I do not own the rights to the movie or television show The A Team or its delightful and wonderful characters.
Harvey's Christmas Wish
Chapter 1 A Common Love
"I don't know, Faceman. The kids down at the youth center are tough. They look up to guys like B. A. 'cause he's got muscles. What do I have?" Murdock spread out his hands, palms up, and shrugged.
Murdock had been released into Face's protection for a day trip outside the walls of the VA hospital. The two had made a trip like this twice before to the center where B. A. volunteered. Both times Murdock had found himself sitting in a corner reading comic books all alone while activity swirled around him.
"Oh, don't sell yourself short. You have plenty to offer," Face argued. I mean, it's not like you don't know how to behave like a kid.
"I can shoot baskets but it's not what I prefer to do. I can pitch sticks of dynamite but I can't pitch a ball in the strike zone. Most of those kids are into athletics big time. That's just not me. Comic books, TV and flying . . . that's me, and not in that order." Murdock slumped further into the passenger seat. How Face could stand to drive this itty bitty thing with the cramped leg room was beyond him.
"Promise me you'll try to interact. Okay? You need to get out of the hospital once in a while." Face had a good reason for insisting his friend come with him. When Murdock was left for too long in the hospital, he had too much time to think. Thinking led to either flashbacks or strange delusions. Both were frightening alternatives to a day at the youth center.
After Face parked, he led the way through the doors, Murdock slouching along behind him, hands in pockets.
"We're here, B. A. What do you want us to do?" Face tapped B. A. on the shoulder. Right now, the big black man was teaching a teenager with wannabe arm muscles how to punch a heavy bag.
"Hey, man! Good to see you, Face!" B. A. slapped Face on the shoulder, a move that made the Lieutenant wince. "Where's Murdock? Ain't he comin'?"
"He was right behind . . . oh, there he is! Over there, looking at what that kid's making."
B. A. frowned and shook his head. "Don' know if he's gonna find much to do with Harvey there. All t' kid wants to do when he gets here is make paper airplanes and put together models. Doesn't say anythin' at all. The other kids avoid him."
Face glanced over to Murdock and the kid. Harvey was beginning to look frustrated with a part he was trying to glue on to the model. He noticed Murdock start to reach out his hand to correct something the kid was doing. Just as quickly he pulled back as if not sure he should help.
B. A. shook his head again and turned back to the teen he had been training.
Face, too, found himself having to shift his focus away from Murdock and Harvey as a young boy bouncing a basketball challenged him to a game of H. O. R. S. E.
"I . . . I think you might have better luck," Murdock began, " if you try attaching the skids to the fuselage a different way." The pilot sat down across from Harvey and nodded toward the plastic model of the helicopter. "That's a beauty. A UH-1D Huey, isn't it?"
The kid blinked at him. "How'd you know that?" He slid the model across the table toward Murdock.
"Oh, let's see. Because, you see how large the cargo doors are? And here, the birds before the 1D had smaller fuselages and rotors with a smaller diameter. 'Course you don't have the door guns or rocket launchers, stuff like that, but this is pretty good." Murdock pointed at the box. "That's what it looks like in real life."
"You just read what it is off the box, didn't you?"
The kid sounds real disappointed. I wonder if it would be wrong if I told him I flew 'em.
"Well, yeah. I can read. But I flew 'em, too."
"Once I saw a helicopter up close. It landed at our county fair when we lived in Texas. Never got to ride in it. Rides were awfully expensive."
The pilot saw the kid's downcast eyes, heard the longing in his voice, remembered when he was young before he was able to do his first stint as a crop duster pilot.
"You would've loved it. Up in the air, looking down on the people below, flying with the birds and clouds. Thinkin' if you could fly high enough you could touch the sun in the sky."
"Do you have a plane of your own? That you fly?" Murdock caught the kid's eager tone and was suddenly sad that he no longer had his pilot's license. What was it B. A. often said? They don't let crazy fools fly.
"No. No, too expensive. But I used to fly a lot of things. Choppers, crop dusters, F-100 Thunderchiefs . . ."
"That's what the Thunderbirds used to fly. Were you one of them?"
Now it was Murdock's turn to ask, "How'd you know that?"
"I have a whole pile of books about aircraft and air battles. I want to be a pilot when I grow up." The kid's enthusiasm was infectious. The pilot had to grin despite himself. He sure was glad Face didn't leave him back at the VA hospital like he'd begged.
"My name's Harvey. What's yours?"
"I'm H. M. Before you ask, that's my name. Guess my folks thought it was a way to save money, giving me initials instead of a full-fledged name."
Harvey surveyed Murdock's face for a second. "You know what? I think I'll call you Captain. It seems to fit." And Murdock and Harvey went back to work on the helicopter model.