Summary: Adam finds himself in jail after running into trouble; if only he’d not left the Ponderosa.
Rating: T (1,680 words)
Author’s Note: The REALLY Losts are satires of episodes written with much affection, eye rolling, and winks. And can be somewhat risque’.
The Men in Black / The Men in Jail
A REALLY Lost Episode
Adam Cartwright sat meditatively on his cot in the dingy, prison cell. Somewhere down the hall an unseen prisoner was playing the harmonica.
“ALVIN!” shouted another voice. “SHUT UP!” The shouts echoed off the cold stone walls.
Jail was hell… especially when the other prisoners were constantly arguing and chattering like squirrels or chipmunks all day and all night. Alvin and his two brothers Simon and Theodore were in one cell down the corridor. They argued and bickered and picked at each other all night and all day. The only time they stopped was when Alvin played his harmonica and Simon and Theodore sang. Adam heard that their adoptive father, Dave, tell the sheriff to let the boys cool their heels a few days, to teach them a lesson, make men of them. Adam knew that was impossible but had no say in the matter. Meanwhile, Adam was locked in the same jail with them and being driven crazy by their incessant noise. It was worse than when Pa forgot to give Little Joe his Ritalin and Hoss pursued his musical career as Maestro Hoss and Pa constructed those insane complicated ways of dividing up chores combined.
For a minute, Adam thought about how Pa did that. There was pulling straws. The long straw would win or loose depending on Pa’s mood. There was holding hot matches and drawing cards. The worst was when Pa had them all hold their breaths. Hoss would compete for the longest, turn blue and faint. The last time Pa used that method, Hoss turned blue-faced, teetered and fell over on top of Little Joe and Pa. He crushed them both and smashing his own head on the hearth. Adam was stuck doing all their chores for weeks until they recovered.
At least Alvin, Simon and Theodore would be leaving for the Seville Ranch at sundown. Adam was stuck there in jail for the next few years. Adam Cartwright was an innocent man being punished for a crime he didn’t commit. He wore black but that didn‘t make him a gunfighter or a villain. Paladin wore black; so did Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. A lot of Amish and Chassidic men wore black as well. Unfortunately the jury didn’t see it that way.
As a stranger in Springfield, Adam was the first suspect in the shooting and quickly and wrongly convicted. He was sentenced and now sat in jail.
Reflecting inward, Adam would finally find some meaning from this entire horrific experience. Adam had left the Ponderosa six years earlier, telling his father and brothers that he had to travel, to see the world to find himself.
“Find yourself? What kind of crap is that?” Ben roared. He grabbed his oldest son by his arm, hauled him in front of his shaving mirror and said “LOOK! There you are!” On the other hand, Ben was sick to death of living with a sullen man who never took off his hat. Besides, Ben wanted his boys happy.
“Find yourself?” Hoss raised his eyebrows. Hoss understood that. He had struggled with his own identity as well. So had all the script writers. Was Hoss a simple minded buffoon? Was he a hulking moron or a wise man of few words? Was he the comedic foil to Little Joe’s schemes or the brilliant man who could see truth where no one else could? Hoss loved his older brother more than fried chicken, Bessie Sue and playing Pac Man, and wanted him happy.
“Find yourself?” Little Joe questioned. He shifted his tight tan pants and figured if Adam left Virginia City he could scoop up an additional 33% of the eligible single women in Virginia City without the competition. “Go find yourself on the road, Big Brother! See if your old college pal Todd N. Buzz wants to travel on Route 66! Or Thelma and Louise?”
Adam decided to travel alone.
The family was reluctant to see him go but knew for a long time how miserable he had been. Adam missed the cultural life of big cities, the sophistication of the East Coast. He wanted to see the great cities of Europe and the operas and plays and museums as well as the Moulin Rouge (He always did have a thing for windmills…as well as dancing girls showing their lingerie) He had a bizarre longing to see Australia ever since Pa got that kangaroo-skin briefcase. Every time he imagined traveling to Australia, Adam really wished he had blue eyes and could chow down on some Outback Steakhouse grub too. No one made a blooming onion like the Outback.
Adam just couldn’t remain on the Ponderosa. Each year he grew more conflicted and sullen and snappish.
Then there came he fork in the road. Ever since that horrible incident when Little Joe got shot instead of the wolf and that whiney Sheila Reardon pinched Adam’s tushie while trying to lift his wallet from his back pocket, Adam was restless and couldn’t sit still. At first, Doc Martin attributed it all to his guilt feelings over hurting his beloved brother Joe. But then, after further examination, he realized it was from that tushie pinching and the throbbing purple bruise on Adam’s tender seat.
Soon after, however, Adam did leave on his journey.
He wrote to his family — Paris, Brooklyn, Meh hee Co, Mo-Town, Moo Town, Cape Town, Cape May New Jersey, The Cape of Good Hope. At first he wrote often, but as time went on, they lost track of his location as mail delivery was not dependable in the old west. Joe even joined the pony express briefly hoping to remedy things but to no avail.
Eventually the Cartwrights on the Ponderosa lost track of where Adam was and he stopped getting their mail as well. He sure missed news of home, hearth and family as well as those boxes of biscotti and s’mores Hop Sing made for him.
As Adam traveled through Springfield, he was wrongly accused of the shooting of a local nasty businessman. It was a company town, and everyone had it in for C. Montgomery Burns. Burns, Springfield’s richest man, had been able to control local elections, manage a championship-winning baseball team, hold a chair on the board of Springfield University, and build a contraption large enough to block out the sun and plunge the town into complete darkness. One day Monty Burns was shot. Being a stranger in town, Adam was quickly arrested by Chief Wiggam, accused, tried and convicted. He wasn’t even allowed to contact his family to come rescue him.
It was too late.
Adam Cartwright had to serve YEARS in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen really winds up being the best
He had been wrongly accused of committing a crime he had not done but it gave an end to Adam Cartwrights pointless traveling. It forced him to look inward, rather than outward to find his path in life, his true calling.
Adam had found a path for the rest of his life. He didn’t want to be pigeonholed or categorized. He would use his time constructively in mediation, reflecting, and creative pursuits. Adam composed songs of a mournful man on the road. He wrote limericks and sonnets and did tiny pen and ink drawings on scraps of paper. Adam even learned to mold realistic models of horses, birds and chipmunks from the remnants of his meals. The warden had bought his rendition of Sport rearing on his/her hind legs that Adam had molded from beans and commissioned him to create a sculpture of his dog from stale bread.
Adam discovered his true calling the night the prison had an evening of musical entertainment. A young singer with a sad voice – his name was Johnny — was brought into entertain the prisoners. Adam was selected by the prison guards to escort the performer and serve as the Master of Ceremonies of the event. He was warned that if any thing bad should happen, Adam would be punished. If the entertainment worked out, Adam would be released. A lot rested on the outcome of this event.
Wearing a nice polyester leisure suit, Johnny played his guitar and sang “Eensy Weensy Spider” and “Beer Barrel Polka”. The prisoners started getting restless. Catcalls filled the air. Johnny froze in the klieg lights. The guards snickered and gleefully decided on who got to smack Adam Cartwright around first.
Knowing how much rested on it, Adam quickly yanked the disappointing singer off the stage. The prisoners started booing and hissing and stomping their jail bird feet and saying bad words. They even called for Alvin, Simon and Theodore to replace them.
“We want the CHIPMUNKS!” screamed the prisoners.
Adam quickly handed Johnny all the music he had written over the years. Then they quickly swapped clothes as well… just the outer clothes, not the underwear. Adam would only swap undies with his brothers and father…once with cousin Will but that was a long story and they were drunk and it was some sort of deal for Will to take whiney Laura Dayton off his hands. Adam got Will’s Zorro suit. Will got Laura.
Dressed in Adam’s black ensemble, Johnny sang sad songs of a man on the road. The crowd went wild and cheered for more.
“More! MOOOOOOre!” they cheered and stomped and whistled.
The head of the prison, a former record executive, gave Johnny a contract and a star was born.
Adam was released but never got his songs or clothes back. Few artists in history ever enjoyed the successful career Johnny did.
And now you know the true story of how Johnny Cash got his start.
“Many people describe him as a mythical, larger than life figure. Others describe him as one of the greatest recording artists of all time. Yet there is no one description which adequately fits The Man In Black. He was a complex, unpredictable ball of talent and energy that no one has ever been able to pigeonhole or categorize.”
Tags: Adam Cartwright, Ben Cartwright, Hoss Cartwright, Joe / Little Joe Cartwright
Other Stories by this Author
- Houston, We Have a Problem on the Ponderosa (by Robin)
- Martha Stewart on Bonanza (by Robin)
- Things You’ll Never Hear in a Western Movie (by Robin)
- The Third Fondue Tale: Heidi (by Robin)
- Adam Discovers Secrets (by Robin)