The First Born Returns (by Robin)

Summary:  A REALLY Lost Episode

Word Count:  2600



                                       The First Born Returns




This REALLY LOST episode is the sequel to First Born. In that episode, Clay Stafford appears at the Ponderosa and reveals he is Joe’s half brother. Clay is the son of REAL Marie, who thought he had died from fever. Clay has led a life alone and on the edge of the law. Even though an injured Little Joe begs him to stay, Clay Stafford leaves the Ponderosa rather than cause trouble for the Cartwrights. He claims he can’t fit in to a family. Joe wants to go with him to Mexico and adventure but Clay sends him back to Pa, his brothers and the Ponderosa. It is duly renown as one of the top ten “Shirtless Joe” episode and one of the top ten “Joe gets hurt and Pa comforts him” episodes as well.


In this sequel, Clay returns to the Ponderosa and tries to fit in with the Cartwrights.

Little Joe decided to take his new half-brother along when he and Adam and Hoss went out on roundup. At night, the tired and dusty but handsome cowboys make camp and bond over a pot of beans.

“I got the most brothers here!” Joe bragged finishing his dinner. “I got three and you, Adam only got two. And you, Hoss, only got two and you, Clay, only got me!”

Hoss and Adam chuckled and threw clumps of beans at Joe. Poor Clay just felt bad. He wished he had a real family to throw beans at him.

“You know, Joe may have three brothers but they are only half-brothers so that means he has one and a half if you really add it up.” Adam loved math. The other three cowboys just looked at him like he was an annoying pain in the butt.

”Yeah, right, Adam,” Hoss said shaking his head. “Let’s get drunk.”

Clay pulled a huge earthenware jug from under his saddlebag. “Brought you boys a souvenir of Mexico!”

”Touristas?” Adam said sarcastically remembering his trip to Mexico to find undead childhood friend Carl Reagan (who by the end of the episode was really dead but went on to be the deputy in the “Dukes of Hazard”) and the evenings in the cantina and the days in the outhouse.

“Eeeww!” said Hoss remembering his own souvenirs of Mexico when he and Joe went to get El Toro Grande in Mexico. It was a long ride home with one of the other of them having to stop and use the bushes every few miles and they ran out of toilet paper part way home.

“PULKEY!” Joe said remembering his drunken night with Clay drinking the potent brew.

Joe slid his hat back and took the jug from Clay.  “You say this stuff is called Pull Key? What did you say it was made of?”

Clay winked.  “Cactus and kosher chicken legs…. that is where they get the name.”

“I once dated a Jewish girl. Her father was a peddler,” Adam shared.

”He dated a Mormon and a White Buffalo woman too!” Hoss explained to Clay. “Adam likes exotic gals…I just like big gals who can cook. I got an autographed photo of Julia Child hangin’ over my bed.”

”I like all gals!” Joe smiled. “Big, small, exotic or ordinary! And good food too! And Pulkey!”

“Me too!” Clay was glad he and Joe had something in common. “Take a drink, Joe!”

”OK, brother!” Joe took a long slug from the jug and just as he was about to pass the ceramic jug to Adam, he started to choke much like a sweet fluffy pussycat hacking up a hairball.

“Gak gaka hahhhakk!” Joe coughed. Joe spit something out on the ground. “A chicken bone!”

Hoss poked at it with his toe. Joe spat again and stuck his tongue out. Hoss gently pulled the cactus stickers out with a tweezers he had under his hat. “Say Ahhh, little brother.” He pulled some big, sharp, cactus thorns out of Joe’s adorable and agile tongue. He flicked the thorns over his shoulder into the rocks.

Pingeta ping. PING.

Clay felt very bad that he almost killed his newly found brother. “Ooops! Sorry Little Joe!” Clay hoped he hadn’t screwed up a relationship once again. The shrink in the Betty Ford Clinic said he had an aversion to intimacy and openness brought upon by his dysfunctional childhood and being hit in the head by Mardi Gras beads.

Joe stuck out his tongue and tried to inspect the damage in his reflection in the shiny canteen that Adam held up in the firelight. “Hope that is healed up by the dance on Saturday night. Got a date with a good kisser and I don’t want her to be disappointed if I’m not up to my usual standard.”

“Ben Cartwright always told his boys to take pride in every task we do and we should always do the best we can at every thing we do,” Adam explained to Clay patiently.

“Joe and his tongue have a very high standard of performance,” Hoss added.

“Our Pa taught us that,” Adam added.

“And to keep our feet off the furniture!” Joe explained.

“I can do that!” Clay hoped that they believe him. He wished he had a father like Ben and brothers like his brother Joe. He couldn’t help but be envious.

The three Cartwrights took off their hats and sighed, “What a Pa we have!”

Clay wished Ben was his Pa instead of some dopey dead guy from New Orleans that either died from fever or saving Ben Cartwright from something or other on the Ponderosa. Either way Clay knew his mama was REAL Marie from New Orleans, not EXPLODED Marie from Down Under. Maybe Emeril was his father but he really wished it were Ben Cartwright, just like most of America. Even people in other lands wished they had Ben Cartwright as their father.

Adam said, shaking his head, “Well, I wish they’d take the stickers out of this booze before they bottled it. That could have killed you, kid!” He patted Joe’s tongue in a brotherly way.

Joe smiled and hugged Hoss for dethorning his tongue with the tweezers. “Thanks big, big big, large brother!”

Then Adam hugged Hoss and Joe and they hug Adam. Clay awkwardly watched and wished he could figure a way to hug Joe too. It was such manly brotherly warmth or maybe it was the fact he was sitting a bit too close to the camp fire and singed his buttocks.

Hoss hugged Joe a second time, almost crushing the smaller cowboy with his affectionate embrace. “Garsh, Little Joe, you know I always watch out for you and you always watch out for me. What are brothers for?”

“Borrowing money from?” Joe teased. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!”

“Naa, throwing in the horse trough!” Adam quipped.

“Har har har!” laughed Joe and Hoss, thinking of all the dunkings Joe took over the years and how happy all the women in the audience were to see him wet and drippy.

Clay was really sad now. He wished he had brothers he could borrow money from and tease manfully too, as well as drown. He also wished women in the audience were able to see him wet and drippy too but he suspected that was not to be.

Adam took the black bandana from around his manly neck and stretched it across the empty black iron bean pot. “We can strain out the bones and the thorns this way.” He adeptly poured the Pulkey through the cloth. With a flourish of his wrist, Adam tossed the half filled jug spiraling into the night sky. He did a little jig and caught the bottle behind his back, much like Tom Cruise playing a bartender in that Tropical bartender movie. Adam also could dance in his briefs like Tom in “Risky Business”, though Hoss did it better. Joe refused to wear briefs and Pa said “No more dancing briefless. You can get hurt worse than you can imagine.”

That episode got high ratings too.

 “Voila!” Adam declared as he balanced the Pulkey jug on the tip of his pinky. Joe and Hoss applauded enthusiastically. Clay applauded as well but less enthusiastically.

Adam took a slug of the potent brew and sighed appreciatively. “I learned to say ‘Voila’ and ‘croissant’ from Marie. And ‘Ooola la too!’”

“My dead mama?” Joe let a tear trickle down his cheek.

“Our dead mama!” Clay also let a tear trickle down his cheek. Hoss and Adam wept too as they loved Marie as the only mama they remembered. Except Adam who remembered Inger and Marie but not his own mother Elizabeth, which was pretty paradoxical.

Clay realized that Adam Cartwright had learned French from his own Mama and he learned nothing from his dead mama…. but the feeling of abandonment. SIGH.

”Gosh, you think of everything, Adam. You sure are sure smart!” Joe exclaimed, watching the amber liquid filter through Adam’s black bandana. As much as he and his oldest brother fought, he was mighty proud of his clever brother and glad the booze wasn’t going to waste. He poured a ladle of Pulkey down his throat and passed it to Hoss. “Drink big brother!” Joe invited.

”And I sure am thirsty!” Hoss shouted. His loud voice echoed off the cliff and started a landslide on the Sierras. Fortunately the rocks were all papier-mâché and only a limping wolf got beaned. “Yelp!” squealed the wolf in an edited in clip. It wasn’t even a wolf; it was a coyote from a Warner Brothers cartoon. Then a roadrunner took off and a coyote chased her off the cliff and landed on the wolf/road runner.

Clay’s lip trembled. He wished he had a smart brother like Adam and a thirsty loud-mouthed brother who could make rocks move like Hoss and a pet roadrunner or wolf. He wished he was a real Cartwright brother.

Adam finished straining the crud out of the Pulkey and flung his sodden bandana at the limping wolf.


The beast looked vaguely familiar and it wasn’t until the cur picked up the crud-filled bandana and dragged it into the brush for a gross midnight snack did Adam Cartwright realize that was the same wolf who had attacked Little Joe in “Brother’s Keeper”.

”Thought I blasted that wolf to wolfie heaven a while back.” Adam shook his handsome head and twirled his pistol.

“Wolves have 9 lives,” Hoss suggested.

“That’s cats,” Adam corrected.

“Anyone ever see “Cats” the musical? “ Clay asked trying awkwardly to make conversation. He tossed another log on the campfire and poured some Pulkey down his own throat. “Ahhhhhh!” he said as the booze seared its way to Clay’s intestines. He spit into the fire and the booze flashed up in flames like a volcano erupting or the flaming heart of a female guest star seeing a Cartwright for the first time.

“Cats? A MUSICAL!” Adam, Hoss and Little Joe exclaimed in unison.

“Yep! A musical on Broadway!”

All three Cartwrights stared at Clay who turned red at the suggestion that a manly cowboy would have seen a Broadway musical. Even Adam who loved music would never stoop so low.

“HECK…the only musical we manly Cartwrights would see is ‘Oklahoma’ because that has cowboys in it!” Hoss shook his head. Joe’s brother was sure a sissy dope with a sissy moustache that looked like it was drawn on with an eyebrow pencil. Maybe Clay should date Laura Dayton. She was a dope and so was Clay, even though this Pulkey was good. Hoss took another slurp. No sense letting good booze go to waste.

Joe and Adam linked arms and harmonized, “Oooooooooooo-kla HHOMA where the wind comes sweeeeeeping down the Pppppplain!!!” They were both pretty drunk and really sounded like the wounded wolf even though in their drunken condition they thought they sounded like guest stars on Hullabaloo or two of the four Monkees.

“Sure liked that Ado Annie though,” Hoss sucked a big sip of the Pulkey.

”She’s jest a gal who can’t say no!”

“I sure like gals who can’t say no!” Joe winked.

“Hoss once dated Sally Bowles in Cabaret,” Adam winked and Hoss blushed.

“Adam had to rescue him,” Joe bragged to Clay. Clay tried to wink but he was too drunk and uncoordinated to get his eye lids to work separately. Clay just blinked and looked stupid as if his contact lenses were bothering him.

“Joe dated Julia Bullette and Lotta Crabtree too!” Adam bragged. He winked agilely.

“Adam had to rescue me from them too!” Joe added with a brotherly wink as well as wiggling his ears.

“But Joe carried me all the way to safety when Cochise shot me!” Adam observed. He wiggled his ears and winked and did a jig.

”Your horse shot your brother?” Clay asked as he drank more Pulkey. He gave up on the winking and ear wiggling and jigging.

“No, Cochise the Indian, not Cochise the wonder Pinto!” Hoss ladled more Pulkey down each man’s throat and added two ladles down his own. He was the biggest cowboy around the fire and needed a big drink.

Clay wished he had a brother to rescue him from a demented Berlin nightclub singer or a sleazy saloon gal or a murderous Apache. “You fellers sure are lucky!” Clay sighed with envy.

The three Cartwright Brothers wrapped their arms around each other and hugged just as Pa rode up on Buck.

“Aren’t you boys done rounding up those 76 trillion cows yet?” Ben said as he climbed down from his horse and kicked aside a papier-mâché rock. The rock arched upward in a spiral and flew off into the night.

“Uh uh,” said Hoss concisely. “Have some Pulkey, Pa! Clay brung it”

Ben’s eyes lit up. “Pulkey? The Mexican fire water made from cactus and kosher chicken legs?”  He had first tasted the beverage when he was a cliff diver in Acapulco. That was probably where Adam got his swimming talents and the love of Speedos.

”Yes sir!” Clay said, kissing up big time. “Have some Pulkey, sir!”

”I strained it Pa!” Adam said, handing his Pa the ladle.

“Yeah, Pa! I hurt my tongue and Adam had to cleverly devise a solution!” Joe said. He stuck out his tongue to show the wound to his beloved Pa. Ben patted his baby son’s wounded tongue with a gentle, loving touch.

“Have some Pulkey, Pa. It is yummy!” Hoss said. His blue eyes were twirling like roulette wheels at the Sazarac.

Ben poured a big measure of the potent brew down his throat. His eyes rolled back in his head and steam came out his ears. “Aaaaahhhhhhhh! WOWza!  YUMMY!”

Ben hugged Clay to his chest and stroked his almost Joe-like hair. “SON! It is good to have you…Hic…back!”

“Guess we won’t be rounding up no cattle tonight! Har Har Har!” Hoss grinned as Adam and Joe started singing Oklahoma again.

Clay smiled as he rubbed his cheek on Ben’s shoulder and fell into a peaceful sleep in his stepfather‘s fatherly arms.


The End

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