Synopsis: Written in honor of James Stacy’s birthday.
Word Count: 2,010
I’ve learned what little Spanish I know from reading Lancer Fan Fiction and the use of an online translator. Knowing German and using the same translator to see the accuracy for English to German, I do know that it is not always as exact as a native speaker would translate. But it’s good enough to get the message across. So please forgive if they are not correct. I’ve provided the English so that those who don’t know Spanish can read it and those that do can see my intent.
This is my first Lancer Fan Fiction. Kindly given, constructive feedback is welcome.
I’ve never seen Lancer except for the snippets on the web. What I know of the program, I learned on the various Lancer Fan Fiction boards. I think I missed a great program. Therefore, I’m not always sure what came from fiction and what if from the show itself. Please keep this in mind when responding.
So What, Another Birthday
The winter had come with a vengeance to the Lancer Ranchero. December in this part of California, the San Joachim Valley, could be cold and rainy. ‘But this is cold,’ thought the young, dark-haired man as he threw back the covers. Dressing quickly in the cold room, he stumbled to the wash stand and tipped the pitcher to pour water into the basin to wash his hands and face. He just wanted to wake up enough to get down stairs and get a pitcher of hot water so he could shave without breaking his neck. Half asleep was not the way to negotiate the steep stairs to the kitchen. He knew he was tired but he was sure there was fresh water in the ewer last night. He tipped it further, but still nothing came out. So he did what most people would do. He looked in it. It was frozen solid.
He liked to sleep with the window open and the washstand was near the window. The bed, piled high with covers to the point he could barely move from their weight, was over nearer the fireplace that held no fire currently. “Damn, I forgot to bank the fire last night so it had gone out during the night,” he said out loud to himself.
‘Some birthday this is turning out to be,’ he thought. ‘This is the first one since I’ve been back. I was too young to remember the only other, when I turned one.’ Now that he thought about it, he’d wondered if his father remembered. His father and Scott, his older brother, were away when he and Theresa had gone through the attic looking for items for the annual auction to raise money for the mission. She’d asked him when his birthday was when they found the box of baby toys. “December 23rd,” he’d told her and she said she’d remember. “The day before Christmas Eve, hard to forget.” She smiled at the young man she’d come to regard as a brother.
Scott’s birthday was just four days ago, December 19th. But his brother hadn’t asked when his was. Not wanting to steal his brother’s spotlight, he hadn’t mentioned it. ‘Wonder if Maria remembers?’ he thought, ‘she was here when I was born, though she wasn’t working in the house then. She was tending her own family, now grown.’
Finished pulling on his boots to help keep his feet off the cold floors, he headed for the kitchen. “Buenos días, Mamacita.” (“Good morning, mommy”).
Maria greeted him warmly and handed him a ewer full of steaming hot water. “Buenos días, niño. (“Good morning, child.) Aquí está tu agua caliente. (Here is your hot water) ¡Date prisa, el desayuno estará listo pronto.” (Hurry, breakfast will be ready soon.”)
She stood on her toes to give him a kiss on the cheek and sent him on his way. ‘Every time she does that, I feel like I’m six years old,’ he thought. Then he realized he didn’t mind. ‘It’s nice to have a mommy again, even though she isn’t really mine.’
He stopped when he reached the bottom of the kitchen stairs. “¿Dónde está Theresa, Mamacita.”(“Where is Theresa? Mommy.”)
“Theresa está en el Richards; Clara tuvo a su bebé ayer por la noche.” (“Theresa is at the Richards; Clara had her baby last night.”)
“¿Beuno Dónde está mi padre?” (“Well, where is my father?”)
“Dejó una ciudad de 30 minutos.” (“He left for town 30 minutes ago.”)
Having received his answers, he hung his head and headed up the stairs. When he reached the safety of his room, he dashed his sleeve across his eyes, ‘What’s the matter with me?’ he thought. ‘My eyes are leaking ‘cause no one who knows when my birthday is, is here. Buck up, boy, you’re losing it.’
He finished shaving and went across the hall to his brother’s room. “Hey, Boston, you ready?” he asked the empty room before realizing his brother wasn’t there. He turned and hurried down to breakfast figuring on finding Scott there.
“¿Dónde está mi hermano?” (“Where is my brother?”)
“Él está con su padre,” (“He is with your father.”) she answered. “Su padre dejó una nota sobre su escritorio para usted,” (“Your father left a note on his desk for you,”) she added as an afterthought.
He sat down at his father’s desk and read the note.
Like we talked about last night, I need you to clear out that creek today.
See you at dinner.
‘Short and to the point,’ he thought. ‘Don’t forget what I told you needed done today, as if I’d forget having to clear out another creek. How could I forget to come home for dinner on my birthday? Bad enough my birthday is so close to Christmas as it is. Not that it ever mattered; Momma rarely had enough for a either Christmas or birthday presents. When she did, they either got lost when we moved or more often than not taken or broken by the other children. Well, I’m a man, now, at least in thought. This birthday will make me a man in the eyes of the law. Twenty-one years old. I don’t feel any different than when I went to bed, except no one is here to wish me a happy birthday. No sense moping about it; that’s never changed anything before,’ he thought morosely.
The day passed with excruciating slowness for the disheartened young cowboy. The morning cold had warmed enough that while he was working he could remove his leather coat. The water was cold on his feet and lower legs. ‘Better to clear this out now before we get more rain and it’s up to my chest,’ he thought. ‘From the look of that sky, I’ve got to get this done today.’ His ever faithful and much stronger amigo, Barranca, his horse, helped him move the larger objects like logs and stumps. Many times during the day, his thoughts returned to his birthday and the birthday of the savior in two days time. ‘Wonder how close I came to being born on Christmas Eve.’
There was one thing that could be said for the days of December — they were shorter than the days of summer. The winter days around the time of his birthday were no longer than the nights. ‘Wonder if Boston knows why that is, I’ll ask him at dinner.’ His stomach rumbled reminding him that dinner would be soon. He trudged out of the creek and approached Barranca. The golden horse whickered softly in greeting as he came from where he was grazing a few feet away in response to his friend’s piercing whistle. As he reached the young man, the horse must have picked up on his downtrodden mood, for he pushed his head into the cowboy’s shoulder, the horse equivalent of a hug. No one who saw the two together in such a moment would doubt that the horse cared as much for the rider as the rider did for his mount.
Sinking into the new saddle he’d gotten to go with his beautiful horse, he simply said, “Home, Amigo.” He then lost himself in his thoughts once more, trusting his steed to get him home. It would appear to most that all his thoughts were all turned inward. But having been a gunfighter for the last five or so years, his instincts kept him aware of the area around him. As they topped the last rise before reaching the hacienda, he saw the lights in the kitchen window but the rest of the house was dark. Nudging Barranca faster, he reached the yard and a vaquero took the reigns as he alighted from the horse’s back with an inborn grace few could learn if they tried. His first thought was to care for his friend himself, but he knew he was running late, so he allowed the vaquero to take the horse towards the barn. “Give him an apple for me, please,” he politely ordered the ranch hand.
Entering the expansive mansion, he hung his rig and his hat on the clothes tree by the door. He was pleased to see his brother’s and his father’s already hung, indicating they were indeed home and waiting on him.
He turned and hurried up the stairs to clean up; his father and his Boston-raised brother insisted he come to the table in a presentable manner.
He rushed through his ablutions, as his brother called them, and donned clean, dry clothes. Hurrying back down the stairs, he found his brother waiting at the bottom. “Hi, Boston. What was so urgent in town this morning?” he questioned his long-desired older brother.
“Turns out there were some supplies that were needed desperately. With Murdoch’s bad back, he needed someone to help him load them in the buckboard, and since I had an errand to run, I went with him,” was Scott’s reply.
He turned to head into the dining area when his brother grabbed him in a headlock and affectionately mussed the hair he’d just so carefully combed. His hair was so fine textured and he had so much of it, it rarely stayed where he put it for long, his brother and his hat usually adding to the problem. The headlock was released and he found himself pointed towards the great room, his brother’s arm around his shoulder, gently guiding him.
Opening the door, he allowed his older brother to precede him. “Age before beauty,” he teased. His brother stepped into the dark room and turned back to face him as he entered. At that moment, several matches flared to life and as many lamps were lit. “Surprise!” shouted at least a dozen people. “Happy Birthday,” from his family in a chorus, seemingly well rehearsed, flowed into the stunned silence that had followed the shouted well wishes.
His father approached him from the other side of the door they had just entered. “Happy Birthday, son,” his normally irascible father greeted him. Johnny was left speechless when his father pulled him into a warm hug. “Boy. I’m glad we are finally able to celebrate another birthday here in your home.” The young man’s eyes threatened to fill — ‘must be smoky in here’ he thought — as his family gathered around him to give him time to compose himself from his obvious shock before greeting his friends. Dinner that night was a happy affair with love and laughter lightening the heart of the young man who was now sure of the love of his family and his place in their hearts.
Happy Birthday, Mr. James Stacy; may you have many more. Thank you for your wonderful portrayal of Johnny Madrid Lancer. May your birthday be all you ever wished, with the love of your family given as freely as the love of your fans who keep your fictional family, the Lancers, alive.