Summary: A REALLY Lost Episode
Word Count: 3050
A Moving Tale
This Tale is Dedicated to Susan G in Honor of her Moving
Adam Cartwright was casually leaning on the hitching post outside of the mercantile while Little Joe one-handedly tossed the third to last huge and heavy looking burlap back of shredded newspaper into the back of the buckboard. Joe was sweaty and his shirt was unbuttoned 7/8th of the way in honor of his loyal admirer Susan.
Not to be out done, Adam had opened his shirt half way in honor of Susan too.
“I’m mighty tired of moving this stuff!” Joe declared. “My throat is mighty, mighty dry. I sure would love to go over to the saloon for a nice cold beer.” Joe said grinned hopefully. “Aren’t you thirsty, Older Brother?”
”Now that you mention it,” Adam nodded. “My uvula is dry.”
”Your uvula?” Joe closed one eye and squinted and tried to figure out what or who that was. He remembered that Jerry Seinfeld from back east had a girlfriend with a strangely anatomical name but couldn’t be sure if it was uvula or Helene Heiny.
Note from Prof. F’Lannel Sheets, noted Bonanza expert: For those of you who don’t know what a uvula is, it is that dangly thing in the back of your throat. But for those of you who want a more specific, serious (SERIOUS, har har) definition…here it is according to the medical dictionary in Doc Martin’s office: The uvula is the conic projection from the posterior edge of the middle of the soft palate, composed of connective tissue containing a number of racemose glands and some muscular fibers.
In other words, the dangly thing in the back of your throat.
Just then, Hoss came out of the story carrying the last two heavy looking but light burlap sacks as if they were filled with feathers. These were filled with shredded not yet invented Styrofoam. Hoss’ shirt was 7/9ths open as well, in keeping with the wardrobe trend of the day honoring Susan.
“Goldang, these heavy looking but light sacks!” Hoss exclaimed as he one-handedly tossed them into the back of the wagon, barely missing Little Joe, who did a back flip to avoid getting hit with the poofy sack.
Joe did a series of cartwheels across the wooden side walk. His shirt caught on a nail and totally was ripped from his back, and then, without missing a beat, he landed in the nearby horse trough with a huge splash that hit the adjacent blacksmith’s forge with a loud hisssssssssssssssssssssssssssSSSSSSSSSSsss of steamy steam.
“HOT STUFF!” exclaimed Le Noir Schmidt, the blacksmith’s blonde daughter who happened to be standing nearby. She blew him a kiss. “MWaaaa!”
Joe winked at Le Noir. Nothing was more appealing to the ladies viewing a shirtless Cartwright than a wet, drippy, shirtless Cartwright.
“Pa would be mighty perturbed if I got hit, Hoss!” Joe said loudly and bare-chestedly. He immersed himself completely in the water and came up with water running from his hair. “Wouldn’t he?”
“Heck Hoss! Watch how you toss those sacks. You almost hit Little Brother! Pa will be perturbed if Joe gets hit by a heavy-looking sack!” Adam, always concerned about his brother, chastised Hoss. He paused, taking the last sip of his iced espresso that he had just purchased from the Virginia City Starbucks. Then, not wanting to litter the muddy, manure spotted street, he tossed the cup into the buckboard’s cup holder. Not to be outdone by Joe’s gymnastic dive into the trough, Adam did a little jig, ripped off his shirt, leaped across the backs of the harnessed team and landed in the trough next to Joe’s. He too dunked himself in the water and amazingly resurfaced with his hat still on. Like a porpoise in Marine Land, Adam spit a mouthful of water across the street in a perfect arc, re-filling the empty Starbucks cup in the buckboard cup holder.
Not to be outdone by his two brothers, Hoss ripped off his shirt and poured the cup of water over his head, whipped out a tiny flag left over from Jimmy Chang’s birthday cake and gargled the “Star Spangled Banner” while juggling five of the heavy looking but light burlap sacks.
The Cartwright boys were pretty competitive.
“WOWza!” gasped a passing group of ladies. “Those Cartwright boys sure look spiffy loading those huge heavy looking sacks into their wagons and getting all wet!”
“Good looking and patriotic too!” said the mayor’s wife, standing at attention with her hand over her heart while Hoss completed his gargling of the National Anthem.
”Play ball!” shouted Abner Doubleday as he passed through town.
”Those Cartwright boys SURE do look fine!” exclaimed a blind woman who miraculously had regained her sight just that very morning and the first thing she saw was the handsome, wet, shirtless Cartwrights. “Now I can die happy!” And she did.
The owner of the Mercantile, Mr. Tarjay, and the blacksmith, Sam Sinewy Schmidt (brother of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt), quickly scooped the dead woman up in a wheel barrow and carted her to the undertakers.
The Cartwrights, being the biggest ranchers in the territory, were the biggest customers of Tarjay’s Mercantile. They especially liked the huge, heavy looking but light burlap sack department, as well as the large array of salsa, chips and hamentaschen near the not-yet-invented video games.
At first, the Cartwrights brought the wagon load of sacks back to the Ponderosa and unloaded them into the barn. Eventually, Little Joe, who was not one to use unnecessary energy for ranch chores when he had a date night scheduled, protested to their father, the silver haired rancher, Ben Cartwright. “Why work up a sweat unloading the heavy looking but light sacks if there is no one around to impress with our shirtless prowess and strength, Pa?”
Ben sputtered over his youngest boy’s complaint and said “I built this place for all of us to share and nothing is more important to me than my boys, not even the Ponderosa. And go get a haircut!”
“Maybe the kid is right, Pa,” Adam interjected. Ben was a bit surprised — maybe even SHOCKED — that his eldest son agreed with Little Joe. Hoss quickly looked outside to see if pigs were flying and wondered if hell was freezing over and if the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter was aligned with Mars. Adam and Joe rarely agreed on many issues. Joe said, “To-MAY-toe!” and Adam said, “To-MAH-toe”.
“Maybe the kid is right, Pa,” Adam repeated. He quickly pointed out that it was not really very sensible to haul the wagon load of heavy looking but light sacks all the way to the Ponderosa and unload them without a female audience to impress. “And it isn’t particularly energy-efficient either, Pa. And you know how you are always reminding us to save energy and save the environment.”
“You can impress the ranch hands!” Ben argued.
“Ranch hands? What ranch hands?” Hoss scratched his tufty hair and looked around for the disappearing and reappearing bunk house. “We ain’t had no ranch hands since that last guy got shot down by Red Twilight in ‘Vengeance’, and even his body disappeared afore I made my way downstairs in my matching night shirt and boots sleep ensemble! Last anyone seen that hand, he was right here.” Hoss pointed to a dusty spot in the middle of the yard between the artificial begonia bower and the wood pile.
Ben thought for a minute, rubbed his chin, kicked up a clod of ranch hand dust, and said “You know, son, you are absolutely right. Seems like our ranch hands disappear pretty regular like that town in the middle of nowhere that reappears every once in a while.”
”Twilight Town?” Joe asked, remembering the mirage town where, after being shirtless for a quite a while, he was conned into becoming the sheriff by a pert blonde who once dated Wally Cleaver and looked a lot like that conniving Valerie Townsend.
“No….” Ben said “Not Twilight Town. That town in Scotland…” “Kilt City?” Hoss guessed. “Haggisville?” Hoss just loved when Hop Sing served haggis for breakfast. ”Brigadoon!” educated Adam said. “The name of the town in Scotland is Brigadoon.” He knew his Pa loved musical theatre and Ben had told his boys how he and Adam’s mother Elizabeth, My Love had seen the out-of-town company performance of Brigadoon on their fifth date. Then they went for the shore dinner at Legal Seafood. Ben sighed and wished he had a cup of their clam chowder right now. To cheer up his father Adam started to sing a cappella in a hauntingly lovely yet virile baritone: ”Brigadoon, Brigadoon, Blooming under sable skies. Brigadoon, Brigadoon, There my heart forever lies. Let the world grow cold around us, Let the heavens cry above! Brigadoon, Brigadoon, In thy valley, there’ll be love!” Adam loved to sing about love and his family and all the TV audience did too. Dick Clark, who once dated Marie My Love before she met her first husband, Jean, even tried to get Adam to appear on not-yet-invented American Bandstand but Adam said he was busy with spring round up. Little Joe told Dick he would be glad to fill in for Adam but Dick Clark felt a little awkward substituting him, considering his long ago relationship with Marie. Never one to take “no” for an answer, Joe sent a not yet invented audition tape into not-yet-invented “Hullabaloo” and started to practice singing “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Home on the Range” as he rounded up strays. After the first solo chorus, Adam raced up on the porch and pulled out his guitar from behind the ever-blooming artificial begonia bower that Hop Sing had ordered from Fancy Fake Flowers R Us in far off ‘Frisco. It was under that very same begonia bower that Lady Bea seductively and symbolically told Adam that her husband couldn’t shoot straight and grabbed Adam with her hussy, hoochie, lustful lips. Despite the passionate heat of the moment and the intoxicating smell of artificial begonias in the moonlight, Adam resisted, knowing his father would be highly disappointed if his eldest son shtupped the wife of a house guest or even smudged her slutty maroon lip rouge. Adam knew he had to take his rouge smudging out of town. That’s why he spent his late adolescence sowing his wild oats at Back East U. That was also where Adam learned to love musical theatre. Without missing a beat, Adam grabbed the string mop from beside the kitchen door and plopped it on Hoss’ head. Hoss immediately was transformed into the mop-headed ingénue, Hossie Wossie. Those Cartwright boys just loved to please their Pa and put on their little musicals on snowy nights. It had taken an entire winter, but the three Cartwright boys had learned the entire score of not-yet-written Brigadoon and learned every line and dance by watching a not-yet-invented DVD of the movie directed by not-yet- born Vincente Minnelli. Two minutes later, Joe and Hoss harmonized, a touch off key, on “The Heather on the Hill” ”Can’t we two go walkin’ together, out beyond the valley of trees?” they sang, holding hands with brotherly affection. They swung their arms in time to the music and swayed. ”Out where there’s a hillside of heather, curtsyin’ gently in the breeze.” Hoss grabbed the hem of his tan leather vest and curtseyed to Little Joe. Adam smiled proudly at his brothers’ prowess on difficult parts of the harmony, especially Hoss who wasn’t much for singing soprano but he had pulled the short straw. ”That’s what I’d like to do: see the heather–but with you,” Joe sang. The mist of May is in the gloamin’, and all the clouds are holdin’ still. So take my hand and let’s go roamin’ through the heather on the hill.” Hoss twirled around Joe and then Joe twirled around Hoss then they locked arms and did a few dance steps. They skipped around the corral and continued to sing in harmony. They danced so enthusiastically that they almost crashed into the pasture painted on the backdrop. ”The mornin’ dew is blinkin’ yonder. There’s lazy music in the rill, And all I want to do is wander through the heather on the hill. There may be other days as rich and rare. There may be other springs as full and fair.” Ben smiled at how well his boys performed this duet. His heart was full. ”But they won’t be the same–they’ll come and go, For this I know: That when the mist is in the gloamin’, and all the clouds are holdin’ still, If you’re not there, I won’t go roamin’ through the heather on the hill, The heather on the hill!”
Sitting on the corral fence, Ben wiped a stray tear from his eyes. Not even Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse did that song better than his boys. “I am FERKLEMPT, boys! Bravo! Bravo!”
“So Pa,” Hoss said, yanking the mop wig off his head and flinging it back on the porch. “What about what Joe and Adam done brung up about hauling and shlepping them heavy looking but light burlap sacks?”
Soothed by the musical performance of his talented sons, Ben Cartwright agreed to the boys’ proposal. Ben decided then and there that, in the future, the Cartwrights would load those heavy looking but light burlap sacks into their buckboard. Then they would make big noises and loud conversation about going to the Ponderosa with their heavy load of supplies. Instead, they would just ride around the corner, go up the alley and return the entire load.
Adam, being not only efficient but interested in all things ecological, figured out that it made both economic and environmental sense to recycle the sacks too. He even worked out a system by which he sold back the sacks after loading the wagon…recycling at its best.
One afternoon, a few weeks later, Little Joe Cartwright rode into Virginia City. He was a bit tired from fixing fences and practicing his songs for Hullabaloo, but his thoughts were about a date with his new sweetie, Le Noir Schmidt, daughter of the blacksmith. At the Virginia City jewelry store, Joe had bought an expensive locket as a present for her from the owner Zebulon Zirconium.
“The engraving is free,” the jeweler pointed out to his handsome customer.
“It is. That’s swell,” Joe grinned. “Can you have it for tonight? I have a big date with Le Noir Schmidt and I sure would like to have it for this evening. I am taking her to the dance.”
”The daughter of Sam Sinewy Schmidt (brother of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt)?” the jeweler’s wife, Zelda asked from the other side of the shop. She didn’t dare tell Joe about Le Noir’s terminal disease. That would be gossip. Joe would find out soon enough for himself, seeing as her expiration date was that very evening at midnight. It was stamped on her bustle, much like a package of American cheese in the not-yet-invented refrigerator in the Mercantile.
Joe would find out soon enough. Those Cartwright boys always did, as the episodes were only an hour long.
“Yes, Ma’am. Le Noir is the daughter of Sam Sinewy Schmidt (brother of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt),” Joe politely answered Mrs. Zirconium. Ben brought his boys up to have good manners.
“Zebulon,” Mrs. Zirconium said to her husband not too subtly. “After Joe leaves, remind me that there was something I wanted to tell you.”
”No problem, Zelda.” He winked at Zelda and she winked back. “So, Joe, do you want your girlfriend’s name engraved upon the locket?” asked the jeweler, Zebulon Zirconium.
The handsome young man thought for a moment, and then he replied, “No, sir. My brother Adam had been getting all of us on the Ponderosa to recycle. Pa thinks it is a good idea and says we all should be GREENE.”
”Recycle? So should I engrave something about protecting the environment? Being GREENE? Give a hoot and don’t pollute?”
”No sir, Mr. Zirconium.” Joe shook his head. “Just engrave it, ‘To My One And Only Love. I love you more than anyone I ever met. You remind me of my dead Mama. From Joseph Francis Cartwright’ That way, if things don’t work out, I can use it again.”
“That’s an awful long sentiment to put on one little locket, Joe.”
“Can you use small print? And just put Joe instead of Joseph Francis Cartwright.”
Mr. Zirconium nodded and said, “Sure thing, son. I’ll do it while you wait.”
Later, Joe went to the pick up his date at her home next to the blacksmith shop run by her father Sam Sinewy Schmidt (brother of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt).
“Wow, Le Noir, you have a lot of flies buzzing round your house from the horses nearby at your father’s blacksmith shop. Do you ever shoo them?” Joe said swatting a fly.
“No we just let them go barefoot,” said the blacksmith’s daughter Le Noir.
Joe started to explain what he meant but it didn’t much matter as Le Noir was blond and pretty. Her lack of intelligence didn’t bother Joe. If he wanted intelligent conversation, he had his brother Adam.
Joe was sure that Le Noir would be delighted with his gift and decided that he would give it to her later in the evening. As the evening progressed, and Le Noir and Joe danced together, he found himself attracted to her more and more despite her lack of brilliance.
They went outside in the moonlight to catch some cool night air. Joe and Le Noir walked in the shadows and Joe took Le Noir in his arms. After some really passionate embracing, he said, “Tell me, Le Noir, do you object to making love?”
“That’s something I have never done before,” she replied.
“Never made love? You mean you are a V*RG*N?” Joe asked.
“No, silly!” she giggled. “I’ve never objected!”
Joe’s eyes lit up and he smiled. He reached into his pocket to pull out the gift locket.
Just then, the clock struck midnight.