Bidder 77

by Katherine

Alternate Universe "Immortal 7"


Ezra Standish sighed softly, making sure he had a good view before taking his seat. He loved auctions. They were like organized scavenger hunts. He never knew what treasure might be unearthed or good deal was to be had.

Ezra especially liked auctions run by Howard Vischer. They were always well organized, polite affairs. Howard was not quite on the level of Christies or Butterfield, but he wasn’t far from either, offering a wide selection of quality items.

Ezra smiled at his paddle, pleased that Jenny, Howard’s assistant, had remembered his preference for the number seven. He was bidder ‘77’ this time. At the last auction he’d been number ‘107’ and hadn’t managed to secure a single item. He was determined to do better this time.

This auction listed a number of antique firearms. They were weapons he and his six companions were far more intimately familiar with than any of the other attendees could likely claim to be, no matter what their interest or knowledge level. Being Immortal, they’d all been around when those guns were newly manufactured, remembered when they were practical to own and were used as necessary tools almost on a daily basis.

When the catalog listing had arrived, Ezra had taken it with him to Joe’s bar. While his companions didn’t particularly care for attending auctions, preferring to leave that to Ezra, they did enjoy seeing what was available. They’d all sat at their usual table, perusing it, and marking their choices.

None of the weapons were listed with any special provenance nor were they tied to any famous historical figure. Ezra expected that lack of documentation to keep those collectors who focused on the personal historic significance from attending, which should also keep the prices more reasonable. Ezra opened the now tattered catalog, mentally making notes of lot numbers to watch for and reminding himself of what his friends had expressed an interest in.

Chris had circled in black ink the Hopkins & Allen, XL Navy Revolver .38 Rim Fire. Ezra wasn’t sure why, since he’d never seen him use such a piece, but he didn’t question it. Ezra frowned at the maximum bid Larabee had written in next to his selection. Having already spotted several avid gun collectors in the audience that he knew sought out rare and unique pieces, Ezra wasn’t confident of his chances in getting that one.

Buck had put a star next to a Henry repeating rifle listed in the catalog. He’d actually owned one just like it, and Ezra had no doubt that was the appeal. He already knew that if he was the successful bidder, Buck would likely be keeping it in Ezra’s locked display case in the loft. The man had no where to store the weapon, and it wouldn’t be the first thing Ezra had kept for him. His maximum bid was well within the attainable range since the piece wasn’t particularly rare or noteworthy.

Nathan had noted his interest in an Enfield rifle by circling it with green ink. His desire to own it was confusing to Ezra since the rifle had likely been carried into battle by a Confederate soldier. Having been beaten to death at the hands of his slave master only a few years before the Civil War, Nathan’s wish to own anything from someone who might have fought to defend the right to own slaves seemed incongruous. There was a story there, Ezra was sure, but he and the others had refrained from asking, respecting the doctor’s right to his privacy.

Josiah wanted the Colt Army Model 1848 Dragoon pistol. Ezra considered it a heavy, unwieldy piece, but Josiah had insisted that was what he wanted. He said it was the weapon that killed him in the Mexican War and started his Immortal existence. It seemed rather morbid to want to possess such a memento, but they all had similar items they kept as reminders of their ‘past lives’.

Vin had quietly circled in pencil the only Whitworth rifle listed, lot number 92. The British made muzzle loader had a 33 inch barrel and a .451 inch bore, and its long range precision made it one of the best weapons of the Civil War. The telescopic sight included with the rifle gave it an effective range of nearly 1,800 yards.

Unlike Nathan, Ezra fully understood this weapon’s appeal to the former bounty hunter. It was using this gun that Vin, as a Rebel sharpshooter, killed Union General "Uncle John" Sedgwick at Spotsylvania Court House. The irony of the moment cemented in the fact Vin’s shot had killed Sedgwick just after he’d said to a frightened Union soldier ‘Confederate sharpshooters couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance’. Vin hadn’t written in a maximum bid, letting Ezra know money was no object in this case.

JD naturally wanted the Colt pistols with a pearl handled grip. He had sold the pair he’d had at one time, upgrading to automatics after the first world war. Ezra suspected it was a bout of nostalgia for the younger Immortal, a chance to recapture a more innocent time.

In some ways that was probably true of all of them. Although, innocent was something of a relative term. Perhaps simpler was a better adjective. No matter. He was here to spend a little money, the reasons weren’t terribly important.

Ezra wasn’t set on acquiring any of the firearms for himself, unless of course there happened to be a particularly good deal. What he wanted was one of the Civil War era swords being offered. He had quite a collection of them displayed in the dojo, and was always looking for more. Few people even realized that the bladed weapons awarded as a status of rank differed for infantry, artillery, cavalry, and navy. By the end of the war they were largely ceremonial, but the early ones had been made of high quality steel and were still deadly weapons, if no longer as effective in combat as they once were.

Ezra watched various items come and go, bidding occasionally on when something caught is eye. As he’d expected, Chris’ selection went for a little over his maximum limit of $3000.00. Ezra didn’t think the former gunslinger would quibble unduly about $500.00, especially not if Ezra didn’t tell him. So the Hopkins & Allen .38 went to bidder 77.

Both the Enfield and the Henry rifles were easily won. With nearly a dozen of them listed in the catalog, competition for those was not fierce. But acquiring Josiah’s dragoon pistol was anther story. Several bidders were interested, one of which insisted on making small incremental bids. Fortunately, Ezra was in no hurry, and after nearly twenty minutes another weapon went to bidder 77.

JD’s pistols were the only pearl handled colts listed among the items. TV and movies had made them prominent in popular imagination, and bidding began fast and furious. Ezra sighed regretfully, shaking his head, letting them go to a wealthy collector when the bid exceed JD’s limit by more than $1500. There were other colts listed, but none that JD had expressed an interest in.

Ezra was able to get a Colt Model 1 .45 derringer for JD. It was a consolation prize of sorts; one Ezra thought the younger Immortal might appreciate. JD had always admired the one Ezra had just like it.

The next few items weren’t of interest to Ezra or any of the others, so he slipped out for a glass of wine from the caterer Howard provided. Finger foods could also be had. Ezra got a small plate, enjoying a bit of sushi before heading back in and retaking his seat.

Vin’s Whitworth rifle was the next item up. Ezra sat back, waiting to see who would make the opening bid. Sharp green eyes assessed the bidders, most of whom he’d met at one time or another, mentally calculating the odds as he bet with himself as to which one would be first. He smiled slightly when his pick, Gary Johnson, a true lover of antique firearms from Seattle, made the first bid.

The second bid came shortly there after. And then the third and fourth. Ezra waited patiently, letting the rising price separate out the serious contenders from the hopeful. He raised his paddle to have bidder 77 recognized once the action leveled off to only a few. Ezra was grateful there didn’t appear to be any phone in bidders for the Whitworth. He much preferred bidding against people he could see.

Ezra ignored the dirty look Johnson sent his way as he yet again topped the other man’s bid. Vin had not set a limit, trusting Ezra to be sensible, and know what the gun was worth. The current bid was still shy of that amount, leaving him plenty of room.

Howard lightly tapped the gavel when Johnson finally shook his head, apparently resigned to not getting the rifle and bowing out. “Sold to number 77 for $11,500.”

Ezra smiled, pleased to have won the gun for Vin. He’d have to see if bullets for it could be made, knowing the long haired immortal would want to fire the weapon. Hexagonal bullets needed were far from common.

Ezra waited patiently for the rest of the firearms to be auctioned off. He amused himself by trying to predict the final price and who would purchase each item. It was good practice in assessing people and evaluating the worth of antiques. Ezra considered it a victory to be right more than he was wrong.

Ezra finished his wine, debating getting another when the swords began making an appearance. He was mildly amused to note there was an entirely different group bidding on them than had been interested in the firearms. He was likely one of the few in the crowd with an appreciation for both.

The infantry sabers were not the same caliber as those he already owned. Ezra had viewed them earlier when they were on display and strongly suspected several were well made replicas. He was more interested in the Navy Cutlasses he’d seen.

Ezra managed to procure two that he considered the best of the selection available. He bid on one of the artillery sabers, but wasn’t willing to get involved in a bidding war with a rather buxom blonde in the front row. He couldn’t help smiling as he thought she’d be just Buck’s type.

The rest remaining lots held no appeal for him. Ezra rose gracefully, heading for Jenny’s table so he could turn his number and settle his bill. She smiled warmly at him as he approached.

“Did you enjoy the auction, Mr. Standish?”

“Very.” He smiled, bowing slightly. She was a lovely woman, refined and graceful, a true lady.

“I’ll have your bill ready in just a moment.”

“Take your time.” Ezra passed off his empty wine glass to a nearby waiter.

“Another, sir?”

“No, thank you.”

“Would you like to have your items boxed for shipping, Mr. Standish?” Jenny asked as she handed him the bill.

“No, that won’t be necessary this time.” Ezra had items shipped in the past and was not surprised she’d remembered and made the offer. Jenny was very good at what she did.

“I would appreciate having them loaded into my car, if that’s possible?” He handed her a credit card.

“Certainly.” She tipped her head regally. “Our valet parked your car?”

“Yes.” He handed her the claim ticket.

She held up a hand and signaled one of the waiters. “Please have Mr. Standish’s car brought around, and see to it his purchases are packed in the trunk.”

“Thank you.”

“It is my pleasure, Mr. Standish.” She smiled warmly, returning his card and offering him a pen for his signature. “We will be having another auction next month. Would you like me to send you a listing?”

“Please.” Ezra knew he was on the mailing list, but he liked being asked. It was a polite reminder that they appreciated his business.

“Enjoy the rest of your day, Mr. Standish.”

“Thank you.” He bowed to her, kissing the back of her hand with a flourish he’d mastered as a young man.

His car was waiting out front. He tipped the valet handsomely knowing it would be shared with the other help. Ezra understood the concept of living hand to mouth well enough to know a good tip was always appreciated. And it went a long way toward ensuring they took good care of his vehicle.

He dialed JD on his cell phone as he pulled away. Nathan’s phone was strictly for hospital related business, and the others refused to carry one.

“Hello, JD.”

“Hey, Ez. You done at the auction?”


“Cool.” JD sounded so excited. He really should insist the younger Immortal accompany him some time. “You get everything?”

Ezra sighed, unhappy with having to disappoint his friend. “No.”

“Sorry, Ez……Things go too high?”

“Just the pearl handled colts you’d requested.” Ezra was not one to beat around the bush when it came to bad news. “They were well outside the maximum limit you’d set.”

“Knew it was a long shot.” He could hear JD’s heavy sigh clearly through the phone. “Never should have sold my old ones. Just seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“I was able to secure a colt derringer for you though.”

“Really?” The surprised delight in JD’s voice made Ezra glad he’d managed to get it for him. It wouldn’t have been right to show up with something for the others and leave him out.

“It is the same make and model as the one I have that you like so well.”

“Sweet.” Ezra could almost see JD bouncing in excitement. It was a trait the youthful habit JD seemed incapable of outgrowing.

“So you’re headed home?”

“I’m in the car now.” Ezra waited for the light to change, checking traffic. “I should be at the loft in about an hour if you wanted to let the others know.”

“Will do.” JD was probably nodding as well. “We’ll be perched on your front step like a bunch of orphans hoping to get fed when you get home.”

Ezra chuckled. It was a rather apt description. “See you soon.”

“Drive carefully.”

Ezra rolled his eyes at the admonishment. “Yes, Mother.”

JD laughed. “See you soon.”

Ezra ended the call, tossing the phone lightly into the passenger seat. He cued the CD player, letting the strains of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons softly fill the car. Ezra relaxed into the leather seat. Unlike Josiah, he enjoyed driving.

He grinned to himself. He’d have to remember to reserve number 77 for future auctions. It was definitely a good number to have.


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