What's A Story Among Friends

by Jackie
Buck's telling tall tales or is he? Written for Round 2 of the DW Mag7 Daybook Bingo - Prompt "Tall Tales"

The saloon was busy for a Tuesday afternoon, and two of the town's peacekeepers sat entertained at a corner table as the third spun a tale of his past conquests. When he didn't think Buck would notice, J.D. took to sneaking looks Vin's way, wondering if he were believing any of the story. Buck had begun his story by telling them about a no name border town, a pretty senorita, and a lucky hand at the poker table during a time in his life when he'd taken to drifting from town to town. Believable; up until the point where Buck mentioned the six Mexican bandits, who accused him of cheating and compromising their sister's virtue.

Throwing back the last bit of his beer Vin suddenly stood, halting Buck's story.

"Where are you going?" Buck asked as he peered up at Vin. "I haven't gotten to the best part."

"I need another." Vin gestured toward the bar with his empty mug.

"Aw, come on Vin," J.D. laughed, "Buck's story telling ain't that bad."

Buck's chest puffed up and he practically sulked, "It really happened. I couldn't make this up if I tried."

"Thought you'd be parched. I'll buy this round," Vin explained.

Apparently, the offer mollified Buck's wounded ego because as he settled back in his chair to wait he gave J.D. a toothy grin. "I knew you boys were enjoying it."

"I reckon," J.D. quipped as he found a more comfortable position to wait for Vin's return.

Vin rejoined a few minutes later and set a beer and a mug of milk in the center of the table.

"Thanks. Next round's on me." J.D. hefted his mug and took a long draught as Vin reclaimed his seat.

Buck picked up the remaining drink. "Much obliged. Now where was I?"

"You were stranded in the desert without your horse, water, or food," Vin supplied and J.D. nodded in agreement.

"That's right. So there I was, surrounded by three of the most beautiful women in the territory." Buck sighed dreamily as he sank back in his chair and closed his eyes in apparent bliss. "Emma, May, and Juliet."

J.D. leaned forward in anticipation. Once Buck's tales turned racy, they were almost always worth hearing, even something as outlandish as three beautiful, buxom Vixens on horseback racing to his rescue. "So these three women just rode up out of the middle of nowhere and rescued you?" J.D. asked.

"That's what I said, didn't I?" Buck frowned as he looked between Vin and J.D. "I was as close as a man could be to death and not be dead."

Vin shifted in his seat and shook his head. "Sounds like wishful thinkin' to me."

"Only you would find three beautiful women in the wilderness while you're knocking at Death's door." J.D. chuckled as he scanned the room.

Growling, Buck snatched his beer mug and pushed away from the table, causing his chair to grate loudly.

"Where you going?" J.D. asked as he made to get up.

"Somewhere I can get a little respect," Buck groused, frowning down at Vin and J.D.

"Wait," Vin implored, pointing toward the front of the room. "Here comes Chris. We'll ask him what he thinks."

J.D. wasn't surprised when Buck seemed to hesitate as Chris made his way to their table. Though, Buck and Chris had a lot of history between them, they all knew Chris would be the first to call Buck out on a passel of lies.

Coughing, Buck tilted his hat at Vin and J.D. "I forgot. I have something I need to take care of. You three have a drink on me. I'll stop back by this evening."

"No. Sit back down," Vin directed, and used his foot to push a chair out from the table for Chris.

"Evening, boys," Chris greeted as he caught the chair back and spun it around. Straddling the seat, he draped his arms across the back and looked at his three friends.

"Hey there, Chris," J.D. said as he leaned back in his chair and hooked his thumbs in his gunbelt. "Vin and I would like to ask you a question."

Saying a quiet thanks to Inez as she put a bottle of whiskey and a shot glass down before him, Chris frowned slightly. "What's the question?" he asked peering up at Buck's stiff pose and the impossibly wide grin plastered across his face.

J.D. leaned toward Chris and lowered his voice conspiratorially. "You ever heard of the time Buck was stranded out in the desert and as death was creeping up on him three of the most beautiful..."

"Buxom," Vin reminded.

Grinning at Vin, J.D. agreed, "How could I forget that part. He told us he was rescued by these three women who nursed him back to health."

"That so?" Chris slowly moved his gaze up to Buck's frozen countenance. Buck's smile widened further. "These three ladies have names?" Chris asked suspiciously.

"Juliet, May, and Emma," Vin snorted as he sipped at his beer.

Lifting his shot glass, Chris seemed to contemplate the golden liquor inside. Throwing it back quickly, he gave a low whistle. Chris rose from his seat and set the chair back under the table. "Boys, all I can say is, if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes I'da never believed it." Slapping Buck on the arm Chris grinned. "Come on. We got work to do."

As Chris and Buck headed toward the door, J.D. leaned in and whispered to Vin, "Buck had to be tellin' a tale. No one's that lucky."

"I figured Chris would call him on it if it was too farfetched," Vin grunted. "There must have been some truth to the story. The trick will be finding out which parts are true."

"Chris wouldn't do that, would he?" J.D. asked.

"I don't go trying to figure out their friendship," Vin warned, "you're bound to get a headache if you do."

Quickly downing the rest of his drink, J.D. slapped the mug on the table top and wiped his upper lip with the back of his hand. "You're probably right. I'll see you around town later tonight." With a parting wave, J.D. exited through the batwing doors and paused on the porch. "Three buxom Vixen," J.D. snorted, "Buck's a legend in his own mind." Shaking his head and laughing, J.D. stepped into the warm late afternoon sunshine.