"Little Britches" ATF Universe
Disclaimer--- this story was written for fun and no money was made off it.
This story takes place in the ATF-LB universe. Special thanks to Kathy Poffenberger and Suze Berry for creating the LB universe. Thanks, SilverWolf, for showing me yet another wonderful universe for Mag 7. It's also based on something my husband did as a child.
"Hey, Vin, whatcha doin'?" JD Dunne asked his friend.
"I'm fishin', JD, gonna catch a big one fer dinner," Vin Tanner said as he dropped the yellow skipping rope into the open manhole cover.
"Ain't no fish in there, Vin, sides how ya gonna catch em with a skippin' rope?" JD asked as he climbed off his bike and knelt by his friend.
"There is so fish, JD, and I put one a dem hooks Chris bought on it."
"But that's a sewer and there ain't no fish in there."
"JD, you don't know nothin'. This here sewer is connected to the river."
"Who told ya that?"
"Chris did an he wouldn't lie to me. He showed me when we went fishin' last Saturday. Said the water ran into the river when the rain got heavy and it was sure heavy las' night. Now stop talkin' you're breakin' my c...con...constipation," Vin told his friend.
"What's co...constipation?" Dunne asked.
"Constipation is when ya keep yer mind on one thing. I'm contipatin' on catchin' a fish."
"Can I help ya c...constipate an catch a fish too?" JD asked, his eyes bright with excitement.
"Gotta get a skippin' rope," Vin told him.
"I'll get one," JD said as he jumped up.
"Don't forget a hook," Vin called after him.
"Sure thing, Vin."
"JD, what are you doing?"
"Hi, Chris, I'm going fishin' with Vin," JD answered.
Chris's eyes grew wide as he thought of Vin and JD going down to the river. "Where's Vin?" he asked worriedly.
"I jus tole ya Chris, he's fishin'"
"In the manhole, says he's got at c...constipate and if'n I wants ta help him I have ta c...constipate as well."
"I think you mean concentrate, JD" Chris said relieved that the young boys had not gone to the river.
"No," JD said shaking his head vigorously. "Vin said he's c...constipatin on catchin a fish. He says you tol him the fish swam in there from the river so I'm gonna help him catch one. I gotta go, Chris fore he catches em all."
Chris laughed at the excited young man, "Alright, JD, you go help Vin catch dinner," he said.
"Thanks, Chris," JD said as he hurried away with the skipping rope and a tiny hook he'd kept hidden from the older man.
Chris couldn't stop the laughter that bubbled to the surface, "Buck! Buck! You gotta come out here," he called as he pulled open the door.
"What is it, Chris?" the mustached man called.
"Just come out here," Chris said laughter continuing to come to the surface to the point that his eyes filled with tears.
"What's so funny?" Buck asked as he watched his friend losing control.
"JD and Vin are fishing," Chris said and held his sides against the laughter.
"What? Where? Chris we can't let them go to the river by themselves," Wilmington said as he tried to move away.
Chris grabbed his friend's arm and stopped him. "No, Buck, you don't understand. They're fishing in the manhole," the blond said and he was off on another laughing spurt and swiping the tears from his eyes.
Suddenly Buck's eyes glistened with mirth. "They're doing what," he asked as his friends infectious laughter caught hold of him.
"They're fishing in a manhole. Oh, it gets better," Chris said through his laughter. "Vin told JD he's constipatin' on catching a fish for dinner."
"Oh, Lord, I've gotta see this," Wilmington said as he made his way towards the manhole, Chris following close behind him. The two men struggled to get their laughter under control, not wanting to ruin the boy's fun.
"How long we gotta keep constipatin, Vin," JD asked suddenly finding fishing very boring.
"I don't know, JD, guess till the fish wanna bite somethin'," Vin answered seriously.
"I bet this is harder work than what Buck and Chris do."
"I bet it is too. All's they do is go fishin' for clues. Ain't no fun in that."
"Buck," Chris said, stifling another laugh. The two men were kneeling behind a car listening to the boys talking.
"Want to play a joke on the boys?"
"I'd love to. What have you got in mind?"
"I'm going to run down to the next manhole and see if I can get the cover off. Then I'm going to backtrack to this one and let the boys catch a big one. You stay here and watch them."
"That sounds like fun, Chris. Why don't you take that old pair of boots and tie one on each line?"
"Not bad, Buck, I'll be back soon," Chris laughed.
Buck watched the boys as they continued to fish in the hole. He couldn't help the broad smile that covered his face as they kept dangling the skipping rope in the hole. Fifteen minutes late he heard the two boys shouting in excitement.
Buck Wilmington walked towards the manhole, trying not to laugh. "Hey, boys, what's going on?"
"Buck, We caught somethin'," JD cried excitedly.
"We caught fish, Buck, I think I got a big un," Vin cried as he tugged on the line.
"Me too, Vin," JD said as he pulled on the skipping rope.
"Can you help me, Buck, it won't come up," JD cried.
"Yeah, sure, JD," Buck said as he pulled on the skipping rope. Suddenly the rope went slack and Wilmington cartwheeled backwards, landing in a heap in a pool of dirty water. His clean blue jeans and white T-shirt were covered in mud.
JD looked at the man on the ground and suddenly erupted in laughter. "You look funny, Buck," he said. "Are you hurt?"
"Just my pride, JD," Buck said as he tried to stand up only to fall face forward into the same pool. Buck sputtered as the dirty water splashed up in his mouth.
"Buck you look like chocolate," JD laughed as he tried to help the older man up. "You gotta help Vin catch his fish, Buck," he said as the older man finally stood up.
"I can do it myself, JD," Vin said as his face screwed up with the effort to land the big fish.
"You sure, Vin?" JD asked.
"I'm sure," Vin said as he gave a final tug on the rope. The rope came free of the manhole and Vin Tanner stared at the boot that hung from the end.
"What did you catch?" Wilmington asked, trying to hide a grin.
Vin studied the boot that hung from the rope. He pulled the boot off and turned to Buck, "How come I caught your boot, Buck?" Vin asked disappointment etched on his small face.
"Now, Vin, Chris and I just wanted to have some fun with you and JD," Buck laughed.
"But, Buck," JD started.
"Where's Chris?" Vin asked.
"He should be back soon," Wilmington said and watched the not so blond head come up from the manhole cover. "Chris?"
Chris Larabee climbed out of the manhole and walked towards the trio. His face, hair and clothes were covered with garbage and dripping with stagnant water. "I could ask you the same thing, Buck," the blond said as he stood in front of Vin Tanner.
"Why'd you put Buck's boot on my line, Chris?" Vin asked the older man.
"You two are always playing jokes on us so I figured it's time we played one on you."
"Ain't fair, Chris, I constipated really hard to catch a fish for dinner and you tricked me."
Chris watched the young boy's sad eyes and knelt before him. "I know I did, Vin," he said. "And I'm sorry. Tell you what we'll do. Let me get the stuff together and we'll go to the river. Maybe we'll still have fish for dinner after all."
"You mean it, Chris?" Vin asked.
"Yeah, Vin, I mean it. I'm sorry we ruined your fun," Chris said.
"That's ok. But you'd better get cleaned up or the fish will smell you coming," Vin said as he waved his hands in front of his nose.
"You do smell pretty ripe, Pard," Wilmington laughed.
"Can we go to, Buck," JD asked as he pulled on the older man's shirt.
"Can't see why not. Just let me get cleaned up as well."
"You boys come inside and put some drinks in the cooler while Buck and I get cleaned up. We'll have fish for dinner tonight just wait and see," Chris said confidently.
Chris tucked the blankets around the yawning boy. He ruffled the still wet hair and smiled. "Did you have fun today, Vin?" he asked.
"Sure did, Chris, Thanks for taking JD and me to the river."
"Thanks for catching something edible. You know it's funny how that boot got all the way to the river like that," Chris laughed. He'd turned his head away when he noticed the boy pulling his line towards shore. He'd heard JD giggling as Vin had hooked the boot on the line and thrown it back in.
"You said the sewer runs into the river, Chris, maybe it just got caught in the water," Vin smiled and turned on his side.
"Maybe it did," Chris said as he stood from the bed, walked to the door, and turned out the light. "Goodnight, Cowboy," he said.
"Ain't no cowboy," the boy said as he closed his eyes.