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No April’s Fool

 

No April's Fool

By A. Jewels

 

Rating: PG-15

Summary: Someone is pulling strange, unsettling pranks on the A-Team. Who is it? And why are they doing it?

Warnings: Language; violence; revenge.

Feedback: Always appreciated!

Disclaimer: I don't make any money, and don't own the A-Team.

Word count: 3665                        Story complete

 

 

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Face was carefully calculating the Team's accounts in his leather bound financial journal and ledger, tallying up their latest profits, subtracting their expenses.  And of course, debiting their future taxes for the day the IRS would demand it of them.

 

When they were cleared, someday, he knew Uncle Sam would be waiting for his cut of their money. He certainly had no intention of going to prison for income tax evasion, when that day came…

 

His expensive new executive ink pen fit his personality. Sleek, refined, just what a Beverly Hills CEO would have on his custom crafted desktop. Well, he didn't have the fancy desk yet, but a man had to start somewhere.

 

Capping his pen and putting it protectively in his designer suit breast pocket, Face sighed and closed the ledger. "Well, that's done. Our tax fund from last year's profits are calculated and safely placed for future payment. We did a bit better than last year, as well. If we keep going this way, we'll all have a nice nest egg tucked away for each of us in a few years time."

 

"Yeah, if the army don't get us first." BA rumbled from up in the driver's seat.

 

"Think positive, BA." Murdock chimed in. "Billy says we're all gonna be fine, don't ya, boy." He petted the invisible dog he was holding in his lap.

 

BA just growled softly, scowling slightly as he watched in the rearview mirror, while the pilot stroked the empty air above his knees.

 

"Yes, that's right, isn't it Billy?"  Face leaned over to give Billy a pat of his own, a smirk on his face. He knew it drove BA crazy when he played along with Murdock's fantasies.

 

"Stop encouraging him, Faceman. Fool's crazy enough without you egging him on!" BA yelled back at him.

 

"I think it's time we stopped for a late lunch." Hannibal observed. "We don't want BA to get cranky on us, now do we?" The colonel smiled to himself, turning to give Face a sly wink. BA glared at him sideways, but kept his thoughts to himself.

 

"No, I'd never want that, Hannibal." Face returned the wink. "Besides, it'll give me a chance to show you all my hard work in our finance ledger."

 

"Pull over at the next decent looking diner, BA." Hannibal stated. "I'm sure we're all ready for a hot meal."

 

A few moments later, BA pulled the van into the parking lot of an establishment called HotOff the Grill. Several big rigs occupied the truck stop.

 

"Best grits and gravy in the west." Face read on a sign in the window. "I assume that means the best gristle and grease." Rolling his eyes, he checked to make sure he had his antacid tablets with him.

 

As they exited the van, BA motioned to Face. "Let me see that finances ledger, Faceman. I wanta make sure you didn't take the van repairs out of my share, this time." He held out his hand expectantly.

 

Face huffed at the unfair accusation. "I never did any such thing, BA! Van repairs come out of the Team's expense's fund. You know that…" He pulled the ledger out, opening it up to riffle through to the proper entry pages.

 

His blue eyes suddenly bugged out, his breath caught, and his handsome tan face went white.

 

"Face? You okay?" Hannibal stepped forward in alarm. His LT looked like he was about to have a heart attack.

 

"It's…it's gone! It's empty!" Face wailed, riffling like a lunatic through the ledger's pages. "All my calculations, all my hard work, it's not here anymore!"

 

"What do you mean, it's gone?" Hannibal took the ledger from him, frowning.

 

"The pages are blank! Everything I've worked on all day isn't there!" Face looked like he was dangerously close to panic.

 

"Now, now, Faceyman." Murdock stepped over to put a soothing hand on his shoulder. "Your calculations didn't just get up and walk away by themselves."

 

"Our money better not be gone!" BA said, in a menacing tone.

 

"No, no…of course not! This is crazy!" Face stammered. He looked over at Hannibal for support.

 

"Hmmm, well it does seem as though the pages you dated yesterday are all still there. But today's pages are totally blank." Hannibal pursed his lips. He'd seen Face writing the figures down himself, during their drive back towards LA.

 

"I think better with a cigar. Face, if you please…"

 

The blonde man reached into his jacket, producing a fresh Cuban for Hannibal. He then lit the cigar, hoping Hannibal could come up with a plan for finding his missing mathematics.

 

Hannibal turned away to take a deep puff, his brow furrowed in thought. What could have happened…

 

BANG!

 

The rest of the Team immediately hit the gravel of the parking lot, Face pulling out his 357 Magnum, scanning the perimeter for danger.

 

Murdock was the first to jump up and run towards their colonel and leader, noticing a thin wisp of dark smoke rising from the still standing Hannibal.

 

"Colonel!" Murdock's voice caused Face and BA to race towards Hannibal, Face still looking frantically for the threat around them.

 

The sight they beheld was horrifying. Hannibal, standing in a state of shock, with a blackened sooty face, the shredded stump of an exploded cigar still held between his teeth.

 

"Hannibal? Hannibal!" Face cried, aghast. With trembling fingers, he pulled the destroyed stump out from his CO's teeth, glad none of them were missing.

 

"Murdock, get the canteen from the van!" he yelled. "We need to clean his face, and check for injuries!"

 

"Come on, Hannibal, sit down." BA pulled him towards the van, in a concerned manner. He sat the silver haired man down gently in the open van doorway.

 

Face watered his handkerchief, wetting it from the canteen they always kept filled with fresh water, and gently began to clean off the soot from Hannibal's face.

 

"Ahhh…was that what I think it was?" were Hannibal's first words to them.

 

"Was what, what?" Face asked, calming down a bit, now that he could see no injury under the soot he was washing off.

 

"An exploding gag cigar." Hannibal replied, still blinking to clear his sight. "When I was a kid, they were considered quite the funny joke." He frowned. "Not that I ever did."

 

Face was appalled.  "Why would anyone think blowing up a cigar in someone's face was funny? Especially a Cuban!"

 

BA cleared his throat. "Maybe a fool would." He turned to glare dangerously at Murdock.

 

"What? Big guy, are you nuts? I would never hurt Hannibal's cigar!" Murdock thought for a second or two, then added, "And I wouldn't hurt the colonel either!" He pulled off his baseball cap, twisting it nervously.

 

At the uncertain look the other three men gave him, he jumped into his seat in the van, and began to pet Billy vigorously . "You believe me, don't you, boy…" He looked so much like a wrongly blamed little kid, Hannibal took pity on him.

 

"All right, Murdock. Let's forget it, for now. I say we head into HotOff the Grill, where I can finish cleaning up in the restroom, and we can eat dinner." Hannibal stood up, his ears still ringing, and lead them in. BA locked up the van and followed.

 

                                                                       #

 

 

Face and Murdock took a booth, while Hannibal went to wash up. BA joined them after securing the van.

 

"You're both in a world of hurt, now." He told the conman and pilot, in a serious tone. "You, losing our money, Faceman. And you, fool, pullin that stunt with Hannibal's cigar. He's probably gonna make you both run obstacle courses for a month!"

 

"I didn't lose our money, BA!" Face almost yelled, controlling his tone at the last second.  "How dare you accuse me of…"

 

"Take your order, honey?" The 50 or so aged red headed waitress, her hair up in an early sixties beehive do, smiled at Face with an undisguised flirty tone.

 

"Oh, ahhh…" Face fiddled with his tie, as was his habit when caught off guard…or nearly speechless. Her hair was the worst fake red he'd ever seen. Worse yet, the waitress was leaning over to give him his water glass, exposing her over abundant, and saggy bosoms.

 

"We haven't had a chance to look at the menu yet, Miss."  Murdock saved the day, unexpectedly. "We have a friend joining us as well, so could we have another glass of water for him?" Murdock smiled like sunshine at her.

 

"Well, of course. Take your time, gents." She swooshed away, giving them all a full backside view of her cellulite thighs.

 

"Ohhh…this day just keeps getting worse and worse.." Face whined, his head in his hands.

 

"Steady, Faceyman." Murdock said in a calming tone. "We won't let her get you, will we BA?"

 

BA snickered. "Maybe we should, jus' to teach him a lesson…"

 

Face gave BA an alarmed look.

 

Thankfully, Hannibal arrived at their booth, just at that moment. His face was washed, with a slight red mark over his upper lip. Other than that, he seemed fine.

 

"Well, you look like your old self, Colonel!" Murdock grinned with relief.

 

"My lip is sore, and don't think I'm going to let this pass without some form of disciplinary action. Once I find out for sure who is responsible."  He picked up his glass of ice water, trying to sooth the mild burn.

 

Face placed a menu in front of him, his eyes pleading innocence. Surely, Hannibal knew he would never behave so childishly…

 

Their red beehive haired waitress returned a short time later. "Ready now, gents?"

 

They each placed their order, Hannibal asking for a second ice water to go with his beef stew and biscuits.

 

"Sure thing, sweetie. I'm Katie, just whistle if you need anything else." She gave them all a sultry smile, showing that some of her bright pink lipstick had rubbed off on her front teeth. The color matched her too short pink uniform.

 

"Oh, I think my appetite has just disappeared." Face said when she'd sexily sauntered off, to place their order with the cook.

 

"Maybe it's gone the same place as our money." BA eyed him suspiciously.

 

"Now, look, BA. Our money is in different banks, investment portfolios and money market accounts, placed safely under assumed names. It's the pages in the ledger that are blank, not our bank balances." Face felt his face get hot with embarrassed irritation. Why didn't anyone ever trust him?  He would never let the Team down; in fact, he was securing their financial future…

 

Katie brought their food, and the foursome ate in unusual silence. Even Murdock didn't play with his fried chicken, making the wings fly, or any clucking sounds, as was his wont.

 

Hannibal looked the two youngest Team members over with a surreptitious eye as they ate.  He just couldn't imagine Face lighting up an exploding cigar in his mouth.

 

But on the other hand, he couldn't imagine Murdock somehow erasing Face's calculations in the ledger. Besides, how could he have done it, with Face sitting there right next to him?

 

He briefly considered BA, but he hadn't been near either the ledger, or the cigar. Besides, BA's idea of a joke was to pick someone up and throw them off a dock into the ocean, fully clothed.

 

Hannibal just hoped that the strange events were done for the day. Although for the first time in longer than he could remember, he didn't pine for a cigar when his meal was finished.

 

                                                                     #

 

Finally, the van holding a still subdued Team was winding it's way up into the Hollywood Hills. Dusk had almost settled, and the twinkling lights of Los Angeles flickered through the smoggy haze down below.

 

"Where'd you say your latest scam house is, Faceman?" BA was squinting in the near dark, trying to read the numbers painted on the curb. The large lush front gardens hid the houses themselves, settled back on winding cobblestone driveways.

 

"It's up at the top of the lane, BA. My place is at the highest point, with the best view. Wait till you see it, it's got an indoor/outdoor pool with Jacuzzi." Face pointed out proudly.

 

"It ain't 'your' place, Faceman. One day the owners of your latest scam are going to come home early, and catch you living in their house." BA pointed out sourly.

 

"Or catch you with your pants down," Hannibal noted with a grin. He was imagining Face getting frisky with his latest lady, when the real homeowners walked into their bedroom…

 

"It's my home for the next two weeks, and I'm going to make the most of it!" Face assured them, crossing his arms defiantly. "Besides, the owner is producing a movie in Italy. He can't see this far from there!"

 

BA pulled into the driveway Face pointed out, noting the brass plated address on the open redwood gate at the entrance.

 

Crickets had just started chirping, when they all climbed out of the van and up the marble back steps, leading into the rear of the house. Despite it being 'his' house for the next two weeks, Face still thought it prudent not to take a chance on any nosy neighbors seeing them enter the front door.

 

"I'll be right in, I want to check the right rear tire." BA told them. "I think it has a slow leak."

 

"Can Billy come in too, Facey?" Murdock cocked his head, using his own puppy dog eyes to plead with.

 

"Ahhh…no, Murdock. He might make a mess on the Persian rugs."

 

"Okay…You stay put, Billy. I'll see if Facey has a bone in the kitchen for you."

 

"No bones, Murdock. But I do have plenty of caviar and pate'…"

 

BA watched as Face flicked on the lights of an elegant crystal chandelier, eager to show off his new digs to Hannibal and Murdock.

 

                                                                  #

 

About half an hour later, Face was seeing his teammates out, ready to take advantage of the Jacuzzi system and try some of the excellent vintage vino he'd found in the private wine cellar. Maybe he'd call Jana, or Katrina, to see if they'd like to stop by for a glass or two with him…

 

As they stepped out into the driveway, a white paddy wagon type of vehicle drove up behind the van. It's headlights caught them all in a wash of bright illumination; they froze, expecting to hear Decker ordering them to surrender.

 

Instead, to their astonished relief, a skinny fellow with a strange looking loop on a stick exited the wagon.

 

"One of you call the pound?" the fellow said, looking around. "We gotta report about a dangerous dog up here."

 

"In here." BA said, sliding the van door open for the dogcatcher. He hooked his huge thumb at Murdock's seat…where the pilot had left Billy, telling the dog to stay put.

 

BA looked straight at Murdock, then turned to the skinny fellow who worked for the pound. "Take that fool dog outta here!" he bellowed at the dogcatcher.

 

Hannibal and Face were too shocked to speak. Murdock reacted very differently.

 

He freaked out. Totally.

 

"No, no!!! Billy, my Billy dog…" Murdock scrambled into the van almost faster than the eye could follow, gathering up his dog, and running wildly into the concealing greenery of the perfectly landscaped backyard.

 

The dogcatcher, observing all of this with ill concealed bad humor, stalked back to his wagon. He was supposed to be off shift already, and now a bunch of lunatic grown men had brought him up here for a joke with an invisible, non-existent dog!

 

Throwing his catch leash back into the wagon, he backed out with squealing tires. He gave a rude three fingered salute to the idiots who lived in such affluent accommodations, and didn't give a damn about a common, hard working man.

 

This was the fourth bullshit call he'd responded to, in the last twelve hours.

 

"Damn April fools!" he shouted, "Screw you, assholes!"

 

The dogcatcher drove away, leaving angry rubber in his wake.

 

Hannibal and Face stared, dumbstruck, at BA.

 

"What have you done?" Face yelled, getting his voice back first. Calling out, "Murdock!" the blond ran into the lushly planted backyard, intent on finding his friend.

 

"BA?" Hannibal questioned. For once, he didn't have a plan. He was winging it, as Murdock would say, and it wasn't a comfortable feeling.

 

BA smiled like an ebony Cheshire cat, thoroughly pleased with himself. His snicker turned into loud laughter, which kept gathering momentum until he was holding his gut and leaning against the van to support himself.

 

Murdock heard the unusually loud joviality coming from the big man, and peeked out from his hiding place with Billy in the bushes. "Is the dogcatcher gone?" he asked.

 

Face ran over to him, pulling him out. "Yes, but I think you'd better book BA a room next to yours at the VA. He's gone bonkers!"  They made their way back over to the van, staring in disbelief at their Sergeant.

 

BA was wiping his eyes, as a last fit of giggling petered out. "Oh, man, I sure got you guys good, this time! Happy April Fool's Day!" He slapped his thigh with a dazzling grin at each of them.

 

"Well, I can see we've all been bested by the least likely culprit." Hannibal observed dryly. "Now, I want to know how…and why…you did this to your teammates." The colonel folded his arms, with a stern expression.

 

"Well, I got the idea for the prank on Faceman from a kid at my Youth Center. She'd ordered a disappearing ink pen from out of a comic book, and I caught her using it on a little boy doing his homework. She snitched his pen, and gave him the one with the ink that turns invisible when it fully dries."

 

 He nodded at the stunned blond man. "I know how much that snooty pen means to you, Faceman. I just changed out the ink barrel in it, for the joke. I can fix it for you, good as new."

 

Hannibal cleared his throat. "And my gag cigar?" His lip still hurt…a little.

 

"I snagged the cigars Faceman keeps for you, the same time I lifted his pen. You were all asleep, and I was on watch. I hollowed out the cigar, and made sure the tiny explosive charge was aimed away from your face. All it needed was for you to light the fuse." BA chuckled. "I got that idea outta the comic book, too."

 

"And what about Murdock?" Face demanded. BA knew as well as they all did how sensitive (and unstable) the pilot was. "Why would you threaten Billy with the dogcatcher?!"

 

"Now, Faceman, even the fool knows the dogcatcher ain't gonna take no imaginary invisible dog to the pound!"

 

"He's not invisible to me! I can see him." Murdock retorted. "It's just lucky that the dogcatcher couldn't!"

 

"I was sure that he wouldn't." BA replied, shaking his head. "I called him from the phone in the van, while Faceman was showing off his fancy new scam house to you two."

 

"But BA, in all the years I've known you, you've never pulled off an April Fool's Day prank. In fact, I've never known you to have much of a sense of humor, really." Face stated honestly.

 

BA scowled. "I have humor! Besides, now you all know how I feel when you drug me up, and put me on a plane! How do you think I feel when I wake up on a donkey, wearing a sombrero in South America? Or Borneo, or who knows where, tangled up in a parachute hanging from a tree? Well, now you know what it's like to be on the receiving end!" He stomped his heavy foot. "You'll all think twice from now on!"

 

"You've made your point, BA." Hannibal told him. Privately, the colonel was thinking they'd need to switch drugs, so BA wouldn't remember. Or maybe they could try that hypnosis angle again…

 

"Well, Billy didn't think it was funny!" Murdock told BA. "In fact, he wants revenge, don't you, boy?" Murdock jumped down on all fours, and began  growling, biting at BA's ankle through his pants.

 

"OUCH!" BA yelled, as Murdock's sharp teeth made contact with his ankle. Murdock leaped up, and ran away from BA's swipe at his head. BA followed, yelling threats of great bodily harm at the pilot.

 

Hannibal and Face watched the pair disappear into the dark backyard, then they heard a loud splash. BA's verbal threats turned into a loud howl of discomfort.

 

"Uh, oh, I think BA just found the hidden grotto garden pool. I didn't turn the heat on, so the water's probably pretty cold, tonight." Face pondered thoughtfully.

 

"Maybe it'll cool off his temper," Hannibal replied. "But, I doubt it!" he chuckled, glad BA got at least a taste of what he'd put them all through today.

 

Off in the distance, they heard an angry disembodied voice calling out. "What the hell is all that racket! This is a peaceful neighborhood. I'm calling the police on you people!" They heard a door slam, and knew Face's stay at his new abode was over.

 

They looked at each other, Face shaking his head in sorrow. "Couldn't I just, for once, share some caviar and fine wine with Katrina, or Jana, in peace?"

 

"BA! Murdock! Get back here on the double, the cops are coming!" Hannibal called out to the dueling duo. They reappeared, BA dripping grotto pool water all the way back.

 

"Mount up!" Hannibal yelled, spying blinking red squad car lights coming up the hill, easily seen from the beautiful viewpoint.

 

They piled back into the van, zipping out of the driveway, even as they heard the sirens approaching.

 

Face sighed, giving his 'home' once last longing look as they sped away. Damn it! Another place burned for him…courtesy of his Team…again!

 

Silently, he began to plan for the next April 1st.  And he had a whole year, to make it very, very special…

 

                                                

                                                 The End

 


No April's Fool by A. Jewels

 

 


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