ATF Special Agent in Charge, Chris Larabee rolled over and fixed the ringing phone on his bedside table with a one-eyed glare. He squinted at the caller ID and groaned when he recognized the number. Four Corners Mercy Hospital. The ER.
He didn't even want to think about the fact that he recognized the number and what that said about his team.
He hitched himself over close enough to grab the handset and growled, "Larabee," as he checked the time on the handy built in clock on the combination, phone with caller ID, digital alarm clock/radio.
Somebody had better be dead.
"Agent Larabee, this is Nurse Harper at Four Corners Mercy Hospital. We have standing orders to call you whenever one of your men is brought into the ER...."
"Yeah. Who is it?"
"Well, actually it's two of them, Sir. Agents Standish and Tanner."
"What in hell did they do now? Oops, sorry 'bout the language, ma'am."
"That's quite all right, sir, even understandable. Apparently they fell off Agent Standish's roof."
"Roof? What were they doing on Ezra's roof at two o'clock in the morning on Christmas Eve?"
"According to the EMT's they were attempting to attach to the roof, wait a minute I have the report right here... Oh, yes, a twelve foot long Santa sleigh complete with eight life-size reindeer and an animated, singing Santa."
"How drunk were they?"
"Drunk enough that neither was seriously injured in the fall. Of course, it helped that they landed in a snowdrift. Agent Standish has dislocated his shoulder, again. Agent Tanner has a badly sprained wrist. We will be unable to give them prescription drugs for the pain as their blood alcohol levels are too high... not that they seem to be feeling a lot of pain. They are currently entertaining the ER waiting area with some slightly scrambled Christmas songs."
She apparently held the phone up so that he could hear for himself as her voice was replaced by what had to be two very drunk agents, singing: loudly and off key:
"Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas Eve. Some folks say that grandpa's just a story but as for me and Santa we believeeeeeeeeeeee!"
Chris winced. He hated that song when it wasn't scrambled. Now he wouldn't be able to get the scrambled version out of his head.
Her voice came back on, "Are you still there, Mister Larabee?"
"I'm here. I take it you want someone to come and get them."
"Yes, sir. There really isn't any reason to keep them and we're quite crowded tonight...." She let it trail off in a hopeful note.
"It'll take me about an hour to get there."
"Yes, sir. Thank you... and Merry Christmas."
She hung up just as Chris heard what he thought was a loud Yeeeeehaaaaaw! Come through the line.
An hour and a half later, after collecting his agents, Chris turned into Ezra's driveway and stopped abruptly, gaping at his suave, restrained, undercover agent's wildly decorated front lawn.
Aside from the twelve-foot Santa sleigh, dangling precariously from the roof, (Apparently they had managed to get the first two reindeer securely attached, as they were supporting the weight of the other six, which lay on their sides, in a ragged line to the edge of the roof with the sleigh hanging from the eve, Santa dangling upside down, his boots firmly attached to the floorboards of the sleigh, grinning like a manic and "Ho, Ho, Ho"-ing merrily as he waved at all and sundry from his up-side-down position.), on both sides of Ezra's walkway stood a veritable forest of spiral Christmas trees, made of red, green and clear rope lights, ranging from three-feet to six-feet tall.
To the left a flock of animated, musical, pink flamingos dressed in hula skirts with Christmas tree light leis, bobbed up and down in the forest to the tune of "Christmas in Hawaii".
To the right of the walkway and directly under the waving Santa, stood a two-foot tall, leprechaun, dressed all in green, carrying a pot with what looked like gold coins. Apparently it was motion-activated, as every time Santa waved, it waved back and shouted "Happy St. Patrick's Day!".
Next to it a six-foot tall, white rabbit, wearing an Easter bonnet and carrying a basket of colorful eggs, repeatedly sang, "Here Comes Peter Cottontail".
Icicle lights dripped from every possible place.
Inflatable Santas, snowmen, deer, polar bears, and elves swayed in the breeze.
No less than three angels stood on Ezra's porch, the largest a near life-size, five-foot tall, blonde with blue eyes, dressed in sparkling white with gold wings and a lighted halo, carrying the biggest bubble light Chris had ever seen.
Beside the porch stood three crosses, one outlined with red lights, one outlined with green lights and one outlined with clear chasing lights. A two-foot tall star, outlined with blue lights graced the point of the porch roof.
After a long minute he shut his mouth and turned to look at the two men in the back seat of the Ram.
They were oblivious. Passed out cold. He looked back at the minefield of decorations. No way was he dragging their drunken asses through that by himself.
Besides no one would believe him when he told them about it...unless he had witnesses... and evidence.
He picked up his cell phone and dialed.
"Huh?" Buck's sleepy voice answered.
Chris tossed an evil grin over his shoulder at the two sleeping men.
"Buck. It's Chris. Grab the camcorder and get your ass over to Ezra's...."