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This page last viewed: 2017-05-23 and has been viewed 1385 times
Summary: The Team have some fun with an old adversary.
Warnings: Written in one night, and hurled kicking and screaming into the world
Note: Written for the A-Slash Hallowe'en Writing Challenge
Disclaimer: The canon characters are, of course, the product of Stephen J. Cannell's fertile imagination. I can only hope I've done justice to his creation.
Colonel Roderick Decker looked around the shabby cul-de-sac, and sighed. This had been a flourishing neighborhood once. Classy, even. But the more affluent residents had moved away long since, and the neighborhood had fallen on hard times. The houses were in a sorry state of disrepair.
That didn't dull the spirits of the residents, though. Even as dusk fell, the local children laughed and shouted as they made their way from door to door, wearing home-made costumes created with love, and carrying paper grocery bags in which to collect their loot.
He sighed again, and shook his head. He and Crane had been all over this neighborhood, having received a tip that the A-Team had been hanging around the area. There was only one house left to try, and it was even more disreputable-looking than the others.
Crane looked at it, and then back at his CO.
'Saving the best for last, Colonel?' he asked as he pulled off his cap and wiped his forehead with his sleeve. It may have been the last day of October, but it was unusually warm and muggy.
Decker snorted as he looked at the house. It was Hallowe'en-ish enough at the best of times, but now it was even more so. There were artificial cobwebs draped in the windows, bats hovering under the eaves, and a life-sized scarecrow at the foot of the stairs.
'Might as well get this over with, Captain,' he growled, wading through a large group of trick-or-treaters as he moved towards the house.
Halfway up the front path, Decker shivered as he walked through a patch of cold air. He glanced at Crane, who was also looking chilled. Reaching out a hand, he realized that the cold air was centered in that one spot. He frowned, and Crane almost expected him to growl: 'Humbug!'
As they reached the foot of the stairs, the two men started as the scarecrow's head turned jerkily to look at them. The blank stare of the painted eyes sent chills down Crane's spine until the head slowly turned back with the same lack of smoothness, and he realized that the motor in the neck was probably dying.
Once at the front door, Decker knocked briskly. His patience was rather tested when the door didn't open immediately. He knew there was someone here; kids had been coming to this house all afternoon.
He'd just begun to knock again when he heard shuffling footsteps and a grumbling voice inside.
'I'm comin'…I'm comin'!,' it said testily.
The door finally opened to reveal a bent old man who squinted up at the two soldiers. Decker took in the pathetic comb-over that tried desperately to disguise the man's bald head, but failed miserably. Too bad the man's shaggy eyebrows couldn't have been pressed into service.
'Bit old to be out trick-or-treatin', ain't you, Sonny?' he wheezed, looking them up and down.
'I'm sorry to disturb you, Mr…?'
'Johnson. Sam Johnson,' the old man said. 'Now, whaddya want, Sonny?'
'I'm Colonel Decker of the U.S. Army, and I'm here on official business.'
'We've had a tip that some dangerous criminals have been sighted in the area, sir,' Decker continued, snapping his fingers at Crane, who immediately pulled out three photographs and passed them over. 'We'd like to know if you've seen any of these men in the neighborhood recently.'
Old Sam took the photos in trembling fingers and held them about an inch from his nose, squinting so he could study carefully the pictures of a self-confident middle-aged man with ice-blue eyes, a cocky blond with blue-grey eyes sparkling with mischief, and a scowling black man..
'Nope, sorry, Sonny,' he said, handing them back. 'Can't say as I've ever seen any of 'em. Hope you catch 'em, though, whatever they've done.'
Decker sighed as he realized he'd reached yet another dead-end.
'Thank you, sir,' he said. 'We'll do our best. Come on, Crane.'
Disappointed, the two soldiers made their way down the stairs, passing again through the patch of cold air.
They were nearly to the sidewalk when something came swooping down at them. Ducking in alarm, they scanned the evening sky, pistols drawn, but relaxed when they realized they'd only been buzzed by a large bat. Holstering their guns, they got in their military sedan, and drove back to the local Army base.
Five minutes later, the bat landed on the porch of the old house. At the same time, the scarecrow left its position. Climbing the stairs, it knocked on the door. When it opened, it picked up the bat, and entered the house.
Once inside, it pulled the painted feed-sack off its head.
'That straw itches, Hannibal,' Face said. 'Next time, find yourself another dummy to play scarecrow. Thank God Decker couldn't see through the mesh over the eye-holes! I don't ever want to be that close to him again!'
Hannibal chuckled as he straightened up, pulling the latex covering off his head and peeling off the heavy eyebrows.
'Gotta admit we had him going, though, kid!' he grinned. 'That cold-air vent B.A. rigged under the lawn really did the trick,' he added, clapping the massive Sergeant on the back.
'Which reminds me…' Face said. 'Here's your bat, Murdock. I will admit it was good to see Decker and Crane ducking for cover!'
'It's all in the wrist, muchacho!' Murdock grinned, as he put it in the box for the radio-controlled airplane from which it had been adapted..
'Right, now!' Hannibal said briskly. 'Let's get this place cleaned up. I want to be out of here in an hour. We'll go back to my place and watch Legend of Sleepy Hollow.'
'Which version, Colonel?' Murdock asked.
'Disney, of course,' Hannibal told him.
'Ah! Good old Bing Crosby!' Murdock enthused, straddling a chair backwards and hopping it across the floor.
'Not now, fool!' B.A. growled, catching the pilot by the scruff of the neck and not-so-gently pushing him up the stairs. 'Git them bats down so we can get outta here quick!'
'I'm going! I'm going!' Murdock complained, sticking his tongue out at his partner. 'Gonna hang 'em in your van, you keep that up,' he muttered as he disappeared up the stairs.
'I prefer the Jeff Goldblum version,' Face sighed as he watched the other two bicker.
Hannibal slipped an arm around his waist.
'How about we watch both?'
Colonel Roderick Decker pulled the car into his designated parking spot. The ride back to base had been a quiet one, neither he nor Crane having had much to say. It was so frustrating when they got leads that didn't pan out. He was footsore and tired from tramping up and down streets all day, questioning home-owners who claimed not to have seen anything of the fugitives.
He looked over at his second-in-command, and knew the young Captain was feeling the same way.
'All right, Captain,' he said. 'We might as well call it a day. I'll see you in the morning.'
'Yes, sir,' Crane sighed. He climbed out of the car, then ducked his head back in to retrieve his cap. As he did, he caught sight of something in the back seat. Standing, he looked over the car roof at his CO.
'Uh, sir?' Decker looked at him.
'What is it, Crane?'
'Uh, what's that box on the back seat?'
'Box? I don't know, Captain. I thought it was yours.'
Decker looked inside the car, then back at Crane.
'It couldn't be…'
Resigned, he reached inside, and picked up the white box. Placing it on the trunk of the car, he saw that it was decorated with black and orange curling ribbon. With a frown, he pulled it off and picked up the lid.
Inside, he found candied apples, candy corn, and a treasure trove of miniature chocolate bars of all kinds. A folded piece of paper inside read:
Hey, Rod! Hope you and Captain Crane have a sweet Hallowe'en!
Decker sighed. There was only one place where that package could have been placed in his car. He knew, however, that it would be useless to go back. By the time he got there, Smith and his men would be long gone.
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