Disclaimer: I do not own, nor did I create, any of the A-team characters (main or support) nor do I own, nor did I create, any of the episodes. That credit is due to Stephen J. Cannell and his associates. Any familiar catch phrases also belong to the Cannell team.

Spoiler Alert: Will eventually reveal key opening moments from the episode "Curtain Call."

Author's Notes: Russ Clayton is a character created by Stephen J. Cannell and associates. He appeared in the opening scenes of "Curtain Call" from Season 2 Episode 22.

This work of fan fiction explores the events leading up to the exciting opening scenes of that episode.

Summary: The Team meets a new client.

Before the Curtain Called: by LAGC

Chapter One-Meeting the Client.

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The large cowboy couldn't have looked more out of place, even if he'd been wearing lit sparklers in his hat. He awkwardly approached the old man at the counter of the "Stuff Your Own Puff" toy stand on the boardwalk.

"Mr. Lee told me to ask for a purple sea-monster," he said to the elderly clerk.

"Eh? Say again please." the old man croaked adjusting his mud brown cardigan.

"I need a purple sea-monster, the one with the orange bow please."

The clerk began to hand him a brown pony, but the cowboy stopped him,

"No, sir, please not the pony. I asked for the purple sea-monster with the orange bow." said the cowboy respectfully, but with a growing tone of urgency.

"You don't look like a sea-monster type, sonny. You look like a brown horsey type." complained the clerk.

With a half hearted laugh the cowboy explained, "I really need the sea-monster. An associate of mine told me that it was my key to meeting a person I really need to meet."

"Who? What sort of grown person uses a stuffed toy as a meeting token?"

"Look,sir, how about I buy both the horse and the monster. Ok? Will that stop the questions, sir? Because I really need to find this man."

"Alrighty, alrighty Buckaroo. Here ya go. That's ten dollars please."

The flustered cowboy handed over a twenty as he reached for the toys.

"Here's your change, cowboy. I hope you find that sea-monster man." wheezed the clerk as he passed back the cash.

The cowboy looked down at his change - two fives. Between the bills was a small jagged paper, upon which was written (in purple crayon) "Go behind the first-aid hut. The A-team"

Grinning broadly the cowboy glanced back up at the clerk only to find a lovely green-eyed red headed lady in a skimpy white halter top and denim skirt manning the booth. He didn't allow his confusion to delay him and quickly darted off to the first-aid hut.

Arriving he was greeted by a well dressed blond man, "Ah, Mr. Milner I presume."

"Yes, I'm Wyatt Milner. I was given a note that said to come here."

"Indeed you were. Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Templeton Peck. If you'd be kind enough to follow me I'll introduce you to the rest of the Team."

"Ok Mr. Peck"

"Please just call me Face, most people do."

"Ok ... That's a funny moniker though?"

"It's a long story..." Face replied as he lead Wyatt to a motor home in the parking lot.

Upon entering the motor home Wyatt saw the old clerk, well what was left of him. Hannibal was seated at the small table wiping the make-up off his face. The ancient plaid shirt and sweater of his disguise were piled on the seat next to him.

"Hello Mr. Milner." Hannibal greeted their client, "You've found the A-team. I'm Hannibal Smith. The big grouchy guy in the corner is BA Baracus. And the fellow snatching your purple sea-monster is H.M. Murdock."

Murdock successfully snagged the toy and gleefully announced, "Oh this is wonderful! A cuddly baby version of the Aquamaniac. Can I have him? Do you mind."

"Ah no? Here take the horse too. I think they are friends already anyway." Wyatt cautiously replied.

Murdock bounced over to Face to show his buddy his new treasures. Face smiled indulgently and patted the creatures. BA rolled his eyes and growled.

With the introductions out of the way, Hannibal got down to business. Wyatt explained that a scoundrel named Russ Clayton was terrorizing his community of hard working ranchers in River View Valley. In addition to damaging their personal property and physically assaulting some of the ranchers families, Clayton was also rustling their cattle. It was the usual story of the local law being understaffed and stymied by lack of evidence and willing witnesses. Because of this Clayton was driving these small scale ranchers into bankruptcy. Everyone on the Team agreed that this crud needed to be hog-tied and delivered to the proper justice. Milner assured Hannibal that once he successfully brought his herd to market he'd have the money to pay their fee.

"Ok Mr. Milner. You've just hired the A-team" Hannibal said shaking Wyatt's hand.

"Good Hannibal. Can we get out of here now. The chatter on the radio is telling us that Decker is on his way." rumbled BA as he got into the driver's seat.

"We shall be at your ranch by dinner time tomorrow, Mr. Milner. Now if you'd please excuse us, we must relocate this wheeled abode." Hannibal said as he ushered their client toward the door.

Wyatt debarked the RV and the team drove off as sirens began to wail in the distance.