by Lori Beatty 1/7/86
"Hannibal, say somethng!" Templeton Peck yelled in alarm. Vainly he
tried to break free of the two VA attendants who were carting him away.
Hannibal, however, was no help at all. He was doubled over with laughter, as were BA and Murdock.
Peck looked at them in horror as he was propelled from the room.
"Wait guys, listen. I'm not Murdock. Honest, I was just assuming his
personality to make a point. Ya see, I got this pardon and when I left,
Murdock decided to take my place."
The slender blond attendant on his left grunted and gripped
'Murdock's' arm more securely. "They said this guy was wild but I never
"No listen, I'm not Murdock. I'm Templeton Peck. Really. Just take
me back and they'll tell you. They were just joking, see."
"Oh, we'll take you back, all right," the other guard answered him. "Just relax."
"Relax! But you don't understand." Twisting around best he could,
Face looked over his shoulder to see a smiling Hannibal Smith waving
"Calm down, Murdock," the blond guard soothed.
"I'm not Murdock!" Face yelped only to be gripped even more tightly by his capable escorts.
"Told ya we should have brought in the strait jacket, Tom."
"Naw," the blond Tom replied. "We can handle this little guy."
"Little guy," Face sputtered indignantly. "Hey, fella, I'll have you know I can hold my own with the best of them."
The two men exchanged knowing looks over Face's head. "You're right, Jake. He's got some imagination all right."
Back in the hotel room, E. G. Fowler stod gaping, totally baffled
by the scene she'd just witnessed. The other members of the A Team were
all doubled over in hysterical laughter. Hannibal was clutching his
side, leaning against the door frame. B.A. snickered like a gleeful boy
and Murdock had collapsed into a chair, shaking his head and giggling
like a hyena. She felt as if she was the only person in the room who
had been left out of the joke. "Will someone please tell me what's going on?"
"Revenge, Mama," B.A. chuckled.
"Where are they taking Temp?"
Hannibal grinned, trying to regain some of his composure. "They're taking him to Murdock's place."
The three men broke into uncontrollable laughter once again.
Murdock pointed a finger at the Colonel. "You know, Hannibal, Face was pretty good. Maybe we should let him be me for awhile."
"Yeah," B.A. quickly agreed. "Let him cool down and get his head out of the clouds."
A grin of pure wickedness moved Murdock's face. "Yeah, and there's
no better place for getting your head straight than my old Alma Mater."
The team dissolved into giggles yet again and E.G. Fowler decided they
had all lost their minds.
Sensing that he'd lost valuable ground in his struggle Face tried a
new tactic. "Come fellows, can't we stop a minute and talk? I can prove
I'm not Murdock. Look in my wallet. You'll see you've made a mistake."
"No mistake," Jake replied firmly. "We were told to pick up the crazy guy in the ball cap and the flight jacket. That's you."
"But it's not my jacket!"
Unmoved by his persistant pleas, the men proceeded to deposite him
unceremoniously in the rear of the van, locking the door securely.
"No wait! You don't know what you're doing. I'm not Murdock." Face
scrambled up to the clear partition that separated him from the front
seat and his captors. "Hey, let me out!" He banged on the window but
the men studiously ignored him. He continued to shout, threaten and
harass but Tom and Jake paid him no attention what so ever. Frustrated
and angry, he finally gave up and dropped onto the bench. He spent the
remainder of the ride inventing and discardng numerous ways to escape
and countless forms of revenge on Hannibal for allowing him to be
mistaken for Murdock. For the tenth time, his ego stung at the thought.
Imagine, Templeton Peck being mistaken for H.M. Murdock. How
He was still contemplating his distasteful situation when the van
pulled up at the hospital. When the guards opened the door, Face was
ready to leap to freedom. The guards, having had more experience in
these matters, easily squelched the attempt.
"Aw come on guys. Maybe we can negotiate huh? Believe me, you're
gonna feel real bad when you find out you got the wrong man. You may
even lose your jobs over this. I'd hate to see that happen. Especially
with the job market in such a slump. Come on, just take a minute to
check my ID."
The guards ignored him and led him relentlessly into the hospital.
"Well, it's a moot point anyway," Face said in a confident manner.
"Because as soon as they see me they'll tell you I'm not Murdock. Yep,"
he drawled. "You're gonna feel real dumb when these doctors and nurses
tell you that you made a giant screw up." Confident at last that his
ordeal was nearly over, Peck smiled broadly at the nurse at the front
desk. To his chagrin she barely glanced at him.
Jake announced their arrival. "We've got Murdock, Ma'am."
"Room 104, down the hall to the left," she replied absently.
"No wait," Peck started to protest. "I'm not Murdock, just look at me and you'll see that."
The nurse continued to peruse the chart in her hand. "Of course you're not," she said placatingly.
With a little jerk, Face was once again steered toward his new
home. Tom and Jake were quickly joined by a white clad orderly, who
held a huge key chain in his hands.
"You're making a mistake, I tell ya. You're gonna hate yourself in
the morning!" Undaunted, Face tried his guards again. "I'm not Murdock,
guys. He's taller than I am by a good four inches and he's got brown
eyes. Mine are blue, see. Look. Blue, I'm telling ya!"
"Here we are pal, Home Sweet Home."
The orderly unlocked the door marked 104 and waited while the
patient was rather roughly shoved inside. Before Face could pivot, the
door was shut and locked. He whirled and lunged at it but it was too
late. He was captured. "Hey wait! You've made a mistake. Why won't you
listen to me? I'm not Murdock." No one even showed him the slightest
attention. "Okay, have it your way. But you'll be sorry. I'll sue!
You'll wish you'd listened to me. My lawyer just loves to take on
impossible causes. And he loves to ruffle the feathers of big
organizations like yours. And don't say I didn't warn you!"
Satisfied with his threat he stepped back and took a deep breath.
"That should shake 'em up." Pressing his face to the small opening in
the door, he strained to look at the corridor outside, hoping his last
outburst had created some activity. The hall was empty. The only person
in sight was a small man standing in the open doorway across from his
own. Hope reared its head and Face smiled warmly at the man. "Hi ya
fella. How ya doing? Could I get you to do me a favor? Great. You know
Murdock, right? Tall guy, sorta unusual, makes weird noises all the
time?" The man stared blankly back at him. "Murdock. He lives here. In
this room. Maybe you know him better as the Range Rider. Captain Cab?
Lefty?" Still no response. The man stared at Face a long moment then
slowly turned away.
Stymied, Face smacked his hand on the steel door. "Damn!" The curse
released some of his frustration and he decided it was time to regroup
and try a new course of action. Shouting and stamping his feet had
gotten him absolutely nowhere.
Slowly he began to stroll around the room, idly cataloguing the
varied assortment of belongings that represented H.M. Murdock. An
arcade game dominated one corner and beside it a stereo system. The
alcove in front of him held a leather couch and a dresser upon which
sat a TV and VCR. The remaining wall revealed the bed and a chest of
drawers, a lamp and a few odd boxes. Every wall was covered with
something; from odd magazine ads and T shirts to posters and a pair of
slippers. Face turned up his nose at that last item. He never claimed
that he could interpret Murdock's mind. "I feel like I'm in a bad
movie," he stated aloud. Oh well, at least I won't be bored. I can
always work on my Space Invaders score or call out for a pizza...Call
out! He made a mad dash for the telephone grasping the receiver and
frantically punching numbers. "Hello! Hello!" A disembodied voice broke
into the line.
"Access number, please."
"What? I don't have a number," he shouted.
"What room is this?"
"Is that you, Mr. Murdock?"
"No. I'm not Murdock."
"Oh, of course. Well, who ever you are this week, you still need your access code to place a call after 5 pm."
"But I don't know what it is." Face found himself talking to dead
air. He slammed the receiver down with a bang, cursing under his
breath. "Geez. how does Murdock stand this place?"
The question gave birth to several others and he felt his anger and
frustration subside a bit. After all, his friends were only teasing.
They wouldn't allow him to stay in this room long. The thought bouyed
his mood and he rose from the couch and strolled to the door again.
"Yeah, I'll bet Hannibal and the guys are on their way here right now
to clear this up. They should be here any minute. I'll be out of here
in," he checked his watch, "thirty minutes, tops."
He looked around the room smiling then suddenly his expression
changed to one of alarm. "I'm talking to myself. Ten minutes in
Murdock's room and I'm already losing it. Great." Looking once more out
the small winow on the door he noticed that the silent neighbor had
returned and was staring at him.
"Hi ya. Back so soon?" As before, the man only stood and stared
blandly. "Right. Well, it doesn't really matter. I'm not staying, ya
know. I'll be out of here quicker than you can say psychotherapy. Yeah,
sorry we won't have time to ge better acquainted but I'm only here on a
joke, see." Face watched his silent friend for some flicker of response
but was once again dissappointed. "Great. The only person around to
talk to is pretending to be a Mute Mike. Oh well," Face shrugged. "It
beats talking to myself. So, you been here long? You and Murdock must
be good friends huh? Yeah, me too. He's quite a guy. We go back a long
way. I guess we know each other better than anyone." Face smiled to
himself. "Old Murdock, he's one of a kind. Hey, can I tell you a
secret? You know, Murdock's not really a nutbar. I mean, he doesn't
really belong here. Naw. It's an act. All an act. He's good at it too.
The best. He's got these shrinks in here and half the ones in the Air
Force arguing over whether he's for real or not. He even sets me to
wondering sometimes. But he can assume anyone's personality. Even
yours, ha. Honest. He even became me. Hard to believe isn't it?" Mute
Mike only stared.
"Oh I know what you're thinking. How could anyone impersonate me,
right? My thoughts exactly but he actually did it." Face leaned more
comfortably against the door and elaborated. "You see, Mike, can I call
you Mike? Great. Well, I got a pardon and left the team, see so
Murdock, he decides to take my place. He gets himself some of the same
clothes I have, assumed my mannerisms, speech patterns etc., even got
himself a toupee." Face chuckled. "Then he set out to fill my shoes.
You know, scrounging up what ever Hannibal needed, fast talking the
scumballs, seducing the ladies." Face's smile suddenly faded. "He was
very convincing too. He stole a very lovely lady right from under my
nose." His mind replayed that scene and the moment of stunned shock
he'd experienced when E.G. Fowler had turned her attention away from
Templeton Peck and full upon Murdock. It had been painfully obvious to
Face that she was re-evaluating H.M. and liking what she saw. The
incident had shaken him badly and he'd retaliated with his childish
attempts to assume Murdock's personality. His reward for such behavior
had been his ultimate incarceration in the psycho ward of the VA.
Childish. It was a sobering thought. Silently, soberly, Face walked
to the center of the room and looked around him again. This time he
examined the decor in a different light. Not as the bizarre dwelling of
a crazy man but as the home of a friend. It struck him for the first
time just what sort of life Murdock was forced to live. At least he and
B.A. and Hannibal were free to come and go as they pleased, relatively
speaking. But the Captain was confined to this small room for weeks on
end and, as he told Mute Mike, Murdock didn't belong here. He might be
an eccentric with an outrageous imagination, but he was also a very
intelligent, highly educated man with skills and abilities far beyond
his own. He knew too that Murdock had worked hard for those skills
while he on the other hand had always taken the line of least
resistance through life.
He remembered then the look on Murdock's face when he had left the
team and knew that it had reflected true sadness and regret. Shame
flooded his mind. "Shit."
Turning on his heel, he moved back to the door and looked out at
Mike who was still filling his doorway. "I'm a jerk, you know that
Mike? A first class jerk. I was so sure that no one could fill my
shoes; that I was irreplaceable on the team. A lot I knew, huh? Murdock
stepped right in as smooth as silk, and he was good too. Real good," he
admitted sadly. "Oh, he wasn't really trying to steal E.G. away from
me, I see that now. No, he was trying to teach me a lesson in humility.
Only I was too stupid to even attend the class. All I could do was
stomp my feet and say 'Give me back my toy,' like a spoiled two year
old. Some friend huh? They were there waiting to pick up the pieces for
me after the pardon fell through but I was only concerned about getting
the girl. Peck has always got to score with the girl. Some friend, huh?
Must be a personality defect." Face turned and stared into the room,
his mind doing an instant replay of his female conquests. "I never
stopped to think about it but Murdock hardly ever gets the girl. I mean
he's no Robert Redford," he chuckled "He's sorta blue collar, you know.
But he did look good in my clothes and the hairpiece took ten years off
him. Truth is Mike, he's a better man than I am. At least he's
The sound of keys in the lock shattered Face's contemplative frame
of mind. He was relieved to see an elderly nurse enter the room while a
huge orderly guarded the door. "Oh boy am I glad to see you. There's
been a terrible mistake here and I'm real anxious to get it cleared up,
so if you could just..."
"No mistake, " she snapped as she handed him a small container filled with four pills. "Take these."
"No, you don't understand, I'm not the man that's supposed to be here. There was a mix up, ya see and..."
It was clear that he'd get no help from this woman. He put the
pills in his mouth then remembered some advice Murdock had once given
him about holding the pills under his tongue. Smiling, he sipped the
water she offered and pretended to swallow.
Satisfied, the nurse and attendant departed, locking the door
behind them. He went immediately to the sink and spit out the offending
medicines. "Thanks, Murdock."
His moment f triumph over the pills quickly faded and he looked at
his humble surroundings, wondering what to do now. No new and
intriguing ideas came to mind. Even Mute Mike had given up the ghost.
Suddenly, Templeton Peck felt very lonely and abandoned and he sighed
heavily. He slowly removed Murdock's brown jacket then his own scarf
and stretched out on the bed. The room was silent and he briefly
considered turning on the TV but he knew he had some serious thinking
to do and the sooner he did it the better.
Face was not a man given to frequent introspection. He didn't feel
compelled to examine his emotions or feelings for hidden motives or
clues to his true inner self. He went through life like a
will-o-the-wisp, darting from one thing to another, never leaving any
of himself behind and taking as much as he could of the other person.
He lived for the moment, for the immediate gratification of the moment
with never a thought to tomorrow. Except in one regard. The A Team.
Through a series of circumstances, or perhaps the timely intervention
of the Gods, he had been assigned to the unit of one Hannibal Smith.
Since then his life had held a new thust. The unit, and eventually the
three men who made up the now famous team had become his family. Never
before and probably never again would any human beings be as important
to Templeton Peck as Col. Smith, B.A. Baracus and H.M. Murdock. They
were the only people on earth who knew him, cared for him and accepted
him as he was, in spite of his many shortcomings. His relationship with
those men was one of the only things he truly worked at. He wanted
their respect and their trust and he spent all his energies making
certain that he never let them down. Yet, here he sat, locked away in a
looney bin and he knew better than anyone that it's where he belonged
at the moment.
He had been a royal idiot. A prize chump. An ass!
Hannibal had tried to warn him about his rapidly expanding ego; had
begged him to come off the ego trip but he was too caught up in the
game to even listen. From the first the Colonel had feared a plot, some
sort of trap to capture the team. Secretly, Face had thought he was
being jealous of the pardon and dismissed it as nonsense. Still,
Hannibal had persisted by tailing him, checking up on his'new' friends
and continuing to worry about his safety. A hot rush of shame flooded
his veins as he recalled his irritation a what he deemed Hannibal's
desire to keep the team together at any cost.
He had been so caught up in the newly acquired freedom, the
attention, the glamour of his new life that he had totally ignored his
friends advice. What sort of man was he? Was he so shallow that a
little money and celebrity could sway him from true friends and the
things that really mattered in life? The answer made him squirm with
shame. Apparently he was.
No wonder the guys let him be carted off to the mental ward. They
knew better than he that he needed help. He'd made a real ass of
himself, he could see that all too clearly now. A fair weather friend,
a Janus who turned his face toward something he thought was more
exciting, more valuable. Oh he was a real nice guy, all right. The
first chance he gets, he dumps his friends like a rat deserting a
sinking ship. He turned his back on the only people in his life who had
e ver given a damn for him.
Face rolled over onto his stomach burying his face in his arms,
unable to face his newly discovered self. Even B.A. had been wise to
his defection. That so called novel he'd read an excerpt from had
spelled it out all too blatantly. He cringed inwardly as he recalled
how he had so blithely proclaimed to the ghost writer that he,
not Hannibal, was the leader of the A Team. He had downplayed the
Colonel's part to where it was practically non existant. After the
support and loyalty Hannibal had given him over the years, that was an
unforgivable thing to do.
His conscience stung anew when he remembered another lapse in his
own loyalties. During one of his many conversations with E.G. he had
admitted that he was rather embarrassed by his association with the
team. That, now that he was free and in demand, he thought they should
down play his former ties with the fugitives and stress his
entreprenurial adventures instead. His link to the team might prove
detrimental to his new image.
A soft groan escaped from the despondent man. Could he really blame
the guys for allowing him to be brought here? He couldn't even blame
them for not coming to bail him out. They probably didn't want to see
him ever again. After all, the bottom line in this little scenario was
that he had turned his back on his friends; had tossed their friendship
aside without even a thought. And they had proved, in his absence, that
they really didn't need him anyway. He could be replaced and easily.
Murdock had brought that point home with a vengence. Face knew without
a doubt that he deserved it.
Somewhere among his mental wanderings and recriminations he had
drifted off to sleep. When morning arrived, it took him a long moment
to place his suroundings. When he realized he was still in Murdock's
room his emotional state plunged. Somewhere deep inside he had hoped
the guys would still show up to bail him out. The fact that they hadn't
could only mean one thing. They were too angry to see him or, they had
turned him out.
It was with great difficulty that he rose from the bed. He felt
ancient; every one of his 38 years. Yet he knew too that he had no one
to blame but himself. He deserved what ever the team dealt him and he'd
accept it like a man. It was the least he could do now.
He was standing at the sink when the door opened and two doctors
entered. Face felt his mood downshift again. He wasn't up to dealing
with this now. "Look guys, can't we have this session later? I'm in no
mood for playing Freud games, right now."
"Zorry, my goot mahn, but ve are here to begin our experiments,"
the shorter man announced. He spoke in a thick Austrian accent, and
looked like a picture out of an old history book. His face was obscured
by a bushy beard and long unruly hair that hung to his chin.
The second doctor was taller and thinner with inch thick glasses
perched on his nose, a receding hairline and a classic handlebar
"Oh no. I'm not taking part in any experiments. Forget it. Just go back to your laboratory and leave me alone."
"I am doctor Costello of the psych lab. I'm afraid we are unable to
accomodate you, sir," the tall doctor said in clipped precise tones.
"Our records indicate that you are the perfect patient on which to
conduct this most vital and definitive test. It would not produce the
desired results if we were to enlist the aide of someone of a lesser
suitability. Isn't that correct Doctor?"
"Ja, ja. You zee, Herr Murdock you have ze exact blood type we are
seeking Alzo, your blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism and other
factors are all conducive with the control group ve have established."
"It has taken years of research to locate the perfect specimen for our group. I'm afraid you simply cannot refuse."
"But I'm not Murdock," Face barked. "So I won't do your little group any good at all."
"Nonsense," the tall doctor scoffed. "This man is teasing us Doctor Abbott."
The Austrian physician waved his hands impatiently in the air. "No
time for tease. Ve must go. Come, Herr Murdock. Ve waste the time."
"But you've go the wrong man!" Suddenly it all seemed too much
trouble to deal with. "Oh what the hell. It doesn't matter. Let's go."
Face allowed the two eccentric physicians to escort him out of the
room and to the front desk where they quickly obtained his release.
Resigned to what ever fate awaited him he didn't really pay much
attention to his companions who were busy tossing medical terminology
back and forth over his head.
It wasn't until they stopped in front of a familiar black and gray van that Face realized who his escorts were. "Hannibal?"
The Colonel pulled off the wig and beard with a smile. "Hi ya Face."
Murdock quickly removed his thick glasses and the fake mustache, and grinned at the Lieutenant. "What's up Doc?"
A wave of gratitude and humility washed through the errant member
of the A Team, the force of which nearly choked him. All he could
manage to say was a hearfelt, "Thanks, guys."
Without further conversation the four men climbed into the van and
Hannibal smiled back at Face. "What do you say to some breakfast?"
"Sure, okay," Face replied listlessly.
Murdock and Hannibal exchanged glances and Murdock picked up the
conversation. "So, how did you find my humble abode? Did you find my
"Ya, Murdock, you've got a nice place there. Oh, I met a friend of
yours. Across the hall, room 107. He didn't talk much though."
"Oh, that's Homer Crosby. He only talks on Tuesdays," Murdock chuckled but Face only nodded his head and looked away.
Murdock sent a worried frown in Hannibal's direction.
"Uh, look Face," the Colonel began awkwardly. "I suppose we should have come and bailed you out sooner but, well we had..."
Murdock quickly spoke up. "I had that date with E.G. ya know and I got in sorta late and then uh..."
"Right. And we had a bunch of loose ends to tie up too," B.A. added.
Face interrupted his companions. "Look, guys, I know what you were
doing and I deserved it. I deserved more than what I got. I've been a
first class idiot and I owe you all an apology. I don't deserve your
"Now Face," Hannibal drawled, "We understand. We are your
friends you know. Who's to say we wouldn't have reacted the same way
under those circumstances. It was a heavy trip, all that attention, the
freedom, the money and all."
"No, Hannibal," Face said quickly. "None of you would have been so blind and egotistical as I was."
"Sure we would," B.A. spoke up defensively.
Face shook his head. "Not you, B.A. You would have seen through the
plot from the first. You'd have listened to Hannibal and Murdock and
taken their advice. You're a sensible guy."
"Well, I'll agree that B.A. might not have gotten caught up in the
whirlwind but I'm a different story. My ego runs out of control all the
time." Hannibal smiled, as if he was proud of the fact. "After all, I am an actor."
"True, but you're a commander first, Colonel. And, you're a cynic.
You automatically look for the hidden catch in any situation. You don't
take anything for granted, even if it meant a complete pardon from the
There was nothing to say to that so Hannibal chewed on his cigar thoughtfully.
"And Murdock, here," Face continued. "Well, I've learned a lot about him since yesterday."
"You have? Oh, I wish you'd tell me. I'm so confused," Murdock lamented.
"No you're not, Murdock. You're more together than any of us. You
see everything in the right perspective. I don't know how or why but
you do. You're honest and sincere and loyal to a fault."
"I am?" Murdock smiled.
"By the way, how was your evening with E.G.?"
Murdock hesitated a moment then answered honestly. "Good. We
discovered that we have a great deal in common, with or without my new
hair," he chuckled.
"I'm glad, Murdock, really. E.G. was a nice lady. She deserves some
one equally as nice." He stared at his hands a moment then continued.
"You all deserve better. I let you down. I chucked our friendship over
the first chance I got. I was so busy feeling big and important I lost
track of what really mattered. I don't much care for the person I met
since the pardon. That Templeton Peck was a first class ass. I don't
know how to make it up to you guys. You're like family to me and I
treated you all like strangers that I didn't give a damn about. I'll
never be able to forgive myself for that."
Hannibal sighed and gestured for B.A. to pull over and stop the
van. "Lieutenant, you know, even in the best of families sometimes
members get carried away. They lose track of things. But you don't
disown a family member just because they screw up."
Face looked at the Colonel. "You mean you aren't ready to toss me into the nearest dumpster?"
"We figured you learned your lesson," B.A. said gruffly.
"Oh, I have," Face said earnestly.
"Yeah, but just remember this lesson, Lieutenant," Hannibal warned,
"and the next time, if there is a next time, don't be so quick to skip
down that yellow brick road, okay?"
"Yeah, man. Grow up," B.A. growled.
"There's only one condition, " Murdock put in.
"Yep. You have to promise to swear on your officer's bars that
you'll stop hogging all the girls and give the rest of us a chance."
Face smiled. "That's it? That's all? You're really not mad at me?"
Hannibal grinned like a Cheshire Cat. "Naw, after all we know you better than anyone."
Peck squirmed, "Right."
"And if you should forget, I'll be right here to feed you a nice warm slice of humble pie," Murdock said gleefully.
Holding up a piece of paper he pointed to it significantly.
"It's E.G. Fowler's phone number. Don't say it can't happen to you," he grinned wickedly at his friend.
Face nodded, and smiled. "I get the point Murdock, and thanks guys. Thanks a lot."