[Disclaimer: I don't own anything in this story!]
Ain't gettin' on no plane!
[Somewhere in the LA Underground – 1983]
"I ain't gettin' on no plane, Hannibal!" declared BA, leaning towards the Colonel and glaring at him in a threatening manner.
"Now look, BA," said Hannibal, sternly. "I can't risk us driving around in the van with Decker hot on our heels. I thought we agreed we would lie low for a bit?"
"Well if you want me to come along on this assignment, then I ain't flyin'!" repeated BA, stubbornly.
Hannibal sighed in exasperation. The team had agreed to help out a friend of Amy with a decorating job. He had broken his arm falling off a ladder and suffered other minor injuries due to a large section of the ceiling falling on top of him. Hannibal thought it would be a great way for the guys to get out of town for a few days – and earn a bit of easy money in the process! Plus, the apartment that Face had scammed was only available for another day or two. But BA was being his usual awkward self about flying out to Ohio, where Amy's friend lived.
"But BA!" whined Face, taking the plunge and intervening on Hannibal's behalf. "That's at least a nine hour drive by car – longer if we stop for breaks! If you let me scam a plane, Murdock could fly us there in a couple of hours."
"We ain't flyin'!" reiterated BA. "If we leave tomorrow we should arrive late evening and that gives us a few days to get the job done by Saturday.
"Yeah, but I've arranged to see Susie on Saturday night," continued Face, putting on his best "hang-dog" expression. "If we don't leave pretty pronto, I won't make it back in time for our date!"
"Well if it means that much to ya, Face, why don't you and Hannibal fly with Murdock?" proposed BA, impatiently. "It don't make no difference to me whether you all come along for the ride or not."
Face raised his eyebrows in anticipation at Hannibal and Murdock, hoping that they would back him up.
"I'm not happy about you driving alone in the van," frowned Hannibal. "If you get in trouble, we won't be there to back you up."
"I'll be careful, Hannibal," said BA. "I'm not likely to bump into Decker once I get out of the state."
"You could always hire another car for a few days," suggested Murdock. "That should keep Decker off your trail."
BA scowled at Murdock as if he had just asked him to cut off his hand! Murdock took the hint and shrank back timidly behind Hannibal. The Colonel contemplated over the situation for a few seconds. As part of the ceiling would have to be reconstructed, he really wanted BA on side as he was the most experienced in such matters. But he knew if he pushed too hard, BA would just get more stubborn about it.
"Well, you know, I've got a couple of scenes to shoot for "Sinbad goes to Mars" tomorrow afternoon," he finally said. "I'd like to hang around for that. Face can work on scamming the plane and we can fly out early the next day and get straight on with the job."
"And I get back in time to go on my hot date with Suzie on Saturday night!" beamed Face.
"And I'll get back to the VA to meet my Sunday furlough," added Murdock.
"OK, BA," agreed Hannibal, still not completely happy with the situation, but willing to take the risk if it kept his sergeant happy. "You win – this time! But make sure you keep out of trouble and ….."
"Fine, fine!" interrupted BA quickly, before Hannibal changed his mind again.
"I'll go ring Amy back and finalise the details with her," said Hannibal.
Whilst Hannibal was out the room, the guys had a discussion about what they were going to do for the rest of the evening. As there appeared to be a raging storm brewing outside, no-one in particular wanted to go out.
"Hey guys, I've got a great idea!" enthused Murdock. "Why don't we order some pizza and then I can bust out my Ouija Board!"
"Knock it off, Murdock!" said BA, apprehensively. "You really shouldn't mess around with stuff like that."
"Don't worry, Big Guy!" replied Murdock. "You just need to know how to communicate with the spirits. Once you open up the doorway, you just gotta make sure you close it again!"
"It ain't as straightforward as that fool!" frowned BA. "You're dealing with a power that's not of this world."
"Aww come on BA!" mocked Face. "It did tell us that Decker was coming, so it can't be all bad. You're not scared are you?"
"BA Baracus ain't scared of nothin'!" growled back BA.
"That's settled, then!" said Murdock. "Face, you order the pizza and I'll go get the Board."
Within the hour, Murdock, Face and Hannibal were sitting round the Board munching on their pizza. Murdock had dimmed the lights and put a lit candle on the table next to the Board for a more dramatic affect. BA had detached himself from the proceedings and was watching TV, secretly hoping that the guys would carry on without him.
"Come on BA!" called out Murdock, almost as if he had read BA's mind. "You don't wanna miss out on all the fun!"
BA muttered under his breath as he turned down the TV and came and joined the others. Murdock was sitting upright, with his hands already on the oracle, eyes shut as he looked upwards. The other guys placed their hands on top of Murdock's as he spoke in a loud and cheesy voice.
"Is there anybody there?"
The oracle started to sway backwards and forwards in a slow motion. Hannibal hid a grin as he suspected Murdock's hand was making it move. Face was looking on in wide-eyed anticipation and BA had a look on his face that said "what the hell am I doing"!
"I'll ask it something first, just to get the ball rolling," said Murdock excitedly. "Spirit – will the A-Team ever get their pardons?"
The oracle swayed to-and-fro for a couple of seconds and then moved slowly to the bottom of the Board where it said "GOODBYE".
"Hmm!" said Murdock, the Spirit's apparent lack of co-operation not daunting him too much. "The spirit obviously hasn't come to reveal any information about that. Face, you ask it something."
Face thought about his question for a couple of seconds before speaking.
"Will I ever walk round the garden pond at Angel Guardians Orphanage with Rebecca Piper?"
Face waited in suspense as the Board spelt out his answer.
M – A – Y – B – E
"Not very specific, is it?" said Face in a disappointed voice.
"Don't mock the spirit, Oh Man of the Face!" chastised Murdock. "The spirit won't like it. Colonel, your turn."
Hannibal decided to humour Murdock's latest fixation as he very solemnly asked his question.
"Will "Sinbad goes to Mars" be a box office sensation?"
Again, they all waited in anticipation for the Board to answer.
P – E – R – H – A – P – S
"Who are you fooling, Murdock!" exclaimed BA, removing his hand angrily from the oracle. "You're moving the pointy-thingy!"
"No I'm not!" responded Murdock, indignantly. "And it's called an oracle. OK, you ask it something and you can hold the pointy … you can hold the oracle!"
BA huffed and puffed for a few seconds and then grabbed the oracle. The others immediately followed suit, wondering what BA would ask the spirit.
"Is Murdock a crazy fool?"
The oracle moved instantly - and with some force – to the section at the top of the Board that said "YES".
"Well, at least it got something right!" sniggered BA, as the others resignedly pulled their hands away from the oracle.
Hannibal let out a long, wearisome sigh as Murdock took a hurtful stance and started to argue with BA. It was going to be a very long night!
At that moment the lights went out and the air turned icy cold. The candle flickered violently as if a breeze was making it move.
"Erm, Murdock?" whispered Face. "I think someone has just come through the doorway! What shall we do?"
Murdock was momentarily at a loss for words as he obviously hadn't expected anything to happen! He quickly grabbed the oracle and the others did the same, morbid curiosity getting the better of them.
"Spirit?" said Murdock finally, in a hushed and respectful voice. "Are you there?"
The guys felt the oracle move swiftly and silently to "YES" before gliding back to the middle of the board again.
"Who do you wish to speak to?" continued Murdock.
Again, the oracle moved with a decisive slowness as it spelt out a name:
B – E – R – T – I – E
"Bertie!" queried Face, in puzzlement. "I think the spirit has got it's wires crossed!"
"Hush, Face!" hissed Murdock. "It may be using a nickname, or something."
The mood was broken as BA suddenly pulled his hands away and jumped up on to his feet. He had paled significantly and literally looked like had just seen a ghost.
"What is it, BA?" asked Hannibal. "Do you know who Bertie is?"
"No … I mean yes … I mean … it's me!" stuttered BA.
"You!" questioned Murdock. "I've never heard anyone calling you Bertie before!"
"It's what my dad used to call me," revealed BA, still looking shocked and dazed. "He never did like the name Bosco. He used to call me by my middle name – Albert or Bertie – when I was little."
"You haven't got any other secret nicknames, have you!" teased Face.
"Shut up, Face!" scolded Murdock again. "Your pa has a message for you, BA. You must come back to the circle so you can receive it."
BA shook his head, vigorously.
"Whatever it is, I'd rather not know," he said in a shaky voice.
"But it might be important," interjected Hannibal.
Still BA refused to come back to the table. He watched as the oracle seemed to be thrashing frantically around as if it was possessed. The others were having a difficult time trying to keep it on the Board.
Then all of a sudden the TV switched back on. At first it appeared to be full of static and then it cleared and the words "MUST FLY!" filled the screen in a constant flurry of movement.
Hannibal, Murdock and Face stared at the screen in mesmerised amazement, whilst BA fled from the room in a sheer terror.
After what was quite possibly the longest night of their entire lives, the team woke up the next day, bleary-eyed and subdued. Murdock, Hannibal and Face had continued to communicate with the spirit until the early hours of the morning and still the message had remained the same. Despite trying to turn the TV off, the message "MUST FLY!" still rolled around on the screen.
Hannibal had tried to distract the spirit by asking other questions. But the spirit refused to answer and eventually dismissed itself by saying "GOODBYE". The power came back on and the TV switched back to normal again. The guys stayed where they were, hoping the spirit would make contact again, until eventually they drifted off to sleep. BA had already gone up to bed, clutching his gold cross and sleeping with the light on for added reassurance.
But waking up the next day, BA had convinced himself that it had all just been one big elaborate hoax by the others to try and get him to fly. The rest of the team were very concerned that the message had been sent to BA for a reason and he wasn't supposed to drive the van. Despite their best efforts to convince him otherwise, he was still determined to drive by himself to Ohio and left the breakfast table to prepare for his journey.
"What we gonna do Hannibal?" asked Murdock. "I think the Big Guy is heading for a whole heap of trouble."
Hannibal didn't really know what to say. In the cold light of day, the experience they had witnessed last night seemed bizarrely surreal and he was already beginning to wonder if he had dreamt the whole thing up! Before he could answer, BA came blustering into the room, his face as dark as thunder.
"OK, suckers!" he yelled. "This has gone far enough! What have you done with the keys to ma ride?"
"Easy, BA!" said Hannibal. "No-one has taken your keys."
"Don't mess with me, Hannibal!" barked back BA. "I know this is just another one of your plans to get me to fly. Give me the keys, or you won't need no Ouija Board to predict what's gonna happen to you in the future!"
"OK, calm down," appeased Hannibal. "They must be here somewhere. We'll help you look."
Despite a frantic search of the house, the keys remained suspiciously elusive. Half the morning had gone by and BA was becoming more agitated by the minute. As they all convened back in the living room, it was pretty clear that the keys were just not in the house.
"Maybe you dropped them outside," concluded Murdock. It was a bit of a long shot as everyone knew BA took particular care of his keys, but they were now running out of options. "Come on BA," I'll help you look."
Face in the meantime had turned on the radio to catch up with the financial market news. No-one felt compelled to switch the TV on after last night's antics! As BA and Murdock went to leave the room, Face called out to them, stopping them in their tracks.
"Guys! I think you better come listen to this," he said, as he turned up the volume.
An urgent newsflash had interrupted the stocks and shares report. It appeared that there had been a serious car accident on the I.80W, between Bloomsburg and Lewisburg. There had been a couple of fatalities and several people had been critically injured. It was the same section of the Interstate that BA would have hit, had he began his journey earlier that morning. There was no doubt that he would have got caught up in the carnage and possibly even been one of the unfortunate wounded – or worse.
Face switched off the radio. No-one said anything as they were all left shell-shocked by the news. It was bad enough to think that those poor people had suffered in the crash but even more daunting was the fact that BA could have been one of them. Finally, Hannibal cleared his throat and spoke up.
"Looks like you won't be driving today, BA," he said, quietly by firmly. "The interstate will be closed for several hours before it opens again. You'll just end up sitting in traffic."
The others nodded their heads earnestly in agreement, whilst BA flopped down in the nearest armchair, clearly shaken by the recent events. He made the sign of the cross, closed his eyes and offered up a silent prayer to his father for looking after him.
As his eyes opened, his gaze was drawn to the table at the back of the room. Something shiny caught his eye. Lying next to the Ouija Board was the keys to his van.
Needless to say, BA didn't drive to Ohio. Luckily for the rest of the guys, he appeared to stay in a comatosed state throughout the flight – and during the assignment - obviously still trying to comprehend what had just happened.
And Murdock destroyed the Ouija Board, thinking he best quit whilst he was ahead. Maybe BA was right – there were some things in life you just didn't mess with!
Thanks for reading. Please R&R if you have the time. Happy Halloween, everybody!