Title: Gamblerlocks, by Ezra Standish
Warnings: None, really
Summary: Once upon a time...
"Once upon a time, in a little western town just south of the Arizona-Utah border, there lived three little cowboys."
"Well, not so little. There was the fearless leader, a frightful man who terrified criminals with no more than a glare."
"Chris hates bein' called a cowboy, ya know."
"And if he were here perhaps I would reconsider my words."
"Quiet, you're supposed to be resting. And there was his faithful friend who terrified married men with no more than a leer at their wives."
"Yeah, that's Bucklin, alright."
"Hmph. And then there was the third cowboy, a lithe and lovely creature both wild and tame, both fiery and calm as a lake after a long summer storm."
"Sounds like ya got a thing for that third one there, Ez."
"Shush, I'm telling a story here."
"Do you mind? Thank you. These three cowboys lived in a boarding house all together, and ate together every day as a little family."
"So one evening, after a long day of shooting up bad guys and chasing pretty women and tracking down miscreants of all sorts, the three little… okay, not-so-little cowboys were so tired that they walked right past their evening meal which had been set out for them by the lovely boarding house matron and climbed right into bed for a long rest."
"Ya just sent them ta bed without supper?"
"Mister Tanner, it is necessary to the story."
"Yeah, but jeez, they's the good guys. Seems wrong they's gotta go ta bed without supper."
"They plan to eat it later."
"Yes, I know, you're just saying. Can I PLEASE go on now?"
"Bet they regret it later."
"So anyway… on this particular evening while they slept in their beds, it so happened that a charming southern gentleman of refinement and breeding, most striking in a fine suit coat of impeccable quality and stylish cut…"
"Bet this is JD, huh?"
"I'm not even going to dignify that with a response, you heathen. This incredibly handsome fellow - who in no way, shape or form resembled JD - rode into town weary from his long journey. Alas, his arrival came so late that the rest of the town had gone to sleep long ago and he was forced to make due as best he could. Regretfully, he decided to pick the lock on the boarding house kitchen door."
"Sounds like a villain ta me. Better get them cowboys to shoot his ass."
"I assure you, he truly intending to leave more than enough monetary restitution for any damages he might cause."
"Do you care to go on, or shall we end here with your three tired cowboys bumbling over each other in a sort of Three Stooges Montage while our maligned gentleman is forced to shoot them all in self defense?"
"Yer no fun, you know that?"
"Not what you said last Friday night, was it?"
"Rest. And there is no way you can tell me anything we did Friday night falls into that category. I will remind you I had to clean up after the fact."
"Fine. Story then."
"It must be love, for me to suffer such degradations."
"Anyway. So here was our most winsome and incidentally successful businessman standing in the boarding house kitchen. And on the table lay the bountiful meal laid out for the cowboys who had been too weary to partake. The gentleman, being both hungry from his long journey… helping save an Indian village from vicious thugs who would strip her of her limited resources…"
"All alone, I s'pose?"
"Well, maybe he had help. But see, he was such a good soul and had worked so hard for so little, that he found he could not resist the siren's call of the repast before him. So regretfully - and planning to make full restitution, of course - he pulled up a chair and drew close the first bowl."
"Knew the cowboys were gonna regret not eatin'!"
"But alas! The first bowl of chili was far too spicy, it burned his tongue and he pushed it away in despair."
"Ya say he's starvin' but he's still picky?"
"He is a man of distinctive tastes. So, he drew close the second bowl. Alas, it was too bland."
"Who the hell makes different bowls of chili? Should all taste the same if it was stirred up good while it was cookin'. That cook ain't very good, if'n ya ask me."
"I did not. So he drew up the third bowl, which thankfully was just right and he ate every bite. Despite that it was in fact chili and therefore decidedly below his normal level of culinary requirement."
"But the chili left him quite thirsty. And so it was that he realized there were also three bottles on the table as well."
"Oh, he better not…"
"I assure you, he intends to make…"
"Yeah, I got that part. Get on with it."
"You know, for a sick man for whom I am doing the favor of entertaining, you are most unappreciative."
"You won't let me *show* you my appreciation."
"Not that way, not tonight, no. You have a fever and a cough and you shall rest, god so help me, and if you keep trying to do something other than rest I swear I will not refrain from cold-cocking you. I guarantee Mister Jackson will back me up at the review board hearing."
"Ya don't play nice."
"You didn't say that last Friday."
"Just get on with the damn story."
"So, he reached for the first bottle and, alas not able to find a clean glass in the entire room, took a deep swig. But dear me, the whiskey was too bitter."
"Gotta be Chris'."
"MUST you comment on everything? So he tried the second bottle, but alas, it was too sweet."
"What the hell would Buck be drinkin' that was sweet?"
"IT'S A DAMN STORY!!"
"Geez, don't need to get yer knickers in a twist. Go on with it."
"In desperation he tried (against hope, I might add) the third bottle and glory be praised! It was just right, and he drank it down."
"Sure, damn 'gentleman' is drinkin' my whiskey. Bastard."
"You wouldn't share with a poor travel-worn soul?"
"Might, if'n I was in the room. But not after he ate up all my chili."
"Well, too late now. So being sated…"
"Yeah, a'my chili."
"SO. Being sated, he now realized he was at the end of his tether and reluctantly climbed the stairs in search of pillow to lay his head on. And he came to the room with the three little… not-so-little cowboys."
"And now he's in for it."
"Hmph. And reaching the first bed, he found the long and sturdily built form of the blond gunslinger, whose body he admired in the dim light of his candle."
"It's just a story, Vin."
"Ain't sure I like where this is headin'."
"So, being a reasonable man, the gentleman felt up the blond to test his comfort level."
"BUT he frowned and said, 'Hell, this man is too limp.'"
"Damn well better."
"So he moved to the next bed, where he found the gloriously naked figure of the mustachioed lothario."
"Who likes women."
"Oh, he was perhaps willing to experiment with such a distinguished figure of a man as our gentleman caller."
"Better not be or I'm gonna have ta shoot'im."
"You plan to shoot fictional story characters?"
"Depends on whether this caller's plannin' on moving on to bed number three."
"Well, let's see… the gentleman felt up the second cowboy and declared, 'My! This one is too big!'"
"And then he moved on."
"And then he moved on to the third bed, where our lovely tracker lay sleeping so peacefully in the moonlight, his hair feathered over his pillow…"
"Like when ya do that."
"Mm. And the gentleman was amazed at the tracker's beauty, and caressed him gently and said, 'Perfect.'"
"And so he climbed inta bed and they had wild sex, right?"
"Mister Tanner! Well, now you spoiled the whole story."
"Not my thinkin' it ain't."
"You will NOT be getting any sex tonight, do you understand me? You will be getting aspirin and cough medicine and orange juice and that is ALL."
"You will thank me when you are well."
"Gonna spend the next couple days thinking a'ways how, too."
"You do that. As long as you are in your bed… ALONE… you may think of whatever you wish. Now I am going to get your antibiotics and then you are going to SLEEP, are we clear?"
"Yeah… Hey Ez?"
"Did they live happily ever after?"
"Mm. Of course, my love. How could they not?"
"Well, ya gotta figure Chris is gonna find out that gentleman ate from his food and drank from his whiskey…"
"I'm leaving now."
"I'm just sayin'!"