DISCLAIMER: The following is an original work of fan fiction 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. No profit is being made - enjoy!!


Eleanor Tremayne, Ezquire

"C'mon, c'mon," Ezra muttered, loosening an already shockingly disarrayed tie.

"They've only got five more minutes," J.D. said, trying to be helpful.

Ezra nearly shot him a look of disdain, but in order to do so he would have had to look away from the action taking place on the wide screen digital television set in front of him.

"Penalty time," he growled.

"Penalty time," Vin echoed, passing JD a beer. He didn't try to offer Ezra one - his first and last effort at offering Standish refreshment in what he had foolishly thought was a moment of respite in the action still lay where it had fallen somewhere on the staircase. The fact that it had nearly taken Vin's head with it when Ezra had flung it in blind exuberance at David Beckham's successful penalty kick had not been lost on Tanner.

"I still say it's a sissy game," Buck yawned.

"I dunno," J.D. said, "that blood looked pretty real to me."

"They look like they're runnin' around in their underwear," Wilmington grunted.

"Well, we're running around in ours," the kid pointed out. It was true; with the exception of Ezra, who was in white tie and tails, they were all more or less in their underwear. Chris, a devotee of classic boxer shorts, counted for the less, mostly because he'd fallen back asleep as soon as his butt had hit the couch in the downstairs lounge.

"That ain't my fault," Buck replied darkly, huffing his mustache at Ezra who had once again abandoned his chair in favor of standing and weaving back and forth in imitation of the players racing up and down the field. "I ain't the one that turned the television on at 04:30 hundred in the blessed A.M."

"04:00 hundred," Vin corrected. "Y'all slept through the pre-game show."

"Fuckin' corner kicks," Ezra seethed, blissfully unaware of Wilmington's ire. "They can kill you on the fuckin' corner kicks! This is fuckin' Argentina, you idiots!"

"No it ain't," Vin muttered to no one in particular. "I been to Argentina ~ this here is soccer."

"Yes!" Ezra bellowed, pumping his fist twice in front of him as England's goalie made a spectacular save in the 87th minute of play. "That's my Seaman![ii] Always on the ball!"

"Don't say it," J.D. warned, tilting his beer can in Buck's direction. Wilmington shut his mouth and assumed an air of injured innocence.

"Say what?"

"Just don't."

Grinning, Vin pitched an empty beer can at Chris's head. The game was in its 90th and final minute, and some time after the short penalty time add-on they would find out just why Ezra had decided to watch the world cup game between England and Argentina in the lounge at the compound, knowing full well that he would wake them up doing it. Chris'd had his nap for the last hour and a half plus, it was time for him to wake up and take whatever their curiosity had bought them like a man.

Chris ignored the beer can, snoring gently through its impact on his thigh.

"Two minutes of penalty time," the announcer announced.[iii]

"Two minutes?!" Ezra moaned. "Dear Christ!"

Where the beer can had failed, Ezra praying worked, and Chris sat up with a snort.

"Who's winning?" he yawned.

"England 1, Argentina 0," J.D. answered.


"Off side!" Ezra shouted, loud enough for the referee in Japan to hear him. "Argentina!" he added hastily. He no longer trusted referees where Argentina was concerned - and he hadn't since 1986.

"Think of it as a one hitter going against a no hitter," J.D. suggested.

Chris belched, and raised a skeptical eyebrow at the comparison.

"Oh, yes!!" Ezra growled, fists clenched around air as David Seaman caught the last, desperate strike made by the stunned Argentine side. "It's ours now!"

"Since when is he English?" Buck asked the peanut gallery.

"About 12 generations back," Chris guessed.

"More like 22," Vin corrected, knowing a little something about how far back a man's roots could stretch in the Tidewater. "Anyway, he was rootin' for Ireland a couple of days back."

J.D. nodded sagely. "You can do that when you're a Yank."

Vin threw him a dirty look, and Ezra gave the lie to the kid's classification by greeting the final whistle with a window rattling rebel yell that left all their ears ringing.

"Hallelujah and amen!" Vin solemnly agreed, slurping the last of his beer.

Taking a deep breath, Ezra began to relax. It took a moment to finger-comb his hair into order, and another two to adjust his tie and shirtfront. The English players were still racing around the field like mad men after their long overdue victory when Standish had already returned to his usual debonair, detached form.

'Any minute now,' Vin thought, trying not to let his anticipation show.

Ezra's cell phone rang right on cue and, right on cue, his shoulders drooped and his chin sank. By the time he had the cell phone to his ear, he had taken on the same look of stunned defeat showing on all of the blue and white painted faces in the stands on the Argentine side of the soccer stadium.

"Standish," he sighed into the phone. "Yes, darlin', Ah know Argentina lost... Ah just watched it."

Just to be helpful, Buck picked up the remote and hit the mute button, silencing the chorus of "Rule, Britannia".

"1, nil," Ezra said. "Like Ah said, Ah saw it.... Uh huh.... No, it has not escaped mah attention that my wagah is forfeit...." A grin breaking through the discipline of his dejection, he reached inside his jacket and pulled out a gentleman's leather wallet, the kind that can hold airplane tickets and Swiss bankbooks.

"Ah know - the Dusenberg, trousers down, on the hood, the motor runnin'...."

"Dusenberg?!" Buck mouthed at Chris. They didn't need to speak to know exactly what the other was thinking: 'How the hell do you have sex on the hood of a Doozie?! You'd roll right off - hell, you'd scratch the paint!' So much for either man's plan of going back to bed and sleeping the Friday morning in: Figuring out how Ezra would manage to meet the terms of his bet would keep them awake for the next week.

The wallet landed on the coffee table next to Buck's feet with a solid "thump". J.D. picked it up as Ezra's eyes closed, his face taking on an expression that was somewhere between pained and blissful.

"...And the car alarm on," he echoed. "Yes, Ah have.... Ah am.... Ah'm leaving now, Cup-Cake...."

As soon as he closed the connection and stowed the miniscule phone in its place, Ezra's shoulders squared, his detached manner overmatched by the gleam in his eyes. Looking back at the television, he touched two fingers to his brow in honor of David Beckham, being interviewed on television in all his peroxide coxcomb glory.

"Nevah have so few..." he acknowledged, adjusting his cufflink. "Pray for me, gentlemen...."

"Heart of oak, Ez?" Vin asked, deadpan.

Standish merely raised an eyebrow before strolling from the lounge, presumably headed for the garage where his classic, mint condition 1931 Dusenberg limo sat in all its gleaming perfection.

"Wow!" J.D.'s startled voice broke into each man's thoughts of just how one could become carnally intimate on the rounded hood of the admittedly powerful engine. The kid had opened the wallet, revealing that it was stuffed with $1,000 dollar bills.

"What the hell is that for?!" Chris demanded, getting a sudden feeling that he would have been much better off if he'd stayed up in his room, safely in bed.

"Bail," Vin replied.


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[i] For those of you not familiar with football, or soccer as it is called here in the United States, there is a very famous Spanish-speaking announcer who screams "GOAAALLL!" when ever a goal is scored in a game, and he can make the word last at full volume for about oh, five minutes. Unless, of course, it is England's goal. Spanish speaking announcers are generally very blasť about English goals.
[ii] David Seaman, an absolutely brilliant goal keeper who was spectacular in the 2002 World Cup game against Argentina. In fact, he's usually spectacular. He had a heart of oak today, IMHO.
[iii] In my case, ESPN2. No copyright infringement intended; the broadcast belongs to them, and presumably to FIFA ~ and now, to history!!!