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Ice Cream Vignette by Joy Riddle (Joy-Joy)

Murdock hummed to himself as he exited the ice cream shop, even doing a quick victory dance in celebration. He’d finally done it — got B.A. his favorite ice cream on the first day it was in the stores! The A-Team was on the run so often, they usually forgot to check; but this time, Murdock had put in a call to the shop and discovered they’d gotten a small shipment. With any luck, this would get him off B.A.’s short list for a little while. He felt like taking the carton out of its bag and giving it a kiss, but resisted.

He was turning the corner when he saw a familiar figure running towards him. “Hey, Face! Faceman! Guess what I got?”

“I got trouble, Murdock, I don’t have time to guess!” Face dashed past the confused pilot and ran back to the one door he saw open — the ice cream store. Sighing, Murdock followed him.

“Who’d ya scam who didn’t fall for it or found out before you got outta town?”

“Look,” Face puffed, trying to catch his breath and glancing nervously about for another exit, “these guys think I was trying to hit on their sister.”

“Were you?” Murdock guessed he did; Face did love the ladies — too much, too often!

“No, she’s a friend of mine! All I did was give her a ride home with her bags. She was out shopping and missed her bus . . . aw, come on, give me a break! I don’t put the make on every girl I know!”

“No, jus’ most of ’em,” Murdock drawled. “I gotta get this ice cream back or it’s gonna melt!”

“I can’t get to my car, her brothers are waiting for me there. And I think they saw me, so they might be here any minute.” Face’s eyes darted around the small store again. “Is there a back way out?”

Murdock thought for a moment. “No, not that I know of.”

Two healthy-looking young men burst into the shop; Face groaned. “Oh, boy . . . I’m in for it now.” He backed up, squashing the bag Murdock was holding between them.

“Look what you did!” yelped Murdock, looking into the sack. The carton had ripped and the ice cream was now melting more rapidly than he’d hoped it would.

“I don’t have time to worry over spilt milk products,” muttered Face, mentally cataloging possible weapons, which were a few wooden chairs and tables. The two bully boys grinned and moved in on either side, ignoring Murdock, who was plunging his hands into the bag which was now on the floor.

“Hey, pretty boy, ready for some lumps? Nobody dates our sister without our approval.” The larger of the two grabbed Face’s shirt and raised him slightly off his feet. He cocked back a fist and Face just winced and shut his eyes.

“Jeannie’s a big girl, she doesn’t have to ask you who she sees,” he shot back, knowing he was about to get another black eye — the second this month.

Murdock shoved two dripping handfuls of ice cream at the brothers’ faces. “Look at what he made me do! Just look! I am gonna be in soooo much trouble with B.A. — Face, why don’tcha think what you’re doing?!”

The two looked at each other puzzledly and the leader said, “Why don’t you just run along like a good little wuss while we teach him a lesson?”

“No can do — he’s my friend!” Murdock plastered the goo over their eyes and jumped back, pulling at Face’s shirt in the process.

Face found himself dropped back onto his feet as the two sibs tried to dig ice cream out of their eyes. Murdock caught his eye and nodded; the two A-Teamers scrambled out of the store, minimum damage to the shop and no real harm done to the two brothers.

They managed to run to Face’s ‘Vette and jump in although the guys did chase them once they could see again. Face floored the gas pedal and they roared back to where they were staying a few blocks away at a hotel.

Murdock kept trying to clean his sticky fingers, but it was no use; he knew Face wouldn’t like his car messed up, so he was glad the convertible’s top had been down so he could just hop in. On the other hand, he was gonna be in big trouble with B.A. for not having that ice cream . . .

He jumped over the side of the car once Face stopped and darted into the office where he knew there was a public restroom. He had to wash his hands, get to the public phone, call another ice cream shop close enough to walk to, and try to get another gallon of that special flavor. He couldn’t go back to the first one, which was only a few blocks away, since the two guys might still be in the area.

Try as he might, no one else had the flavor. Murdock went back to where Face had parked — Face had probably gone back to their rooms — and sat outside on the curb, rocking back and forth, hands around his knees, trying to think of what to do next. He didn’t want to go upstairs and face B.A., not right now.

The thought that B.A. might not still be in the room never occurred to him. When he’d left, the big guy had been taking a nap.

B.A.’s van eventually roared up; Murdock was still lost in a fog. As usual, he’d gotten caught up in his own thoughts when left alone for any length of time, and lost his focus.

The passenger door opened and Hannibal stepped out, arms full of fast food bags. He looked over at Murdock and frowned slightly; he could tell the pilot was somewhere else mentally, so it was time to call him back to reality. “Captain,” he barked, “help me with these bags.”

“Yessir!” Murdock snapped back to reality, catching himself before he could salute. He stood up and took half of Hannibal’s packages.

B.A. was already heading into the hotel and up the stairs. Murdock gave a mental sigh of relief; no thumping for him until later, it seemed.

Face was in the room, on the phone — probably talking to Jeannie about her obnoxious, overprotective brothers — as they walked in. He hung up the phone and helped parcel out the burgers and cold drinks.

B.A. had gone in to take a quick shower and change clothes, but he came out in a few minutes to claim his share of goodies. Murdock wished he’d been able to go back and get another carton of ice cream, just to prove to B.A. that he did think about him once in a while, but knew it was a lost cause for now.

“You’re sure being quiet,” Hannibal commented, glancing at both Face and Murdock. What happened to you this afternoon?”

“Nothin’. I went for a walk an’ two guys jumped Face for tryin’ to date their sister,” mumbled Murdock around a bite of burger.


Murdock shrugged. “So we got away without him gettin’ a black eye or a loose tooth.”

“Must’ve taken some fast talking or faster footwork,” Hannibal observed. B.A. frowned and kept eating, not quite sure what was bothering Smith.

“Little bit of both.”

A knock at the door prevented more conversation; Hannibal frowned and went for his gun but Face shook his head. “I think that’s for me.”

“Must’ve invited Jeannie over,” Murdock muttered. If it hadn’t been for Face . . .

“Thanks, here you go,” the Team heard Face say cheerily. They looked up as he came back to the table.

“What you got there?” B.A. growled. He hated to have his dinner interrupted.

“Oh, just something Murdock ordered out for,” Face grinned, holding the bag out towards the bemused pilot.

Murdock could almost feel himself trembling. It was a delivery bag from the shop they’d been in this afternoon. Would Face — he had! Murdock let out a deep breath he hadn’t know he was holding. For now, he was safe. He had the precious ice cream!

“What you got, fool? We already got our dinner,” B.A. huffed and Hannibal looked a bit quizzically at the bag Murdock was clutching like a life preserver. “Answer me!”

“This is for you, big guy,” Murdock smiled happily, setting the bag down like a treasure. “I knew you’d like this, and you always claim we forget!”

B.A. opened his present and smiled for the first time that week. “Hey — you’re right! I forgot it was time for my ice cream to be back in season!”

“It’s all yours!” crowed Murdock, trying not to dance around the room and mostly succeeding. He still did a little two-step in place despite his determination not to. Face smiled at him and winked; it was the least he could do for Murdock getting him out of a bad scrape earlier.

“Thanks, man, thanks.” B.A. was actually touched by the thought Murdock would go to the trouble to get his favorite for him — but he wasn’t going to let him know it. “Now siddown, you’re givin’ me a headache.”

Murdock sat and watched B.A. eat his treat with a dreamy expression on his face. He had no idea why the big man loved that flavor so much — crunchy peanut butter marshmallow fudge was not his idea of great ice cream — but for now, his world was peaceful and he was content.

Tomorrow, of course, they’d be on the run again and the atmosphere would be back to the normal threats and confrontations — but that was tomorrow. Tomorrow was another day.

* * * * * * *

Jeannie and her brothers are my inventions; the A-Team belong to themselves and to Lupo, Cannell, etc., and I wish they’d do a reunion movie or something already!