In the Land of Milk and Honey
By Mizhowlinmad (HBF), 2010
Disclaimer: The A-Team belongs to SJC and Fox. This is just a quick excursion into the wacked-out world of H.M. Murdock and Faceman and is not written for profit. Hope I won't gross anyone out with this one…enjoy!
One thing about Iraq, Face thought to himself. It sucked ass in so many ways, but there was no better place in the world to get a tan. Well, there was Vegas, but he sure wasn't getting there any time soon. So, as he always did, he was just making the best of the situation.
He basked, shirtless, stretched out on his back like a snake atop the lounge chair he'd recently "requisitioned" from a couple of idiot grunts from backwoods Florida. They wouldn't miss it. The damn thing had been hideous even in 1989.
Murdock was nearby. Face couldn't see him, but he could echolocate the crazy guy like a bat by his singing. Today, he was in a Bob Marley mode. That was okay by Face. Made him think of Ocho Rios, a certain brunette in an aquamarine bikini, and a never-ending supply of tropical drinks with the little umbrellas.
Yesterday, Murdock had been plowing through ABBA's greatest hits. Not so much there.
Along with the music, there was the guessing game that came along with Murdock's cooking. Always an adventure. Underneath the pungent smell of today's grilled goat, there were subtle hints of Caribbean jerk sauce and garlic, plus something else Face couldn't identify.
As long as it tasted good (which it usually did), and it didn't cause any kind of bodily numbness, why the hell was he complaining?
"Let's get together and feeeeeel alright…"
"What is that? Smells like another winner."
Usually Murdock was difficult enough to comprehend, in between his many riffs on celebrity voices and his own naturally thick drawl. His reply, in a thick Rasta accent, was garbled and sounded a little to Face like "Ikenndalakapokee, mon."
Face was just annoyed enough to sit upright and remove his protective eye cover. "Speak English, would you?"
He immediately wished he hadn't snapped. Behind the grill, Murdock nonchalantly flipped one of his McGoat Deluxe patties and pulled at the brim of the Disney World Goofy cap he'd been favoring recently.
"Sorry, Faceman, got a little carried away," he admitted. "Carried away to the islands, mon."
Well, all things considered, it wasn't too bad. Sitting around camp with his feet chilling in a kiddie pool full of cool water, a chest full of Bud at hand, having his own personal (admittedly nucking futs, but still personal) chef whip up a Goat Royale to order?
"Forget it, man. Just let me know when the food's ready," he said.
All that was missing, he realized, was the girl in the bikini. And those were in short supply indeed here.
Sighing, Face found his comfy spot again, stretched, and closed his eyes.
In another location within Camp Valley Forge, two Florida hurricanes raged. A pair of corporals, identically built like Dr. Frankenstein's monster and with barely 170 IQ points between them, were looking for someone.
"Guy's a goddamn con artist. Pretty-boy asshole. Fucking stole our lawn chair and our beer."
After an hour of asking around, and mustering all the brainpower of which they were capable, Corporals Whitcomb and Morales knew the name of their man. Lieutenant Templeton Peck.
Nobody stole their shit and got away with it. Not even a Ranger.
"You want goat cheese, or goat cheese on that burger?" Murdock had to shout to make his voice heard over the rotors of the Blackhawk chopper in the LZ a half-mile away.
Time to eat meant, regrettably, a short break from tanning. Face sat up, pulled his threadbare Phillie Phanatic t-shirt on, and removed his eye protectors. Then he immediately wished he hadn't.
"Aw, shit," he muttered.
How these two Neanderthals had found him was unimportant. The fact was, they were onto him, and they'd probably castrate him with his own K-Bar if they knew he'd ripped them off. Fifty yards away and closing.
They were bigger than he remembered, and a lot angrier. Rednecks like these two never took it very well when you conned 'em out of a case of beer.
"Um, Murdock, gimme just a sec, OK? Keep that Goatburger hot 'n ready."
Murdock saluted with his spatula. Nothing ever bothered him, it seemed. "Okey dokey, from Muskogee."
Then, Face noticed his friend's stained "Kiss the Cook" apron, and an idea, a wonderful idea, hatched itself in his head. When he was all done, Bongo and Brutus from Florida wouldn't want to kill him or even make him a eunuch.
They'd want to hug him.
Trouble was, for this half-baked plan to work, he'd need Murdock's help.
Crap. I don't even have time to fill him in…
"You stole our shit, man. You gotta pay," said the dark-haired corporal, Morales, for at least the sixth time. Guys like him always had such one-track minds.
Face, meanwhile, had temporarily placated each of them with a cold Red Stripe from Murdock's personal beer stash. "You guys, didn't I tell you about that ice cream social I've been planning for the camp? I mean, it was gonna be a surprise, and I only needed everybody to chip in to make it fair. You see my friend over there?" He pointed to Murdock in his Goofy cap, cooking still more goat and whistling Marley contentedly.
A wicked grin appeared on the handsome Ranger's features. "He makes the best goddamn milkshake in the Sunni Triangle. No joke."
What it was with these southern boys and their love of milkshakes, Face had no idea. But Murdock had once told him that he'd fly to hell and back for a thick, creamy chocolat-y delight on a hot Iraqi day, so, Face had simply guessed and put two and two together. Lucky for him, (and his balls), he'd been right.
"He some kinda weirdo?" asked Whitcomb.
If you only knew, jerkoff.
Ever the diplomat, Face draped an arm around Whitcomb's huge shoulder. "Would I lie about something as important as milkshakes? Gimme a little time, and you two are gonna be in like sin with some creamy delicious cups of heaven."
"You got one hour," Morales growled. "And I like my shake thick, comprende?"
"What flavor?" Face asked lightly, whipping out the pocket notebook he always carried along with a pencil.
Turned out each of them preferred vanilla. He'd have been in trouble had it been something like peanut butter fudge or mint chip, or worse, one of Murdock's zany homemade concoctions, but plain vanilla was a snap. "Two extra-large shakes. You'll have 'em within the hour, gentlemen. And," he added, "I get to keep all that stuff you claim I 'stole' from Echo Company if I deliver. No questions asked."
He could see the feeble mental wheels creaking and straining in the corporals' heads. Not a pretty sight.
"Deal," Morales said finally. "It's one minute more than an hour, and it's your hide, pretty boy. Got it?"
"Hey, would I lie to you guys?" Face waved his hand casually.
"One other thing," Whitcomb called as he started walking back to his side of the camp. "I want real milk, none of that powdered shit from the mess."
It was an added challenge, for sure. But he lived for challenges.
"Milk? What kinda milk?" Murdock asked as if he'd never heard the word before in his life.
Face remembered smacking his own forehead. "I don't give a shit. Camel, for all I care. I need you to bring me back a couple pints of fresh milk, enough for two shakes, before 1730. Okay?"
A light had come on then, somewhere in the cobwebby attic that was Murdock's mind. "Oh, right. I think I know just the ticket, Facey-man. Just gimme a thermos, alrighty?"
"A thermos? What for?"
He couldn't resist Murdock's "Bambi eyes" look, so he'd sent the pilot out with his personal model, a nice, expensive stainless-steel job. Then he'd shooed him off on his supply run.
As for himself, he just needed to pay a quick visit to B.A.'s House of Spare Parts. The item he needed was sitting there, he knew, just waiting for him. All he needed to do was get it up and running, which shouldn't be difficult. It had been modified, like most of B.A.'s stuff, to work from a genny.
Piece of cake. With an extra-creamy, extra-large milkshake on the side.
It was a small price to pay for two whole cases of beer for him and his unit. Not to mention one ugly-ass, but very comfortable, beach lounger.
"I brought it. Milkman's a-comin', boys."
"That was fast," Face said, accepting Murdock's thermos, which sloshed and sounded pleasantly full. "Where'd you get it?"
Cheekily, Murdock grinned at him, looking even more like an overgrown kid than before. "Let's just say those Black Forest muchachos would be royally pissed if they every found out…"
"…which they never will." Face finished for him. "Gimme a hand with this, all right?"
The machine had already been set up and was humming pleasantly, hooked to their generator. It was the larger version of the Little Chef 'Make-a-Shake' gadget that had been all the rage back in the States a few Christmases ago. This one, still decorated in gaudy pink and baby blue, was doing the job just fine. All Face had needed to find was a few basic ingredients along with some rock salt, and he was in business.
Suck on that, asswipes. And you'll get them ten minutes early, even.
"Just pour the milk in, and we're set," said Face, having to hide a smile of his own at Murdock's unashamed enthusiasm. "Sure you won't tell me where you got it?"
"Absolutely, positoovely. Trade secret, ya know."
"And you're sure nobody saw you?" Face had to ask.
"Invisibility, at your service…" Murdock murmured and poured in the contents of the thermos, not looking up.
"Should be just about ready in a few."
"I got an extra-large shake, and another extra-large shake," Face announced at the flap of the two corporals' tent. "Don't forget to tip your server."
The sight of their jaws just about hitting the ground was enough, but funny enough, they both stammered, too. Even better. "I don't f-fuckin' believe it," Whitcomb finally managed to say.
"When I say I'm gonna deliver, I deliver. Hurry up before they melt," Face replied as smugly as he could manage.
The two big men were on top of the icy-cold, frothy milkshakes faster than flies on fresh dogshit. In a matter of a minute, they'd sucked their cups completely dry.
"Shit, man, I think I have brain freeze," Morales complained, clutching his head.
Face shrugged. "Wasn't it worth it, my friend?"
"Hell, yeah." Whitcomb licked his lips for the last remnants of his shake. "Man, I dunno why we ever gave you such a hard time. You can have all the fuckin' beer we got if you and your buddy make these for our unit again real soon."
Murdock sure had known what he was talking about with the milkshakes. Internally, Face breathed a deep sigh of relief.
"I'll tell him you said that. About the beer, I mean."
Murdock and Face walked side by side, slowly, back to their own camp. The relentless Iraqi sun wouldn't set for another couple hours, but there might be a dust storm to break the monotony. If not, that meant at least a couple hours of prime tanning left. And plenty of beer.
"Seriously, you stole that milk from those Black Forest guys? Right under their noses?" Face elbowed his eccentric companion again. If there was anything Murdock sucked big-time at, it was keeping secrets. He was about as closed as Britney Spears' legs. "How'd you do it? I swear my lips are sealed. If you tell me, I'll give you an extra six-pack, man."
That was apparently all Murdock needed to hear. He chuckled. "You remember that interpreter guy who works for 'em, what was his name? Al-Khalem? Al-Khalidi? Somethin' like that?"
Face wasn't quite sure where this was going, so he nodded. He remembered the guy in question vaguely; he was one of several fairly anonymous locals who provided interpreter services to troops within their camp. "Okay. So you got the milk from him?"
"Better. He's got him one of those pretty little desert ponies. Black as the devil's own heart. I just, well, milked her, you know?" Murdock babbled, smiling from ear to ear as he did so.
They were back at camp now, but Face stopped in his tracks. Something was wrong.
He did remember that guy and his Arabian horse now; how could he forget? (Al-Khalif was his name. And he was so damn proud of that horse. Always rode it in instead of driving) There was only one little problem. Face felt his stomach do a series of backflips as the missing piece finally clicked into place.
"Murdock, that guy's pride and joy was a stallion. I don't think that, um, was milk."
"Those guys liked their milkshakes, didn't they?" Murdock rolled his eyes in his best Crazy Man sort of way. "C'mon, Face, beer's on me. To a scam well run, right?"
Face took the Bud Murdock offered him. Drank it all in one pull.
And realized that on top of everything else that had happened else, he'd definitely need to find a new thermos.
To a scam well-run, indeed.