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Author's Note - This story is from a challenge where these words had to be used: repugnant, extimulate, verbarstringendo, capriccioso




"Vest?" JD Dunne pulled out an offering from the depths of a dark, dank wall of cloth.


Ezra's nose wrinkled at the hideous plaid piece of clothing dangling precariously from the warped wire hanger in JD's dirty hand. He didn't have a chance to make comment.


"Really, Ezra, you gotta help me, here! I gotta look good tonight!" JD clearly stood on the threshold of panic, shifting worriedly from foot to foot, clad only in bow tie print boxers - his idea of classy. It was far from the requirements of the charitable Thanksgiving Ball sponsored by Casey's employer.


Betting in his mind, Standish automatically calculated the odds that his young friend possessed appropriate clothing for this excursion and suffered a mental loss after a quick glance at the opened closet. He cringed at the JD Collection assassinating any and all hopes and dreams Ezra had for this generation.


"All I can say is, from the repugnant display assauling my senses from that Neanderthal cave you generously call a closet," the gambler indicated the contents with a sweep of his arm and then hesitated, open-mouthed for a moment before continuing he carefully worded reply, "I am ecstatic you realize that the tools to pull off the presence you desire are not within our reach at this time."


Reality sank in when JD's eyes tracked from Ezra's immaculate suit to his own sad, rumpled collection of mismatched clothing. His shoulder slumped in defeat. "What  am I gonna do?" he lamented in sorrowful defeat.


Sighing with the inevitability of it all, Ezra rose to the challenge wearily and shrugged back his coat as he buttoned it down. He ducked his head, speaking after a moment's reflection.  "I have the solution, Mr. Dunne. Put something on and come with me."


"To where?" JD sputtered, dropping his arm. The hideous vest slunk to the floor from the bent hangar and huddled in a sad pile.


"Rigaletto's Haberdashery. I will drive. My car has a trunk, unlike your vehicle, and we will need it."


"I can't afford that place!" JD's basset hound eyes turned to Ezra in despair.


"No, you can't," Ezra agreed. Turning to leave, he patted his breast pocket while picking his way through a maze of discarded clothes scattered on the floor. "But Carson Videlli can," he said over his shoulder.


Grabbing the closest shirt - a dolphin themed Hawaiian affair - JD threw it on and then hopped on one leg while stepping into striped shorts and following Ezra's erratic path. "Videlli? The mob guy we're taking down tomorrow? You stole from him?"


Ezra issued a dismissive shrug. "Although I have, at times, taken action to extimulate an undercover operation, I would never invalidate an ongoing investigation. I have Mr. Videlli's permission to use this credit card." He stopped with his hand on the doorknob and half-turned to his young teammate with a sly smile and gleaming eyes. "I haven't  amassed my wardrobe solely on an agent's salary, Mr. Dunne, and even though 'every man is as God made him, ay, and often worse', my negotiation skills are above reproach and my creative report writing is unparalleled."


Nodding once to mark Dunne's uncharacteristic, silent-yet-awed reaction at the revelation of no less than two of the undercover agent's closely held secrets, Ezra opened the door and crossed the threshold into the hallway. Once there, he stopped to regard his friend's capriccioso style, amused at the unbuttoned shirt and one-legged wrestling match to pull on the most atrocious half-trousers he'd ever seen. Standish then took pause at the moment, and evaluated how far he'd come since joining the reckless group of ATF misfits known as the Magnificent Seven.


"Damn, Mother would be appalled at how far I've fallen," he realized as scene after scene of his team's successes crossed his mind in full, unabashed color. Grinning, he refocused on his teammate just as Dunne toppled and hit the edge of his own kitchen table, knocking over a half-full bottle of beer whose contents then flowed like Niagara Falls down onto his shaggy head. Ezra was quite impressed at the boy's extensive swear-cabulary, and suddenly, in epic 'a-ha' style, the entire catalogue of Buck's Three Stooges movies he'd been forced to view over the years made ridiculous sense.


"Oh, yes. Appalled. Most definitely," was all Ezra managed to say before bursting out in raucous style laughter that would make the Seven proud.


The End


Additional Note : Before you say I didn't use the utterly ridiculous non-word "verbarstringendo", please note the first letter of each paragraph.

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