The Sport

by JJJunky

"Hurry up, Ezra." Buck frantically waved the con man into the office.

"This is as fast as I can advance at such an ungodly hour of the morning," Standish grumbled.

JD looked at his watch. "It's after eleven, Ezra, that's almost afternoon."

"Almost only counts in horseshoes."

"I don't care what time it is," Buck growled, attempting to shoo the southerner along with his free arm. The action did nothing to move the con man, but it did cause water to spill from the bucket he was holding. "Hurry up!"

As he was disposed to do, Ezra did the exact opposite of what was requested of him and stopped in his tracks. "Mr. Wilmington, I will not take another step until you put that container down."

"Geez, Ezra, it's only water."

"I have already completed my ablutions for the day. I do not wish to repeat them in a five-hundred dollar Armani suit."

Exasperated, Buck set the pail on the floor. "I'm not after you, I'm after Vin."

"It would not be the first time I was ensnared by one of your childish pranks." Ezra complained, keeping an eye on the ladies' man as he sidled past him into the office.

As soon as Ezra was clear, Buck stepped up on a chair and placed the bucket on the top of the door at an angle so the water would dump on the next person to enter. Jumping off his makeshift ladder, he critically eyed his trap. Satisfied, he slid the stool back in front of JD's desk.

"Buck," Josiah leaned back in his chair, "how do you know Vin's going to be the next one through that door?"

"He's in court with Chris and Judge Travis, isn't he?"

The preacher nodded agreement, the puzzlement on his face making it clear he wasn't making the connection between the two unrelated events.

"Whenever one of us goes to court with Chris and the judge," Buck patiently explained, "Chris goes upstairs with Travis afterwards to debrief, while we come back to the office to type up the report."

"That only happens when the trial is over. How do you know it's over?" Josiah persisted.

"Chris called and said they got a conviction and were on their way back."

"Brother," Josiah crossed his arms over his chest, "I hope for your sake, Vin is the next one through that door."

A worried frown momentarily banished the eager anticipation on Buck's face. "Best be on the safe side," he agreed. "JD, keep a look out."

"Why me?" The young man protested, reluctantly walking to where he could see the elevators through the gap between the door and its frame.

"Yer desk is closest to the door," Buck pointed out, moving to his own workspace. "You'll be able to git back to yer seat before Vin takes a bath."

A smile playing on his lips, Nathan warned, "You do realize he will retaliate?"

"Hell, he probably already has somethin' planned," Buck groaned, slumping in his chair. "At least I'll have the memory of a dripping Vin to sustain me."

Shaking his head, Ezra said, "Really, Mr. Wilmington, a bucket of water on top of a door."

"It is an old trick," Nathan added. "My grandfather's grandfather had it played on him."

"I wouldn't be in the least surprised if it wasn't devised by someone in Mr. Tanner's ancestral line," Ezra contributed.

The ding of an elevator arriving on the floor echoed into the office.

"It's show time," Buck smiled, rubbing his hands together. Leaning back, he put his feet up on his desk.

Josiah, Nathan and Ezra moved their chairs, giving them a clear view of the coming spectacle.

"Buck," JD's hoarse whisper sounded loud in the hushed room. "Judge Travis is with Chris and Vin and he's leading the way here."

Heavy boots thudded to the floor. "Dammit!! Get that bucket down, JD," Buck frantically ordered.

"I can't reach it." JD's lithe body circled his desk and dropped into his chair.

"I believe your partner in crime has just resigned, Mr. Wilmington." Ezra smiled broadly, his gold tooth reflecting in the fluorescent lighting.

Panic making him clumsy, Buck barreled into the door in his haste to remove the trap. The precariously balanced bucket tilted, spilling its contents over him.

"What was it you wanted me to see, Mr. Tanner?" Judge Travis' amused voice demanded, eyeing his soggy agent.

Snapping his fingers, Vin apologized, "I'm sorry, sir, I just remembered I already sent that file to your office. You didn't need to stop here after all."

Smiling broadly, Travis turned to head back to the elevators with a grinning Larabee at his side. "I'll expect the report of today's hearing on my desk before the end of the day."

"Yes, sir," Vin acknowledged.

A sheepish look on his face, Buck stared after his departing superiors before turning his attention to the smirking sharpshooter. "How did you know I had something planned?"

"It's April Fool's day," Vin reminded. "And I ain't no fool."

"But you are a lucky son-of-a-bitch."

"For 'tis the sport to have the engineer, hoist with his own petard," Ezra softly quoted.

The End