Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction inspired by the television show 'The Magnificent Seven'. No copyright infringement intended to CBS, MGM, TNN, The Mirish Corp., Trilogy, and any other holders of the rights. No profit will be made from this work.
Author's Notes: I've had a really exhausting month, and my lack of sleep made me nuts. Cin inspired me to write a fic about being so dang tired, and you're reading the result. Brate nudged me to get this out there. Hope you enjoy.
Let me tell ya somethin'. I'm tired. Now, that should warn ya, 'cause usually I'm an easy-going feller, but I'm tired. And it's makin' me cranky. I hate bein' tired, with cranky on top of it.
But if those six sons-a-bitches out there don't shut the hell up, I'm gonna get mean. They don't want me mean. I know more than a few tricks that will fix their asses.
Buck, damn it, quit laughin' so loud. I know yer actin' a mite punch drunk, but that ain't a reason for ya ta sound like a brayin' mule, or a coyote howlin' at the moon.
I smash the pillow over my head, hopin' it'll block out the noise. Doesn't help.
Okay, we've all been up for almost thirty hours straight on a case and now it's over. We're all tired. In some cases, wound up.
JD, if ya don't turn the sound down on that computer game, yer gonna find it where the sun don't shine.
I snort, thinkin' he can't hear my thoughts. Maybe if I think them hard enough he'll get the hint. Hmm...yeah, right.
Nathan, will ya leave Ez alone? Quit proddin' him, 'cuz he ain't gonna get any nicer. He shouldn't have slipped on that ice patch and done a tumbleweed impression down the hill. All arms and legs everywhere and those curses...hell, I didn't know he knew words like that, and every one of 'em delivered in that drawl. Oh, he's okay, just a touch banged up on the edges, but it's makin' him persnickety, and Nate's checkin' on him, makin' the Southern sourpuss snap at everyone.
If anyone should be snappin', it's me. I spent most of that thirty hours on my stomach starin' through a rifle scope. My eyes are redder than that hung-over Larabee from this past New Year's Day, and gritty ta boot.
Ez, shut the hell up! We're not conspirin' against ya. I ain't in the mood, and if I have ta come out there, yer gonna do that tumbleweed impression down the hill out back with my boot in yer pompous, bitchin' ass.
There we go. That's better. Give 'em hell, Larabee.
Whew! Peace and quiet. Let's see how long it lasts. While I'm enjoyin' the silence, I'll tell ya why I'm in the guest bedroom of Chris' house and they're all in the livin' room acting like a bunch of loons.
We came inta this case so late, and the bad guys only gave us a small window ta catch them. So we all gave up a bunch of our sleep ta gather as much intelligence on them as we could before the big meet. We pulled it off, made the arrests, and came out smellin' like roses. Well, our work did. Our bodies sure as hell didn't. Around the office, they're talkin' about us bein' up for another award.
They can keep their award; I just want sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. See, my teammates got ta move around and take breaks durin' this assignment. I held my position, on my stomach, for hours on end, and ya don't need the details on my breaks. I just didn't move too much. Ate little, drank less, so I gorged myself when it was over.
Ya know what else? Those six could spell each other for a time, but I'm the only one who can be the sniper. JD tries, but he's better with the 'puters than with the rifle. Buck's a good shot, but he's way too big for the crawlspace I lived in. Too broad in the shoulders.
Speakin' of JD, will ya turn that thing down, Dunne! Just 'cuz I hear Larabee in the kitchen don't mean he and I can't hear that blasted music go up a notch when we ain't lookin'.
Buck, quit laughin'...the movie ain't that funny.
I'm tired. I'm past tired, I think. I'm now inta tired and cranky. Where the hell are my boots?
And will someone wake Josiah so he stops snorin'? Damn if the ceiling ain't shakin', and I'm a room away. There's a boot. Good. Jeans should be on top of them. Got 'em. 'Cuse me while I get dressed. Turn around, damn it, this ain't a peep show.
Wonder what they would say if they knew I was thinkin' ta myself like there was really another person in here listenin' ta me. They'd commit me, or Nathan would fix one of those awful teas ta make me sleep. Hell, Nathan, I'll take the damn tea without complainin'. . . if I could sleep...
Hang on. It's time for some reckonin'. I step out inta the hallway, and I know I must be a sight. Even Ezra shushed mid-bitch.
I yell, which is unusual fer me, "WILL Y'ALL SHUT THE HELL UP? THERE'S PEOPLE TRYIN' TA SLEEP!"
With that, I walk back inta the bedroom and shut the door. I want ta slam it, but the sound will hurt my head even more than it's already hurtin'.
The comments start. Boys, don't ya think I might be able ta hear ya? I don't have a problem, JD, that a few hours shut-eye won't fix. And no, Ez, I am not cantankerous. I'm tired. There's a difference. Nate, ya come in here and I will shoot ya. Buck, my hair is not standin' up on end.
I put my hand back there just ta prove him wrong, and hell, he's right.
Josiah must be able ta sleep through anythin'...but the ceiling's quit shaking. That's a start.
I hear footsteps. Better be Larabee; anyone else gets a bullet. He stops outside the door.
"We'll work on the noise. Get some sleep."
"They got their warnin'."
I heard Chris laugh. "Understood."
I listen ta him walk away, and the noise level drops significantly. 'Cept Josiah's snorin', but now that's about tolerable. This feels so good, and it's quiet, and I'm driftin' off...
SON OF A BITCH! They're dead. Those jackasses are dead meat. I can't sleep with that racket...oh, sorry. Sounds like they're wrestlin' out there, and if I go out there again, someone's gonna pay dearly. I'm gonna count ta ten, and if they're still going at it when I hit ten, I'm not responsible for my actions.
Cut it out, guys.
Where's my pants?
Damn it, I don't want ta get up.
I'm gonna hurt someone.
Silence. Well, sorta. Josiah's still snorin', but hey, the rest of 'em are quiet.
I stand with my hand on the knob, waitin' ta see if the noises will start again, but they don't. All right. I take my pants and boots off (again) and lie down, starin' at the ceiling. It's still quiet. I start driftin' off...
The room's too damn bright. There's light comin' in around the shades, and that's got ta go. One of my good friends ('fore he started pissin' me off out in the living room) told me that it's terrible ta be this tired. Ya want ta sleep so badly, that even a dang fly on the wall or cricket outside is way too loud. I'm getting' pissed now, so I crawl out of the bed and sling towels over the windows. Good thing there's those whatchamacallits - valences - on top. Blocks out the light. It's still quiet, and now it's dark. I close my eyes and my mind starts shuttin' down - finally - maybe I can just get a little. . .
The room's brighter when I open my eyes, and I feel a lot better. Hmm...wonder how long I was out? I look over at the clock, and it looks like about four hours. Not bad, but I could use more. If my bladder weren't so full. Sorry 'bout that, but it's nature, ya know. Stretchin', I reach for my pants and they're not there.
Where are my pants? They're gone.
My boots are gone, too!
Okay, someone better have planned their obituary. I run one hand down my face and the other through my hair. Somethin's sticky on my hands. I want ta wipe the grit out of my eyes, but I can't - not until I know what's on my hands. Smells like...shaving cream.
They're dead. I don't care, I'm just gonna shoot them all. After I go ta the bathroom. Using my wrists so I don't get this gunk on the door, I twist the knob and walk out, findin' the house eerily silent. In the bathroom, I rinse my hands. I use the facilities, 'cuz that's real important right now, and when I wash my hands again, I look at my face in the mirror.
I ain't sayin' what I cursed, 'cuz I ain't taking the chance a lady's reading this.
They decorated me. And I'm not talkin' about a little shaving cream ta the face.
I have writin' on my cheeks. My hair's coated in some kind of slime that smells like a cross between bakin' soda, mousse, and shaving cream. I refuse ta go out there like this, so I jump in the shower, findin' scribblin' all over my chest. Damn, I must have been real tired if I didn't feel this. What the hell were they thinkin'? They were actin' like a bunch of flighty girls at a sleepover or somethin'. T'aint right.
What's that say on my upper thigh? Buck, yer one dead pervert. I don't need directions on where ta put that, damn it. I know just fine how, where, and why. Who put the hearts around my nipples? I climb out of the shower and look at my back. They signed their names on my back! Which one drew the state of Texas on my ass? Damn, and it don't look like it exactly, but with the way I'm twisted around with my butt just about sittin' on the counter, there could be a little distortion.
I'm pissed now, so I get back in the shower and start scrubbin'. Fortunately, the shavin' cream, mousse, and bakin' soda came out, but I can't get rid of the marker. There's gonna be six bodies that will never be found.
Out of the shower, I wrap the towels around me, and then look for my clothes. Gone. What did I expect? Probably put 'em in the damn freezer. I'll help myself ta Larabee's. He won't mind. Dressed now in borrowed clothes, I go inta the living room and it's empty. Figures. They would skedaddle the moment they heard me movin', and the silence kinda tipped me off earlier.
When I walk outside ta get my own clothes from my Jeep, I find it's been decorated too. With smiley faces and ribbons, along with some soapy windows and lewd suggestions - like I'm some kinda groom at a weddin'. Rate this is goin', gonna be some funerals soon. The bag with my clothes isn't there. Surprise, surprise. What the hell? Shit, Josiah's gonna be pissed. They done did his truck too. Everybody else's vehicles are missin', which means they hid them somewhere - shows they have some brains. The boys probably locked them in the old, falling down barn, parked bumper ta bumper.
I go inta the kitchen for some aspirin, anythin' ta help this headache that's formin' behind my eyes. Aw, hell. They took pictures. There are Polaroid pictures on the table, and I'm guessin' they ain't the only ones. Okay. This means war, boys. I ain't gonna get ya today, or tomorrow, but I'll get ya for this.
I look out the window, and I realize that I was sleepin' for sixteen hours, not four. No wonder I didn't feel anythin'; I was out cold. I see them coming back, five of them ridin' their horses, and from the wary looks they're givin' the house, I'm guessin' they're startin' ta worry. They ain't movin' too fast, either, which makes me curious. Josiah's not with them, another strange thing.
Then I really look around. There's mud on the floor, and the kitchen ain't sparklin' like Larabee keeps it. Man's a mite picky about the condition of his kitchen. Guess he spent enough time with Buck ta want a clean place ta eat. The amount of beer bottles and whiskey bottles sittin' by the recycle bin tells me they were drinkin' last night, and there's a bit of hay mixed with them, which means they were drinkin' in the barn so I could sleep. And they're probably hung over.
I check the freezer, and hell, there's my shorts, all stiff as a board and frozen solid. Let me tell ya, those ain't goin' anywhere near my privates until they've at least stopped standin' at attention and aren't cold enough ta make me shrivel. Uh, 'cuse me, ladies.
A quick sweep of the living room and I find the video camera. I nod, knowin' there's a tape floatin' around somewhere of them doin' this. They must have been really drunk ta make proof of their actions. I ain't gonna find it today, 'cuz them boys are smart enough ta hide it from me, 'specially if they woke up with the 'oh, shit, what did we do last night' complex that I'm expectin'.
I'm standin' by the glass slider looking out, and the horses are getting closer. Not too close, they're still moving pretty slow, but they're getting closer. What's that? Damn, 'Siah, I thought ya snored yerself out last night. I ain't even in the barn and that came through. Aw, hell.
I pick up the video camera, walk out on the patio, and watch the barn doors fly open. She-et. That ain't pretty.
I yell, "'Siah, they got me too! Don't look at me that way!" I lower the camera so he can see the scribblin' on my face, and then I help him out. I point at the approaching horses.
See, they did him wrong. He's got the scribblin' too, but they coated him in straw, hay, oats, feed, and probably some stuff I don't even want ta think about. I can smell him from here, so that tells me I don't wanna get too close. Damn, his hair's all messed up, his shirt's buttoned wrong, and his pants are about around his ears. Whoever thought of the wedgie better run (or ride) fast.
Yup, there he goes. He saw them. I ain't never heard a bellow like that before in my life, and I sure as hell don't wanna hear it again. 'specially directed at me. He's movin' quick, and they're reactin' a mite slow. I got the camera tapin' all this.
Buck's sayin' somethin', but it ain't workin', since Josiah's runnin' faster. Giddy Up! And they're off. Sort of. Buck just wheeled his horse inta Ezra's, and that cantankerous mule done bit the gray. Now we've got a horse fight with a madman runnin' right inta them. Josiah's just 'bout got Buck by the foot, but now they're off and gallopin'. Larabee's no fool; he turned and went first at full speed. JD's right behind him, and Nate's bouncin' in the saddle on JD's tail. That ought ta feel real good ta those hangovers I'm sure they're sportin'. Ez just passed Chris, hunkered over that mule's neck (I ain't callin' that gluebait a horse) and he ain't lookin' back, either. Buck's laggin' behind, and Buck, if ya don't stop ta yell at Josiah, ya might get away. Aw, hell, now they're over the hill and I can't see 'em. Well, I'll see what happens when they get back. Sayin' they get back, and even then in one piece. Josiah's pretty pissed right now.
I'll throw my warnin' in there too. So, listen up, boys. I'm gonna wait until all of ya are as tired as I was, and then I'm gonna make yer lives miserable. Until then, I'm gonna smile and go out and greet ya. I'll even laugh at yer jokes 'bout it. But ya boys fergot one of my favorite sayin's.
Don't poke a sleepin' rattler. Ya never know when it'll wake up and strike, and it don't have ta rattle 'fore it does.
Yer turn is comin'. I'll just wait 'til then.