RATING: PG-13 for bad language
CATEGORY: Challenge - OW
MAJOR CHARACTERS: Ezra and Buck
DISCLAIMERS: This is fanfiction. No profit involved. This story is based on the television series "The Magnificent Seven". No infringement upon the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, Showtime Extreme, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is intended.
NOTE: November 2005 Challenge, offered by Sablecain: This month's challenge is to use the traditional Thanksgiving trappings in non-traditional forms and ways. In other words, let’s see turkey and stuffing -- ANY definition of turkey and stuffing -- but no cooked birds or Stovetop allowed (unless the box is being used to prop up a table leg or something). Throw in as many Thanksgiving related things as possible: pilgrims, indian corn, family gatherings, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie -- but remember NONE of it can be used traditionally! (heaven help me what you'll do with Cranberry sauce). Bonus: throw in a whiffle ball (or baseball/stick ball, etc if OW)
FEEDBACK: Yes please! comments are greatly appreciated.
DATE: November 10, 2009
By NotTasha... who owes this story to flah7
Ezra yawned into his hand and flipped over another card. The low November light came through the windows of the saloon, illuminating shadows and dust. He lifted his gaze momentarily, wishing movement of the batwing doors, hoping for an opponent so that he might ply his trade.
Nothing. He waited a moment, willing some action, and was rewarded by the sight of something moving close to the ground. He tensed and then relaxed as one of the town mutts came into sight, snuffing at the ground. It came to the doorway and gazed within. Its tail thumped against its leg and then it huffed and continued on its way.
Ezra returned his attention to the game of solitaire splayed out before him. He grimaced, knowing that the next card he’d flip would be a Five of Clubs and that it would do him no good whatsoever. If he dealt from the bottom of the deck, he’d end up with a Queen of Diamonds, which would also give him no help.
If he cut the deck “just so”, he’d finally get that Ace of Spades he’d been waiting for, but he wasn’t quite ready to cheat that obviously, so he flipped the cards and reveal that Five of Clubs. He flipped again to see the expected Three of Spades that was also useless. He yawned into his hand again.
He could use a little excitement.
doors to the saloon parted and he looked up sharply. Buck stood at the
opening, quickly searching the room. Their eyes met. Ezra sat up
Wilmington gave him a tight nod and a jerk of the head, before turning and disappearing.
Ezra snagged his hat as he shoved back his chair and followed the ladies’ man, leaving the tedious game behind. The two men were shoulder to shoulder within seconds.
“Trouble?” Ezra asked.
“Yup,” Buck responded.
Ezra squared his shoulders as he kept up with Wilmington. “Deadly?”
Ezra nodded, ready. “Might I inquire into the nature of trouble?” His hand brushed against his Remington at his hip. “What sort of foe might we be facing? Bank robbers? Avenging brothers? Horse thieves? Malcontents and ruffians? Thieves? Murderers? Blackguards? Loiterers?”
“Poultry,” Buck said darkly.
Ezra came to a quick stop. “Chickens?” he cried incredulously as he eyed Buck’s back.
Buck turned and grimaced over his shoulder. "Not chickens.” He turned in the direction they’d been headed. “Turkey.”
Ezra groaned, “Timmy?” and then shook his head dolefully. “No… no! I will not! I will not face that beast!” He stood his ground.
With a long reach, Buck twisted and captured Ezra. Standish was propelled forward, ahead of Wilmington. “The devil has set himself up at Potter’s store. We got to get that creature routed out before he does any real damage.”
Ezra’s feet stuttered as he tried to stop their forward motion, but Buck had greater mass and the gambler’s attempt to stall their progress was for naught. Unable to brace himself, Ezra tried to spin himself out of Buck’s grip, but Wilmington was wise to Ezra’s wily ways and caught him quickly.
“You wouldn’t want Mrs. Potter to suffer for your silly little turkey fears, would you?” Buck hissed.
“Silly little fears? You’ve seen this creature, haven’t you? He's Satan's spawn!”
“Come on, Ezra. Someone’s got to do it.”
Ezra sighed and hung his head. “Why?” he whined. “Why does it have to be me?”
“You were the only one I could find,” Buck told him. “’Sides, there’s two of us against one of him. I think we can take him.”
With a low exhale, Ezra muttered, “I wouldn’t count on it.”
Timmy the Turkey was raised on love. As the tiny chick pipped its way free from its shell, little Mae Reynolds was there to free him. The poult’s first sight was the sweet face of that little girl as she beamed down upon it.
She held him with such care. Gentle hands never crushed. It nestled against her warm cheek and peeped out its love and devotion. The little bird spent its first weeks in the pocket of her apron, traveling everywhere with the girl, a happy pilgrim in a new land.
When it eventually fought its way free of the confines of the pocket, it followed her on its crazy legs, its little head bobbing with each step. Laughter followed his antics. He pecked at everything. He was fearless in his attacks. As a down-covered chick, he was a cute spectacle and everyone in town would stop to oooh and ahhh at his fierceness.
Down gave way to pinfeathers and the little poult grew taller. The crazy legs that were the delight of so many onlookers took on a less amusing aspect when they started to lash out at anyone who crossed Mae’s path.
Timmy grew, and Timmy grew meaner with each passing day. The family talked about roast turkey and how tasty the skin would be when cooked just right. Mae cried, and the family relented. Timmy had become a pet, after all, and Mr. Reynolds swore that there would be no more naming dinner in his household.
Weeks passed and nearly every member of Mae’s family bore scrapes and scars from getting too close to that unpleasant bird. It was no longer allowed in the house, could no longer sleep in the box next to Mae’s bed. It was consigned to the backyard, where it should have been happy.
Yet, the turkey grew meaner, as if punishing them for his expulsion. Every time someone opened the back door, Timmy would rush them – wings raised, eyes set like tiny fires, legs slashing, beak opened in a horrible bird grimace.
Feed was tossed in the general direction. People ran. Blood was drawn when anyone came near the bird, and even Mae eventually fell victim to the wrath of Timmy. Something had to be done.
On the fateful day that Mr. Reynolds entered the yard with a hatchet, Timmy looked at him with his snood cocked and his eyes a beady yellow. With great trepidation, Reynolds, his two young sons, and his neighbor and his grown son stepped into the yard. They fanned out and attempted to corner the beast.
It watched them. Its eyes full of hate – the type of hate that only a bird meant for consumption can muster. A horrible horrible hate.
With a shout, the men raced forward in the cramped yard, rushing into the breach. And Timmy screeched.
moment those wings curled and then flapped, the men fell back. They turned
and shouted in fear.
Timmy ran up the back of Mr. Hostettler. For a moment, it balanced on his shoulder, and then climbed onto his head as the poor man cringed under those sharp feet. His son Arnold rushed forward to save his father from the terrible strutting. The bird gave Arnie one writhing look and then jumped, clean over the high fence that surrounded the yard. Wings spread majestically -- almost like an eagle – and Timmy was gone.
The collection of men and boys stood silent for awhile. Mr. Hostettler pressed a hand to his bleeding neck. Arnold handed him a handkerchief. The men exchanged glances and without a word, decided that they would speak no more of Timmy. The hatchet was put away, and people returned to their lives as if no turkey had ever graced the backyard of the Reynolds family. It was no longer their problem.
wouldn’t last long outside the fence anyway. The coyotes or the town dogs
would get him. They were free! And Mr. Reynolds felt a lightness in
his step. Mr. Hosteller would not miss the caterwauling that went on in
the yard beside his. And even Mae smiled a little, and thought about of
Reynolds gave the bird a week… tops.
The problem was, the town dogs wanted no part of Timmy the Turkey. They weren’t stupid, and they quickly learned that there were easier dinners to be had. The dogs knew that the men at the saloon were pushovers and were generous with their handouts.
The coyotes were clever and desperate enough to take the bird down, but they were shy of humans, and Timmy wasn’t.
The bird hung close to town. He managed to get himself up into the eaves of buildings at night, out of the reach of predators that might ply the streets after dark. From his perch, Timmy would dream terrible dreams.
God forbid if anyone should look up and spot him on his perch. It was the stuff of nightmares if that thing came down while you were walking beneath it.
Once, Ezra awoke to demonic gobbling on his balcony, and spent restless hours waiting for it to stop, because, honestly, he didn’t want to face the creature in his nightshirt. He hunkered under his blankets and prayed for dawn to take the bird away.
Thankfully, it did, but Ezra's nights were restless after that.
Everyone in town knew about Timmy. Everyone feared Timmy.
The bird grew leaner and meaner. He kept to himself most of the time, avoiding getting shot on sight. But every now and again, he’d burst from his hiding – charging around a corner, coming out from a dark recess, or dropping down like a ghoul from the rafters -- all feathers and talons and flapping wattle of death.
Nathan was kept busy, treating the wounds left from pecks and slashing feet, soothing bruises and calming nerves. People ran when they saw the bird. Dogs yipped and turned tail. Cats kept to the rooftops. Horses sidestepped him. Even the town goat kept to the other side of the street when the turkey appeared.
Timmy owned the town.
And now, he was trapped in Potter’s store – and two lawmen were going to take him down.
mouth felt dry as he approached Potter’s store. Nervously, his hand
fluttered at his side, ready to draw his revolver. Mrs. Potter stood a
safe distance from the store, her eyes fixed on the open doorway, her children
safely tucked behind her.
A short distance away stood her sister and her family. They’d arrived the day before by stagecoach for a family gathering. They looked nervous and a little incredulous as they observed the current happenings.
Tears welled in Mrs. Potter's eyes as she looked toward the approaching lawmen. “You will get him out of there, won’t you?” she asked in a quavering voice.
“Yes, ma’am,” Buck replied, tilting his head forward. “We’ll do just that.”
“Or die trying,” Ezra said under his breath, and got an elbow to the ribs for the comment.
She watched the two men for a moment, glanced to her sister Gladys and her smug family, then drew a deep breath. “You’re not going to shoot it, are you? In my store?”
Ezra, who was in the process of pulling his Remington free of his holster, looked at Buck, who was already cradling his gun.
“It’s the surest way,” Buck told her. “Quick.”
She looked fretful. “I’d prefer that you didn’t,” she said. “Gunfire in my store… it… it brings back bad memories.” And she lifted her gaze pleadingly to the lawmen.
Ezra let out a groan, and Buck nodded knowingly. Reluctantly, both men returned their weapons to their holsters. Ezra straightened his jacket. Buck girded his loins, and both men reached out to grab whatever weapons were available on the boardwalk.
Ezra found a broom. Buck obtained a bat that Billy had left leaning against a post after an enthusiastic game of stickball. He swung it experimentally.
crowd gathered, keeping their distance. The lawmen knew that it'd do no good to tarry.
They had an audience.
Both men took a fortifying breath and stepped to the open doorway. They paused as they gazed within, letting their eyes become accustomed to the dimness.
“Do you see the foul creature?” Ezra asked as his gaze raked the shelves and counters. A pan of cornbread sat on the counter, decimated. The breadbox was open, the contents torn and tossed. Bits of drying bread dotted the counter, mixed in with a ravaged stalk of celery. The pie safe had been rifled and pillaged.
Yeah, Timmy was in there.
"Where is he?" Ezra hissed.
Buck said, "He lurks." He stared off into the recesses of the store and repeated in a hoarse whisper. “Oh, how he lurks.”
“Perhaps we should remain here. Allow the lurking turkey to show himself.” Ezra smiled a little. “It would give us the upper hand in the matter.”
“Like I said, the son of a bitch lurks! He can hide all day!” Buck responded.
Ezra cocked his head at Buck. “I am quite all right with waitin’,” he remarked.
Buck furrowed his brow, brought one hand behind Ezra's shoulder and gave him a tremendous shove. The gambler stumbled forward into the store, and Buck, after hesitating a moment, followed.
Clutching the broom protectively to his chest, Ezra swept the room with his gaze. He felt his breath coming in quick gasps as he spun about. He sought out the dark recesses where depraved poultry might skulk. Unintentionally, he found himself back-to-back with Buck. Both men stood in the center of the store, unwilling to move any further.
“See anythin’?” Buck asked in a hushed tone.
“Not as of yet,” Ezra stated as licked his lips. He kept searching. “He might be anywhere.”
did a little dance, dos-a-dos, as they stayed to the safe center and continued
Ezra muttered something that might have been a prayer as he gazed upward to the high shelves. This was horrible. This was like facing death. He truly wished he hadn't left his game of solitaire. It really was a marvelous game.
Buck shouted from behind him.
Ezra ducked just in time as Buck swung. Products, produce and paraphernalia rained down as the bat smashed into boards and baskets and boxes, and Buck kept swinging, whacking at something behind a cast iron stove.
raised his hands over his head and scuttled out of the way. The
broomstick, atop his head, clattered into shelves and toppled boxes, hindering
his search for a hiding space. “Where! Where!” he cried, looking
frantically for the target of Buck’s attack.
Whack! And Whack and Whackity-Whack! Buck struck as Ezra cowered – trying to stay out of the way of the swinging bat, of course. Gourds were batted like balls. Cobs of ornamental Indian Corn were split in mid-air. They rained in a colorful shower.
Ezra winced as the corn came down, and Buck finally stopped.
his eyes narrowed to slits, stepped forward. The bat held ready, he
grinned as he looked over the edge of the cold stovetop, ready for victory.
"Is it… is it dead?" Ezra asked in a small voice, lowering his broom.
With an unhappy sound, Buck let the bat settle on the stove that had once been for sale – the chimney now needed considerable repair. He reached and pulled out a busted parasol. “Oh,” he said dejectedly.
“Oh,” Ezra said, sounding equally unhappy with the outcome.
“Kinda looked like a turkey,” Buck tried to explain as he turned the broken spines about. “Kinda.”
“Oh,” Ezra said again, and turned around slowly… and looked up. He caught sight of a gargoyle at the top of one shelf. What was that doing in Mrs. Potter's shop? Her accoutrements didn’t lean toward the macabre. It certainly was a disgusting looking thing.
the horrible thing moved, tiny lanterns of yellow light burning in its head.
Ezra lashed out a hand and anchored onto Buck. “WAH!” was all he managed to say as the beating wings of death descended on him from above.
Both lawmen went down as beak and feet and a bat and broom, legs and arms and wings and a busted parasol went every which way.
Ezra shouted. Buck yelled. Timmy made a sound that no living creature should ever make. Its Gobble of Death sounded throughout the little store, as both men fought to get away from it.
Ezra, bleeding and now suffering from an elbow to the eye, saw daylight, and slammed his weight on top of Buck, climbing right over the top of him to escape.
“You son of a bitch!” Buck screamed as Ezra planted a foot in his head, trying to propel himself outward.
The door! Sweet Freedom! Safety! He was going to make it!
And then the door slammed shut.
Erza almost wept.
He fell onto the door as his hand clasped the knob. He wrenched it, clenched it with all his might, but the knob wouldn’t turn, the door would not open. Frantic, he looked through the door’s window – to see Vin.
The tracker grinned and waggled a finger. “Get the bird!” he shouted through the glass.
“I’ll give you the bird!” Standish shouted at him as he gestured. “Let me out, or I swear, I’ll mash you with whatever I lay my hands to!” and he picked up a can from one counter, ready to throw it through the window and right between that bastard Tanner’s eyes. “I’ll turn you into gravy!”
Vin was jabbing a finger, pointing to something over Ezra’s shoulder. The gambler turned, to find Buck, flat on his back, with the Tim-Tom Turkey standing on his chest.
Timmy’s wings were raised, buffeted out. The turkey drew his head back, raised one foot filled with sharp talons, aiming for Buck’s beautiful face. The horrible Gobble of Death filled the room.
Buck tilted his head back and looked toward Ezra, his eyes wet and filled with despair.
“Aw hell,” Ezra muttered. He stepped forward a yard, and then took a quarter back, holding the can over his shoulder. He lobbed the cranberries at the bird.
It made a surprised “Eeep!” as the heavy can impacted into feathers and the bird fell off of the ladies’ man. Ezra shoved his way forward, determined to tackle the bird.
Buck scrambled to his feet, blocking Ezra. The bird turned, and Buck,
Timmy went flying, landing in a furious heap near the counter. He stood, making a low crrrrrrrraaaawwwww sound that seemed to shake the entire room.
Wilmington reached to the shelves for whatever he might find. A serving bowl went flying, smashing into the wall behind the spot where Timmy had momentarily stood. Ezra found a jar of yams and flung it after the bowl – with the same smashing result.
was moving. Gobbling and hissing and shrieking like a banshee. He
ducked under the counter, and shot out of sight, displacing bags of flour and
sugar and salt. Buck found a block of butter and tried to smash the bird
with it, but he only managed to add to the mess as he dropped the butter and
dislodged a shelf of spices, sending cinnamon, cloves, allspice and vanilla in
with the rest.
The turkey emerged for a moment, spinning about in the confusion, seeming to dance an awful Roundelay from Hades.
Ezra leapt over the counter, trying to latch his hands around the creature’s neck, knocking down eggs, a bottle of milk and kicking a pumpkin into the mess. It splattered moistly everywhere and Ezra stepped through it all. Timmy bobbed and weaved.
Ezra hurried after him, slipping and hunched, only to be cornered when he reached the end of the counter, and Timmy turned.
“Buck!” Standish cried, wishing he still had his broomstick.
save you!” Buck found a basket of freshly baked biscuits and started lobbing.
The turkey turned, looking almost offended as another biscuit pelted its head.
It fixed its malicious eye on Buck. In a moment it had levitated from behind the counter and was diving toward Wilmington.
Buck shouted, tossing the entire basket at the bird to no avail.
It just kept coming.
He spun about, but dislodged a bin of over-ripe potatoes that had been shoved under a table. He smashed them as he tried to find his footing. He fell, mashed more, grimacing at the rotten smell.
And Timmy had found him again. It had death on its tiny mind as it slashed. Buck cried out in terror.
Ezra grabbed a handful of green beans and flung them at the bird. Another hand found a basket of carrots, and finally a box of pecans, which proved excellent for beaning the creature. Timmy hissed, bwacked, and spun about in a wild confusion of feathers and flying feet.
And he came at Ezra.
shouted out “No!” as he flung his hands up to protect his face.
He fell backward, slamming hard against the counter.
Ezra screamed, the bird’s awful feet clawed onto his shoulders. Ezra’s
eyes opened to see wattle and snood and a horrible beak ready to peck out the
precious fluids of his eyes.
He screamed again.
And something went ‘bonk’ and then ‘clonk and then ‘thunk’.
Frozen in fear, Ezra couldn’t move. He just stared in the place where Timmy the Turkey’s dreadfully bald head had been poised moments before. He shuddered, and clutched his hands to himself at the memory – but the frightful head was gone – replaced with …
“Vin!” Ezra shouted in glee. Then his eyes narrowed to hateful slits and he swung.
Vin dodged, barely, and managed to get behind Ezra, trapping his arms. “Hold on, partner,” he muttered. “Hold on there.”
“You! Locked! Us! In!” Ezra cried, his voice far too high for masculinity. “You locked us in with THAT!” he angled his head downward, to the feathers at his feet. “That KILLER!”
Vin let go of Ezra and toed the corpse. “Yeah,” and said, looking too pleased with himself.
Buck rolled over and got to his hands and knees. “I hate you…” he groaned.
Vin kept smiling as he bent down next to the bird. He poked it experimentally with one finger – ready to jump back if necessary.
It was dead, definitely dead. A big metal platter had fallen from the shelf above the counter (a very unsafe place to store something like that) and had smashed the bird in the head just as it was about to feast on Ezra’s eyeballs.
The turkey had ended up on top of the platter somehow, splayed out as if ready for Thanksgiving dinner.
Buck stumbled to his feet and came to stand beside Ezra. Both leaned against the counter, bleeding, bruised… haunted. They stared at Timmy, who didn’t move.
people were filing past, a parade of sorts. They looked in through the window,
gasping at the sight. Mrs. Margery Macy, in her new pink dress, looked
particularly frothy as she floated along. Fat Thomas on his fat pony
drifted along behind her.
It was quite a show.
Vin let out a low whistle finally as he looked around the store. “You guys sure tore up the place,” he commented. “Figure you’d better get started with the clean up.” He leaned forward to pick up the turkey and the platter. “Me, I’m gonna get ready for dinner.”
He didn't make it to the door.
is said that they feasted well that Thanksgiving, even though the turkey was
rather tough, and the fixin’s were in short supply. They were banned
from Potter's store, so there was little they could do.
Ezra and Buck were scraped and bloodied and would carry the scars left by that bird for the rest of their lives. Tanner’s jaw was too swollen to allow him to eat much of anything that night. They ate the bird with relish, because there were few other side dishes available.
But Nathan, JD, Josiah and Chris all had a good time. And that’s what mattered – to them anyway.
Special thanks to flah7 who lived this story, and to Kung Fu Chicken who was the story.
p.s. yes, they did eventually cook and eat the bird, which went against the tenants of the challenge, but that bird really deserved it.
Hope you enjoyed the story. comments