RATING: PG-17 for some naughty language
CATEGORY: Challenge - OW
MAJOR CHARACTERS: mostly Buck with Vin and just a hint of Ezra 
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, TNN, The Hallmark Channel, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is intended.
NOTE: April 2003 Challenge, Offered by KT:   The Picture Challenge. Forget April fools! You will find 4 pictures at the Challenge Library.  You don't have to be too bound by the details of the picture, all I ask is that the reader be able to tell which picture(s) you chose.
SUMMARY: Okay, so Buck has a problem...and mayhem ensues.
FEEDBACK: Yes please! comments and suggestions  are greatly appreciated.
DATE: April 7, 2003, a bit of housekeeping done June 1, 2006

A Fool and his Boots
By NotTasha

"Goddamn it," Buck shouted as he came barreling out of the bathhouse.  Ladies on the boardwalk cried out as he pulled his pants up the last few inches.  Some felt faint, others exhilarated…many had already seen the sights but always appreciated another viewing.  Men chortled but stood back, amused by Wilmington's predicament.

Wilmington hopped on his bare feet, trying to catch his balance as he adjusted the trousers and other items.  "Where are ya, ya little vulture? Ya half-bred coyote? You skunk?  Ain't right to take a man's boots!  Ain't the sort of thing a man does to another!"

Grimacing and growling, Buck continued, his voice raising, "Ya can't just sneak up on a man when he's in a bath, you lily-livered bushwhacker!"  Still wet from the rudely interrupted soak, he glanced about wildly.  "Gonna kill him," he uttered.  "Gonna skin that sorry varmint, that sneak, that cheater, that low scooting viper, that vermin.  Ezra!" he bellowed, but the gambler in the red coat had disappeared.

"You little warty toad!  You bucket of buffalo snot!  You piece of half-chewed possum meat! You squirrelly, low-down, load of pus and manure!"

Everyone on the street stopped and stared at the angry gunslinger, who spun about, still looking for the object of his ire.  He'd managed to clasp on his gunbelt, but stood without footwear, hat or shirt.  "You steamy, sticky pile of crap!" He stomped in his anger.  "You scaly snake!  You wiggly slimy worm!  Where the hell didja go?  Huh?  You think ya can just sneak off with a man's BOOTS!  Ya just can't do that!  I know you ain't gone far.  When I get my hands on you…"

A rattle above drew Buck's attention, as someone traveled along the roof.  "Ain't a snake," he muttered.  "more like a weasel, a damn coon, a pole cat!"  The footfalls continued -- scuttering quickly -- as Buck stepped off the boardwalk and into the street, trying to catch a glimpse of the con artist, but the man had disappeared onto the other side of the roof.  "I know just where you are, you damn stingin' scorpion!  You spider!  You head full of nits!  Ain't no place you can git to from that roof!  Yer trapped there!"  Buck shouted as he made his way to the nearby trough.  He could do this… he had to.

It took several minutes, as he stepped on the edge of the water trough and then shimmied up the support to reach the edge of the roof.  Carefully, gingerly he edged his way upward, wiggling his way forward on his belly.  Damn, he wished he'd had time to pull on a shirt!  If he got slivers from this…  Lord help him….Lord help the charlatan that caused all this!

How did that damn so-in-so do this so easily?  That gambler was more monkey than man.

Finally, Buck managed to get his knees under him, and then pushed himself to all-fours and finally to his feet.  Ezra couldn't have left this roof -- not without being seen!  Buck Wilmington vowed to get that con man.  "Gonna get you, and slam you silly.  Shake ya senseless.  Dangle ya by yer ankles 'til you cried like a little bitty baby."  After adjusting his gunbelt, Buck walked barefoot over the roof to attack the prankster on the other side.

"Gonna wring your damn neck, Ezra!" he threatened.  "Gonna kick your ass right off this roof!  I'll find out if cheaters bounce!  You don't mess with a man's boots!"  He flexed his hands at the mere thought of what he would do to the gamester as he crossed the peak.  He drew back as a seated man came into sight on the other side of the roof, but stopped himself from lunging at the figure.

"Howdy, Buck," Vin drawled, sitting casually on the slanted surface.  "Was that you makin' all that racket?  What're you doin' up here?"

After stammering for a moment, Buck got out, "I was followin' that fancy-pantsed, fast-talkin', conniving, piece of manure."

"Who?  Yosemite?" Vin asked, innocently.

"No, goddamn it!" Buck responded.  "Standish!"

"Oh," Vin replied.  "He ain't up here."

With an exasperated sigh, Buck growled, glancing about to make sure. "What the hell're you doin' here?"

Vin shrugged.  "Just gettin' some air, I reckon."

"Where's that good-for-nuthin' southerner?"

Casually, Vin pulled his spyglass from his pocket and handed it to Buck.  He indicated a quickly disappearing figure on a horse.

Wilmington snatched the instrument from Vin's hand and glared through it across the desert, recognizing the man instantly.  Ezra was riding hell-bent-for-leather, urging his capricious steed to astounding speeds.

Buck fumed.  "Son of a bitch!"  he growled, slamming the telescope closed and slinging it at its owner.  "Gonna tar and feather him.  Gonna draw and quarter him.   Gonna tan his damn hide!"

"What's the matter, Buck?"

Rolling his eyes, Buck stated, "I was takin' me a nice little bath when that bastard snuck in, quiet as a good-for-nothin' mouse.  Sneaky little turd!  Cowardly way to attack a man, when he ain't got a stitch on!  Only seen him as he was turnin' to go.  Had his mealy mitts on my boots!"

"Yer boots?"

"It just ain't right…" Buck moaned.  "Ya can't do that to a man!"

Vin shrugged.  "Probably ain't gonna do much of anythin' to 'em," Tanner commented.  "Ya know Ezra."  After a contemplative look, he added, "But then again… remember what he did to Josiah's hammers?"

With a pale face, Wilmington turned and stomped across the roof, headless of anyone who was trying to take a quiet bath below him.

Vin chuckled as he pulled a bandana from his pocket to wipe down the spyglass.  He listened to Buck grunting as he eased himself down from the roof, and once he was sure that Wilmington was gone, he decided he'd better disappear, too, before Wilmington found a mirror.


Buck pounded on the table, growing more irritated by the moment as Josiah, JD and Nathan all attempted to keep the mirth from their expressions.  "I ain't kiddin'!  I'll kill 'em both!"  He shaded one eye with a cupped hand, keeping himself from scrutiny.

"I've felt the same way myself," Josiah confided.

"Damn, Buck," JD chuckled.  "You should've known better."  He lifted a glass to his lips as he muttered, "Kinda foolish to turn your back on them, on today of all days."

"I ain't no fool, JD!" Buck bit back.

"It's rather hard to avoid those two," Josiah commented, remembering the cold snap that had hit them last year.  Of course, he'd managed to retrieve the lost hammers after a certain amount of chiseling.  He’d always figured that Vin had been in on that particular prank, but never had proof. Lord, those boys had thrown the hammers into a barrel and loaded it down with ice from the restaurant's basement -- and by coaxing it with salt, the mixture had frozen fast in the chill.  Josiah smoothed a hand over his face, able to laugh about it now.

"They work as a team," Nathan reminded him, not able to suppress his grin.  “Ezra’s all flash, but it’s Vin that you really gotta watch out for.”

Wilmington only increased his scowl.  "Don't mean that a man can take another's boots!  It ain't right!  What's he plannin' to do with 'em?  Where's he takin' 'em?  Son of a bitch!"

With a shake of his head, Josiah stated, "It's anyone's guess."

Discontentedly, Buck sipped at his beer.  "I had those boots worked in just right.  Ain't ever gonna get another pair like 'em."

"WILMINGTON!"  The shout from the street silenced everyone in the saloon, and all eyes focused on the mustached cowboy.  Buck froze, recognizing instantly the voice and the threat it carried.  Chris Larabee was not a man to be trifled with -- especially when his ire was up.

Oh Lord, Buck thought.  What now?

"Goddamn, Wilmington!" The doors to the saloon were thrown open as Buck cringed.  "Who the hell do you think you are?" the man-in-black hollered.   Buck turned just in time to ward off the boots that were viciously thrown at him.  He didn't chance glancing down at the familiar footwear.  Larabee's face was red with fury, twisted in a horrible grimace.  "What have you been doing at Mary's house?"

"What?"  Buck replied, astounded.

"She'd asked me to come in and fix her closet door.  Your damn boots were by her bed!"

"It wasn't me!  I swear, Chris," Buck returned, trying to look sincere.

Chris stopped short, his enraged face taking on a look of curiosity.  "What happened to you?"

Rubbing unhappily at his eye -- encircled with a ring of black ink -- Buck barked out, "Tanner."

Cocking his head as a realization came to him, Chris nodded to the boots.  "Standish.  He knew I was going to be working at Mary's this afternoon."  His voice had become appreciably lower; his face took on a calculating and chagrinned expression.

Buck nodded sharply while Nathan and JD, who'd been struggling to keep quiet, finally burst into peels of laughter.  Josiah joined them, his deep guffaw filling the room.

"They're a couple of sons-of-bitches," Buck informed Larabee as he grabbed the nearest boot and started pulling it on. "Gonna kill 'em,"

"You and me both," Chris responded.  "Where'd they go?"

Buck replied, "One went South, the other East."

"They'll be back…" Chris commented.  He waited until Buck had his other boot on, then the two of them strode out of the saloon, to get ready for the return of their errant brothers.

Josiah, JD and Nathan still laughed at the table, imagining what was to come next.  Nathan began considering if he'd had enough bandages stored up.

"Thank goodness," Josiah finally said, "April Fool's Day comes only once a year."


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