Flight of Fancy (K.K. Shaulis)

Category:  Bonanza
Genre:  Western
Rated: G
Word Count:  1800


Hoss Cartwright opened one blue eye and squinted at the morning sunlight filtering through the window curtains. He groaned, closed his eye and debated whether he should get up or just get a couple more minutes’ rest. He had had a long, tiring couple of days and needed the rest. His stomach rumbling all the way down to his toes, however, convinced him that breakfast was more needed than the rest. He sat up in bed, stretched his arms and yawned a great big yawn.


“Hoss is up,” Little Joe remarked off-handedly to his big brother Adam as the two looked up to the ceiling at the sound of their biggest brother’s feet hitting the floor above them.

“’Bout time,” Adam grumbled turning a page of his book and went back to his reading.

Joe shrugged and closed his eyes. He had a rough couple of days too but his father thought that since he was the direct cause of Hoss’ fatigue, he would be responsible for his chores as well as Hoss’ for the next week. He shifted positions on the settee, rested his boots on the pier table and drifted off to sleep.


“Good morning, fellas,” Hoss bounced down the stairs, buttoning his shirt as he bounced. “Where’s Pa?”

“Ahhhhhwwwwww…” Joe yawned waking up from his brief nap. “He said he wanted to have a serious discussion with a certain young lady and went outside,” he blinked and rubbed his eyes.

Hoss looked at his brothers like he had not heard them right. “Come again?”

“Yes, brother,” Adam looked up from the book and nodded his head. “Our father decided that she needed a good talking to,” he smirked at Hoss.

“Do you think that’s wise?” Hoss blinked and then hesitantly started toward the front door.

“Do you think it’s wise to tell him he shouldn’t? He’s so riled up after last night at her, well, he’s liable to turn on you, too,” Joe warned standing up and stretching himself.

“But…” Hoss made a face that clearly showed he was torn.

“Hoss,” Adam snapped his book closed, “Pa made up his mind and that’s all there is to it. Anyway, he’s not going to really hurt her and who knows? It might even help. I know that he’ll feel a whole lot better, release some tension and maybe he’ll be easier to live with.” He then reopened the book and went back to his reading.

“Maybe you’re right,” Hoss agreed reluctantly but nonetheless continued on his way toward the front door.

Joe and Adam looked at each other, sighed and halfheartedly followed after their older/younger brother.


The patriarch of the Ponderosa was doing a passable impersonation of a thundercloud as he paced back and forth in front of her. His hands were clasped behind his back and his deep brown eyes were ablaze. He was oh so very angry, although to his credit he was trying with all his might to keep a lid on his anger. “I think it’s time we had a little talk,” he stopped his pacing to address her. “As you know, you are a guest here and I expect you to behave yours-…”

She snorted indignantly, gave him a withering look and turned her back to him. Not unexpectedly, his legendary temper kicked up a notch.

“Now look here, young lady,” his voice clearly indicated that he would brook no further nonsense from her. “I am talking to you! The least you can do is look at me when I speak to you!”

She grudgingly turned her face so that he was looking into her eyes.

Ben took a deep calming breath and started again, a little softer this time. “Now, since you have been back here, I have gone to considerably expense to keep you and I think that…”

She tried to turn away again but he, being just as stubborn as she, was right there at her side preventing her from doing so.

Frustrated, Ben suddenly remembered a new technique he saw on a recent trip to San Francisco. He was going to use it on his sons first, but what did he have to lose? “Come on, girl,” he coaxed even more quiet than before. “Look into my eyes…You are getting sleepy.”

Something about his tone transfixed her. She did not move but complied with his request.

Ben smiled to himself. Maybe he was getting somewhere. “Very, very sleepy,” he continued stroking the side of her face gently. “Your eyelids are getting very heavy… very, very heavy…Your eyes are slowly closing…closing… All you can hear is the sound of my voice.”

By gum, it was working! She closed her eyes and actually appeared to be listening to him.

Hmmm, Ben thought stepping back to study her as she appeared to be in a trance. A little suggestion shouldn’t hurt. He leaned forward, whispered in her left ear and stood back.


“I don’t hear Pa at all,” Adam remarked suspiciously as the three Cartwright boys went outside.

“That’s not a good sign,” Hoss murmured as they spotted Ben, arms crossed over his chest, gazing wistfully up into the hayloft. They looked at each other questioningly and then quickly looked all around the yard. She, however, was nowhere in sight.

“Er…, Pa?” Hoss cautiously approached their parent. “Where is she? What did you do with her, Pa?”

“Oh,” Ben finally recognized his sons’ presence. “Um, I guess I just told her that she was eating more than us and all the livestock put together and that she should eat like a bird from now on,”  he smiled sheepishly at them and then went back to looking up at the hayloft.

“Pa, you didn’t?” Hoss looked at Ben disapprovingly.

“Well,” Ben pointed up to the loft, “As you can see, I guess she didn’t understand the “eat” part.”

All three boys looked at each other and then looked up to discover a dazed looking Sheba looking down at them.

“So, Pa,” Joe rubbed his eyes, took another look at the pachyderm and rubbed his eyes a few more times. “How did she get up there?”

Ben turned to smile at his youngest. “Didn’t I just tell you that?”

“But, Pa,” Adam ever logical frowned up at the elephant. “Are you trying to tell us that she got up there on her own?”

Ben nodded, continuing to watch Sheba.

“Now, let me get this straight,” Adam turned Ben around so he could look at him eyeball to eyeball. “Are you saying she flew up there, Pa?

Ben nodded again.

“Ah, ha,” Adam nodded too, then looked at his two brothers as if to convey the message that their father was no longer in his right mind.

Ben could not help but notice Adam’s skepticism. “You don’t believe me?”

“Well, Pa…” Hoss shook his head while Joe continued to keep an eye on the elephant. “It is hard to…”

Ben chuckled. “I guess I’ll have to show you then.” He shooed them all over toward the front porch, turned around and commanded loudly, “Come, Sheba!”

Joe, Hoss and Adam held their collective breath as the huge animal trumpeted once, got to her feet and flew out of the hayloft. The boys were dumbfounded as the pachyderm did a few graceful loop-de-loops and glided to a perfect four point landing to a spot directly in front of their father.

“Good girl, Sheba,” Ben patted the elephant’s trunk. “Yes, sir,” he turned around to find his sons, their mouths still open staring at him. “I guess I really did fix it now so she won’t eat us out of house and home.”

“What do you mean, Pa?” Hoss was the first to find his voice again. “She’s still an elephant even if she can fly.”\“Yes, Hoss,” Ben agreed, “But she can fly south now for the winter. Think of the savings,” he grinned and started back for the house while Sheba took off again.

“Pa,” Adam cleared his throat, “Didn’t Walt Disney do this already?”

“Who?” Ben looked at him blankly.

“You know, Pa. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy,” Joe looked at Ben. “Disneyland? Wonderful World of Disney? Used to be on right before us on Sunday nights?”

“Never heard of him,” Ben shrugged and disappeared into the house leaving his three sons to stand outside and watch the pachyderm’s aerial acrobatics.

“One of us must be dreaming,” Adam finally decided following Sheba’s movements with his eyes. He then pinched his baby brother hard on his right arm and yelled really loud in his right ear. “Wake up, Joe!!!”

“Hey!” Joe jumped about ten feet straight up in the air from his dozing position on the settee. “What did you do that for?” he demanded looking accusingly at his oldest brother who was standing over him.

“You were saying things in your sleep about Pa and Sheba that were quite frankly unbelievable,” Adam explained patiently, picked up his book from where he dropped it on the pier table and sat down again in the chair.

“Oh,” Joe was still confused and tried to shake himself awake again. “I must be working too hard.”

“That’ll be the day,” Adam grumbled turning a page of his book and went back to his reading.

“Good morning, fellas,” Hoss bounced down the stairs, buttoning his shirt as he bounced. “Where’s Pa?”

“He said he wanted to have a serious discussion with a certain young lady and went outside,” Adam smirked up at Hoss.

“What did you say?” Joe blinked and rubbed his eyes. Didn’t his dream start this way? Was he still sleeping?

Hoss looked at Adam like he had not heard him right. “Come again?”

“Yes,” Adam looked up from the book and nodded his head. “Our father decided that she needed a good talking to.”

“Oh, my God!!!” Joe jumped to his feet. “It’s really happening! Pa’s gonna make Sheba think she’s a bird!!!” He then ran out the door leaving his two older brothers to stare after him in disbelief.

“Maybe we ought to talk to Pa,” Hoss finally said to Adam. “Maybe he is working too hard.”

“When elephants fly,” Adam smirked back at Hoss and went back to his reading.

***The End***

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