Summary: It goes on and on, and on, and on, and on….
Word Count: 1700
Early one March morning, just as the sun was rising over the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, keen-eared viewers could hear the peace of the Ponderosa shattered by an unearthly sound. The eerie noise permeated each and every corner of the spacious ranch house, even reaching those rooms that were in the middle of moving around in a manner calculated to confuse casual visitors.
“Not again!” Joe groaned, pulling the candlewick bedspread over his head, in a vain effort to try to muffle the cacophony. Unfortunately, his sticky-out ears meant that he was unable to create a perfect seal, so the soundproofing qualities of the fabric were rendered negligible.
In the corner of Joe’s room, the small, shaggy figure of Paw bear, the Giggly Sisters’ faithful companion, twitched agitatedly in his sleep. The wee furry animal always bedded down in a corner, reasoning that right angles remained at 90 degrees, even when rooms rotated in an uncontrolled and highly confusing fashion. Paw had abstracted a copy of Euclid from the bookcase in Adam’s bedroom (a little seen location, which excited considerable discussion in certain quarters). The bear had derived considerable comfort from reading the theories and principles of geometry. However, this knowledge offered precious little protection against the assault on his eardrums and a particularly piercing vibrato had the little bear sitting up on his haunches and howling in pain.
“Dadburnit!” The hearty tones of Hoss were guaranteed to rouse anyone who was still asleep. “Adam what’s wrong with you?” he demanded, heaving himself out of bed, and crossing the hall to throw open his brother’s bedroom door with stunning accuracy. “That last note were awful!”
Distracted, Adam twanged a most discord note on the guitar, and glared at Hoss. “That last note was perfect,” he responded, in a hurt tone. “Remember, I had singing lessons.”
By now, the whole family was peering into his room. The Giggly Sisters were clad in most alluring cashmere dressing gowns, which were much nicer than the scary maroon one that Ben habitually wore.
“Singing lessons or not,” said the redhead, “that last note was decidedly sharp!” She shook her vibrant tresses. “Why did you have singing lessons?”
“I have a very nice voice,” Adam said. “It would have been a shame to waste it.”
The sisters exchanged glances at this. They were both musical, but neither of them had had to have singing lessons. Indeed, the redhead had a glorious top soprano voice, and was facing an important audition for a solo in Fauré’s Requiem, and had been practicing like mad. Perhaps this was what had inspired Adam to rouse the household.
There was another haunting wail from behind the sisters, and they all belatedly realized that the sound hadn’t come from Adam at all! It had been Paw!
“That bear’s ruining my concentration!” Adam said, launching into yet another chorus of “Early One Morning.” It was his favorite song and he loved to accompany himself on the guitar. Hoss looked rather fretful as he recalled his brief foray into the world of music. Only Hop Sing had appreciated his unusual talent for the violin, while Pa and Joe and been downright rude about it, even going so far as to sleep in the barn.
“Why did you wear that halter around your head in Maestro Hoss?” asked the blonde, but Joe didn’t want to talk about it, although he blushed bright red.
“And whatever happened to your double bass, Hoss?” the redhead enquired cheerily.
“I musta misplaced it, for it just plumb disappeared one day. You’d kinda think it was difficult to loose a big ol’ thing like that, but…” Hoss shook his head sadly, while Joe and Ben looked like guilty schoolboys caught scrumping apples.
Just to introduce a little variety, Adam segued neatly into “Sweet Betsy from Pike”, another all-time favorite of the Cartwright family. Paw rolled over onto his back and his wee feet twitched convulsively, as though he was in extreme pain. Although it was still dark, the blonde noticed that the curtains were not drawn, although the blind was pulled down. It did seem to be slightly excessive to have a blind, net curtains and a pair of curtains at one window and she wondered if the Cartwrights used curtains for decorative, rather than utilitarian purposes, as they always seemed to be open. Maybe Ben was reluctant to spend too much money on fripperies?
The redhead nudged her sister in the ribs and added, “Ever wondered why they have net curtains in the first place? The Ponderosa’s in the middle of nowhere, after all! Who could possibly see in through the windows?”
Another interesting thought occupied the blonde: did the curtains move around merrily with the rest of the furniture when Joe’s bedroom went off on another exciting trip or stay where they were or even change into a brand-new pair instead? She’d have to pay more attention in future.
Joe looked rather forlorn and disconsolate, for alone of the brothers, he had never had the opportunity to have music lessons. The redhead sensed this, and patted his arm. It felt so nice that she squeezed it, too. “Don’t worry,” she assured him. “You have a really nice singing voice. Did I ever tell you my mythical husband thought you were Elvis?”
“Really?” Joe said, sounding impressed. He had no idea who Elvis was, but the redhead made it sound really good. “Wow!”
“That’s true,” said the blonde. “So don’t worry about not having had music lessons. Not everyone needs them. After all, apart from learning to play piano, I didn’t have singing lessons, either.”
“We could have a musical evening,” suggested Ben eagerly. “We could hire a piano, and you girls could play and sing, and Adam could do his turn, too. I’m sure the ranch hands would love it.”
The sisters exchanged glances at this. The thought of having to listen to Adam droning on was quite disturbing. And the redhead had her audition to worry about. “Why the ranch hands?” asked Hoss. “They wasn’t too pleased when they had to listen to me. They don’t understand culture at all.”
“Quite right, Hoss,” said the redhead, and Hoss blushed with pleasure. The redhead wouldn’t have described Hoss’s rendition of “Home Sweet Home” as culture, but she was sure she wasn’t going to be singing to the ranch hands.
Adam was now on verse 4 of “Sweet Betsy from Pike” and Paw was rolling his eyes until only the whites showed. Joe was still rather upset that he appeared to have suffered on the musical education front. “It’s not fair! Why was I the only one not to get some sort of music lessons?”
Hoss raised an eyebrow quizzically, but Joe was on a roll now and there was no stopping him. “Don’t look so innocent, Hoss! You obviously had music lessons, because you were able to read sheet music when you got that violin, weren’t you?”
Adam was a little perturbed that none of his family were displaying much interest in his unique vocal stylings and felt that he had done very well not to be distracted by Paw’s histrionics. However, Joe’s petted lip was the final straw.
“We tried!” he said testily. “Heaven knows, we tried!”
Ben felt it best to intervene. “We lowered the music stand as far as it would go son, but it was still too high for you for you to see the notes clearly.”
“You always were a bit shorter than the rest of us,” Hoss added, less than helpfully.
A sudden silence fell, broken only by the blonde stating “Small, but perfectly formed,” in tones that brooked no argument. Adam reached the end of his song, whereupon Paw gave a sudden, gasping breath, righted himself and trotted over to Joe for a consoling hug.
“Why is that bear wearing a bib?” Ben asked, faintly dreading the answer. He was not disappointed when Joe replied, laconically “Because he’s teething.” As non-sequiturs went, this was a beauty.
It was now almost breakfast time and it looked as if it was going to be a beautiful day. Ben went downstairs and into the yard, where he enjoyed the magnificent spectacle of a stock-shot of the rising sun. He did admire the way in which these clever boys in post-production used these technical innovations, which saved so much time and money. And, let’s face it, they knew the viewers would never notice.
“Pa?” Adam’s voice aroused Ben from his reveries. “When are you going to tell Joe? You can’t keep it a secret forever you know. One of these days, he’ll find out and there’ll be trouble!”
“I know, I know!” Ben said desperately. “It seemed like such a good idea at the time and I’m sure that’s where he got the necessary skills to do his swing mount from.”
Adam crossed his arms and stared long and hard at his father. “Oh, I’ve no doubt Joe has benefited immensely, but I still maintain he’s not going to be happy to learn that while Hoss and I had music lessons, he was learning ballet!”
“Ballet?” Joe repeated faintly, having followed his father and brother out of the house. He looked horrified.
The sisters exchanged significant glances, and both took a closer look at Joe’s taut, pert, butt. It really was quite difficult to concentrate, but they managed it. “That explains it,” they chorused. “That’s why his butt and legs are so stunning.”
Joe looked round at his butt as best he could. “Is it?” he asked.
“Oh, no question. Ballet dancers have the best butts in the world.” The redhead nodded knowingly. She goosed Joe briskly.
Perhaps ballet lessons weren’t so bad, Joe thought. And since the girls liked his butt… He squared his shoulders. “Shall I teach you some pliés, Adam?” he asked, innocently. “It does wonders for the size of your behind.”