by Twyla Jane
DISCLAIMERS: This is fan fiction. No profit involved. It is based on
the television series "The Magnificent Seven". No infringement upon
the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp.
or any others involved with that production is intended. The August 2003 Challenge
(The Mythology Challenge): offered by Meg Tipper
In any universe you want, take any myth or legend, whether it be Greek, Norse, Native American, Chinese or even a modern one, like an urban legend, and retell the story with our boys. Have them live it. Now, I don't mean describing JD killing a lion in ancient Greece and wearing the pelt around his shoulders like Hercules (though that'd be pretty funny), I only mean for you to take the basic plot of the myth and modernize it, or westernize it, as the case may be. An example of this would be, say, the way the movies My Fair Lady, Mannequin and Pretty Woman each did a funky spin on the myth of Pygmalion (the sculptor who fell in love with his statue, she came to life, then found that, though he tried to teach her, she couldn't live in his world). In other words, keep a few salient plot points, like having three maidens (no need to actually use gods and goddesses) offering Buck "golden apples," but in your retelling, "Troy" doesn't have to fall. So long as the myth or legend is recognizable, that's enough. Any universe. BONUS a number of us saw Anthony Starke spout an unintentionally hilarious line on his ep of Brisco County Jr. If you can have Ezra say this line in your story, you win a gold star! The line (and thanks Steph!) was "Let me at him, pop, I can take him!" Good luck! Okay I tried, this feeble attempt to answer the challenge is a companion piece to Postcards, E-mails and Lifes other assorted Postscripts Thanks to Mog for this AU, Angela B. for continually pestering to write these days and to Heather F. for a kindly assist at my loss for a word. 9/14/03
Somewhere over Guangzhou in South East China
Hong Kong had been his original destination, he had been sent overseas to attend an International Law Enforcement conference courteous of A.D. Travis. Actually that wasnt entirely true, Ezra had volunteered for the assignment. Holidays were difficult at best for the southerner, out of sight out of mind seemed at the time the best way to endure them was to avoid them entirely.
Flickering lights and sudden bone jarring drop jolted Standish from his thoughts. The plane brutally shuddered. Flight 191 passengers were tightly buckled in along with the flight attendants because it was no longer safe for anyone to freely about the cabin. The jumbo jet roughly pitched from side to side as it began its descent. Wing flaps whirred as they were continual adjusted as they were extended and engines groaned as the pilots attempted to keep a somewhat steady course towards an unseen landing strip on the dark earth below. Mechanical troubles combined with the growing turbulence made for a rough, nauseating ride for the jetliners passengers that included one miserable A.T.F. undercover agent.
The plane banked as it further slowed down during the approach, glanced through the window watching as the lights from the landing strip came into view. So close they lit up the black night. The airframe violently shook and vibrated around him as the right wing dipped precariously close to the tarmac before making contact. Sitting trapped in his seat Ezra watched. Sparks flew around him the fuselage split open revealing the starry sky, before blinding light sent him tumbling into oblivion.
A shiver coursed through his body. How he ended up sopping wet standing up to his knees in water defied explanation. Bewildered Ezra, oblivious to the tattered bloodied state of his attire, stood there watching as fiery chunks of debris fell to the wet ground around him unable to comprehend what had happened.
Sirens sounded off in the distance. Bright flashing light announced the approach of the emergency crews.
The sudden rush of people and sounds failed to jar Standish from his reverie, it wasnt until a rescuer lightly touched his arm did he take in their presence. For once his vast command of dialects and languages failed him. He was unable to understand what the concerned man was saying to him but the concern in the dark eyes was evident but despite the lack of comprehension Ezra weakly nodded and allowed the rescuer to lead him away into the safety of a waiting ambulance. Somewhere amidst a myriad of noise and activity, Ezra Standish fell asleep.
It seemed that Dame Fortune indeed had a cruel sense of humor. His misadventure had left him with a dozen stitches just through the hairline at the back base of his skull and a resounding headache. After spending most of the night into wee hours of the morning being shuffled through the hospital and despite of his earlier wishes Ezra wanted nothing more than to return home.
In the lull in sound that had settled over the immediate area he heard a rather distinctive voice speaking the Queens English. So with as much energy as he could muster he sought out its owner.
Less than two hours later Ezra Standish was aboard another airplane without even a pair of shoes to his name headed towards Malaysia. Turned out that voice belonged an Airline representative who within several minutes was persuaded into arranging passage for the rumpled and bruised federal agent.
Despite being grateful that no one had been killed when the plane had split apart Ezra couldnt find any humor in his present situation. The previous evenings disastrous luck had apparently carried over into the morning. Because some how, some where along the line something vital got lost in translation in spite of all the Airliner representatives reassurances he had been put on the wrong plane and heading in the wrong direction. Granted Standish hadnt had all his mental faculties, a gear or two may have been misaligned but he could at least differentiate east from west. When the rising sun had peered through the clouds near the tail section of the aircraft he knew immediately something was amiss and with as much grace as his aching head would allow he informed the flight staff of this error. Of course they had been quite courteous, a connecting flight to Japan had been arranged before he had even landed. An airport official had even greeted him at the gate with a boarding pass along with fresh clothes.
The hot and humid weather did little to improve Ezras irritable mood. Because of the quick turn around he had just barely had enough time to change unfortunately not shower. He steadfastly maintained his sense of decorum, there was no point in losing that. What had happened was no ones fault just bad timing and ill luck. At least he was on his way again herded along with his fellow passengers into a cramped transfer vehicle. Thankfully he managed to secure a spot next to a window. His bruised body leaned into the glass as he stared out at the darkening skies watching at the rain began to fall gently at first. The gently rush of sound filled the transport as the rain washed over its roof, that was quickly replaced loud thuds as the rain increased in intensity the large unidentified objects pelted the metal exterior. Standish squinted through the sheet rain to see what it was.
There they were, hundreds of fish, flopping around, on the ground below. A large dark object came flying out periphery and smashed through the glass hitting him square in the chest.
Blinking several times Ezra looked up past the people hovering over him, he couldnt understand what they were saying anyway over the loud ringing in his ears, the ceiling definitely needed a paint job. The tan paint was chipped down to bare metal and was beginning to rust in spots. Knowing full well that the fates were conspiring against him, and doing their best to deny him achieving his goal to simply return home.
Present discomfort aside, his sense of humor had returned. In fact he has just finished sending Mr. Dunne an e-mail. That in itself wasnt unusual just letting his friends know in his very own special round about way that he was en route and was okay, what was unusual was the small fact he had already sent two to his boss. Some might think that sending postcards via express overnight mail a tad extravagant when a simple phone would have sufficed but he just couldnt make that call. Explanations could wait until his return home especially since he intended to amend the details of his travels, he was sure that Mr. Wilmington would have a field day with the part about him getting flattened by a thirty pound fish that fell from the sky. Bad puns would run rampant. Oh My Cod! Holy Mackerel Ez ya really oughta learn how to duck.! Just the thought had him laughing. Not a wise action in his condition, it caused his bruised ribs to burn and his still aching head to pound.
At least it was a calm clear morning, he had touched down in Okinawa an only an hour ago. Standish had been delayed in Malaysia only able to depart after he was deemed fit for travel. It seemed the local authorities had the ridiculous notion that he should be hospitalized. He very loudly and adamantly refuted the idea with the emergency, an argument that ended with him being roughly wrestled to the ground and jabbed in the posterior with a needle. Dirty Pool. Ezra wondered if they had taken lessons from Mr. Jackson.
Another chuckle slipped out accompanied a renewed cycle of aches and pains. Mr. Sanchez would have seen this misfortune in a different context. Heaven sent as it was. No he would be able to live this down Mr. Tanner, in his own quiet demented way, would not let this go easy. Ezra couldnt stop laughing, what people there were milling about in the near empty airport either stared or looked away. His mother would be mortified at such an undignified display. Which made him laugh even harder. So hard he didnt hear any of the boarding announcements until the final call was muffled through the speakers.
When Ezra finally lurched to his feet and made his way towards the boarding gate still caught up in his own mirth failed to notice canvas divider until it was too late. Failing to stay upright, his knee painfully twisted underneath him as he became hopelessly entangled in the human equivalent of a cattle chute (otherwise known as the damn rope to your left and if you don't heed it, the airline staff will strangle you with it rope thingy). Utter and undeniable humiliation was made complete when dividers chrome post skittered across the floor solidly connecting his already tender head. A fraction of a second later the absurdity of what just transpired had him rolling in a renewed bout of giddy laughter as he lay flattened out on the cool tiled floor.
There was a light breeze, it felt nice caressing bare flesh Ezra Standish had limped out onto his hotel rooms balcony. A small damp towel covered the barest of his assets, he didnt mind. If fact he was too tired to be concerned about much. At least he was clean, sleep however was forsaken for the long hot soak there wasnt time for both. As it was there was just enough time to slip back into the stained, torn clothing before checking out and making his way to the airport via a taxi that would be arriving in less than twenty minutes. He did however take a moment out to send out the post card to the boys. That thought made him smile, he would deal with the repercussions when he got back.
Dawdling wasnt in his plans as Ezra hobbled inside and sat down trying to figure out precisely how to get pants over a badly swollen knee without throwing up.
Fifteen minutes later Ezra was leaning heavily against the front desk whilst waiting to check out. The little graying haired man had scurried off with airline voucher. It had taken what seemed an eternity to dress and make his way into the hotels reception area. All the arrangements for his stay in Guam had been thankfully taken care of by one in a seemingly unending line of airline staff. Much to his chagrin, new clothing had not been supplied, though monies for their purchase had been. Another thing he opted not to do, instead Ezra had the meager garments he had been wearing sent out. Although they had been pressed and laundered they were still in a sorry state of affairs . A muffled car horn brought on a renewed sense of urgency.
Excuse me excuse me my dear man it seems my transport has arrived.. To which the man didnt say a word but just merely waved him on his way. So much for maintaining any sense of decorum, Standish mentally shrugged, then shuffled slowly across the lobby and out the door.
Screeching tires woke him from a dead sleep. Funny, Ezra didnt remember falling asleep. That puzzling thought was exchanged with another as bellowing filled the interior of the cab.
Then he was floating. That sensation lasted for a split second, ending as his shoulder solidly irrevocably and quite painfully connected with the cars door. He managed to peel his eyes open as the vehicle came to an abrupt halt just inches from its bovine road block. The animals velvety muzzle nuzzled his forehead before swiped a long wet tongue across his face. The only words that tumbled from his lips were a weary , Oh my lord!
Three days later
The wiper blades slapped a rhythmic beat as they constantly cleared the slushy snow from the wind shield. Josiah squinted . Cautiously eyeing the Airport Carrier signs nearly obscured by a fine layer of powdery white, while he tried to keep his gaze focused on the airport bus that was chugging through the heavy snow fall a head of the ancient Suburban. Although the large vehicle was crammed with six people, they were eerily quiet as he finally slowed down in front of the Arrivals Terminal. Buck was out of the passenger seat before the S.U.V. had fully stopped, loping across the sidewalk disappearing through the automatic doors without saying a word.
The arrivals terminal was almost empty save the odd passenger from the early morning flights. Wilmington couldnt miss the slow moving, shuffling form of his team mate. Ezra Standish was a pathetic sight to see as the man made his way painfully limping towards the customer service desk. Buck picked up his pace and head straight for him calling out to him as he closed the distance.
A startled Standish twisted around unwisely pivoting his mid section. Buck winced in sympathy as Ezra paled and stopped stock still clenching his eyes shut, obviously trying to ride out the pain. Seemed to waver in place for a moment until Wilmington reached out and got a firm grip under an uninjured arm, speaking to the unsteady man in a soothing tone. Trying to make sure that the southerner was.
You are right pard? Didnt mean to startle ya.
Mr. Wilmington Buck what are you doing here? Standishs voice was tight with pain, and sounded genuinely bewildered by the presence of the big mustached agent.
We were looking for you you need to sit down? Wilmingtons easy tone didnt seem to reassure the weary man.
Oh gawd no.... I just want to go home. Ezra let out in an exasperated rush, but the regret of the misspoken words was easy to read. Apparently the gregarious man hadnt heard them or opted to ignore them because Bucks booming voice had Ezra cringing in pain.
HEY BOYS OVER HERE!!! With his head still whirling he barely caught what Buck said next. Sorry Ez might as well forget about going home for now I dont think anyones going to let you outta their sight anytime soon.
December 25th 8:17 p.m.
In the glow of the fireplace Chris Larabee lightly fingered the final postcard in his hand, gazing over at the bruised featured of the man still asleep in his recliner. He still hadnt gotten the complete story. Hell, he hadnt even gotten a partial one but it wasnt for lack of trying on their parts. Vin had managed to pull out a partial truth about the postcards from the southerner, they were sent because he hadnt wanted them to worry. Worry, he wondered what went through that mans mind. Surely Standish knew he scared a few years off of them all. No, Chris corrected himself, he did know because instead of arguing about coming out to the ranch Ezra quietly accepted the offer. It was progress after all. Now it was time to extract his undercover agent from the leather chair and get him into the guest room.
Time to get up
Is it morning already? A single blood shot eye blinked open. Chris wasnt sure if Standish had all his faculties he pressed on as he did.
No figured you be more comfortable sleeping in a bed
Whether or not Standish understood him was debatable as the man blearily rubbed at his one good eye but Chris took it as a yes and flipped off the blanket covering Ezras legs before slowly levering the recliner into its upright position. Mindful of his friends injuries allowing Ezra to get to his feet under his own steam.
As he shadowed Ezra to the guest room he thought hed try asking one more time. What happened?
The unadulterated truth?
An abbreviated version would be fine. Chris replied as he gently steered the teetering con man into the darkened guest room guiding him along until Ezra sank down on to the edge of the bed.
Simply I fell out of a plane. Flew in the wrong direction. By the way Mr. Larabee have you ever been hit by a thirty pound fish?
No Ez, Cant say I have.
Well I assure it is quite painful, where was I oh yes the fish Then I was assaulted by the canvas divider in the designated passenger boarding area
That rope thingy?
Indeed that rope thingy did harm to my person, and finally the taxi versus cow delayed my return about as long as the appalling weather. Ezra sat there for a moment trying to decide if laying down would be any more comfortable than remaining seated there.
Why didnt you just say this earlier? On second thought..
A familiar snigger from the dimly lit hallway sent an uncomfortable shiver up his spine.
Oh my Cod Merry Christmas Ez.
Ezra winced as he replied, Merry Christmas Mr. Wilmington, knowing he was never going to live this down.