Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be.
Author's Note: This fic was written in response to a challenge to make a cartoon character human and put them in an M7 story. The cartoon character depicted is very famous in Britain and information about him can be found at the end of the story. Betaed by Phyllis.
Buck looked around him; his eyes wide as saucers, mouth open, hand clamped like a vice around JD's. Beside him Chris strode more confidently beside Vin, also taking in the sights with excitement. Josiah walked beside Vin; he stole a quick glance at the man beside him. They all knew Vin didn't like big crowds or big towns, but the boys had been so excited about the county fair, that he hadn't been able to say no. Josiah, Ezra and Nathan had all offered to take his place, but he refused. Chris wanted his new father to share this adventure, and Vin wouldn't disappoint him. Ezra had taken one look at a town full people with money burning holes in their pockets and drinking far more then they were used to and his hands positively itched to start a poker game; but he put that aside, at least until after dark. For now he was happy to share in their family's day of fun.
"What are wees gonna do first?" Buck asked, looking around excitedly.
They surveyed the rows of stalls and games. After trying a few games, mostly involving throwing or rolling balls or hoops - and avoiding the ones Ezra told them were rigged - Chris had a new sling shot and Buck - with some help from JD - a stick of peppermint candy. Ezra has reduced the 'Find the Lady' man to a gibbering wreck and taken all his money, much of which spent on lunch for everyone.
"What's that?" Buck asked.
"Test you stre " Chris struggled to sound out the last word.
"Strength," Ezra supplied.
"Josiah should do that!" Buck stated. "He's the strongest person in the whole wide world."
"Well I'm not sure that's true but " Josiah began to walk toward the sign.
There was a tall stand with a bell at the top and a groove running down the centre. Along the side of the groove was a scale marked out with such terms as 'Hercules' 'Strong man' 'Muscles' and at the bottom 'weakling'. A red pointer marked the highest strike so far; it was at least a foot below the bell.
"Care to take a swing sir?" the owner asked as Josiah looked the apparatus up and down. "Hit the bell and you'll win $100."
"A lot of money," Josiah commented.
"Wow," Chris commented. "You'll be rich."
"I haven't won yet." But even as he spoke Josiah was pulling out the dollar entry fee.
"And you won't," Ezra told him confidently.
"What does that mean?" the owner asked.
"It means that at a dollar a strike you need at least 100 players to cover the prize, say another 50 to cover your expenses and what; another 50 profit? So in effect the odds of striking the bell are at least 200 to 1." Ezra looked over to the man, challenging him to deny the truth of his calculations.
"I have to make a profit, but it is possible, and if anyone can do it "
Josiah never could resist a challenge, and handed over the money.
"Come on 'Siah, you can do it," Vin encouraged.
He picked up the mallet and gave it a few practice swings then, with one almighty effort swung and struck the spike. The sledge was sent rocketing up the post, it hit the red marker and raised it - a whole two inches.
"Damn it," Josiah cursed.
The boys' shoulders slumped with disappointment.
"Never mind," Nathan commiserated, "you're still the strongest one to try it."
"I guess." Josiah shook his head in disappointment as he turned away.
After consuming the caramel apples Ezra purchased for all of them, with more of his winnings, as a consolation. They came upon a stand offering a prize of a hobbyhorse if you could hit a small target with a wooden ball.
"That one's for you Nathan," Josiah told his friend.
"Oh I don't know."
"I have to say Mr Jackson, if anyone can hit it, you can," Ezra agreed.
Nathan noticed Buck's pleading eyes. "Oh very well."
But as they reached the stand, they noticed it was being closed up. "A bit early to shut up shop isn't it?" JD asked.
"No option, darn thing's busted."
The men and boys from Four Corners turned as one to look at the target. It had been a very small bulls-eye on the end of a long arm, if struck with sufficient force the arm would swing around, presenting the player with a sigh saying 'Winner'. Unfortunately the arm was broken. All but snapped in two.
"What happened?" JD asked.
"Some big feller - real big - came along, said he wanted the hobby horse for his nephew, hit it first time, snapped it in two, just like that. Never happened before, never! It's gonna cost me a fortune in lost sales."
With that they left the rows of stalls and games and went to watch the rodeo. They had only been there an hour when JD noticed a heavy weight on his thigh. Buck had fallen asleep, sleeping with his head in his father's lap. After the bronc riding it was time for the livestock sale. As much as Chris loved horses, watching them being sold wasn't much fun.
"Come on, let's explore some more," Vin suggested.
"I'll come with you," Ezra offered.
Leaving the others watching the sale, while Buck slept, the tree of them ventured back into the town.
A couple of hours later, the others set out to find them. Buck had woken up and was sitting atop Josiah's shoulders. From this vantage point, he quickly spotted the other members of his 'family'. As they approached, Nathan detected a problem.
"Vin?" he asked curiously. "What's wrong?"
"I told ya, I'm fine."
'I'm fine' was a statement guaranteed to make Nathan suspicious. "Chris?"
"Tell me the truth."
Chris chewed his lip, he didn't want to betray his father, but he didn't wasnt to lie.
"It's for his own good," Nathan reminded.
There was a long silence, finally Chris said. "There was a pie eating contest."
"Chris," Vin warned.
"Vin entered but he was beat and then he "
"He was real sick, it was disgusting!"
"Let me get this right," JD began. "Vin not only lost a pie eating contest, he was sick afterwards?"
"Eew," Buck exclaimed.
"You lost?" Josiah asked with clear incredulity.
JD looked around. "What happened to Ezra?"
"He bet on Vin and then he said it wasn't fair and he's real cross," Chris explained.
To prove the point, the man himself came toward them, muttering to himself. "Some things are just understood, some things don't need stating." He looked up at the others. "Right?"
"What things?" JD asked.
"If a man enters a pie eating contest, the pies will be fruit - correct? Apple, cherry, even peach?"
"I guess," JD admitted.
"So what kind of pie was they?" Buck asked.
"Not pies plural," Ezra corrected. "Pie, singular. Beef, one huge beef pie. So huge it must have held an entire cow. One almost expected the horns to be protruding from the crust. The prize was to the first one to finish this monstrosity."
"And Vin lost?" Josiah asked again, still clearly having trouble with the concept, for indeed Vin's eating ability was legendary in Four Corners.
"To this beomouth of a man, I swear he would make two of Mr Sanchez."
"He was real fat too," Chris added. "His belly stuck right out like he was a lady havin' a baby." He then demonstrated how far the man's stomach stretched, but apparently his arms weren't long enough.
Just then there was the distinctive 'ding' of a small bell. Everyone turned to see a crowd around the 'Test Your Strength' stand as a cheer went up. In the centre of the throng was a man, a huge man, at least seven feet tall. He had a lantern jaw - which needed a shave - was wearing a red shirt, leather vest and blue jeans.
"That's him," Chris explained.
"Bet he broke the ball game," Buck stated confidently.
"That is a bet I would take," Ezra told him.
They all flinched at the high-pitched, ear splitting shriek from behind them. As they watched the huge man flinched as a diminutive old woman strode across the street, parting the crowd like Moses parting the Red Sea.
"What have you been doing? There are chores to be done at home young man and where are you? We came here to buy a new cow, not waste our money on foolish games!"
"But Aunt Aggie," the man - presumably Dan - protested.
"Dont you 'But Aunt Aggie' me, you git yer self back home now!"
"Well he may throw harder then Nathan, eat more than Vin and hit harder than Josiah, but he still has to do what a little old woman says," JD observed.
"Not like us - right?" Chris asked happily.
"No, we're our own men."
"Yeah!" Buck exclaimed happily.
"Except for Miss Nettie," Vin reminded.
"Well obviously Miss Nettie doesnt count," JD admitted.
"What about Ezra's ma?" Buck asked.
"I have no intention of acquiescing to my mother's desires," Ezra stated firmly.
"He doesnt do what she asks him to do," Josiah translated.
"But she's your ma," Buck pointed out.
Any further argument was silenced by the sight of a frail looking old woman, dragging the huge man away by his ear.
"Miz Nettie don't do that," Vin reminded.
"Nor, I am very pleased to say, does my mother."
"Cause for celebration I believe." Josiah lifted Buck down. "I vote we head for the restaurant; I hear they have fried chicken tonight."
"Really?" Buck asked.
Buck grabbed Josiah's hand and began to pull. "Come on, hurry up or they might run out!"
"No we don't have Aunt Aggie, we have Buck," Nathan commented as he followed.
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Learn more about 'Desperate Dan' the biggest, strongest, bravest, but
not the brightest man in Cactusville, eater of cow pies. Dan is the oldest
character in the Dandy, the world's longest running comic.