Houston, We Have a Problem On the Ponderosa (by Robin)

Summary:  A REALLY Lost Episode

Word Count:  1150



                     Houston, We Have a Problem On the Ponderosa


“Houston – we have a problem.” Joe said to Sam Houston. They stood toe to toe in the barn. Sam had been cruising for a bruising for the entire time he had been at the Ponderosa. First he lit into Ben Cartwright about overthrowing Mexico. Ben felt that respecting the autonomy of autonomous foreign lands was more important than avenging the Alamo.

Next Houston told Adam his guitar playing curdled milk and was the main cause of all those breech births in Nevada Territory.  Adam demanded some scientific empirical evidence and Sam grabbed the guitar and whacked Adam over the head. He was knocked cold and remained in a coma for 17 hours.

Then Houston told Hoss that he was a sissy fat boy and looked so much like the Pillsbury Dough boy that the only woman who would find him attractive was Betty Crocker. Shy Hoss was hurt to the quick as he was hoping Sara Lee or Mrs. Butterworth would at least give him a chance.

 Finally he told Little Joe that the gal he had been courting, Feta Lee Ill, had been naked with Houston in the barn loft during while Joe was rounding up cattle.

Little Joe had hoped to be naked with Feta Lee in the barn loft himself after the church social but before Feta‘s funeral. If Feta Lee Ill was gonna die, at least she would die… a woman. But Houston already spoiled that as well as Feta Lee. Now she would have to change her name to Sue Ellen Ewing and leave Nevada. “Houston we have a problem!” Joe spit out

“We sure have boy. What are you goin’ to do about it?” Houston challenged wiping Joe’s spit out of his eye.

“My gal said you have been mighty familiar with her!” Joe growled.  “Step outside to the barn. Pa don’t like me killing people in the house and shooting up the place.”

“Don’t get blood on floor. Just wash cow poop off floor. Hop Sing go back to China if Joe shoot nasty house guest in house!” Hop Sing demanded.

“I sleep with Sue Ellen Ewing here and I’m gonna take her back to Dallas with me when I go.” Houston said as he and Joe walked out to the barn.

“Is that so? Houston, we have a problem,” Joe repeated.

“A problem?…just one problem? For years, you guys wear the same clothes. What do you have ten zillion of the same outfit upstairs in your bedrooms. You have no bath room and that fat brother sees leprechauns and other little green people. Your oldest brother walks around wearing black and strumming a guitar. What does he think he is? Johnny Cash??”

“Johnny Cash doesn’t sing as well as my brother! And Adam knows madrigals and show tunes too!” Joe stuck up for his brother. Cartwrights always hung together against drifters, Pa’s long lost friends and weasely guys who bushwhacked them. No long lost pal of Pa’s was gonna disrespect a Cartwright, even if he did fight at the Alamo.

“You are three grown men, living with your father who tells you to go to bed and not chew your food with your mouth open.”

“And not to put our feet on the furniture or gallop too fast on the way into the barn,” Joe added. “That’s ’cause our Pa loves us more than anything or anyone…. even the Ponderosa!”

“Your father outlived three wives and none of you boys have had a relationship that lasted longer than one episode…and…” Houston drew out his pistol and picked Joe’s nose with the business end of it. “I wouldn’t be a holdin’ my nose up in the air, if I were you, boy.”

”Don’t you say bad about my family, Houston.” Joe brushed the gun from his nose, twirled and immediately shot Houston.

“And you sure have a bad temper…” Houston gasped as he breathed his last. “Uurg.”

“Joseph!” Ben Cartwright rushed into the barn with Hoss at his heels.

“Dang Pa! Joe just shot the house guest!”

“I’ll go tell Hop Sing that we have one less for dinner and there is no need to use the good dishes.” Adam said.

“He started Pa. He disrespected the Cartwright family and I warned him.”
Joe said as he twirled his pistol and reholstered it.

“Pa, now that the houseguest is dead and we ain’t having a fancy dinner, can we eat on TV trays and watch reruns of the Beverly Hillbillies?” Hoss loved Ellie May much more than he could express. “We’ll even put on our night shirts and bunny slippers!”

“Hoss! No eating in front of the TV!!” Ben roared. “No one ever does that in my house. In this family we sit at the table, in manly clothes and discuss plot motivations and cattle and soon-to-arrive unexpected house guests.” Ben noticed the dead body of Houston  at his feet. ”Joseph! How many times do I have to tell you to clean up after yourself! If you want to go to that dance in town, you better shape up!”

“Or ship out?” Sam gasped in his last dying breath. “Aaaaaaaaaaahkk.”

Joe drew again and plugged Houston in his most problematic area. “Pa, he started up first! I had to do it!” Joe’s eyes alternately flashed green and hazel like a lime flavored disco ball.

“Pa, what are we gonna do? Joe here jest shot Sam Houston again in his most problematic area.” Hoss shook his head and stepped over the gak oozing from Houston’s intestines.

“Two times, Pa.” Adam was college educated and did brilliantly in both math and ballistics. He got 789 in the math part of the SATs and 793 in the ballistics section.

“Adam, dress Houston in one of those blue dresses on the rack in the doomed gal cupboard and prop him up in the stage coach. Then, you boys kinda wave good bye at him while one of you cries a manly tear or two over lost love… and the other two console him — yada yada, better to have loved and lost than, yada yada — and no one will ever know. The whole town is used to us ending the episode like that,” Ben suggested. “And Joe, go change into your other green corduroy jacket and tan pants. Don’t want to wear dirty clothes to the table.”

“Yes sir!” The three Cartwright brothers set to their chores as Ben sighed. It wasn’t easy being a single Pa and Cattle Baron and solving his boys’ problems each week. Cattle Baron Dads know best.


The End

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