Miss McCready Reports … (by Krystyna)

Summary:
Category:  Bonanza
Genre:  Western
Rated:  PG
Word Count:  2000


“Good morning, this is Miss McCready of the Boston Enterprise. I’m visiting the Ponderosa ranch in Nevada this morning and hoping to interview the owner, who, I understand will be going on a spring round up later today. Yes, I can see Mr. Benjamin Cartwright coming into the yard now. Good morning, Mr. Cartwright, I’m…”

“Yes? Who are you exactly? Did you have permission to come here today? You do realize this is a busy time for us and…”

“Actually, Mr. Cartwright, I’m the one here asking the questions, if you don’t mind.”

“WHAT did you say?”

“I said, I’m the one here asking the questions and getting paid for the privilege. Now, Mr. Cartwright, I wonder if… Mr. Cartwright? Excuse me, Mr. Cartwright? Well, never mind, it seems something I said must have upset him or perhaps he needs to get that wound in his leg seen to because I have to say I’ve not seen so much blood since I covered a skirmish between the Wyatt Earp and… Ah, yes, I can see Mr. Adam Cartwright now. A dashing handsome young man who typified what every Easterner thinks a true cowboy should be like. Ah, Mr. Cartwright?”

“Did you see my father here a few minutes ago?”

“Yes, sir, he just went into the house. I presume, from his injury…”

“He was injured? You said he was injured?”

“Yes, that’s right. Blood pouring out of his leg and not much of his pants left either, come to that. I presume that a round up can be a pretty dangerous thing then? Do you…excuse me, Mr. Cartwright?”

“Excuse me, but I need to go and see my father.”

“Yes, but I need to interview you. You see, my newspaper back in …”

“And I said, I need to see my father.”

“Ah well, two down and two to go. Seems the Cartwright’s are pretty short of hospitality and good manners around here. Now there’s a little Chinese gentleman bobbing about on the porch and looking mighty upset. Ah, he’s gone in now. Oh, thank goodness, here is Mr. Hoss Cartwright. I can tell by the look of him that he’s going to be just fine about giving me an interview. Excuse me, Hoss, but I …”

“Excuse me, Ma’am, but did my Pa and brother just go into the house? Did you see whether or not my Pa was hurt at all?”

“No, no, not at all, well, a slight scratch is all. I was wondering if I could interview you for the newspaper I represent?”

“Sure. What do you want to ask me?”

“It’s about cows.”

“Cows?”

“Yes, the cows you’ve got with the horns. I wanted to ask you about them and how you handle them for what is called a round-up. Any information that my readers would find of interest would be appreciated.”

“Wal, ain’t much to say really, ‘ceptin’ we get a bunch of guys together and we ride our mustangs and collect up all the beeves…”

“Beeves? I thought they were cows?”

“They are. Only its cattle and we call ‘em beeves.”

“Is that with two e’s and a ve or two e’s and an f?”

“You’ll have to ask Adam; he’s the educated one around here. Anyhows, we get together and ride over the range…”

“The range? Isn’t that another word for a stove?”

“Stove? Shucks, no, ma’am, the range is out thar – the fields and prairie where the cows – dad burn it, I mean, the cattle roam. We go and collect ‘em all up, including their mavericks.”

“Mavericks? I’ve heard of a family by that name. Inveterate gamblers sadly, but…”

“Mavericks are what we call them critters that go awanderin’ whar they shouldn’t and need ropin’ back in agin.”

“I see. And then what happens?”

“Then we rope ‘em and take ‘em to the camp and brand ‘em. Later when the calves are fattened up, we round ‘em up agin for the cattle drive and sell ‘em.”

“I guess these round ups must be quite dangerous seeing how much blood was pouring out of your fathers leg and …”

“Shucks, blood did you say? But Pa …he never said … I thought he wasn’t hurt!”

“Well, I…ah, well there goes another one. Now there’s a man driving into the yard in a buggy. Oh, it’s the doctor. G’day, Doc. Yes, I’m just interviewing the family. That’s right, it’s about the round up. Sorry? I didn’t quite catch that? Yes, Mr. Cartwright’s in the house with … oh, never mind! Ah, here’s a wagon just rolling up. I think this must be what they call the chuck wagon. It’s being driven by Mr. Joseph Cartwright, the youngest son of the family. Oh, I see they must have waitress service on this ranch as there’s a whole bevy of pretty young ladies with him. God morning, Mr. Cartwright, I was just wondering …………oooooooooh, Mr. Cartwright! Really! If this is your idea of a round up ………”

“Well, it’s the best kind of round up I can think of, ma’am. Let me introduce you to some of my friends.”

“I think ……….MR CARTWRIGHT!!!!!! Well! Really!!! I ………”

“JOSEPH!”

“Yes, Pa … I … but, Pa …I was …”

*****

Good morning, this is Elizabeth McCready reporting from Virginia City on behalf of the Boston Enterprise. As some of my readers may recall, I was not able to fulfill my previous assignment of interviewing the Cartwrights of the Ponderosa, although I must admit, just between you and me, I did have a close encounter with Little Joe, I mean, Mr. Joseph Cartwright, and may I say that guy sure knows how to give a girl a good time.

I have been asked to interview some of the townspeople about how they view the Cartwrights and having them living right on their doorsteps. My first interviewee is a Mrs. – sorry, no – Widow Clemmie Hawkins. Now, Ma’am, may I ask you for your opinion about the Cartwrights. Please feel free to express yourself honestly.”

“Blimey, duckie, just let me tell you that Ben Cartwright and I are as close as that…”

“As close as that? Are you alright, Mrs. … Widow Hawkins?”

“It’s the arthritis in my fingers. I shouldn’t have crossed them over and now they’ve gorn and got stuck.”

“Should I get the doctor for you? You’ve gone a very strange color.”

“It’s alright, luv, it’s just that I forget sometimes, and it’s a dickens of a job to get them uncrossed once I’ve crossed them over. But, I’d like to say that Ben Cartwright and I were once affianced and I love him dearly. If he were to ask me to be his wife, I’d be there like a shot and my ‘Arry’s pantaloons would be ‘anging over his mantelpiece in all their glory. I love the boys like my own sons, not that I ‘ad any, but there you are … you can’t ‘ave everything in life. Now, if you don’t mind I’d best go and get some sarsaparilla tea to steady myself up a bit.”

“Mmmm. Well, let’s see who is next? Oh yes, Miss Abigail Jones. Now, Miss Jones is the town’s schoolteacher, and has been here a number of years. I believe that you had the privilege of teaching Mr. Joseph Cartwright, isn’t that so, Miss Jones?”

“Privilege? Did you say privilege? Let me tell you, young lady, just between you and me, that young man played havoc with my nerves.”

“Oh, yes, I can quite understand why; after all, he is handsome and so – so charming!”

“I’m talking about Little Joe Cartwright, not his brother, Adam. Now, Adam …oh, now if I had a week to tell you about him. He’s the most intelligent, most handsome, most – most wonderful man I have ever met. If it were not for him, that wretch of a boy would have lost nine lives by now.”

“I’m sorry? What wretch of a boy are we talking about here?”

“Why, that Little Joseph, of course. The times I had to write to Adam and ask him to intercede for me and make that child behave at school. You have no idea what he put me through. Oh, but as for Adam…”

“Little Joseph… Mr. Joseph Cartwright is not a child any longer, Miss Jones.”

“Oh, don’t I know it. Don’t we all know it. That young man has broken more hearts than I’ve burnt cakes. And, let me tell you, I’ve burned quite a few in my time. But as for Adam …”

“Excuse me, Miss Jones, but can we get past your opinion about Mr. Adam Cartwright and ask you about your feelings for the other two gentlemen on the Ponderosa?”

“The other two? What other two? Hop Sing and Hank Myers do you mean?”

“No, no, I mean Ben and Hoss.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t say much more as the school bell has just rung. Of course, every child at school nowadays thinks Joseph Cartwright is their hero and want to emulate him! I have to go…just put me down as saying Mr. Ben and Mr. Hoss Cartwright are wonderful people.”

“Mmm, well, that didn’t really work out how I thought it would. Sheriff Coffee? Please may I ask you about your opinion of the Cartwright family and their influence on this town?”

“Influence? Mmm, yes, well, I can’t say more than that Ben Cartwright and I have a close and amicable friendship. His sound sense, practical wisdom and sense of fair play have been a good sounding board for all of us here. His three sons are a credit to him. I count myself considerably fortunate to have such men as my friends who have worked along with me in the pursuit of justice in this here town, which I view much as my very own family. Now, let me tell you a little instance here, of the time when I was expecting trouble from (blah…blah…blah)”

“Excuse me, Sheriff Coffee, but you’ve been talking now for half an hour and most of my other interviewees have gone home. Do you think you could wind up now?”

“Oh, certainly. But I haven’t told you yet about the time when Adam and I were …”

“It’s alright, honestly, Sheriff. I shall probably find out all about it another time…thank you very much, and goodbye. Phew…that didn’t go as I planned. My last interviewee is the town’s doctor, Paul Martin. Dr Martin has been caring for the Cartwright family for many years now. I’m sure he has an opinion or two to share with us.”

“I certainly do. Let me tell you, young lady, that I have never known a family like this one. Broken bones, cracked skulls, concussions galore — I have treated them all over the years; that family has been blessed with the thickest skulls I have ever known in my entire life. Do you know they are the only men I have ever known who can get a bullet in the back and within a week be up and riding again? I’ve seen them at death’s door many a time, but you can guarantee them being up on their feet within hardly any time at all after just one visit from me. I’m writing a medical paper on them and hoping that it will be accepted by the Lancet Magazine in London, England.”

“Goodness me, Dr Martin, you’ll be famous.”

“Probably…I always dreamed of being known throughout the world. Doc Martins. How does that sound?”

“Doc Martins what?”

“I don’t know yet…I’m still working on that. Anything other than being the Cartwright family doctor. It’s driving me crazy.”

“(Heavy sigh) Well, it seems that everyone has some opinions about the Cartwrights here. I shall just go and edit out some of the comments and see what I’m left with…perhaps I need to make another visit to the Ponderosa to find out for myself. So, this is Miss McCready from the Boston Enterprise closing the interviews from Virginia City and hoping for another re-assignment here as soon as possible.”

***The End***

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