Notes: Hope this is okay. I´ve had to invest in a wig because
I´ve pulled all my hair out in the process of writing this fic. I think
I´ve had at least four different endings and three different middles.
The start was real easy compared to those and it had better all be worth
it. I thought this story writing lark was supposed to be enjoyable! Oh, but
the stress! This is for Linda Fiskum.
Size: Approx. 120K
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Chris was talking to Buck in the man´s condo when his cell rang. He
pulled it out of his pocket and walked away from his friend while he answered
Senor? Can you come to The Saloon? I´m having trouble with one
of your men.
Inez? What´s the matter? Who´s causing trouble? Chris
frowned. He couldn´t think for the life of him who would be misbehaving.
His men just didn´t do that sort of thing.
Senor Standish has been here all evening and he refuses to leave. I
had to stop serving him cause he´s blind drunk. I thought it best
to call you rather than the police.
Okay. I´ll come now. How´s he acting?
Abusive, aggressive. Most unlike his usual manners. I took his car
keys off him to make sure he couldn´t drive home if he did leave and
he didn´t like it one bit.
He didn´t hurt you? You´re not there on your own with him?
Chris asked anxiously as he looked at his watch to see what the time was.
It was so unlike Ezra to go off the deep end and the blond wondered what
had caused his unusual behavior. There was one possibility admittedly but
Chris didn´t think that the upcoming disciplinary hearing would have
made the man act in such a way. Ezra hadn´t been in the least bit concerned
about the whole affair. He knew he´d acted properly and several people
had come forward to agree with his version of events.
Inez interrupted his thoughts when she replied, No, Eddie´s here
with me. Senor Standish didn´t hurt me, he just shouted a lot. He was
quite frightening actually.
Alright, try to keep him there although by the sound of it you won´t
have any trouble in that respect. I´ll be as quick as I can. Chris
put his phone away and searched his pockets hurriedly for his keys.
What was that about, pard? Is Inez alright? Buck asked from where
he´d been listening curiously.
Ezra´s drunk as a skunk and refusing to leave The Saloon. He´s
causing a bit of trouble by all accounts.
What? Never known him to drink to excess before and he can usually
hold what he does have. Musta drunk a hell of a lot to get into such a state.
Do you want me to come too? He could prove a handful.
No thanks, Bucklin. Don´t wanna overdo it. He might feel threatened
by too many people and Eddie´s there anyway to help if he becomes too
hot to handle. I´ll call you and let you know how I get on. The
blond hurried down to his car and drove to the bar as fast as he could.
When he arrived, he knocked on the door loudly because Inez had locked it
to prevent further customers entering. He walked in when Eddie opened up
and the blond could hear Ezra straight away. The man was shouting in Latin
at the top of his voice. Chris joined Inez at the bar and leant with his
back against it as he studied his raucous agent silently for a couple of
minutes. The undercover agent looked disheveled and his clothes were in less
than their usual pristine condition.
What´s he been doing? Chris asked Inez when he´d finished
Swearing. Demanding more drink and nearly having a fight with Eddie
and another customer. I didn´t want to throw him out in the state he´s
in. I could´ve called a cab to collect him but I didn´t think he
ought to be on his own at home.
Yeah, I can see why. Okay, I´ll handle it. Chris stood up
and wandered over to his friend while keeping a close eye on his activities.
Ezra? What you still doing here? Inez needs to close up and she had
to call me here cause she says you won´t leave voluntarily. Are
you in some sort of trouble, buddy? Why are you behaving like this?
the blond asked quietly.
Chris touched the man´s arm and Ezra leapt up from his chair as if
he´d been electrocuted and then swayed violently. He managed to keep
himself upright by grabbing hold of the back of a chair although that too
nearly fell over when he suddenly staggered sideways. The drunken man yelled,
Back off, Larabee. I don´t want mothering. Get enough of that
from Maude. Just fuck off! Although the words were meant aggressively,
the verbal assault lost its sting because Ezra´s speech was so slurred.
Ezra. Settle down. I´ll drive you home, Chris offered as
he held his hands out in a pacifying gesture.
No, you won´t. I´m staying. Another drink, Senorita,
Ezra called loudly as he tried to snap his fingers together to add weight
to the demand. No sound emerged and he stood looking at his hand in puzzlement.
He moved his fingers in another attempt but his thumb and middle finger just
wouldn´t connect to make the distinctive click.
Chris moved toward him while he was occupied but Ezra saw him coming at the
last minute and struck out wildly with a fist. Ezra could actually see three
men in front of him and he didn´t know which one to fend off first.
The images bobbed up and down before his eyes and he continued swinging his
arms like a demented windmill in the hope he´d hit one of them. Chris
easily ducked the flying fists as Ezra finally lost his balance and stumbled
past him with a curse so vulgar that the blond actually winced. The undercover
agent turned unsteadily to face Chris again and then reached out to pick
up a bottle from a nearby table. He managed to grab it after two attempts
and he smashed it against the table, spraying glass in all directions. He
waved the remnants in the general direction of the three attackers he could
see and Chris had no choice but to hit him. The blond got inside Ezra´s
non-existent defenses easily and sent a fist to his agent´s face and
succeeded in knocking the man off his feet. The green-eyed man fell backwards
at speed and skidded along the floor until he came to a halt under a table.
He had collapsed like a punctured balloon with his uncontrollable limbs flying
in all directions. The blond shook his fist and then sucked his stinging
knuckles while keeping an eye on his friend to make sure he didn´t get
back up. The only part of Ezra´s anatomy that was visible was one of
his legs poking out from under the table. When it hadn´t moved for over
a minute, Chris felt he could finally relax.
He pulled out his phone and called Nathan. Nate? Can I bring Ezra round?
He´s drunk himself into a stupor and I had to knock him out when he
Sure. Did he receive any blows to his head other than when you hit
Can´t say for sure, Nate cause he fell like a pole-axed
giraffe and disappeared from view when he hit the floor.
Okay. I´ll check him out when he gets here. It just happens to
be the most common problem with someone who has drunk to excess. They hit
their head and it´s not noticed until it´s too late because their
confusion is put down to drunken rambling.
Thanks, Nate. I´ll be with you shortly, Chris said as he
Inez wandered toward him and said, Thank you, Senor. I´m sorry
to call you out but I didn´t think you´d want the police
It´s okay, Inez. I appreciate you letting me know, Chris
said gratefully as he treated her to one of his rare megawatt smiles.
He turned and walked to his friend´s body and knelt down so he could
get hold of both his ankles. He pulled him out gently from under the table
and stayed kneeling down beside him. He checked the man over thoroughly for
any injuries and found he´d cut his hand quite badly on the broken bottle
that he still held. The blond carefully removed the glass fragments from
his friend´s grip and then tied a clean handkerchief round the wound
tightly and continued with his examination. Nathan´s words had worried
him and he was particularly vigilant when looking at Ezra´s scalp. When
he found nothing amiss, he slung the unconscious agent over his shoulder
and took him out to the Ram. He laid him on his side on the back seat and
quickly covered the man with a blanket. He then drove to the medic´s
house and lifted the drunken man into his arms and carried him inside gently.
He rather regretted the unfeeling way he´d handled his friend before.
He equated it with how someone would carry a sack of potatoes and he thought
Ezra deserved better than that.
What set him off? Nathan asked as he led the way upstairs. Chris
followed carefully behind with his precious burden hanging limply in his
Don´t know. He wasn´t in the mood for talking. He had a broken
bottle in his hand and the only way to deal with him was to knock him out.
Hit him rather hard, I´m afraid and he cut his hand badly on the bottle
as he fell but it coulda been a lot worse, Nate. I´ve never known him
let drink take control before and it was quite an eye- opener, I can tell
ya. With the nature of his job, I know he always likes to stay alert even
when he´s off duty. He´s usually so polite and well- behaved that
it comes as quite a shock when he acts otherwise.
Yeah, I was sure surprised when you called to say what he´d done.
It´s real strange behavior for him. He usually limits himself to a couple
of whiskeys and then sticks to beer. The medic opened a door and led
the way in. Bring him in here. He´d better stay with me
tonight, Nathan said as he helped lay Ezra on the bed.
Chris watched the medic check the drunken man for injuries and asked anxiously,
Is he alright?
Gonna be as sick as a dog, have a beautiful black eye and a splitting
headache, I should think. Can´t see anything else wrong with him. I´ll
just see to his hand but it doesn´t look as though it needs stitches.
Do you want me to stay tonight as well?
Yes please. We can split guard duty. Better have someone with him all
the time in case he vomits or has an injury that I missed.
Chris nodded in agreement. He wandered out of the room and called Buck as
promised and told him what had happened. Nathan then showed him to his own
bedroom so the blond could get some rest. Nathan sat with the undercover
agent first and then Chris took over near dawn. The blond sat down by the
bed and wondered why Ezra had drunk himself into oblivion. He was usually
fairly sensible and the black-clad man shook his head in exasperation and
watched over his friend until he stirred mid-morning.
The undercover agent put a hand to his head and rubbed his temples wearily
as the world spun round inside his head. He ran his tongue round his teeth
and discovered his mouth seemed to be lined with fur. He grimaced at the
disgusting taste and then licked his dry lips. He opened his eyes and promptly
shut them tight again because the light hurt them too much.
Shit, he muttered.
Ezra? Chris said quietly as he stood and leaned over the man.
Stop shouting, the undercover agent pleaded. Chris´s words
reverberated in his head and he put his hands over his ears to try and lessen
the impact as he screwed up his face in pain.
I´m not shouting. How do you feel? Chris asked as he pried
Ezra´s hands away from his head. He got his answer soon enough when
Ezra threw up spectacularly. Godammit, Standish. Couldn´t you
have aimed somewhere else? Shit, I´m gonna stink. Chris stood
up straight rapidly and looked down at his dripping pants and shirt as he
held his arms away from his body in disgust.
Nathan heard Chris´s raised voice and he entered the room quickly to
see what had happened. He took one look at the two vomit-covered men and
walked out to find them replacement clothes. Chris took the ones handed to
him and stripped off where he stood as quickly as possible as he muttered
continually under his breath. Nathan, meanwhile, saw to Ezra´s needs.
He took the man along to the bathroom and left him there for a short time
while he went back to change the sheets on the bed. He worked fast because
he didn´t want to leave the drunken man alone for too long. Chris, by
this time, had cleaned himself up and Nathan left him to finish tidying the
room on his own. The medic returned to the bathroom and found the undercover
agent leaning over the toilet bowl spewing for all he was worth. Nathan squatted
beside him and rubbed his back until Ezra sat back on his heels and sighed
as he wiped his mouth and flushed the toilet.
Do I look okay, Mr. Jackson? Would I be expectorating in this fashion
if I was alright? Ezra asked weakly and with a dry croaking voice.
He rested his forehead on the rim of the toilet bowl and groaned loudly.
No. Don´t s´pose you would, at that. Come on, let´s
get you cleaned up. That´s if you´ve finished puking yer guts
For the moment. Don´t think I´ve got any liquid left in my
Nathan helped him to his feet and sat him on the lowered lid of the toilet
seat until the man had recovered some of his strength. While he was seated
Nathan took the clothes off Ezra´s top half and then pulled him to his
feet to take off the rest. He washed his friend over before putting on the
spare set of clothes he´d brought along. He had to guide each of
Ezra´s limbs into the garments because the undercover agent couldn´t
seem to aim them in the right direction. Nathan smiled as he thought it was
just like dressing a toddler. Jeez, Ezra. You know drink and yer stomach
don´t agree when you overdo it. What´s gotten into you?
Oh shit. I feel awful, I think I´m dying Nathan. Shoot me and
put me out of my misery, Ezra begged pathetically as he stood with
the top of his head resting against the medic´s chest. Without the support
of Nathan´s body, Ezra knew it was more than likely he would collapse
in a heap at his friend´s feet.
If you don´t, I will, Nate, Chris stated from
the doorway. You´d better sober up quick Ezra cause you´ve
got some explaining to do and it´d better be good.
Not now, Chris. Let him be until he feels better. Come on, Ez. You´d
be better off in bed so you can sleep it off. Nathan tightened his
grip round Ezra´s waist as he felt the man´s knees begin to give
way and Chris hurried to support the man from the other side.
The two men led him back to bed and Ezra flopped down on the covers and went
to sleep instantly. Nathan found another blanket and covered him over gently.
Stupid fool, Chris said. Drink don´t solve problems,
it just delays them and usually makes em worse.
You don´t know why he did this, Chris. It´s gotta be something
out of the ordinary. Ezra don´t get drunk for no reason and never to
this extent as you pointed out before, the medic said reasonably as
he escorted the blond from the room. He hoped Ezra would be alright to be
left on his own now so he closed the door quietly behind him and took Chris
Ezra slept peacefully and woke again late afternoon. He saw he was alone
so he got up and went to join his two friends downstairs. He followed the
sound of their voices and found them in the kitchen drinking coffee. The
semi-sober man sat at the table and put his head in his hands as he groaned
at the pain in his head.
Chris knew from previous experience that it was no good approaching Ezra
like a bull at a gate when he had a problem because the man would just clam
up. Chris decided on the softly-softly approach instead, so he took a seat
next to his agent and asked gently, Why Ezra? Is the disciplinary hearing
next week that´s upset you?
He knew the man had at first been angry that he´d been accused of misconduct
but Chris didn´t think it would have affected him so much. The charges
had come about when the undercover agent had been working with the FBI on
a case. He´d been blamed when the person they were after had killed
one of the FBI agents and then escaped. The blond frowned as he remembered
another possibility and asked, Or is it something to do with the problem
that Maude was having?
Neither. I had a rather disturbing phone call last night while I was
trying to enjoy a quiet evening in the Saxon Bar, Ezra said quietly
He said he was my father.
What!? Chris exclaimed.
No, I think your question should be who?, Mr. Larabee. As you
know, Maude doesn´t even know who my father is. Not surprising after
having a handful of husbands and numerous lovers, Ezra snorted in disdain.
God, it´s depressing.
Nathan was surprised at Ezra´s explanation for his behavior. It was
certainly the last thing he would have thought of and he could see how it
might´ve triggered a drinking binge. Did he say why he´s
contacted you now or how he knew where you were? the medic asked.
I´m afraid I didn´t ask. I put the phone down.
Why? Aren´t you in the least bit curious about him? Chris
asked, slightly mystified.
No. He´s never been part of my life and I don´t know him
from Adam. Why should I care? Ezra retorted in a very matter of fact
Well, you obviously do care or you wouldn´t have reacted so badly.
Did you get his name? You should at least ask Maude if she remembers him.
I already know what her answer will be. She´ll say no. She forgets
each lover as soon as she gets her fangs into the next victim. He could hardly
have made much of an impact anyway, could he, if she didn´t even know
back then that he´d sired me? I´m a bastard in every sense of the
word, Mr. Larabee.
Don´t say that, Ez.
Go and talk to Maude. You can use my phone, Ezra, Nathan ordered.
The undercover agent looked at his two companions in turn and rose reluctantly
when he saw they wouldn´t take no for an answer. He picked up the phone
in the living room and punched in his mother´s number with a heavy heart.
Ezra dear. How nice to hear from you.
Does the name Simon Pease mean anything to you? Was he among your many
romantic conquests? Ezra asked hopefully.
Ezra! Is that any way to speak to your mother? Maude admonished.
Do you know him? Ezra asked insistently.
Doesn´t ring a bell but then I´ve known so many men,
Maude admitted sheepishly.
Yes, I think you´ve worked your way through half the male population
of this country. You should have slept with the remainder by the time you
shuffle off your mortal coil. It seems to be your main aim in life,
Ezra snorted derisively.
Ezra! Whatever´s gotten into you? How dare you speak to me like
Ezra interrupted angrily, Why should the truth upset you? Now just
listen to me for once in your life Mother, will you? Do you know Simon Pease?
Please think exceedingly carefully before answering.
Why are you so anxious for me to remember this one man? Why him and
not any of the others? I can´t be expected to remember them all.
Well, this one claims to be my father. Surely that would be
memorable, Ezra snapped disgustedly as he slammed his already injured
hand against the wall in frustration. He hissed in pain and looked down at
it and noticed the bandage for the first time. He frowned and shook the injured
appendage to try to get rid of the pain before turning his attention back
The two men in the kitchen heard Ezra continue his agitated conversation
and could tell that he didn´t get a satisfactory answer. Ezra eventually
wandered back in and sank down on the chair with a sigh. He put one hand
over his mouth suddenly and rested his forehead in the palm of the other
as he leant his elbow on the table and closed his eyes. The room spun alarmingly,
making him feel sick and he breathed deeply to fend the feeling off.
You okay? Chris asked with a worried frown as he reached out
a hand and rubbed the man´s upper arm.
Just a bit dizzy from the last remnants of the whiskey that´s
still sloshing around in my system. God, having an altercation with Maude
is truly not the best hangover cure.
Nathan stood up and came back with some coffee. There ya go. Drink
Ezra took the offered mug gratefully and blew on the steaming contents before
taking a tentative sip.
What did Maude say? Chris asked once his agent looked settled
She said she didn´t remember his name. It´ll turn out that
he was the mailman, I expect. She slept with all and sundry, damn her,
Ezra said quietly as he shook his head.
What ya gonna do? Nathan asked.
Nothing. I certainly didn´t get his number and even if I had I
wouldn´t call him. Ezra paused and suddenly asked, How did
I get here anyway?
I had a call from Inez asking me to collect you from The Saloon. You
Oh. I certainly remember arriving there after leaving the other bar
in a daze but what happened afterwards is a mystery. I know I felt the need
of a whiskey to get over my shock.
A whiskey? I think you nearly drowned in the spirit, Ezra,
Nathan said with a smile. You´re lucky you didn´t get alcohol
poisoning with the amount you musta consumed.
Yes. I think I rather overdid it, didn´t I? I´ve never felt
Well, you need to apologize to Inez. You were less than a gentleman
to her, Chris told him seriously.
What? I didn´t
.? Ezra asked worriedly.
No, you didn´t touch her. You just swore and shouted at her.
Oh, dear. Drink certainly brings out the worst in me. I will definitely
apologize. Can I use your phone again, Nathan?
Nathan nodded and Ezra disappeared. The two men he left behind could hear
him making a groveling apology and they both smiled as they traded glances.
Ezra could sure use some pretty language when he needed to suck up to someone.
That, combined with his natural charm, had Inez eating out of his hand and
saying she forgave him. The men in the kitchen had seen two totally different
sides to Ezra´s character within a matter of minutes. First with the
way he´d spoken to Maude and now with Inez. The two conversations had
been poles apart.
Ezra returned and sat down with a sigh again. Chris patted his shoulder and
said with a smile, You look like shit, buddy.
Feel it too, believe me. My head is spinning and hurts beyond
imagination, Ezra admitted as he closed his eyes and rubbed his temples.
Not surprised. You puked all over Chris, you know, Nathan informed
his friend with a mischievous grin.
Ezra opened his eyes abruptly and stared at the blond as he cringed in
embarrassment. I did? Oh, dear another apology is warranted then. What
At The Saloon you tried to hit him with a broken bottle so he had to
thump you. That´s how you cut yer hand and got yer black eye.
I did wonder how I came by that. After what you said earlier, I thought
perhaps Inez might have lost her temper and walloped me. I don´t think
I want to hear what else I got up to. I obviously behaved in an appalling
manner, Ezra said as he leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes
with a groan. God, I feel dreadful.
Can you face something to eat now? You haven´t had anything all
day, Nathan said.
Don´t really want anything but I suppose I´d better have
something. Not too much though in case it has dire consequences on my sensitive
stomach. Wouldn´t want to throw up over Chris again, would I?
he said as he smiled broadly, revealing his gold tooth.
Nathan usually expected his guests to eat what was put in front of them but
he made an exception for Ezra´s sake. The medic searched his cupboards
and nearly had the entire contents out before he finally found something
that Ezra could face. The undercover agent ate as much as he could manage
and had another cup of coffee to wash it down with.
Thanks Nathan. I wouldn´t have bothered eating if I´d been
at home on my own. Talking of my humble abode, could one of you drop me off
at The Saloon to collect my car so I can go home? I think I´ve rather
overstayed my welcome.
I´ll take you. I´d better be going as well, Chris said
as he stood up and went to collect his coat and newly washed clothes. He
came back and collected Ezra and drove him to The Saloon after thanking Nathan
for his help.
Sure you´re alright on yer own? Chris asked as he finally
dropped the agent outside the bar.
Yes, thank you. I am truly sorry for my behavior. What with Simon turning
up coupled with the problem that Maude had asked me to look into and the
small matter of the disciplinary hearing at work it´s been a hell of
Don´t sweat it. You had a few good excuses for getting drunk although
I can guarantee the latter problem will be sorted quickly in your favor.
The Simon problem is a bit more difficult but if he phones again don´t
ignore him. You might regret it in the long run if you turn him away.
Maybe. See you tomorrow. Ezra turned and walked to his car and
got in. He waved goodbye to Chris and then drove home. He went straight to
bed and slept well despite everything and in the morning he felt much better.
+ + + + + + +
Ezra rose mid-morning and headed to the Saxon Bar, which was just round the
corner from where he lived and offered food and drink at all hours of the
day and night. He was halfway through satisfying his hunger when the waitress
came over and said there was a phone call for him.
Hello? he said as he frowned and chewed on a piece of toast that
he´d taken with him.
I am not your son, Ezra declared haughtily as he swallowed
the toast quickly and nearly choked in his haste.
Well, I believe you are.
Ezra coughed for a bit, but finally got his breath back and croaked, Why
have you bothered to get in contact now? You can´t have cared all that
much about me before.
I´m dying and I wanted to see you just once. Can´t we meet
so I can at least tell you how I met Maude?
Ezra hesitated. His curiosity was growing and he was beginning to believe
he ought to see the man but the excuse Simon had given for getting in contact
was as old as the hills. Maude doesn´t remember you, he
So you were interested enough to ask her then. Come on, what harm could
it do to just meet up once? the man cajoled persuasively.
Ezra didn´t answer for a minute but his curiosity was gnawing away at
him persistently. Chris´s words also popped into his mind at that moment
so he decided to give into temptation. Okay. When and where?
You choose. I don´t know Denver very well.
Okay. Let´s make it The Saloon. You can find it in the phone book
and anyone you ask can give you directions.
See you tomorrow evening then. Is that alright?
Sure. See ya later. Ezra disconnected and walked back to his
table. He looked down at his plate and realized he´d lost his appetite.
He paid for the meal and walked out onto the sidewalk and wandered home slowly
as he pondered his predicament. What harm could it do to meet up just
once as the man had said? he thought to himself. What harm indeed?
+ + + + + + +
Ezra hung around on the sidewalk outside The Saloon but he couldn´t
seem to get the courage to enter. His stomach was in turmoil and he felt
sick. How am I going to recognize him anyway? he wondered. I
didn´t even ask what he looked like.
The undercover agent turned round swiftly as his heart leapt into his throat
but he relaxed when he saw it was Chris standing behind him. Mr.
Larabee, the dark- haired man greeted solemnly.
You haven´t come to drown yer sorrows, have ya? I don´t wanna
have to punch yer lights out again, the blond said with a grin.
No, don´t fret although I admit a whiskey would go down well at
the moment. I foolishly agreed to meet the cause of my previous drunken state.
I can´t place my foot over the threshold though for some reason.
Do ya know if he´s in there?
I have no idea. Don´t even know what he looks like so perhaps
I´ll just go home. He´d never know that I actually came, would
No, don´t go, Ez. Come on, I´ll wait with you until he turns
up if you like, Chris offered as he put a hand on his friend´s
elbow to stop him leaving.
Ezra looked at him uncertainly before studying the opposite side of the street
distractedly. Chris heard him sigh loudly and then the undercover agent turned
to face The Saloon´s entrance reluctantly. He took a step forwards and
Chris followed him inside with a grim smile He thought that his friend looked
like someone who was heading for his own execution. The dark-haired man headed
straight to the bar and ordered a large whiskey from Inez. The woman flicked
a quick look at Chris but he smiled and nodded to say he would watch his
friend closely to prevent a repeat of his previous behavior.
The two men picked a table near the entrance and sat quietly as they watched
new customers arrive. Ezra hardly touched his drink and Chris could see his
hand shaking slightly as he turned the glass around in his grip. Every time
someone came through the door, Ezra flinched and the more the minutes ticked
by, the more agitated he became. He suddenly raised the glass to his lips
and downed the contents in one go before slamming it back on the table making
Chris jump in fright.
Calm down, Ezra, Chris said worriedly. He´ll turn
I´m sorry but I can´t bear the suspense. Ezra wiped
his face with his hand and then said desperately, God, I need another
I´ll get them but make do with a beer, will ya? Chris said
as he stood and patted his hyperactive friend´s shoulder. The blond
walked to the bar and ordered the drinks. When he turned back with a glass
in each hand he saw Ezra now had company and he studied the tall, thin man
who was sitting beside the undercover agent. He tried to see some sort of
family resemblance but he couldn´t see that the man looked anything
much like Ezra at all. He walked slowly back to the table and put the glass
of beer in front of Ezra.
There ya go, Ez. I´ll leave you alone but I´ll be here if
you need me. I´m meeting a couple of the guys later if you remember.
The man at Ezra´s table looked up as the blond spoke and he stood and
held out his hand. Hello, I´m Simon. Are you a friend of
Yeah. Chris Larabee. We work together, Chris replied as he shook
the offered hand firmly.
He´s my boss actually, Ezra told the man as he watched
Nice to meet you, Chris said. The blond raked the man from head
to foot with a penetrating stare before smiling at Ezra and returning to
the bar to wait for Buck and Vin.
Good to keep in with yer superiors, son. What do ya do for a living
anyway? Simon asked as he retook his seat.
I´m an ATF agent and work with six other men. Ezra paused
before snapping angrily, Look, will you stop calling me son? As far
as I´m concerned I´ve never had and never will have
You are my son but if it unsettles you I´ll just call you
Fine. Ezra really didn´t know what else to say to the man.
For once in his life he was tongue-tied and he tried to hide his discomfort
by taking a sip from his beer. He studied Simon through the bottom of the
glass as he drank and heartily wished he´d never agreed to meet the
man. He´d never felt so unsure of himself in his life.
Do you have a special job within your team? Simon asked with
Well, what is it? Simon asked persistently when Ezra didn´t
I´d rather not say. Ezra hated answering questions about
his job at the best of times, it always made him suspicious. He knew, however,
that this time it was just a father trying to get to know his offspring but
he still got defensive. Ezra tried to change the subject and asked, Why
did you leave it all these years before getting in contact? Where have you
I worked overseas. I knew that Maude was pregnant when I left her all
those years ago but I was too young to take on the responsibility. She never
actually said you were mine but I knew deep down that you were. Anyway we
had a blazing row about her roving eye and I walked out on her. I got a job
on an oilrig and I never saw her again. When I came back home I got to thinking
about you and I did some digging and here I am.
How did you come to know Maude? Ezra asked, his interest piqued
Met her at a Country and Western bar we both used to frequent. We went
out for a few months but I knew she started seeing someone else at that time
She could´ve been pregnant by him then. Why are you so sure I´m
Well, that´s not very scientific, is it? Ezra snorted
Could get a DNA test to confirm it, Simon suggested tentatively.
No! Ezra stood up quickly and knocked over his chair in his haste
to get to the door.
Simon hurried after him and grabbed his arm roughly. Wait Ezra. I´d
like to know once and for all whether you´re mine before I die. Surely
you can´t deny me that. Why won´t you agree?
Don´t lay that crap on me. You just come waltzing into my life
and expect me to be happy to see you and to welcome you with open arms. I
don´t want a test. Fuck off. Ezra shrugged his arm off and left
The Saloon. He was extremely unsettled and he really couldn´t get his
feelings under control. One minute he really wanted to get to know the man
but the next he resented him and didn´t care whether he ever saw him
Chris had been watching events unfold and he hopped down off the barstool
he had been occupying and hurried after his friend. He stood on the sidewalk
and looked up and down the road as he tried to see where he´d gone.
He spotted Ezra´s Jag and saw that the man was sitting inside puffing
hard on a cigarette. He could see the red glow in the darkness every time
Ezra inhaled. He walked over and knocked on the window, causing Ezra to jump
like a scalded cat. The undercover agent looked up thinking it would be Simon
but when he saw it was his boss, he got out to join him on the sidewalk.
Ez? What happened? the blond asked as he watched his friend closely.
Before his very eyes the cigarette in his friend´s mouth got shorter
and shorter until it was finished. Chris had never seen anyone smoke one
so fast before. Ezra discarded the butt and flattened it with his heel before
lighting another one straight away.
He inhaled several lungfuls of smoke before finally answering. He asked
for a DNA test to prove he was my father.
Doesn´t hang about, does he? Chris stood leaning against
the side of Ezra´s car and he put a comforting hand on the man´s
Tried to soft soap me into agreeing by implying he´s gonna die
any minute. Nearly thirty years with no contact and he expects me to accept
him just like that and do as he asks. I don´t know what to do, Chris.
I can´t stop shaking. I usually make decisions at the drop of a hat
but this has completely thrown me and I feel I´m being pulled two ways.
My heart wants to get to know him but my head says no and at the moment I
tend to agree with my head.
Did he tell you how he met Maude? Chris received a swift nod
and Ezra told him exactly what had passed between the two men in the saloon.
Have another word with Maude. It may jog her memory, Chris advised.
She shouldn´t need it jogging, she ought to know but then she
must have slept with every man she´s ever come into contact with. How
do you think it feels knowing that your mother is no better than a whore?
Ezra! She´s yer mother for God´s sake. What´s the
hell´s the matter with you? Chris rebuked angrily.
How else would you describe her, Mr. Larabee? Ezra inquired with
a raised eyebrow. He sighed before adding, Look, you know I love her,
Chris but surely even you would have to question her morals. She might as
well have stuck a sign outside our house advertising her services. It might
have been easier to bear that way. She changes men as often as she changes
her underwear. She´s kinda like a female version of Mr. Wilmington really,
isn´t she? Wonder how many little Bucklins there are running around
in this world without his knowledge. S´pose that means I shouldn´t
be so hard on Simon when I tolerate Buck´s behavior but it´s different
when you´re the one involved.
Yeah. I see what you mean, Ez, Chris sighed as he patted his
Why couldn´t Maude even be bothered to find out who my father
was? I can´t describe how this whole business makes me feel. Ezra
puffed on his cigarette and blew a smoke ring as he stared distractedly into
space, consumed with his inner thoughts.
Talk to her, Ez. That´s all I can offer in the way of advice at
the moment, buddy. Are you gonna meet him again? Chris asked.
No. It just makes me nauseous to look at him. He said he knew Maude
was pregnant before he walked out on her. Why did he just abandon us?
Ezra inquired despairingly as he walked across the sidewalk and back again
to end up facing his boss.
He told you. Bringing up kids is a hell of a responsibility, Ez,
Chris replied as he met his friend´s questioning gaze.
Should have thought about that before fornicating, shouldn´t he?
He´s got to take some of the responsibility for bringing a bastard into
Ezra! Come on. Don´t put yerself down like that.
The undercover agent continued talking as though Chris had not interrupted.
Other kids made my life hell because I didn´t have a father. It
was a good job we never stayed in one place too long. After the first few
moves, I began telling them that he was dead rather than that I didn´t
know who he was. At least then they´d treat me normally. They invariably
found out that I was illegitimate though and I got worse treatment than I
would have had if I´d come clean to start with. At least when I was
sent away to an out of State school I didn´t have to put up with her
behavior on a daily basis. Every time I went home for a vacation though there
was a new uncle´ to get to know. Ezra stopped talking abruptly
as he heard footsteps and when he looked up he saw Simon approaching.
Ezra? Come back inside. I want to learn more about you, the man
said as he drew near.
No. I´ve had enough. Leave me alone. Ezra turned and got
back in his car after throwing the remainder of his cigarette away angrily.
Simon moved forwards and Chris put a hand on his chest and stopped him as
he shook his head in warning. Leave him be. Maybe he´ll settle
down but don´t push things now. You can´t expect him to throw his
arms around you after all these years.
Speak to him for me, will ya? Tell him to meet me again.
Look, I´m sorry. It´s Ezra´s decision. I´m not
gonna force him to see you if he doesn´t want to and it´s none
of my business anyway. Just don´t hurt him if he does agree to see you
again. He´s had enough to deal with lately without you upsetting him
too, Chris warned as he held Simon´s gaze.
Okay. I´ll leave it lie for a few days and then phone him again.
I don´t wanna pressure him. The man then turned and walked along
to a truck parked not far away.
Chris watched him leave and then opened Ezra´s door and squatted down
so he was at eye level with his friend. He said he´ll phone you
in a few days. Least that gives you time to think about things.
Thanks, Chris. It´s just a bit too much to handle at the moment,
coming out of the blue like that, the undercover agent admitted.
I´ll see you tomorrow.
Chris stood up and closed the door. He waved goodbye and watched sadly as
his friend drove away. He heard voices behind him and recognized Buck´s
booming tones immediately. The ladies´ man approached him with Vin tagging
along behind quietly and the two men stood beside the blond and watched the
Jag move away at speed.
Ezra not staying, Chris? the tall man asked with a frown as he
saw Ezra´s erratic driving.
No. He´s not in the mood. Chris sighed and turned to face
What´s up with him?
He´ll tell you if he wants to, Bucklin. It´s personal. Come
on, I need a drink.