I own no part of Laramie or it's characters, only those I create. No profit is made from this story.. I wish to thank the stars, writers, directors and producers for creating a show that lives on long after the series closed.

******** I'm Going to Take Up Drinking ********

By Laramie Station

Chapter 1 – A New Development for Maxwell

Once again we are at that golden door in the Celestial City.

Peter opened the door and instructed Eli, "Please call Maxwell back to my office as quickly as possible. I need to discuss some changes in his assignment."

"Of course, Peter. I will let you know as soon as he arrives."

Returning to his office, Eli went straight to his supply cabinet and removed his personal G.A.L. (Guardian Angel Locator). He flipped the activation switch, entered Maxwell's name into the program and G.A.L. hummed and whirred, finally shimmying to a stop when Maxwell was found.

Meanwhile, Peter returned to the chair behind his desk to await Maxwell's arrival. Deep in thought, he considered, I will really have to promote this option, otherwise Maxwell might... He was interrupted by a soft knock on his door.

Eli poked his head in. "Maxwell has arrived."

"Thank you, Eli." Peter drew a deep breath then squared his shoulders. "Send him in, please."

Eli held the door for Maxwell as he entered the office. Taking the chair opposite Peter's desk, an intermittent trail of feathers drifting silently in his wake, Maxwell waited for Peter to speak.

"Maxwell," greeted Peter with a huge smile. "How are things going?"

"Fine, just fine," he answered, sounding exactly like his charge.

"And Mr. Harper, how is he?"

"Fine, just fine."

Looking up at Peter, he declared with awe, "You would not believe his gift for self-destruction. Nor his ability to survive. It is amazing."

"You have been able to keep him safe, other than his minor mishaps?"

"Yes, he is as well as can be expected considering he is Jess Harper."

"Good, good. Excellent. By the way, uhm... how are your feathers? Still having issues with molt... uh... er... I- I mean... loss of feathers?"

"Just an occasional feather now and then."

Peter sighed softly.

"You called for me?" Maxwell reminded him.

Peter hesitated briefly, then decided it would be best if he just said it straight out.

"It seems an additional problem has arisen with the project Cayden is working on in Mr. Harper's future. He needs a little more time to solidify all the components before he returns. He wants you to handle Mr. Harper for a few more days."

A single feather shot straight up into the air, apparently with no notice at all from Maxwell.

Peter, watching in fascination as the feather reached the apex of its flight, then drifted slowly to the floor, absently asked Maxwell if he was okay with the added days.

Maxwell's shoulders slumped. "How many more days?" he asked, with the slightest quiver of panic in his voice.

"Oh, just a few. Perhaps five. Cayden was not very specific," Peter replied, trying to sound casual.

"F-F-Five," stuttered a nervous Maxwell.

"Possibly even a few more. Seven, perhaps ten at the very most, I am sure," said Peter.

Two feathers shot skyward, drifting down to join the previous one now lying on the office floor.

"Maxwell, please, try to relax," said Peter with concern.

"T – T – T – Ten MORE days," squeaked Maxwell with a shiver, which released a small cascade of feathers to the office floor.

"Approximately. But it could be as few as five or six," Peter hastily assured him.

"If you feel the time is beyond your abilities," Peter added quickly, "Cayden will either make other arrangements, or return by the promised Friday."

Maxwell paled visibly, shuddered again and whispered, "Ten more days?"

"You will be fine, Maxwell. As you said, you have become accustomed to Mr. Harper and his acci ... uhmm... mishaps. Surely, a few more days would not be any problem for a... wel... uh... er... a...a.. seasoned Harper veteran like yourself. Right, Maxwell?" Peter added with only the slightest hesitation in his voice.

"I am sure you will find this assignment can be a lot of fun. You could end up actually enjoying your time as his guardian angel," Peter said, wanting to offer encouragement to his molting fledgling.

"Relax. Fun," whispered Maxwell, his eyes glazing over as he trudged toward the door.

Peter cast an anxious look at Maxwell. I hope he can still fly with those wings.

Eli stopped Maxwell in the outer office and handed him the R.A.N.G.E. book (Responsibilities of Apprentice and Novice Guardian Entities).

"Since your job has been extended, I tracked down one of our rule books for you. This is not the most current copy but it is the only one I have available. Perhaps the information in here will help you as guardian to Mr. Harper. And please, do not lose it. You must return it at the end of your assignment."

Maxwell heaved a big sigh, tucking the thick blue book with gold lettering under his arm.

"Oh, Maxwell. You will also need this," said Eli as he handed him a G.P.S. (Guardian's Personal Signal) ring. "Just put it on and when I need you to come back for any reason, I will just ping you. Like this," demonstrated Eli, as he activated his G.A.L.

The ring in Maxwell's hand glowed a dim blue and gave off a soft 'ping.'

"When you hear that 'ping,' you must return to the office immediately. Is that clear?" instructed Eli.

"Yes... return..." he mumbled, only half listening to his latest instructions.

"Off you go, then. Remember your instructions. Please try to relax and have a good time," prompted Eli as he ushered Maxwell out of the office and Earthward.

Instructions. Relax. Good time. Sure, thought Maxwell.