Everything on this page is fiction. Any resemblance or reference to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

I haven't been producing much lately but this little piece just popped into my head. I just received my Reader's Digest for August today and was reading the short humorous stories under All in a Day's Work and one inspired this bit of fluff. (Proof positive that inspiration can come from anywhere.) The article is reprinted below the story, as I don't want to give it away until after.


by Starwinder

Vin Tanner didn't even look up when the phone on his desk rang just snagged it and popped it up on his shoulder while he continued with what he was doing.

"ATF, Tanner," he said into the handset.

He was surprised to hear his partner's voice on the other end of the line. Ezra had taken the day off, as his Mother was expected to drop in for a visit.

"Mister Tanner, you are our resident nature expert, are you not?"

That got his attention. "Nature expert?" he queried as he reached over and switched the phone to speaker as he saw Buck and JD's heads come up at his words. "Reckon so. Why?"

"Because, Mister Tanner, I have acquired a houseguest."

"Thought you were expecting yer ma."

"I was! I am, however, not referring to her, although she has arrived." That statement was confirmed by a very feminine, but not Maude Standish-like squeal coming over the line.


"It is a lovely day, so, I opened the patio doors and..." he hesitated.

"And?" Vin prompted.

"And I now have a hummingbird flying around my condo." He paused again before adding. "It seems quite attracted to Mother."

"More like her perfume." Vin informed him.

"I don't care what is attracting it! I want to know how to get it *out of here*!" Ezra snarled.

Realizing that Ezra was losing his patience, which he wasn't known for having a lot of in the first place, especially when his mother was in residence, Vin grinned and said, "Well, I seem to remember that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. So, if ya was to hang something red beside the open patio door, it'd probably fly back out... sooner 'r later."

"Thank you. Mister Tanner." Ezra said with a sigh and hung up.

Vin looked around at the rest of the guys who were all grinning broadly. Even Chris had stuck his head out of his office door and was smiling. He chuckled to himself and went back to work.

Twenty minutes later the phone rang again. As soon as he picked it up and heard Ezra's voice he flipped on the speakerphone.

"Hey, Ez, did it work?"

"Oh it worked! It worked just dandy! I now have two hummingbirds in my condo!" There was a sudden gasp, then an extremely annoyed, "Aw hell!" came across the line, followed by a resigned, "make that three hummingbirds."

There was a pause then in a pleading voice, "What do I do now?"

Vin grinned, he couldn't help himself, "Well, pard, I guess there ain't but one thing left to do. Go get ya one of them nectar feeders."

"What?" Ezra demanded in an incredulous voice.

"You got houseguests, pard. It'd be plumb inhospitable not ta feed them." Vin hung up the phone just as the rest of the guys burst out laughing, even Chris Larabee.

Vin Tanner grabbed his jacket and headed for the door of the ATF office.

"Calling it a night, Vin?" Chris asked as he watched the younger man head out.

"Yeah," Vin said then sighed. "Reckon I better run by the condo and see how Ez made out with the hummers."

"Can't blame you for not wanting to run into Maude, but it's probably best if you check by. You don't want Ez to stew too long. He's bound to find a way to get even with you for hanging up on him and leaving him to it, especially with his mother there." Chris told him with a grin.

Vin nodded glumly. He really wasn't looking forwards to having to put up with Maude. They hadn't told her yet that they were a couple and he'd have to be real careful what he said and did.

When he reached the townhouse, he rang the bell instead of just letting himself in like he usually did.

He was immensely surprised, when Ezra opened the door wearing a grin and grabbed him, dragged him into the condo, pinned him against the door, as soon as it was closed, and kissed him soundly.

For a minute he was too stunned to react then he pushed Ezra away a bit gasping, "Ez! Yer ma!"

Ezra leaned back against him, grinning up at him. "Mother has departed. Apparently having the undivided attention of three hummingbirds was more than she could endure. She has threatened never to return, which means we should have a month or so without having to deal with her."

"Oh," was all Vin could manage for a minute, "so, what was that about? Not that I'm complaining or anything. Was a great kiss."

"That was for being brilliant." Ezra smiled up at him.

"Brilliant?" Vin asked not quite knowing what else to say.

"Yes. You did say that I should feed my guests."

"Yeah," Vin still wasn't sure how that made him brilliant but he wasn't gonna argue about it.

"So, I did. Come on. You are going to love this." Ezra took his hand and led him through the living room to the patio doors.

Vin couldn't help but grin at what he saw. There on the patio was not one, but three hummingbird feeders, filled with red nectar. Darting around them, were nearly a dozen, brightly colored hummers.

"Aren't they beautiful?" Ezra asked quietly.

"Yeah, they are." Vin agreed, moving to stand behind Ezra and wrapping his arms around his lover.

Ezra leaned back against him, smiling happily.

After a minute Vin asked, "Why three feeders?"

"There were three hummingbirds."

"Of, course. You couldn't expect your guests ta share a feeder."

"Of course not. It would have been rude."

"They're sharing now."

"Yes, well it's their party now. I can only assume they invited their guests." Ezra grinned.

He turned to look up at Vin. "I stopped at that little Specialty pastry shop on the way home and got us two chocolate eclairs for dessert tonight."

"Sounds good."

"And I stopped at that place that Buck is always talking about, The Loving Store, and picked up a couple of tubes of Double Dutch Chocolate flavored lube."

"That sounds even better," Vin smiled down at Ezra, then kissed him softly. "How about we start with the lube and end with a late supper and the chocolate eclairs?"

Ezra chuckled, "My personal wildlife expert is planning to show me a little wild living?"

"Damn straight." Vin grinned at him.

The End

Here's the RD article as promised. It appears on page 61 of the August 2004 Reader's Digest.

My fellow teacher called for help-- she needed someone who knew about animals. As a science teacher, I filled the bill. "Oh," she added, "bring a net."

Expecting to find some kind of beast as I entered her classroom, I was greeted by the sight of excited kids watching a hummingbird fly around. Rather than use the net, I suggested they hang red paper by an open door. The bird would be drawn to it, I explained, and eventually fly out.

Later the teacher called back. The trick worked. "Now, she said, "we have two hummingbirds flying around the room."

(submitted by Ray Poelley)

Everything on this page is fiction. Any resemblance or reference to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.