Twyla Jane

The disclaimer is and always will be I don’t own ‘em and never made a plug nickel off ‘em. Wish I did. This is my answer to Tipper’s April CZ challenge.

Some, one or all of the boys are on the edge -- not figuratively, literally. It can be the edge of a cliff, the roof of a building, the scaffolding on a skyscraper, a ledge on the side of a rock face -- you name it, so long as it is a long way down. They can be standing, dangling, falling, climbing, whatever works. How you get them there, and get them out of it, is entirely up to you. I only have one other little caveat. You must use one, some or all of the following words in the story: birthday, chocolate, shower and fool. It is April after all. Any universe, any style. Thanks to Mog for opening this AU. This ain’t betaed. All the mistakes are mine and mine alone. This an out take from Familiar Faces version 2 (ATF) there also was an Old West version 1 that also went to the way side. This is also a crossover with Brisco County Jr. 4/7/02

Vin Tanner nursed a cold cup of what once could have been considered hot chocolate but now was a grainy sludge at the bottom of the Styrofoam cup grimacing slightly as he swallowed a thick chunk of saturated coco while studying the cards dealt to him by his fellow ATF agent Ezra Standish in the dim light of the old hotel room, the pair were stuck on a surveillance detail. Vin shook his head as he looked at the cards again.

“This hand ain’t gittin’ any better as the night goes on Ez.” The Texan drawled out his friend’s name. “I’m gonna to turn in. Wake me in two hours.” Tanner grabbed the polystyrene container off the table and stuffed the empty wrappings of six Cadbury eggs inside before tossing it into the bag of garbage. Tanner decided to nap a few hours while the suave undercover agent took the first shift. The duo had kept an eye out for their suspect Gil Swill through out the day, they had been watching for his arrival from the third floor of rundown SRO, it had a bird’s eye view of an alley next to the Red Fork bar and grille. Swill’s apartment was located over the bar. The entry to the small abode was located in the alley. The stint had been boring. Swill hadn’t showed at his place since they had first started their watch.

While listening to Vin’s soft snores Ezra reshuffled the deck and dealt them out across the table as he began to play solitaire.

Less than thirty minutes later a light touch on his shoulder woke Vin from his slumber.

“Mr. Tanner… ” He could see Ezra’s face in the reflected light of the neon sign. “We have company.”

Tanner had roused in time to see the door on the upper landing swing open. The light in the door way illuminated two figures as they dragged a third inside.

Standish was out and running before the door across the street had a chance to close Tanner wasn’t far behind as he called in their back up.

Vin could hear the woman’s screams as he hit street level and burst out the fire exit. During their frenzied descent Ezra had some how managed to lunge ahead of him and he lost sight of him as the undercover agent disappeared into shadows of the alley. Not at all dissuaded Tanner pursued him at full speed into dark passage.

Following the sound of running feet that that thudded up the flight of steps to the apartments over the Red Fork Bar. The sharpshooter quickened his pace as he heard a door crash open and Ezra shouting.


A single shot was fired.

The woman’s screams were abruptly cut off.

Heart in his throat Vin flew up the last few steps taking two at a time and approached the open door with his gun drawn. He almost laughed in relief as he stepped over the threshold. One of the perps, a balding man definitely not Gil Swill was handcuffed writhing to an ancient radiator holding pressure over a bloody shoulder wound while a pretty blonde woman sat shakily on the edge of the bed across the room daubing a cut lip with handkerchief.

“You okay Ma’am?” The woman nodded. “Which way?”
She pointed towards the open window. Tanner ducked through the open sash and scrambled out onto the ill-lit fire escape.

On the roof of the Red Fork Bar the fire door creaked open as Standish cautiously stepped from the stairwell under the star lit sky. The light from the street below cast dark shadows across the top of the building making it difficult for Ezra to see where the miscreant was hiding. After taking a few tentative steps into the darkened night the malodorous little man tackled him landing heavily atop Ezra, who did his utmost not to gag on the overwhelming smell. Even the poor light he still recognized him from his case file as Ed Swill cousin to the man they had under surveillance.

Didn’t these cretins know to bathe or very least shower on a regular basis though I do suppose that Swill is an appropriate surname but did the man have to try and live up to his family name. The southerner let out a painful oof as he was elbowed in the side as the other man quickly scrambled off.

“Mr. Swill? Could we stop this nonsense? Discuss this perhaps…” Ezra climbed back to his feet talking a steady stream to the wary cretin.

“Sorry Mister… do I look like I was born yesterday?” Ed Swill snapped out.

“Well then may I be the first to wish you a Happy belated birthday…”

What happened next caught Standish off balance and he never got to finish when he was rushed by Swill. The man’s original intention was unclear but a fraction of a second later the two men were tumbling off the edge of the roof into the dark night. His free fall was abruptly stopped when his jacket caught and his head careened off the side of the building leaving stunned man dangling precariously four stories in the air.

Hearing another scream Tanner charged up the fire escape with his weapon drawn, it took a few seconds but he eyes adjusted to the dimly lit roof. The area was empty the only sound he heard was loud clanging of running feet coming up the metal stairs behind him. He ignored that instead he focused on what lay out on top the building as he stepped on its solid surface. Vin thought he heard something else, a faint groan coming from the far side of the roof. Reholstering his gun he jogged across the tarred surface and peered over the edge to see the team’s under cover agent caught precariously on a drainage pipe. Without wasting a second Tanner shimmied down onto the building’s rear fire escape.

.Hair hanging in his face he reached out and only to graze Standish’s jacket with his tips of his fingers. He wasn’t close enough. Vin was immensely relieved to find Ezra but that relief quickly faded when he realized the man was hanging on by a thread.


Vin leaned out farther grabbed a fist full of the padded material and only succeeded in sliding off his own perilous perch. A sudden jolt as an iron grip latched onto to his belt stopping his uncontrolled momentum. Vin watched as the ground below him swayed to one side as a deep rumbling voice from above called out to him.

“Ya got him?”

“No…wait a second…” Tanner wheezed back and took the opportunity to readjust his hold on the limp man. Managing to carefully weave one of his hands under Standish’s left armpit, using the other to pull the snagged garment free before locking his wrists together across the dazed man’s chest. “Now!”

The pair was steadily towed back to the safety of the fire escape. Vin looked down at the broken body of Ed Swill that lay in the alley forty feet below for a brief instant before acknowledging the men that saved his hide.

An unlikely duo hauled Tanner back onto the roof dragging Standish along with. They allowed the bewildered man to sink down to the tarpaper. Blood was dripping steadily down the side of Ezra’s face.

“Ya’ll right?” Vin was crouch down in front of him loosely holding on to his chin.

Ezra would have nodded but quickly decided it was not the wisest of moves while his head continued to pound managing to hoarsely whisper.


“Good ‘cause Chris’ll kill ya pulling such a stupid stunt…”

“But…” A sluggish mouth tried to defend its owner.

“Shut up Ez.” Tanner just grinned at his friend deeply thankful things hadn’t turned out worse.

“Thank you Mister…” The southerner blinked several times as he tried to grasp the elusive name from his memory.

“James Lonefeather…This is Brisco County Jr.” The large man supplied his name and that of his companion. But Ezra just squinted at him for a moment trying to dredge up another appellation, which caused the dark man to further explain. “We’re bounty hunter’s after Ed Swill…”

“No… no… that’s not it … ah… it’s… Lord Bowler…”

“I told you…”

The dark haired man wearing a cowboy hat chuckled at his immense friend.

“Shut up Brisco…” The tall black man growled back. The man was easily six foot six and over three hundred pounds.

“See people still recognize ya without the mask and that spandex costume…” Brisco dead panned make to his friend chagrin.

“The Lord Bowler of WWF wrestling fame? Ez… I’m surprised ya know the name.” The simple recognition amused Vin. The team’s suave undercover agent had more facets that a diamond.

“Well there was my brief stint undercover…” The addled words slipped out before Standish realized what he had said.

“Olaf Brackman?” Ezra flushed slightly at Lonefeather’s mention of the name and he wearily sat back down against the building, there didn’t seem to be any stopping the huge man. “Or should I say ‘The Thunder from Down Under’… I knew I knew ya… you’re just missing that Aussie accent.”

Ezra groaned and tried to meld into the brick wall behind him. For the first time thankful for the flashing lights of the approaching ambulance. The hospital emergency room was looking mighty inviting, an open avenue of escape from the current line of discussion.

Gawd I’ll never live this down… He thought to himself as Tanner squatted down next to him giving him derisive snort and a devilish grin.

“Thunder huh…”

“Aw Hell…”