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This page last viewed: 2017-11-12 and has been viewed 1310 times
Transfer of Emotion (Quick Pick: Iron)
By MizHowlinMad (HBF)
Rating: PG for very mild innuendo
Disclaimer: The A-Team belongs to SJC; I’m just taking them for a short spin.
His name badge read “Edward G. Ulrich, M.D.,” but Templeton Peck was only borrowing the immaculate, freshly starched white doctor’s coat for the afternoon.
An afternoon that, barring any setbacks, would culminate in his barreling down the PCH in his ‘Vette under a perfect Southern California sky.
But there were setbacks, sometimes (usually, in fact) when he came to the VA.
He jiggled the keys in the door whose plate read “104.” It was like watching public television at three in the morning. One never knew quite what one would get.
“Murdock?” A few steps in, sideways. A ninja awaiting an ambush.
Nothing. Only the faint static of a radio caught between stations.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are…”
Over the noise, a muffled sob. Then another.
“Murdock? You’re supposed to have Sudanese rat flu. Think you could play along for just a little while?”
The taller man was curled into a fetal position, in the farthest corner, on the linoleum floor. Contrails of tears streaked his pale face, and his dark hair stood on end.
“I…I…” He couldn’t finish, and buried his face in his hands.
Face stared at him, hands on hips. “You what? It can’t be like when you were making naughty origami animals during craft hour that one time? Or doing that thing with the broken Slinky?”
“No, Face. Much worse.”
“Worse than that origami giraffe?” One eyebrow raised.
“I…think I killed it.” A hand thrust in the air like an Olympic torch-bearer. Held in it, a blue cotton lump that smelled of burning.
“Isn’t that the T-shirt that…”
“It was.” He unfurled what was left of it. A circular, tar-colored patch scarred the chest, making whatever had been on it blackened and illegible.
Face tried for a consoling tone. “At least it wasn’t your ‘Talk Nerdy To Me’ shirt, right?”
Murdock’s scowl deepened. “That’s not funny. After all I went through to get that iron-on that time in San Diego, too.”
“They let you have an iron in this place?” Stranger things had happened.
“It’s your iron, Faceman, remember? You can have it back, ‘cause I won’t be needin’ it.” He rose, trying for a dignified posture, and ran a hand through his disheveled hair.
“Well, hey, we are going that way today, right? Maybe Shamu can spare another iron-on.”
The brown eyes turned on him, glistening with fresh tears. “It wasn’t the Shamu decal, Face. It was…the Rainbow Brite one.” The doleful voice of an undertaker.
“Oh, Murdock…” These were the situations requiring a delicate blend of empathy, gentle motivation and just riding Murdock’s crazy train of thought. “Well, maybe we’ll find another one in OldTown. They have all kinds of stuff there. C’mon, gotta get going before the nurses wonder if I’ve come down with rat flu.” He swung around the wheelchair, then paused.
“How’d you manage to do that to your shirt, anyway?” Face asked, gathering up Murdock’s effects.
“Y’know, ironing is like taking inkblot tests for me. Never had the knack for it.” A deep sigh, and Murdock plopped down in the chair. “Think you could treat me to a new shirt?”
They started along down the corridor, Murdock obligingly coughing as they passed each hospital worker.
Face’s lips turned up, at last. “I think so. But it has to be one that doesn’t require ironing.”
“Yeah.” Another cough, then a barely suppressed cry of glee as they reached the elevators. “San Diego, here we come…”
And Rainbow Brite, left behind, was already forgotten.
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