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 or settings also belong to the Cannell team.
Additional Cannell characters referenced/included:
H. Emma Murdock - in S4E20 Mission of Peace
Colonel Morrison -several episodes
Uncle Deke & ammonia - S1E1 Mexican Slay Ride
Dr. Richter- S4E11 The Doctor is Out
Mike Tuckabee- S4E18 The Duke of Whispering Pines
Jack Harmon -S4E8 Blood Sweat and Cheers
Spoiler Alert: This piece is based off the Season Four Episode 16 titled, "Cowboy George" and therefore reveals plot points and characters from that episode.
Author's Notes: In this episode Murdock is completely of his game and at the mercy of auditory hallucinations. He latches onto an obsession with the Lennon Sisters, to such a point that it endangers the mission. I've crafted a possible explanation for all this.
Summary: The ruckus in Dry Creek has been resolved. The team is returning to LA. Face let's Murdock know he understands his day long obsession with the Lennon Sisters.
Leaning on the Lennons: by LAGC
****February 11, 1968 ****
"Mail call" BA rumbled as he entered their tent. "You've got a package, Murdock.'
BA distributed his quarry. Hannibal and BA began to open their letters, Face started to peruse his magazines. Everyone kept a curious eye on Murdock as he undid the tattered brown packing paper. He finally revealed a record album. He read a small attached note and smiled broadly.
"It's from my Granny. It's a Lennon Sisters album. She and I always listened to them while I was growing up." Murdock told his team.
While Murdock was speaking, Face had set up their record player. It was a treasured spoil from one of his scams. Murdock finished opening the album and set the vinyl disc onto the turntable. He selected a song and gently set the needle. Soon the familiar harmonies of the sisters filled the tent...
"You're just too Marvelous,
Too Marvelous for words,
Like glorious, glamorous,
And that old standby amorous.."
The four men enjoyed the music and the link to hearth and homeland it provided. Murdock reread Granny's note, BA began a reply letter to answer the questions in his Mama's latest letter. Hannibal savored a cigar as he read his missive from his buddy Jack Harmon, announcing the birth of a son. Face took notes from an article about investing in foreign countries during wartime.
"Granny says she couldn't wait to send me this. She kept a copy for herself too. It makes her happy when she plays it and imagines that I could be listening to it at the same time. I like that idea. I'm gonna imagine that too." Murdock quietly announced.
"That's a really good sentiment, Captain." Hannibal answered.
"Yeah, I can understand that too." BA agreed.
Faceman took a moment to enjoy the contentment being shared in the tent.
Two songs later, Colonel Morrison, appeared in the doorway. The team came to full attention and Hannibal invited Morrison in.
"At ease, men. I've come to speak with Captain Murdock." he revealed.
"Do you have orders for my pilot, Colonel?" Hannibal boldly yet respectfully asked.
"No nothing like that, John." Morrison's tone, and the use of Hannibal's given name, caused everyone's stomachs to clench.
"Please everyone sit down." Morrison continued. They did with Face and BA instinctually sitting next to Murdock on his cot.
"Captain Murdock, my office received a message today. I regret to inform you...but there was an accident..your grandmother, H. Emma Murdock, has passed away. My deepest condolences, Captain."
The needle skidded to the end of the record and bounced against the papered center. Silence befell the tent.
Several heartbeats later Murdock swallowed hard,
"What happened...what are the details?"
"There was a car accident. A trailer truck lost control on a wet curve and ran into several cars. Your grandmother was on her way to a town fair with her friend. They were killed instantly. I'm truly sorry Captain. Ordinarily family leave would be granted but we are so embedded here...well the message took two weeks to reach us..."
"So I've already missed her funeral..." growled Murdock.
"I'm afraid so, Captain." Morrison regretfully confirmed. He rose then and gestured for Hannibal to follow him. The two exchanged hushed words at the door then parted ways.
BA had a comforting hand on Murdock's shoulder. Face was pacing. Hannibal turned off the record player.
"Murdock ..." he began, but Murdock cut him off,
"No don't say it, Colonel. I know you mean well...but don't say nothing. Can't change nothing. ... I've gotta go for a walk."
He stumbled out of the tent. Face moved to go after him. BA held him back, "Let Murdock have his space, brother."
"But...he shouldn't be alone...I don't think so anyway.." protested Face.
"He needs to be alone right now. Trust me." BA persisted.
Face looked to Hannibal for guidance.
"BA is right. Give him a few minutes to gather his thoughts. You can go after him in a bit."
"Yeah, then what do I say?" asked Face
"You don't need to say anything, Kid."
"Yeah, Faceman, trust me, all you need to do is listen to him when he's ready to talk." instructed BA.
"Maybe it ought to be you BA. You can understand this sort of loss better than me. I've never ...well I don't ...family ..isn't my experience."
"Murdock is gonna need you the most." BA said. "You two, as my Mama says, are flip sides of the same penny"
Fifteen minutes later Face had tracked down Murdock. He was holed up behind the pile of surplus sandbags at the edge of the landing pads. It was Murdock's favorite base hideout. Face was carrying a bottle of whiskey.
When Hannibal had handed the bottle to Face, he had said, "Do what needs to be done. Morrison promised me he'd keep us on base for the next few days to give Murdock a chance to process."
"Hi Buddy. Ok if I join you?" Face asked when Murdock looked up with reddened eyes. He didn't respond but scooted over to give Face a spot to sit.
Face took a swig of the quality whiskey and offered the bottle to Murdock. He accepted and threw back a long chug. Wiping his lips across his sleeve, Murdock placed the bottle on the ground between his knees. He then gazed unseeingly across the makeshift airstrip in front of their sand fort.
"Murdock?...what do you...what can I...whatever you need I'm here."
"I know you are Faceman. I know." Murdock took another swig and passed the bottle to Face for his share.
"She raised me, Face. After my Ma died, Granny and PopPop raised me. My father, their son, was in the wind. Granny had loved my Ma. Cared for Ma while her disease stole her from our world then she raised me." Tears were trickling from his eyes. Murdock swiped them away and swallowed some more whiskey. Face, remembering BA's advice, waited, listened.
"I don't know if that album arrived today to comfort or to torture me. We always listened to the Lennon Sisters. Granny loved them. She taught me how to slow dance to their music." Murdock took another gulp from the bottle.
"As soon as I turned eighteen I enlisted. She cried. We had just lost Pop to a heart attack. She said I was being rash, that I was too young. I told her I wanted to serve our country. That Pop would be proud, would understand."
Murdock sighed deeply and searched the stars with mournful eyes,
"The honest truth... I was being selfish. I was hell bent on learning to fly and the army was my means to reach the clouds. The day I left for boot camp, it was chilly so she had wrapped herself in a plaid throw as she waved goodbye. I promised I'd be back. I didn't keep that promise. Now I couldn't even be there to bury her."
"She knew you loved her. I know that. I've seen at her letters when you've left them in the open. She sent you that album because it was a way to share your love and be with you even when she couldn't."
"I hope so, Face I really hope so."
The two spent the rest of the night on the bottom of that whiskey bottle enfolded in their sandbag fort. Murdock allowed his grief and remorse to flow and Face gave him the security and space to do so.
Italicized quoted words are selected lyrics from, "Too Marvelous for Words" They are not mine See end of story for full a citation declaration