Ezra´s Secret

by Beth Green

Author´s Note: Despite the title, the gang´s all here. This is a crossover, of sorts. I apologize in advance for this story which is the result of what happens when my muses decide that the Imp of the Perverse is ascendant.

The members of Team Seven were decidedly unhappy. With one notable exception, the entire team was forced to remain late Friday evening in order to complete their backlogged paperwork. A long week of successful operations meant additional paperwork was required to sufficiently document their activities.

JD was so tired that his eyes kept crossing, making it doubly difficult to complete his current task.

Buck had had to cancel a dinner date. Normally that was not a problem for the gregarious ladies´ man. However, he had been trying to wrangle a date with Denise, the new file clerk for the past month before she finally yielded to his charm. Unfortunately, this was the second time he´d had to cancel on her. The lady in question was not pleased. In fact, she requested that Buck not call her again.

Vin found the rigors of report-typing taxing beyond belief even at the best of times. Coupled with the exhaustion brought on by a hectic workweek, the job was damn near impossible. He cursed silently to himself as his computer screen kept oh-so-helpfully pointing out mistake after mistake.

Josiah was also experiencing difficulty. His problem was more physical than mental. He´d had to subdue an unarmed but uncooperative suspect quickly and efficiently. The method he´d employed had gotten the job done but had left Josiah with a tender and aching right hand after it had pummeled the man´s face.

Nathan´s paperwork was complicated by the fact that, in addition to detailing his part in the team´s operations, he had to complete an incident report relating to Chris´ job-related injury. Nathan frowned as he typed. He still could not believe that he wasn´t working on a second incident report, one for Ezra. The EMT had been certain that Ezra had been injured at the same time as Chris.

A suspect had taken a run at both agents using a forklift as a battering ram. Chris had nearly managed to jump out of the way in time. Were it not for the fact that his right leg trailed behind him as he´d lunged toward shelter, he would´ve escaped unscathed.

Nathan had seen Ezra bounce off the side of the same forklift. By the way the undercover agent moved afterward, Nathan was certain that the man had broken several ribs as well as an arm. Ezra managed to disappear from the scene before Nathan could examine him. When he´d turned up later at the hospital, the doctor had given him a clean bill of health. Nathan shook his head as the scene replayed itself in his mind. There was no way Ezra hadn´t been injured, but the team´s healer could not deny the emergency room report.

The one good thing about Chris´ injury is that one of the ladies from the secretarial pool had taken pity on the man and typed up his reports for him. However, the large cast on his right leg made driving an impossibility. He had invited Vin to spend the weekend at the ranch, gaining himself a chauffeur as well as someone to look after the horses.

In the meantime, he crutch-walked around the office getting on everyone´s nerves. Nathan scolded, “Chris, don´t you remember what the doctor told you about keepin´ that leg elevated?”

Chris grumpily replied, “I´ve been keeping it elevated. I´m tired of doing nothing but sitting around. Vin, how much longer you gonna be?”

Vin did not attempt to disguise the irritation in his voice. “Let me see, the way you been interruptin´, I expect I ought to finish up, oh, somewhere around next Tuesday.”

Buck snorted in amusement. Before he could make some witty little comment, Chris pierced him with an ice-green glare. “I ain´t talking to you.”

“Alright, Chris, but the way you been walkin´ and talkin´, ain´t none of us gettin´ much work done. I don´t know about you all, but I´m gettin´ hungry. What say we call out for some Chinese?”

Buck´s fellow teammates all agreed. Chris was given the job of taking everyone´s order which kept him busy enough for the rest of Team Seven to complete another page or two of their reports.

The food provided a welcome opportunity for everyone to unwind. The cartons were quickly passed around, their contents more or less evenly distributed. JD frowned down into the empty bottom of one. “Hey, where´s my eggroll? I thought we ordered six of ‘em?” He looked at his teammates´ plates, his eyes drawn to Vin who was trying to shield the contents of his from prying eyes. JD was not deterred. He set down his own plate, the better to snatch the coveted eggroll from Vin.

Vin´s reaction time had been honed from his years as a sharpshooter. He repeatedly snatched the eggroll away from JD´s grasping hands. Vin showed no mercy, stating, “Last time we got Chinese, seems like I recollect you takin´ off with my eggroll. I figure it´s payback time.”

Buck laughed at the uneven struggle. Finally, he took mercy on the kid. “Here, JD, you can have mine. Your food´s gettin´ cold.” As he finished off the last of the Moo Shu beef, Buck commented, “This sure wasn´t the dinner I was plannin´ on for today, but it´ll do.”

JD´s eyebrows rose at that comment. “It´ll do? Didn´t I hear you say not an hour ago that life as you knew it was over after Denise told you to take a long walk off a short pier?”

Buck´s grin disappeared as he scolded, “Now JD, I had managed to put aside the pain of my broken heart for a time. Thank you so much for reminding me of it.”

JD blithely ignored Buck´s sarcasm. “You´re welcome.”

Josiah decided that it was time to remind everyone of the task at hand. “Well, now that we´ve all eaten, I suggest we return to work.” Josiah´s pronouncement was met with various sounds of discontent.

JD attempted to put on his best “innocent lamb” expression as he punned, “Now that we´re all fed up, you mean?”

Nathan offered, “You know what they say about people who make puns, don´t you? They should be drawn and quoted.” He smiled at the chorus of groans that greeted his comment.

Buck smiled. Heck, with the exception of the sobriety and the paperwork, this was turning into what would pass for a typical evening at the Saloon. Buck couldn´t resist sharing a story. “I like what Dave Barry has to say about puns. He says that puns are a thing that a particular sort of person loves to spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way as if to say that he thinks that you must think that he is without a doubt the cleverest person on Earth now that Ben Franklin is dead, when in fact what you´re really thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other passengers will toss him overboard before the end of the first day even if they have plenty of food and water.”

Josiah chuckled appreciatively, then stated, “As much as I´m enjoying this pun-fest, I´d really like to get out of here sometime before the weekend is over.”

Nathan agreed. “Yeah, if I was Ezra, I´d already be home.”

Buck´s curiosity was piqued at the mention of Ezra´s name. “What is it with him, anyway? How could he have finished his paperwork so quick? He had just as much work to do as any of us.”

Josiah offered, “He types real fast?”

JD stated, “So do I, but I ain´t nowhere near done yet. Maybe he took a page from Chris´ book and had someone from the secretarial pool do it.”

Buck disagreed. “Nope. If one of them ladies had helped out Ezra, I´d be the first to know about it.” This pronouncement was greeted with varying expressions of disbelief, so much so that Buck became defensive. “Well, I would. I knew right away when Wendy offered to help out Chris today. Of course, it didn´t hurt when he went hobblin´ by her desk, lookin´ pitiful as all get-out. If them gals wouldn´t do it for me, they certainly wouldn´t do it for Ezra.”

JD waved his hands in surrender. “I´m not touching that line, despite the fact that we got an unwritten rule that when someone leaves himself open with a hole big enough to drive a truck through it, the other fella is obliged to do something about it. No, I just wish I knew Ezra´s secret.”

Nathan agreed. “Yeah, this sure ain´t the first time he´s done something like that, and I´m sure it won´t be the last. I tell you, there´s something unnatural about that man.”

Buck chuckled. “I believe you´re right. I always suspected him of dying his hair.”

Nathan frowned. “That´s not what I meant. It´s just that, I swear he got himself injured by the same forklift that took out Chris. Yet, when I saw him a couple hours later, he didn´t have a scratch on him. And remember that concussion he got a couple months ago? Anyone else would´ve been in the hospital a couple of days. Ezra was back to work the next day.”

Chris wasn´t buying anyone´s suspicions. “So he´s a quick healer and a quick typist. What´s the big deal?” Chris thumped on his cast with his crutch. “Wish I could heal that fast.”

Nathan scolded, “Cut that out.”

Chris rolled his eyes, but quit tapping on the cast. He wasn´t going to admit it to Nathan, but the vibration had caused pain to radiate along his broken leg. It wouldn´t do the man any good to inflate his ego any by letting on that he was right. Chris muttered, “Stupid cast.”

Vin returned to his computer with a sigh. “Wish I knew Ezra´s secret.”

JD agreed. “Don´t we all.”

+ + + + + + +

The man in question was currently preparing to enjoy his weekend. Ezra had his stereo turned on, a Mozart piano concerto playing in the background. He settled into his favorite chair, a bottle sitting on the end table next to him, a glass of brandy nearby awaiting his sensitive palate. A scantily clad blonde joined him. Ezra sighed at the vision before him. She was really quite lovely. He looked at his surroundings, deciding that something was missing.

With a gesture, he summoned the woman closer. “Jeannie, I do believe that a nice warm fire would provide the perfect backdrop for our evening. Would you be so kind as to indulge me?”

The blonde crossed her arms, replying with a subservient, “Yes, Master.” With a nod and a blink of her eyes, a fireplace suddenly appeared where before there had been a plain wall. With another blink and nod, a roaring fire cast a pleasant glow in the room.

Ezra leaned back, sighing in satisfaction. “Ah. Thank you. You may retire for the evening.”

With another, “Yes, Master,” Jeannie disappeared in a puff of smoke and drifted into her bottle.

Ezra chuckled to himself. Jeannie was his little secret, and he intended to keep it that way.


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