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by Mizhowlinmad (HBF) for Unique Names Day (March 3) and Awkward Moments Day (March 18), 2009
Summary: The first meeting between two very different men sets the tone for their unique relationship.
Disclaimer: The A-Team belongs to SJC and Universal. I’m just borrowing them for the sake of making polite introductions, and I do it purely for fun. The first set of lyrics Murdock sings are from the wonderful musical Oliver! and are also used purely for fun.
His momma, come to think of it, had been just like that little bunny’s momma in that stupid Disney movie:
Eat your greens, Scooter. Gonna make you big and strong.
But I’m already strong, Momma. And I’m gettin’ bigger all the time.
That ain’t no excuse. Eat ‘em or you’re goin’ hungry.
Or when the first blizzard howled off Lake Michigan every year:
Put on your snowsuit. I don’t want my son catchin’ his death of cold.
Aw, Momma, I’m tough. It ain’t so cold out there…
Scooter, Scooter. C’mon, here, I’ll help you put it on.
B.A. gritted his teeth as his mind echoed Momma’s all-time favorite mantra, repeated as reverently as Scripture to his endless annoyance:
If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.
Hannibal hadn’t told him much about the new kid…Murray? Merton? Said he was “special,” real sharp but just a little different, left it at that. Told him to play get-to-know-you until he got back.
Had to be one of those few times the Colonel was just flat-out wrong. This guy was a fruitcake: babbling away like water going down a sewage drain, whistling a Beatles tune, skipping around as if he were at a lakeside picnic in Evanston instead of on a hard tarmac in Da Nang. B.A. had had enough. It had only been five minutes.
“I’ve got somethin’ to say.” He snapped his fingers. The new arrival didn’t seem to notice, just continued whistling the na-na-na-na chorus of “Hey Jude.”
“Hey!” His temper strained at its already loose bonds.
The whistling stopped, and a loopy grin appeared. “Oh, hey there, uh, big guy. What’s happenin’?” the guy lazily drawled, like a overbaked hippie.
“I’m talkin’ to you.” B.A. pointed. “Colonel says we gotta introduce ourselves, since we’re gonna know each other real good real quick.” His anger, for the moment, receded. He took a steadying breath. “So what’s your name?”
“My name…” The new guy trailed off, heavy-lidded brown eyes wandering. Then he burst into lusty song. “Strong men tremble when they hear it; they’ve got enough cause to fear it…”
“Shut up! You’re nothin’ but a crazy fool!” B.A. exploded, hearing the other stop singing and seeing his eyes widen. Then, his mother’s voice was as clear in his mind as if she’d been standing behind him.
If you can’t say somethin’ nice…
Damn, damn, damn.
“Look, man, I didn’t mean that. So, uh, what is your name?”
The other, nonplussed, bowed gallantly. “H.M. Murdock, Captain, pleased to have the honor of your intimate acquaintance. You can call me ‘Hmmm?’ if your fancy should strike.” Murdock looked up and grinned, then offered a hand.
B.A. shook it tentatively. So it wasn’t Merton, or Murray, after all. “Where you from, Murdock?”
“The stars at night, are big and bright…” More singing.
Feeling the blood throbbing through his veins, it was only through sheer willpower that B.A. kept his anger in check. “You do anything ‘sides sing?”
“Oh, yeah, I do lotsa things.” Murdock held up one hand and ticked his fingers. “I fly really well, I play pinball, I cook a really wicked jambalaya, I fly…wait, already said that…”
“Look, couple things to keep in mind here.” B.A. advanced, a Clydesdale next to Murdock’s lanky quarter horse frame. “One thing, I don’t like flyin’ much. Second, I can’t stand guys who sing or whistle all the time. And last...”
Before he could finish, the engine of a Jeep behind him interrupted. Hannibal hopped out from the passenger door jauntily, waved, and joined them.
“I see you’ve met our new pilot, Sergeant.”
“Yeah.” There wasn’t much else he could say. “He gonna be flyin’ us?” B.A. added nervously.
“That’s right.” Hannibal smiled, seeing Murdock do the same. “Good to see you two have already had a chance to shoot the bull.”
Bull ain’t what I’m wanting to shoot just now, Hannibal.
“Come on, we better get going. Morrison’s going to be briefing us at 0900. I’ll give you guys a ride.”
“All right.” B.A. turned, eager to be temporarily rid of the man he’d surely be spending a lot of time with in the next few months.
Murdock trotted alongside. “Uh, hey, big guy, you never did drop me your moniker.”
“Your name. By what sobriquet shall I know you?”
He wished the guy would just cut the jibber-jabber and speak English. But Momma’s gentle voice still whispered. He sighed resignedly. “B.A. Baracus.”
“B.A., B.A. Oooh, lemme guess. I’m really good at this.” Murdock took the seat behind him in the back of the Jeep. “I gotta go with ‘Balthasar Anselm.’ You, big guy, look just like a Balthasar. Like that Wise Man in the Nativity scene.”
The glower he shot Murdock might have melted the tarmac if it wasn’t already shimmering with heat. “B.A., as in Bad Attitude. Wanna know how I got that nickname?”
Hannibal chimed in as the Jeep started off again. “It’s because you’re in such high demand at all the fashionable Officer’s Wives teas, Sergeant.” He laughed.
“That ain’t it. It’s because I tend to break guys in half who get on my bad side.” He lowered his voice, knowing Hannibal wouldn’t hear him. “Guys who annoy me, know what I mean?”
Murdock blinked, a glimmer of reason in his eyes. “Okey dokey. I gotcha.” He nervously studied his knees, then looked up. “No, really, if you’re not a Balthasar, big guy, what are ya?”
“I’m a Bosco. Bosco Albert.”
The reason gave way to a torrent of laughter. “Bosco? I wouldn’t name a hamster Bosco, big fella. Whoo, boy! What kinda name is that?”
“The kind of name that the first free man in my family ever had, fool.” He jabbed a finger one hairsbreadth from Murdock’s nose. “Don’t you forget it.”
Murdock gulped. “Loud and clear. B.A. it is, then.”
He grunted. “Crazy.”
The Jeep’s tires hummed along the tarmac. For one blessed moment, a bit of silence with it.
“How about ‘Baa?’ Would that be okay?” Murdock piped up. “Or, I dunno…’Baracan one,’ somethin’ like that?”
Oh, Momma,please just make him stop…
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