NAMES --- A Rose

Holidays: Namesake Day (March 4); Fun Facts About Names Day (March 5); Unique Names Day (March 6); Learn What Your Name Means Day (March 7); Middle Name Pride Day (March 9); Nametag Day (March 9)

Face looked at the cake with a critical eye. "I don't know. It just doesn't look right."

Murdock came over, sandwich in one hand, beer in the other. He looked down at the cake. "Looks great to me, Faceman. Never had a cake that fancy before."

"Thank Stockwell for that." Hannibal joined the other two analyzing the cake. "Of course, he doesn't know that yet, but..."

"It still doesn't look right. I mean, 'Happy Birthday, H.M.' ?"

"What's wrong with that? It's my birthday."

"Yeah, but it should have your name on it. This is like having 'Happy Birthday, Face'. "

"Well, we'd have to have a pretty big cake if we used 'Templeton'. "

"Well, at least it's my real name."

"So you say. Or said, back when you picked it." Murdock finished his sandwich and grinned. "I prefer Face, myself."

"Templeton is a very dignified name." Face bent to examine the cake a little closer.

Hannibal grinned over Face's shoulder at Murdock. "Dignified isn't exactly the word I was thinking, kid. How'd you ever come up with that, anyway?"

Face turned, blushing slightly. "I was reading the paper one day, and there was an article on this fellow, Sir John Templeton. He sounded like someone worth emulating, so..." He shrugged.

"Hmm. What about Arthur?"

"Oh, that was from King Arthur, right, Face?" Murdock stepped quickly away as Face glared at him. "Oops, let the cat out of the bag, didn't I?"

"Hey, nothin wrong with King Arthur." BA lumbered over and grabbed the cake knife, handing it to Murdock. "Cut the cake, will ya?" He looked over at Face. "But Peck? What kinda name is that?"

"That was...well, a girl I was seeing in high school was a big fan of Gregory Peck. They had a double feature one night, and...well..."

Hannibal laughed. "Enough said, Face. You obviously put a lot of thought into your name. And hey, not many people get to choose."

Somewhat mollified, Face picked up his cake. "What about you, Hannibal? All those movies, didn't you ever want a real stage name? John Smith isn't exactly attention getting."

"Oh, I thought about it. I used Lynch that time, remember?"

"Yeah, that was real smart thinkin, Hannibal." BA shook his head and bit into his cake. "I still owe you guys for that one."

"So what do you guys think I should use? I mean, no reason I can't get back into the biz after we're done here, right?"

Face gave him a quick, dark look, but Murdock frowned thoughtfully. "Well, you could use Hannibal. I mean, you wouldn't have to worry about that anymore."

Hannibal nodded. "Yeah, that has got a nice ring to it, doesn't it?"

"Smith has to go, though." Face lit his own cigar. "I mean, ever hear of an actor named Smith who made it big time?"

"Jaclyn Smith. You know, 'Charlie's Angels'?"

Face frowned at him. "Hannibal doesn't have the same, uh, credentials, Murdock. No, it has to be something catchy. Something people would remember."

"Hey, there's a movie out now where one of the guys is named Hannibal Lecter. Don't know what it's about, but the name's kinda cool."

Face frowned. "Yeah, but you wouldn't want to use it if the guy was weird or something. Besides, you want something original."

"Yeah, like Peck." BA giggled.

"I wouldn't talk, Bosco." Murdock switched from behind Face to behind Hannibal, speaking hurriedly. "Then again, Baracus is known world-wide."

"Huh? Whatcha mean?"

"Yeah, at least, in the scientific community."

"What are you talking about, Murdock?" Hannibal's cigar stopped halfway to his mouth.

"Well, the, uh, genus Baracus. It's a, uh, type of, uh... butterfly."

"A butterfly!" BA sputtered, Hannibal grinned, and Face tried not to laugh out loud.

"Well, not really a butterfly, BA, it's actually, ah...," Murdock gulped, ready to accept his fate, "see, it doesn't fly very well, so it's called a...hedge hopper...'stead of a butterfly..."

Before BA could make his move, Face stepped in. "Uh, Murdock, weren't we originally talking about your name? As in, isn't it about time we found out what the H.M. stands for?"

"Yeah, man. Maybe that'll make me forget about poundin you!"

"Aw, c'mon, guys, that's a family secret, y'know?"

"No, Murdock, we don't know. That's the point. Your turn, Captain."

"Well, I'll confirm if you guess it. How's that?"

"I think I'll just pound you and get it over with."

"Now wait a minute, BA. How hard can it be? Especially since he has to give us one clue." Hannibal winked at Murdock over his cigar. "Make it a good one, Captain."

Murdock rolled his eyes, but complied. "My mother loved detective stories."

"Oh, well, that's easy. I used that one myself once. Holmes."

"Wrong!" Murdock danced around the table. "Two more guesses!"

Hannibal puffed on his cigar. "Hardy?"

"Missed by a mile!"

Hannibal looked at BA. "Last strike, BA."

BA grumbled and scowled. "Hammer."

"You're out!" Murdock continued howling as he ran to the edge of pool and back. "The secret's safe! Forever!"

BA scowled. "I shoulda just pounded him."