Hell, Hams, Milkshakes, and Mayhem

by Heidi

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction inspired by the television show "The Magnificent Seven." No copyright infringement is intended to The Mirisch Corp, Trilogy, CBS, TNN, MGM, and/or others who hold rights to the show.

Warnings: A few comments and jokes for those over the age of thirteen, a smattering of bad words, a pinch or two of violence, and, oh yeah, a lot of humor. Eating and drinking while reading this can be hazardous to your health.

Author’s Notes: Cin, pard, this one’s just for you. B – thanks!

"I am in Hell!" Ezra Standish softly stated aloud.

From the driver’s seat, Buck mumbled, "Then I’m driving the van there."

"I guess that makes me the tour guide and navigator." Josiah grinned from beside Buck.

"We're takin' the devil Larabee back," Vin added from his spot all the way in back of the van, sitting in the third row of seats. His view gave him a wonderful shot of the back of Buck’s head, looking over Ezra's tilted one directly in front of him.

Larabee only glared at the Texan beside him.

Buck glanced in the rear-view mirror. "That vein throbbin’ yet, Nate?"

Nathan turned around from the middle seat to stare at Chris directly behind him, on the passenger side of the van. He caught a glare, accompanied by a raised eyebrow and an ‘I dare you’ expression. The EMT turned away. "Uh-huh. Three quarter time."

Buck and Josiah started laughing. That pair was safe for the moment – Buck’s position as driver, albeit crawling along right now, and the middle row of seats protected him and the profiler from the reach of his irate boss.

"You think this is funny?" The words came out in a low growl.

"Mr. Larabee, being trapped in this stifling conveyance, accompanied by an ungodly traffic snarl, would hardly be considered amusing by any sane person, much less the mentally unhinged around me. However, there are some present who derive pleasure from the suffering of others."

"That ain’t true, Ez. I look for the bright spot, not laugh at the misfortune of others." Buck’s dark blue eyes locked on the green of the Southerner in the rear view mirror.

"Buck! BRAKE!" JD shouted from the middle seat between Ezra on his left and Nathan on his right. He pointed at the newly stopped line of cars and trucks in front of them.

"Shit!" The van nose-dived, missing the sedan’s rear bumper by inches. They heard a screech behind them, but thankfully, no thump.

Immediately, a horn blew, and the two men by the back window turned around. They saw a man in a mini-van, with the mini-van nearly touching their rear bumper. The driver gestured rudely at them.

Vin saluted with one finger.

The horn blew again with a little more length.

Larabee glared, his eyes never wavering from the man’s red face. It took a moment, but the man’s gestures subsided.

"Buck?" Chris called up to his friend.


"Pay attention. I don’t want to kick his ass."

"Yeah, ya do," said the Texan.

"I’ll kick yours in a heartbeat, Tanner," Chris replied.

Nathan turned around and leaned over between them. The twisting of his body knocked JD off balance onto Ezra. The undercover agent fell into the window, Dunne landing on top of him. Ignoring that, Jackson stated, "Nobody’s kicking anybody’s ass. Y’all hear me?"

"You tell him, Brother," Josiah added.

"And the Peanut Gallery up front better pay closer attention," the paramedic warned.

"Mr. Dunne, will you get off of me?" Ezra shoved JD.

The momentum of the shove pushed Dunne’s elbow right into Nathan’s stomach, making JD lose his grip on the lid-free, thick chocolate milkshake he held in that hand. The contents of the cup flew on Ezra.

When large amounts of cold liquid hit Ezra, Standish bolted upright, banging his head on the metal roof, howling in pain, his right hand flicked the cold substance off his pants. Chocolate milkshake went everywhere; the largest glob landed on the back of Buck’s head, high up, and stayed there. A dollop landed on Josiah’s nose from when he looked over his shoulder to watch, and some flew on the seats, but the majority hit JD.

"Hey! Cut it out!" JD grabbed some napkins from the profiler’s outstretched hand.

"Ez, I like ya, but don’t go shooting off, okay?" Buck stated.

"I. AM. NOT. SHOOTING. OFF." Ezra snatched some napkins, ignoring the broad grin on Josiah’s face, wiping both the van seat, and the slowly growing brown stain strategically placed on his light brown khakis.

"Ez, I don’t know as much ‘bout medicine as Nate, but I do know it ain’t supposed ta be brown."

"MR. TANNER!" Instantly insulted and thoroughly outraged, Ezra reacted, spun as best he could in the cramped space, and unloaded a solid punch aimed at Vin’s midsection over the seats.

Vin dodged, and the fist of fury connected with Larabee’s lip and jaw. The force of it knocked Chris sideways, slamming his head into the window.

Silence reigned supreme for all of three seconds.

"Nice shot, pard." Vin burst out laughing.

"Son of a bitch!" Chris muttered. One hand caressed his jaw, while the other rubbed his head where it hit the window.

"Damn, Ez. Don’t you know you have to put Chris down in one punch, and his jaw ain’t the place to hit? That’s almost as hard as his skull." Buck shook his head.

"Let me see." Nathan tried leaning over the seat.

"I’m fine."

"Uh-huh. How many fingers?" The EMT held up two fingers.

"Two less than you had five seconds ago if you don’t get them out of my face."

From behind them, the mini-van tooted the horn.

Chris whipped around and glared, one hand holding his head from spinning too quick.

Vin kept laughing.

Nathan shook his head. He saw the cheering driver, and knew what was coming next. "Chris, I ain’t letting you out."

"Who’s bailing me out of jail?" Larabee asked his men.

"I’m not stopping so you can get yourself arrested." Buck shook his head.

"Damn it, Buck, you do what I tell you!"

"Like hell!"

"All right. I’ll settle for this." Chris elbowed Vin in the stomach, not enough to hurt him, but hard enough to surprise the sharpshooter.

"Oof. What did I do, cowboy?"

"You ducked."

"But Ez hit ya!"

"Because you ducked, Mr. Tanner."



"Ya look like ya wet yerself."

"Yeah. With my milkshake," JD stated morosely, staring at his now empty cup.

"If you had kept the lid on your beverage, Mr. Dunne, this would not have happened," Ezra replied.

JD rolled his eyes. "Everyone knows you can’t drink a thick milkshake through a straw."

"Ain’t nothin’ left ta drink." Vin shook his head.

"And whose fault is that?" Buck asked.

Four voices answered in chorus. "Nathan’s!"

"What?" Shocked, the EMT stared at his supposed friends.

"You knocked Mr. Dunne into me, forcing us both into the window." Ezra sighed theatrically. "Which hurt, I might add."

"If you hadn’t done that, Ez wouldn’t have shoved me. Since he shoved me, I spilled it."

"If the smart ass Texan beside me wouldn’t have made a comment, I wouldn’t have been hit."

"Ez wouldn’t have been swinging if ya left Chris and I alone."

"Y’all are the most ungrateful . . ." Nathan turned around, faced front, and crossed his arms. One leg started tapping up and down, the knee bumping against the back of Josiah’s seat.

"Great." Buck rolled his eyes. "Now’s he’s pissed off."

"Brake, Buck, BRAKE!" JD punched his roommate in the shoulder.

"Shit." They barely stopped just in time, helped by the fact the vehicle in front of them inched up.

The mini-van behind them blew the horn again.

"That horn’s going up his ass." Chris shifted in his seat.

Nathan reached over and locked the door, preventing Chris from climbing over him and going out the closest exit.


"No, Chris."

"Are you my mother?"

"Feel like it sometimes."

"Bet ya’d look right pretty in a dress. Almost as good as Ezra," Vin mumbled.

Ezra snatched up the milkshake cup, throwing the last of the contents over his shoulder into Vin’s face.

"Damn, Ez, twice in one hour. It’s still brown, though."

Knowing what was coming, Josiah reached back and grabbed the waistband of Ezra’s pants, the only part still within his reach.

The hand hardly deterred the Southerner from his goal of climbing over the seats and pummeling Vin. His single-minded purpose lasted until his pants ripped.

Josiah literally held the remains of the khaki pants.

Standish nearly landed on Vin in his boxers, his fists flying.

Josiah called, "Ezra!"

"Get back, Standish. I’m not in the mood." Chris shoved the approaching man back.

Vin, laughing too hard even to feel the blows raining on him, managed to wheeze out a question. "What’s the matter, Chris? Got a headache?"

"That does it!" Chris reached for Vin, who recovered enough to dive forward over the seats, landing on JD and coming to a jumbled stop between Buck and Josiah. This left Chris and Ezra tangled together in the back.

"Ow! Get off of me!" JD pushed Vin, who continued crawling a little forward.

"That’s it!" Josiah threw off his seatbelt. "I am a patient man, but I have reached my limit."

Nathan automatically said, "Josiah, calm down."

The voice thundered. "No, I will NOT calm down, Nathan, not with you kicking me in the back every second. You and JD will sit in the far back seat."

"Bullshit," Chris muttered.

The profiler's roar reverberated in the cramped interior. "ENOUGH!!"

That silenced everyone.

"Now, JD and Nathan are sitting in the back. The three of you – Ezra, Chris, and Vin - will sit in the middle."

"Hell, no," Vin said.

"No." Larabee used his command tone, the one that brooked no disobedience.

"DO IT!" Josiah started to stand. "Or if I have to, I'll bust each one of your hard heads with my bare hands."

Every one of the men possessed a particularly strong stubborn streak, but all of them knew when their usually tolerant profiler reached this point, it was safer and healthier to accommodate him. Five men quietly rearranged themselves, Ezra pulling on the remains of his pants.

Josiah looked at the men in the center row. "Since you three persist in acting like children, I'll treat you that way. You'll hug each other until you’re civilized friends again."

"Hell, no!"

"I refuse!"

"You want to get shot, Preacher?"

Quicker than they thought possible, Josiah stretched his arms out, snatched their wrists, and when he leaned back, they stared down in amazement at the handcuffs. The profiler was not done; he snatched Buck’s cuffs and completed the circle. Chris was cuffed to Vin in the center, and Vin was cuffed to Ezra. The kicker was the last set of silver bracelets connecting Chris and Ezra’s free hands, leaving them in a huddle.

Nathan and JD kept their faces averted, not wanting to attract their friends' ire with their amusement.

"You will sit like that until you get along." Pale blue eyes swept all three, making sure they understood him completely.

"Let me outta this." Vin tugged one hand toward his jean pocket, and the handcuff key on his regular key ring tucked inside.

"Quit pulling, Vin. My wrist doesn’t bend that way."

"Your wrist, Mr. Larabee? At least he’s not trying to strategically place your hand on his privates."

Vin stopped moving. "Ya can cut that out now, Ez. Just tryin’ ta get my handcuff key."

"If you can get it, Vin, I’ll be happy to hold it." Josiah’s face appeared inches from Vin’s disgruntled visage.

"Aw, hell." Tanner gave up for now.

"You ripped my pants, Mr. Sanchez."

"Have to say they aren’t made well to rip that easy," Josiah replied.

"They were not designed to be wrangled by a giant."



"Shut up."

"Ya did rip his pants, Josiah."

"Should I have let him reach you, Vin?"

"I could’ve handled him."

"The way you handled his first swing?"

Chris said, "Quit bitching, ladies. My jaw hurts."

Josiah growled, "Perhaps if you had allowed Brother Nathan to give you something, you would not be where you are now."

"Figure I’ll be losing a profiler when I get loose."

Again, Sanchez leaned toward them and filled their vision. "If you can't say anything nice, say NOTHING!"

"How about some music?" Buck fiddled with the radio, finding a country station. The song ended, and the deejay came on with the latest updates.

"Bad news for you if you’re northbound on the Interstate. We’ve got a rolling backup for twenty miles because of a major accident at the overpass. Seems a tractor-trailer didn’t have clearance and tried going under anyway, ripping off his roof and tipping him over. Two more tractor-trailers jackknifed to avoid him, one losing his load all over the Interstate. If you’re in it, we’ll keep you company, but folks, I’m sorry. You’ll be there a couple hours."

Seven groans filled the van.

Josiah ordered, "Turn it off, Buck. I don’t want to hear that every few minutes."

Glumly, Buck cut off the sound.

"This sucks!" JD complained from the back.

"At least you’re not handcuffed like a criminal." Ezra waved one hand at the youngest, causing Vin to smack himself in the face.

"Damn it, Ez."


JD said, "Ezra, I know better than to piss Josiah off. Buck, will you quit riding that guy’s ass?"

"Kid, now you’re pissing me off."

"I am in Hell," Ezra said to no one in particular.

Chris growled once. His teeth clenched, then released from the pain. "Ezra," he warned.

"Chained to Curly and Moe," the Southerner continued.

"That makes ya Larry."

Nathan laughed. "Chris has Moe’s attitude."

"Vin’s got Curly down, except he’s got more hair." Buck smiled.

"We can fix that." Chris smiled evilly.

"Hell, no. I’ll kill ya." Vin nudged Chris hard with his shoulder, nearly knocking the man off the bench seat.

"Why, I oughta…"

"Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk." Vin twisted one hand, yanking Ezra to hit Chris playfully.

Ezra pulled back, bringing both men with him, and Chris’ face bounced off the window beside the Southerner, on the already bruised side.

That was all it took; an odd fight began, with all three men pushing, shoving, and poking each other. The trio landed on the floor, rolling between the front and middle seats. Grunts and curses came from the writhing mass.

"Uh, Josiah?"

"Yes, Nate?"

"Aren’t you going to stop them?"


JD asked, "Why not?"

"Because they are rolling around in your milkshake, which will make them damp and sticky. Not to mention picking up all the dirt and mud we’ve tracked in here during the trip. I figure that's punishment enough. Think how uncomfortable they'll be once they split up."

The combatants heard him, and they stopped fighting with each other. Sure enough, Josiah was right.

Vin sat up first, bringing the other two with him. There was a tense moment when Ezra tugged both their arms to fix his pants, but they exchanged no blows. The trio retook their seats.

Josiah said, "If you boys sat there quietly earlier, you wouldn’t be wearing all that mess." It didn’t help that he sounded smug.

Three glares – two green and one blue – hit the profiler in the back of the head.

Buck chuckled.

The glares swung at Wilmington and stopped. They softened, and mouths started twitching. Eyes met, and all three started staring at the back of Buck’s head.

Buoyed by the abundance of waterproof hair gel, the glob of milkshake mostly rested where it landed earlier in the dark hair. The only difference was it melted, running down in streaks from the original glob, creating a strange pattern in the well-coifed hair.

The quiet unsettled Josiah, who turned around – again – to stare at the three. He followed their eyes, and nearly laughed himself.

Nathan, clued in by the three in front of him, stared at the spot. He smiled, and then nudged JD.

The computer expert said nothing, but his broad grin spoke volumes.

Having long since developed the instinct of knowing when someone watched him, Buck flicked his gaze to the mirror. Five pairs of eyes stared at him. Six, counting Josiah. "What?"

"Nothing." Vin said, looking away. Everyone else followed suit.

"Buck? Will you pay attention?" JD rolled his eyes as they nearly missed the car in front of them for what JD considered the umpteenth time.

"I’ve got it under control."

The mini-van behind them honked.

Vin tried to fly a bird, but Ezra prevented him.

"Mr. Tanner, do you want to give him the satisfaction of seeing us handcuffed together?"

"Hell! JD, flip him off."


"Why not?"

"What if he’s armed?"

"We’ll shoot back. Go ahead." Chris smirked.

"Oh, that’s great, Chris. I can see the headlines and articles now. ‘ATF Agents cuffed together get into shootout with mini-van driver’." JD shook his head.

Nathan picked up the story. "’The ATF Agents, returning home from an assignment, were exhausted, should not have been on the road, and stuck in the Interstate traffic jam for several hours, resulting in a case of road rage and abuse of authority." That sobered everyone.


"Yes, Chris?"

"I have an idea."

"I’m listening."

Chris outlined his plan, and everyone agreed to participate.

Josiah unlocked the cuffs, letting them resume their normal positions. Chris and Vin reclaimed the back seat, with Nathan, Ezra, and JD on the middle bench. It only took fifteen minutes before their tired van driver misjudged again.

This time, the horn sounded angry and long, as if the driver kept his hand on the noisy device.

Immediately, Chris and Vin dropped their pants, pressing their bare backsides against the window for a few seconds. They stopped, turning around and flipped the shocked driver off before fixing their jeans.

Merriment filled the van, a welcome break from the earlier tension.

From behind them, several horns demanded attention.

"What now?" Chris turned his head.

The other motorists around them applauded and cheered.

Larabee smiled, taking a bow.

Vin tried hiding.

"Tanner, there’s a sign for you." Chris nudged Vin.

Vin looked, and a Jeep full of young women held up a sign. It read, ‘Show us your ass!’

"Aw, hell!" Bright red, Vin slid down as far as he could in the seat.

"Nice breasts." Chris gave them a ‘thumbs up’ gesture, grinning broadly. "They flashed me."

"Where?" Buck’s attention drifted back, nearly causing another accident.

"Buck! That’s it. I can’t take any more of this! I’m driving." JD started moving forward, only to be held back by Nathan.

"Okay, Buck. We’re changing drivers. You’re too tired. I'll drive," Nathan said.

"Nate, if ya hadn’t noticed, I just can’t pull over." Buck’s shoulders tightened.

Josiah suggested, "Next time we stop, we all change positions."

"I ain’t done that since I was a kid, but it sounds like fun," Vin said.

"About five minutes." Buck’s prediction turned out to be right, so when the van stopped, Buck put the gearshift in Park. All seven got out, ran around the exterior, and scrambled to get back in.

The mini-van driver locked his doors.

JD looked around from the front seat. "Where’s Buck?"

Five heads swiveled.

Chris sighed. "In the Jeep."

They groaned, not surprised.

Their next stop brought one of the girls up to the side of the van. She waited beside Vin’s sliding door, and Vin opened it. "Can I help ya, miss?"

"You sure can, beefcake!" She leaned up, grabbed his face, and kissed him hard. "Thanks!" With a wave, she left.

Chris reached around his stunned friend to close the door. "Damn, cowboy. Guess she liked your pressed ham."

Josiah leaned forward from the rear seat and patted Vin on the back.

"Aw, hell. I’m gonna kill Bucklin."

When traffic halted again, a different girl ran up to Chris’s side and the other slider. He opened it, and she flashed him. "Your friend told me you thought I had nice breasts, so I thought I’d give you a closer look." She kissed him also, gently on his sore lip, before scooting back to the Jeep.

"Well, Mr. Larabee, she must have liked your – what did you call it? – pressed ham."

"Damn. Who knew traffic jams could be such fun?" Chris absently touched his lips, and turned around to mouth ‘thank you’ at the Jeep.

The Jeep driver honked in response.

A few minutes later, two motorcycle officers and one police cruiser muscled their way to the Jeep and the van, making holes for both to pull over to the shoulder.

Nathan grumbled as he worked the big van onto the right shoulder from the middle lane that had kept it hostage for the last couple of hours. The mini-van driver pointed and laughed as he passed. Five of the six memorized the tag and vehicle description – the other was busy pulling over.

The motor officer approached the driver’s side of the van, while his partner kept a defensive position on the passenger side.

Nathan put the window down.

"Sir, may I see your license and registration, please?"

JD asked, "What’s the problem, officer?" He found the rental agreement in the glove box, slowly pulling it out with exaggerated movements not to make the other officer nervous.

"We received a report this vehicle and the Jeep behind you were operating recklessly and involved in at least one incident of indecent exposure."

Ezra started laughing in the far back seat, Josiah chuckling merrily right beside him.

The Southerner drawled, "The only thing indecent would be the horrendous wait to move ten feet in this particular traffic snarl."

"Traffic jam not withstanding, can I see some identification and that rental agreement, please?" The officer looked bored.

"Sure." Nathan pulled out his license and ATF identification.

Both officers found themselves staring at six sets of ATF badges and photo identifications.

The officer read the names on the ones he could see. "Wait a minute! You’re the Magnificent Seven! We’ve heard of you. But where’s your seventh?"

Six hands pointed at the Jeep.

The lead officer laughed. He signaled the cruiser officers to let the Jeep go for reasons of professional courtesy.

The officers’ radios toned a series of beeps. A female voice sounded from the lapel mikes.

"All units, special attention Interstate, copy lookout for homicide suspect in stolen vehicle, officer safety."

The six ATF agents listened in, watching the officers around them acknowledge the dispatcher.

"All units, officer safety, be on the lookout for the following stolen vehicle, a custom painted green and black two-tone Chevy Astro mini-van, Maryland registration M00055M, operated by a white male in his 20’s named Robert Jones. Subject has black hair, goatee, approximately 5’8 and 190 pounds, last seen wearing a navy long-sleeved button-down shirt and dark blue jeans. Suspect wanted for double homicide in Maryland, will extradite anywhere United States, and should be armed with a .12 gauge shotgun. Has relatives in the Denver area, made a call to one of them stating he was en route. Suspect stated that he would shoot or kill any officer that attempts to arrest him. Use extreme caution if located, relayed authority of the Maryland State Police and this station, 1742 hours."

"That’s the mini-van that was behind us! Let’s get him!" Chris grinned in anticipation, now having a legal reason to relocate the horn into the man’s posterior.

JD threw up his hands. "Didn’t I say he might be armed?"

Josiah asked the officers, "Mind a little help?"

"I’d be a fool to say no. Are you sure?"

The six grins gave the officers their answer.

"We don’t have vests for you."

"We do. Tell my agent back there it’s time to work." Chris jerked a thumb at the Jeep.

"I’ve got an idea." Vin got out of the van, motioning everyone together. The officers, women, and Buck huddled around the kneeling sharpshooter.

A few minutes later, the motor officer led the van down the shoulder, the Jeep behind it, and the second motorcycle finished the parade. The cruiser muscled over to the other shoulder.

This cavalcade continued down the three lines of long traffic until they spotted the mini-van. The lead officer that spoke with Nathan radioed in to Dispatch that they were initiating a felony stop, and had additional backup in the form of seven Federal Agents.

The cruiser rearranged itself into the traffic pattern, taking a place directly in front of the mini-van. The lead motor officer cut through behind the mini-van, taking a position on the left side of it and pushing the civilians back by slowing them down even more than the laughable traffic jam speed. On the mini-van’s right side, the Jeep took over, cutting off another car and moving it back before getting directly behind the mini-van. One glare by the heavily armed black man inside the Jeep and the citizen figured discretion would be wise. The other motor officer closed out the box on the right. The rest of the people finally realized what was happening, and helped the law enforcement officers and agents by slowing. The rental van kept pace with the right side motorcycle along the shoulder.

Just as the mini-van driver got nervous, the cruiser stopped in front of him. The suspect applied the brake, while his right hand grabbed the shotgun. A tapping on his window showed a badge, a gun, and the blond nightmare from the van. He swung the shotgun at the window and fired. The window shattered, glass spraying everywhere, the shot echoing through the metallic skin of the mini-van, covering the sound of the back doors opening.

A cold cylinder pressed against the suspect’s neck, and a raspy drawl said, "Gimme the gun."

The man tried spinning the barrel over his shoulder to fire, but a strong, black hand ripped the gun from his grip.

Nathan looked at the longhaired partner, flipping the switch to unlock. "You didn't say please."

"Reckon I forgot."

Josiah undid the man’s seatbelt, letting the officers yank the suspect from the van and handcuff him face-first on the ground. They read him his Miranda rights while searching his body for other weapons and contraband.

The suspect glared up at the men congregated around him, and the women peeking out of the van. The suspect spotted the person he wanted, again by the van’s driver side door, and yelled. "You! With the mustache! This is all your fault!"

From behind the Jeep’s wheel, Ezra loudly drawled a question. "Pray tell why."

"If he knew how to drive, I wouldn’t have called the cops on you, and then I wouldn’t be arrested." He spat in Buck’s direction, earning an intimate introduction of his face to the pavement by one of the officers.

Chris squatted beside the man’s head, lifting it up by the hair. "You called the cops on us, and you’re the one wanted for murder?"

"Why aren’t you dead? I fired point-blank to kill you!"

"Took a lesson from a Texan. I ducked."

"Learned from a master." Vin grinned broadly.

"I’m not getting hit twice in the same day." Chris shook his head.

"Okay, let’s get this mess somewhat cleaned up, now that we have a crime scene." Calling for more units, the officers snagged statements from the motorists before redirecting traffic around the Jeep and mini-van. One unit transported the suspect to their processing center.

Since the suspect fired a shot, nothing directly related to the incident could be moved, which meant the mini-van, the Jeep, the van, the cruiser, and the two police motorcycles stayed put.

The supervisor arrived, and everyone that could gathered to listen to the lead officer’s summary. The officer quickly explained the initial stops on the van and Jeep, and the subsequent offer of help from the ATF agents, who did not want the arrest for themselves.

"Sir, Agent Tanner suggested it appear that they were being arrested, so we reorganized everyone. Senior Agent Larabee rode in the cruiser and decided to make first approach, since the ATF team has more experience dealing with violent felons on a daily basis. He also justifiably believed the driver apparently disliked him. Agent Standish drove the Jeep, letting Agents Tanner and Jackson enter the rear of the mini-van. They remembered the suspect locked the doors, but recalled that there was a separate lock for the rear doors. Agent Sanchez covered the passenger side. Agents Wilmington and Dunne drove the van for the purpose of pursuit if necessary, to provide a means of escape for us, and to keep the women safe. We functioned as the removal team and insured the security of the surrounding citizens."

The supervisor said, "Thank you, gentlemen. Sorry to put you through this, but once the investigators take statements, we’ll send you on your way. Even escort you out of this mess."

"Thanks." Chris accepted for all of them.

Sooner than they thought, Team Seven hit the road with the Jeep following. A few phone calls later, the group reassembled at the women’s favorite bar and restaurant. Casey and Rain joined them there, picked up by Ezra after he went home and changed.

Near the end of the night, Buck found Ezra standing by the bar, waiting for a refill. "Still think you’re in Hell, Ez?"

"No, Mr. Wilmington. Today, I have seen Hell, hams, acted in The Three Stooges, participated in a felony stop, and will remember one amusing thing for the rest of my days."

"What’s that?" Buck took a swallow of his beer.

"Your Casanova routine with dried streaks of chocolate milkshake covering the back of your head."

"What!" Buck felt back there and immediately tore for the men’s room.

Ezra started laughing.

"You told him?" Josiah’s voice came from the Southerner’s right side.

"I did."

Josiah chuckled. "Hard day, Brother."


"I wanted to say…"

Ezra raised a hand. "Spare me the apology, Mr. Sanchez. I’ll send you the bill."

"Fair enough. By the way…"


"Hide the mouse in the house." Josiah walked away whistling. Ezra turned around to see if any other words were forthcoming, and felt a draft. He looked down, finding his fly wide open. Mortified, he spun, faced the bar, and zipped his pants. The male cheers told him his teammates knew.

Ezra took a deep breath. "I am in Hell!"


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