The A-team short story:
"Hold on, I'm coming with you." A young man with blond hair closed the door, in a haste to catch his train. He felt in his pockets, searching for the keys. Then, he locked the door and put the keys under the "Welcome"-carpet. James checked the door a last time. He descended a few stairs, skipping the last two. Landing on the pavement, he softly ticked the rear window of a parked car. It moved slowly, leaving a little sigh. At the wheel was a middle-aged man, his eyebrows frowning as if worried. He slowly turned his head, looking with his blue eyes at James. "Open the door, will ye? That train ain't going to wait.", Jack said. James opened the door and stepped in. It was almost evening, meaning that the shadows came closer with the minute. After some time, the moon would see her cue and begin her climb. They were driving through the streets, here and there, lifting some water from previous rains. When they were out of the city, a car appeared behind them. The car accelerated and pushed against the trunk. The car was pushed to the left, wheels riding of the road. Jack used his reflexes and kept the car on the road. He looked in the mirror and saw a known face. "They're behind us, James!" Another car from a left turn appeared in front. The new car pushed its brakes. Out of reflexes, Jack turned the wheel. The car flew to the left. The first car swept brutally to the same side, crashing its behind against Jack's front. The blow pushed Jack's car against the iron bars at the side of the road. The wheels at the back lost the ground, turning a last time. The iron bar broke, but it was too late. The car flipped, landing on its roof. Glass shattered and the car spined a few times. When the car finally stopped, James opened his eyes. The ground was the sky, and James's arms laid on the roof. One thing prevented him from breaking his neck, which Jack tried to loosen. Jack's seatbelt opened and he fell on the roof. The front window shattered, and his pants were soaked with blood. Jack tried to push the button of the passenger seatbelt. James' seatbelt loosened too. Then, James crawled, feeling the pain in his legs and arm. He was just out of the car, when the sun burned his eyes. He held his hand before him, covering the sun, but felt a strong hand, hardened by work, on his shoulder. Standing before him, Jon helped him standing up. Jon had crawly hair, black as the night, beneath it were 2 blinking green eyes. "What did I tell ya, James? Now you're out o' business." Jon hit James in his belly, then rushing his hand through James' face. Another man approached them and picked the crawling Jack up. "Let's get out o' here, man, before the cops come!", he shouted. The man hit Jack, letting him fall on the ground. Jon took his gun from its holder and shot twice, once between James' legs, once between Jacks. "The next time, it'll be a hit." He took a step back and slowly backed away.
The next week, the sun was shining through the clouds. Several cars passed and a few birds were singing a sad song. James was walking in the park, while the sun touched his skin. He held his arm, which he had hurt in the accident. The pain was soft, yet still present. He searched in his pockets a little letter he got from mr. Lee. Yesterday, he went to the laundry and asked the second pink t-shirt. Mr. Lee had been questioning him for over an hour, but in the t-shirt, he found this letter. On it was written in a shaky script: "Buy the last paper from the man with a dog called Grumpy. He can be found at the corner of the Second Avenue and the 64th street." When he walked through the second avenue, he found the man sitting between two windows. The white chalk wall gave him support. The man was an old man, his eyes placed far into his sockets. The dog went to a near tree and smelled at its roots. Not liking the smell, he retreated and circled around the old man. When James came closer, the dog sniffled at him and barked twice. "I know, I know, Grumpy. Excuse me for his rudeness, sir." He stood and offered James a hand. James hesitated but accepted at last. The man, sensing his awkwardness, took his cigarette and let the fire die against the white wall. A black hole formed, but he continued. Then, he threw the cigarette into the nearest bin and took a newspaper. "Only a quarter per newspaper, sir. Wanna have a paper?" The man took the paper at the top and offered it at James. "Yeah, but I wanna have the last one." The man frowned and looked at his papers. He touched each one, as if checking something. "There ain't no difference, kid." He took the first paper and the middle one. He held the first in his right hand, the middle in his left. "Ye see. No difference." James didn't even look at it. He pointed at the dog. "His name is Grumpy, right?" The man looked at his dog. The dog, feeling the gaze from his master, slowly ran towards him. "That's right. He's my dog. I got him from my father, ye know. He was a farmer. His whole life he farmed cabbages and sold them to the grocery shops." The man petted the dog again. "Didn't make him rich, but we were happy. My name's William, but friends call me Will." Again, he offered his hand and his eyes shone like little lights. James, touching his leg twice, asked again for the last paper. William sighed and gave him the last paper. "Thanks, William." James walked backwards and waved at him. When he turned, he petted Grumpy for the last time. He crossed the street and opened the paper. "Corruption in our state" was written upon the front page. He turned the paper and looked at the ads. At the back, there was one large ad. The paper was yelling with black letters: "You just hired the A-team." He turned, wanting to see the old man. All he saw was the white wall. He was alone in the 64th street.
He crossed the street again, looking at each and every building. He heard a car approaching, not paying it a bit of his attention. He heard the car slowing down and a door opening. He walked casually on but felt a sharp gunpoint in his back. "Come with us now." James slowed down and tried to look behind him. He felt the point ramming in his back. "Don't look behind you." His curiosity was battling his fear, but he stepped slowly back. When he lifted his ankle, he heard a heavy voice saying: "Watch your step, fool!". He was pushed back into the car and a masked man jumped into the car. "Go, B.A.!" The tires turned and smoked the earth. The car accelerated very fast, leaving a black track behind, and a man was looking at James. He unmasked himself and asked the man sitting next to the driver a cigar. The smoking man had grey hair and was wearing a long white cloak. "Sorry for the rough meeting. Had to take some precautions for Lynch." He took his lighter and began smoking. The man, who gave him the cigar, took off his mask and offered a hand. "That's Hannibal, I'm Face and the driver is B.A. Who're you?" Face was a blond-haired guy, wearing a black suit. He was fresh shaved, and he took a close look at the new guy. The man, which was B.A., was a big-muscled guy and wore many golden neck laces. "If mr. Lee was right, you're a cabbage farmer, right?" "Yes, but no more, sir. Recently, Jon has been sabotaging the system." Face turned himself, now concentrating himself on the road. "How, exactly?" "Jon owns a farm of cabbages, like I do." He looked at his arm, full of bruises, and tried to show it to everyone. "This is what happens when you stand against him. He has me and Jack, the owner of a grocery shop, attacked a week ago. That's why I came here. He steals the cabbages of the other farmers, bankrupting them, then buying their farm. Then, he sells them all for a higher prize. Until a month ago, there were enough farmers to resist him. But after some accidents, he now owns all of them, except mine." Face nodded and understood the situation. "He monopolizes the industry, by stealing and bankrupting the other farmers, and sells the cabbages for a higher prize, right?" "Yes." The man that called himself Hannibal stood up. "You expect us to stop this guy and reestablish the free trade in your state, right?" "Yes." Hannibal nodded and said to Face: "You'll get Murdock out of the psychiatric hospital. James, you just hired the A-team."
Face parked his corvette and stepped out. The sun shone through the leaves, ticking the car's window. He slowly strolled through the cars, looking at each one. Clouds formed before the sun, birds singing their spring song. He climbed the stairs, skipping a few at a time. The hospital stood for the sun, splashing the grass with a long shadow. He opened the door. A few chairs stood against the white wall, a man with white robes staring at him. He moved his head, following Peck's movements. Face took his glasses out of his pocket and put them on. A nurse was talking, when Face began his scheming. "FBI, ma'am." He took a badge, placed before her eyes. Then, he clumsily searched for a photo. Making an excusing face, he said: "I'm sorry for my clumsiness. I'm not used to talk to beautiful women, ye know." The nurse's face changed from cringey to empathic and back. "Please don't talk to me like that. But thanks." She formed a little smile. "I'd like to see this person." The woman bowed her pointy nose at the letter, curiously taking in the man. He had brown eyes and a little pointy nose. He held his hand on a vest and made a weird face. Wearing a cap, he looked at the camera. The woman jumped, when a scream was heard. She waved the paper away and ran through the hallway. "Milkshakes! Milkshakes! Give me milkshakes!" Face immediately recognized the voice and stopped the nurse. "I'll take it from here. Got some milkshakes?" The nurse sighed and said: "He asks it for days. I'm sorry, but no, we don't have any milkshakes." He nodded and ran through the hallways. Several men and women looked through the window in their door, but quickly resumed their activities. When he reached the door, he knocked on it. The door unlocked, now a jar. He slowly opened the door. "Murdock?" A man knocked Face down. He fell against the wall. The man turned Face and yelled at his face: "Milkshakes! Gimme milkshakes!" "Murdock, it's me." As soft as possible, Face tried to free himself. "'Course I know that! How's the big guy? Still angry for that little accident?" Face looked around, searching for a chair. The room was full of garbage and some old gaming consoles were lined up against the wall. A large poster of the Ranger Rider was hanging above Murdock's bed. Murdock wore a black baseball cap, and a flight jacket with a tiger drawn upon it. In big letters, "Da Nang 1970" was written upon it. "Still wearing that jacket." "Yeah, don't know if you know, but a friend of mine fought in that battle. Was killed in a bombing." He looked sad but moved his gaze at the poster. Face laid a hand on his shoulder. "I, the A-team, need you now. You going?" "Of course!" He jumped on his bed and landed right before Face's feet.
Murdock looked through the front window. Several buildings passed away, before the Corvette saw the GMC van. The brakes made a high sound, smoking the tires. Face calmly parked his car next to the van. He stepped out and threw his keys back in the car. Murdock made a circling move at B.A. The big man turned and growled at him. "See, he's in his best mood. Probably forgot the …" B.A. put his hand out the window. Lucky for him, the pilot was too fast and backed off. "Shut up, fool. Get in the car." He obeyed and got in the back.
A few hours later, they arrived at the farm. Jack was standing by the door. James could see that his beard had grown, and his skin had aged. When the car stopped, James immediately jumped out of the car. The night had fallen, and the moon was enlightening the night as best as she could. At her current strength, the moon was screaming for help. The sun would give it, as always. But first there will be a night, darker than any in James' memory. Hannibal casually walked on the farm and looked at every cabbage he saw. He took a cigar from his pocket and asked Face to light it. James looked doubtful at Hannibal. "You're famous for your plans, got one now?" Hannibal smiled and turned. He slowly walked, blowing his cigar. "Look, man, first of all, how big is the slimeball? I'm going to buy a shoe."
The next day, Hannibal wanted to transport cabbages. "That isn't possible. We get our trucks from Euron. He ceased hiring, when Jon paid him a visit." Hannibal had a white, long jacket and smoked a cigar. "No one has asked him it gently, right?" Hannibal looked at Face. "You can ask it him gentle and take Murdock with you."
Euron was placing a few diesel cans on a plank, when a car approached. Two men stepped out, one of them pointing at him. "You're in big trouble, sir." The speaking man showed an FBI batch of Arthur Lynch. The right man wore a baseball cap and a jacket, with "Da Nang" written upon it. He had a growing beard, points indicating hairs. His batch was old and battered, making it impossible to distinct any letters. He ran towards a truck, seemingly shocked by the image. "See the fuel!" A bit of diesel dropped on the ground. The liquid sank into the sand. "Arthur, I've seen a lot of trucks, but this one is the worst!" The man, named Arthur, took his papers and walked slowly towards him. "Sir, your neighbors have mentioned a strong chemical smell, a mix between hydrogen and carbon monoxide. To make matters worse, in one of the farms, cows died due to drinking poisoned water." Euron couldn't believe what happened. Two strange men came to his business, telling him that several cows died at his hands. "What's my part in that?" Arthur looked shocked, startled by the acted innocence of the man. "Your liquid mixes with groundwater, which is used by the farmers to lessen the thirst of their cattle. This results in the indirect poisoning of them." Arthur looked a bit puzzled, clearly searching his words with care. The man at the truck, decided to look inside his pockets. He turned and said: "I'm gonna run some tests on this one. Maybe we can prevent a full lawsuit against you." He looked at the drops and took something from his jacket. A glass, filled with what looks like milkshake, had a spray on top of it. The man pushed the button and milk came out of it. It mixed with the diesel, making it an oily white mix. "This is clearly the most toxic diesel I've ever seen. I think we'll need to examine the truck." Arthur nodded and turned his attention back to Euron. "I hereby declare this truck seized by the government of the United States. Where are the keys?" Euron's face turned into despair, and fear. "You can't be serious; you're taking a damn truck for a little bit of spilt oil?" "Okay, we can arrange a lawsuit and so on, but it would be much smoother if you just gave the keys." The man smiled, knowing that Euron wouldn't decline this offer. Euron sighed and gave the man keys. "Wait until Jon hears this. There are men working for him in the government. This won't be the last you hear about this." Arthur smiled and said:" Bet a hundred dollars?" Arthur and the man climbed into the truck. The last, he saw or heard of them was a rising dust cloud and growing worries.
Hannibal was placing the cabbages into different crates, when a truck arrived. It pushed its brakes, making a high sound. Face opened the door, jumped out of the car and opened the back. B.A. brought the crates filled with cabbages one by one into the back and closed it off with one big blanket. Then, Hannibal opened the backdoors of the B.A.'s van, taking 6 Ruger Mini-14's out of it. He gave two rifles to B.A., Face and Murdock one rifle each. They all loaded their guns. "Hannibal, what're we going to do?", Face asked. "Simply, we transport some cabbages." With that, he stepped into the truck, letting B.A. drive. The truck started and drove towards the fence. Murdock drank a milkshake, awaiting orders from Face.
It was midday, the shadow trying to keep up with the truck. The farms changed to hills, cows eating the grass upon it. A dark iron rail began to form at the left side, indicating a turn. B.A. began moving the wheel, preparing the turn. Behind the truck, the shadow of a car began to form. After the turn, there was a crossroad. B.A. slowed down, looking at both sides. "Where do we go?" "Left." B.A. smiled, knowing what they would do.
At the end of the road, Hannibal saw a farm. There were 3 buildings, two used as a stable and a shed, the last one used as a house. The fence was closed, and the clouds began to fade. A small sun formed behind them and began to shoot little light points. B.A. accelerated, making himself ready. "Hold on, Hannibal." The truck burst through the fence, breaking it. Several pieces of wood flew away. The brakes were pushed, getting the truck parked. A black-haired man came out of the house. His green eyes were staring at the truck, as if surprised to see it. Hannibal opened the door. "We're right, I think." He came closer to the man, offering him a hand. "Name's Hannibal." "Jon." Hannibal looked at B.A., who held some papers before him. He read it and gave them to Hannibal. Then, Hannibal showed it to Jon. "Look, me and my friend won't leave until you've paid 50 000 000 dollars. All the financial damage to the farmers, ye know." He smiled and held a pen before him. "Sign it please." Jon's hand shook, making it hard to write anything. When he gained confidence, he took the papers and looked at it. "No." He threw the papers and gave the pen back. Hannibal moved his eyebrows and stared at Jon, as if shocked. "Let me get this straight. You don't want to pay for the farmers' lost? We asked it nicely, didn't we?" Jon knocked on the door and two men appeared behind Hannibal and B.A. "Go back to James. I'll pay you for him." Hannibal hit Jon. Jon fell back, falling against the wall of the house. "We don't change sides, sir. B.A., do it!" B.A. took his Ruger and shot all the windows of the house. "You're out of business, Jon." He turned and climbed the truck. "Next time, I'll bring some cake!" He waved and B.A. drove the truck. "Leonard and Eddard, let's pay James and Jack back."
The next day, Hannibal was woken by a loud explosion. He opened his door and looked outside. The sun was shot into the air, just high enough to make long shadows. Face gave Hannibal a cigar, opening the door slowly. "Do we have enough storage for a few slimeballs, Face?" "Always." Jon smiled and held his gun pointed at the men. Next to him stood 3 men, holding loaded guns. "You're coming with us." Jon moved his gun, pointing it at the truck. James, Jack and the A-team moved slowly towards the truck. Eddard said to Jon: "I recognize those guys! They're the A-team, ye know the guys that're searched by the army." "Nice to meet you.", Hannibal said, "You don't want to waste my time, will we leave now?"
When the sun was on her highest, they arrived at the farm of Jon. They were moved towards a stable. "We called the army; they'll arrive in an hour. You chose the wrong side, James. I hope your friend's arm doesn't hurt too much. Maybe I'll break the other too, just as a payback for those windows." He slowly backed away, closing the door. The door was locked.
Eddard and Leonard guarded the buildings from the outside. Jon opened his door and entered the kitchen. Several knives and forks were laying on the table. He took a glass, filled it with water and sat himself reading a book. After a chapter, the phone rang. He let it be, trying to pay attention to his book. It rang again. He sighed, moved his chair back and answered the call. "My name's colonel Lynch. I want to warn you for the A-team. Somehow, every time they fight someone, they get blocked into a stable or room where they can easily escape by building something. Please, I'll repeat it, please don't let them be alone." Jon's eyebrows raised; he bit his teeth and damned himself. "Thanks for warning, I'll handle it from here. Just make sure that you're here over an hour." He threw the phone back on its place and opened the door. The guards were looking at the stable with the prisoners. "Open the stable. We'll guard them here in the open."
A tractor and a broken car stood against the back of the stable. Next to it a few hammers were thrown into the hay. Hannibal immediately moved towards the cars and opened the door, revealing the interior. The tank was filled with fuel. Then, he saw B.A. "B.A., let's do what we can do best." He took the hammer and threw it towards B.A.. While B.A. looked at it, Murdock took a cocktail from his jacket and drunk it empty, making noises as loud as he can. "Colonel, I've an idea." Then, he used the glass to fill it with fuel. Enclosing the glass with a rope of blanket, he gave it to Hannibal. B.A. took the metal from the car and placed it on the tractor. He tried to start the motor, succeeding by adding more fuel from the broken car in the tank. The tractor started up, making noises when it was pushed forward. Face connected compressed air on one end of a plastic tube, while on the roof, adding a new tube, making it possible to load the artillery. Murdock broke the glass and put the tube through the empty space. Jack found a box with cabbages and moved it with his feet to Hannibal. James moved a block of hay, freeing the tractor from its borders. B.A. drove the tractor, while Hannibal took the canon. Jack filled the gun with cabbages. B.A. was worried, for he saw the expression on Hannibal's face. "He's on the jazz, Jack. He's on the jazz."
Jon commanded his friends to open the stable. The doors opened, hinges screaming. Something forced the door to open faster, letting his friends fall back. A tractor, formed into a tank, drove out of the stable. A black man, probably B.A., was driving the tractor, while a white man, presumably Hannibal, controlled the cabbages. Hannibal was smoking a cigar and shot a cabbage. It landed on the face of Leonard, a friend on the left side. Meanwhile, Hannibal moved his gun, shooting a cabbage at Eddard. Then, Hannibal pointed the gun at Jon. Murdock ran towards Leonard, knocking him out. Face knocked out Eddard, but Jon didn't stand still. He used his reflexes, cabbage flying past his ear, he ran towards his car and opened the door. He turned the key, starting it. He pushed the accelerator, the wheels trying to keep up. Hannibal put his cigar against the blanket of Murdock's cocktail. The blanket burned easily; Hannibal threw the bomb. The car felt the explosion and jumped on its side. Jon's car landed on its roof. Murdock ran towards the car, helping Jon out of the car. They placed the three men against the wall, hands into the air. Face found two guns inside the house and gave them to Jack and James. They thanked him and B.A. stepped into the truck.
A week later, Hannibal convinced his friends to return to the farm. The sun shone and James placed the tables outside. During the drive, Murdock saw multiple fields filled with the latest cabbages. On each field, there were several tractors, dragging wagons. When everything was ready, the A-team arrived at the farm. Jack welcomed them and they ate cakes. Murdock placed his hand inside his jacket and found a cocktail. He drunk it and gave the empty glass to Jack.
Jon threw a ball against the wall, bouncing it back. He had a small cell, with two beds inside it. In one bed, Leonard laid, looking at the ceiling. A small window was built in the wall parallel to the door. Three bars divided the window, letting through sunlight. He threw the ball again, letting it bounce back. The sound of the ball was abruptly stopped by a knock on the door. Locks were opened and a man stood on the threshold. He was a big man, had a wide nose and large ears. His hair began showing signs of elderdom. "My name's Roderick Decker: just call me Decker. If you want to be free, come with me."