HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Okay, so this story may not have a father in it, but it was conceived, developed, and completed on Father's Day. That works, right?

This is my very first A-Team fic, but it is a show my own father enjoyed back in the day so it was only fitting that I dedicate my first story for this show to him on this day. (I love you, Daddy!)

DISCLAIMER: The only thing about the A-Team that I own is the third season on DVD. (But all original characters are mine.)

Enjoy ...


Pierce took a deep breath as he stepped out of the elevator onto the floor. He looked around at the ward – his ward – and walked over to the nurse's desk. On the way, he glanced down at his white uniform and checked for any marks on his shoes. This was his first real job and he was determined to make a good impression.

"Hi," he greeted the woman at the desk with a smile. "I'm Pierce Baker; they told me downstairs to report here."

"Oh, yes," the nurse nodded, checking something on her computer. "You'll be working with Jake Tyler today. He's right over there."

She pointed out a tall orderly with broad, strong shoulders towering over a supply cart. The man looked more like a professional wrestler than a hospital employee, but this was the psychiatric ward. Did he ever have to wrestle unruly patients? Would Pierce have to wrestle unruly patients? Glancing down at his own slender arms, he began to wonder if this job opening was too good to be true.

"Hey," a voice boomed in front of him, almost making him jump. "You must be Pierce. Nurse Mitchell told me to expect you. I'm Jake."

"Nice to meet you," Pierce replied, trying not to wince at the strength of the man's handshake. "So, what's it like here? Many unruly patients?"

He hoped his question was casual enough that he didn't sound nervous; after all, a job was a job and he needed a job. Luckily, Jake just shook his head and lead the way down the hall.

"No, not too many. Mostly we have patients suffering from anxiety or delusions, but no one on this floor is all that violent."

Pierce managed to hold back a sigh of relief as Jake started to give him an overview of his daily duties. It all seemed fairly straightforward: check the supplies before breakfast, help patients to the cafeteria, stick around during meals to make sure no one chokes, transport patients to other parts of the hospital for tests … all in all, pretty much what he was expecting.

"After breakfast, check Room 104," Jake instructed as they stepped out of the supply room, "then go to the nurses' desk to find out who has morning tests to get to."

"Okay," Pierce nodded. "What's Room 104?"

"Mr. Murdock's room. I'll explain later."

As Jake continued to walk him through his day, Pierce's mind drifted back to the strange request. He couldn't help but wonder why he had to check on one patient after breakfast, especially if there were not supposed to be any unruly patients on this floor. Not that it mattered much, especially since he was promised an explanation, but it still bugged him.

"After lunch, check Room 104 and then you can help Nurse Charles at the pharmacy prepare the afternoon medication."

"All right, Jake. Is Mr. Murdock suicidal?"

"No, it's nothing like that. I'll explain in a minute."

Jake continued on to a list of dos and don'ts for working in the ward. Some of them made perfect sense, such as not having your lighter were a patient could reach it – especially Mr. Murdock – and make sure no one takes anything back to their room from the cafeteria or communal area – especially Mr. Murdock. In fact, the more he learned about working in the ward, the more Pierce began to wonder if they had more than one patient with an actual mental problem.

"If we have power problems, even just the lights flickering, go check Room 104," Jake continued. "If we have a busted water pipe, air conditioning malfunction, or any other structural issue, check room 104 and then call maintenance. If the phone lines are down for any reason, check room 104 and then go down to the front desk. If there are any strange deliveries or people picking up large pieces of equipment, check on Room 104. If you hear Mr. Murdock singing and he suddenly stops, immediately check on Room 104."

"Basically, if anything happens at all, I check on Mr. Murdock?" Pierce summarized.

"Basically, yeah," Jake shrugged. "Don't worry, you'll get used to it after a while."

"Who is this guy?"

"You wanna meet him?"

Pierce wasn't so sure he did, but didn't want to make a bad impression on his first day. So, he followed Jake to the infamous Room 104. It looked like all the other rooms from the outside; inside was a wide variety of things from a game system to a dart board. Was that a t-shirt tacked to the wall? In the middle of it all was a man. He was sitting cross legged in the middle of the bed, engrossed in his video game. He was dressed like a giant kid in a Spiderman t-shirt and ball cap, which made sense if you looked around the room.

"Good morning, Mr. Murdock," Jake greeted warmly.

"Hi, Jake. Can't talk now."

The words were so fast, it took Pierce a minute to process what was said. Still, the ability to talk quickly wasn't exactly a red flag. Everything he could see about Mr. Murdock said he was as harmless as a child.

"I brought someone for you to meet," Jake prompted.

"Uh-huh," Mr. Murdock muttered, blasting something on his screen. "Give me 17 seconds."

An odd number, but surprisingly accurate. Exactly seventeen seconds later, Mr. Murdock finished his level and gave the orderlies a big smile.

"Did you beat your high score?" Jake asked.

"50 points higher," the patient beamed.

"Glad to hear it. This is Pierce, he's going to be working this floor."

"Hi, Pierce."

"Hi, Mr. Murdock. Um .. good job on your game."

"Thanks. Is there something else? The next level is a killer."

"No, go ahead," Jake replied, ushering Pierce out of the room.

He closed the door as the sounds of laser blasts resumed, but the encounter raised more questions than answers. The man seemed harmless enough, though this was a mental ward. Still, if Mr. Murdock was not violent or suicidal, why so much fuss?

"I don't get it," Pierce commented after a moment. "He seems like a great guy."

"Oh, he is," Jake confirmed.

"Then why the heightened security?"

"Ever hear of Harry Houdini?"

Pierce stopped in his tracks as the realization sunk in. That was why he had to check on this guy five times a day? He was an escape artist? Not a very good one of he was still around, but how could someone break out from a power outage? The doors weren't even electronic!

"If he's that good, how is he still here?"

"No one really knows," Jake shrugged. "He'll disappear for days on end, then show up and ask for his room key like this place is a hotel."

"Any idea where he goes?"

"I asked him once, he said he was in South America."

"South America?"

"That's what he said, went off on some sort of adventure in the jungle, but I think downtown LA is closer to the mark."

That made sense. After all, how could a mental patient get to South America and back? Although, he had to wonder where Mr. Murdock was sneaking off too. Based on his room, Pierce would put money on the arcade and any comic book stores in walking distance. Still, there was one nagging question that remained.

"Why do I have to keep an eye out for deliveries?"

"Because Mr. Murdock uses anything as a distraction to bolt."

No sooner had he finished speaking than the lights began to flicker on and off. Sharing a look, the two men raced down the hall to peer through the door of Room 104. Mr. Murdock was laying on his bed with a comic book over his face. As they watched, he peeked over the pages to complain that his game wasn't working. Jake promised to have it looked at and sent Pierce to find the maintenance guy.

He hadn't gone far when he bumped into a man in a white jumpsuit. He looked more like a model than a laborer, but the label above his pocket did say MAINTENANCE, so who was he to judge? Pierce quickly explained the situation and the man assured him that it was just a minor glitch and he would have it repaired in no time. Jogging back to the nurses' desk, the new orderly reported to Jake was the maintenance guy had said.

"Great," the senior orderly said, letting out a sigh of relief. "For a minute, I thought we were going to lose Mr. Murdock again. Believe me, you do NOT want to deal with that sort of paperwork."

Pierce nodded in agreement. The forms he filled out to take the job were more than enough to last him the rest of the year. Seeing the two maintenance guys heading into the elevator, he returned to his work, determined to get through his first day without a hitch. On his way to the supply closet, he glanced into Mr. Murdock's room and stopped. The comic was all that was left on the bed.

"Jake!" Pierce shouted, trying to remember which key unlocked the door.

In seconds the senior orderly was at his side, taking in the sight of the empty room. Somehow Mr. Murdock had vanished from a locked room without a trace. How did he do it? They had only been gone for two minutes – if that!

"It happens to the best of us," Jake sighed, clapping him on the shoulder. "Come on, I'll show you where the reports are kept."


Anyone catch what happened to Murdock? Who feels bad for Pierce?

Let me know what you think. (I'm currently writing a multi-chapter A-Team fic in what little free time my master's program allows. Any encouragement is appreciated.)