"Oh good Lord," Ezra moaned as he opened his heavy uncooperative eyes, blinking them in the early morning light that was streaming in from the saloon's window. He frowned as he took in all the bodies lying in different areas and directions. He tried to remember what had happened and mumbled, "Were we attacked?"
"Naw, Ezra, just enjoyed that present we got from that old man and his family we helped out and saved from bandits. Remember the package that came on the stage yesterday?" the voice with the Texas drawl said from the shadows to his right. Said shadow slowly moved until it took the shape of his friend.
Ezra's mind whirled for a moment while taking in Buck and JD's form on the floor still out for the count. Josiah was lying across the bar, and Nathan was sprawled with his head still on the table beside where Ezra's had been. Larabee was stretched out in two chairs, sitting in one, with his feet in the other, and a hat pulled down over his face. His mind clicking, he remembered Ms. Travis coming in carrying a large parcel to the table that all seven were sitting at. He had seen the post mark "in care of Four Corners newspaper editor M. Travis for the Seven Peace keepers. Four Corners, New Mexico Territory". It had been sent by Mr. Paulo Androplis. He was the elder of the Greek family, who had been on their way to Texas from California, that they had rescued and helped out. The package had contained several bottles of a foreign liquor only Josiah seemed to remember hearing talked about once called Ouzo. Looking around he saw all the bottles now littering the floor were empty.
Vin, seeing Ezra's eyes looking about said, "Yep, they're all empty, was a hell of a time last night."
"Why is it, Mr. Tanner, that you seem so unaffected this dreary morning as the rest of us seem to be from our over consumption of the imported drink?" Ezra demanded, though his voice never raised too loudly.
"Only had a couple of shots. Knew anything that tasted that good and so smooth that it could be guzzled was sure to have a kick like a mule. Figured I'd stay in my right mind just in case. Which worked out. It gave each of ya a bottle to enjoy," Vin grinned.
"Could you please answer another question, Mr. Tanner? Since you seem to have stayed in control of all your functions, could you please explain to me why Mr. Larabee has my hat over his face and my jacket on?" Ezra's gaze finally took in what he had been seeing now that his mind was becoming more clear, even though as it did, it seemed the drum beating inside it was waking up louder as well.
The snicker that came out first was the first warning that the answer wasn't going to bode well.
"Well, by the time Inez closed the saloon, ya was well into those bottles, and was having a good ol' time. Then Buck told JD he wasn't wearing that hat of his right and put it on his head, dropping his hat on the kid's head. And Bucklin started walking around twirling his gun like JD does talking about how he can ride, shoot and fly.. And that just started all of you off on mimicking each other," Vin explained with a grin. He had enjoyed himself last night. It was the most fun he had had in a long time watching them from on top of the stairs landing where he had sat most of the night.
Ezra, taking in the information, his mind swirling around as little flicks of memories popped up of what Vin had described and a bit more of the others laughing and remarking how they dressed better than him. But for the life of him, he just couldn't remember why he and Larabee seemed to have changed hats or why his purple jacket was now being worn by the man. Squinting against the light, he looked up toward Vin with confusion on his face.
Vin, with a twinkle in his eyes, answered the silent question. "You got to arguing with Buck and Josiah about how, with little effort, you could make anyone of them look good by changing their appearance. Larabee had already been drinking before that box came in and was tired from that long ride from Eagle Bend delivering the prisoner to the prison wagon. After he downed his bottle of that foreign stuff, he went to sleep in that chair. Since he couldn't say no, you used him for your example. You put your jacket and hat on him, and took his hat and...."
Ezra suddenly sat up straight as the missing piece fell into place at that moment. Standing up fast, though a bit wobbly, Ezra looked down at himself. He was clothed in Larabee's black duster and his pearl handle guns. "Oh good Lord, just shoot me now."
"I just might," came the hung over voice of a very awake Larabee, followed immediately by laughter in a Texas drawl.