Taking the Bull
Authors Note: This is just a short piece that I wrote around a picture that I received from a friend. However, the picture is adult in nature and can't be posted on this list. This fic will also be posted on the adult site, and the picture will be included there. Anyone who is of legal age can get the url for the adult site by requesting it from Nancy, the site owner. If you already have the url, you might want to read it from that list to begin with, so you can see the picture at the end. Just don't scroll down and look at the picture first, that will give away the story.
Disclaimer: I do not own them. They are the property of MGM, Mirisch, and Trilogy Entertainment; however, if they ever come up for sale, I will be in the front row at the auction.
Feedback: Feedback is welcome and greatly appreciated, but no flames please.
Buck groaned as he pulled the tight pants on and wondered again how he had managed to end up in this situation. Sure he had helped with undercover operations before, but not for such a long stretch of time. He knew Standish would do everything possible to keep them safe. He would stake his life of Ezra's abilities in undercover work, but this time they were risking JD's life too.
Wilmington looked up to where the other two men were busy getting dressed in clothes nearly identical to his. "Kid, wipe that grin off yer face. This ain't no game."
"I know that, but it isn't everyday a guy get to do something like this." JD's exuberance did not fade despite his friend's admonishment.
"Mr. Wilmington is correct, Mr. Dunne. You need to get into character." Ezra was glad this was the last day of this operation. It was very draining to keep all three of their butts out of the proverbial sling. He had to admit though; he still got a major adrenaline rush when he donned these clothes. It is no wonder the kid had trouble curtailing his enthusiasm. It had bee three months since the initial planning of the operation and now it was coming to an end. They knew how the arms were being smuggled in. The support team was ready to move in at Chris's signal. Now it was up to them to be sure everything went smoothly. That meant getting out there and taking the bull by the horns, literally.
Dressed and ready, the three men walked to the door leading outside and waited for their signal. Buck Wilmington, alias Roberto Degas, closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he thanked the powers that be, that this was the last time the had to walk through that door.
JD Dunne allowed the persona of Juan Degas to settle into place. He continued to smile, but he no longer seemed to be on the verge of bouncing off the walls. This was the twelfth time for this part of their cover, but he was still as excited as he had been the first time.
The veteran undercover agent, Ezra Standish, slid into his role of Eduardo Degas with practiced ease. He composed his features and prepared himself mentally for what was yet to come. One more time, he kept telling himself. There is only this one more time.
A buzzer sounded. It was time. The three men looked at each other and nodded, each knew that his own life and the lives of the others were in his hands. A mistake could blow their cover, or it could get them hurt or killed by what waited on the other side of the door. Although Ezra was technically the team leader, it was Buck as the eldest of the three who reached out and opened the door.
Buck disappeared and was replaced by Roberto as he walked through the door, followed closely by his younger brothers Juan and Eduardo. They strode with confidence and pride to the center of the arena, amid the shouts and cheers of an enthusiastic crowd. They were the finale for the traveling exhibitions, billed as:
The Degas Brothers, BullFighters Magnificos!
THREE MONTHS EARLIER
Chris Larabee looked at his team across the conference table. Six pairs of eyes stared at him in stunned silence. "Comments Gentlemen?"
Buck was the first to speak up. "Ya ain't serious are ya? I mean ..Bull fighters . a man would have to be a frigging idiot ." He let the last part trail off as he glanced over at Ezra, who they all knew would be the man on the inside.
"I must say that I am wounded by your apparent lack of faith in my ability to perform my assigned task." Standish affected a hurt expression.
"Ah hell, Ezra. You know I didn't mean it like that. I just meant, how ya gonna watch yer back and over 1000 pounds of raging beef-steak on steroids at the same time?" Buck hedged.
"Buck, I'm glad you are so worried about him, because you're going with him, and so is JD." Larabee sat back and waited for the explosion.
"Are you outta yer fucking mind? You can't send the kid in on this! How the hell are we supposed to watch him and everything else?" Buck's face was bright red with anger.
"I can send him, and I am." Chris looked over to the youngest team member. "That is, if JD thinks he can handle it."
JD swallowed hard and trained his eyes on the tabletop in front of him. H had wanted a chance to work with Ezra on an undercover job. He had nearly begged for the chance, but now he wondered if that had been a mistake. He raised his eyes to look at the team leader. "I can handle it."
"JD, no one will blame you if you turn this one down," Chris said. "I don't want you taking this unless you are sure about it. It will be dangerous " Larabee stopped when he saw Dunne open his mouth to speak.
"I know that Chris, but it is something I have to do, for me. It has nothing to do with proving anything to you. I need to prove it to myself." JD looked thoughtfully at the team leader and then around the table to the other men. "I need to do this, but I won't risk everyone else. If any of you don't trust me to know if I'm in over my head and to step down from it before it is too late to, then tell me now."
No one responded, and JD turned his attention to Buck. Wilmington looked at his young friend appraisingly. "Ya swear if yer not absolutely certain yer up to this that you'll step down before we are committed to see it through?"
"Buck, I give you my word. I won't risk any of you or the case to save my pride." His gaze never wavered from the older man's eyes as he spoke. At last Buck nodded his acceptance of those terms.
Ezra broke the tension when he favored their leader with an observation. "Uh not to rain on anyone's parade, but there is one matter that must be considered." All eyes turned to him expectantly. "None of use has the slightest notion of how to fight a bull."
Once again six pairs of eyes turned to Chris Larabee as the men waited for his response. Chris graced his men with one of his rare smiles. "The bureau has arranged lessons for you."
Vin looked at the blonde like he had suddenly sprouted a second head. "Yer jokin' right? Ya mean there are places ya can go take bull fighting lessons?" The team's sharpshooter was obviously incredulous.
"Not exactly," Chris explained. "They found someone who used to do it who was willing to work with us on this." With that, Chris hit the intercom button on the phone. "Sally, would you ask Mr. Perez to join us, please?"
The team waited quietly for the guest to enter. Chris rose to greet the retired bullfighter when he stepped into the room. "Mr. Perez, thank you for coming." Larabee extended a hand and grasped the newcomer's in a firm handshake, then proceeded with the introductions. Formalities completed, he motioned the man to an empty seat.
The men of team seven silently appraised the man who would be responsible for teaching part of them what they needed to know to stay alive in the bullring. He would have a short time to train them for what usually took years to learn, with most starting to train as boys or adolescents. Each of them liked what they saw. Carlos Perez was tall, and although he appeared to be approaching fifty, he still possessed the lithe, muscular build of an athlete. His dark brown eyes spoke volumes about the man. They showed a combination of intelligence and determination, tempered with a touch of compassion.
"Mr. Perez " Chris started but was stopped by Perez.
"Please, Gentlemen, call me Carlos."
"Alright, Carlos, would you explain what you have planned for my men?" Larabee asked.
He looked at his three trainees before beginning to speak. "Gentlemen, you are to be trained to perform a bullfighting exhibition."
"An exhibition? How is that different from an actual bullfight?" Josiah asked.
"For this exhibition, the first stages will be left out entirely. Since, in America, it is not permitted to kill or injure the bull, the Picadors and Banderilleros are not necessary," Carlos explained.
"I am afraid you lost me. Picadors and Bande Bande whatever that other thing was that you said. What is it that isn't necessary, and why?" Wilmington suddenly started to feel uneasy.
Patiently, Carlos began his explanation. "The Picadors usually engage the bull second. They pierce the bull's neck with lances to weaken the neck muscles, so the bull will carry its head lower. The Banderilleros, face the bull third and place barbed hooks that trail brightly colored ribbons to help keep the bull from hooking its head from side to side. We cannot do these things to the bulls in America." Perez watched the expressions on the three men's faces.
"Mr. Perez Carlos, are you suggesting that we will be facing bulls that have not been tired out or weakened in any way?" Ezra asked calmly, his poker face firmly in place.
"Yes, you will demonstrate the moves of the Capeodores, who are the first to face the bull. Usually their part is to put the bull through its paces, so the matador can assess its agility, intelligence, strength, etc. Then after entertaining the crowd with the fancy cape work of the Capeodores, you will demonstrate some of the moves of the matadors." Carlos waited for their reaction, but there was none, other than stunned silence.
+ + + + + + +
Over the course of the next several weeks on Perez's ranch, Carlos worked the men relentlessly, and none of the three complained; not even Ezra. They all knew all their lives depended on each of them learning quickly and learning well. They endured hour after hour of work with those large heavy capes of the Capeodores, followed by more hours with the smaller red capes of the Matador. After all the grueling physical activity they then had to stand for fittings of their Traje de luces, or suit of lights as it is commonly called; the ornately sequined costume worn by the Matadors. It didn't take long for each of them to learn to doze on their feet during those fittings.
In eight short weeks the ATF agents developed the well-honed bodies of the bullfighters. They were well tanned, lean, muscled and agile. It was amazing to the three agents just how physically demanding the sport really was for the matador. It didn't look that hard, but they came to realize that appearances could be deceiving.
It was not until the last two weeks that the men had been allowed to face the bulls. They faced young ones at first and then moved up to the older more fierce bulls like the ones they would be facing in the arena.
Carlos pronounced them ready, at least as ready as possible in such a short time, and the men were given a couple days off before their first appearance as the Degas Brothers.
The three undercover agents stopped at center ring. Standing with their backs to each other, they each extended one foot slightly in front and made a sweeping bow to the crowd. The spectators cheered loudly, causing the Matadors to preen for their public. They stepped away from each other and moved closer to the edge of the bullring. They posed, strutted, bowed or waved for photos. Twice they changed places with their teammates, allowing the crowd a close view of each of them. One by one, they chose a pretty young woman to dedicate the fight to, and they left their suit capes draped over the wall in front of their chosen one.
Assistants made a great show of bringing out the large magenta and gold colored capes of the Capeodores. Roberto, as the eldest brother was given his first, followed by Eduardo, and then Juan. Once the assistants had left the ring, the three brothers, capes draped over their arms, met again at center ring. They clasped hands and bowed their heads for a moment of reflection or prayer before the exhibition would begin.
Under his breath, and through clenched teeth, Buck quipped, "Well, Pards, this is it. The last show."
"Indeed it is, and that is something for which I am immensely relieved," Ezra added.
"Well, I'm not. This has been great." JD had made no secret of the fact that he was having the time of his life learning to be a bullfighter.
Buck glanced up at his friends, "What do you say, want to end it with bang?"
"How do you propose we do that?" Ezra inquired.
"Let's show 'em some of the good stuff," Buck was grinning now. As eldest he would be the one to get to perform the coup de grass if they decided to do it. Since they could not kill the bull, which was the usual climax of the show, there was another move they could do that was sure to thrill the audience.
"Are you certain you want to do this? You have nothing to prove to anyone," Ezra pointed out.
"Aw hell, Ez. The kid is right. When will any of us ever get a chance like this again?"
Ezra's green eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face. "Then I suggest that we get on with the show."
"Alright!" JD exclaimed, softly. "Now this is more like it."
Roberto, Eduardo, and Juan released their clasped hands and stepped apart. They greeted the crowd and then went into the first part of their choreographed routine, dazzling the spectators with an exhibition of cape twirling and intricate maneuvers. When that was over, they turned to face the gate and a hush fell over the crowd.
Diablo, snorted and pawed the ground in the holding area. He had been prodded and annoyed to pique his anger. The bull wanted out. The gate opened and over a thousand pounds of raging bull sprang through and into the ring. He stopped, pawed at the earth and swung his head from side to side checking out the enclosure. Diablo focused on Roberto and made a couple false starts at a run toward the man with the cape. The fluttering fabric held the animal's attention, angering him even more. At last he charged at the cape, which was held in front of Roberto. At the last moment Roberto executed a deft move and sidestepped from behind the cape just a half second before the bull reached him. The matador stood rigid as he dramatically drew the cape over the bull's head in a perfect, veronica style pass.
"OLE'" the crowd roared as the bull raced past.
The three agents alternately worked the bull. In time the animal began to tire, and its sides heaved as it breathed hard from its exertions. Juan gestured to his brothers that he had seen the signal from Chris that the bust had gone down and it was all over. It was time to bring the show to an end.
Roberto worked the bull closer to him in, teasing it in with a series of moves. Diablo stood barely six feet from the novice matador. Roberto faced the animal and locked his eyes on those of the bull. Slowly, he inched his way toward the exhausted, but still enraged animal. He stopped within arms reach, never allowing his gaze to waver from Diablo's eyes. One hand eased out toward the massive beast, as silence descended on the arena. The fingers wrapped around the end of the lethal weapon on the bull's head, clasping the horn and holding it for a slow count of three. He had done it. He had succeeded in taking the bull by the horn.
Buck knew without being able to see them that his teammates where all holding their breath. He also knew when this was over Chris was going to tear into him with a vengeance, but it was worth it for that ultimate thrill. He forced his fingers to let go of the horn and very slowly began to move back away from Diablo. Several paces back he lost eye contact, and instantly knew he was in trouble. The bull snorted loudly and lunged forward. They were still too close together for Roberto to have time to react to the sudden movement of the bull. Diablo lowered his head and hit his target full force.
Buck felt the horn as it ran up the length of his leg to his groin. He felt himself lifted off the ground and tossed aside like he was little more than a rag doll. The drills that Carlos had put them through had become second nature, and he stayed where he landed, pulled himself into a fetal position, and wrapped his hands behind his head to try to protect his neck and make himself into as small a target as possible. All around him he could hear the screams of the crowd.
Men poured over the wall to distract the irate animal so Roberto's brothers could reach him. Ezra and JD knelt beside their fallen friend. "Buck," Ezra touched the older man on the shoulder. "How badly are you injured?"
Wilmington opened his eyes, and looked desperately at Ezra. "I .I . think I'm hurt bad." His face was ghastly pale and his lip trembled as he fought not to cry.
Standish saw the tattered edge of fabric sticking out from the inside of the top leg and gently reached down to place a hand on his leg. "Let me check, Buck." When he saw the fallen man nod, he slid his hand between his legs and felt the flesh just above the knee. It was dry. He moved his hand higher and again found the flesh to be dry. He looked at his hand when he pulled it free and suddenly started to grin. "Buck, look. No blood!"
"What? But, I felt . I was sure ." He stopped trying to talk and allowed JD to help him sit up. Carefully, he moved the leg and was greeted with the site of intact skin, but very un-intact pants. Still a bit shaken, Buck accepted JD's offered hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet.
JD had to chuckle when he saw his friend's appearance. The bull had ripped the fabric of the pants all the way from the knee up to and across his groin, and Buck had neglected to wear underwear. "Uh hey Buck. You feel a bit of a draft?"
Wilmington looked down and saw the extent of the damage to his costume, and fear crept back into his eyes. He had been feeling a throbbing sensation in a very delicate area. Buck slipped his hand into the gapping rip and gently cupped his testicles. He let out a huge sigh of relief when he realized that he had not been castrated by the bull's horn.
Ezra leaned in slightly to take a look. "I do believe that the family jewels are unharmed, Mr. Wilmington." He couldn't help but grin at the look of relief that flooded over Buck's face.
"Oh, thank God!" Buck gasped out.
"However,.." Ezra began.
Buck looked at him nervously. "However what?"
Ezra looked away. "Ah it really isn't important."
"The hell it isn't. However what?" Wilmington asked nervously.
"Well, by all appearances it would seem that Willie must have shrunk from fear."
Realization dawned on the lady's man. "Ezra, you son-of-a-bitch! I'll have you know that I ain't never had any complaints."
"Oh really? That is not what I have heard," Standish goaded as he walked on ahead of his teammates on the way out of the ring.
Buck hurried after his friend, heedless of the open rip in his pants. "Hey! What did you hear? Ezra, don't you walk away from me. What did you hear? Ezra ..!"
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