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Billy the 13th

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B.A. had just opened the door of the house they'd been hiding out in for the past week when he heard a crash followed immediately by Murdock's yell. He barely got out of the way as the blur of leather jacket rushed past him.

"Billy! Come back here! Billy!"

Grumbling to himself, B.A. picked the bag he'd dropped back up and headed out to load it in the van where Face was waiting. Face stared after the still-running pilot for a minute, then turned an accusing look toward B.A.

"You didn't threaten Murdock this early in the morning, did you?"

Giving Face a sour look, B.A. tossed the bag to their conman.

"No, but I sure woulda had words with that Fool if I hadn't managed to get outta his way in time."

Hannibal was the next one out of the house.

"Who broke the mirror in the hall?"

Face groaned as B.A. shook his head.

"Must've been Murdock. Fool's off chasin' his fool invisible dog."

A noise to the side drew all of their attention. It was Murdock returning, obviously out of breath and upset. The questions about the mirror forgotten, all three moved to see what was wrong.

"Easy, Murdock. Catch your breath and tell us what the trouble is."

Gulping in some air, Murdock let out a forlorn sigh.

"It's Billy, Sir. He's jinxed for life."

Hannibal and B.A. exchanged a puzzled look, but Face seemed to catch on to part of the problem.

"Is it because it's Friday the thirteenth, buddy?"

Murdock flopped down to the ground.

"That's part of it, but that's just the beginning. Billy smelled the bacon we had this morning and went into the kitchen. While he was sniffing around, he knocked over the salt shaker and spilled some salt. He knew he'd been bad, so he ran out between my legs and made me lose my balance and I hit the mirror in the hall. When it broke, Billy yelped and took off outside. If that wasn't bad enough, a black cat crossed in front of him and you know Billy can't resist chasing a cat of any color. I'm still trying to catch him, but he runs off after the cat and, wouldn't you know it, he runs underneath a ladder and over onto the sidewalk. I don't know how many sidewalk cracks he stepped on altogether, but it was a bunch."

Finally slowing down to take a breath, Murdock choked back a sob.

"Billy's just a little guy, Colonel. How can he survive that much bad luck? That mirror alone was seven years worth."

Not sure where to go with that, Hannibal and Face exchanged an uneasy look. To their surprise, B.A. sat down next to Murdock and nudged him.

"You're all worked up over nuthin'. Now tell me, is it bad luck for any old cat to cross your path or just a black one?"


"And that stuff where opening an umbrella inside is bad luck. You can open that same umbrella outside without bad luck happenin', right?"

Tilting his head slightly to consider B.A., Murdock gave him a slow nod.

"Yeah, but I'm not sure what you're getting at, Big Guy."

"Just pointing out that all that bad luck stuff have rules. Mama taught me all of 'em - like if you spill salt, you throw some over your shoulder. Well, I happen to know that dogs got rules like cats do. Only black cats are unlucky and only invisible dogs are immune to bad luck stuff."

Sitting as still as he ever sat as he digested that, Murdock was silent for a couple of minutes, then looked back at B.A.

"And you're sure of that?"

"Positive. No such thing as a jinxed invisible dog."

B.A. found himself on the receiving end of a quick hug before Murdock jumped to his feet.

"That's great! I'm going to go tell Billy the good news!"

Watching as Murdock ran off in a far better mood, both Hannibal and Face gave approving smiles to the now embarrassed B.A.

"I know you don't approve of us going along with talking about Billy, but that was real nice of you, B.A."

Getting back to his feet, B.A. tried to shrug it off.

"No sense letting him get all worked up over that. 'Sides, I didn't lie to him. Since there ain't no such thing as an invisible dog, ain't such a thing as a jinxed one either."

Giving B.A. a pat on the shoulder, Face headed off to track down Murdock - and Billy. Sure, maybe B.A. was right, but as far as Face was concerned? Billy was just as real as he needed to be.