It's like alcohol without the muzziness, caffeine without the scratchy tired eyes. It's a tension that's not really a tension more an anticipation, an alertness and a feeling like I'm going to just burst out of my skin. Like I could just burst out of my skin and take off into who-knows where.
Tingly, twitchy, limbs, fluttery stomach. All my senses keyed up so high it's like I can taste the air I'm breathing, feel the sounds around me. I can feel the electricity running along my nerves, feel every movement of every muscle as I take hold of the controls. I can see every flicker of movement in my peripheral vision and everything's so sharp and bright and clear. Going up! My heart leaps in time with the chopper as we leave the ground and for a moment I don't know whether I'm listening to the rhythm of the rotors or to my own heartbeat.
I wonder if this is what the Jazz feels like for Hannibal. I'm sure the grin plastered all over my face right now is every bit as broad as one of his.
I think I'd die without this. Fade away and disappear. All I've ever been is a pilot. Grounded I'm nothing. Grounded I'm nobody. The air down there is too thick, too smothering, it makes it hard to remember myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm only really me when I'm up here. Nothing holding me down, holding me back. It's simpler up here. Just a matter of forces and motion, gravity and lift. Nothing to worry about up here except getting up here, staying up here and getting down from up here. I can do that. I can understand that.
Too soon it's time to come down. Back to earth. Back to reality—or close enough. I settle the chopper on the ground, return Hannibal's grin as he slaps me on the shoulder and twist in my seat to give a sympathetic look to Face who's going to have to wake B.A. any minute. Over the fading sound of the chopper's engines neither of them hears me sigh.
We leave the chopper and I can't help
trailing my hand across the controls in farewell.
"Ready to go, Captain?" Hannibal asks and I must have jumped because he puts a hand on my shoulder. Steadying me. Supporting me. And I realise he does understand. Understands and accepts who I am. What I am. And still trusts me to fly them. Trusts me to fight alongside them. Trusts me to be who they need me to be.
Grounded I'm still Hannibal's pilot.
I smile at Hannibal. Give him some glib response which he doesn't believe but doesn't question and force myself to walk away from the chopper. There's that thick air down here again. Sounds feel too muffled after being up there. B.A's roar of temper is a welcome noise, shattering the too-quiet air and dragging me further back into the reality I need to be in.
"You let that fool fly me?"
Familiar complaint. Familiar
sight as Hannibal joins Face attempting to calm the big guy down.
I move in their direction, needing the reassurance of that familiarity.
My head wants to fly away and I need that loud, solid and unquestionably real
presence of B.A. to hold me down here.
Grounded I'm still B.A's Crazyman.
With B.A. placated though still
glowering, Face returns to the chopper to retrieve our supplies.
Most of it stuff he scammed. Like
the chopper. It's amazing the way
people just fall over themselves to give him what he wants.
I think it's that utter self-confidence.
I wish I had that. I do a
pretty good job of faking it. Good
enough to fool myself sometimes. I
wonder if he gets the same kick out of his acquisitions as I do from flying, or
Hannibal does from the Jazz. Certainly
when he's showing them off he gets this brilliant smile like some
expensive-suited Santa Claus handing out toys to the good kids.
If I'm good Facey, will you get me another bird?
He sees me watching him and grins.
"You want me to scam anything in particular for the flight home, Murdock?"
I nearly laugh out loud. You read my mind, Faceman?
"Surprise me!" I grin back at him.
Grounded I'm still Face's friend.
We load up our kit and we're ready to
go. Another mission. Another problem to solve.
I live for this. For these
I'm H.M. Murdock and a member of the A-Team.
"Come on guys, what are we waiting for?"
I bound ahead of them down the road and I feel like I'm flying.
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