Disclaimer: I don't own the A-Team. Or maybe I do... but just in my head.

Joking Around

The boy entered the trick shop, his grandparents following him closely. He ran around the store, touching anything that interested him.

"Look, Grandma!" He exclaimed. "Fake throw up!" He waved the rubber toy around.

"Ewww," said his grandmother. "Don't get that!"

"Hey, Roderick! You might like this!" His Grandpa said from the other end of the store.

He ran over to his Grandpa. "What is it, Grandpa?"

"Trick Gum! I used to have some when I was a kid," said his Grandpa. "It's really great."

"What does it do?" Roderick asked.

Grandpa's eyes twinkled. "It numbs people's tongues so they talk funny."

Roderick laughed as he thought of giving one of his friends a piece of this gum.

"Ok, then, I'll get this!" said Roderick.

They walked over to the counter and purchased it.

################################################## ############################

"H.M. and Amy, it's time to go!"

"Coming, Mom!" Both children yelled at the same time. Amy was downstairs almost instantly with her suitcase.

"Where is that brother of yours?" Their Mom asked, looking up the stairs to the next level. "H.M., c'mon, it's time to go!"

"Coming, coming, coming!" H.M. yelled as he jumped down the stairs with his suitcase.

"Alright, listen," said Mom, "Behave yourselves and don't get into any trouble. Amy, don't forget to wear all of your gear when you ski, and H.M... please try to act normal."

"Yes, Mom," the children chorused.

"Good. Now, Mrs. Smith is here with John and Scooter. After she picks you up, she'll pick up Templeton and Tanya. Then she'll pick up Rodrick, who is new in town, so be nice." She hugged Amy and H.M. "I'll see you in a couple of days."

"Bye, Mom," said H.M. as he ran out the door.

Mom caught Amy as she started to leave. "Keep an eye on your brother, alright?"

Amy smiled and nodded. "Yes, mom," she said, and waved as she left.

Amy ran up to the small school bus that would be transporting them to the Youth Group Snow Camp for the weekend. She hopped in and found an empty row for Tanya and herself, then sat down and buckled in.

"Hey, Scooter!" H.M. exclaimed as he sat down next to him.

"Hey, crazy man," said Scooter, an African-American kid with a mohawk. "What's up?"

H.M. smiled. "The sky, the clouds..."

"Oh, be quiet, man! You crazy!" Scooter slumped in his seat.

John turned around in his seat and smiled. "Can't forget the roof of the bus."

Scooter glared at John. "Be quiet!"

John continued to smile as he shrugged, then turned back around in his seat.

The bus stopped as Templeton and Tanya Peck climbed in.

"Hi, Amy!" Tanya happily exclaimed as she sat down next to her friend. They started to talk about whatever girls usually talk about as the bus rolled on.

"Hey, John!" said Templeton, or 'Temp', as he was usually called. "Ready to ski?"

John smiled. "Nope. I'm more of a snowboarder." He turned around in his seat. "What about you, Scooter? Snowboarding or skiing?"

"Snowboardin'," said Scooter.

"H.M., do you like to snowboard or ski?" Temp asked.

H.M. smiled. "Oh, I don't do either. I just like to make snowmen, then sled into 'em so snow flies around everywhere. Then I stuff snow up my nose until I sneeze."

"You're nuts, H.M.," said Temp.

"Absolutely and totally," said H.M.

Scooter rolled his eyes, and John laughed.

"Alright," said the bus driver, "Here's the last stop."

Roderick quickly ran into the bus, and sat in the seat in front of John and Temp. "Hi! My name is Roderick."

John smiled. "I'm John, this is Temp, Scooter, and Howlin' Mad, otherwise known as H.M."

Rodrick laughed. "Howlin' Mad? That's a funny name!"

H.M. smiled. "Thank you, I made it up myself."

Roderick sneered. "You're crazy, you know that?"

"I know it, but do you?" H.M. asked.

Scooter rolled his eyes again. "So, Roderick, what school do you go to?"

"Clearveiw," Rodrick said. He straightened. "I'm class President of my school."

"You know, last year, I ran for president of the student council but I lost on a technicality. They weren't having an election at that time," said H.M.

The conversations continued until they finally arrived at the snow resort.

Amy followed H.M. out of the bus. "Oh, H.M., I forgot to ask, did you turn the water off in the bathroom?"

H.M. froze, then pulled a faucet knob out of his pocket. "I knew there was something I forgot."

Amy rolled her eyes. "Oh, great. Just what we need, a flooded house to return to."

"Wait, what happened?" Roderick asked as he hopped out of the bus, followed by John, Temp, Tanya, and Scooter.

"H.M. left the water on in the bathroom," said Amy, rubbing her forehead.

"Well, how about a piece of gum?" Roderick asked, pulling a container out of his pocket. He handed everyone a piece.

John popped it into his mouth. "Where'd you get this stuff?"

Roderick laughed hysterically as everyone grimaced at the tastes in their mouths.

"H.M.," said Amy, "Help me. I can't move my leg!"

"Me, either!" exclaimed Scooter. "And I can't move my neck!"

"My arm, it's paralyzed!" Exclaimed H.M. "Yahoo! I'm paralyzed! Awesomeness!" He happily jumped up and down.

"What was in that gum, Roderick?" John asked, glaring.

Roderick turned pale. "I... it was just supposed to numb your tongue... it wasn't supposed to paralyze you..."

Tanya sobbed. "I wanted to become a reporter, but how am I supposed to do that with my writing hand paralyzed?"

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," said H.M. sincerely as he shook Roderick's hand with his one un-paralyzed hand. "You have fulfilled my dream in life: to be paralyzed."

Temp stared into space, his face growing pale as he desperately tried to move.

The bus driver stepped out of the bus. "Alright, kids, let's get moving." "I can't, Mrs. Smith!" Exclaimed Amy. "I can't move my leg!"

"What?" Mrs. Smith asked.

"It was Roderick," said Scooter. "He gave us a gum that paralyzed parts of our bodies."

"Roderick?" Mrs. Smith asked, "Is that true?"

"Yes," said Roderick, "but it was supposed to be a joke."

"Alright, we need to get you guys to the hospital," said Mrs. Smith. "Temp, can you move?"

Temp's face contorted in fear. "No... I can't move anything but my right arm..."

"Oh, dear, I'll need some help," said Mrs. Smith. "I'll call 9-1-1."

Sirens were soon heard, and three ambulances took away the victims.

################################################## ############################

"I'm telling you, it wasn't my fault," said Roderick. "They accepted the gum. It was their choice."

The doctor looked at Mrs. Smith questioningly, then turned back to Roderick. "Do you have any more gum?"

"No. They ate it all," Roderick said as he slumped in his chair.

The doctor sighed. "Alright, then. I'd better go check on my last two patents." He checked his clipboard, then walked off into one of the hospital rooms.

"...and then I was chased by the Muppets into a trap, but Temp picked the lock on the gate. Then we escaped and the wicked witch of the east was put in prison," said H.M.

"You kiddin' me? It was the wicked witch of the west," said Scooter.

"No, no, no, it was the wicked witch of the east," said H.M. Then he finally saw the doctor, who entered the room. "Oh, hey, doc."

The doctor smiled. "Hello. How are you feeling?"

H.M. smiled widely. "Perfect. I don't get why everyone is so upset over being paralyzed."

The doctor raised his eyebrows. "You mean, you don't care that you're paralyzed?"

H.M. smiled and shook his head. "Nope."

Scooter snorted. "You're crazy, you know that?"

H.M. grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. "I know it, but do you?"

"Well," said the doctor, offering his hand to H.M., "I'm glad to meet you."

H.M. turned serious. "H.M. does not shake hands. H.M. does not play sports. H.M. does not open canned foods. H.M. is paralyzed."

The doctor paused, then nodded. "Alright, then. So, tell me, where are you paralyzed?"

"My left arm," said H.M.

The doctor picked it up off the bed and examined it. "Hmm. Everything seems normal." He set it back on the bed. "I'll be back in a minute."

The doctor left the room, writing something on his clipboard.

H.M. grabbed a wrapped tuna-fish sandwich and book from the stand next to his bed.

"Whatcha readin'?" Scooter asked.

"Oh, some Chinese book about Bruce Lee," said H.M. as he ate his sandwich.

"You can read Chinese?" Scooter asked.

H.M. shrugged. "What can I say, one day I had this gonzo headache and before it went away I could read and speak Chinese. And it was a bad afternoon, let me tell ya."

Roderick entered the room and glared at Scooter and H.M. "I'm going to get you for this."

"Excuse me?" Said Scooter, beginning to get mad. "I don't see you paralyzed for life!"

"You shouldn't have eaten the gum," said Roderick. "Now you humiliated me in front of everyone. This is on the news, for crying out loud! I will get you back."

"Nobody comes in here and threatens me while I'm in a hospital. Especially when I'm eating a tuna fish sandwich," said H.M., not even looking up from his book. "Mrs. Smith said this guy was Looney tunes," mumbled Roderick, glaring at Scooter. "'Looney Tunes', huh? What other TV program do you watch regularly?" H.M. asked.

Roderick rolled his eyes, then left the room as the doctor walked in.

"Hello, again," said the Doctor as he walked over to Scooter. "How are you?"

"Paralyzed," Scooter grumbled.

"Well," said the doctor, "where are you paralyzed?"

"My left leg and neck," he said.

Footsteps sounded in the hall and Tanya ran in. "I can move my hand! I can move my hand!" she yelled happily.

"What?" The doctor questioned as he jumped up to examine her hand. She easily flexed it.

The doctor turned to Scooter. "Can you move your neck and leg?"

Scooter grunted as he twisted his neck and jerked his knee. "Yeah, yeah, I can!"

H.M. wiggled his arm and sighed. "So long, paralysis."

################################################## ############################

All of the kids climbed into the bus, happily anticipating home.

Everyone was discharged with from the hospital with a full bill of health and were enthralled to go home. All of them were happy.

Except, of course, for H.M. and Roderick. Roderick was mad because he now had a criminal record and a bad reputation, and H.M. was sad because he wasn't paralyzed anymore.

The End