Clothes Make the Man (by Cheaux)


Summary:  Does a man’s sartorial splendor have any bearing on events in his life?
Category:  Bonanza
Genre:  Western
Rated:  G
Word Count:  600


Saturday night and all was not quiet in the largest city between Chicago and San Francisco.  Not that the City was ever quiet . . . not with stamp mills operating around the clock beating out a syncopated rhythm that pulsed in time with a cacophony of sounds emanating from saloons and bawdy houses lining the streets of the Comstock.

It had been a long, long day.  Dr. Joshua P. Martin, better known as Paul to his friends and Doc to the rest of Virginia City, had earlier depleted his supply of anesthetic and was now perilously close to running out of antiseptics.   The last of his patients would have to endure with little more than a bottle of whiskey to dull the pain and cleanse the wound.  Furthermore, the exhausted nurse had been dismissed hours ago and Doc had no choice but to ask Candy to assist Joe into the examining room and help him disrobe.  By the time Doc entered the surgery, the two men were both prone on adjoining tables.  Joe was face down, chin resting on his hands; Candy lay face up with his hands behind his head.  It was time to get to work.

“I’ve decided,” Candy said after deep contemplation.

“Decided what?” replied Joe, not really interested.



“It’s the jacket.”

“What jacket?”

‘Your jacket.”

“My jacket?”

“Yup.” Dead silence followed.

“I don’t wear one,” Candy stated, as if this were a great revelation.


“It’s the reason.”

“The reason for what?”

“The reason you get shot more than me.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“Think about it.”

“I don’t need to think about it.”

“Your Pa doesn’t wear a jacket.”

Candy’s observation was met with silence.

“Hoss doesn’t wear a jacket,” Candy continued the line of thought, but more silence followed.

“Adam wore a jacket,” Joe said, finally.

“Did he get shot?”


“See,” Candy said, vindicated.

“A yellow jacket,” Joe remembered.

“A yellow jacket?”


“Didn’t he wear black?” Candy inquired.


“No wonder.”

“No wonder what?”

“He got shot.”


“He looked like a bumble bee,” Candy smirked.

Joe turned his head to look at Candy, who was looking back. “Good target!” they said simultaneously, laughing.

Candy returned his gaze upward while Joe turned his head slightly to lay a cheek upon his folded arms.

“I used to wear a blue jacket,” he said after a while.


“When I was younger.”

“Did you get shot then?”

“Not so much.”


“Mostly beat up.”

“Mmmm,” frowned Candy. “Maybe it’s not the jacket.”



“What then?”

“The color.”

“Which color?”

“Green,” said Candy. “Or yellow.”

“But not blue?” Joe asked.

“Apparently not.”

“You’re an idiot, you know.”

“I don’t get shot.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

“It’s cause I don’t wear a jacket.”

“IT . . . IS NOT . . . THE JACKET!” Joe said emphatically.

“Okay, Joe,” Doc Martin said, “You can get up now. Keep the wound clean and change the bandage daily. I’ll take the stitches out next week.”

“Thanks, Doc,” Joe said as he gingerly got up off the examining table, pulled his pants up and left the room.

“Creased, maybe,” Candy called after Joe while hopping off the adjacent bed, “but not shot.”

“Slug came out clean. Thanks for distracting him while I put those stitches in,” Doc said.

“Anytime, Doc,” grinned Candy.

“Hey, Joe, you forgot your jacket!”

***The End***

Return to Cheaux’s homepage

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