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Return of Billy
Summary: Billy has a run-in with ammonia that makes Murdock think he's a goner.
Murdock had just been given his two week leave from the V.A. and was greeted outside the gates by B.A.'s van occupied by Face and B.A. with Hannibal holding the side door open for Murdock. Everyone expected Murdock to be happy about his leave and that he'd probably have some crazy kick he was on, however Hannibal was the first to notice an unusual soberness to Murdock's face. An uneerie silence filled the van until they got to the gas station where Face went to scam some new parts for the van while B.A. filled her up.
Finally, Murdock broke down to Hannibal.
"Hannibal," muttered Murdock in a pained childish tone.
"Yes, Murdock?" Hannibal replied in a fatherly manner.
Murdock sat for a moment trying to get his thoughts together on how to break the news to Hannibal, but he couldn't think of a nicer way to say it so he just got right to the point.
"He's dead, Hannibal. Billy's dead. I went to give him his morning belly rub – oh, he used to love his belly rubbed. He'd turn bright yellow, brighter than the sun, and just shine – but… but this morning he didn't do anything. His lifeless body lay waiting for me to bury him outside under my window."
Hannibal wanted to say some comforting words, but he knew Murdock had more to say, so he just listened.
"He left a will, though," Murdock continued.
"Yeah. He left his favorite blanket, the one with the little pink bunnies on it, to B.A."
Hannibal could just imagine the fuss B.A. would make. There was never a slow moment with Murdock around.
"I know B.A. will treasure it," Murdock continued. "He could tie it around his head like a bandana as a daily reminder of faithful ole Billy. Here he comes now!"
Hannibal's heart groaned and laughed at the same time in expectancy of the ensuing argument.
B.A. returned to the driver's seat, waiting for Face to come back from his scamming. Before he could think another thought, he was tapped on the shoulder by Murdock. He noticed Murdock had been acting funny, but then again he's always acting funny. Still, B.A. thought he'd listen to what Murdock had to say before he gave him the fool routine.
"B.A., I regret to inform you that Billy passed on this morning. But, as a token of remembrance, he left you his favorite blanket," Murdock broke the news as he showed the blanket to B.A.
"I don't see no blanket, fool!"
"It's right here, don't you see the little pink bunnies?"
B.A. took a glance at Hannibal with a questioning face that asked if he really had to play along this time. He was answered with the "yes" of a Colonel, no questions asked.
"What am I supposed to do with an invisible blanket from a dead dog that never existed, Murdock?" B.A. grumbled.
"Cherish the love," Murdock replied in a dramatic tone as he tied the blanket around B.A.'s head. B.A. was ready to put an end to this fool's jibba jabber, but instead he just let out a growl and fumed in his seat.
Face had heard most of the conversation as he loaded the supplies and got back into the van.
"Nice headpiece, B.A. It really brings out your eyes," Face quipped as he got in the van.
"Shut up, fool!"
As B.A. got the team back on the road, Murdock continued his lament.
"No more getting to see his face turn purple when Colonel Decker steps on him or watching him nip at the heels of the staff… I just don't know what I'm going to without him."
"I'll tell you what you're gonna do. You gonna quit bein' a foo' and act normal," B.A. bellowed.
"Ah!" Murdock gasped as he remembered a special sock that was squirming to get out of his jacket. "Guess what!"
"Billy's back?" Face guessed.
"No, I'm afraid not. But Vern said I could keep Sockii while I try to get over Billy," Murdock enthusiastically informed as he pulled a fresh white sock with a face drawn on it out of his jacket.
"I always thought Vern was a solid friend," Hannibal commented.
"He doesn't exist, Hannibal. Quit encouraging the crazy fool," B.A. grumbled, resulting in a growl from Sockii.
"You keep that sock outta my face! Hannibal, I ain't sharing my apartment with this crazy foo' for two weeks. The staff at the V.A. is crazier than he is to be letting him out," B.A. laid down the law.
"Sorry, B.A., but Face and I are flying out of town and he needs someone to take him to the V.A. every afternoon so he can check in," Hannibal replied.
"He better be takin' a taxi. I ain't driving no crazy fool around," B.A. made clear.
Murdock's flipbook mind turned his page and Murdock went from mourning to giving it to B.A.
"Well if that's how you're gonna treat your best friend, I'll just ask Captain Cab instead," Murdock shot back rather hurt.
"You crazy fool!"
"You big ugly mudsucker!"
"Guys, guys, settle down, we're going to miss the turn off to the airport," Face interceded.
That evening, B.A. watched a football game while Murdock unpacked and tried to have fun with Sockii. It just wasn't the same without Billy though.
When it came time to go to bed, Murdock saw B.A. brushing his teeth with Billy's blanket slowly coming unraveled from B.A.'s head. He wanted to say something and go fix it, but figured he had made B.A. angry enough for one day.
B.A. had just gotten comfortable in bed when a knock at the door startled him. Murdock came in looking like a sad dog with its tail between its legs.
"B.A., I can't sleep without Billy," Murdock heartached to B.A.
"Billy wasn't even real, go back to bed, foo'," B.A. ordered, resulting in bigger and sadder puppy eyes than B.A. planned on.
"You can sleep on the couch over here," B.A. replied with resignation as he got out of bed and walked over to clean his clothes and few belongings off of it. "But I don't want no sock talking to me or waking me up or coming over and pokin' me, you got that?"
"Arf!" Sockii heartily replied in B.A.'s face as Murdock tried to hold him back.
"I'm sorry, B.A. Bad dog, Sockii! Down, down!" Murdock apologized.
B.A. growled as he made his way back to bed.
"What?" B.A. short temperedly replied.
"Can't have no crazy foo' staying up all night over a dead dog that never existed," B.A. answered with a touch of heart that only Murdock could bring out.
"I ain't driving you nowhere with that sock in the car, Murdock," B.A. announced as they were about to leave for the V.A..
Murdock despairingly left Sockii at home and trudged into the van, on his way to his daily check in at the V.A..
B.A. pulled the van into a hidden trail behind a strip mall so he and his van wouldn't be seen by anyone at the V.A.. Murdock hopped out and strolled down to the V.A. and checked in.
When B.A. saw him walking back, the mourning Murdock of yesterday was replaced by an energetic man full of life. B.A. wondered just what kind of pills the V.A. was giving to its patients.
Murdock came up and opened the side door.
"Come on, boy, jump in!" Murdock instructed with glee as he waited for Billy to get in the van. "Good boy!" Murdock exclaimed as he closed the side door and took his seat next to B.A.
"Oh, no. That thing's still alive?" B.A. groaned.
"Billy is alive and kickin' my friend! He told me he was just knocked out from a nasty run in with…" Murdock's flipbook mind turned another page. "…ammonia! Oh, poisons of poisons! It's everywhere! But worse at the V.A.!" Murdock snapped back into his happy-to-have-Billy-back self. "But never mind that, he's back!" Murdock giggled as Billy licked his chin. "Yeah, Billy's a good dog, good dog," Murdock went on in baby talk.
"Billy didn't have no run in with ammonia, he ain't even real."
"Just because you can't see him doesn't mean he's not there! Why he's lickin' your big ugly mudsucker arm now, he's so happy to see you."
"I guess I missed him a little," B.A. admitted.
Murdock just sat and beamed for the rest of the ride as Billy tugged his blanket off of B.A.'s head and played in the back of the van.
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