "Did he just call me grandpa?"
"Uh, yeah, I think he did," Face said, and shook his head sadly. "Some people never learn."
"Huh," Hannibal grunted. He looked at the cigar between his fingers and then flipped it into the puddle of scotch he had spilt earlier. Small flames erupted immediately.
Face quickly moved away from the bar, pulling his hands out of his pockets and knocking the bottle of scotch over.
The flames spread across the top of the bar.
"Don't just stand there you eejits!" Danny yelled at Freddie and Cal. "Get somethin' to put that out!"
Cal and Freddie dashed to the back room and came back with fire extinguishers.
"I see you have your hands full here, so we will be leaving," Hannibal said. "If you don't want something other than your bar top to get damaged I suggest you leave Harry Roberts alone."
Danny Finnegan seethed.
"You won't get away with this!" He yelled to Hannibal and Face's retreating backs.
In the car heading back to Madrigal's Face questioned Hannibal on whether it had been wise to harass Danny Finnegan that way.
"He's sure to retaliate, Hannibal," he said.
"That's the idea, Face," Hannibal replied.
"And here I thought this was going to be an easy twenty thousand," Face groaned. "This keeps getting better and better."
When they arrived back at Harry's bar, Murdock had taken the liberty of setting up the Karaoke machine.
He was wrapping up a heartfelt rendition of 'Memory' when he spotted Face and Hannibal entering the bar. Jumping off the stage he ran over to them and slung his arm around Face's shoulders.
"I'm so glad you're back," he said. "I found a song for us!"
"A song for 'us'?" Face asked, afraid of the answer.
"Yeah!" Murdock said. "I've been thinking about what we should perform to and I think this song is perfect. It's all about us."
"Oh, we're back on that again," Face said. He had hoped, upon seeing Murdock singing Karaoke that the crazy man had moved on from his fixation with the full monty act. Obviously, he had been wrong.
Murdock ignored him and continued. "What do you think about the song 'Holding Out For a Hero'?"
"Not much," was Face's reply as he extricated himself from his friend's arm and headed over to the bar.
"If it's any consolation, Captain," Hannibal chipped in. "I think your choice is inspired."
"Really, Colonel?" Murdock asked sincerely. "You really think so?"
BA, who had been standing by the door acting as a bouncer scowled at the both of them. "I don't know which one of you's crazier."
He left them to work out the logistics of the 'show' and went over to where Face was nursing a beer.
"And as for you," BA growled. "You'd better be thinking of who's gonna be takin' my place 'cause I ain't doin' no strippin', Faceman."
"Yeah?" Face asked. "You think I want to do this anymore than you?"
"You's the ladies man," BA said.
"So?" Face retorted. "The whole idea of being a ladies man is keeping them guessing. I'd say the full monty pretty much nips that idea in the bud, as they'll get an eyeful of everything."
"Fellas," Murdock said, coming up behind them. "You're both looking at this thing in entirely the wrong light."
"Really, Murdock?" Face asked.
"Sure," Murdock said. "I mean, what are the chances these women will ever see any of us again?"
"They'll be seeing plenty," Face replied. "The full monty doesn't leave anything to the imagination."
"What'chu talkin' about?" BA asked.
"Oh, didn't we tell you," Hannibal chimed in. "The full monty means we let it all go."
"WHAT?!" BA roared.
"Here we go again," Face grumbled. "Thanks a lot, the both of you."
He slid off his barstool and tried to make a mad dash for the backroom seconds before BA rammed into him.
"lies the seed
that with the sun's love
in the spring
becomes the rose"
There was a smattering of polite applause as the young women stepped off the stage after finishing a slightly off-key version of 'The Rose'.
Murdock howled from the side of the stage and beckoned another patron to try out the machine. A young man stepped up and the strains of 'War!' issued from the Karaoke box.
His voice warbled, "War – huh – yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nothin'!"
Harry cringed from behind the bar and looked at Hannibal. "I'm beginning to think this wasn't such a good idea."
Face was sitting next to Hannibal, holding a raw steak to his eye. "Would you trust me? I'm telling you the word will spread. Tomorrow you can have them pay a cover charge."
"How's the eye?" Hannibal asked.
Face set the steak on a plate. "Oh, it's great."
Hannibal checked his lieutenant's black and blue left eye. "That's a beaut. BA does nice work."
"Ha ha," Face replied. "I prefer his work to be on someone other than me, thanks."
"Don't worry, I think he got most of it out of his system," Hannibal said. "Mind you, he's still not too happy with you at the moment."
Face looked over to where BA was lurking by the door. The big man scowled back at him and the conman quickly turned back around.
"Yeah, I'll be staying out of his way for awhile," Face said.
"Good idea," Hannibal said. "Ok, we need to decide what we are going to do with Finnegan. He didn't strike me as being too bright."
"From the sound of it when Freddie and Cal came in here, I would assume their business consisted of drug deals, but I'm just making an educated guess," Face said.
Hannibal nodded. "Illegal gambling and drugs. I wouldn't be surprised, but we'll need proof. Ideas on how to get into Finnegan's back room at his bar?"
"We'd need a distraction and then I might be able to slip in through the back," Face said.
"A distraction?" Hannibal said, musingly. "Wonder what we can come up with?"
Both he and Face turned towards the stage, where Murdock was standing.
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