Disclaimer: I do not own The A Team movie or television series or any of the delightful characters found on The A Team.
I Hereby Resolve
Murdock was upset. Uncommonly upset.
Hannibal, Face and B. A. could sense it as strongly in the van as if it were a fifth silent and invisible passenger.
That was what made the emotion so palpable: its silence. For the first time since the New Year's festivities they enjoyed together that day at the motel, Murdock was quiet.
He had been staring out the window at the passing scenery ever since they left the motel three hours earlier. Whenever one of his three friends spoke, he glanced their way with mournful eyes for a few seconds. Then he watched the roadside again.
Not only was he silent but his demeanor betrayed his melancholy mood. He sat perfectly still. No restlessness, no fidgeting, nothing.
At first, Face thought Murdock was just tired from their past midnight celebration. Even though it was confined to the motel room, there was plenty of good-natured jokes and pranks played besides all the snacks, pizza, beer and champagne they could consume. None of them had sufficiently recovered to pack up and move out until late in the afternoon.
The pilot didn't fall asleep after the first hour on the road, and Face knew something was wrong. When Hannibal suggested they stop for a while, the Lieutenant made a note to take Murdock aside for a brotherly chat.
"B. A., pull into this wayside rest. I think we all need to stretch our legs. Face, break out the snacks from the motel in case anyone's hungry."
The muscular black sergeant parked the van under a clump of shade trees at the far end of the parking lot. First Hannibal and then B. A. and Face left the van and stretched their arms and legs. Murdock stayed in his seat, staring out the window, refusing to look at his friends. B. A. shrugged at Face's raised eyebrows and nod toward the pilot.
Hannibal frowned. "Captain, this is the only opportunity you'll get before we hit L. A. Come on out. That's not a suggestion; that's an order."
Murdock left the van slowly, reluctantly. Stuffing his hands in his pockets and staring at the ground, he ambled toward the duck pond below the picnic area.
"Lieutenant, get the food out and put it over on that table. I'll go have a talk with Murdock." Face started to object until he saw how worried Hannibal was. Hannibal grabbed a bag of hot dog buns and wandered along the path the pilot had taken.
The Colonel picked up a stick from the ground, snapped it and threw one half as far as he could into the middle of the pond. The stick splashed softly and made ripples on the calm water.
Murdock was sitting cross-legged on the ground near the water's edge. He absently peeled long wide blades of grass into thin strips as he watched the ducks swimming and diving in the water. Turning his head toward Hannibal, he gave him a wry smile.
"I knew someone'd come to talk to me. Figured it'd be you, Hannibal."
"Well, can I sit down?"
Murdock shrugged and gestured to the ground on his right side.
"What's been eating you, Captain? Or is it something you can't tell me?"
"Take your time if you need to. Here. Those ducks look hungry." Hannibal opened the plastic bag and crumbled off a section of hot dog bun. He tossed a few crumbs out onto the water, then offered the bag to Murdock.
The pilot hesitated, then reached in and took out a bun. The two men lobbed bits of bread to the ducks for several minutes without saying a word.
Finally Murdock cleared his throat. "Guess I'd better explain, huh, Colonel? Or these ducks'll get mighty chubby."
"An explanation would be good."
"Have you ever made a New Year's resolution you wanted to do so badly and blew it the first day out?"
Hannibal pitched another large chunk of hot dog bun toward the feeding ducks. "Several. Which ones do you want to hear about?"
"I don't mean the usual. I don't mean losin' weight . . ."
"I'd be surprised if that was one you'd make, Captain."
Hannibal was pleased to see a small smile appear on Murdock's face. "Yeah, I guess I got that one down already." He paused. "No, I mean a really important life-changing one."
"I don't follow. I don't know how a broken resolution makes you want to isolate yourself from your friends."
"Remember this mornin' when I made B. A. mad? Remember why he got mad?"
"No, and I doubt he remembers it either. What does this have to do with your New Year's resolution?" The bread was all gone. Picking blades of grass to peel, he struggled to understand.
"I kept tellin' B. A. to pack Billy's water bowl and leash. Then I said I had to take Billy for a walk and he yelled at me?" Murdock's voice quieted, so low Hannibal leaned nearer to hear him.
"B. A.'s used to that by now. He doesn't mean it when he gets mad at you. You just have to back off sometimes when he gets irritated."
"That's not it, Colonel. That's not it at all." Murdock clutched his head with both hands.
"Then tell me. What was your resolution?" In a way, Hannibal sensed he knew what the answer would be.
"I was gonna try to act sane. It was a promise to myself. No more crazy stuff. No more invisible animals or golf balls that talk or disguises." Murdock smacked his fist into an open palm. "And I blew it."
"That's a big resolution to try to tackle on your own, Captain. You need help, support from your friends."
"I thought if I just shut up, kept to myself, I'd get the crazy under control. But it's still in there. It gets bigger and bigger and explodes whenever it wants."
"And why is this resolution so important, Murdock?" Again, Hannibal thought he knew the answer. When it was spoken aloud, it would hurt but it had to be said.
"I don't want to go back to the V. A. Hospital. I want to be with my family all the time, not just when I'm needed." He took a deep breath and added, "Is that so bad?"
Murdock looked at Hannibal, needing an answer. His brown eyes were wistful. The Colonel slung an arm around the pilot's shoulders. "No, that's not a bad resolution at all."