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Lessons Learned: Part 1

Lessons Learned: Part 1

By: Tee

October 2000

 

Rating PG - 13 (sex and prostitution -very mild!) a few naughty words and a fistfight or two.

 

Summary: A few days in the lives of the Team while stationed at "Delta Base" in Viet Nam. Set before "Delta Base".

 

Comments: I have created the base they were stationed at "Delta Base" for the purpose of continuity. The rest of the characters and the general idea all belong to Stephen Cannel and although infringement is intended, I mean it in the best possible way. This is just my way of helping to explain why Face seems to take such glee in clunking BA, and BA doesn't seem to have any problem with decking Face.

 

Feedback: Please and thank you.

 

To P.K.: Who knows the difference between then and than and gives of her time freely. Thank you for all your kind words. ( And thank you for spelling them correctly.)

 


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Delta Base, Viet Nam, October 1970

 

 

HM "Howling Mad" Murdock was a tall lanky young man and seemingly full of energy. His brown eyes and brown hair and soft warm features gave him a comfortable charming air. He seemed every ounce the southern gentleman.

 

Templeton "Faceman" Peck was in many ways his opposite. He was shorter and stockier and seemingly calmer. His features were blonde and tan and very handsome with a quick smile that hid a more serious nature.

 

Outwardly they seemed like two sensible, responsible officers of the Unites States Army.

That was why it would seem strange to find them in storage shed behind the mess tent, giggling.

 

"Shh. You're gonna get us busted." Peck whispered.

 

"Naahh" Murdock responded a little too loudly taking a drag on a hand rolled cigarette.

 

"Man, didn't you ever do this back home?" Peck whispered again. "You gotta keep quiet." Murdock passed the cigarette over to his friend who inhaled deeply.

 

"Ah em bein' quiet." Murdock whispered back in a thick Texas drawl.

 

Peck would have answered but he was too busy holding his breath and then exhaling slowly.

 

"You ever get high before you came here?" Murdock asked his younger friend.

 

"Me?" Peck responded a little too quickly. "Never. Well, once, well a few times. Okay, yeah, bunches of times. You?"

 

Murdock gave a goofy grin and took back the joint. "Truth. Never."

 

"Really?" Peck asked when he got the joint back. He stared at it for a moment. It was almost gone.

 

"Not once." Murdock assured.

 

"I got my first hit when I was 14. By 16 I knew the best suppliers in town. But I didn't do much, it's hard to keep a scam straight in your head when you're high."

 

Murdock nodded at the seriousness of the conversation. He blinked rapidly and exhaled slowly.

 

"Know what else? When I'm high, I can hear better, and the Colonel's coming. Hide and be quiet." Peck pulled his friend to his feet and took one last drag on the joint before crushing it under his boot. Murdock moved to the back of the storage shed and hid behind a large crate just as the door burst open.

 

"Lieutenant?"

 

Peck blinked and tried to exhale slowly so that the smoke would not be seen. "Colonel."

 

Strong, steady blue eyes raked over the man standing before him. Col. John "Hannibal" Smith was a fine figure of a military man. Sturdy and strong, he had a commanding presence. He was just past 40 and the fact that his light brown hair was already turning silver seemed to increase his good looks. He had clear blue eyes and a warm authoritative voice. Charm and charisma oozed out of every pore of his being. He had a jaw that would make John Wayne envious.

 

He would have been on the fast track to General if he wasn't so cocky and aggressive and commanded with a 'go to hell' attitude that went up the chain of command. His men came first and he wasn't afraid to tell a higher-ranking officer where to get off.

 

He led by example. He didn't expect his men to do anything he wouldn't do himself. And often he did it first, better and faster. He demanded the best from his men and he got it. So he looked long and hard at the young man standing before him now.

 

Lt. Peck was clean cut, neat, and organized. He was also a handsomely wrapped package of nothing but trouble. Col. Smith narrowed his eyes, and, if he wasn't mistaken, Lt. Peck was high on marijuana.

 

"What are you doing in here, Peck?" He asked his eyes flicking from one side to the other of the darkened supply shed.

 

The younger man blinked once. "Checking the inventory, sir. I'm making a list to go into to Qun Loc tomorrow."

 

"And what are we lacking, Lieutenant?" The Col. was observing everything carefully.

 

"We're short corrugated tin, WD40 and motor oil. We are also a little low on acetylene and soldering wire." He paused then added, "sir."

 

"I see. Anything else?"

 

"I just started checking, sir."

 

Smith nodded. "When you're done, report to my office."

 

"Yes sir." Peck nodded then saluted.

 

Col. Smith frowned and returned the salute. "Carry on, Lieutenant."

 

"Yes, sir. Thank you sir."

 

Col. Smith turned on his heel and left quickly with a young corporal tagging behind.

 

Face stood looking at the empty doorway for a minute before exhaling. "Shit."

 

Murdock came out from behind the crate. "Shit, man. You're good. Do you think he knows?"

 

"Yes I think he knows. I only hope he thinks I'm in here with a girl and not a pilot."

 

"Me too." Murdock giggled, lying on the floor on his back and putting his feet up on the crate.

 

"I am never sharing a joint with you again. You get goofy when you're high." Peck snarled.

 

"Did the Colonel ruin your high? You got anymore?" Murdock asked getting up to sit heavily on a short stack of boxes.

 

"Yes he ruined the high, and no I don't have any more. And even if I did you're in the clouds already. Just sit there and enjoy, now I really do have to do a quick inventory. Shit." Peck turned on another overhead light and started walking up and down the short aisles.

 

"You ain't gonna rat me out, are you?" Murdock asked seriously as Peck passed by.

 

"No, Murdock, I wouldn't do that."

"Thanks, man." He said as solemnly as only the very high can be.

 

Peck just nodded his head and made quick notes on the pad from his pocket and prepared to meet his doom.

 

The colonel's office looked mostly like every other officer's office in Viet Nam. It was made of pine sheets and 2x4's and covered with canvas. The interior was filled with file cabinets, a desk and three chairs and a small footlocker. The walls were covered with photos of the colonel taken with friends and family and with favored officers, both above and below him in rank.

 

Hannibal sat down heavily in the chair behind his desk. He knew drugs were pervasive over here. Even more than they had been in Korea. The locals traded in the stuff and it made it all too easy to come by. But he didn't like it on his base. And he thought his officers at least knew better.

 

A soft knock came at the door. "Enter." He commanded and in came Lt. Peck. "Sir."

He said and came to attention and presented a salute. Hannibal did not return it as he was sitting but motioned to a chair. "Sit down, Lieutenant."

 

"Thank you, sir." Peck replied with a small smile and gracefully sat down, tugging at the neat crease in his uniform slacks.

 

"I'd offer you a drink, but I'm sure you're feeling no pain right now as it is." Hannibal kept his face schooled to a blank mask as he watched the younger man feign surprise.

 

"I'm fine, sir, thank you." Face returned as if he didn't know what his commander was talking about.

 

"How long have you been here, Peck?" Hannibal leaned back in his chair, but his full attention was on the man across the desk from him.

 

"Two months, total sir. One month here, one month in Saigon."

 

"So, you're not a new fish any more, are you?"

 

"No, sir." 'Fish' was a term used for the new arrivals that didn't have a clue as to what was going on.

 

"Then what the hell were you doing getting high in the supply shed, Lieutenant?" His eyes narrowed.

 

"High, sir?" Face gave every effort to look the innocent boy.

 

"Don't try that crap on me, Lieutenant. I know better, or don't you think I recognize the distinct odor of marijuana?"

 

"I'm sure you do sir, I mean, not that you would, but if you did..." Face knew he was babbling so he stopped to regroup. "What makes you think it was me, sir? I mean, it could have been the guy in there before me. You know how that smoke lingers in the air."

 

"I'm not an idiot, Lieutenant." Hannibal leaned forward in his chair and put his hands down on the desk.

 

"Yes, sir, I mean, no sir, I mean, I know that sir." Shit, shut up Peck, he cursed himself.

 

Icy blue eyes glared across the desk into blue-green eyes that tried to appear as innocent as possible. For a moment it worked, and just as Hannibal was about to surrender that the idea was a possibility the younger man dropped his gaze. "Sorry, sir."

 

The colonel slapped one hand across the desktop. Damn, the kid was good; he'd almost gotten away with it. "I won't have it, Peck, especially not my officers. You're supposed to be setting an example. Who were you in there with?"

 

Face swallowed hard. He started to say that he was in the supply room alone, but knew it wasn't going to fly. "I don't want to lie, sir, so I'll just respectfully decline to answer. I got caught, but I won't give anybody up." He looked up to meet his superior's eyes, then glanced down again quickly.

 

There was a long pause. "Fair enough, Lieutenant. Do you have anymore of that shit?"

 

"Yes, sir." Face nodded without looking up.

 

"I'll take your word that it will all be in the latrine by nightfall."

 

Face looked up. He wasn't being asked to hand it over, he was being given the benefit of the doubt that it would be disposed of. Trust was not something he'd had a lot of in his life. "Yes, sir. I can do that, sir."

 

"And your word, that you will not only not bring any more into this camp, but you will do your level best to discourage its uses wherever and whenever you find it, or even hear about it." This time the blue-green eyes examined the man across the desk from him. Face's eyes narrowed as if not quite sure what it was he saw.

 

"Yes sir." Face said softly, as if not quite trusting his voice.

 

"Your word, Lieutenant?" Hannibal studied the younger man.

 

"Yes, sir." His voice held a note of confusion, as if no one had ever taken his word before. "You have my word." Maybe it was that no one ever felt it was worth anything before. There was a long pause before the younger man stood up and thrust his hand over the desktop, "You have my word of honor, sir." Face said with a genuine smile.

 

Hannibal stood up and took the offered hand in a firm grasp and gave a shake. "Good. Sit down." He nodded back to the chair. "I've been watching you with the men, and I like what I see, most of the time."

 

Face frowned at the 'most of the time' comment. He took his job very seriously. Then he had to grin at himself, 'most of the time.'

 

"Something funny, Lieutenant?" Hannibal had been digging in his desk drawer and only looked up to catch the quick smile that flitted across the handsome features.

 

"Oh, no sir. Just a thought, go on, sir."

 

"I intended to." He pulled out a cigar and took a moment to light it. He didn't offer one to the younger man. "The men follow you, they seem to both like and respect you, and that's good."

 

"Thank you sir." Face sat a little straighter in his chair.

 

"But then you do something stupid, like today, or worse when you charge off into a firefight without consideration for your own skin. I'm all for the frontal assault, don't get me wrong, but you don't seem to remember that you're not immortal."

 

Face nodded. He had to admit that he really didn't give a fig if he lived or died over here. He had nothing to go back to, no home, no family, and even his girlfriend...no he wasn't going there. "I know, sir. I'll work on it." He shook his head with resignation.

 

Hannibal frowned. He had taught young men for years to be leaders. He'd taught them strategy, timing, positioning, and temperance. He taught them about high ground, guerrilla warfare, using limited resources and ingenuity. But in all his long years in the military, he'd never had to teach one of them to look out for his own skin. "I just don't like it when you use yourself as a sacrifice in front of your own men. I'm glad you think highly of them, I know you want them back safe, but I want you back safe, too. Understand?"

 

Face responded with a quick "Yes sir." Even though he wasn't sure he really believed it. No one had ever cared much about him before, why would anyone now. Well, no one but Father Maghill, he was the only one that didn't make it seem like he was just doing his job.

 

Hannibal narrowed his eyes again and puffed on his cigar. "Military's gotta lot of money invested in you. Don't want to pay to retrain somebody else." He said flippantly.

 

So that was it, Face thought. It was the money. Okay, he understood now. It really had nothing to do with him. "Yes, sir, I understand."

 

Hannibal frowned not sure that his joke had been taken quite the way it was intended. "So how long is this grocery list of yours?"

 

Face pulled a list from his pocket and passed it across the desk. "Foxtrot is getting a restock of supplies. I was hoping to get in there in the afternoon to take advantage of the confusion, and re-supply us before they notice anything missing."

 

Foxtrot was a nearby unit. They were renowned for not only dealing in black-market supplies, but also for over-ordering and over-stocking from HQ. Often causing other units to have to go without.

 

Hannibal nodded. "How many men do you need?"

 

"Two and the pilot ought to do it. I want to be in and out as quick as possible."

 

Hannibal laughed. "I'm sure you do." Stealing stolen supplies could be a very dangerous endeavor if caught. "Take whoever you need."

 

"Thank you sir."

 

"Check with Sgt. Baracus and see if he has anything to add to the list, and--" Hannibal paused and gave a smile across the desk, "if you find any good cigars, feel free to get me some."

 

 

Face stood outside the latrine that night with a small empty bag in his hand. He crumpled it up and tossed it into a trash heap. It seemed surreal. He had just taken $75.00 worth of marijuana and dumped it. No one was watching him, no one was checking up, no one knew where he kept his stash. But not only had he given his word, but also someone was taking it. He didn't want to let the Colonel down. So, without prompting, he had dumped it. What a strange feeling to have someone believe, just believe, in him. It seemed so very odd. He walked over to the mess tent with a dazed look on his face and got a cup of coffee.

 

"Hey Lieutenant, want to join the game?" Four enlisted men were sitting at a table with a deck of cards playing poker.

 

"No, thanks, I can't afford to play with you guys." He said with a grin.

 

"Lieutenant!" One of them said with mock shock in his voice. "You know we'd never play for money."

 

"At least not out in the open like this." Another added in a low voice.

 

"Yeah and not before payday." Another added.

 

Peck grinned again. "Yeah, right, well thanks anyway guys, next time, maybe." He felt good that his men would even offer to deal him in. He was a decent enough player and won more then he lost, but he was an officer, and usually the two didn't mix.

 

He sat down on a bench near the screen mesh so that he could look out at the camp. Even in the dark it was better then looking at four walls. In a minute he saw the Colonel come across the compound in his long sure stride.

 

Hannibal stopped inside the door and took in all the faces of the men there. He nodded at the card game, and seeing no money he ignored it. He nodded again to Peck. "Lieutenant."

 

"Colonel." Peck picked up his coffee mug in salute. "Care to join me?"

 

"Love to." Hannibal said before getting a mug and then sat across the table.

 

"I took care of that little chore, earlier." Peck volunteered.

 

"Chore?" Hannibal paused to blow on the hot coffee. "Oh, right. Good to hear it."

 

"I'm going to take Baracus with me tomorrow. He says he'd like to see for himself what's available." Peck frowned.

 

"Problem?"

 

"No, no." Peck grimaced. "He's not exactly inconspicuous."

 

The Colonel gave a full belly laugh, which brought a grin to the younger man's face. "No, you can't say that he is."

 

"What's with the hair?" Peck asked.

 

"It's tribal, something from his roots. I'm not real sure, I just know that he's a good soldier, and a good leader, and I'm willing to cut him some slack. This is his second tour, you know."

 

"I'd heard. Hard to imagine volunteering to come back to this." Face frowned again realizing just what he'd done when he'd joined up. He was in for at least four years, himself.

 

"It's a way of life, and it's not bad once you learn the system."

 

"How long you been in Colonel?"

 

"Me? Almost 20 years. I'm a lifer. I love it. Not the war, mind you. That I could do with out. The game."

 

"Game?" Peck asked worrying a small corner of his bottom lip with his perfect white teeth. "What game is that?"

 

"The military game. Who does what, when and how. Getting results with out getting your guys killed, the training and maneuvers. It's all a very strange game. But it keeps you on your toes." Hannibal gave a grin.

 

For a moment Face wondered it that grin was mischievous or lunacy. "Colonel, do you..."Face paused, "never mind."

 

"What? Wonder why we're here? Wonder if it's worth it? Wonder how long it'll last? Yeah, I wonder about all of it. Don't have a lot of answers for you." Hannibal sipped his coffee once more then pulled out a cigar and bit off the end. He looked around for a receptacle and seeing none just spit the end on the floor. Then dug a match from his pocket, striking it on the wooden mess hall table and lit the cigar. "All I can tell you is, we're soldiers. We are doing a job that others can't or won't. And it's up to us to do it to the very best of our ability."

 

Face nodded and tapped his head. "I think I understand that here, but I'm having a little trouble understanding it here." He tapped his chest over his heart. "I see these guys, and most of them are younger then me, and I'm not exactly ancient, and it seems such a waste." He let out a sigh. "I wish I could just go to the peace talks and get everybody in a room and talk to them until they think peace is their idea and they'd all quit and go home."

 

Hannibal laughed. "If anybody could do it, you could." Hannibal looked down at his near empty coffee cup and then across at the young lieutenant. "Care for another?"

 

"No, I'm gonna turn in. I have a big day tomorrow, trying not to get my ass shot off."

 

"Take care, Lieutenant. I'd hate to lose the best supply officer I've ever had." Hannibal grinned as the young man rose to his feet and left with out another word.

 

Face went outside and looked at the stars. For a moment they didn't look normal, as if they were out of place, or in the wrong order or something. Then he thought back to the man inside. Just when he thought he could like the guy he said something to remind him that he was here for only one reason, to scrounge. Just like back home, the only reason anybody wanted him around was for what they could get from him. Some things never change.

 

 

 

The next morning Face reviewed a list in his hand. It had all the proper signatures and authorizations to allow him to offload supplies that didn't belong to him. He checked his notes and his list and observed the two soldiers coming along. Brody was a good man; he worked hard and didn't ever ask what was going on. He believed the less he knew the better.

 

Then there was Baracus. Baracus was a powerhouse of a man with an attitude that could stop a train. He was an intimidating sight. At 5'10 he weighed in over 260 pounds. He had shaved his head in two strips down the side and had grown a beard. Both of these were against regulations, but it seemed that no one was going to bother to tell him.

 

The pilot was HM Murdock, a carefree young man who could fly anything from a jet to a helicopter. Face took the co-pilot seat and watched as the pilot glided easily through his pre-flight checklist. "Hey." Peck said with a smile.

 

"Hey, yourself." Murdock responded.

 

"I want to get in and out pretty quick, just stay near the bird, okay?"

 

Murdock gave grin and a thumbs up gesture. "Sure thing." Just as Murdock was starting the rotor blades moving a familiar figure moved across the tarmac. "Company's coming." The pilot drawled.

 

Face looked out the window to see Col. Smith duck his head under the rotor wash. Face leaned out the open door of the chopper. "Did we forget something?" Face called over the roar of the engine.

 

"Just me." The Col. responded with a grin.

 

Smith leaned back against the side of the helicopter and watched the loading process. He had to admit the kid was a smooth operator. With a flash of a smile, a clipboard and a quick patter the private was signing the requisition and they were on their way in 30 minutes. Baracus had spotted two pieces of equipment that he wanted and Face had just insisted that they were supposed to be on the list. It wasn't his fault they'd been left off, and he wasn't about to get his butt chewed just because of some paperwork foul-up. So he'd gotten the private to type up a release form, signed it and they were on their way.

 

As Col. Smith returned to the co-pilot's seat he'd evicted Peck from he grinned and twisted around to look into the back compartment. "That was good work, Peck."

 

The young man smiled. "Thank you sir."

 

Baracus snarled. "Crazy fool shit if you ask me."

 

Peck grinned over at him. "I didn't." He wasn't going to let anyone spoil his good mood.

 

Baracus just snarled lower in his throat.

 

Hannibal leaned closer to the pilot. "Do you know how to get to Ben Tre"

 

"Sure, why?" Murdock responded as the bird rose quickly into the air.

 

"I was thinking of an afternoon on the town. Any objections?"

 

"Not from me." Murdock turned the helicopter east and headed out over the trees.

 

"Hey!" Face shouted from the back. "We're going the wrong way."

 

"That is a matter of opinion." Hannibal shouted back.

 

 

 

It was a short hop to Ben Tre and as they set down Hannibal was the first one off the helicopter. It was bigger then Qun Loc with a heavy Allied influence. It had been here during the French Occupation and had many hotels and restaurants.

 

"Boys, after a good day's work I'd like to buy the first round." Hannibal said sticking a cigar between his straight white teeth.

 

"Man, you know I'm trying to quit drinkin'." BA grumbled.

 

"More for us." Brody said slapping the big man on the shoulder.

 

"In that case, I'll buy dinner, Sergeant, you pick the place."

 

BA put his hands on his hips and glared at the buildings on the edge of the airstrip as if expecting an "EATS" sign to appear.

 

"I'll get us some transport." Face said and took off at a jog across the helipad. He came back a few minutes later with a jeep and BA took up the place behind the wheel, the colonel took the other seat and the three other men squeezed into the back.

 

As they entered the town proper Face tapped BA on the shoulder. "Let me out here."

 

"What's up, Lieutenant?" Hannibal asked.

 

"Nothing. I just want to do some shopping and stretch my legs." Face leaped over the side as the jeep slowed to a halt. Murdock scrambled over the side, too.

 

"I'll go with him, Colonel," Murdock said quickly. "Where should we meet up?"

 

Smith pointed down the main street. "Up ahead is The Burning Flower or something like that. Meet us there at..."He glanced down at his watch. "1630" Military time for 4:30pm. His promise to let BA pick the spot forgotten. BA would never have picked a place anyway.

 

Both younger men looked at their watches. "Fine." Face said. "What time are we getting out of here?"

 

"Got a date, Lieutenant?" Brody asked with a laugh.

 

Face only cocked his head. "Not yet, but the day's still young."

 

"I want to be in the air by 1830, no later then 1900. Is that okay with you Captain?"

 

Murdock nodded. "We can still get home before dark."

 

"Good. 1630, gentlemen. I'm buying dinner and I don't want to be kept waiting." Hannibal took advantage of the fact that they were stopped to strike a match on the side of the jeep and light his cigar before BA pulled away.

 

Murdock and Face had an uneasy alliance. In the month that Face had been assigned 'in country' to Smith's unit they had become bunkmates. Col. Smith had decided that the pilots were becoming much too arrogant and decided to bring them down to earth. It was a punishment for the pilots who viewed the war from the air that they had to help out on the ground. Murdock had been 'assigned' to help Face and they were learning to work together.

 

"So where to?" Murdock looked into the window of the shop in front of them. It was a hat shop and he wasn't much interested.

 

"Just walk up and down the street and see what's here."

 

"There ain't much of here here." Murdock said with a scowl. "It's kind of a dirt water little place."

 

Face shook his head. "To these people I'm sure it's San Francisco."

 

"I suppose." Murdock didn't sound convinced.

 

"Man, I don't think I'll ever get used to the humidity." Face pulled the front of his shirt away from his body and flapped it to cool the sweat that clung to him.

 

"Hey, at least the rainy season is almost over and it's almost Halloween." Murdock said wiping his brow.

 

The two of them ambled up and down the streets. They went into a few shops and looked at merchandise and Face even made a few purchases. In a bookshop he found an entire box of comic books. "Hey, Murdock, look here."

 

Murdock came over and his eyes lit up like a kid in a candy shop. "Hey look!" Murdock shouted as if he had just dug up buried treasure, Face nodded his head. "Captain Marvel and Superman and The Hulk, wow." Murdock sat down on the floor; his long legs straddled the box as he pawed over every cover.

 

"Take you time, I'm gonna go across the street and be right back, okay?" Face noticed that Murdock nodded his head, but knew that he probably wasn't heard. Face went over and talked to the owner for a minute then ducked out the door.

 

It was an hour later when Face returned but Murdock still hadn't noticed he'd been gone. Face gave an armload of packages to the owner and conversed with him for a few more minutes then headed back to Murdock. "Let's get a move on, Captain."

 

"Hmm?" Murdock looked up from the pages of Spiderman.

 

"Let's go." Face waved the other man to his feet. "Come on."

 

"Oh." Murdock frowned down at the box.

 

"Grab a handful and I'll pay for them. Okay?" It always amazed Face that his new friend could quote Shakespeare, could tell the difference between Mozart and Schubert by the first bar of a piece of music and could be so totally enthralled by comic books.

 

Murdock's face lit up. "Really? How many?"

 

"Jeez." Face leaned over and grabbed as many as he could get in one hand and pulled the pilot to his feet with the other. "Let's go, okay?"

 

Face went to the front of the store and rapidly conversed with the storeowner in French. Fortunately, Murdock had his nose in the comic so he didn't notice the high price being paid for 23 comic books, or the fact that Face left all his other packages with the shopkeeper for delivery to the helicopter. Face made a genuine and respectful thank you in Vietnamese and they headed out.

 

Murdock rolled the Spiderman comic up and put it in his back pocket and took the others and stuck them down inside his shirt. "Where to now?"

 

Face looked down at his watch. "We've still got about an hour before we have to meet up with the others. We could head over there." Face pointed toward the other side of town, but Murdock frowned. He'd been in Vietnam a lot longer then his companion, and there were places that American soldiers were just not welcome. And he could tell from here that those little side streets were a bad idea.

 

"Nah, if we have an hour, I have a better idea." Murdock took his younger friend's arm and steered him back the way they'd come.

 

Murdock stopped in front of a nice two-story building with a wrought iron gate at the front. Face looked it over and decided it looked like a private residence.

 

"What's this?" He asked. Murdock pointed to a little sign with Vietnamese writing. Face was only just learning to speak the language and his written skills were far from good. He took a long moment to work out the translation. "Murdock!" He exclaimed.

 

Murdock gave him a big goofy grin and pulled the bell.

 

"Murdock this is a ..."

 

"Yeah, I know."

 

"I can't, I mean we can't..."Face sputtered.

 

"Sure we can, why not?"

 

"It's a... it's a..." Suddenly Face seemed unable to finish a sentence. Murdock grinned as a young lady came out and opened the gate and ushered them in.

 

"Yeah, it's a whore house. Come on. What's your problem?"

 

Face tagged along slowly up the front steps and into the tastefully furnished front room, his eyes wide, his mouth hanging slightly opens.

 

"What wrong, kid? You a virgin or something?" Murdock's chuckle faded as he took in the look on his companion's face. "You are? You? I..."

 

Face blushed red, but stammered, "What?"

 

"How's a guy get to be as good looking as you, 20 years old and never get laid?"

 

Face crossed his arms over his chest, defensively. "You grow up in an orphanage. A Catholic orphanage. With nuns and priests all over the place. You go to a Catholic high school and a Catholic college. And you meet and fall in love with a good girl who doesn't put out. Okay! Jeez!" Face was embarrassed.

 

Murdock thought he'd laugh, then thought better of it. "Okay, I'll buy that." He paused for a moment. "The girlfriend waiting for you back home?"

 

Murdock watched a quick flash of pain cross the younger man's face. "No."

 

"Okay, so you're not entangled, so I think you should consider this a part of your 'Officer's Training'." Face frowned. "You may need to answer a question for a man in your command and you should have as much information as possible to assist in those endeavors." Murdock spoke rapidly in Vietnamese to a very pretty woman who smiled wisely and nodded her head.

 

Face knew when he was being conned. "So, this is for my own good."

 

"Right."

 

"I'm not sure I agree with you. I mean, to pay... Come on, Murdock, I'm not sure I feel right about this."

 

"Let Uncle HM worry about the morality of this, okay? You just..." Murdock pushed him into the arms of a young woman who was, maybe, a few years older then Face, "be a good student."

 

Face only looked back over his shoulder once as the woman whispered something in his ear and he blushed again.

 

Murdock talked to the Madam and dug his money out of his pocket and in a few minutes he went into a room himself.

 

Next

 


Lessons Learned by Tee

 

 


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