The Episode that Never Was
Author's note: During the 'Mr. T and mr. t' episode of "Diff'rent Strokes", it was announced that they would be shooting scenes for an episode of "The A-Team" in the Drummond's penthouse apartment. Naturally no such episode was ever made, but I got to thinking, if it had, what would it be like? This started out as an answer to that, but over the course of the story, certain liberties are taken that don't strictly follow the A-Team's formula, I hope the readers will enjoy it all the same.
"Ah! Here it is, New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice, the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps! If I can—make it here! I'll make it-anywhere! It's up to—"
"I don't know how much more of this I can take, Hannibal," Face murmured to their leader as he leaned over towards the front seat of the van.
"Me either," B.A. grunted as he steered the wheel one way and the other, before he finally hit the brakes and made the tires screech to a sudden stop outside a supermarket. He turned halfway in his seat and told the others, "Make sure nobody steals my van, I'll be right back."
"No problem," Hannibal called cheerily after B.A., and once the Sergeant had disappeared past the automatic doors of the store, he turned to look back at Face and added, "Who'd want it?"
Face hung his head low and shook it, "3 days on the road with B.A. ranting and raving and Murdock singing, next time just knock me out and stick me on a plane."
Murdock stopped singing and snapping his fingers in mid-song and said to the others, "The angry mudsucker's sure been acting different lately, ain't he?"
"I guess you could say that," Hannibal replied as he fished a cigar out of his pocket and bit off the end of it.
"Guess you could say it?" Face repeated, "He's the one who forced us onto this mission and wouldn't even tell us what it's about. 3 days on the road going from one coast to the other with almost no idea why."
"Where B.A.'s concerned, his girlfriend being in trouble is all the explanation he needs," Murdock spoke up, "The Big Guy's sentimental like that."
"Hey Hannibal," Face picked his head up as he thought of something, "Come to think of it, how many times has it been in the last 10 years that B.A.'s actually had a girlfriend?"
"Hmmm," Hannibal mumbled over his cigar as he lit it, "Tough call…as far as we know, he sure hasn't had too many of them, of course who has?"
"Consider who you're asking the question to, Colonel," Murdock replied.
Hannibal gave a small smirk in response to the pilot's comment.
"It does seem strange though that we've never met this woman before," Face said.
"Well B.A.'s only known her a couple months, and they were only together for a couple weeks before she had to come back here to New York, 3,000 miles is one hell of a long distance relationship," Hannibal responded.
"All the more reason it's strange he'd be so ga-ga over her when she's not even there," Face said.
Murdock grinned like a naughty boy as he leaned over towards the front seats and said to Hannibal, "Sure has been funny watching him go all googly over her though, hasn't it? The big angry mudsucker reduced to a puddle of pudding over…"
"Melissa, Melissa," the three men said in unison in a cat-call singsong tone, mocking the way their Sergeant had been carrying on about his girlfriend over the past couple months, and had a good laugh at the whole thing.
"Still, it seems unnatural we've never even seen a picture of her," Face said, "We don't even know what she looks like."
"I have to agree with Faceman," Murdock told Hannibal, "In fact, I'm a bit worried that she may not even exist, I think my blood brother is starting to go insane."
"Why would that bother you, Murdock?" Hannibal asked, "Aren't you insane?"
"Yeah but I'm a fun insane, this would just be a sad insane."
"How do you differentiate?" Face asked Murdock.
"Well you see…"
"Cool it, guys," Hannibal looked out the window and saw B.A. was coming back.
"That didn't take long," Face commented as B.A. slipped back into the driver's side and pulled the door shut behind him.
"Didn't have much to pick up," B.A. replied, and turned in his seat so he was facing Murdock, who suddenly looked apprehensive at the Sergeant's return, "Since you ain't gonna shut up about the Big Apple, I'm gonna give it to you."
Hannibal and Face sat back and watched as B.A. reached over to the backseat and rammed a large red apple into Murdock's mouth, effectively gagging him with the fruit.
"What time's the luau, Murdock?" Face couldn't resist asking.
The muffled response around the apple didn't sound too amused by Face's question.
"Help him, Face," Hannibal told his Lieutenant, then switched his attention to his Staff Sergeant, "Well now that things are a little quieter around here, maybe we can talk business. Remind me again B.A. why we had to travel 3,000 miles…drive on top of it, not take a commercial jet that would've had us there in 18 hours, but drive, from Los Angeles to New York, for your girlfriend?"
"Hey Hannibal," B.A. grunted, "You know I don't fly, and I didn't give you any chance to knock me out and put me on a plane this time, sucker."
"So noted," Hannibal replied, "But why are we making this trip? Exactly what's going on?"
"That's the thing, I don't know," B.A. told him.
"You don't know?" the other three men asked as Murdock just managed to dislodge the large piece of apple that had gotten trapped between his teeth.
B.A. kept his eyes on the road but his head moved slightly to one side and the other as he explained, "She called a few days ago and sounded strange, I don't know what's going on but I got the impression she couldn't talk freely, like some sucker was right there with her."
"If that's the case," Face said.
"We might be getting set up for a kill," Hannibal finished the thought for him.
"Thanks, Hannibal," Face replied before promptly falling back in his seat.
"You gotta know Melissa like I do," B.A. said, "She wouldn't do that, she just needs our help."
"But she didn't care to mention what she needs our help for, did she?" Hannibal asked.
"No," B.A. answered in his 'no further questions' tone.
Hannibal merely shrugged and responded, "Wouldn't be the first time."
"That's why we ain't flying," B.A. told Hannibal, "Before we left I made sure we had everything in this van that we'd need on the job. Ain't no sucker gonna get the drop on us."
"That's very good planning, B.A.," Murdock offered, "Always be prepared, just like in the Boy Scouts. Probably packed everything including the kitchen sink, huh?"
"Shut up you crazy fool," B.A. eyeballed Murdock's reflection in the rear view mirror.
"Where exactly are we going anyway?" Face asked.
Hannibal pulled up a map of the city from the floor of the van and looked to where it had been marked, "According to this," he turned the map every which way to find the right side up, "If I'm reading this right," he added, "We're looking for a high rise in the 600 block of West 42nd Street in Manhattan." They hit a speed bump and got knocked around in the van and Hannibal added, "But I could be wrong."
Face leaned over to read the map and saw what B.A. had scribbled by the marked destination, "Your girlfriend lives in the penthouse apartment?"
"No, the floor below," B.A. answered, "But she told me that nobody's occupying the penthouse right now incase we need to use it."
"Well that was considerate of her," Face said.
Hannibal looked to B.A. and asked in a borderline commanding officer tone, "Exactly how is it that she knows so much about us and how we work and we know nothing about her? Exactly what all did you tell her, B.A.?"
"Hey Hannibal," B.A. replied in a threatening tone, "Don't think I don't know where you' going with that."
"I know we can trust her," B.A. told him, "You'll see."
"I certainly hope so," Hannibal said, "I'd hate to think we wasted our whole weekend and traveled from coast to coast just to wind up with Lynch throwing us a surprise party."
"I hate surprise parties," Murdock groaned, "Especially when I don't know about them."
"How long's it going to take us to get to this high rise?" Face asked Hannibal.
Hannibal looked up to catch a road sign they zipped by and said as he looked back to see it, "At this rate, maybe 3 seconds."
"So B.A., exactly what does this woman look like?" Face asked when they pulled the van up at the end of the block and got ready to check out the 20 story high rise.
"You'll know her when you see her, man," was his only response.
"Insofar as I can tell there's just one problem," Hannibal said to B.A., "You told her we were coming, but we've never seen her, she's never met us, how exactly did you describe us to her so she'd know us when she saw us?"
"Well if we're all going in together…" Face started to say, and caught on to what Hannibal was getting at, "Ah…we're not going in together."
"No offense, B.A.," Hannibal said, "But if somebody around here is gunning for us, they're going to spot you a mile away. I think Murdock and Face should go in first because they won't grab as much attention on sight."
"Yeah okay," B.A. said reluctantly, "I guess that'll work."
"She does know it's more than just you coming, doesn't she?" Murdock inquired.
"Good question, Murdock, you did tell us about the rest of us, didn't you, B.A.?" Hannibal asked.
"Of course I did, man," B.A. sounded annoyed, "It's just that I want to see her first and make sure she' alright."
"Well what're we going to do, Hannibal?" Face wanted to know, "The minute anybody sees B.A., I mean they're gonna…"
"On the other hand," Murdock offered, "This is New York, freaks run wild all the time and nobody bats an eye."
B.A. grunted and grabbed Murdock by the collar of his jacket and asked him, "Who you' calling a freak?"
"Uh, somebody else entirely," Murdock replied and raised his hands in a gesture of surrender.
Hannibal pointed up towards the top of the building and said to B.A., "Now you're sure that's the floor she lives on, right?"
"Alright," Hannibal said, nodding slowly, rethinking things, "We'll have B.A. go in first, he can probably find Melissa the quickest. Face, you and Murdock are going to go in shortly after disguised as two custodians."
"Aw Hannibal, do I have to be a janitor?" Face asked.
"Yes," was the Colonel's response.
"And what're you gonna do, Hannibal?" Murdock asked.
"I'm going to run surveillance out here for a while to make sure nobody's watching the place or you guys, then I'll come in."
"As what, the new cleaning lady?" Face asked.
"Oh," Hannibal's eyes practically sparkled as he answered with a pleased smirk on his face, "I've got something better in mind."