Disclaimer: MagSeven characters are the property of MGM, Mirisch, and Trilogy Entertainment.
Notes: Another little silly ditty. Thanks to Gem for catching my goofs!
"What do you mean yer sexier than me?"
JD, Josiah, and Nathan had left town for a conference in Boulder, and bored without his partner, Buck decided to torment the next youngest agent.
"Now, calm down, Vin." Wilmington 's deep blue eyes were twinkling. "I ain't saying you're not sexy, just not as sexy as I am." The ladies' man's eyes twinkled as he watched Vin become even more irate at Buck's attempt to mollify him.
"Jest 'cause I don't go 'round flashing ladies' numbers don't mean I don't get none."
"Of course you do, Junior. Why, just last week, Lyn passed you her number at the Saloon... no... wait a minute -- that was me." Wilmington laughed uproariously at his own joke.
"Hardy har har." Vin watched the cocky agent and fumed. He knew he wasn't as outgoing as Buck, but he'd had his share of female attention. "I bet I could get more phone numbers in one day than you."
"Did I hear the word bet, Mr. Tanner?" Ezra had been listening to the others arguing, but they were easily ignored until one of his most beloved words was mentioned. "And what would the wager be regarding?"
"What are you guys up to now?" asked Larabee as he passed their desks on his way to the break room.
"Not much, Chris. Junior here thinks he can get more ladies' phone numbers than I can."
Chris tried his utmost not to laugh, but he let a snort escape. "Damn, Tanner. Don't you realize you'd have talk to the women in order to get their numbers?"
"Y'all are a bunch o' comedians." The sharpshooter was getting tired of this ridicule. He knew he was digging his own grave, but he grabbed another shovel and plowed on. "I bet ya that I could git more numbers from the ladies in this building than you."
"What if I win?" challenged the mustached man.
"You get your hair cut... short as Chris."
Gasps were heard from the others in the room, but Vin recovered quickly. "Fine. And when I win, you shave yer mustache off."
Buck flinched, but held his smile. "It's a bet." They shook hands.
"Ahem." Both contestants turned to look at the agent clearing his throat. "I'd like to be a part of this challenge, if I may, gentlemen."
"See, Vin? Everyone knows you made a sucker bet."
"Au contraire, mon ami. I would like to enter this competition as Mr. Tanner's partner."
Larabee laughed. "I'd have to go against you there, Ez."
"Chris," Vin said accusingly.
"Sorry, Cowboy. But as Buck's oldest friend, I've seen this guy in action enough times. You're outmatched."
"What would you care to wager?" the undercover agent inquired of his superior.
Chris eyed his agent speculatively, before raising an eyebrow and smirking. "If Buck wins, you have to be the first one here to work each morning for the whole month. For every day you are not, you have to wear Vin's clothes for a week."
"You don't mean--"
"That includes his buckskin coat."
Ezra was aghast; Vin was offended. "What th' hell is so wrong with m'clothes?" Tanner demanded.
Standish raised his hand to silence his partner. "Agreed. And if I win?"
"Is that so?" This time the feral grin was on the gold-toothed man. "You will perform a dare of my choosing."
Chris' eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What kind of dare?"
"Don't fear, Mr. Larabee. I assure you it will not be illegal merely embarrassing."
Chris didn't want to imagine what the conman could come up with, but he had confidence in Buck's animal magnetism. "Deal." He looked at his men, and set down the ground rules. "Okay, tomorrow morning at eight o'clock, the two of you will meet here and then take a tour of the building. At noon you will return and we will count the number of numbers."
"It was s'posed ta be fer a day," Tanner protested.
"Vin, I'm already allowing you to waste half a day on this nonsense, I think that's more than generous."
Unable to defeat that logic, the men agreed to the terms.
"I suggest y'all get back to work. You have two more hours and I expect all three of you to accomplish something." With a final glare, Larabee retreated into his office.
Buck and Vin returned to their desks, while the conman excused himself for a few minutes. He returned shortly, and the trio worked steadily until they went home.
+ + + + + + +
"How much longer?" Ezra asked.
"They have ten more minutes," Larabee answered, looking at his watch. Both men were fidgeting with anticipation. Normally unflappable, each had too much riding on the outcome to remain calm.
Vin was the first to appear. "So how many did you get?" Chris asked, nearly accosting his best friend.
"Relax, Cowboy." Tanner smiled and winked at the anxious men. "Reckon I'll wait fer Buck."
Moments later, a dejected ladies' man walked through the office doors. He slowly made his way to his friends. "I just don't get it," he spoke, clearly confused.
"What's yer problem, Bucklin?"
"I didn't get a single number," Wilmington responded, incredulous.
"What?!" Chris glared at his friend. "What do you mean you didn't get any?"
"Exactly what it sounds like, pard. Not one of those sweet ladies would share their digits."
"I didn't seem to have any problem," stated Vin as he unloaded a pile of note cards, post-its, and various pieces of paper. There had to be nearly a hundred numbers in the stack.
"How the hell did you do that?" exclaimed Buck. Even Chris was looking at the mound in shock.
"Have no idea. Ev'rywhere I went, they just gave 'em to me, some even without me askin'."
"I might have a clue about that, gentlemen."
"I knew it," Chris sneered. "What did you do, Ezra, pay them off?"
Green eyes opened wide as a hand was pressed to his chest in innocence. "I would do no such thing. I merely informed a secretary downstairs as to the consequence of Mr. Tanner's failure. Apparently, she shared that information. It appears that the women in this building are very attached to our sniper's long hair."
Vin started to blush when he thought about all the women who gave him their numbers. He shook his head to clear the thought; preferring to think of how the fun was just beginning. "Well, Bucklin, looks like you need a shave."
Buck drew a sharp intake of breath, reaching up to caress his mustache.
"And you, Mr. Larabee. What shall I have you do?"
"I got an idea," grinned the sharpshooter. At Larabee's outraged look, Tanner shrugged. "Ya shouldn't bet against me, Cowboy."
Part Two: The Dare
"Is he gonna do it?" Vin whispered to his partner in crime. They had placed an envelope containing the 'dare instructions' on their boss' desk prior to his arrival, and he had yet to come out from his office.
"Does he have a choice? He lost the bet."
"He could kill us and hide the bodies."
"He'd be immediately suspect. I have confidence in our valiant leader to perform the task set out for him." Ezra sat back in his chair, lacing his fingers behind his head. "I have called the office and our subject is expected to remain there all day."
"Hmph." The sharpshooter stared at their nearly empty office. Buck had yet to show and the others were still at the conference for two more days. "Too bad they're gonna miss it," he mused.
"Never fear, Mr. Tanner. I took the liberty of installing a video camera last night in her office heating duct."
"You did not!"
"I most certainly did." Ezra smiled as he imagined the upcoming sight. "You came up with such a lovely consequence, I felt it only fair to be able to view it... repeatedly."
Vin chuckled. "So how are ya gonna start the taping?"
"That, my dear partner, is the most simple thing of all. Mrs. Travis' associate in the next office, a great admirer of pranks and the like, has graciously agreed to watch for Mr. Larabee's appearance and press a remote start."
"You sneaky bastard."
"I assure you, Mr. Tanner, my parentage has never been in question unfortunately." The undercover agent glanced at the office doors. "Although I believe we are in luck for the first show," he smirked.
Buck Wilmington, demolition specialist, and all around groovy guy, bolted in through the outer door, heading straight for his desk, head held down.
"Hey, Buck. What's goin' on?"
"Nothing." Buck sat down at his desk with his back to his fellow agents, and grabbed a file folder, holding it in front of his face.
Ezra caught Vin's eye and winked. "Mr. Wilmington, did you happen to get into a traffic accident?"
"No," Buck answered, keeping his head down.
"Did your car have a flat tire?"
"Did you need to rescue a small kitten from a tree?"
"No," Wilmington replied, exasperated. "Why?"
"I was just wondering why you were so late. I arrived sharply at eight, greeting Mr. Tanner who was already seated at his desk. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Larabee arrived, and yet you did not get here until " Ezra made a show of looking at the clock, " well after nine."
Vin was enjoying the scene before him. Unable to contain his impatience any longer, he snapped, "C'mon, Bucklin. Show us some skin!"
After a moment's silence, the ladies' man, and formerly mustached agent, turned around and lifted his clean-shaven face for inspection.
"Ooh-wee. Smooth as a baby's bottom," Vin cackled.
"I must concur with our illustrious sharpshooter. Your visage is remarkably smooth... most becoming."
"Shut up, the both of you. This is the only day you'll see it. Tomorrow I start to grow it back out."
"That certainly is a shame. For beauty such as yours should remain unsoiled."
"Stuff it, Ez."
As Vin and Ezra struggled to control their laughter, Chris Larabee left his office, making a beeline for the exit.
"Where ya headed, Chris?" Buck asked.
"Out." Without another word, he left the agents watching the doors swing closed.
"What was that about?" Buck wondered aloud.
In response, Ezra picked up his phone, dialing quickly. "He's on his way," he reported, and hung up.
The newly clean-shaven agent looked back and forth between his teammates. "What's going on?"
"I'd imagine Mr. Larabee is going forth to perform his dare," Ezra offered.
"And what did you two idiots come up with?"
"Should we tell 'im?" Vin asked his cohort.
"No." Before Buck could protest, Ezra continued, "I think he'd rather view it, don't you?"
Tanner grinned and nodded. "Tell ya what, Buck. Me and Ez will bring a tape fer ya to watch tonight."
"I'm not sure I want to get involved in this," Buck worried. "Oh, what the hell. It's payback time."
+ + + + + + +
"You have it?" Buck asked, and smiled widely when Vin whipped the videotape from behind his back.
Wilmington was dying of curiosity. Neither Vin nor Ezra had told what they'd made Chris do. And when the leader returned from running his mysterious errand, he'd refused to speak to any of them for the rest of the day.
"Got the popcorn?" Vin smirked.
"Shut up and put it in," Buck demanded.
Moving across the room, the Texan loaded the tape into the player, pushed a button, and sat down on the couch to watch the show.
On the television screen, static was quickly replaced by the view of an office at the Four Corner's Gazette newspaper. Ezra had placed the camera flush against the screen of the heater, so the entire room was shown from the side.
"You sent him to Mary?" Buck asked, astounded.
"He needed a nudge," Vin defended.
The left of the screen showed the door to the office, while the right was filled with a large work desk, and Mary Travis busily typing at her computer. After a few moments, there was a knock on her door.
"Come in," she called, not lifting her gaze from her computer screen.
The door was closed behind the black-clad man and as he started, she nearly broke her neck looking up so fast.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine," Chris crooned, in a surprisingly tender and melodious voice.
"You make me happy when skies are grey..."
Mary had gotten over her initial shock, and the men watching the video saw a smile spreading across the reporter's face.
"You'll never now dear, how much I love you..."
Mary's eyes were shining as she looked upon the musical man.
"Please don't take my sunshine away." As the song ended, Vin and his teammates observed Mary stand up and clap, as their leader tipped his invisible hat, said, "Have an excellent day, Mary," and left.
After the door shut, Mary started to giggle and then laugh heartily. She laughed until tears were streaming down her face. She finally collected herself and went back to work, with the occasional chuckle escaping. The tape reverted to static, and Buck turned to face his visitors.
"You guys are cruel."
"It was Mr. Tanner's idea."
"Hey, you agreed! Besides," Vin aid, smugly, "she liked it."
The shrill ring of the telephone interrupted the burgeoning argument.
"Wilmington hey there, Chris." Buck motioned for the other men to remain silent. "Nah, just watching a tape... yeah, it is pretty good. I think it's one the boys would love to see... I don't recall the name, but..." Buck smiled at his companions and started laughing, "...it's a musical." As he hung up the phone, Vin and Ezra could hear Chris yelling over the line. Within seconds, Vin's cell phone rang.
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