Homing Pigeons (by Robin)

Summary:  A REALLY Lost Episode

Word Count:  2550



                                             Homing Pigeons


“Pa, Hoss and me got a good idea for breeding horses,” Joe Cartwright said as he put some gaseous coleslaw on his overflowing plate.

”What is that, my adorable son?” Ben Cartwright said as he scooped Jell-O mold onto his own BIG Cattle Baron plate. ”Oooh mandarin oranges and teeny jet puffed marshmallows!”

“YUMMMY!” Hoss smiled broadly and drooled. “I do love Jell-O salad!”

”No mini marshmallows!” Hop Sing yelled.” Bad sons not bring marshmallows back from town like Hop Sing have on list!”

Hoss and Joe tuned red. “We sort of forgot, Pa. We was listening to this horse breeding feller,” Hoss explained. He and Joe had represented the Ponderosa at the monthly meeting of the Cattleman’s Association. The speaker was J. Fred Muggs, former star of Planet of the Apes and currently a local rancher. J. Fred had refused to be type cast as a simian actor and had retired from show business to Virginia City.

Ben Cartwright put a forkful of the red Jell-O salad in his mouth. It was sort of crunchy. “No miniature jet puffed marshmallows, Hop Sing? What did you use instead?”

Hop Sing poured Adam some boiling Sanka. ”You cranky, no caffeine for you!”

“Me? Cranky? ME CRANKY? ME?” Adam said cynically. “I am introspective and morose.” He closed one eye and looked at Little Joe. His younger brother was staring at his own reflection in the silver mesquite bean tureen and practicing wiggling his right eyebrow and winking and licking his lips. There was going to be a dance on Saturday night and Joe needed to practice his alluring talents and adorable charms. He had heard that Kim and Millie the Siamese twins would be there. Joe had never walked in the moonlight with conjoined twins…at least not since he dated Ashley and Mary Kate who had not been born conjoined but used a customized duct tape reinforced corset in a ploy to get Little Joe’ s undivided attention. Hoss may have been fooled but Joe saw right through the scam and put those gals on the next stage out of town.

 Joe wriggled his left eye brow and winked at his reflection in the shiny bean tureen. Pa had told him that you may be the best but it doesn’t mean he didn’t have to stay in shape and practice daily. That was the difference between an amateur and a true professional and champion like a Cartwright.

Hoss picked up the breadbasket and poured the contents into his open jaws. Biscuits, rolls and mini bagels tumbled down his throat like a veritable landslide of baked goods. Then he swallowed half a pound of butter. BURP. It slid down his throat as smooth as butter. Ben never allowed margarine on his Cattle Baron Dining room table.

Ben ate another bite of red Jell-O mold. He swished it around in his mouth trying to figure what the unique distinct crunchiness was in the Jell-O. It had a strange familiar piquant taste that reminded him of his grandmother’s crowded tenement apartment back east.

“Hop Sing!” Ben roared. “I asked you what you used instead of marshmallow?”

“Hop Sing used mothballs. Bad sons get no marshmallows. Hop Sing use moth balls in Jell-O!”

Ben gagged and spit the Jell-O across the table hitting Adam in the left eye.

“Damn!” Adam bellowed as the mothball Jell-O temporarily blinded him. “Yooooooowwwwch!”

“See, you need decaf. No real coffee for cranky man!” Hop Sing started to pour Adam a second boiling cup of Sanka. Unfortunately, Hop Sing slipped on the spilled Jell-O and the steaming decaf coffee landed in Adam’s manly lap.

“AAAaaaaaaaaaaaeeeee!” Adam shrieked like the emergency whistle on the Toona Poona Silver Mine and atomic bomb shelter. Many Virginia City gals would be disappointed until Adam healed up. Many, many gals would be very, very extremely disappointed. Adam was a great dancer and they were looking forward to waltzing with him at the dance as well as other entertaining things that kept Adam from being too cranky back on the Ponderosa.

“Like I was saying before we was so rudely interrupted…” Joe started. “This fella said you can breed horses so no matter what happens they find their way back home.”

”Really?” Ben was wiping his tongue on the red and white checked napkin trying to get the mothball taste out of his mouth. GAK! He rubbed the mothball taste out of his mouth but now he had red and white checked lint on his tongue.

“Really, Pa!” Hoss smiled. “The feller said if we breed horses and homing pigeons…”

Adam started to laugh, despite his boiled lap. “You can’t mate a bird and a horse!” Adam had gone to college and knew these things as well as the square roots of most numbers and most of the brands of beer sold in Boston. He had spent many a happy evening flirting with the clever blonde bar maid, Diane, in the local pub. His friends Norm and Cliff told him that Diane was really in love with Frasier or Sam, the bartender, but Adam wouldn’t listen. When he finally was headed back home to the Ponderosa, Adam Cartwright had proposed but Diane broke his heart.

“Sure you can! You can breed horses and pigeons. This feller J. Fred Muggs did. He brought the horse to California from New York and the horse got all the way back to Aqueduct!” Joe insisted. “On a bus!”

“A greyhound bus!” Hoss added.

Ben finished wiping his tongue on the napkin for a second time and shook his head. “Look boys, Adam may be a cranky cowboy…”

”But with good reason!” Adam countered. “Hop Sing put starch in my underwear again!”

”That why I pour coffee on lap. To wash out starch!” Hop Sing returned from the kitchen with a fresh pot of coffee and waved it threateningly over Adam’s head. “Are you CRANKY cowboy?”

Ben started again. “Adam may be cranky but he is totally correct; no horse can mate with a bird.”

Hoss asked.

Adam and Ben both shook their heads. “No!”

“What about a dog and a bird? Like a bird dog?” Hoss asked.

Adam and Ben both shook their heads. “No, not even a dog and damn Cousin Muley!”

“By the way Pa, how is Cousin Muley related to us? I was really wondering. Is he from the Clampett side of the family?” Adam asked quietly fanning his lap with his napkin.

Ben shrugged. He really was hoping for at least one grandchild before he died but at this rate, who knows. Ben was very glad that longevity ran in the Cartwright family. “Never quite figured that out. And is Goofy a dog or a person? Goofy walks on two legs and talks and wears clothes but Pluto only wears a collar and barks and runs on four legs.”

Hop Sing muttered “Dumb ass!” under his breath in Cantonese.

“Pluto is a dog,” Joe offered. He was still wondering what kind of underwear Betty Boop wore and if she would be willing to work in the Bloody Bucket saloon if he wrote her a fan letter. He loved Betty Boop and her boopiness. She reminded him of Julia Bullette and Lotta Crabtree and Cher all rolled into one. Little Joe especially loved when Betty looked right at the camera and said melodiously “Booop ooop eee doop.” Joe knew it was meant for him and would toss his hat up in the air every time.

“Pa, you think your old pal from your sailing days might know how to get in touch with Betty Boop? “ Joe asked his father.

“Which pal? Captain Bly?”

”No, Popeye,” Joe asked.

Ben shrugged. “Perhaps. They dated before he met Olive Oyl.”

All three Cartwright boys shivered at the idea of giving up lovely Betty for skin and bones Olive Oyl.

“What about a dog and a devil? Can they mate” Hoss asked eating a devil dog.

 “Hell no!” Joe snickered. He had already licked the cream out of the devil dog and rewrapped it; Hoss never noticed. He had to keep his tongue and lips limber for the dance on Saturday night and Hoss preferred the cake anyway.

“How about a tuna fish sandwich?” Hop Sing brought in a platter.

“A tuna and a sandwich? Can they mate?” Hoss asked licking the mayonnaise off his fingers. He took a fourth devil dog and sopped up the gravy off his plate and ate it up.

Finally Ben explained gently that the best thing the boys could do is never forget to pick up marshmallows for Hop Sing and to train their horses to find their way home to the Ponderosa no matter what.

Joe and Hoss worked devotedly on the horses for months. Each day they would train the horses to read maps and buy airline tickets on line. They would ride a horse to the far side of the Ponderosa (Lake Tahoe on the North, Bayonne on the East and Lima, Peru on the south.) and climb down and send the horse back home. “Go home, horsies!” They would slap the horses on the rumps. The horses would gallop off leaving the boys on foot and twenty or fifteen miles from home.  After hiking for four or five hours in the hot sun, Joe made the new rule that only one of them slaps one horse on the rump and says “Go home horsie” at a time. Then they each ride home on some other horses and they won’t be stuck hiking far from home.

The Ponderosa was a darn big ranch. Once the two brothers took a string of horses to Boston and bought them beers at Cheers and taught them to use the Boston transit system. The red line was particularly challenging. It was well worth the trip as Hoss and Joe finally got to see what Diane Chambers looked like.

”She ain’t much, Little Joe. Can’t believe Adam was morose and weepy over a gal with no meat on her and mall hair.”

“Go figure,” Joe said philosophically.

The next week the horses journeyed to Sesame Street and had dinner with Elmo and found their way home.

Finally the horses had their final exam. They were all blindfolded and sent skiing in the Alps and for cocoa. Cochise went for some espresso with a smidge of cinnamon and one last slalom run with a little cute filly from Paris.

Hoss remembered the marshmallows and plunked them into Joe’s mug. He put one in the cup too.

“Pa will be mighty proud of you brother!” Joe said as he went for a quick “stroll” with an Alpine yodeling champ in a blue velour faux fur trimmed ski dress (She later skied into an ice chasm and died bloodlessly. Her frozen body was unearthed decades later during a special on the Discovery Channel).

 Hoss grinned as he let Chub sip from his mug of steaming hot chocolate yumminess. Chub smiled and burped.

As soon as they finished his snack, Hoss wrote a note for his brother saying, “Adios Little Joe; Chub and I are heading home to the Ponderosa. See you in a couple of days. Don’t fall in love with too many Swiss misses. And if you do, make sure they die happy.”

Unfortunately it would be weeks before Joe saw Hoss.

Hoss was camping out under the stars. He grilled some hot dogs and made some s’mores with the last of the marshmallows. Suddenly, evil mimes surrounded Hoss and silently beat the crap out of him. OOFFFF bam biff.

Chubb ran and ran. The bad men had broken Hossie’s mama’s picture and slugged Hossie on his round and large head. Chubbie was scared. Maybe the bad men would hit Chub and take his/her picture of his/her father Mr. Ed.

Finally Chubb ran so much that he/she fell asleep under a tree near serene Lake Tahoe. A boat came along. It was the Staten Island Ferry that had somehow found its way to the high Sierras.

Chubb dug a silver dollar out of a body orifice and climbed on board.

The cruise director, Julie and Captain Stuebing (who looked like Murray Slaughter of Minneapolis) made the horse feel mighty welcome. They taught him how to play shuffleboard too.

Eventually the ferry crossed Lake Tahoe. At night Chubb played poker with Brett Maverick and Rin Tin Tin and won enough moolah to get his/her friend Cochise a Mr. Coffee coffee pot, Sport a neck brace and Buck a set of Bonanza DVDs at Tar Jay. Chubb loved his stable mates and was generous with his winnings.

Just as the ferry got into the dock, Little Joe swam past in his socks on his

way to rescue Ginger from bad Indians and bad scripts.

“JOE!!!” Chubb whinnied.

“What are you doing, Chubby? Where is my darling brother Hoss?”

Chubb started to weep explaining that not only was Hoss clubbed, the kindly cowboy was kidnapped by wooden shoe people who made him wear a hat like Snap Crackle and Pop and plant tulips.

“Do they have a pretty daughter?”

Chub shook his head.

“A pretty niece?”

Chub said nope.

“Then Pa and Adam will have to find Hoss.” Joe knew he set a good priority.

With that info Joe knew he had to swim, swim, swim, save Ginger and then rush home with Chubby to alert Pa and save Hoss.

Joe dried off on some leaves and spoofed up his hair with some handy nearby herbs and roots and adjusted his beltloopless tight tan pants that had gotten tighter when they got wet. Matter of fact they were so tight they looked painted on. Matter of fact they were painted on…Sears Weather Beater Cowboy Tan semi gloss. He wanted to look spiffy for Ginger.

Unfortunately, despite his adorableness and his heroic rescue of bazoomy Ginger, she rejected Little Joe and went back to her hubby, Mr. Howell. (Mr. Howell, you might ask? Ginger was his trophy wife. When Lovey left Thurston for the Professor, Mr. Howell fulfilled his wildest dreams and married Ginger.)

And now you know how Chub got home before Hoss as well as what not to put in your Jell-0 mold and more than you ever imagined about boats on Tahoe and animal breeding.

Meanwhile, Hoss Cartwright was also was planting tulips with the Dutch Kidnappers who renamed him “Heinrich” which means “Butt of Wealth” in their native language of Tulipese. This was a language much like Australian, which the Cartwrights had learned briefly after Marie went to heaven.

At first, Hoss thought the tulip bulbs were onions and ate a few on his boca burger. Eventually, even though the tulips tasted not quite as bad as mothball, Hoss learned to only plant the bulbs and not eat them. He got home and Pa cured his amnesia by Cartwright love, and by the end of the episode, all was resolved.


The End

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