Summary: A little vignette following (at some later time) the events of ‘A Dime’s Worth of Glory’. Written for the Sept 1 Pinecone challenge and expanded for inclusion here. Prompt: Whisky for my men, beer for my horses (by Scott Emerich/Toby Keith). Contains various phrases from both the song and the episode throughout (and a few of my own ;-).
Rating: G Word Count: 628
Their companionable silence was broken by the sound of the front door opening, followed by two sets of footfalls in the entryway. Ben exchanged a glance with his eldest son, sprawled out in the blue chair with a book of poetry. He hadn’t expected Hoss and Joe back for hours yet—usually a night in town would keep them occupied well past any sane man’s bedtime. Adam’s expression didn’t change, but his eyes flickered regretfully back to his book and Ben knew he was mourning the loss of his quiet evening before the fire.
Come to think of it, though, his two youngest weren’t talking—which could mean nothing good. They couldn’t possibly be trying to sneak in, not at this hour, so what … Ben froze, eyeing warily the two young men grinning at him from behind the settee.
Grinning at both of them.
Oh, what now?
“There they are, Hoss. Ain’t they somethin’?”
“Yep.” His middle son’s gap-tooth grin flashed. “Sure are. And here we never knew.”
Across the room, Adam’s expression said that he was preparing for flight.
“Boys, what’s this all—”
“The intrepid Cartwrights, father and son.”
“Couldn’ta told it by me, not in that there ordinary business garb.”
Ben was already in his robe and Adam his stocking feet. The statement might have made no sense—except it did. Oh, it did. Adam mumbled inaudibly and slouched into his chair, book inching up to shelter him from the impending storm. Ben gaped.
How? He and Adam had been very careful not to talk about that blasted article at home. How had those two possibly found out?
Then again, what was he thinking? Tobias Finch had spread those newspapers all over that town, and apparently Chicago too, and who knew what other parts of creation. If there was even one copy left anywhere in Nevada, of course Hoss and Joe would find it.
“Was sure a good thing they was ridin’ that ill-fated Virginia City stage, weren’t it, Joe?”
“Well yeah! There’da been no daring decimation and capture otherwise.”
“It wasn’t like that,” Adam muttered. Ben was surprised—it wasn’t like Adam to waste his time.
“What I wanna know, is when we’re gonna get ta see ‘em in action closer ta home.”
“Yeah! Actually, Hoss, I’m a little hurt. Here we are family, and didn’t get first chance at the story.” Oh, help us. “We coulda done it way better justice.”
“Fer sure. ‘The Gusty Gumption an’ Dashin’ Ta-Do of Ben an’ Adam Cartwright, Ranchers Extra-Ordinary an’ Savored Saviors of the Sierra.’”
If there was more Ben missed it, distracted by Adam’s silent repetition of ‘savored saviors of the Sierra’ into the lines of Emerson’s ‘Boston Hymn’ before him. The interruption, Ben suspected, was seeming crueler by the moment.
Of course, the boys had been planning this the whole ride home. There was no stopping them now.
“Having bested yet another notorious threat to the safety of Virginia City’s worthy citizens, the father and son duo tie up outside the Silver Dollar saloon. As the gun smoke settles, the town hoists the intrepid Cartwrights onto their shoulders, cheerin’—”
“Naw, Joe, singin’.”
Adam’s head began to disappear below the armrests.
“Right!” Ben was going to murder whoever had shown his sons that story, slowly, and enjoy himself tremendously. “Singin’ a victory tune.” Joe’s eyes flickered to the blue chair. “To the tune of ‘Oh Susanna.’” Adam exhaled slowly. “Sam’s got the drinks ready—he knows how this goes by now, such is the fame and adoration of Ben and Adam Cartwright in these parts—and they all raise up their glasses against evil forces.”
Adam bolted for the stairs.
“Whisky for my men!”
“Beer for my horses!”
Ben wasn’t far behind.