Buck and JD entered the bull pen talking about nothing, as usual. Josiah and Nathan were at their desks booting up their computers. Ezra and Vin were already working at their desks. Chris was in his office, mad about something, if the yelling on the phone was any indication.
"What has Chris so ticked off?" Buck asked no one in particular as he sat at his desk.
"Have no idea," Josiah said. "You want to go and ask him, go right ahead."
"I'm not that stupid," Buck said. "Besides, we'll know soon enough."
The group of men heard Chris slam the phone down. Minutes later, he came out of his office, coffee mug in hand, he went to the break room. On his return trip back to his office, Chris glared at Ezra and Vin and made a noise that sounded like a growl before entering his office, slamming the door behind him.
"Okay you two, what did you do to piss him off this time?" Nathan asked.
"I assure you Mr. Jackson, neither I or Mr. Tanner did a thing to put Mr. Larabee in such a fowl mood," Ezra grinned.
Vin got up with his mug and headed for the break room. "You want any coffee, Ez?"
Josiah seen Vin hiding a grin himself.
"Yes, that does sound enticing." Ezra picked up his cup and followed Vin into the break room.
"Something happened this weekend," Nathan said as he glanced down at his watch.
"What makes you think that, Nathan?" JD asked.
"One, the way Chris glared at Vin and Ezra, two, he even growled at them, and three, Ezra is at work before eight in the morning," Nathan answered.
"Not only that," Josiah started as he stood with his coffee mug in hand, "Those two are in the break room laughing like a pair of hyenas."
Buck just about gave himself whiplash when he jerked his head up to see the clock on the wall to see if Nathan was telling the truth about Ezra being at work this early in the day.
Josiah was the first to enter the break room. He found Vin sitting on the counter and Ezra leaning against it facing him, wiping tears from his eyes from laughing so hard. Vin was doing the same and holding his stomach as he did so.
"What is so funny?" Josiah asked.
"Yeah. Spill it," Buck said coming into the break room.
JD and Nathan came in behind Buck. All four men encircled the two laughing men.
"We can't," Vin said.
"Why not?" Nathan asked.
"Because, Mr. Larabee said he would do great harm to our persons if we so much as whispered a word about this weekend."
"Damn, this has got to be good. Tell us. Now," Buck demanded.
"I knew it. You two did do something to piss him off," Nathan stated with a smile.
"I swear Nate, Ez and me didn't do anything. It was Mr. Murphy," Vin said in defense, then he and Ezra started to laugh again.
"Okay you hyenas, what happened this weekend?" Josiah said.
"Who is Mr. Murphy?" JD asked.
"He made up a bunch of laws to make one's life a series of accidents," Ezra answered through his laughter.
"Oh, that Mr. Murphy."
"Yeah, he decided to lay the law down on Chris," Vin said when he was able to stop laughing.
"Come on, I have got to know," Buck pleaded.
Ezra and Vin look to one another. "Which one of us should tell them?"
"The both of us should, Ez, because I won't be able to tell the whole thing with out laughing."
"Nor would I." Looking back at the men, Ezra, began, "Did either of you happen to notice Mr. Larabee's truck when you entered?" Each man indicated he hadn't. "That's because it isn't there to be noticed. Last Friday evening when we all left Inez's saloon or cantina, as she likes to call it, Vin and I were to stay at Chris's ranch because he didn't want to receive a phone call in the middle of the night to come and bail Vin or I out of jail or be called to the emergency room for either of us."
"When we got to the ranch, Diablo was rolling around on the ground. He got sprayed by a skunk," Vin laughed. "I called Nettie to see if she had any tomato juice or anything we could use to get rid of the stink."
"And of course, she did not. Chris was forced to go back into town and shop for the juice. In his absence, his neighbor came by and informed us his prize bull had broke down the fence between their properties and that he would have someone in the morning out to fix it."
"The Devil's Advocate? He's a mean one," JD said.
"Yep, that's the one," Vin said. "When Chris got back, we told him. He wasn't to happy about it, but there wasn't anything he could do about it. He would have to wait. He had a dog to give a bath to. He decided to do it outside."
"He expected us to help him give the bath. I had never had the opportunity to give a dog a bath, so I had no idea how one would go about giving a dog a bath, but I soon learned."
"Chris told Ez all he had to do was get the dog wet and he would do the rest. I had the job of rinsing the dog off."
"I did my job, then Chris poured gallons of tomato juice on the large dog and started scrubbing the dog with a scrub brush from the tack room."
"Ezra and me were standing off to the side when Chris finished scrubbing Diablo, Chris turned to tell me I could rinse him off when Diablo did what every wet dog does, I yell at Ezra to run when I see Diablo start to shake."
"Mr. Larabee was covered in tomato juice from head to toe, Ez laughed.
"Ezra and me couldn't help our selves. We laughed so hard. We didn't get a drop of it on us. Then Diablo ran to his doggie door with Chris right on his heels."
The guys start laughing at the image of the Labrador mix shaking the wet stuff off him, then Chris chasing the dog.
"There was tomato juice dog prints throughout the house," Ezra laughed. "Diablo was as slippery as a greased hog," Vin said. "Chris was so covered in the juice, he couldn't get any traction in his boots and was slipping and sliding on the hard wood floor along with Diablo."
"You should have heard the language Mr. Larabee was spewing at the poor animal."
"Oh, I can imagine, Ez," Buck said laughing.
"Chris finally cornered the dog and got him rinsed off in the bathroom. While he showered, me and Ez cleaned up the house as best we could. Nothing else happened that night."
"The next morning on the other hand," Ezra smiled.
"Chris decided we were going on a fishing trip. An overnight fishing trip."
"Yes, he did not give either of us a choice rather we wanted to go on an overnight fishing trip or not."
"He wanted to keep a close eye on us."
"Mr. Larabee had forgotten about his neighbor's bull from the night before. And not to mention, he had left Diablo outside for the night. So when Diablo was barking incessantly, he went to investigate."
"After Diablo woke Ezra from his beauty sleep, he joined Chris and me outside to see what was wrong."
"The sight that we were observing, wasn't what we had expected."
"Diablo and The Devil's Advocate were at a stand off. The Devil's Advocate was snorting and pawing the ground while Diablo barked and darted in and out at him like he was daring him to charge. Chris was fit to be tied."
"Chris dialed his neighbor's number and informed him his bull was currently in Chris's back yard threatening his dog. The neighbor said he would be right over. As Mr. Larabee was on the phone, Diablo forced the situation by running around to the back of the enraged bull and bit him on the heel causing the bull to kick and buck," Ezra smiled.
"Diablo ducked and didn't get kicked, but Chris ran out into the yard yelling at Diablo to leave the bull alone. The Devil's Advocate seen him coming and decided Chris was a better target."
Nathan got a serious look on his face. "How bad did Chris get hurt?"
"Fear not Mr. Jackson, our fearless leader didn't get hurt. Diablo decided to bite the bull again, which enraged the beast even more."
"Yeah, Diablo was pissing that bull off big time. They were tearing up the yard during their fight and Ezra was taking bets on who would win, the over-protective lab mix or the over -enraged bull. He then took out his digital camera and started taping it," Vin smiled.
"You can make good money by sending a tape like that to AFV, and I have every plan on doing so."
"Does Chris know?" Buck asked.
"Are you insane, Mr. Wilmington?" Ezra answered.
"Oh, he's going to kill you when he sees it on TV," Buck laughed, along with the others.
"How did you end the fight?" JD asked.
"Minnie," Vin answered. "Mr. Greene showed up with her and the stock trailer. Minnie's in heat, and The Devil's Advocate being male and all..." Vin shrugged.
"It didn't hurt when Mr. Greene brought his Spaniel mix, Daisy, with him, who was in heat as well," Ezra smiled.
"Smart man," Buck laughed.
"Yes, well, now we had another kind of confrontation on our hands."
Vin started to laugh at the memory. "You should have been there. Mr. Greene got The Devil's Advocate finally loaded, but when he went to get into the truck, Daisy was gone."
"Let me guess, Diablo?" Josiah said.
Both men nodded, since they couldn't speak because they were laughing to hard. Finally Vin said, "Behind the barn."
They all laughed so hard, Vin almost fell off the counter and Buck almost out of the chair he was sitting in.
It took a few minutes before Ezra and Vin could go on with their story.
"Since the day was more then half gone, Mr. Larabee decided we would go fishing in the morning, early. Mr. Greene informed us he had an outboard we could borrow. Since The Devil's Advocate tore up the yard, it was the least he could do."
"He wasn't even mad about Diablo and Daisy hooking up. He thought it was funny," Vin said. "So, Chris decided to start up the grill and cook out. The thing is, Diablo was feeling his Cheerios."
"Mr. Larabee thawed some steaks to grill. And while he prepared his home made sauce, Diablo, in his hyper state, knocked over the grill, spilling hot charcoal briquettes onto the ground and causing a small fire."
"It didn't do much damage, but Chris was so mad, I think he could have committed murder."
"Mr. Larabee had to cook the steaks in the oven. Diablo was put in solitary confinement for his own safety after he made off with half of the steaks," Ezra said.
"After he knocked the pan with the steaks in it on the floor, we had to settle for burgers."
"Oh, man. That dog can be a pain in the ass," Buck said.
"But what does all this have to do with Chris's Truck not being here?" JD asked.
"We're getting to that, JD. After we ate, Chris went over to Mr. Greene's and got his outboard and trailer so we could get an early start in the morning, while Ez and me got the worms."
"You went worm hunting?" Nathan asked, aiming the question at Ezra.
Ezra raised his brow as if to say: Not in this life time. "I held the flash light. Mr. Tanner was the one hunting for them."
"When Chris got back, we all went to bed so we could get up in the morning."
"The next day, Mr. Larabee woke us up at four thirty in the morning. The sun was still sleeping. Why we had to wake at such an unGodly hour was beyond me. But I did it, not wanting to infuriateMr. Larabee and make the weekend worst than it had already had been," Ezra said.
"Since when?" Nathan said.
"Since Chris threatened to shred his lucky deck of cards if he said one word about the trip," Vin smiled.
"That would do it," Buck laughed.
"Yes, well, there is that, but Mr. Murphy avenged me," Ezra smiled.
"I say he did. Everything went fine. We were in the water as the sun came up. We had our poles in the water as soon as we could see to bait them. Ezra was not going to touch a worm, so I brought a small can of corn. One of my foster dads used corn when he didn't have worms, he swore by it. Said sometimes the fish would bite better with corn than worms."
"Mr. Larabee laughed at the idea of Vin and I catching fish with corn. I decided to give it a try, since the alternative was a slimy, squirming, dirty worm," Ezra stated.
"Hold it, you're telling us, the two of you are in an outboard in the middle of a lake with Chris?" JD asked in disbelief.
"Yep, it was going fine to for a while until Ezra here landed a big one," Vin laughed.
"It was not my fault the net had a tear. How was I to know the fish would do what it did."
"What happened?" JD asked.
"Yeah, spill it," Buck added.
"As Ezra said, we didn't know there was a tear in the net. So, when Ez got the fish close enough, Chris reached for the fish with the net, but the fish went through it, so Ez is trying to reel it in, Chris leans over the edge of the boat to grab it, at the same time the fish decided to break the line, causing the boat to unsettle..."
"Don't tell us, Chris ended up in the lake?" Buck laughed when Ezra and Vin nodded.
"Did you and Ezra end up in the water?" Nathan asked.
"No, we did not," Ezra answered with a smile. "After helping Mr. Larabee out of the water, Mr. Tanner restrung my pole."
"He no sooner put his line in the water, he got another bite. I swear, it was the same fish," Vin laughed. "This time we was able to get it in the boat."
"Vin had a fish on his line, so Mr. Larabee and I were the ones to land the rather large fish. Then we helped Vin to land his."
"Ezra and me were catching one fish after another. Chris didn't catch even one fish."
"Yes, and we were using corn on our lines," Ezra grinned.
"Talk about adding insult to injury," Nathan laughed.
"It gets better, Mr. Jackson. It seems the weather man was wrong on his prediction of no rain storms."
"Oh, no way?" JD stated more than asked.
"Oh yeah. Chris was already soaked from falling into the lake, and now a downpour."
"The outboard motor didn't want to start at first, but after a few words were said, the motor decided it had best start."
"We get to where we put in, Chris goes and gets the truck and trailer while Ez and me wait with the outboard. We get the outboard loaded on the trailer, then you wouldn't guess what happened next."
"The emergency brake goes out onthe truck, then proceeds to back up into the lake."
"We didn't even have the boat tied to the trailer frame, so while Chris is trying to get the driver side door open, the boat is floating in the water."
"Now keep in mind, the front of the boat is anchored to the trailer, thus, when the trailer ends up in the water, the boat's nose is submersed."
The other four men were roaring in laughter.
"To make things worse, the county sheriff shows up just when Chris gets the truck to stop."
"The man was only teasing Mr. Larabee when he said, and I quote: Hey Mister, you ain't suppose to park in the lake."
"And Chris in the mood he was in, went off."
"And while Mr. Larabee took his anger out on the sheriff, his rod and reel were floating in the lake and getting further and further away along with his tackle box and worms."
"Chris's lucky lure? Gone?" Buck asked.
"Yep, Ezra and me watched them slide out of the boat, and float away."
"I turned to Mr. Tanner and asked if we should interrupt Mr. Larabee and the sheriff to inform him of his rod and reel and tackle box floating away."
"I said, naw, he looks busy," Vin laughed "The sheriff gave Chris a ticket for illegal parking and impounded the truck, the trailer and the outboard."
"And to top it off, Mr. Larabee must attend anger management classes, as well as pay for the truck, trailer and boat to be un-impounded."
The six men were laughing so hard, they had tears in their eyes when Chris entered the break room.
Chris looked at Vin and Ezra. "You told them."
"Hey stud, how much did the Judge set the bail for the truck?" Buck teased.
Chris turned on his heel as he growled and left his team howling like a pack of wolves.