A short woman stared up at BA from behind a clipboard. "I beg your pardon?"
BA scowled. "I said, is Murdock here?"
The woman tipped her head to one side and glanced at her clipboard. "I'm afraid I don't know of a Murdock. Is he cast or crew?"
"He's a fool" BA snorted. "He flies. I know he's here, I seen his airplane."
It had been hard to miss, even among the gaggle of strange planes on the newly constructed dirt runway he'd passed on the way to the set. Certainly it was impossible to imagine anyone else flying about with a large red cuckoo-clock painted on the nose of their aircraft.
"Oh!" The woman expression cleared suddenly. "One of the pilots. They're done for today but last I saw them they were still over by the coffee van."
She pointed, and BA grunted a thankyou and headed in that direction.
Perhaps predictably, Hannibal had beaten him there and smiled and waved as he approached. Murdock stopped in mid pose, arms outspread and turned to see what Hannibal was waving at. Then he grinned even wider and bounded over to fling his arms around BA who batted irritably at him to no great effect.
"Well hiya, big guy! Don't tell me you came all the way out here to look at this wonderful display of cinematic aeronautics and--"
"Shut up, Murdock!"
"Ah" Murdock yelped with every sign of delight. "A mere five minutes from hello to shut up! Be still my beating heart!"
BA ignored the comment. "Anyone seen Faceman yet"
Hannibal shook his head. "He's got a beach house not too far away though."
Murdock grinned, "I know. Nice place. Sand and sea, and a lovely flat field out back. Easypeasy to drop in. I flew over on the way down here."
"Huh. Well you can drive back because we ain't flying there."
Murdock adopted an air of hurt innocence. "Now did I even ask you to?"
"Someone ought to go by road anyway, "Hannibal intervened before an argument could break out. In case he's already on his why here and we pass each other."
"Nu-Uh," Murdock grinned again. "He's staying put waiting for us--got company already, or else he's breeding cars. I saw that on my recce too."
Hannibal smiled. "Good work, Captain. Let's go."
Amy put her drink on the low glass table and sighed.
"Face, that's ridiculous. If you haven't made plans then why on earth do you expect everyone to just turn up here?"
"Because of the date. And because I know Murdock is stunting in some flying film just down the road, which is being done on the cheap and Hannibal always knows what's going on on any movie that low budget, and Murdock writes to BA's mom and so he'll know and as I'm the only one with a property tax bill to pay I'm the easiest to find."
Amy blinked at this influx of data. "And they're all going to plough through all that and figure out to come here will they?" She couldn't help sounding sceptical.
"Of course." Face grinned with perfect confidence. "We all ended up at Hannibal's last time, and found BA on a camping trip with the youth club the time before that. It's sort of become a bit of a challenge. I bet Murdock only took that particular job because he knew it was near here and coming up to the right time."
Amy started to shake her head but suddenly glanced at the window instead as a thrumming of propellers made it rattle. Face smiled serenely.
"What did I tell you?" He strolled to the French windows and opened them, gesturing for Amy to lead to the way.
Outside they both looked up at the small aircraft wheeling overhead. Face waved and got an answering waggle of the wings.
"Hope he hasn't got BA up there with him, flying like that."
Amy laughed. "Unbelievable. Just unbelievable."
The plane made one final pass before touching down lightly on the smooth grass and rolling to a stop a few yards from where Face and Amy stood.
Murdock climbed from the cockpit, ducking his head beneath the wing and waving.
Face walked forwards to meet him.
"Murdock, is that a cuckoo-clock painted on the side of your plane?"
Murdock grinned. "Yup. She's Swiss."
"Of course." Face didn't bat an eyelid. "Didn't manage to persuade BA to come this way then?"
"He didnít like a look of my poor, harmless, little birdie." Murdock put on a sorrowful expression for all of two seconds. "Him and Hannibal are on their way over now."
On cue the quiet waterfront was again disturbed by the noise of an engine, this time accompanied by a rattling of metal as the van bounced over the unfilled potholes in the track.
"My landing would have rattled his teeth less than that," Murdock couldn't resist pointing out.
"They must have shifted to get here this fast. You take the scenic route or something, Murdock?" Face asked, watching them pull up.
Murdock grinned and started to sing, "Oh I do like to fly beside the seaside..."
"All right! Okay, that'll do, save it for BA."
Murdock subsided and watched as BA parked the van and he and Hannibal climbed out and looked around.
"Nice place," Hannibal commented. "Very nice."
BA snorted. "You need a new driveway."
"Good to see you too." Face gestured at the house. "Want to go inside and see what else you can find to heckle?" He was smiling though and Amy shook her head in disbelief again.
"Some anniversary reunion!" She smiled and followed them inside.
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