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An Adventure in Chicago

An Adventure in Chicago

by Susie Owens and Georgia Bentz

 

Rated. PG

Warning Safe;

Summary: Young HM get ready for a trip with his Gran'pa.

Disclaimer: We don't own them. Georgia owns Jesper and Jassa Murdock.

Copyright 2001

Authors Notes: This is our first story together hope you enjoy

 

............

 

Part One

 

Ten year-old HM Murdock was seated at the dinner table, eating supper, when all of a sudden Gran'pa spoke.

 

"HM, your Gramma and I have been talking. How would you like to take a trip to Chicago with me, to attend Farmers Meeting, and take a little vacation at the same time?"

 

HM looked up at his Gran'pa and with his mouth full said, "Yeah I would."

 

"Good. We start out tomorrow", answered Gran'pa.

 

Yay " said HM jumping up and down

 

Gramma looked around at the exchange going on. She shook her head, and wondered at HM's enthusiasm. "You want me to help you pack tonight HM?", she asked.

 

"No I can do it. "Replied HM

 

Okay", said Gramma. She started to clear the plates. "Jesper, a word please", she asked.

 

He nodded his head and waited for her to speak.

 

"You keep an eye on him at all times Jes", she pleaded. I don't want him getting lost, or hurt, Chicago's a big city."

 

"Don't worry Jassa. I'll keep an eye on the boy."

 

She nodded. That's exactly what she'd wanted to hear.

 

 

 

That night HM was too excited to sleep. He was sure that this little trip would be exciting. And with Gran'pa. He loved going anywhere with Gran'pa.

 

His Gramma came into the room. "Hey sweetie time for you to go to sleep."

 

"Oh Gramma I'm too excited, just think.... Chicago.... I've heard some neat things about it...."

 

Jassa sat down on the foot of the bed, "Well I know Sweetie, but you need your sleep.  Gran'pa's leaving' mighty early."

 

HM nodded, and Jassa tucked him in.  "Good night my little traveler", she whispered. "Good Night  "

 

The next morning HM was up before the rooster. He bounded into Gramma and Gran'pa's room. And jumped on their bed.

 

"Gran'pa, Gramma, time to get up", pleaded HM.

 

Jesper groaned and sat straight up in the bed.  "I see you are up bright and early."

 

"Yeah", grinned HM. When are we leavin' Gran'pa? Please hurry we got to catch the plane Come on. Gran'pa.

 

Gran'pa chuckled as HM's questions rapidly fired from his mouth. "We've got plenty of time HM". He answered soothingly. "We don't have to leave the house until at least ten."

 

HM looked a little sad. "Okay Gran'pa."

 

"In the mean time gets your chores done."

 

"And I'll make breakfast", said Gramma.

 

"Gramma can we have my favorite breakfast today? Please."

 

"Yes HM."

 

"All right!"

 

Gramma reached for her robe, and threw it on. Tightening the sash, she plodded to the kitchen. And beginnings  making the breakfast HM was so excited. He loved pancakes with chocolate chips in them.

 

He couldn't wait to eat, but the chores waited, and he needed, to get them done, like Gran'pa' ordered. So off he went into the barn. To milk their cow. He talked to the cow, soothing her, so that she wouldn't kick him. Then it was time to feed the horses.

Soon after that he gathered the eggs and soon the chores were done. He raced back inside, and grabbed his suitcase. Then he entered the kitchen, and sat down at the table. He was just in time, because the pancakes were done. His mouth water at the smell of the pancakes.

 

Gramma turned around, and smiled.  She handed him a plate piled high with pancakes and syrup. HM ate very fast he wanted to get going. He was going to be on a plane. And he loved planes. He soon got up and went to get his Gran'pa.

 

"Gran'pa where are you?", he called throughout the house. "We're gonna be late."

 

His Gran'pa came in dress in his Sunday best and sat down to the table.

 

"Oh Jesper there you are", said Gramma. "HM's looking for you.  You'd better eat."

 

Gran'pa grinned, and ate his pancakes.  "I know I heard him", Gran'pa grinned again. "Jessa, how about some coffee?"

 

Jassa nodded, and went to pour him a cup.   Just then, HM raced back into the kitchen, and saw Jesper.

 

"Gran'pa, let's go  "

 

"In a minute", answered Gran'pa.  "Can't a man swallow coffee first? It's not even ten yet, and you're all hot fired to get going'", said Gran'pa again.

 

HM stood there and waited on one foot. He wishes his Gran'pa would hurry.

 

Seeing his grandson's anxious look, Gran'pa grinned again.  "There, I'm finished. Let me get my suitcase, and we're gone."

 

HM shows him the suitcase. "I got it for you Gran'pa."

 

"Thanks HM", said Gran'pa.  He glanced over at Jassa, and said, "Jassa me dear, HM and I are heading out."

 

Jassa walked over and gave him a kiss. "Be careful Jes. "

 

"I will Jassa. I always am. And with that Jesper and HM left and got into their car and headed for the airport.

 

 

Part Two

 

HM sat in the front seat of the car he was so excited. This was his going to be his first big plane ride to the big city. "Gran'pa, are we there yet?" he asked his brown eyes showing his excitement.

 

Gran'pa turned to HM for a raction of a second, and smiled.  "Not yet, we'll be there soon though. Have patience."

 

HM turn back and look out the window soon he repeated his question. "Are we there yet?"

 

"Soon, HM, soon", said Gran'pa. He knew that HM loved planes, and that this was his first big airplane ride. Finally ten minutes later, they turned into the airport's parking lot. Soon they arrived at the airport desk and Jesper brought their tickets and they waited for their plane to be called "Are you ready HM?" asked Gran'pa.

 

His grandson nodded his head. HM fidgeted in the seats, and went over to the big window where he could see the planes coming and going. Soon their plane is called and they head for it.

 

HM looked around at the interior of the plane. "It's huge, Gran'pa", he breathed.

 

Gran'pa nodded his head. "It sure is Howard."

 

"How are we ever going to find our seats?" asked HM again.  "It's too big."

 

His gran'pa held their tickets. "We will that nice lady will tell us where to sit."

 

HM's mouth turned into a big "O" and he asked, "Really?  Wow the things they come up with."

 

His Gran'pa ruffed his hair and they got on the plane.

 

The stewardess smiled at HM. "Now who do we have here?"

 

HM grinned, and he said, "HM Murdock Ma'am."

 

"First time flier?" she asked glancing at Gran'pa.

 

He smiled  "First time for my grandson here."

 

"Oh I see the stewardess smiled at HM again, and she handed him a pair of pin-on wings. We give these to our entire first time fliers", she said as she directed them towards their seat.

 

He smiled at her and saluted her and looked at the wings HM sat down at the window seat. He looked out the window, and stared at the clouds. He then started to play with the pin on wings, and he smiled.

 

"This is going to be so much fun Gran'pa", he said to his grandfather.

 

"Yes it will HM but remember I got a grains meeting first.  Okay?"

 

"Okay Gran'pa", said HM.  But after the meeting, can we go exploring?" the boy pleaded.

 

"Sure boy we will. I promise."

 

"Is that a promise Gran'pa?" asked HM.  "Do you pinky swear?" he asked again.

 

His Grand'pa place his pinky finger around HM's pinky finger. "I pinky swear."

 

"Okay, but remember you pinky swore, and nobody goes back on a pinky swear", said HM as he settled into his seat to watch the sights again.

 

His grandfather nodded his head and closes his eyes for a little nap.

 

HM still watched the clouds and soon the stewardess came by, to ask if he was comfortable, and if he wanted a drink.

 

He nodded, and she asked him what kind of drink he wanted.

 

HM said he like some grape Kool-Aid so the stewardess disappeared for a little bit, and brought him back some grape Kool-Aid. HM smiled gratefully at her, and took the cup from her outstretched hand.

 

HM thank her then looked over at his Gran'pa. "Hey Gran'pa wake up, you can sleep at home."

 

Jespter's eyes threw open, "What did you say Howard?"

 

HM looked innocently at his Gran'pa. "I said you can sleep at home. Please wake up. It's way too exciting to just be sleeping on the plane. Look at all the clouds for example", stated HM matter of fact.

 

Jesper smiled and nodded his head; "Okay yeah then clouds are nice."

 

"See?" answered HM smiling, "That one looks like an elephant. And that one over there looks like a train",

 

They watch the clouds as HM pointed out different shapes and sizes, but soon it was time for the plane to land in Chicago.

 

"Finally", said HM. I thought we'd never get here."

 

Soon they got off the plane and Jesper hail a taxi and they went to the hotel. HM watch the city as they drove thought it staring at all the huge building. He couldn't believe how huge and big Chicago was. Once at the hotel, HM took stock of his surroundings.

This was the biggest hotel he'd ever been at. The ceiling reached clear to the sky.

 

HM's eyes bugged out, and his mouth opened wide. "Gran'pa the ceiling's huge."

 

His Gran'pa smiled "Yeah it sure is. Come on boy let's get to our room."

 

HM picked up his suitcase and was about to follow Gran'pa when all of a sudden, a man in a red uniform and funny hat came up to them. "Here I can take that for you young man."

 

HM shook his head. "In Texas we do things ourselves." The bellhop nodded, and walked away.

 

 "Who was he Gran'pa?" asked HM.

 

That's been a bellhop. It his job to carried the suitcase," replied Jesper.

 

"Oh, but it's not that heavy Gran'pa", protested HM. "I can do it myself."

 

"I know." They were soon at their room Jesper turned to his grandson. "Howard I want you to take a nap it was a long plane ride."

 

"But I'm not even tired", said an excited HM.

 

"Well I'm tired, answered Gran'pa. Now boy you heard me so off to bed. My meeting is in two hours and I want to be rested for it."

 

"All right", said HM dejectedly. He picked up his suitcase, and he went straight to his bed.

 

"I promise your grandma I look after you. Now off with you."

 

Jesper watched as the ten year-old boys went to the bedroom, and shut the door. He smiled and also lay down.  Soon the two hours went fast he got up and left for his meeting. But first he made sure HM was fine. Jesper saw that he was sound to sleep and he reach down and kiss him on the forehead. "See you when I get back champ."

 

HM heard Gran'pa leave for his meeting. But he was still too tired, and tried to go back to sleep. But he wasn't having much luck. So he decided to get up and go looked around. Soon HM was out on the street he kept walking and all of the sudden he known he was lost in Chicago?

 

"Great, I'm lost in Chicago, Grandpa's gonna kill me", moaned HM.

 

He walked for what seemed like hours, and ended up on a doorstep. He was also hungry. And he could smell a cherry pie. He looked up and saw one on the windowsill. So he reached up to take it.

 

"Hey leave my mama pie alone you little thief."

 

Startled HM drew back, and saw a face with a frown on it.

 

"I'm sorry I'm hungry, and it smelled so good", defended HM.

 

"Well ain't nobody gonna be takin' my Mama's pie", answered the angry boy.

 

A woman stuck her head out of the window. "Scooter don't be rude asked the boy in and I will give him something to eat."

 

The boy stared at HM but nodded his head  "Come on in. Mama will feed you."

 

 "Hello Baby, are you hungry?" she asked.

 

HM looked up at her but he didn't answer her. He was taught not to talk to strangers The lady seemed to understand, and started rummaging around in her kitchen. HM seemed to feel that he could talk to the boy however, and he did so.

 

"The name's HM Murdock", he said introducing himself. The boy looked at HM and said in a low voice. "My name is none of your business."

 

Mama frowns at her son as she cut a piece of pie and pours some milk for them. "Scooter tell him your name and don't be so rude. I didn't raise you that way."

 

The boy grumbled a little under his breath, and finally said, "The name's Bosco. An' that's my mama."

 

HM looked at the woman .She seen nice so he decided to speak to her. "Thank you for the pie and milk."

 

The woman smiled encouragingly at him, and introduced herself.

 

"My name is Mary Baracus. What is your name?"

 

HM smiled at her. He thought her name was a pretty name. "My name is HM Murdock," he reply.

 

"My what an unusual name. Come sit down HM, and you're welcome to the pie and milk. Eat as much as you can handle. Scooter eats a lot so I've made plenty."

 

HM looked at the older kid eating his pie. Scooter stared at him but said nothing. Finally he was done and pick up his glove.

 

"Mama I'm going to the lot to play sticks ball with Stinky."

 

"Why don't you take HM with you Baby? I'm sure he'd love to see how you play stick ball."

 

Scooter looked at his mama. "Mama shouldn't we find out where he lives? I know all the kids in this neighbor and he don't belong here."

 

Mama nodded her head as she turned to HM.  "HM where exactly do you live?

 

HM look ups and replied. "Texas. I'm from Texas."

 

 

Part Three

 

Mama Baracus stared at him. "Baby did you say you were from Texas?"

 

"Yes Ma'am", answered HM matter of factly.  But I'm here with my Gran'pa on important business."

 

She smiled at him. "Where's your Gran'pa at now?  Baby?"

 

HM looked at her. "I don't know, a big hotel. I don't know the name of it or how to get back to it."

 

"What does it look like Baby?" asked Mrs. Baracus.

 

HM shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know that either Miss Baracus."

 

She nodded her head. Then she turned to her son Scooter take HM with you while I make some calls."

 

"All right Mama, let's go Kid", Bosco said, pulling on the younger boy's sleeve. Mary Baracus watched as the two boys headed out, and she picked up the phone and started dialing. She knew she had to call the police.

 

"Hi Mike this is Mary. Can you come over?  I have a lost child here."

 

"Sure Mary", Mike replied.  I'll come right over as soon as my shift's done", affirmed Mike.

 

Mary paced, until Mike came to her door. "What's the child's name Mary? " Mike asked. Getting right to the point.

 

"His name is HM Murdock, Has anyone reported a missing child?"

 

Mike shook his head. "Not yet but I'll take him to the station."

 

"Oh no you don't Michael Tanner. That boy is staying right here."

 

"Mary, be reasonable, if he's lost he's got to come to the police station", answered Mike.

 

"Michael you don't know the first thing about children, and I'm not about to let a baby like that go into a scary place such as police

station. He'd get scared even more", protested Mary.

 

Mike shook his head, he knew there was no reasoning with Mary Baracus. "I'll see what I can do Mary. But in the mean time I got to take him in."

 

"Michael can't you please wait. I'd hate for you to have to hunt them down, even if they are a couple blocks away", said Mary.

Mike smiled at her. "You know, Mary, Bosco is never that far from his home you can always yell for him."

 

"Well I'm not going to if you want that child get him yourself." she reply with her arms folded.

 

Mary smiled; she was trying to stall. HM seemed so young and vulnerable. She faked a smile and tried to tempt him with some pie. "Would you like some pie Michael?" She asked in a coaxing tone.

 

Michael shook his head. "Mary please stop trying to bribe me. I got to take him in but you can come with me. Maybe the Captain will let the boy stay here."

 

Mary sighed. She nodded her head, and stepped out onto the porch. She put her fingers to her lips, and she gave a shrill whistle. 

Soon, two boys came running. Bosco was in front, and HM was desperately trying to catch up to the other boy's long strides.

"We're here Mama", announced Bosco. "What is it?" Bosco asked. Looking at Mike.

 

"HM this nice man would like to have a little talk with you", said Mama turning from Bosco and looking at HM.

 

HM looked up at the policeman. "Yes sir? Did I do something wrong?"

 

Michael looked at him. "No son but I have to take you down to the station."

 

HM stared at Mike he suddenly took off running.  Mary turned and looked at Michael.

 

"Well now what?" asked Michael.

 

 "We go after him", answered Mama.

 

Michael shook his head. "No Mary. I will. This is police duty. "

 

"Hey mama, Officer Tanner. Let me go get him .He will probably come to me and I think I know where he went."

 

"Where baby?"

 

Bosco only said, "Please let me go get him....".

 

 Mama and the police officer looked at each other holding a conference. "Go Baby and bring him back", said Mama.

 

 "Okay", answered Bosco, as he jogged off to where they'd played stickball, Stinky's backyard.

 

He found his best friend, Stinky sitting in the yard with HM.  Bosco ran into the yard. "Hey man why you runaway?"

 

"HM looked up tears running down his face,  "He was going to throw me in jail."

 

"Naw man, Officer Tanner ain't like that.  If he said he wanted ya to come wit' him, he probably had a good reason", said Bosco. Trying to reasons with the ten-year-old.

 

 "But he was looked scary, and mean" whimpered HM. 

 

"I know, but he's not." Please come back with me", reasoned Bosco again. HM nodded, and started to go with Bosco.

 

Stinky called back at Bosco. "Hey I hope everything's works out." 

 

 "Thanks Stinky."

 

Soon they were back but HM stay close to Bosco his brown eye wide with fear. When Mama and Officer Tanner saw the young boy, Officer Tanner started to speak.

 

"HM may I ask you a few questions?"

 

HM nodded, but he was still unsure of the policeman. He glanced at Mama Baracus and she smiled her encouragement.

 

 "Go ahead Baby, it's okay", she said.

 

"Well how you know my name? Are you magician?"

 

Michael laughed. "No Mary told me your name."

 

"Oh. Well I'm from Texas and me and my Gran'pa are staying here at this big hotel. "

 

"There are a lot of hotel here," said Mike. "Mary I will call the station and see if HM can stay here. The boy been though enough

today."

 

Mama nodded, and turned to HM, "How would you like to stay with Scooter and I, until they find your grandfather?" 

 

"We haven't decided anything Mary," answered Officer Tanner. "But I will call."  He went inside, called the station, and the captain gave his permission. When all was settled, Mama settled HM in for the night.

 

HM looked over to Bosco. "Do you think they will find my Gran'pa? "

 

Bosco looked back at him. "Hey go to sleep."

 

HM laid in the bed trying hard not to cry. He wanted to go home. He hated this big city.

 

Meanwhile, Jesper was in desperate search for his grandson. It had been a whole day, and he still was no closer to finding him. If he didn't find his grandson by the next day, he felt resigned to call the police. With that in mind, Jesper reluctantly fell asleep,

dreaming of finding HM.

 

 

Part Four

 

"Oh Jassa, the reason I didn't call the police at first, was because, I felt that a ten-year old boy wouldn't have gotten too far, but I

was wrong, very wrong apparently, I desperately searched for HM wherever I thought a ten-year-old might go. Arcades comic book stores."

 

... That's what he was going to tell Jassa because he knew she would asked him why he didn't got to the police right away

 

Jesper's eyes flew open, and he sat straight up in the bed.  "What's Jassa going to say when I call her and tell her that Howard is

missing?", he gasped.

 

He knew exactly what she'd do. While on the phone she'd be calm and cool, and probably urge him to find HM, with the police's help. Then she'd probably cry.  He hated breaking the news to her, but as he reached for the phone, he knew that she needed to know what had taken place.

 

Jassa Murdock was up and feeding the chickens when she heard the phone ring. She ran in out pick up the phone.

 

"Hello?", she asked into the receiver.

 

"Hello Jassa-Love", answered Jesper.

 

"Jesper, how are you?", asked Jassa excitedly into the phone's receiver.

 

"Not so good my love", replied Jesper sober. Howard's missing I'm afraid...."

 

His voice trailed off, as Jassa spoke again. "He isn't", gasped out Jassa.

 

"I'm afraid so Jassa."

 

"Have you called the police?" she asked.

 

"Not yet, tomorrow I will though", he'd answered.

 

Jassa held her breath before speaking.  Jesper Abercombie Murdock. You crazy fool. You called the police right now HM could be laying dead in a gutter. Man why don't you think?"

 

Jesper hung his head he knew that she was right. He then heard her worry and angry voice.

 

"Jesper I am taking the first plane down there."

 

He shook his head and started to say something but Jassa had all ready hung up.

 

----

 

"Mommy! Mommy! "screamed HM.

 

BA sat up in bed he turned and saw HM tossing and turning in the bed. He started to go get his mama when she walked in. She took HM in her arms .He was crying  "Mommy mommy !  I want  my mommy." She held him in her arms

 

 

She went to her rocking chair, and she sat down again, still holding HM in her arms.  "Sh Baby, sh.  It's okay, it's okay." 

 

Suddenly, HM's eyes popped open, and he was staring into the comforting face of Mary Baracus Tears streaking down his cheeks.  He sobbed "I want to go home, I want my Gran'pa and Gramma...." 

 

"I know baby I know .It will be all right. Everything will be all right. Want me to sing to you?"

 

HM looked at her and nodded his head. Mama began to sing an old lullaby.

 

She sang her heart out, and soon with Mama's comforting voice singing to him, HM fell fast asleep again.  Mama carried the boy back to Bosco's room, and tucked him in.  She kissed his forehead, and whispered, "Sweet Dreams baby.  I'm sure you'll get your heart's desire soon."  She crept away, and hoped with all her heart that what she said was true.

 

Jesper stood at the airport window looking for Jassa .He soon spotted her and walked over to greet her.

 

Jassa grabbed him by the ear. "Jesper I really should knock some sense into your head .Not calling the police the minute HM was

missing. What were you thinking? "

 

Jesper just hung his head usually Jassa was calm and not easily angry, but when it came to HM, their only grandchild, Jassa would

suddenly turn into a lion defending her cub. And if Jesper were the cause of it, well he'd expect to find some heck to pay.

 

He raised his eyes to meet hers, and said, "Well I'll call the police as soon as we get back to the hotel."  All right Jassa?"

 

"No Jesper we are going straight to the police right now and if anything has happen to HM. I swear I will make your life miserable."

 

Jassa and Jesper got in the cab. "Take us to the nearest police station by the Browning Hotel," replied Jesper.

 

The cab driver nodded his head. Soon they were there at the police station and Jassa marched right up into the building leaving Jesper to pay the fare. Jesper sighed paid the fare, and went into the police station, where Jassa was demanding to see the captain of the police station.

 

The Sgt. at the desk looked down at the angry woman. "Man'm please calm down."

 

Jassa shook her fist at him. "Don't you tell me to calm down. My little grandson, my baby is missing in this city and I want him

found.  Right Now! "

 

Spying Jesper, the Sgt. looked at him, and Jesper shrugged in sympathy.  When Jassa was like this, there was no calm way to deal

with her.

 

"All right lady, I'll see what I can do", said the Sgt..  He called into the office, and spoke into the receiver of the phone.  Soon a

policeman by the name of Mike Tanner entered, and he decided to bring them to a conference room.  "If you two will follow me....", he said. So the couple did. "Now tell me what's the trouble?", asked Mike when the three were seated.

 

Jassa suddenly stood up looking at Tanner. Jesper try to get her to sit back down but she would have none of it. "My grandson is

missing."

 

Jesper look at her "Don't you mean our grandson is missing?"

 

She glared at him and he sat down. "Like I said my grandson is missing."

 

Officer Tanner nodded his head. "Man'm we have hundreds of children missing can you tell me his name. "

 

His name is Howard but we called him HM."

 

Mike got a surprised look on his face, and he asked. "Would that be HM Murdock?" 

 

Jassa sighed and nodded noticing the surprised look on the officer's face, she demanded, "Do you know something about my grandson Officer Tanner?"  And if so, is he all right?" 

 

Officer Mike Tanner pleased with the information, decided to call Mary, and tell her the good news. That is after he told the

grandparents where HM was, and how he was doing of course.

 

He smiled at the older couple. "I know where your grandson is and as soon as I called the lady he's with we will go over there."

 

Suddenly Jesper grab him. "You take us there right now."

 

Officer Tanner nodded his head and took the couple to the apartment building on the East Side. Soon they were there and he took them to the third floor and knocked on the door.  They heard someone coming to the door and soon it was answer by Mary Baracus dressed in a robe.

 

"Why Officer Tanner, so nice of you to come by", greeted Mary.  She spotted the older couple, and asked, "May I ask who they are Mr. Tanner?" 

 

Mike answered, before anyone else could speak, "They're HM's grandparents Mary. Can we come please?"

 

"Oh forgive my manners", said Mary who was in complete shock. "Come in, come in, and let me get dressed. Make yourselves comfortable in the living room, and I'll be with you in a moment."  While Mary went to get dressed, the three settled themselves in.

 

Bosco stood and looked at the couple. "You that kids folks?"

 

Jassa smiled at him. "Yes we are " 

 

"Hmmm better teach him how to play stickball he not good at it."  

 

She just smiled at him. Suddenly HM walked into the room rubbing his eyes. "I'm hungry."

 

Jassa and Jesper stood up.  Jassa held out her arms.  "Baby. Oh HM sweetie."

 

HM looked up and ran into his Gramma arms. "Gramma, oh Gramma", said HM, in his grandmother's arms.  I missed you Gramma."

 

Suddenly, he got out of her arms, and ran to the other boy in the room said, "Gramma this is Bosco, and I've been living in his room forever", said the boy in a rush.

 

Jassa turned to Bosco, and said, "How do you do Bosco?" 

 

Bosco looked at her and mutter. "I'm doing fine, but you got to teach the kid how to play stickball." 

 

He then walks away. His Mama came into the room with some coffee and milk. "Here's some coffee. Would you like to stay for breakfast?"

 

Jassa nodded her head and they all went into the kitchen and sat down and had breakfast. HM smiled at his Grandparents as he ate his breakfast. "Guess what Gran'pa I played stick ball." 

 

"You mean you try. You can't hit the backside of a streetcar," said Bosco as he ate his ham.

 

HM looked like he was going to cry.

 

Mary looked at her son "Bosco Baracus you apologize right this minute."

 

Bosco looked at his mama. "But mama you always told me to tell the truth what did I do wrong?"

 

"Yes Bosco, I know that I've always told you to tell the truth, but saying things like that to make people cry is not necessary. Now you apologize", said Mary. 

 

Giving the look that all mothers give, and the kids know they're in big trouble.  Bosco nodded his head.  "All right Mama, grumbled

Bosco.  I'm sorry I hurt your feelings HM", he muttered.

 

HM looked up at him and smiled '"That's okay Will you teach me how to play stickball?"

 

Bosco smiled "Yeah sure kid why not." 

 

Mary turned to the Murdocks "Why don't you stay here while you are in Chicago. I think it would be a wonderful idea."

 

 Jassa looked at her. "We really don't want to put you out."

 

"Nonsense we have plenty of room please stay."

 

 HM grab his Gramma and jump up and down "Can we Gramma!  Please can we stay? Please!"

 

Jassa smiled down at her grandson, and glanced back at Mary.  "Well it would be a shame to pull them apart just now, and if it's not too much trouble I guess we can stay, while Jesper finishes up in Chicago.  How does that sound Jesper?"

 

Jesper nodded. Glad to see that his wife had calmed down, and was in a more reasonable state of being.

 

"Good then it's all settled", said Mary.

 

HM jumped up and began to dance around the room.  "Yay! We get to stay "

 

He ran over and grabbed Bosco and began to dance with. "Let go of me you crazy fool! Let go!"

 

But HM was too excited Bosco looked at his mama for help Jassa smiled and got up and took HM and together they dance. Mary smiled at her son and held out her arms .He walked over to her and let her dance with him.

 

 

Part Five

 

After they danced, Mary led Jassa to the room, she and Jesper would share, and since HM already roomed with Bosco it was perfect.  Jassa knew exactly where HM was, and she wasn't so worried.

 

Jassa smiled in Mary's direction and whispered, "Thank you for putting us up here while Jesper goes to his meetings."

 

"Anytime Jassa", smiled back Mary.  "Any time..."

 

Jesper turned to his wife "Jassa, my love I got to go to my meeting. I will be back at two with my stuff." He kisses her and started to leave.

 

"Jesper?"

 

"Yes Jassa?"

 

 "I love you. You old fool"

 

Jesper smiled. "I love you too Jassa."

 

Jassa and Mary escorted Jesper to the front door and Jassa watched him go, she loved him, she really did. She looked at Mary, and asked, "Now what?  What would you like me to do?"

 

Mary looked at her "You will do nothing you are a guest."

 

"We Murdocks do not stay at someone home for nothing."

 

Mary smiled. "Well I could used help with the dishes."

 

"Hey mama. I am going to Stinky Anderson."

 

Mary looked at her son. "All right Scooter, why don't you take HM with you?"

 

Bosco looked upset  "Ah mama do I have to?"

 

Mary put her hands on her hips and with a warning tone she said. "Bosco "Scooter" Baracus."

 

That was all that needed to be said.  When Mama said those three names in one sentence, she meant for him do what she asked.

 

Bosco nodded his head  "Yes, Ma'am" He turned to HM and said, "C'mon Kid, I'm gonna teach 'ya how to really play stickball."

 

Grinning HM turned to his grandmother, and said, "Bye Gramma, see you in a little bit."  And the two were out the door in a flash.

 

Bosco led HM though the alley to his best friend home Walter Anderson whom everyone called Stinky. Stinky and the rest of the gang were waiting

 

Bo Carter stood up "Hey Bosco. Why you bring him back?"

 

Bosco looked at HM and then back at Bo "Mama made me. Are we going to play stick ball or not?"

 

HM stared at Bosco. "Aren't you going to teach me how to play?"

 

Bosco looked at him. "Later I'll teach you later right now just watch."

 

Finding a comfy patch of grass, and sitting cross-legged, HM cupped his head in his hands, and watched the boys playing stickball.  He was fascinated.  He wished Bosco would hurry and teach him.  Suddenly the ball came straight for him, as HM tried to get it, it passed between his legs. He watched the ball roll to the edge of the grass, and ran over to get it.

 

"Lemma have it Kid", said Bosco holding out his hand.

 

"Okay", sighed HM. "But you promised to teach me to play", said HM again.

 

"Later Kid later", said Bosco.

 

HM stood up he stared at Bosco  "My name is not kid its HM and you promised to teach me. He pull his hand back  "So you don't get this ball back until you do."

 

Bosco grab HM by his shirt "Give me the that ball you little creep."

 

"No not until you teach me how to play "

 

Suddenly Bosco hit HM.

 

 "A fight." scream Johnny Anderson Soon all the boys were fighting instead of playing.

 

Suddenly Mrs. Anderson opened the screen door, she ran out into the yard, and she put her hands on her hips. At first she tried to be calm, and get the boys to calm down that way. But nobody listened to her, until...She ran back inside and grabbed a metal

whistle. She blew it, and the fighting stopped.

 

"What going on here?" she demanded.

 

Stinky and Johnny looked up at their mother.  "Bosco and his friend started it mama," replied Stinky "

 

"Walter, I don't want to hear it." She spoke calmly to the children. "You kids go home now."

 

All the kids ran out of the yard and Bosco walked very fast thought the alley.

 

"Hey wait up," called HM.

 

Bosco stop and turn around his eyes were blazing. "Why don't you go back from wherever you came from. You hick."

 

HM's eyes tear up, and he looked at Bosco. "All I wanted was for you teach me to play stickball, because for one thing you're my friend. Aren't you?"

 

For a split second Bosco was undecided. Then he said, "Well if you wouldn't have taken the ball away, I would've taught ya."

 

 "When?" demanded HM.

 

"After the game, an' Bosco Baracus don't lie", answered Bosco.

 

HM thought for a moment  "I'm sorry."

 

Bosco looked at him. "Yeah me too come on let's go to the park and I'll tell you."

 

He stared at HM who right eye was turning black  "Is your grandma going to be mad?"

 

"Yeah but Grandpa will be proud. It's a beauty," replied HM proudly.

 

They soon enter the park and Bosco looked around to make sure his friends were not around. Bosco gave HM the stick and show him how to stand but no matter how hard he tried HM could not hit the ball.

 

"You are hopeless."

 

"I m sorry," replied HM.

 

"That 's okay. Here throw me the ball."  HM threw Bosco the ball just like a pitcher would Bosco stared at him in amazed.

 

"Where did you learn to pitch that way?"

 

HM stared at Bosco  "You mean like I just did?"

 

"Yeah that."

 

"I guess I learn when I was chasing squirrels out of Gramma 's garden. I threw rocks to chase them out."

 

Bosco grunted, "You gotta good arm on ya kid."

 

"Thank you, Bosco", said HM. His face beamed.

 

Bosco tossed the ball back at HM, and said, "Now hold the broomstick, and when I throw the ball, you swing at it. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it, but if you breathe a word about me helping' you to play, I'll make your other eye black.  Got it Murdock?"

 

"Got it Baracus", smiled HM.

 

All afternoon Bosco and HM played. It wasn't long before HM could hit the ball but no matter how hard Bosco try he could not hit HM ball. Bosco was amazed because he was the best hitter on the team

 

"Hey HM?"

 

HM ran over to him. "Yeah BA "

 

"Do you want to pitch in tomorrow game against the Wild Cats?"

 

"Do you really mean it."

 

"Yeah, I do."

 

"What about the others?"

 

"Once they see you pitch they won't say anything. Come on it getting late."

 

"Hey Bosco "

 

"Hey call me Scooter all my friends do."

 

"Hey Scooter I was good wasn't I, you couldn't even hit my ball."

 

Bosco shrugged his shoulders, and he and HM were back at Bosco's apartment. As they came through the door, Bosco led them both to the kitchen, where Mary had placed a plateful of cookies and two glasses of milk. Soon the two ladies entered the kitchen as well.

 

Mary spoke first, "Well boys, you played for a very long time."

 

Jassa nodded.  The two raised their heads, and glanced at the women before them.

 

"Yeah, the game lasted for a long while", said Bosco. Not mentioning that he and HM had been in a fight.

 

Until Jassa asked, "What happened to your eye HM?"

 

HM and Bosco looked at each other. HM smiled at his Gramma. "Isn't it a beauty Gramma?"

 

"What happened oh my poor baby. Here let me kiss it "

 

HM pulls away. "Don't Gramma, please. I got my very first black eye and I am so proud of it."

 

"But what happened. HM who hurt you?"

 

Mary looked at her son Bosco I think you better tell us what happened and right now."

 

Bosco looked from left to right, and from right to left, he took a deep breath, and said, "Well we were at Stinky Anderson's house, and we were playing stickball when..." Bosco's voice trailed off, and he hung his head.

 

"When what Bosco Baracus?" asked Mary softly, but sharply.

 

"Well we wouldn't let HM play at first, and the ball came to him, and he wouldn't give it back and I got mad, and I punched him in the eye...."

 

"Bosco Baracus, I have told you time and again to control that temper of yours", admonished Mary.

 

Bosco hung his head. "I'm sorry Mama."

 

Mary nodded her head.  "I know you are baby but I just can't let you get away with it so go to your room."

 

Jassa looked at her grandson. "I think you should have given Bosco back his ball Howard Mancuso Murdock, now you go stand in the corner."

 

HM also hung his head, and went to stand in the corner, while the mother and the grandmother watched them do what the boys were told to do.  They stood with their arms folded. Suddenly without any warning, Jesper came through the door, with his and HM's bags with him.  He called for Jassa, and both she and Mary came running.

 

"What is it Jesper?" asked Jassa as soon as she caught her breath. "Old man you scare the daylight out of me."

 

"Nothing just announcing I was back and I have surprise for that grandson of ours, and that Bosco fellow."

 

"Well speaking of HM Murdock Jesper, he needs a good talking to", said Jassa.  "A grandfather to grandson sort of talk."

 

"Oh one of those said Jesper his brows furrowing together.

 

Jesper just smiled at his wife and went to talk to HM. "Hey sport I heard you got into a fight."

 

HM turned around and face him.  "Yeah I got a black eye Grandpa. It's it a beauty?"

 

Jepser looked at the black eye carefully.  "Best looking black eye I seen in a long time." HM stood there proud of him.

 

"You think so Grandpa", said HM finally. "Because Gramma looked awfully mad an' scared at the same time when I showed her", he finished.

 

Jesper chuckled, "Women are funny like that Howard."  They get ruffled about the strangest things. Oh and if she asks, we had a man to man talk. Okay?"

 

HM nodded, and Jesper gets up from the corner where he'd knelt in front of HM to talk to him.

 

Jesper walked back into the kitchen.

 

"Well Jesper did you have a talk with your grandson."

 

"Yes Jassa I did. HM understands. "Then he won't do, it again?"

 

"I said he understood, I didn't say he won't do it again. He a boy Jassa and boy get into fights."

 

"Jesper he's got to learn", argued Jassa.

 

"He's learned, and he is still learning", argued back Jesper.  "He's sorry, he try not to do it again. So please let him out of the corner", finished Jesper.

 

Jassa looked at her husband. "Jesper you come with me right now. "

 

Jesper followed Jassa in the room where she pointed to a corner. "Jesper stand in that corner now."

 

Jesper look at her but she stood firm he shook his head and stood in the corner.

 

HM looked over at him and whisper  "Grandpa we're in trouble right?"

 

"Yeah HM deep trouble."

 

 

Part Six

 

It was a good hour and a half later, before Jassa let them out of the corner, and Mary let Bosco out of his room. HM and Bosco looked at each other. HM was afraid that his new friend was mad at him. "Scooter are you mad at me because you got in trouble?"

 

Bosco shook his head, and he said, "Nah Man, Mama was right it was my fault too. We shouldn't have been fighting' an' I should have controlled my temper too."

 

"I guess, but I shouldn't have taken away your ball", answered HM.

 

Bosco smiled at HM. "No problem kid. If I had kept my promise. Well you know. Hey you want to go to the game?"

 

HM wanted to go but he was not too sure if he could. So he looked at his Grandma and waited for her to speak. Jassa looked at Jesper, and Jesper looked at Jassa. "It's your call Jassa my love", answered Jesper. "Whatever you say goes." Jassa looked sideways at her husband, she was making sure he wasn't saying that just so he wouldn't get in the corner again. Convinced he wasn't just being a goof ball, she turned to HM again. Jassa motion for him to come to her. He strolls over to her and waited for her answer.

 

"HM. If I let you go? Do you promise to be good and no more fighting?"

 

HM nodded his head. "I will try not to fight but I will not walked away from a fight either."

 

Jassa nodded. She knew it would be pointless to mother him too much, and besides, Jesper would only encourage HM in the exact opposite anyway. She turned from the two boys, and stood by Mary and Jesper. The three watched as the two boys left again, and Jassa started to speak. "What am I going to do with him Mary?"

 

Mary looked sympathetically at her, and patted her shoulders. Just let him grow up that all we can do. I know it's not easy but sometimes we just have to break the strings."

 

"I know, I know", sighed Jassa. "But it's so hard, when Anna came to first live with us after Harold and Irene died, and then Anna herself passed.... Well I'm the only mother he's ever really known. It's so hard to break those apron strings." She then noticed what she was doing and said, "I'm sorry I didn't mean to ramble at you."

 

Mary took the older woman and hugs her. "Its okay .I understand. When Bart died in that planes crash. It wasn't easy for me not to baby him so much. But Jassa please believed me when I say this don't baby HM too much. He will resent it."

 

Jassa nodded, and took Mary's piece of advice to heart. She walked out the front door, and sat down on the porch. She knew that she needed to let HM grow up, but to her he was just a baby. Jesper followed her out and stood beside her.

 

He smiled at her. "Hey woman I love you." She glanced sideways at Jesper, and watched as he sat down next to her. She rested her head on his shoulder, and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

 

"And I love you, you old goat. I was just thinking over Mary's advice. Do you think she's right? Do I mother HM too much?"

 

Jesper pause for a moment thinking of the right words to say, "Jassa. My pet. I know you missed Howard? I miss him too But HM needs to grow up and you need to let him."

 

Jassa sighed again. She knew that what Jesper was saying was the truth. "I know it's the right thing to do. "I know it, but I'll need a reminder every once in a while. Think you can help me out sometimes Jes?"

 

Jesper hug his wife. "You can count on it."

 

They sat on the porch for almost an hour, but it felt like a lifetime to Jassa. She loved snuggling with Jesper, and rarely got a chance to do so. Except when HM had been put to bed. She kissed his cheek again, and stood up. "Well I'd better help Mary with supper Jes. Think you can keep busy until HM gets back?"

 

He nodded his head.

 

Bosco and HM enter the park Stinky strolls over to them. "Hey Bosco why you bring him again?"

 

Bosco smiled "Wait until you see him pitch."

 

Stinky's eyes got really big. "You're not foolin' us are you Bosco?"

 

Bosco stared Stinky down, "One thing is Bosco Baracus don't lie. An' give HM a chance. I seen him pitch."

 

Stinky stared at HM. "Okay lets see you pitch." He turned around and called to someone. "Duke come here." A big boy ran over to them. Stinky pointed to him. "This is Duke the slugger. No one can touch him if you strike him out. You are in."

 

Getting on the pitcher's mound, HM stood there, he tried to focus on the Duke, but his vision blurred for a second. He rolled the ball around in his hand, just like he'd done the rocks, and blindly threw it. Duke hit the ball and the boys all laughed.

 

"I thought you said he could pitch. Boy my two month old baby sister could do better."

 

Bosco stared at Stinky. "Hey he just nervous. I saw him do it."

 

"Yeah sure."

 

"Hey like I said before, Bosco Baracus don' lie", snarled Bosco.

 

"Let him pitch again", sighed Stinky.

 

So the ball was handed back to HM, and he threw again. This time causing Duke to get a strike, "strike one", smiled Bosco. HM smiled and licked his lips and threw the ball again. Duke missed it; "strike two" replied Bosco. HM looked at Duke and studied him then let the ball rip across the sky; "strike three!" yelled Daisy. He did it he struck Duke out. Stepping off the pitcher's mound, HM stepped into a group of high fives, and a couple of hugs.

 

"You did it HM, you did it", said Bosco.

 

"You struck Duke out", said the awed voice of Stinky. Even Bo was impressed.

 

HM shying smiled and looked at them. "Can I play?"

 

"Are you kidding kid?" said Bo "welcome to the team."

 

"Thanks", said HM. He was still a little shy, but if he got to play, he'd be really happy. He glanced over at Duke, and Duke's little tomboy sister Daisy. He noticed that Duke didn't join in the celebration. He decided that if they were going to be on the same

team, he'd better start on the right foot. HM step up to Duke and held out his hand "Hi my name is HM Murdock."

 

Duke stared at him for a moment; "No ones ever struck me out kid. You are the first one to do it." He held out his hand too. "Sure am glad you are on our team. Duke Hunnicut, and this is my little sister, Daisy", continued Duke.

 

"Nice to meet you two", answered HM. Daisy smiled, and said, "Good to meet you too." HM smiled again, and rejoined the team for practice. For once he felt he belonged. He'd found a lot of friends, and now he was on a stickball team. Life was great. All afternoon they practiced. The Silver Bullets were now ready to face the Wild Cats with their secret weapon a new pitcher named HM Murdock.

 

The sun was going down, and the Silver Bullets dispersed in all ways possible. HM and Bosco went back to Bosco's apartment, but they'd all promised to meet back in the morning to practice a little bit more before their game. HM's eyes were shining and Bosco noticed the look.

 

He too smiled and said, "Ya know what HM? I think the guys were impressed."

 

"Really?" asked HM. His eyes getting wide. "Thanks for teaching me how to play, and I'm glad Bo let me on the team."

 

"Hey didn't really teach you much. You had it in you all along."

 

HM nodded his head. They walked into the apartment where Jesper and Jassa were waiting.

 

"HM my meeting had been cancelled we are going home tomorrow."

 

HM looked at his grandparents. Stunned was the word for the look on his face. And he looked ready to do something. Not cry, not yell, just... something. He said, "But Grandpa, the stickball game, Silver Bullets against the Wildcats is tomorrow. "I'm the pitcher. I can't just leave. Please can't we stay until after the game at least?"

 

"I'm sorry HM but the farm will not run itself someone got to be there. I am sorry boy. There will be other games."

 

HM nodded his head holding back the tears. Mary looked at them. "Jassa why don't you let HM stay here I promise I will get him back."

 

Jassa looked at her husband. "How he asked I don't have enough money for Howard to stay. I'm sorry Howard."

 

HM said nothing but ran into the bedroom. Jassa looked at Jesper. "Perhaps if I stay as well? I could help out Mary more, and I'm sure I could call a neighbor friend of mine, to watch the house, and make sure you're fed on time. Besides I've got money, and I've got a little more left over."

 

Jesper looked at Jassa and said, "My Love we've got to get back, I stand firm when I say that we all must leave tomorrow."

 

"Jesper Murdock! You listened to me. That boy is heartbroken. He will go tomorrow because you said so but, he will always be sad and I for one will not let that child be sad. This game means a lot to him. We will leave tomorrow after the game. I don't want to hear another word from you. You stuffy old shirt."

 

"Stuffy old shirt?", muttered Jesper to himself. He shook his head, if it wasn't one thing it was another. He caught sight of Mary Baracus trying to hold back a smile of her own.

 

"You'd better listen to her Jesper", said Mary. "She knows exactly what she's talking about", Mary finished.

 

Jesper sighed again, and went to the bedroom to see if he could talk to HM again.

 

HM was laying on the bed crying. He felt someone sit down and turned around to face his grandfather rubbing his eye. "I got something in my eye."

 

Jesper smiled. "Howard is this game really important to you?"

 

HM looked at him. "No not really."

 

"Don't lie to me boy. Is it or not?"

 

"Yes Grampa I am really good.You should see me."

 

"Okay Howard we will stay for the game but then we got to go home okay?"

 

HM turned his body around, so that he too was sitting on the bed, and facing his grandfather. "Okay Gran'pa. You and Gramma wanna come too?"

 

Jesper nested HM head. "We would not miss it for the world."

 

 

Part Seven

 

The next day everyone got ready to go to the park for the stickball game and a picnic afterwards. Bosco and HM ran over to join the practice.

 

Bo greeted them. "Hey Bosco why don't you let HM here practice hitting the ball? I'll have Daisy pitch to him."

 

Bosco nodded his head and told HM to stand near home plate. He then told HM to remember how to stand. Daisy looked toward home plate she smiled and tossed a fast ball to him, and he swung. "Strike one", yelled someone from the team. He concentrated and she tossed him the ball again. He swung again. "Strike two."

 

"Come on HM just meet the ball," yelled Bosco

 

HM nodded his head and as the ball came he wrack it sending it flying into Perry Brent's hand. "I did it! I did it!"

 

"He did it, he did it!" yelled another teammate. Grinning they lead HM off the field and he sat down on some grass on the sideline he watched as Bosco came up to practice hit.

 

Suddenly a mean looking boy walked up to HM. "Hi I heard you are the Silver Bullets new pitcher. He grabbed HM and pulled him to his feet. "You get this straight country boy. There is no way you are going to strike me out if you do you will be going back to your home in a coffin."

 

Seeing that his friend was in trouble, Bosco pushed his way up to Chris Milligan, and said, "You better be layin' off our new pitcher, Milligan. Don' wan' ya threaten 'im. C'mon HM", scowled Bosco.

 

Bosco glared at Milligan, and stormed off. Leaving Milligan a little scared, but out for revenge nonetheless. Milligan turned around and looked at his friend Pete. "We can't let that country boy pitch. He's good."


"What do we do Chris? Break his arm?"

 

"No you idiot tell the coach. I think they may be a rule against this."

 

So Pete got away from the talk, and went to find his coach. "Coach, Coach", said Pete.

 

Greg Cruise turned around and asked, "Yeah Pete what is it?"

 

Pete turned to look at Chris who mouth go on. Greg waited. "Coach the Silver Bullets have a new pitcher but it's in the middle of the season. Can they do that?"

 

Greg nodded his head, "There nothing against the rules Pete as long as his coach okay it."

 

Pete turned and shrugged at Chris. Chris frowned, and went up to Greg. He said, "Coach, the Silver Bullets' Coach doesn't even  know yet. He's gonna be surprised when he finds out." As if on cue the Silver Bullets' Coach Nick Garrett arrived.

 

Greg looked at him "Hey Nick. I heard you got a new pitcher."

 

Nick nodded his head '"Yeah Greg and this time we are going to beat you."

 

Greg smiled. "Let see his transfer papers from his other coach."

 

Nick thought for a moment. "Oh yeah I better get them. Greg you and your team are going down."

 

Greg smiled, "Don't bet on it Garrett."

 

Nick Garrett went to the place where the boys were assembled, he called Bosco over to him, and asked, "Is the new pitcher here?"

 

Bosco nodded, and motioned for HM to stand near him.

 

"Hi I'm HM", grinned HM.

 

"Nice to meet you, and now I need to ask you something", answered Nick. "Do you have your transfer papers?"

 

Bosco and HM exchanged glances. "Transfer paper?" Bosco asked.

 

"Yes Bosco I need his transfer papers without them he can't play."

 

Bosco looked his coach into eyes as best he could. "That is not fair coach. HM is good."

 

"I'm sorry Bosco rules are rules." Nick called over to Daisy. "Daisy you are pitching."

 

He turned back to HM. "Sorry kid maybe next time."

 

HM looked very disappointed. He didn't know what to say. Bosco looked at the coach again, and tried for one more time. "What is it Bosco?" sighed the coach.

 

"Coach, there won't be a next time for HM. He's gonna be leaving here right after the game. Can't he at least pitch one inning? He's really good", finished Bosco.

 

The coach sighed. "Bosco the only way he can play is if someone doesn't play. One of the other kids will have to sit the game out. Now is that fair to them?"

 

Bosco sighed, and hung his head. "No Coach, it's not fair to them, but it ain't fair to HM either. "He's really good. If only there was some sort of loophole. He sat down again, and folded his hands in his lap. He looked over at HM, and gave him a pitying look. "Sorry HM", he mouthed.

 

Daisy smiled she knew HM was good, way better then she was. "Hey coach. I will sit this game out."

 

Coach Garrett looked over at Daisy and asked. "Are you sure you want to do that Daisy?"

 

Daisy nodded. "I've pitched lots of times, and HM's better then I am."

 

She smiled again, and sat down. Coach Garrett looked over at HM, and called him over. "Son you're pitching."

 

HM let out a whooping yelling and ran over to the pitcher mount. He waited as the first batter came up to the home plate. He swallowed it was the boy who threatened him earlier.

 

"Hey country boy a coffin."

 

HM smiled at the boy and let the ball rip across the sky. "Strike one!" called the Umpire. Again HM let the ball rip across the sky, and again the Umpire yelled. "Strike two."

 

Chris Milligan glared daggers into the pitcher. "I'm going to make your life miserable runt." Chris yelled.

 

"Oh really?" HM asked. "I'd like to see you try." Once more the ball was thrown, and Chris was struck out. Chris threw down the stick and head towards HM.

 

Suddenly Bosco got in front of him. "You touch on hair of him Milligan, and I will eat you for breakfast."

 

Chris stared at Bosco. He back down knowing Bosco could beat the heck out of him.

 

He shook his head. "The runt not worth it." He then walked away. HM nodded a thank you and got ready for the next player. He threw the ball, but was a little shaken by what Chris had done, and threw a blindly. "Ball one", shouted the Ump. HM threw the ball again. "Ball two", shouted the Ump again. Finally HM threw a third time, and it was a strike. HM rubbed the ball between his hand. He studied the boy .He threw the ball soon striking him out. The game was soon over with the Silver Bullet wining 5 to 4. HM even got a hit.

 

Coach Garrett gathered them around, "Come on guys ice cream for everyone."

 

HM followed the team off the field, and they got some ice cream. After ice cream, Bosco and HM found their relatives. They were sitting on a blanket underneath a tree, and were waiting for the picnic to begin.

 

"That was an exceptional game Howard, and Bosco", said Gran'pa.

 

"You boys did very well", said Gramma.

 

"You won", exalted Mary.

 

The boys blushed, and they sat down on the blanket. Jesper looked at HM. "HM I got some exciting news to tell you."

 

HM looked at his Gran'pa . "What Gran'pa? Do I get to stay?"

 

His Gran'pa shook his head. "No. But Mary and Bosco are coming to stay for a week."

 

HM's and Bosco's eyes got really big. "They are? When Gran'pa when?" asked an excited HM.

 

"Right when we have to go home?" Gran'pa glanced at the women. "You tell him Jassa."

 

"HM, Mary and I decided that you two have not spend enough time together and the country would be good for Bosco."

 

HM turned to Bosco. "Wow you will have fun. I will teach you how to ride my horse. His name is Gallop. He's really fast and you'll get to see all the chickens, the horses and the...." He was cut off by Bosco's hand to his mouth.

 

"I get the picture HM. Really I do. So when are we leavin' Mama, today tomorrow? When?" Bosco was also getting excited. Which was rare for him, since Bart had died.

 

"We are leaving today by plane," said Jesper.

 

Bosco face turn ashen he looked like he was going to pass out. He got up and stared at his mama. "I'm not going!"

 

He then turned and ran. Mary stood up. "Baby come back."

 

"What's wrong with Bosco?" asked a mystified HM.

 

"It's hard to explain Sweetie", began Mary. "You see when Bosco was six, his father died in a plane crash. Ever since then, he's hated to fly. And now when we brought up the subject, well he still remembers...."

 

HM looked at his grandparents, and Mary. He wondered to himself  'How can anybody hate flying?'

 

Jesper looked at everyone. "I wish there was some way around it."

 

"I know," cried HM. "Why don't we take the train?"

 

The adults looked at HM. "Honey that a wonderful idea. I think we can stay a little longer. Thank you." Jassa smiled at her Grandson. "HM I am so proud of you giving up a plane ride for Bosco."

 

"Ah gee Gramma. Bosco my friend."

 

Mary smiled, "And you're a very good friend for giving up a plane ride. Your grandparents have told me how much you love to fly."

 

HM blushed, and went to go find where Bosco ran off to, and tell him the news, that they weren't going to fly but actually take a plane. Which, HM reasoned to him self, actually flew around a track at amazing speeds.

 

Suddenly HM was surrounded by Chris and his gang "Hey runt Bosco ain't around to protect you. I told you if you struck me out you would paid for it."

 

HM back away trying to find a place to run but he was completely surrounded? He saw nowhere to run and Bosco was nowhere in sight

 

 

Part Eight - Final Part

 

HM glanced at Chris Milligan's gang surrounding him, and decided his best bet was to bluff his way through. He straightened as much as he could, and tried looking Chris in the eye.

 

He said, "You'd better be careful who you're messing with Milligan. I come from Texas, and everything's bigger in Texas. I might look like a normal ten year old to you, but really I may surprise you." 

 

Chris folded his arms, and said, "Show us, what you're made of short stuff."

 

HM looked at the other boys. "Hmm I wouldn't waste my time on you." He pushed his way past one of the boy. "Back in Texas you are what we called small potatoes."

 

"Oh yeah?", leered Chris.

 

"Yeah", said HM. "I've taken down bigger guys then you. Why you should've seen the look I got when I beat down Danny McGregor and his gang. They didn't bother me anymore after that you guys are no different In fact you others aren't anything but puppets, following some fool's lead."  HM's voice trailed off and he eyed the gang again. They looked very unsure of themselves,

even Chris.

 

One of the boys glared at Chris. "Hey Chris? Why are we here? I mean if he such a runt as you say he is then you don't need us. I am out of here. Whose with me?"

 

The others nodded their heads and disbursed leaving Chris and HM alone. HM held up his fist. "Okay Milligan it's just me and you."

 

Chris Milligan was shaking right down to his sneakers he said, "One day I'll get you HM, and you'll pay, you'll pay severely."  He ran off, and HM smiled. He'd beaten a bully and hadn't even thrown a punch. Gramma would've been so proud of him. He then went on with the mission at hand. To try and find Bosco to tell him they were riding a train instead of a plane. He smiled, Bosco would be happy, of this he was sure.

 

Bosco suddenly step out from behind a tree. "That was really clever how you got out of that." 

 

"Hey were you there all the time?":

 

"Yeah I was. I was going to help but you looked like you didn't need it."

 

HM smiled lightly. "Well yeah I didn't. It was a good thing he back off." HM showed Bosco his fists. "These baby are dangerous weapons no telling what I might had done. Oh by the way we are taking a train not flying."

 

"We what?", asked Bosco in disbelief.

 

"We're taking a train, we're not flying answered HM. "Well since you don't wanna fly, I thought maybe a train would be fun. You know I've never been on a train before."

 

Bosco was still dumbfounded "A train, and Mama an' your grandparents agreed to it?"

 

HM happier nodded his head.

 

Bosco glanced at HM. "You have never been on a train. Boy you don't know what you are missing. On a train you can see the countryside which you can't on a dumb plane. It is the biggest thrill you could ever want. Thanks." HM smiled at Bosco but he thought to himself  'no way a plane is the biggest thrill I could ever want'.

 

He didn't voice the thought out loud though, and he and Bosco went back to the picnic. The grownups were still chatting away, and stopped once the boys came into view. "Where have you two been?" asked Jesper.

 

HM's eyes lit up, as he recounted his adventure

 

"I'm proud of you HM", commented Jassa.

 

 "So am I", said Mary. They soon gathered the remains of their picnic, and started back for Mary and Bosco's place.

 

Soon it was time to go to the train station. Everyone got their tickets and got into their seats. HM looked nerves.

 

"Are you okay sweetum?"

 

 "Yes Gramma I'm fine. How long is this ride going to be?"

 

Mary smiled at HM.  "At least two days or more baby." HM suddenly got up and ran to the bathroom where he got sick. The train ride was making him sicker then a dog.

 

"What's wrong with me?", gasped HM as he got sick again. "A plane ride I can handle, but trains making me sick?"  He rinsed out his mouth, and tried to look calmer. But his stomach was still queasy. How was he going to make it through two days like this? He sighed and cupped his face in his hands.

 

"Baby! Are you all right?" 

 

"No  Gramma I'm sick, real sick. I think I'm going to die."

 

Jassa open the door of the bathroom and took HM in her arms. "Its okay baby. You are not going to die. I got something that

will make you feel better." She took him to the place where he could laid down and gave him some medicine. HM soon fell asleep and she stays with him.

 

She rubbed his head, and was mothering him. Something she didn't think he'd mind.  Soon, Jesper, Bosco, and Mary went to see what the problem was.

 

"He got sick because of the train", sighed Jassa. Trying to explain what had just happened. "I hope his stomach settles down a little, and that it's not ongoing for the rest of the trip", Jassa finished.

 

Jesper examine his wife. "Jassa who does that remind you of?"

 

Jassa smiled with tears in her eyes. "It reminds me of our son HM's father.  He couldn't take trains either."

 

"Harold" said Jesper with a sigh.

 

"He couldn't even take the kiddies' train ride at the carnival either", said Jassa. 

 

The two were locked in a look of memories, and Mary silently led Bosco out of the room, so as not to disturb the family.  Mary sat down in one of the seats, and tried to get Bosco interested in the sights. Bosco was excited. It'd been awhile since he'd

been on a train.

 

Bosco suddenly looked across at his mama. "Mama I got an idea."

 

"What that baby?" 

 

Bosco leaned over and whisper in her ears.

 

Mary hugged her son. "Oh Scooter that is a wonderful idea come on let's tell them."

 

Mary took Bosco to the Murdocks. Mary knocked on the door and Jesper answer it.

 

 "Jassa, Jesper. Scooter came up with a good idea. Go ahead baby tell them."

 

Bosco swallowed before he said anything. "The next stop is in one hour. Why don't HM and his Grandpa get off there and take a plane the rest of the way and we will meet you there? Mrs. Murdock can stay with us to show us the way to your house."

 

Jester turned to his wife. "What do you say  Jassa?"

 

I think that's a wonderful idea Bosco", smiled Jassa. "Jesper, you take HM, in an hour. He's sleeping now, but once he wakes up, and finds himself on a plane, explain that it was Bosco's idea." 

 

Jesper nodded, and waited for the stop to come up. Once it did, Jesper gathered his and HM's small things, and got off.

 

"Jesper!" called back his wife. "Don't forget HM."

 

Jesper glared at his wife. "I wasn't going to forget him woman." He came back and took the sleeping child in his arms and headed inside to buy a plane ticket. HM opens his eyes.

 

"Grandpa where are we?"

 

"Going to get on a plane boy."

 

 "Oh replied the sleepy child. "Can I fly it?"

 

Jesper was about to answer when HM fell back to sleep. He smiled at his grandson.

 

"You sleep little nipper. When you wake up you will be  home."

 

He bought the tickets, and waited for the plane to arrive.  An hour and a half later, the passengers were called, and Jesper took HM in his arms again.  He put HM in his seat, and buckled HM in as well.  Soon Jesper was buckled in as well, and he waited for the plane to taxi off.  HM stirred but didn't fully wake up, until they were on the ground in Texas. 

 

"Hey little nipper we are home."

 

HM looked around then looked at his Grandpa. "Grandpa we aren't home. We don't live at the airport. Hey how we get here?"

 

"Bosco thought you would like a plane ride better."

 

"Oh cool he is so nice."

 

 "Yeah he is come on boy let's go home and get things ready."

 

The two made their way out of the airport, and got into a taxi.  They arrived at their home a few minutes later, and Jesper unlocked the door.  It felt good to be home, and Jesper and HM set their bags down.  HM picked up his bags though, and ran to his room. Jesper did the same. 

 

Soon Jesper had supper on the table. "Howard! Supper is ready."

 

HM came out of his room and looked at the supper beans and franks. "Grandpa when is Grandma coming home?"

 

"I think tomorrow." 

 

"Oh good because I sure am tired of beans and franks."

 

"Hey it's only been one meal."

 

"Yeah but it the only thing you know how to cook."

 

 "Hey boy nothing wrong with beans and franks it sticks to your guts."

 

HM thought to himself. Yeah it also make me stink.

 

Jesper noticed HM look and frowned.  "Well eat up boy.  It'll fill you up."

 

HM sighed, when his gran'pa was insistent the only thing was for him to do what his grandfather said, "okay Grandpa", sighed HM.  He sat down, and grabbed a fork.  He chewed in silence, and couldn't wait for his grandma to come home and for Bosco and Mary to see his house.

 

Bosco watched the scenery he saw cows and horses and lot of different things. "Ma'am does HM have any pets?"

 

Jassa nodded her head, "Yes HM has four pets his horse named Gallop. A German Shepherd named Roscoe. A cat named Butter free and a nanny goat  named Mrs. Greta."

 

Bosco's eyes got really big, and his mouth was made into an "O" shape.  "I've never seen a goat before...."  His voice trailed off as the two women exchanged glances and smiles.  Jassa sighed.  It was going to be good to get home.  Chicago had been nice,

but being back in Texas was going to be a welcome sight, and she'd missed the farm terribly.

 

Soon the train arrived in Austin. They got off the train where Jesper and HM were waiting . HM flew into his Grandma arms. "Oh Gramma I miss you so much." 

 

Jassa took her grandson in her arms.

 

"I miss you to pumpkin," she said as she gave him a kiss.

 

HM pulled away   "Grandma not in front of Bosco and his mama."

 

She giggled a little, "Sorry wasn't thinking."

 

"That's okay." HM turned to Bosco and his mom. "Bosco and Mrs. Baracus welcome to Texas."

 

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


An Adventure In Chicago by Susie Owens and Georgia Bentz

 

 


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