Better than Treasure
September 23, 2009
Character Focus: Vin, Ezra and Buck
Summary - Response to VinF&D list 1 hr fic challenge.
Length - 1 hr of mad writing. – 1493 words
“What ya got there, Ezra?” Buck asked, taking a seat beside the gambler at the table.
Ezra quickly folded the paper in front of him. “Ah, nothing, Buck, nothing at all.”
Buck grinned and grabbed the paper. “Then why ya hidin’ it?” he asked, standing to fend off Ezra’s reach to reclaim the mysterious parchment.
“Return that to me at once, Mr. Wilmington,” Ezra demanded, standing on his toes to try and reach the page Buck now had held high above his head. “Buck!”
“What’s goin’ on here, boys?” Vin asked as he made his way to the table with a grin. It wasn’t usual to see Ezra dancing around so undignified.
“Ezra here has a secret he don’t want to share,” Buck teased, bumping the shorter man with his chest.
Ezra stumbled back a few steps and stopped, realizing what a spectacle they must be making. Fortunately, the saloon was rather quiet this time of day. One reason he had taken the time to examine his prize here. “I do not have a secret, Buck. I was simply trying to read my private correspondence when you stole it away from me.”
Buck smirked and brought the paper down to look at it as Ezra straightened his jacket and flicked dust, real and imaginary off the cuffs. “Didn’t look like no correspondence to me, pard. Looked like a map.”
Ezra straightened, an indignant look on his face. “How dare you pry into my private affairs!” he said with as much indignation as he could muster. The gambler stepped into Buck’s space, yanked the paper out of his hand and stalked off.
Buck chuckled and sat down. Vin watched Ezra leave then joined Buck at the table.
“Ez seem right to you, Bucklin?” the tracker asked.
“Nah,” Buck said with a grin. “He’s hidin’ something and I’d bet it’s whatever’s on that map.”
Vin grinned. “You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”
Buck nodded. “Yep.”
Several hours later
Buck and Vin peeked through the bushes they were hiding behind to see Ezra doing some strange march around the area before them.
“What’s he doing?” Buck asked as the gambler stopped and consulted the paper again. He scratched his head, looked around and then started stepping off in another direction.
“Lookin’ for somethin’ I think,” Vin replied. “You said it looked like a map?”
“Yep, what little I saw,” Buck said, scratching his cheek thoughtfully. “There was a big, fancy ‘x’ on it too.”
Vin grinned hugely at that. “You ‘member that book the kid was reading the other day? The one with the pirates?”
Buck frowned, then grinned fondly. “Yeah, he was so excited, wondering if there was any pirate treasure hidden around here… Crazy if you ask me, ain’t an ocean close ‘nough for pirates.”
“Yeah, but did you see the gleam in Ezra’s eyes when he heard JD talkin’ about buried treasure,” Vin continued. “You think someone found hisself a treasure map?”
Buck laughed, then clamped his hand over his mouth to cover the sound. Both men glanced out at Ezra, but he seemed consumed with his task and hadn’t heard.
Buck shook his head. “Where would he get a treasure map? I’ve never heard of any pirates or treasure out here.”
“No,” Vin said, “but it makes somethin’ I overheard the other day a whole lot clearer.” He grinned til Buck thought his face might break.
“You gonna let me in on it?” Buck asked exasperated.
Vin chuckled. “It’s like this…”
Ezra huffed. This map seemed to be a tad inaccurate. He glanced back at the large boulder with a frown. He supposed it might look a bit like a howling wolf, if you squinted just right. He sighed. Fifteen paces north from the boulder, then turn north east and go twenty five… Ezra wiped the sweat… perspiration from his brow and looked up at the sun.
“This is too much like menial labor,” he muttered.
“Need some help, Ezra?” Vin asked, appearing from nowhere with Buck right beside him.
“What? Where?” Ezra stammered. “Ah, what are you gentlemen doing out here this fine afternoon?”
They both grinned.
“Just wonderin’ if you needed any help with your treasure map, pard,” Buck said.
“Treasure map?” Ezra repeated. “How… that is, why do you think this is a treasure map?”
“Well, Ezra,” Vin drawled, “you been out here countin’ steps for almost two hours now. Either it’s a treasure map or some new fangled dance step you’re practicin’.”
Buck chuckled, but looked expectantly at Ezra.
The gambler sighed. “I suppose I could use some help. I won this from a traveling salesman who said he got it from a reliable source.” He held up his hand. “I know, I should know better, but it seemed worth the risk. A few hours spent searching seems a small price to pay when compared with Black Heart Bart’s hidden treasure.”
“Black Heart Bart?” Buck asked, barely suppressing a grin.
“Yes,” Ezra replied, “evidently quite a notorious bandit some years back who was rumored to have hidden his ill-gotten gains in this area. Unfortunately the man was caught and hung before the location of said treasure was revealed, but one of his co-conspirators had a map.” He raised his hand. “And this is the map.”
“Can I see it?” Vin asked, his face suspiciously bland.
Ezra’s eyes narrowed, but he handed over the map and waited impatiently for Vin to divulge its secrets.
“Well, Ezra, here’s your problem,” Vin said, grinning as he put his newly developed reading skills to good use.
“What?” Ezra asked, leaning in to take a look at the map.
Buck looked over both their shoulders, grinning like a mad-man.
“See here,” Vin said, pointing to some small print in the corner of the map.
Ezra squinted, “What does it say?” he asked, grabbing the map and holding it close to read the tiny print.
“This map is property of J.S. and J.D. It is not intended for use by anyone else. This goes double for you, Ezra,” Ezra stuttered over his own name and stared at the map. He’d been had. J.S. and J.D., Josiah Sanchez and John Dunne! The map crumpled in his fist as he turned red with embarrassment.
Buck and Vin were practically doubled over, laughing so hard they couldn’t breath.
Ezra inhaled deeply and closed his eyes. “I suppose you gentlemen think this is funny.” The other two could only nod. Ezra pressed his lips together, but couldn’t quite suppress the grin that threatened. “I don’t suppose you would be interested in helping me get revenge on our compatriots?”
Two sets of blue eyes glinted with anticipation.
Vin and Buck sat in the saloon, grinning like loons.
“What has gotten into you two?” Chris asked after they both chuckled at the same time for the third time.
“Just wait, old dog, just wait.”
“It’s gonna be good, Chris,” Vin promised with a grin.
Nathan, Josiah, and JD came in and joined them. They all chatted a bit waiting for their evening meal and Ezra.
“Where is brother Ezra?” Josiah asked. JD perked up, looking extremely interested.
“He rode out of town earlier this morning,” Vin said, looking a bit concerned. “Ain’t seen him since.”
“Yeah,” Buck said, “he was real excited about some piece of paper he won off this guy.”
JD and Josiah shared a conspiratorial grin. Chris’s eyes narrowed as he tried to figure out what was going on. He looked at Nathan who just shrugged.
The doors to the saloon swung open as Ezra entered. His green eyes glittered above a huge grin.
“Gentlemen,” he greeted, setting a small wooden chest on the table, small clods of dirt fell off the top landing on the table.
“Ezra,” Chris said, eyeing the box. “What the hell is that?”
“That, my dear sir, is my fortune. My buried treasure,” Ezra expounded. “I was fortunate enough to win a map off a passing salesman yesterday and this is the result.”
“What?” Josiah asked, surprised.
“But how?” JD started, then stopped.
“How what, JD?” Ezra asked.
“Nothing,” JD said shaking his head and sending a confused glance at Josiah. “What’d you find?”
“Ahhh, that is the mystery,” Ezra said. “I thought I’d wait and share the unveiling with my friends,” he said, shifting the box around until the clasp was facing Josiah and JD.
“What did the map say you would find?” Josiah asked, wondering what Ezra was up to.
“Well,” Ezra replied, flipping the clasp on the lid. “A treasure of course. It wasn’t very specific. I thought gold or maybe jewels, but plain old money would have been fine too.” He smiled at Josiah and JD. “I think I’ve discovered something better than gold though.”
“Oh?” JD asked, “What’s that?”
Ezra grinned and lifted the lid, triggering the mechanism inside to release and spray the two men with a foul smelling, blue liquid.
“Revenge, boys, revenge!”
Feedback is greatly appreciated. JudyL