Title: Strange things done in the midnight sun 
Disclaimer: Even if I got a chance to own these seven Magnificent guys, there would be a whole bunch of other great people with prior claims. I'm just borrowing them, they're undamaged... pretty much...
Archive: sure, but if it isn't the challenge site, tell me where please.
Warnings: there is a couple of bad words
Type: Poem challenge answer and Christmas away from home challenge answer
Rating: PG (because of the bad words)
Main Characters: Ezra and Vin (hey this is me)
Status: complete, though I may write how the others managed, but that will be after Vegas.
Notes: It's almost all just conversation, but not too confusing, I hope.
Oh and for the Dec. challenge, I couldn't fit in a post card, so the smoke signals will have to do. <g>

"Strange things done in the midnight sun"
-Celesta SunStar


"How the hell does things like this always happen to us?"

"Just lucky I guess."

"That was a rhetorical question, Mr. Tanner."

"So why do you ask questions there ain't an answer to?"

"*Sigh* Isn't, Mr. Tanner, not ain't."

"Well ya still ain't answered my question, Ez."

"Mr. Tanner, that too, was a rhetorical question."

There was silence for a few minutes, a cold, dead silence that was broken only by the quiet breathing of the two men.

"Take a look at the bright side Ez, at least this is the right season for this."

"Bright side! We're stuck in the middle of fucking Alaska, in the middle of fucking winter, with our only transportation being a rickety, wooden, undersized sleigh with a bunch of canine monstrosities providing the locomotion."

"'Least we won't be falling through any ice on the lakes we're sledding over. And besides, I thought you liked dog-sledding, Ezra."

"Its Christmas Eve tomorrow, Vin."


"Good Night, Vin."

"Night Ez."


"Why have we stopped Mr. Tanner?"

"Hey Ez, look over there and tell me if you see something."

"You mean like that paddle-wheeled, steam boat stuck in the middle of that lake, that I thought I was imagining?"

"Well then I imagine it'll be a warmer place to spend the night then buried up to our armpits in snow."

"As I recall, that was *your* suggestion Mr. Tanner."

"And it works too, so shut up Mr. Standish."


"Well, you'll be happy to know that the boiler is still usable, Mr. Tanner, though I suppose we'll have to rip up some of floor of our lovely Alice May. However, if the vents don't work, we're going to be smoked out of the boiler room."

"Wonder if we could send the Cowboy a few smoke signals?"

"I am not sure I even want to touch that comment Mr. Tanner."


"I could have sworn I just heard a knock on the door, Vin."

*Bang, bang, bang*

"Ya mean that?"

"Yes, I meant that."

The door was opened quickly, and then shut, even quicker.

"You two boys wouldn't be Agents Tanner and Standish out of the Denver ATF, would you?"


"Because very frankly, Agent Tanner right? There is a very irritated Agent Larabee camped out in the Search and Rescue Headquarters in Anchorage, and I'd like to give him some good news for a change."

"Then you are in luck my good man, as we are indeed, Misters Tanner and Standish."

"Well you boys wait a few minutes while we load the dogs into the chopper, and we'll be ready to go home."

The door opened and shut again.

"See? Smoke signals, Ez."

"Shut up, Mr. Tanner"

"Merry Christmas, Ezra."

"A very Merry Christmas indeed, Vin"


And the poem: (I'm sure at least a couple of you know it.)

"The Cremation of Sam McGee"
Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun by men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see
Was the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge I cremated Sam McGee

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the south to roam `round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of you cold! Through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's this cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet it `tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! He looked ghastly pale.
He crouched in the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax you brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snow—Oh God! How I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but hot sweat rolled down my cheeks and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked," . . . then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun by men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see
Was the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge I cremated Sam McGee.