TITLE: A Leader
WARNINGS: Memories, nothing dramatic
STORY TYPE: Third Person
LENGTH: One-offDISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
In a wilderness of many leaders, one man stands out. He sits reading a battered newspaper, periodically looking up to see if anyone has come through the door. He is in a room with little light, an attic, and he is smoking a cigar. His name is Hannibal.
He is getting older. And whilst his age deteriorates his body slightly, his mind is as sharp as when he was in Vietnam, fighting the VC with his unit. His thoughts reflect to his unit, to the other members of his team.
He thinks about BA, the man who was first in the unit. BA and himself stood side-by-side two years before Face joined the team. BA, the big black man, with an angry nature. He knows that this is a cover for a gentler man, who rarely lets his emotions show. BA, who has shed tears, who has almost let the madness overtake him at times. BA who’s heart is perhaps less stony that Face in reality, BA who’s love for children and love for his unit rivalled any other love Hannibal has ever felt or known. The first time BA had killed anyone in the war, he had come to Hannibal in tears, and asked him if he’d ever killed anyone before. And Hannibal had held the bulky form of the sobbing seargant in his arms and had told him he’d have to kill again. And again. And then, BA had hardened to the killing, to the deaths. And BA had become the strongest of them all.
Hannibal’s thoughts are wandering. Unusual for his thoughts to be so erratic, thinking about so much at once. But Face was coming into his thoughts now. He thinks about when a young conman had joined his unit, completely unaware of the fact he would learn to trust someone, and be part of a team. Face never trusts anyone as a rule, but Face trusts the team as if they are close kin. Hannibal has become more and more of a father-figure towards the brash and handsome young man. He remembers the first time he met Face, the anguish he could see instantly in the younger mans eyes. He’s been through a lot, Hannibal had thought at the time. But was he salvageable? Was a young man with so many inner demons going to work out in the team? He still has demons now. And Hannibal tries to count how many times the Lieutenant has saved him and the other members of his team, but its too numerous. A conman with integrity.
Murdock. The name comes to Hannibal with a thousand memories, with the speed of a bullet. The southern pilot with excentric manner, and bitter tenderness. Hannibal thinks of Murdock now, and the many times he saved the team in Nam, flying the chopper even in the most precarious of situations. Then he’d become insane, and Hannibal had douted the Captain’s ability because of his insanity.
Hannibal remembers when Murdock was put in the VA. And Murdock turned to Hannibal to whisper something in his ear, which made him smile. A sworn secret he had kept to himself for many years. Hannibal laughs merrily as he finally moves from the attic, down to the rest of his unit, who are drinking coffee with a young singer, her name is Stevie Faith. The other members of the team are doing an admirable job protecting her.
Hannibal sits among them, and looks at Murdock, a smile forming on his face. That secret Murdock had asked him to keep?
Well, it is a secret ....
Oh go on then. I never could keep a secret.
Murdock had said to Hannibal:-
"Colonel, they’re putting me in the VA"
"Maybe it is the best place for now" Hannibal had said uneasily.
Murdock grinned suddenly, his smile exstatic. "I have a little secret, Hannibal....."
Hannibal frowned "Whats that?"
Murdock leaned close to Hannibal and whispered ...
"Well, in truth, I’m not really crazy ......"
THE END .... INSANE OR NOT INSANE - THAT IS THE QUESTION!