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This page last viewed: 2017-06-17 and has been viewed 1185 times
Warnings: Some, but not all, may contain language, very light sexual tones, implied violence and death of OC. Nothing graphic.
Second-hand Wardrobe Day (January 5)
Title: Knick-knack, Paddy Whack
A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog. - Jack London
He stood at the bottom of the staircase, holding tight to the newel post. There were so many people milling around, lots of people with cameras, big cameras, and wires and cords and lights. And that big - no, very big woman standing in the middle of the entry, practically shouting at Father. He couldn't figure that out, either. How could she be smiling when she was yelling at him? And what had Father done to make her shout so?
He didn't want to be here. He would much rather be with the other boys, safely stowed away upstairs, playing games and looking out the windows at all the cars and vans and trucks. He sighed. Father hadn't wanted him here, either, but Sister Mary Rose said he had to. That was something else he didn't understand. Sister kept saying he was "perfect". She never said that before...
The shouting lady was pulling Father over towards him now, and he moved around to the other side of the post, still holding onto it. The closer they got, the more he realized how she towered over Father. She was a giant. And she smelled. Not like the babies, but like someone had dumped a whole roomful of flowers around her. He sneezed.
A dead giveaway.
"Oh, this must be the one!"
Before he realized the real peril, he felt himself grabbed by two meaty hands and swept up from his hiding spot, hugged too tightly to this huge woman. Her necklace dug into his cheek, and he wriggled to get away, but she just held on tighter.
"Oh, what an adorable little boy! He's just perfect for this! The viewers will just eat him up!" She tilted her head so she was talking directly into his face. He tried to turn away as yet another smell assaulted him, just like the janitor's old cigars. "They will absolutely eat him up!"
"Yes, well, I'm still not sure this is a good idea, Mrs. Whitticomb. I realize you're doing this for the good of the orphanage," Father seemed very nervous, "but really, the child is easily...excited, and all this activity..."
"Oh, nonsense, Father! After all, a word from you and I'm sure he'll do exactly what's he's supposed to." She squeezed a little tighter still, and her voice altered as she again turned to look at him. "Won't you, boy?"
He stilled immediately. He knew that tone. It usually came from Sister Margaret, and always meant be quiet and behave or spend time praying. And that made his knees hurt.
"Excuse me, Miz Whitticomb. We're just about set to start here." A man with a lot of wires coming from his head stepped up next to them. "The kid ready?"
The woman sighed and abruptly he found himself set down in front of her. She stepped back and looked at him, a frown on her face.
"These aren't the clothes I selected, Father."
He looked up at the priest, worried now. He'd looked at the clothes the father had left for him, and pushed them under the bed before getting into his Church Clothes. Father had told him how important this thing was he was doing, and he hadn't wanted to disappoint. But now it seemed that's exactly what he'd done.
"These won't do at all, Father! We don't want people thinking we're clothing these children better than our own, after all."
He felt a spark of anger at that. He'd gotten these clothes as a special present. Father had said a bene...benefacker had sent them, just for him, so he'd have something nice to wear.
"Take him out and get him dressed properly, Father, and quickly. I can't have these reporters standing around all afternoon."
He was hustled back upstairs, Father stammering apologies as they went. That made him angry, too. Father didn't have to be sorry when it was that woman who was so nasty. He didn't understand why they didn't just make her go away.
Father fished the clothes out from under his bed, and shook the dust off them.
put these on quickly,
"But she's not nice, Father! She's..."
Ice cream couldn't fix this...
Fruitcake Toss Day (January 6)
"You wanna go where?!"
"And for what?"
"The Great Fruitcake Toss. It'll be great, BA!"
"Why would I wanna go to some fruitcake toss? What the heck is that, anyway?"
Murdock frowned. "They toss fruitcakes, of course. But the really great thing, BA, is the way they toss them! They use catapults, and slingshots, and just tossing by hand. And they have a fruitcake derby, where they put wheels on them...d'you know the record toss for a fruitcake is over a thousand feet?"
BA scowled, shaking his head.
"Think about it, Big Guy. You could build something that would fling that ol' fruitcake way farther than a thousand feet. I know you could! BA Baracus, Champion Fruitcake Tosser!"
"Forget it, fool. Ain't tossin no cakes. That's just dumb."
"Oh, well, okay. I mean, if you can't build something that could throw a dumb old cake that far, I can see your point. Why embarrass yourself, right? No problem, BA. Forget it."
"Didn't say I couldn't. Said I wouldn't."
"Hey, no problemo, BA. I understand." Murdock looked sympathetically at his mark.
BA scowled even deeper.
"When is this toss thing?"
"Weekend after next."
BA shifted uncomfortably. "That's a long drive, man."
"And I'd have to have someplace to build it. If I was gonna build anything."
"Have to have it planned before, so's I could just pick up what I needed once we got there..."
Murdock nodded thoughtfully.
BA absently drew in the dirt.
"How heavy are these fruitcakes, anyway?"
Smith Day (January 6)
Title: Fathers and Sons
It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. - Anne Sexton
"Hey, Colonel! You see today's paper?"
"No, something better. It says here it's National Smith Day." He looked over the edge of the paper, grinning widely. "You got a whole day named after you, Colonel."
Face smiled slyly. "Yeah, and Edward Smith, captain of the Titanic."
Murdock dropped the paper. "Adam Smith, the economist."
BA looked up, a small smile on his face. "Hilton Lee Smith, pitcher in the Negro League."
Face grinned triumphantly. "Soapy Smith, infamous confidence man."
Face shrugged, suddenly innocent. "Not at all, Colonel. Not at all."
"Hey, maybe you're related to some of those guys, Hannibal. That'd be something, related to a great American hero."
up and stretched, heading for the kitchen, speaking so softly
"Sounds like a hero to me..."
I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore Day (January 7)
Title: Bee in a Bottle
"C'mon, BA, we have to move it or those guys will be long gone before we get there."
"BA, we have to meet Amy in..."
"Amy ain't goin anywhere without you."
"What about the client? We told him..."
"He'll be okay with just you guys. You done it before, you can do it again."
into the next room, leaving
"I think he meant it, Face. I really think he meant it."
staring at the door BA had just flung shut. "I don't know,
"Hmm, yeah, maybe." He pulled a cigar, holding it absently. "Maybe we could do this one without him."
"Oh, no, Colonel." Murdock sat up straight in his chair. "Did you see those mug shots? These guys are huge. And there's five of 'em."
"We've handled worse odds than that, Captain."
"Not without the Big Guy, we haven't. C'mon, Colonel, you gotta persuade him to come with us."
"And just how do you propose I do that? Ask him politely to step outside so we can hit him over the head with a two by four? I don't think he'd go for it."
you'd better come up with something soon,
Face held up his hands. "Oh no! The last time I talked him into something, he damn near broke my nose afterward. Sorry, but he's your sergeant."
Face looked at Murdock, rolling his eyes. Murdock closed his and shook his head. They stepped outside, closing the door loudly behind them.
"BA? You win. We'll take care of this one - this time. But you better figure out what to do about this flying business, and soon! Understood?"
from the other side of the door, but
his door almost immediately, and stepped to the window. He saw
triumphantly. For once he'd won. And it wouldn't be the first time. He'd make
sure of that. Hadn't been nearly as hard as he'd thought it would be.
Chuckling, he grabbed his wallet and headed out the door. There was a nice restaurant down the street, serving Chicago-style pizza as a specialty. Wouldn't be the same, of course, but it was as close as he'd get to the real thing.
He closed the door carefully behind him, and started to turn toward the street. He felt a sting in his neck, just before the world turned black.
pulled up in front of the apartment, Face and Murdock stepping quickly out to
gather their fallen teammate.
"Your timing was perfect, Amy. He never knew what hit him."
Show and Tell Day (January 8)
Title: Tattle Tale
"Who woulda done somethin like that?"
"I don't know, Sergeant, but when I find out, they're going to wish they'd never been born."
don't get it,
"Not much we can do from in here, BA. If Murdock hadn't listed me as his next-of-kin, we wouldn't even know he'd been locked up. Hell, even so he's been in that loony-bin for almost a month now!"
"Well, he was getting pretty wild there at the end, Colonel," Face spoke from the next cell.
"Yeah, but not that wild, Face. Certainly not enough to get locked up. No, whoever did this had to have a grudge against him. What I can't understand is why those damn doctors didn't realize he wasn't crazy right from the start. They can't be that stupid."
"I suppose it takes time for them to go through all those tests. They have to cover their butts." Face rested the back of his head against the wall and closed his eyes. "Once they get through all that crap, they'll know the truth."
"Yeah, well, they're taking their own sweet time about it." BA started pacing his cell.
"I told Lynch I wanted to talk to the doctors. He wasn't happy about it, but with that next-of-kin thing, he has to. Then we'll know what the hell is going on out there."
his eyes shut, thinking about Murdock. The things he'd said in the cockpit on
the way to the bank job. The things he'd been saying for almost two weeks
before that. The things he'd said to Face, and only to Face. He sighed, as BA
continued to pace, and
They would never know...
Word Nerd Day (January 9)
Warning: Terrible silliness but it's writing, anyway...
Title: A Clothes Cawl
"Wee could go sea sum girls eye no."
"Are they gneiss? Eye don't wont to waist my thyme on yore usual types."
Face frowned. "Aye don't no what ewe mien. These are buttes."
"Never mined. What's BA doing?"
"Fixing the breaks on the van."
"Owe, he tolled mi two stay aweigh from hymn wenn he's working."
"Bard ewe, a?"
"That sounds grate. Basque in the son..."
"Yeah! Aisle sea if BA wonts too go, two."
"Czech the fridge four sum bier, to."
Murdock flue awt the door as Face stretched.
It wouldn't bee an offal sundae after awl...
Judgment Day (January 17)
He fought against the knee-high water, struggling not to slip on the rocks and grasses below. His breath came in deep gasps. He looked back at the girl. The cold of her hand and her pale face angered him. He didn't understand why, and that made him even more angry. He focused once more on the rushing water and slippery rocks, and, grasping her hand more tightly, pulled.
They waded through the rapid flow for a few more yards, until he spotted several small boulders along the bank. With an impatient jerk, he hauled the girl toward them, and pushed her up out of the river. He climbed up beside her and immediately took her hand and drew her across the rocks into the trees that lined the banks. For the first time in over an hour, he stopped.
They crouched in the deep shade, trying to catch their breath. He glanced around, always looking back to the river, watching for signs of pursuit. He allowed only a few moments to rest before once again taking her hand and forging further into the woods. He found a deer trail, and hurried her down the path.
He stood in the doorway, staring out into the woods. Absently he reached for his breast pocket, swearing quietly as he hand came away empty. He took a last look at the trees and turned back into the shed.
Other than the faint hum of mosquitoes, the only sound in the room was the soft whistle of a yo-yo running up and down its tether. He stayed for a moment, noting the dull eyes watching the movement. In the far corner, a long necklace glittered in a shaft of faint light, fingers absently toying with it.
He shook his head, again felt at his pocket, and moved back to the doorway, staring out into the woods.
They were moving uphill now, and he could feel his strength draining. He knew the only reason the girl was keeping up was because he wouldn't let go of her hand. He wanted to stop and let her rest - let them both rest - but he couldn't. He didn't know how far behind their pursuers were, couldn't take the chance. He knew what would happen if they were caught.
She was bitching at him again, her fear and anger coming out in venom. For a moment, only a moment, he thought of letting her go, leaving her. God, he was tired. Every muscle ached. No, screamed.
Screamed wasn't even close.
Shut up. Shut up. Just shut the fuck up...
He tightened his grip and forged ahead.
He looked at his watch. He hadn't moved from the doorway in over an hour. Couldn't. Wouldn't.
The yo-yo was silent now, both men inside dozing in the heat. He knew the minute there was any movement or noise they would be up and alert. He wasn't worried.
Not about that.
Three hours. Maybe a bit more. Then it would be dark. Total dark an hour after that. No streetlights out here. No lights from houses. He looked up at the cloudy sky. No moonlight either, most likely.
Totally in the dark.
Three more hours. Maybe a bit more.
They had stopped, finally, at the top of the hill. From here, he couldn't see behind them, but had a clear view of the valley below. He wished he still had his field glasses, but it didn't really matter. Not now. He checked their position with the compass on his watch.
They'd veered on and off the deer trails all the way up here, trying not to leave too much evidence of their presence. He hadn't stopped to check their direction, relying on his instinct.
He'd been off.
He looked up at the sky. At least it hadn't started raining. Yet. But the sun was getting low, and they had to make up another two miles. At least.
He jerked around.
The girl. Gone.
Damn, damn, damn...
He could hear her clearly, thrashing through the undergrowth. He'd catch up with her. Not worried about that. But the delay...
And those guys behind them.
They were all outside now. He stood on the wooden steps, leaning against the post. The others wandered about in front, all looking at the tree line some fifty yards away.
All gone to hell. He'd never seen one go so bad so fast. But they hadn't known about the girl. Hadn't known she was part of it. Who would've? She looked so...innocent. So young.
A child, playing in an adult world she thought she understood. Fooled. Wouldn't admit it. No.
Who would, in her place?
Now his man was out there, with her. Her, and God only knew how many others searching for them. And he stood here, helpless.
He didn't like that feeling. Never had, never would.
He shifted. The others stopped, looked at him, then the woods.
False alarm, guys.
He sat, back against the tree. It was dark now. Completely dark. He couldn't see at all now. Too many trees. Too many clouds.
A curse and a blessing. Kept him stuck here, kept him hidden.
He sighed, leaned the back of his head against the rough bark. Closed his eyes. Opened them immediately. Rather look at the darkness than the scenes in his head.
He stiffened at the crack of a twig. Heard sniffing noises behind him. Relaxed. Just an animal.
Not the human kind.
He wondered if they were still looking for him. If they cared. They had what they wanted already. Their job was done. They'd be gone by sunup. Nothing to show they had ever been there.
Or maybe there would be.
Maybe they would've...
As a message.
Someone else would have to find her.
He wasn't going back.
He didn't know where he was going.
They'd heard the shooting. Not as far as they'd thought. But too far.
They'd move out in the morning. Early. Head into the woods, flying blind but they'd go. No more waiting, no more wondering. They'd keep going until...
One way or the other.
They'd keep going.
Hugging Day/Squirrel Appreciation Day (January 21)
"It's gonna be a snowy winter."
Face looked up from the paper. Murdock was standing at the window, the blaze of red and orange leaves framing his silhouette.
"We're gonna have a lot of snow."
"Murdock, it's barely into September. Even the weatherman hasn't said anything about snow yet."
"No, but they have." He pointed out the window.
Sighing, Face got up and wandered over. He looked out, not sure what he expected to see.
"Murdock, there's nobody out there."
"Yes, there is, Face! Look - those three squirrels, up in that tree. Right over there."
Face looked again. "Okay, three squirrels in a tree. And they're telling you we're going to have a lot of snow?"
"Don't look at me like that, Face. I didn't say they were talking to me!"
"They're hiding their nuts high up in the trees. If they buried them in the ground, we wouldn't get much snow. See?"
Face nodded his head and draped an arm around Murdock's shoulders.
"I understand perfectly, buddy. Now, how about a pizza?" He guided Murdock toward the door, grabbing his car keys on the way. "Uh, Murdock...did Richter say anything about followups?"
A Room of One's Own Day (January 25)
Title: Places in the Heart
"So, all settled in then, Murdock?"
"Yeah, Colonel. Found a great little second-hand store. Got a bed, dresser, couch, lamps. Even got a ping pong table!"
"I know, Face, I know. But it'll be great when you guys come over for dinner."
"Ain't eatin off no ping pong table..."
"Oh, and I got this one big wall - you remember, Face? - and I got all my pictures and posters and stuff on it. Fills the whole thing up. But you know what's the best of all?"
"You got it, Colonel! Don't have to share it with anybody. Shave when I want, shower when I want, no one telling me to hurry up, or taking my stuff, or running out of hot water...it's fantastic, man. Same with the kitchen. Eat when I want, what I want...really great."
"Well, that's good, Murdock. Glad you've finally got your own place, settling in..."
"Yeah, beats motel rooms, that's for sure."
"...but we've got an early start in the morning. One of the Ables will run you back home, how's that? We'll pick you up on the way out tomorrow."
"Oh, sure, Colonel. See you in the morning, guys."
Murdock stepped out of the car, waving a salute to the Able as the sedan pulled away, and bounced up to the door of his apartment. He had to wiggle the knob a bit to get the key to work, but he grinned anyway. His door to his apartment.
Stepping inside, he fiddled with the lamp and a warm glow filled the room. He looked around, smiling.
Yup. His apartment. His couch. His lamp. His kitchen. His bathroom. No sharing with anyone.
He hung up his cap and looked around the silent room. Sighed.
Bubblewrap Appreciation Day (January 29)
Title: Snap, Crackle, Pop
"You do that one more time and..."
"Oh, c'mon, Big Guy! It's..."
"Captain, keep it up and I'll help him."
Murdock pouted, but put the bubblewrap carefully down on the floor beside him. "You guys have lost all sense of fun."
"Murdock, listening to you pop those things over and over is not my idea of fun. Where did you get that, anyway?"
"Face had it at his place. Guess the former tenant left it there from their packing. He said I could have it."
"Oh, he did, did he?"
"Yeah. Said I should go have some fun with it, so that's what I was doing."
"He said that, did he?"
"Templeton, you are a romantic at heart, aren't you?"
"Mmm, only around someone like you, Judy. You bring out the best in me."
The two broke their embrace just enough to move further into the candle-lit bedroom. With gentle expertise they undressed each other slowly, never more than inches from each other. Finally they moved to the bed, kissing more and more urgently as they toppled slowly onto the fresh sheets...and leaped up in fright at the rat-tat-tat of hundreds of plastic bubbles exploding beneath the sheet.
outside the apartment window, three
"You're right, Murdock. Those things are fun!"
Freethinkers Day (January 29)
Title: Getting to Know You
"Why'd you join up, Lieutenant? You had your deferment, a bright future ahead of you...doesn't make sense to me."
wiggled uncomfortably in the wet ditch.
"Uh, well, some stuff came up. Personal stuff."
"Personal as in 'don't go there' ?"
"Well, yeah. Anyway, I just wanted to get out of there, away from all of it. This seemed like the best alternative at the time."
Face chuckled wryly. "Let's say I've made better choices."
I'd hope so."
"Uh, you, Colonel? What made you join up?"
Face shook his head. "No idea. Was studying business but that seems so boring now. I have to admit...I'm scared a lot here, but there's something else, too. Kind of a rush, you know? We get back to camp and I'm just so glad to be alive...but then I start wishing I was out here again, feeling like...I don't know. It's like beating the devil."
"Hmm, yeah. It's a good feeling. Just don't let it turn on you. You religious, Lieutenant?"
"Well, sort of."
"You're not religious, then?"
"Not here, anyway. Here all that matters is knowing the enemy, understanding what he's thinking and why. It's not prayer that's gotten people out of here, Lieutenant. It's strategy. Practicality. Knowledge. Time enough for praying when you get home."
He glanced over the edge of the ditch, saw the supply truck coming around the curve, heading right for the camouflaged hole they'd dug hours ago. He nudged Face's arm and grinned.
"Doesn't mean we can't have fun at the same time."
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