CATEGORY: Challenge - OW
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, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is intended.
NOTE: This is my response to the May 2004 Challenge - Offered by Lady Catherine: Write a story in which the boys discover the magic in a word or words- for better or for worse.  This challenge is in celebration of the magic of the written or spoken word!
SUMMARY: Just a bit of messing around with one of those "Pet Peeve" words
FEEDBACK: Yes please! comments are greatly appreciated.
DATE: May 7, 2004

Literally Speaking
By NotTasha...who literally has problems with this word...

"I had to go talk to Chris, but he was still pretty upset, so I was literally walking on eggshells…” JD explained to Buck.

From the next table, Ezra leaned toward them and uttered, “Pardon?”

“Huh?” JD returned, not ready for Ezra’s interruption.

“Literally? On egg shells?” Ezra stated, echoing JD’s words.

“Yeah,” JD responded.  “Because Chris was mad over the trouble this morning.  Ya know, when Mr. Conklin got those folks riled up about havin’ gunslingers guarding the town?”

“Lordy,” Buck murmured.  “Hiram sure does know how to stir up trouble.”

“I ain’t seen Chris that mad in a while,” JD added. “I thought he was literally going to explode.”

Ezra, looking astounded, asked, “Was dynamite involved?”

“Dynamite?” JD returned, perplexed by Ezra’s questioning.

“A little nitro, a bit of black powder?”  Ezra tried.  “It would be a pity if that sort of thing were to happen to our illustrious leader.”  Standish looked to Buck, seeing the ladies’ man’s eyes light with mirth.  “Ka-boom!”  Ezra raised his hands as if they’d been flung back by explosion.  “Bits of black everywhere!”

“I’d go with dynamite,” Buck responded, catching onto what Ezra was doing.  “Nothin’ like it.”

“What?”  JD tried, not understanding at all.  “No, guys, there wasn’t any dynamite.  Not that I knew about anyway. Heck, you two are always thinking about dynamite.”

Not letting loose of his point, Ezra continued, “So you were in a chicken coop when you met up with a dynamite toting Larabee?  Eggshells scattered throughout the area…perhaps he’d made a trial run at the coop?”

“Exploded a couple chicken nests,” Buck decided, rubbing his chin.  “That’d explain all the eggshells.”

“…Just as a demonstration,” Ezra conjectured.

“…To see how much dynamite it’d take to blow something up real good,” Buck said, grinning.

“What are you guys talkin’ about?” JD asked, turning from one to the other.

“We were just trying to get a feel for the circumstances,” Ezra replied smoothly. “This occurred in a chicken coop…where the hens had been generous, but there was some foul play.”

“Fowl?” Buck put in.

“Yes, foul,” Ezra confirmed.  “And a certain amount of eggs, and perhaps a few chickens, were destroyed in a test detonation.”

“Yeah, that’s when JD caught up with Chris!”  Buck looked satisfied at that resolution.

“You know what I meant,” JD shot back angrily.  “I was so nervous, I was literally about to fall apart.”

Ezra shot out one hand, fiercely grabbed hold of Buck’s arm and cried, “Get Nathan!”

At that call, Wilmington leaped to his feet, shouting, “Good God!  The boy got blown up, too!”

Ezra’s eyes were wide with a tremendous worry.  He released Buck to hold his hands to his face in horror.  “JD suffered severe injury due to Larabee’s unorthodox experimentation with poultry!”

Grabbing hold of the kid, Buck pleaded, “You’re okay, ain’tcha, boy?  He didn’t blow off any of your parts, did he?  None of the important parts at least.”

“I’m okay, Buck!” JD cried.  “Lemmie go!” He tried to jerk his way out of Wilmington’s grip, but Buck had a frantic grasp on him.  Wilmington looked on in disbelief, as if he expected JD’s arm to come off as the young man fought with him.

“But you were nearly in pieces earlier today,” Ezra gasped, looking about fretfully.  “Your tendons must have been torn loose!  Your joints coming apart!  Flesh disintegrating!  Oh, what shall we do if you fall into tiny pieces?”

“Would be a pity,” Buck decided, letting go of Dunne.   The kid jerked away from him. “Nate might be able to sew him back together.”

Laying a hand over his heart, Ezra declared, “Mr. Jackson is a marvel and capable of almost anything.”

“What the heck are you guys goin’ on about?” JD uttered, as he stumbled away from the table.  Buck gave him a heart-wrenching look.

“Now, let me just get this straight…” Ezra started.  “Mr. Larabee was experimenting with dynamite on chickens when you approached him and he attempted to blow off all your limbs.” Ezra’s worried expression was replaced with a mild and annoying grin.  “Go on…”

“Ezra!” JD, perturbed, crossed his arms over his chest.  “I was trying to tell a story.”

“A story, well yes, it has all the earmarks of fiction.”  Ezra made an encouraging gesture.  “Go ahead.”

“Fiction? No!  It really happened.”

“Exactly as you said?”


“Word for word?”



Annoyed with Ezra’s pointless questions, JD sniped, “I wasn’t even talkin’ to you.”

“Keep goin’, JD,” Buck uttered, allowing himself a grin.

With an unhappy expression, JD sat down and continued, “Okay, Chris was already upset, so when I had to tell him about the problem with the stage, I was… worried about how he was gonna take it.”

“You had to gird your loins?”  Ezra asked innocuously.

“Yeah…” JD answered apprehensively.

“Literally?” Buck added.

“Well, yeah,” JD responded, looking to Buck hopefully.

“Hey, Ez…” Buck started, turning toward the trickster.  “I know what a loin is…” He laid a hand suggestively on the area, “But what the hell’s a ‘gird’?”

“‘To gird’ is a verb,” Ezra explained, his tone turning instructional.  “It means to fasten a belt – to secure a sword to one’s belt, perhaps.”

“Okay, so you put on your gun-belt…” Buck prodded, leaning toward the kid. He looked over his shoulder at Ezra as he added, “Might explain how JD got blown up, if he did it in front of Larabee.”

“It’s not smart to tempt Mr. Larabee to a duel,” Ezra added.  “Merely touching your armament might be enough to set him off if he’s in the wrong state of mind."

"He often is."

"It’s just asking for trouble.”

“Especially when Chris’ got a handful of dynamite,” Buck reminded.

“In a chicken coop.”

“Oh yeah…. Chickens,” Buck said with a shudder.  “He don’t like them much.”

“Unless of course, they’re fried.”

“Or baked.”

“Or stewed with dumplings.”

“Oh yeah… dumplings!”

“Dang it!”  JD sputtered.  “Knock it off!”

In a quick movement, Buck leaned forward and, with a sweep of his hand, sent JD’s bowler flying.

“What the hell?!”  Annoyed and frustrated, JD shot Buck an infuriated look as he got to his feet.  “What the hell you do that for?”

“You said to ‘knock it off’,” Buck said with a laugh, as JD stooped to pick up his maligned hat.

Ezra, leaning comfortably in his chair, drawled softly, “Buck, JD didn’t say the magic word. Without that addition, you appear to be an ass.”

“Literally?” Buck inquired.

Ezra brayed a laugh.

“Sorry, kid,” Buck said, giving JD a friendly pat on the shoulder.  “I got ahead of myself.”

“I ain’t hangin’ ‘round here no more!”  JD sputtered.  “The two of you are just too dang annoying.”  And he stomped toward the door.

“Oh, JD,” Buck sighed.  “We were just havin’ some fun.”

“No harm intended,” Ezra called, not moving from his position.  “Please continue with your most amusing tale.”

Grumbling, JD responded, “It wasn’t meant to be amusing…”

“Well, it sure as hell was!”  Buck guffawed.  When JD’s face reddened, Wilmington continued, “Just sit and calm down.”

JD responded, “I don’t have to put up with this!”

“Mr. Dunne,” Ezra said, with a long suffering sigh.  “Anyone would agree that our responses were literally justified.”  A smile tugged at the conman’s lips.

“Oh, come on, JD,” Buck kicked at JD’s chair.  “Just get on with it.”

With a quick shake of his head, JD continued toward the door.  “Both of you are bein’ mean and you’ll end up with egg on your face when all’s said and done.”

As Dunne pushed open the door, Ezra and Buck called together, “Literally?”

At the word, JD paused and hunched his shoulders, then strode out without another word.

Grinning with satisfaction, Ezra and Buck turned to each other and extended their arms, giving each other a self-congratulatory handshake.  Ezra’s gold tooth shown as Buck’s smile grew beneath his mustache.

But, their celebration was short as the bat-wing doors were flung open with a bang.  Instantly, a series of missiles rocketed across the room.   There was no time to do anything.  Their hands encumbered by the over-long handshake, Buck and Ezra barely had time to shield themselves as the purloined hens’ eggs flew…. And splattered.

“JD!” Buck bellowed as yolk and white ran down from his hat.

Ezra said nothing, shuddering in revulsion as the sticky muck gooed his face and matted into his jacket.  He held out his arms as the goop dripped and the eggshells crunched beneath his feet.

With a wide grin, JD held back the door and uttered, “Literally,” before he let the doors snap shut on the horrible scene.

Hope you enjoyed the story. comments

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