Title: Dirty Job
Summary: Decker plays dirty. But the team play dirtier.
Disclaimer: I don't own the A-Team (and I'm not cleaning up after them either.) I don't make any money from this.
"Uh-oh. This is not good."
"What?" Hannibal took the binoculars from Face and looked back to where the van stood at the side of the road. Green-uniformed men surrounded it. "Bad news, BA - Decker's boys found the van."
"They hurt my van, they gonna pay."
"Never mind the van," Face said, impatiently. "Take a look at what's getting out of that truck."
Hannibal looked and then made a harrumphing sound. "You know, I think I consider this to be cheating."
"What's wrong?" Tawnia said.
"Yeah, quit with the suspense," Murdock protested, shading his eyes from the sun and squinting in the direction of the van. "What's getting out of the truck?"
Hannibal lowered the binoculars.
"Decker's getting smarter, Hannibal." Face held aside a tree branch for Tawnia. BA and Murdock followed behind her.
"We're obviously a good influence on him," Hannibal said from his point position. "Come on, you guys, pick up the pace."
They could all hear the barking from the pursuing canine unit. The dogs were gaining. Tawnia slowed the group down, and she kept apologising for it. Poor kid looked exhausted already, in this heat, Face thought. Her blouse was sticking to her, nearly transparent now, showing up a shell pink bra... ah, focus, Peck.
"You know," Murdock said from the rear, "there's an old trick to put off sniffer dogs. Aniseed. Once they get a whiff of that, they're stymied."
"And do you have any aniseed, Murdock?" Face asked, knowing the answer.
Murdock searched the pockets of his pants, as if he really might have brought some along for just such an occasion.
"I musta left it in my jacket."
"Fool," BA muttered. "Don't be talking about stuff you ain't got."
They'd all left their jackets back at the motel. The weather was too hot and sticky here in Louisiana for anything but shirtsleeves. So hot that, when Decker showed up out of the blue and chased them out into the countryside, the van's engine overheated, leaving them no choice but to grab their rifles and make a run for it.
"Maybe we should split up?" Face suggested, though figured Hannibal wouldn't go for it. "Murdock takes Tawnia and we three lead Decker's puppies on a magical mystery tour."
"You expect me to miss a magical mystery tour?" Murdock said.
"Forget it," Hannibal said. "We stay together. Anyway, Murdock has given me an idea."
"A river?" Face said. "Hannibal, that's so hokey."
They all stood on the bank and looked down at it. The summer heat had reduced the water level, shrinking the river and leaving it flanked on each side by stretches of tarry black mud.
"Yeah," BA said. "And it ain't gonna work. We can only go upstream or downstream. All they gotta do is split up."
"Also," Murdock said, "hardly worth mentioning and all, but you know... 'gators."
"Are you all done?" Hannibal said. "I'm not talking about following the river. I'm talking about masking our scent." He put down his rifle, then slipped his shoulder holster off and dropped it onto the grass beside the rifle. "Last one in's a rotten egg."
They all stared as he jumped off the bank and into the slimy black mud below.
"Speaking of rotten eggs..." Face said, wrinkling his nose at the stink of decay that wafted from the disturbed mud.
"Everybody in the pool!" Hannibal ordered.
Only Murdock obeyed. Face was surprised it took him so long. Like Hannibal, he discarded his weapons and jumped from the bank, with one of his take-off yells and landed in the mud beside Hannibal. He slid along on his belly for a moment with the momentum of his dive, then rolled over.
"Mud angels!" Murdock made a star shape, scissoring his arms and legs back and forth and laughing.
Face, BA and Tawnia just stood on the bank with looks of horror on their faces.
"We're waiting," Hannibal said.
"You can wait all day." BA folded his arms. "Ain't never happening. I'd never get my gold clean."
"Too right." Face folded his arms too. "This shirt cost two hundred bucks."
"That's an order, Lieutenant."
"Okay then, you guys," Hannibal said. "So, I guess we'll get captured because you three didn't want to get a little dirt under your fingernails."
He and Murdock shook their heads at each other and then climbed out of the river, dripping slimy mud. They walked past Face and BA, toward where they'd dropped their guns.
"I'll remember this," Hannibal said, "when we're all rotting in - NOW!"
They spun around, Murdock grabbing Face and Hannibal taking BA, hurling the two reluctant men and themselves into the horrible mud. Tawnia gasped and ran to the edge of the bank. The four men were engaged in a little mud wrestling and a lot of cursing and threatening. Within seconds Face and Murdock were indistinguishable as their struggles covered them from head to toe in mud. Only BA's size distinguished him from Hannibal.
"Come on, Tawnia!" Hannibal called. "Come join the party." She stared down in horror, but the sound of those dogs barking was closer and she didn't want to be the one who got the team captured.
Tawnia jumped, one hand holding down her skirt, and the other clamped over her mouth to keep her from shrieking loud enough for Decker to hear it. Next second she was flailing in thick, slimy, stinking mud, squealing in disgust as Hannibal slapping more of it onto her hair.
"Get it all over," Hannibal said, as she sat up. He hesitated with another handful of it. "Yeah, better put it on the, ah, front there yourself."
Face abruptly stopped fighting Murdock and watched Tawnia with some interest.
"You know, I wish Amy was here," he said with a sigh.
"What?" Tawnia said, the mud on her face rearranging itself into a frown. "Instead of me?"
"Oh no. Um, as well as you." Face grinned, his teeth brilliant white in his now dark face. " You know… two girls… mud… and there isn't even a cover charge." Tawnia flung a handful of mud at him.
"Okay, playtime is over," Hannibal said. "Make sure you're covered all over and let's go!"
A few minutes later they were back on the run. Hannibal and Murdock had their rifles, and Face and BA carried Hannibal and Murdock's pistols, since their own weapons were all clogged with mud. Hannibal and Murdock would be cleaning those later, BA had... suggested.
"There is one flaw here," Face said, looking back at the way they came. "Maybe they can't smell us, but they could just follow the trail of mud instead."
Hannibal looked back too. "Nah, not clear enough. We'll be fine."
They'd gone upstream a couple of hundred yards, before climbing out of the mud and heading deep into the trees. The mud had started to dry and they all looked like some bizarre earth creature of legend. Golems. And it really hurt! The drying mud shrank and felt so tight on his skin that Hannibal wondered how women did that whole mud mask thing for fun.
"Hey, don't worry, Tawnia," he said. "Remember this is really good for your skin." The dried mud on her face cracked and he didn't think it was from a smile. Though the breeze had picked up, her hair, baked hard into place, didn't move an inch.
"I don't think I want to hang out with you guys any more," she said.
"Me neither," Face agreed at once.
"Goes for me too," BA said. The mud on his face had dried into a fixed scowl, but was barely cracked, since his expression hadn't changed since they got out of the river. His gold had dried into a solid mass. He looked like some kind of demon risen from the earth to wreak havoc. Hannibal felt sure that as soon as they got away from Decker and had a long hosing down, BA would indeed wreak an unprecedented amount of havoc.
Murdock, who had been bringing up the rear, came running back up the line, the binoculars in his hand.
"They're still trailing us."
"What? They can't be!" Hannibal protested.
"Sorry, no doubt about it. Those little doggies are hot on our heels."
"Never mind the dogs," BA muttered, hurrying his pace. "The MPs can probably smell us. This stuff stinks!"
"Great," Face said. "Just great. So this was a total waste of time?"
"Of course it wasn't a waste," Hannibal said. He grinned, the mud pulling on his skin. "I haven't had this much fun in years."