Disclaimers: Characters belong to Mirisch/Watson/Trilogy
borrowing, not making money
Rating: PG (one or two bad words)
Author's Notes: This is the explanation I came up with. If anyone else out
there has a different (read: better) idea, I would be delighted to read it.
I'm never too proud to move over & go with another situation. ;-)
Atlanta: Early Summer 1994
Ezra slumped back in the large overstuffed
chair in his living room as the
message on his answering machine finished playing. The Whirlwind was in
Only in his inner thoughts did Ezra
ever refer to his mother as 'The
Whirlwind'. But that's exactly what she was. Blowing into his life,
stirring things up and blowing back out. It had been better as of late; she
had been living in Manhattan with her latest acquisition. Leopold Von
Hauken. Husband number five, or was it six?
Ezra shook his head at the mental picture
that sprang to mind with the name
Leopold. He couldn't believe someone had actually named their child that.
He had yet to meet the man.
Maude had been married just over two
months, the first month having been
spent in Switzerland and Germany on honeymoon and the second, redecorating
Leopold's home in New York. If there was one thing that Maude Standish did
well, it was marry.
But now she was here, in Atlanta, and
she wanted to get together with her
'darlin' baby boy' for drinks and dinner. A lot of drinks if Ezra had his
way. Standish knew that a well-spaced collection of Absolut martinis was
escapism, but let a shrink or an AA counselor spend an evening completely
sober with 'The Whirlwind' and he bet they wouldn't criticize his methods.
He picked her up at her hotel at eight
and was surprised when Maude said
they had a table at nine at Café Sofie's. Their waiting list was usually at
least three to four weeks for reservations. Well, maybe he wasn't so
surprised. It was Maude, after all.
Dinner was nothing out of the ordinary.
She apologized for Leopold, he
really had wanted to come with her but, when business calls, one must
answer. So it was just mother and son.
The conversation was typical.
How was he doing? Was he seeing anyone? Was
he still working at 'that job'? 'Fine, mother.' 'No, mother'. 'There's
nothin' wrong with bein' a federal agent, mother.'
Ezra realized, as he ordered his first
martini, that he did have to drive
home that evening so he behaved himself, having only one glass of Chardonnay
with dinner and an orange Muscat with dessert.
Dinner had ended, he had survived.
And as he stood out front, Maude's arm
resting on his, he handed his claim check to the valet and allowed himself a
slight smile. 'It hadn't been that bad.'
"Here you are, sir." Taking his
keys, Ezra caught the valet's expression,
the boy had a grin on his face as if he was keeping the world's most
wonderful secret. It was then that Ezra saw the Jaguar.
"Uh, pardon me. I believe there's been a mistake, this isn't my car."
Maude squeezed her son's arm tightly. "It is now!"
Ezra blinked several times and stared
at her in utter confusion. He replied
slowly, turning to the valet. "Noooo, my car is the '83 Saab." He paused,
switching his focus to Maude, "Grey." He stared again at the valet, "Two
"Not anymore!" His mother just smiled brightly at him.
Ezra was trying to collect himself
and figure out exactly what Maude was
talking about. "What do mean 'not anymore'?"
She guided him toward the open door
of the auto, "Oh, don't worry, darlin',
I had them transfer everything out of that old beast of yours before they
took it away."
Ezra stopped firmly, dropping his mother's arm. " 'Took it away'?"
"Yes," she answered, matter-of-factly,
"Leopold, that dear man, arranged for
it. He owns seventeen dealerships here on the East Coast. He just wanted
to express his gratitude toward the man who would share me with him."
" 'Took it away'?"
The valet was still grinning stupidly
at the couple, Maude leaned toward her
son and whispered in a subtle fashion, "Tip the boy, dear."
The best description of Ezra's condition
was bewildered. He withdrew his
wallet from the inside pocket of his suit jacket and pulled a bill from it,
slipping it to the young man who disappeared with a nod and a wink.
Standish turned to his mother. " 'Took it away'?!"
Maude couldn't quite understand her
son's reaction. "Yes, darlin'.
Wouldn't make much sense for you to keep it."
Ezra took his mother's hands in his, "I..have...a car."
She was still smiling as if nothing
was out of the ordinary. "Of course you
do. Now have a seat so when I tell Leopold how handsome you look in it, I
won't be lyin'."
She pushed him into the leather interior.
"There.Ya see." She lowered her
voice, "Just because you're employed as a civil servant does not mean you
must look like one."
Ezra kept his feet planted firmly on
the pavement and shook his head in
denial. "No...mother. I drive a Saab...I like my Saab. This...this is a
Maude really was trying to be patient.
She looked down at him sitting in
the car and smiled that smile at him again. "Yes. I had Leopold order black,
somethin' subtle, yet stylish."
She glanced quickly at her watch.
"Oh my goodness, I have a plane to
catch." She kissed Ezra lightly on the cheek. "I must get back to the
hotel, now don't you worry, I'll take a cab."
She waved slightly at one of the nearby
taxis, "Just sign the papers there
in the glove box and mail them in. There's an envelope there, as well."
Ezra rose from the driver's seat to
catch her but Maude was already in the
Yellow cab. "Mother...?!"
She wove as it pulled away, "I'll call
ya, darlin'. I'll tell Leopold you
Ezra continued to stare at the taillights
of the taxi till it turned the
corner and disappeared from view. He turned back to the XKE, walking slowly
toward it. Moving cautiously, he settled himself behind the wheel.
'This...is a Jaguar. I'm sittin' in
a Jaguar. A brand new, 1994 XKE
Jaguar...with twenty-three miles on it.'
His head fell forward onto the steering
wheel. 'The Whirlwind has just been
upgraded to a tornado.'
Ezra really did make an attempt to
get back his Saab, but like most times in
his life, Maude succeeded in winning.
So he did the next best thing. He tried to hide it.
He took to finding stalls in the farthest
out-reaches of the parking garage
at work. Slinking to the elevator in hopes that he wouldn't be seen by his
That lasted all of a week and a half.
"Damn, Standish, where'd ya jack the car from? You seen that Jag?"
"That's yours? Jeezus, Ezra,
if you look too much like one a' the bad guys,
we'll end up bustin' you by mistake."
He ignored them at first, favoring
them only with silence and a
condescending smile. There was no way, in hell, ever that he would say it
was a gift from his mother's latest husband. His southern pride was much
Occasionally he would shoot back a
retort. "Your wife gave it to me...and it
wasn't even my birthday."
"I impounded it after I caught the
mayor with a couple of workin' girls in
the back seat, ask your sister, she was there."
"Well, maybe, if you didn't spend all
your money on that fine JC Penney Hunt
Club wardrobe you could save up and get one for yourself."
After a while the questions stopped...at
least, the ones to his face did.
Ezra was soon to find out that where questions stopped, rumors usually