Just Deserts
(Old West)

by Cyc

Ezra could smell the algae drying in his hair and clothes. Not to put too fine a point on it, he stunk as badly as the stagnant pond he had the misfortune to fall into. Well, to say he fell into it was a hopeful understatement; he was actually punched into it by the very well nourished, if irate, lady passenger of the coach he and his fellow lawmen had foiled the robbery of. Lord knows why the woman decided to take her stress out on him -- but it seemed that everyone, including his confederates, found the whole situation highly amusing.

The further they rode back to town, the more Ezra's personal aroma intensified until he fell farther and farther behind the others out of sensitivity for their senses. By the time the town was in sight, he was so far behind everyone else that his horse didn't even flick an ear when Buck and JD kicked their mounts into a race that was quickly taken up by Josiah, Vin and Nathan as well. As the dust whipped up by the other riders settled, Ezra could see that only Chris remained directly ahead of him, his horse dancing in excitement until Chris brought it to a stand still.

"I think you'd be best keeping down wind of me for the moment, Mr Larabee," Ezra sighed as he approached the spot where Chris waited for him.

Chris made no comment but squinted west across the desert. "There's a fresh water creek over there. It's a little farther than the town but you won't have to ride down Main Street like that."

Ezra brushed some of the drying algae from his jacket and looked in the same direction as Chris. "Think there's room for two?" He smiled, waiting for Chris to look at him.

Seconds staggered by.

Eventually, Chris responded, "Judge'll be waiting. I'd best get back."

"Very well." Ezra turned his horse towards the creek but was halted by a hand on his shoulder.

"Think I might be interested in a drink later, though." Chris finally met Ezra's gaze. "Some of that fine Kentucky mash you keep holed up in your room."

"You have yourself a deal, Mr Larabee." Ezra grinned.


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