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The Boys of Summer
by Mizhowlinmad (HBF), 2010
Summary: B.A. and Murdock are at each other’s throats again…and there’s only one person brave enough to step in between them. ATSB “Featuring Mrs. B” response. Go, Cubbies!
Disclaimer: TAT is the property of SJC and Universal. I’m borrowing them for one lazy Chicago summer afternoon. Apologies to the late, great Harry Caray.
“C’mon, let’s get some runs!” Harry Caray encouraged the Wrigley Field faithful.
“Yeah, man, let’s do it,” B.A. silently agreed with Harry from the sofa. They’d need all the runs they could get. Headed into the bottom of the seventh, the Cubbies were getting spanked by the Mets 9-2.
It was times like this when B.A. almost felt the need to grab a cold Bud Light instead of a tall glass of milk. Maybe Harry had the right idea about that…
There was one absolute truth that had gotten drilled into B.A.’s head over the years, dodging thugs on the South Side and much later, bullets and mines in Nam…
It ain’t never over till it’s over.
Outside on Foster Avenue, the temperature flirted with triple digits. Inside Momma’s apartment, it was a much more reasonable 75. Just one more afternoon, and he and the rest of the Team would head home to L.A. (not by air, if he had anything to say about it.) Momma, of course, had talked him into staying one more day.
Scooter, who knows when I’ll see you next? You and your friends just make yourself comfortable and relax. I’ll take care of everything. He’d heard the notes of regret and sadnesss in her voice. She’d been right, of course. Nobody, including himself, knew when another trip to Chicago might be in the cards.
After Alvarez and his goons had trashed her place a few days before, B.A. had gone all-out to not just fix everything, but make things even better than before. He even felt a little guilty that he hadn’t been able to do even more. One of his improvements had been a new 19-inch TV in a custom-made entertainment curio. Now, Momma could watch the home games on WGN instead of just listening to them on the radio.
The smile on her face when he’d surprised her…how long had it been since she’d smiled that way?
Since I came back.
She was in the kitchen, fixing an extra-large batch of her famous Hamburger Nachos. Momma always knew how to spoil him. And he did have to admit: after a few days’ worth of throwing goons around and tinkering in the sweltering basement, it did feel good to relax. Just a little.
It was when the front door crashed open that he knew all was not well in the Friendly Confines. In fact, B.A. had been wondering why it was so quiet.
“And…we’re back, ladies and germs, with our exclusive coverage of the one, the only, ‘Scooter’ Baracus as he engages in viewing America’s favorite pastime…”
At the same moment Murdock shattered the wall of silence, Ryne Sandberg lined a double into right field, and the crowd cheered on the TV.
“Shut up with your jibba-jabba, fool! I’m watchin’ the game!”
The threat rolled off Murdock’s back like water on a duck. With his 8-mm camera in hand, he plopped down on the sofa next to B.A., shoving the lens entirely too close for comfort.
“So, ‘Scooter,’ tell the nice folks out there about this fanatical devotion of yours. We all know the Cubbies haven’t won the Series since ’08. Could it really be a curse? Fate? Perhaps even a bit of karmic interference?” Murdock babbled in his faux-Chicago accent, sounding a little bit like Dan Ackroyd on methamphetamines. “The people need to know!”
B.A. growled, balling his massive right hand into a fist. “First of all, I ain’t got no ‘fanatical devotions,’ unlike a certain crazy fool I know. Other thing is, ain’t nobody interrupt me when the game’s on, ‘less he wanna end up six feet under…”
Momma chose that very moment to walk in from the kitchen. She wore her faded Cubs jersey, her flowery apron, and a stern expression.
“Yeah, Momma?” B.A. said, sounding uncharacteristically meek.
“That any way to talk to your friends?”
“But Momma, he…”
Mrs. Baracus shook her head. “No excuses. You either be nice, or I’m throwin’ these nachos I got straight down the compactor. That goes for you too, Murdock. In this house, we’re always respectful durin’ the game.”
Even Murdock was too stunned to speak. He’d become a quick fan of Mrs. B’s Famous Hamburger Nachos too.
“Now, you two boys gonna get along and watch the game together?” she asked.
Murdock looked to B.A., and then they both shrugged helplessly, almost like they were boys instead of men.
“OK. No more of your crazy rap for two innings,” B.A. muttered. “I can live with that.”
“Two innings. Who knows what might transpire in six outs on that magical diamond of Americana…”
“Murdock, what did I just say?” Mrs. B glared at him as she placed the enormous tray of nachos on the coffee table. “You can finish your video later. Right now, we’re gonna watch this game and enjoy some time together.”
Shawon Dunston grounded a single up past second, scoring Sandberg. 9-3. Still no outs.
B.A. crunched at the nachos, letting the rich flavor of ground beef and cheese and sour cream fill his mouth and take him away. Just for this afternoon, he told himself, he’d at least try and relax. And not pound that crazy fool.
Anything could happen.
Ain’t never over till it’s over.
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