EYEFUL by The Neon Gang

Author's Note: This bit of silly fluff was inspired by a true story. I worked in a bank for a while and my male manager knew that one of our male tellers moonlighted as a stripper in a Chippendales-like dance club (although the dancers stopped just before the full monty). My manager mentioned this to his wife in passing, and she (along with several of her girlfriends) went to see the young man perform. I guess my manager reaped the benefits, shall we say, since he had roses delivered to the teller as a thank you. It seemed too cute not to use in the Mag7 world! Thank you, MOG, for letting us come play in this great AU!

Orin Travis helped himself to another handful of popcorn from the bowl resting on the coffee table and then leaned back and stretched out in his recliner. He sighed, contented, glad to be home for a long weekend. His wife, Edie, entered the room, giving him an affectionate smile as she crossed to him, paused to kiss his forehead, and then handed him a tall glass of lemonade that tinkled with ice cubes.

"Weren't Chris and some of the other boys coming over to watch the game with you this evening?" she asked him, bending over to grab a handful of the popcorn herself.

"No, not this time," he said a little sadly. "They're hoping to set up a new undercover operation tonight."

She sat down at the end of the sofa and munched on a few pieces of the popcorn before and asking, "What is it this time?"

"Well, you probably won't believe this, but the DPD told us that there was an illegal cigarette ring operating out of a new dance club that opened out by Flatirons Mall."

"Why wouldn't I believe that?" she asked him. "That area is getting so developed. . . It's sad, really. And there are lots of bars and restaurants going in along the highway."

"Well, this place is a little different than most. . . The club, Studs, is for. . ." He cleared his throat. ". . .the ladies only."

"Ladies only?" she echoed, confused. "Lady dancers, you mean?"

"Oh, no. No. This place is one of those male stripper clubs. They only have male dancers and they only admit women to watch them dance."

It took a moment, but Edie's eyes rounded as the implications sank in. "You mean they're-? Chris. . .? Buck. . .? Ezra, and-? Dancing? Without their-?"

Orin grinned and chuckled softly. He'd had more or less the same reaction himself when he'd heard the report from the DPD, and then heard them ask for the ATF to do the necessary undercover work. Luckily he had been alone in his office. "Well, some of them will be auditioning, I suppose. That's the only way they'll be able to get in and take a look around."

Edie giggled softly. "I think those auditions would be something to see."

Her husband shot her a look. "You?"

She nodded, grinning. "It would be safe to go and watch, wouldn't it, dear?"

"Well, yes, probably, but-"

"Wonderful. I think I'll go give Mary a call. She'd enjoy this, too. Don't you think?"

"Mary? Now just a minute-"

Edie stood, but stopped, looking down at her husband of nearly forty years. "Now, Orin," she interrupted him, "you're not jealous, are you?"

"Jealous? Me?" he asked her, trying to look more amused than annoyed. "Of course not," he grumbled, but he could feel his cheeks reddening.

"Good, because I just can't let this opportunity slip by. Now, where is this place, exactly?"

Orin sighed softly and told her.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Damn it, JD, shut the door!" Buck yelped and tried to pull his costume down far enough to cover his naked butt.

"Shut it yourself," JD snapped, trying to find a cape or something that he could hide under.

Wilmington stomped over and pushed the door closed, wondering once again how he'd ever been talked into this. He had to be crazy! They all did! They weren't dancers, and they certainly weren't strippers. Oh, he'd stripped for the ladies plenty of times, but that was an art. And one that was best practiced one on one as far as he was copncerned.

He glanced over at JD and almost laughed. The younger man's costume was. . . well, revealing. Cowboy JD "Dusty" Dunne came complete with black leather chaps that covered the younger man's legs, his crotch hidden by a glorified white jock strap, but his butt was hanging out of the get-up. . . just like Wilmington's was.

Buck, however, was dressed up as what he guessed was supposed to be a World War II fighter jockey's getup. He shook his head. This flight suit would embarrass any man who had ever worn one for real, of that he was sure. This had to be the stupidest way to get a look around a place that anyone had ever come up with.

But, he had to admit. It had worked.

Studs was hosting an open talent call, and any man who thought he was "man enough to be called a Stud" had been invited to come down and strut his stuff for the panel of judges - five twenty-something, drop-dead gorgeous ladies who could effectively castrate any late 20th century with a single collective glance.

And so the ATF's Team Seven had answered the call and had shown up, ready to do whatever it took to get inside the club and get a look around. But none of them had truly appreciated just what they were going to have to do. The costumes, the bright lights, the grinding dances. . . It was brutal.

Josiah and Chris had been eliminated in the first round. Nathan and Vin in the second. However, since they had come in and auditioned, they had been allowed to hang around to see how their "friends" did. That gave the four men the chance to do the investigative work that needed to be done. Unfortunately, it also meant that he, JD and Ezra had been forced to face more appearances in front of the panel of she-sharks.

He honestly wasn't sure he could do it a third time, let alone four or five. And the final round, they'd told them, would be done in front of a club full of leering, cheering ladies - real customers.

There was a soft knock and, a moment later, Ezra slipped into the dressing room, collapsing into the closest chair. He leaned over, beating his forehead against the countertop.

"Ezra?" Buck called, immediately frightened for the man's sanity. Had he faced the she-devils one too many times? "What did they do to you?"

Standish straightened. He was still holding the various pieces of the costume he'd been given at the beginning of this ordeal. It was half zoot-suit, half 1920's flapper suit, if there was such a thing. It was the kind of getup Wilmington was sure he'd seen Jimmy Cagney wearing in some old movie or another. But it was missing certain strategic sections of fabric in the front and in the rear.

"They promoted me to the next round!" Standish wailed.

"They-?" JD's voice caught, his eyes rounding with horror. "Ah, Ezra. . . I'm sorry."

"I can't do it. I simply cannot do it."

Buck crossed to the man and took the pieces of his costume from him. "Now, you listen to me, Ezra," he said softly, "you can do this. We all know you can. We've seen you go undercover in situations that would make most men's short hairs curl up and turn grey."

Standish looked up at him, his eyes pleading, but to no avail.

There was a loud knock on their door, and a woman's voice called, "Hey, Dusty, get ready to ride, boy!"

JD blanched. He looked to Ezra and Buck, who clearly felt for him, but there was nothing they could do to help him. This was something he would have to do on his own. . . He squared his shoulders, took a deep breath and held it for a moment, then he let it out before he walked to the door. His hand trembled slightly as he reached out and gripped the knob.

"Good luck, son," Buck said. "Make us proud."

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

JD slinked off the stage and headed straight back to the dressing room. He slipped inside, then stopped, sagging back against the door, his hand pressed to his chest.

"Well?" Buck asked, peering intently at the younger man.

JD's lips curled into a slow smile. "They dumped me!"

Buck broke into a huge smile. "Congratulations, kid!" he said. "Now you can get out there and get some real work done."

JD nodded, looking relieved. "I was never so glad to fail at anything as I was that."

The knock sounded on their door and the woman's voice called, "Hey, 'Ace,' you're up next!"

Buck swallowed hard and puffed out a breath.

"Hang in there," JD encouraged him softly. "Maybe they'll dump you, too."

"Thanks, kid, I have my fingers crossed, believe me," the big man replied, then pulled himself together and headed out to face the she-demons.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Out on the stage, Buck saw Count Vlad was tossing his black velvet jock strap to the panel of judges. He shook his head. That man enjoyed his work way too much. And that's when he noticed it - the crowd. They were hooting with delight, and cheering.

What the hell? he thought. Then he saw the time, 7 p.m. Good God he was going to have an audience?

The announcer's voice sent fear racing through his veins. "And you're going to enjoy our next Stud-in-training. Ace is a hell of a pilot, and an even better lover, we'd wager. . . So, put your hands together, ladies, and give him a warm welcome!"

"That's you, buddy," said the woman who had notified him he was up next. "Get out there!"

"But there are-"

She grabbed him by the shoulders and propelled him toward the stage. He stumbled out, bright spotlights hitting him square in the eyes. The music started.

Oh shit. . .

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Ezra looked up when Buck stumbled back through the door of the dressing room. The big ladies' man looked. . . Well, the undercover man wasn't sure exactly how to describe that expression. "Buck?" he ventured.

Wilmington looked up at him, his eyes round with. . . whatever it was.

"I've never seen anything like it," he said softly. "They were. . . were. . . they were like animals."

"The judges?" Ezra asked him.

Buck shook his head. "The audience."

"Audience?" Ezra squeaked, his eyes going as round as saucers.

Wilmington nodded. "The place is full of 'em, all of 'em screaming and- and- I never thought I'd see this day, Ezra, but I swear to you - they scared the shit out of me."


Buck nodded. "Lots and lots of them. . . like a pack. . . like a pack of, of, wild, crazed. . . she-wolves."

Ezra swallowed hard.

The knock sounded. "Bugsy! You're next!"

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Chris and the rest of his team, except for Ezra and Buck, were all sitting in the dark corner of the long bar, their investigation over.

A few minutes later Buck joined them, slipping onto a barstool and accepting a drink from the bartender, who also gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. "I think they gave you a raw deal, Ace," she said.

"Thanks," he replied, then gulped half of the beer down. He glanced over at Larabee and, once the bartender had moved away, asked him softly, "Did we get what we need?"

Chris nodded.

Buck let the breath he was holding out. "Thank God," he said. "I'll go tell Ezra."

As Wilmington started to slide off his stool, Larabee reached out and stopped him. "Not yet."

"Why?" the big man asked, confused.

"Oh, just giving things a little time to develop," was the man's casual reply.

"But if I don't, Ezra's gonna have to-" Buck stopped and a smile spread across his lips. "You're an evil man, Chris Larabee."

"Yep," was the blond's only reply.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Screams and catcalls echoed through the crowded club and a sea of female faces leered at him from three sides. They were clapping and gyrating in their seats, gesturing in ways that made the well-seasoned undercover agent want to cringe with fear. But he was too busy bumping and grinding to manage it.

Standish could tell the audience was getting restless. So he pulled his fedora off and tossed it into the crowd. The ladies went wild.

He bent over to pull off a shoe and the ladies on one side of the club roared their approval.

It took Ezra a moment before he realized that he had mooned them in the process.

The other half of the audience demanded their fair share, so he tossed them his other shoe.

"C'mon, Bugsy, do your thing!" someone yelled.

"More! More! More!" screamed someone else.

"Skin, sugah! Show us some skin!"

Ezra danced, removing his jacket, and then his vest. The ladies cheered wildly, clapping and whistling.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Hey, Chris, is that who I think it is?" Vin asked, then tried to point without looking too obvious.

"I don't believe it," Larabee said when he caught sight of the blonde woman, and the older woman seated beside her.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Take it off! Take it off!" some of the women in the first few rows were demanding.

Standish knew then that these ladies were no ladies. He removed the airy trousers with a flourish. They screamed and stomped their feet.

"All of it! All of it! All of it! All of it!" they chanted.

Ezra tried to peer through the bright lights. Surely the rest of the team had the information they needed by now. Didn't they? He was down to his jockstrap and his muscle undershirt. With so little to choose from, he pulled the undershirt up, slowly, twitching it bewitchingly as his chest was revealed. He grinned devilishly when it was finally off, then threw it to who he thought might be the ring-leader of the chanting section.

But that only seemed to incite then into a new, more energetic frenzy.

He had nothing left to give them, nothing save the one item that stood between a hundred howling women and his dignity.

And they were demanding that he sacrifice his dignity for their carnal lust.

Surely they're through by now!

But how could he escape? There was nowhere to go, no possible way to hide.

"Monty! Monty! Monty!" the women chanted.

He knew what that meant, and he swallowed hard.

Oh the indignity of it all!

He reached back and, throwing caution, the last shreds of his pride, and his jock strap into the chanting crowd, he flung his arms open wide and accepted their adulation.

He was center stage, clad only in the amber glow of the lights. The women were screaming. And Ezra Standish did the only thing a man with his poise and distinction - not to mention extensive undercover experience - could do at a time like this.

He took a bow.

"You're hired!" he heard the judges announce. "You start tomorrow!"

And isn't that just a kick in the ass, he thought.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Didn't think he'd do it," Vin said, amazed.

"Me, either," JD replied, shaking his head.

"He's a better man than me," Buck admitted.

"Amen, brother," Josiah agreed.

"Yep," Nathan added, "that took-"

"He's a professional. He did his job," Larabee cut in.

"Ah, you're just pissed 'cause ya got dumped in the first round," Vin teased him.

"Am not."

"Are, too."

"I am not."

"Yes, ya are."

"Damn it, Tanner!"

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

"So, did you and Mary have a good time?" Orin asked his wife after he'd turned off the light and climbed into bed.

"I'll say," she replied. Then, a moment later, he felt her reach out and pull him closer, growling softly, "C'mere, tiger, I want to see if that tail will still twitch."


"Meow. . ."

"Oh my. . ."

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The next morning the members of Team Seven arrived at their office only to find that flowers had been delivered. Each man had a half-dozen roses sitting on his desk. Josiah's and Chris's were white, Vin's and Nathan's were yellow. Buck's and JD's were orange, and Ezra's were a deep blood red.

The men pulled off the small cards that accompanied each of the bouquets and read the message they found inside, then settled in to get to work.

When Chris had escaped into his office, Vin glanced over at Ezra and asked softly, "The AD ever send y'all flowers before?"

Standish shook his head. "I'm at a complete loss," he admitted, somewhat stunned. Orin Travis had never struck him as the flower-giving kind of AD, and especially not for an illegal cigarette case.

The men exchanged puzzled glances and shrugs, then turned on their computers and got back to the business of the ATF. . . or almost.

"Hey, Ezra," Vin said a short while later, "ya gonna be, huh, moonlighting at Studs now?"

JD and Buck snickered.

Standish looked up, rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically. "Mr. Tanner, as my mother always told me. . . If you have it, you might as well flaunt it."

The men burst into laughter.

"Whatever you say, Bugsy!" they chorused.

The End


Author's Second Note: This story first appeared in the Mag 7 zine, Let's Ride #8, published by Neon RainBow Press, Cinda Gillilan and Jody Norman, editors. When we all decided to post the stories that have appeared in the issues of Let's Ride that are more than two years old, we opted to use a generic pen name because, while Sierra Chaves is the primary author of this story, she had so much help from the other folks writing for the press that it just made sense to consider the story to be written by the Neon RainBow Press Collective! Resistance was futile. So, thanks to the whole Neon Gang - Dori Adams, Sierra Chaves, Dana Ely, Michelle Fortado, Patricia Grace, Deyna Greywolf, Erica Michaels, Nina Talbot, Kasey Tucker, Rebecca Wright, and Lorin and Mary Fallon Zane. Story lasted edited 10-16-2006. Art by Shiloh (shigal13@excite.com)