The rules for Jean Genie's challenge were we could only use two of the seven and the title had to "Under Pressure". If you want to use Tulasidas "Teddy" Choudhury or Ms. Jude Ballard in a story (understandable, they are pretty cool people) please let me know. I'd love for them to get something to do. No copyright infringement has occurred for profit.

Under Pressure
by Jeanne Marie

A stocky man with a thinning gray ponytail and a lazy eye smiled as he unzipped the duffel bag in front of him and exposed enough firepower to take out a crowded theater. "You guys make sure the rest of these bags are as good as the first." The other twenty men in the warehouse scrambled onto the truck to comply with their boss's order. "Except you, Kentucky. You're with me."

"Yes, sir, Mr. Jurgen." Ezra Standish, who had been posing as trailer-park refugee Billy Finn for the last four weeks, barely managed to meet his team mate's dark eyes before jumping off the back of the truck and following the man in charge into his office. This was Nathan Jackson's first time undercover with Standish and because of that the southerner was especially determined to make sure everything went smoothly. As soon as the rest of the shipment was approved Nathan was supposed to signal the cavalry. Getting singled out by Jurgen was unexpected, but not necessarily cause for alarm.

"Have a seat," Jurgen offered cheerfully, gesturing to the folding chair in front of his desk.

Ezra did as he was told, visions of the gunrunner using the relative seclusion of the office to blow his brains out running through his head. Karl Jurgen was fairly new to the game and as yet had no history of violence. However, to a hard-boiled cynic like Standish that only made the man unpredictable.

"Cigar?" the displaced New Yorker asked, taking one out for himself.

The federal agent shook his head silently. His prey was acting quite pleasant. If he was indeed about to be killed, this was the coldest son of a bitch he'd ever come across.

"I've been very impressed with your work, Billy." Jurgen smiled simperingly. "How long has it been--about a month, right?"

"Yeees." What the hell was this about?

Jurgen smiled even wider. "In that time I believe I've come to build up a certain amount of trust with you. That's rare in this line of work. It's because of that trust that I would even think about asking you to do what I'm about to ask you to do."

"Sir?" He couldn't be offering the business; he hadn't been in it long enough to retire.

"I've seen you with my female employees." Jurgen took a long puff of his cigar. "You're very respectful. Somebody raised you right."

It had been in fact several dozen somebodies, but Ezra would never say that to a mark. "My mother would be proud to hear those words." He managed not to choke.

"This is something I've thought about for a while now." Jurgen took a picture frame out of a drawer in his desk and turned it to face Standish. A twenty-something woman with artificial looking red hair and an obvious nose-job smirked back at him.

*Oh, for God's sake.* "She's very pretty," Ezra said.

Jurgen's eyes lit up with pleasure as they left the office and headed back to the others. "Francine, my youngest," he said confidingly.


"She got divorced earlier this year and hasn't been on a date since. My wife and I are at our wit's end, frankly. If you could-"

"Freeze, ATF!"

Ezra thanked the sweet Lord every way he could think of as he was arrested alongside the other men and placed into a squad car with Nathan. Two members of Team Three sat in front, discussing the fact that a bust had gone down with no casualties for the first time in months.

"Not bad for two of Larabee's boys," team leader Teddy Choudhury said. Jude Ballard, his partner and sharpshooter, nodded at them approvingly as they headed back to the ATF building for debriefing.

Standish just could not keep the smile off his face.

"Hey, Ez." Nathan nudged his friend.

"Hey, Nate," he answered stupidly.

Jackson grinned, still riding the adrenaline high of a successful bust. "What the hell did Jurgen call you into his office for? I was afraid he'd made us."

"No, nothing so sinister."

"Then what?"

Ezra's smile widened. "My friend, there aren't enough libations in the whole of Colorado to get me drunk enough to tell you."

The End