Robin Ryder (Range Ryder-Nighthawk Commando

by Range Ryder 

"Nope,  I just can't do it, Face.  Sorry." 

"Aw, come on, Murdock.  Just this once?"  Face cajoled.  If only he 
could convince Murdock to borrow Dr. Richter's limousine again, life 
would be perfect.  More importantly, his evening with Jenny might 
stretch into a morning with Jenny. 

"Sorry, Faceman," Murdock held his ground.  "You do remember what 
happened last time I borrowed Dr. Richter's limo, don't you?" 

"Well, how was I to know it was a set up...that Rebecca Piper was in 
cahoots with Fulbright?" Face whined, "really, Murdock, you can't hold 
that against me forever...we got the limo back...and BA fixed it up so 
Dr. Richter never knew about the damage...I, for one, thought it looked 
better when we gave it back than it did when you borrowed it.  When you 
think about it, Dr Richter came out ahead on that one," he finished up 

I wonder how much of that he really believes?  Murdock thought to 
himself.  Sometimes Face was just too predictable.  Well, I'll have him 
eating out of my hand anytime now, just gotta play this one right..."No 
way, I had to do extra time on the couch on account of the stress you 
put me through on that one." 

"Well..." Face began, but he was interrupted when Hannibal placed a hand 
on his shoulder. 

"Face, if you and Murdock are finished with your little tet-a-tet, then 
BA and I could use your help over here," the colonel said, sounding a 
tad bit irritated.  At that moment, automatic weapons fire could be 
heard, and the four men ducked at the sound of bullets ricocheting 
through the warehouse which contained stock for a large import/export 
company.  It was currently filled with Yucatecan hammocks, fine onyx 
work from central Mexico, carved wooden figurines that were 
reproductions of Aztec and Mayan stelae, decorative pinatas and jars of 
pickled habanero chiles. 

"All right, Smith.  I'm giving you and your men one minute to come on 
out of there."  The unmistakably pompous intonation of Colonel Roderick 
Decker's voice, somewhat distorted by the bullhorn he was using for 
amplification, echoed through the warehouse. 

"Ah, Hannibal, I do hope you've got a little something up your 
sleeve..." Face trailed off.  He wasn't really worried about escaping 
from the warehouse so much as anxious to continue his conversation with 
Murdock. Just a few more minutes and I know I can convince him to borrow 
that limo, he thought to himself, ducking behind a wooden crate as a 
volley of bullets embedded themselves in the wall behind him. 

The colonel grinned and pulled his cigar out of his mouth saying, "as a 
matter of fact, I do." He dramatically flung his arm out while pivoting 
on his heel, "Look around!  This is gonna be fun! Decker gets his 
panties in such a wad when he doesn't get his way." 

Snickering, the team quickly gathered materials and piled them in the 
center of the warehouse.  "Okay Murdock, now string 'em together." 
Hannibal smiled affectionately at the captain.  He could always count on 
Murdock to have unusual skills, thanks to the classes the VA offered its 
mental patients. The captain had, most recently, attended a class in 
macrame and had learned to produce all kinds of decorative items such as 
plant hangers, beaded curtain room dividers and the like.  Now he was 
busily tying hammocks together into an intricate (and large) square 
complete with decorative fringe edges liberally adorned with the life 
size wooden stelae and onyx figurines.  Face, meanwhile, was emptying 
jars of chiles into the pinatas and passing them to BA who had prepared 
a series of catapults near the loading gate doors of the warehouse. 

The team had barely completed their preparations when Decker's voice 
shrilled once more through the bullhorn. "On the count of three, Smith, 
come on out with your hands in the air, or I'll have my men open fire." 

Crouched to one side of the doors, Hannibal smiled at his men, "You 
heard the man, on three, get ready!" 


Murdock pulled the catapult containing his net into position. 


BA and Face pulled their catapults into position, each loaded with 

"Three!" Decker finished the count and smiled wolfishly. 

The warehouse doors swung open.  Decker's look of triumph quickly faded 
as he was struck by a large cow shaped pinata which broke on impact, 
spraying him with hot chilis.  Some of the juice dripped down the tip of 
his nose and his eyes began to tear up due to the potent chili fumes 
rising off his soaked and chili covered uniform.  "Open fire!" the words 
ended in a strangled gasp due to the chili fumes he'd inhaled, not that 
it would have mattered anyway, his second in command, Captain Crane was 
in similar straights, sputtering and coughing as he tried to wipe the 
offending chilis off his uniform. Chicken, cow and donkey shaped pinatas 
had hit approximately a third of his men drenching them in chilis, and 
the others were choking on the fumes. At that moment, Murdock released 
his catapult, flinging the hammock net toward the milling and thrashing 
MPs. The net settled over the troops with a thud as the carved wooden 
stelae and alabaster figurines landed weighting it down at the edges and 
preventing their escape.  Hannibal looked on in amusement as the 
struggling MPs further entangled themselves while the stelae and 
figurines firmly stood their ground surrounding them like PreColumbian 
sentinels intent on extracting revenge  for the European conquest of the 
New World. 

"Yiyiyiyiyiyi!" Murdock yelled happily toward the netted MPs, "Xena 
would be proud, Colonel!  Aries' troops, netted and guarded by a group 
of Aztec and Mayan gods." The captain said before launching off on a 
reenactment of the lastest episode of "Xena Warrior Princess" which he 
did mainly for BA's amusement.  He was just getting to the part where 
Gabrielle single handedly fought off the bad guys with her stick, all 
the while regaling them with chronicals from her adventures with the 
warrior princess,  "...then, Gabrielle and Xena Ack!..." he squealed as 
the big guy grabbed him by the collar and shook him, "BA! I was just 
gettin' to the good part..." 

"Well try gettin' to the van, Sucka!" BA growled while propelling him 
along toward the vacant lot where they'd stashed the van. 

"Okay Guys! Get a move on," Hannibal shouted.  "The net missed Decker 
and Crane, they'll be right behind us as soon as they stop coughing." As 
they piled into the van, Hannibal shouted, "Go, BA!" and they roared out 
to the road.  Face and Murdock had quickly taken up stations in the rear 
seats and were attempting to continue their conversation when they heard 
BA tell Hannibal that Decker and Crane were hot on their tail.  Both men 
looked at each other in resignation and braced themselves for the rough 
ride ahead as the van approached a fork in the road.  The left fork was 
a modern paved two lane secondary road leading to the highway.  The 
right fork, though paved, was rutted, narrow and twisting.  The paving 
had broken and worn away in several areas which had subsequently been 
filled with gravel in preparation for repair.  BA swung the van around a 
curve, its rear wheels spinning out in the gravel.  The tires made a 
crunching sound as the rear end slid around the curve, tossing Face and 
Murdock into each other.  Meanwhile Hannibal said, "pick it up BA, he's 
gaining on us." 

"We've got 'em now Colonel!" Captain Crane's voice rang out in triumph 
as the A-Team van took the right fork in the road.  Crane was 
particularly pleased to see the sign that indicated the bridge was still 
out.  They picked up speed, closing on the van.  They passed the flagman 
for the repair crew, watching as the van wound its way around the 
barricades that had been set up to keep vehicles away from the bridge 
approach.  "Now that we've had the turbo-charger installed, and 
extra-heavy duty shocks, we can jump the creek too!  I can't wait to see 
Smith's reaction when we pull up beside him."  He glanced over at Decker 
who was staring grimly at the A-Team van, though a hint of a smile was 
beginning to show at the corners of his mouth and his eyes twinkled with 
excitement.  The normally dour colonel always enjoyed a good chase.  
Though he often said he preferred to actually catch his quarry (in this 
case the A-Team) quickly and efficiently so as to minimize wear and tear 
on military equipment, Crane had begun to suspect that Colonel Decker 
actually felt let-down when the chase ended and he'd apprehended his 
prey, though he would never have said so to his colonel's face.  Not 
only that, but he was pretty sure that the colonel experienced a kind of 
high when the pursuit was on, like what Smith referred to as "The 
Jazz"--he knew he felt it, and judging from the look of excitement on 
Decker's face right now, he was sure the colonel was also experiencing 
"The Jazz." 

The two men watched as the A-Team van picked up speed, zoomed over the 
ramp that was always conveniently placed at this particular missing 
bridge and jumped the creek.  A hubcap flew off the right front wheel as 
the van landed and bounced.  Decker watched as it spun down the road and 
disappeared in some dense brush.  Meanwhile, the front bumper had come 
loose at the passenger side and hung down.  As the van skidded to a halt 
on the other side of the creek, the van door opened and Smith stepped 
out. Decker allowed a small grin of triumph and there was laughter in 
his voice as he muttered, "Ha! I've got you now Smith, just watch this!" 
He watched Smith take his cigar out of his mouth. "Hit it Captain!"  
Decker ordered as their car approached the ramp.  Unfortunately, at just 
that moment, Captain Crane was assailed by a fresh wave of chile juice 
fumes rising off his and Decker's uniforms, causing a coughing fit which 
momentarily broke his concentration, causing him to lift his foot from 
the accelerator.  Decker moved to place his foot over Crane's, but the 
captain was jerking and spluttering with each cough, causing his foot to 
move from the accelerator to the brake pedal and back.  It was just 
plain bad luck that their combined body heat (which had risen as the 
exitement of the chase took hold of them) caused another wave of hot 
chile pepper fumes to emanate off their uniforms Crane reflected later 
when he and Decker (who was also beginning to succumb) had both cooled 
down enough to talk rationally about what had happened.  It was even 
worse luck that his foot had bounced from the accelerator to the brake 
pedal just as Decker's foot came crashing over to his side of the car 
and hit the accelerator. 

As Decker's car lurched and jerked toward the bridge Hannibal and the 
rest of the team looked on. "Uh, Colonel...That's a new twist on the way 
things usually turn out..." Murdock began, only to fall silent as he, 
like the rest of the team watched in dumbfounded amazement as the car 
finally slid, skidded, and lurched to a halt, its front wheels hanging 
precariously over the precipice. 

"The fool right for a change," BA acknowledged grudgingly, "I ain't 
never seen Decker do that in a car, usually him and Crane just keep the 
hammer down all the way to the bridge.  It ain't they fault the army 
give 'em cars that ain't got enough juice to make the jump." 

Smiling, the colonel turned to Face, who'd remained silent as the scene 
unfolded before their eyes, "okay Face, 'fess up, who do you know in the 
motor pool?"  At Face's protest that he'd not made any friends in the MP 
motor pool, Hannibal's grin disappeared, "Face, I know it's my policy 
that none of you interact with military personnel, but really, I'm not 
mad.  I just want to know, how did you convince one of the mechanics to 
sugar his gas tank?"  Thanks to the new army equal opportunity policy, a 
number of women were now being trained as mechanics and  the colonel 
assumed that Face had taken the opportunity to sweet talk one of them 
into sabotaging Decker's car.  He was dumbfounded at Face's response. 

"I'd love to take credit for this turn of events, Colonel.  But I really 
don't know anyone in the motor pool..." Face's voice trailed off in 

"Actually, Colonel, that looked less like a sugared gas tank than 
someone alternately stepping on the gas and the brake," Murdock offered 
helpfully with BA chiming in to second his opinion. 

"Oh, well, then..." Hannibal's voice trailed off and he waved his cigar 
in a loose circle, at a loss for the appropriate action to take.  
Finally he pointed at the car and said, "there, I see Decker.  Good, 
things are finally getting back to normal."  As the team watched, Decker 
poked his head out the passenger side window and glared balefully at 
them while Smith jauntily waved his cigar, rubbing in the painful 
reality that once again the team had eluded capture.  Hannibal grinned 
and said, "I love it when a plan comes together."  He then shoved the 
cigar between his teeth, and with a final grin and wave to Decker and 
Crane, motioned the team back into the van.  None of them noticed the 
coughing fit that overtook Decker at that moment. 

When they were settled back in the van, Hannibal's smile faded and he 
said, "This is getting old, BA.  We need to find another creek where the 
bridge is out.  I'm thinking we should do some scouting later today and 
see if there's another suitable road construction project nearby.  Or 
maybe we should find a warehouse in a different part of town to get 
surrounded in..." 
"I know what you mean, Hannibal.  I'm gettin' tired of replacin' that 
same hubcap and bumper all the time.  I wish somethin' else would fall 
off for a change."  The big guy shook his head and continued driving. 

"Please, Murdock.  Just this once, for me," Face wheedled.  He pulled 
out the compromise he'd been hoping to avoid since it meant he'd have to 
take extra precautions to prevent interference with his date, but it 
would probably tip the scale in his favor, "Okay, how about if you 
drive?  You can be our chauffer, that way you'll be able to keep an eye 
on the limo." 

"Well, maybe.  I gotta think about it, Faceman,"  Murdock strung him 
along.  Really, sometimes reeling the lieutenant in was almost as much 
fun as playing with BA.  "Maybe if we can do something first to help me 
relax, so I can keep my stress level down.  You know how worried I get 
whenever I borrow other people's things.  If something's gonna get 
broken on my watch, I'd rather it was something of mine than a friend's 
cherished possession entrusted to my safekeeping..." 

"Okay, okay, anything you want," Face rudely interrupted Murdock before 
he could continue his litany. 

Up front, Hannibal snickered as he eavesdropped on the conversation.  
Face would never learn.  He always got into trouble when he tried to con 
Murdock.  Though Face was a consumate con artist, able to talk anyone 
out of anything, the captain had had years to get to know him.  He also 
was keenly attuned to Face's moods and body language.  So much so, in 
fact, that he had become quite adept at conning the conman.  Added to 
that was Murdock's years of living in the VA psychiatric hospital.  It 
all meant that the captain was a wiz at psychological manipulation.  He 
rarely used his skills, which made him even more formidable, as his 
normally zany antics tended to lull people into a false sense of 
security and his prey was seldom prepared to recognize the subtle 
manipulations of which the captain was capable.  Hannibal smiled, 
thinking that if Face were just less focussed on coming up with a way to 
impress whatever young lady had struck his fancy this time, he might 
just realize that the captain was playing him the way a master fisherman 
plays a Marlin, wearing the fish down before reeling it in. 

"Well, maybe I could arrange it.  When's your date, Faceman?" Murdock 
inquired, allowing a hesitant note to creep into his voice. 

"6PM Saturday evening.  I thought I'd take her for a drive in the 
country, then dinner at Mario's and end up with a moonlit drive along 
the Pacific Coast Highway." 

"That's day after tomorrow!" Murdock exclaimed in mock surprise and 
dismay, though he'd already surmised as much from Face's obvious desire 
to get him to commit right away. 

"Look, you'll be back at the VA tomorrow morning. You can talk to 
Richter and then we can go out tomorrow night and do whatever you think 
it will take to help you relax about it." 

"Can't," Murdock said flatly. "I'm due for an intensive session tomorrow 
afternoon and then a group debriefing in the evening.  Can't miss it.  I 
guess you'll have to come up with some other way to amuse your date."  
He turned to look out the window, his eyes gleaming.  Smiling inwardly 
he thought, He's all mine now.  I'll let him squirm for just a few more 

Face felt a surge of dissapointment, So close...well, I'm not going to 
give up that easily.  He steeled his resolve, then said, "Murdock, how 
much time do you think you'll need to get relaxed?" 

The captain carefully schooled his features so that Face wouldn't see 
the look of triumph that had flitted across them when he heard the words 
that meant Face had taken the bait.  Then he turned, and gazing at his 
friend, said thoughtfully, "not long, maybe we could work something out 
for Saturday late morning or early afternoon.  I could pick you up 
around 11, we could grab a light lunch, then work on getting me relaxed.  
That would probably be okay..." he let his voice trail off with a slight 
quiver as though he were possibly having second thoughts. 

"Great, Murdock.  You'll see, there's absolutely nothing to worry about.  
You'll enjoy it.  A chance to get out and spend the evening driving 
along the most beautiful highway in the country."  He was very pleased 
at this turn of events.  He'd been worried that Murdock would suggest a 
late afternoon stress management session.  But late morning/early 
afernoon meant he'd have plenty of time to get Murdock destressed and do 
whatever else it took to make sure the captain remained on his best 
behaviour throughout the date.  Plus, he'd have a couple of hours to 
spend grooming and making sure he presented the image of a suave, 
jet-setter businessman.  Oh, this was going to work out wonderfully. He 
smiled and settled back in the seat for a quick nap as BA headed for the 
motel where they'd decided to spend the night. 

Thirty minutes later, the A-Team van sped into the parking lot of a 
small 1930's era motor court and checked in to their rooms.   Face 
surveyed the room he and Murdock would be sharing, resisting the urge to 
don a white glove and test each surface for dust.  Besides, he 
reflected, he didn't need to do a white glove test, he could see the 
thick accumultation of dust on every surface.  He was really starting to 
get tired of the messy lifestyle the team was forced to lead while on 
the run.  He needed a change of pace, a new challenge, a chance to...Oh, 
what's the use? he thought, sitting heavily on the edge of the double 
bed that along with a small dresser and nightstand was crammed into the 
small room, leaving barely enough space to shut the door.  He was in the 
process of working himself into a doozy of a snit when Murdock bustled 
out of the bathroom, a gleeful grin on his face. 

"Hey Faceguy!  Look who I found hanging out in the sink."  He held his 
hand out toward Face who screeched and scrambled toward the center of 
the bed. "Careful Face, you're gonna scare Charlotte..."  Murdock said, 
making soft soothing sounds as he stroked the orb weaver, "there, there, 
Faceguy didn't mean to upset you...Did you Face?  Why don't you come 
over here and give Charlotte a pat?  I told her I was sorry about making 
her move, but as soon as you turned on the water, her web would get 
soaked and given that you spend so much time at the sink fixing your 
hair, well, trying to rebuild would be a losing battle so she might as 
well find a new spot.  I thought I'd show here some nice corners in 
here, like that one over by the dresser, or maybe the closet..." he 
would have continued, but at that moment BA squeezed into the room 
followed by Hannibal. 

"Well, Captain, what do you have there?" Hannibal asked affectionately 
when he saw Murdock carefully cradling the spider in his hand.  Murdock 
obligingly held his hand toward the colonel, passing the little spider 
under BA's nose as he did so, causing the big guy to screech and join 
Face on the bed. With BA no longer taking up floor space, there was now 
just enough room for Hannibal to walk to the foot of the bed, where 
Murdock stood, cooing to the little creature in his hand.  "She's a real 
beauty, Captain, I suppose she'd built her web in the sink as usual?" he 
asked. When Murdock nodded he continued, "Well, we all know from past 
experience that won't work.  She won't get a moment's peace while Face 
is around monopolizing the sink.  Did you show her that nice corner by 
the window?" 

"Hannibal! Don't encourage him!" Face squealed. 

"Yeah,  just tell 'im to put it down so we can get outta here and scout 
some new locations to get trapped in," BA seconded from his relatively 
safe position behind Face. 

Well, at least that nightmare's over, Face thought to himself as he 
reflected on the past week's activities while waiting for Murdock to 
pick him up on Saturday morning.  The team had settled on a new location 
in a warehouse district near a dry gulch.  The bridge over the gulch had 
been destroyed a number of years earlier and the road leading across it 
had been abandoned for years.  Now the team could rest easy for a few 
weeks, knowing that when the time came, they'd discovered the perfect 
location for being surrounded by Decker's MPs.  A location that gave 
them access to a new route for the inevitable chase and perilous airborn 
van scenario.  Having satisfied the colonel's desire for a change of 
scenery, Face was hopeful that the colonel's mood would improve.  He'd 
been around Hannibal enough to know that when boredom set in, the 
colonel became almost unfit to live with as the zanier aspects of his 
personality came out, rivalling anything Murdock could come up with.  
That, in turn, always put BA in a bad mood, partly because it simply 
encouraged Murdock to greater and greater leaps of insanity and partly 
because he simply couldn't handle two loons at once.  This time, things 
had gotten completely out of hand, since BA was also suffering from 
enuii.  The big guy had taken to fidgetting moodily,  looking for 
excuses to fix or improve everything in sight.  He'd completely rewired 
Face's favorite hair dryer so that it produced a supercharged flow of 
air which BA insisted would dry his hair twenty percent faster than it 
had before, thereby freeing up the bathroom that much sooner.  Well, 
Face sighed, some people simply did not understand that diligence in 
grooming meant more successful scams.  After all, a con artist simply 
would not get anywhere if he did not present the perfect image; and 
perfection could not be rushed.  At any rate, he could now be guaranteed 
that once they'd successfully left Decker and Crane dangling over the 
new precipice, they would head for the nearest motel.  He had lobbied 
long and hard to make sure that the one Hannibal picked had larger rooms 
and better equipped bathrooms with lighted mirrors and larger vanities 
than the one they'd been using.  Most importantly he'd made sure the 
motel did not come equipped with creatures for Murdock to adopt. 

Well, all that was over now, Face smiled as Murdock pulled up in Dr. 
Richter's limousine.  Tonight was the big night, he'd planned the 
evening down to the smallest detail.  Every action and setting was 
planned and prepared.  All that was necessary was to make sure Murdock 
was sufficiently relaxed.  He climbed into the limousine and began to 
inspect the interior.  "Murdock, I've chosen several bottles of wine for 
display.  We need to go down to Tony's and pick them up, then a quick 
drive over to Tiffany West to pick up the crystal.  Then it's just a 
matter of choosing the linens we'll use while drinking the champagne 
I've chosen for our midnight drive along the Pacific Coast Highway." 

"Well, okay, Face, I guess we could do all that after we get me good and 
relaxed,"  Murdock responded as he swung the limousine onto the freeway 
and headed toward Venice Beach.  "It's on the way back from the 

Face was so caught up in going over his list of  'must dos' that he 
didn't catch the dangerous note of anticipation that had crept into the 
captain's voice, "...let's see, the orchid centerpiece is being 
delivered to Mario at 7 so he can set the table up...the silver service 
will be available for coffee after the main course...the carnival at 
Venice?  Well, that's nice, linen suit is freshly 
pressed..." He continued ticking off items as they pulled into the 
parking lot at the entrance to the carnival and stopped. 

Three hours later, the lieutenant was wishing that he'd been less 
preocupied when Murdock laid out his plans for getting relaxed.  First, 
they'd had a "light" lunch, consisting of carnival chili dogs.  
Apparently Murdock had decided that "light" meant skipping the relish 
and french fries.  Then they'd managed to successfully win most of the 
stuffed animals at the duck shoot booth at which point Murdock decided 
that it was time for a snack.  After stuffing themselves on Italian 
sausage subs and funnel cakes, Murdock had dragged him to the 
rollercoaster.  If only I'd not eaten that Italian sausage sub, Face 
thought to himself, as he belched a sour combination of sausage, onions, 
chili,, hotdog and funnel cake syrup.  Or maybe I should have just put 
my foot down and said no to the roller coaster, he swayed slightly and 
Murdock reached to steady him. 

"You okay, Faceguy?  You're lookin' kinda green," Murdock observed, 
unhelpfully Face thought. 

"I just need to sit down for a minute." 

"Here, how about if I get you a nice cold soft drink to help settle your 
stomach?  Why don't you sit right here, on this nice comfy bench.  I'll 
be right back."  Murdock raced off on his mission,  oblivious to the 
smell of Philly Cheese steak, complete with onion, green pepper and 
rancid griddle oil, that was seeping out of the nearby food stall and 
had permeated the air surrounding the bench on which Face was 
precariously perched. One whiff and the Faceman was in trouble. 

"Ugh...Oh, Um!..." thinking quickly, Face clapped a hand over his mouth 
before anything untoward could happen and ran for the nearest port a 
john while the world whirled and gyrated around him.  He just made it, 
though he had to elbow his way past several teenage girls who snickered 
rudely when they realized his predicament. 

"Face!  Face....Face?" Murdock had returned with two large diet Pepsis, 
only to find the bench empty.  Now he stood, slowly turning in a circle 
as he surveyed the surrounding area.  This was not good, definitely not 
good, he thought, his mind beginning to reel with the possible reasons 
behind Face's disappearance.  When he finally spotted the normally 
dapper Peck emerging from one of the port a johns, he nearly dropped the 
drinks. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he set the cups on the 
bench then hurried over to lend a hand to the still swaying lieutenant. 

"Thanks, Murdock, I'll be okay in a minute," Face managed to whisper. 
The lieutenant was a mess.  His shirt was unbottoned at the neck and the 
tail had come untucked on the right side.  Murdock raised a hand to try 
and smooth the rumpled hair, though he could do nothing about the sickly 
paleness that had flooded his friend's face.  Making soothing noises, he 
guided Face back to the bench and handed him one of the drinks. 
Murdock's own initially anxious reaction at finding Face gone was 
quickly dissipating as he concentrated on making his friend comfortable. 

"Here ya go, Facey.  This'll fix you right up."  When Face balked he 
added, "just sip, that's right.  Jeez, I feel really relaxed now.  That 
rollercoaster ride did the trick.  Maybe once you're feelin' better we 
could try the tilt-a-whirl.  We should have just enough time to do 
that..." he continued on, oblivious to the shudder that ran through 
Face's body at the mention of the tilt-a-whirl. 


This had to be the worst date of his life, Face thought miserably.  Here 
he was in the back seat of Dr. Richter's limousine with BA and Hannibal 
instead of Jenny.  Not only that, but Murdock had insisted on playing 
the gentleman and escorted Jenny up to her apartment when it became 
aparent that Face would be unable to do so. 

"Face....Face...can you hear me lieutenant?" Hannibal asked. 

"No, Murdock, please, not that..." the distraught lieutenant begged, 
obviously reliving an earlier event. 

Hannibal gave a worried glance at BA who shrugged and suggested, "maybe 
the fool made 'im watch cartoons all afternoon, he did that to me once.  
Nearly drove me outta my mind." 

"No, Murdock said something about vertigo when he called.  I don't think 
Face would get vertigo from watching Woody Woodpecker.  We'll just have 
to wait until Murdock gets back, maybe he can fill us in." 

Face listened miserably as Hannibal and BA speculated on his condition.  
He'd never live this one down, not once Murdock got back and told them 
what had happened.  If Murdock came back instead of spending the rest of 
the night with Jenny he ammended.  She had clearly preferred the company 
of the pilot over his own sorry attempts at conversation.  Well, it was 
hard to think of witty repartee when he was still belching Italian 
sausage and chili dogs.  At least he'd stopped having to run for the 
john every few minutes.  She really could have been more patient.  And 
Murdock, well, he hadn't helped any when he insisted on talking about 
how much the curves and dips of the Pacific Coast Highway reminded him 
of the rollercoaster. Face was beginning to feel truly wretched as he 
contemplated his ruined hot date, when BA spoke up, "Uh Oh, Hannibal, is 
that what I think it is?" 

Hannibal turned to BA, "Decker!" 

Just then Murdock ran up, one hand on his head, holding his cap in 
place, and yelled, "It was a trap, Jenny's been working for Decker, run 
for the van." 

Without a moment's hesitation, BA made a dash for the van and started 
the engine while Murdock and Hannibal manhandled Face out of Richter's 
limo and into the van and they sped off toward the warehouse district 
where the newly selected warehouse awaited their entrapment. 

"This is gonna be fun!" Hannibal enthused as he bit off the end of a 
fresh cigar.  "I can't wait to try jumping over that new creek where the 
bridge is out, once we bust outta the new warehouse of course.  
Sometimes ya just gotta know when to make a change." Hannibal's eyes 
twinkled with glee as he thought about what kinds of surprises the new 
warehouse might hold.  With a contented sigh, he struck a match to the 
waiting cigar and took a deep puff, filling the van with second hand 

"Yeah," BA smiled, "I added new shocks, the kind that really absorb road 
vibrations, when we take off, it'll feel just like a big fat Cadillac 
going 'Woosh' around a bend. And when we land..." 

"Ya know, Big Guy," Murdock interrupted, "more people get car sick in 
those big ole American cars with their soft whooshy suspensions than in 
any other vehicles.  It's cause all those soft swaying motions feel just 
like when the tilt-a-whirl starts spinning around and tilting uphill at 
the same time, or like when the rollercoaster gets to the top of the 
hill and then plummets down, you know how your stomach just kinda 
levitates for a minute there..."  Murdock would have continued, but he 
was rudely interrupted by BA who'd glanced in the rear view mirror in 
time to see Face turn a sickly shade of green. 

"Hey! If you're gonna do that in my van use a barf bag! Sucka!" 

Later, Face could never be sure whether it was Murdock's running 
commentary on the similarities between American cars and carnival rides, 
or the sickly sweet smell of Hannibal's cigar smoke that pushed him over 
the edge. He just knew he was tired of being the butt of all Hannibal 
and BA and Murdock's sick jokes.  It's just not fair. After all, I did 
save the day. Hannibal and BA may be good, but even they can't create 
weapons out of thin air...he shook his head, remembering Hannibal's 
consternation at finding the new warehouse completely empty.  If I 
hadn't thrown that used barf bag in Decker's face we'd never have made 
it out of there... 


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