A Peep Came this Way (by Robin)

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Summary:  Pa should have known better than to let Jamie run an errand.  A WHI for A Stranger Passed This Way.

Rating:  T  (13,480 words)

Author’s Note:  The REALLY Losts are satires of the series written with much affection, eye rolling,  and winks.  And can be somewhat risque’.

 

A Peep Came this Way
A REALLY Lost Episode

 

One day Jamie was traveling by himself to do some errand for the Ponderosa. He had a big bank roll of bills. While he was camping out, bad guys came and held him up. They found his autographed picture of his Grandpa Zeb Walton.

“Who is this? Grandpa Walton?” said the baddie.

“Don’t touch that!” Jamie squealed.

The bad men bashed his head in.

Jamie wakes up the next morning with amnesia. “Who am I?” he says. “Who? Is my name WHO?”

**********

Meanwhile back on the ranch….

“Shouldn’t Jamie be back?” Ben asked as he sat down to breakfast.

Hoss shrugged. He sure didn’t miss seeing Jamie snorting down his cocoa and choking on the marshmallows first thing in the morning.

“Back? Maybe he got lost?” Joe said hopefully. His Heineken bottle green eyes shined at the possibilities of the idea.

“That too good to be true!” Hop Sing said quickly removing Jamie’s place setting from the table. He would have to email Adam with that happy update.

**********

Meanwhile…

Jamie woke up. He had amnesia from being hit over the head by the bad guys.

He stumbled down the road. Just then Mr. & Mrs. Vandervoort came by in their wagon.

“Look Mama! A boy who looks like Howdy Doody stumbling down the road!” said Mr. Vandervoort.

“Our dead son Peepy Vandervoort loved Howdy Doody,” sighed Mrs. V. “Give that stumbling boy a ride in our vagon.”

“Yo! Boy! Get in our vagon and take a load off your tootsies!”

Jamie climbed in. “I am clueless!” he said truthfully.

“Oh! Did anyone ever tell you that you look like Howdy Doody, lad?” Mr. V observed as Jamie hauled himself into the back of the wagon.

“I don’t recall,” Jamie said truthfully.

“Really?” said Mrs. Vandervoort.

Jamie nodded like a bobble head. He got a bit queasy and fainted from all the nodding and bobbling.

“Let’s keep him and call him Peepy!” said the Vandervoorts in unison

***********

“Boys! I am going to go hunting for Jamie,” said Ben Cartwright, slllllooooowwwwly walking toward the door.

“Heck Pa! Do you really think you need to do that?” Hoss and Joe each grabbed one of Ben’s legs in a vain attempt to restrain him.

“You know we Cartwrights always do the right thing!” Ben reprimanded his sons.

“Besides if he is dead, we can have a sad funeral… and I can cry!” Joe said, knowing how women couldn’t resist his trembling lip and a single tear trickling down his cheek.

“Yeah!” Hoss’ eyes lit up. “Kin I give the eulogy? I’ve been workin’ on it for the last few months.” Hoss reached into his vest pocket in pulled out a piece of paper.

***********

Meanwhile back at the Vandervoorts….

“Peepy, Darling?” Mrs. V. shook the unconscious Jamie. He was sleeping in a big iron bed with his knobby head on fluffy pillow.

“Peepy?” Jamie said, hoping he hadn’t wet the bed. “Pee pee?”

“Peepy Vandervoort. You are my son! Go feed the marshmallow chicks!” Mrs. V. shoved Jamie out of bed and jammed a stupid stocking hat on his lumpy cranium. Amazingly, it improved his appearance dramatically.

*************

Eventually, Ben slllllooooooowwwwwllllly rode around searching for Jamie.

Buck was going so slow he was doing a horsie moon walk. Ben muffled his voice with a sweat sock. “Jamie!” he whispered. “Hmm…guess we can take a rest, Buck. We have been looking for Jamie for about 8 seconds.”

***********

Meanwhile….

Back at the tulip loving Vandervoorts… They are all pooped out from picking tulips and playing double Dutch jump rope. Mama Vandervoort had served a yummy supper of all her dead son’s favorite foods: Tuna Noodle Casserole, herring soufflé, pickled turnips, and prune tapioca and cocoa.

“You say these are my favorite foods, Mama?” said Jamie eating the unfamiliar dishes (all except the cocoa).

“Absolutely!” said both Vandervoorts.

“I can’t quite recall,” Jamie said, rubbing his lumpy head. Every time he tried to remember the past, he had a huge headache and sniffled. Then Mrs. V bopped him with a cast iron frying pan and told him he was her son Peepy.

“Peepy! Mama!” Mr. Vandervoort said quickly trying to change the subject. “Let’s watch not yet invented TV! And put that frying pan away.”

“Is Peepy’s favorite show on? You know how he loved…er …loves Howdy Doody!” Mama said, shoving Jamie into Peepy’s La-Z-Boy Boy Lounger and pouring him a steaming hot cup of cocoa.

“No! Der show dat is on is “Dancing Wid de Stars!” said Mr. V.

“Oh Mama! Oh Papa! I do wish I could dance!” Jamie sighed. He leaned back in the lounge chair and spilled the steaming cocoa in his own lap, causing him to jiggle in pain.

“Dance!” declared Mr. and Mrs. Vandervort, looking at the gawky amnesiac twitching in the La Z Boy Boy. “Peepy? You vant to DANCE?” Their real son Peepy loved to dance and had danced to his death by being nuked in a microwave oven imitating a marshmallow peep.

***********

Meanwhile… Back on the trail.

Ben rode into Milwaukee…. (which is not WEST but EAST of the Ponderosa) He parked Buck near a friendly looking saloon, the Pizza Bowl and sloooooowly went inside.

“Howdy Stranger,” said the bar tender Frank Di Fazio. “Beer?”

“I would prefer a Brady Squash…..” Ben hesitated hopefully.

Frank shook his head “Not here. All we got is Shotz beer.”

“Shotz?” Ben raised an eloquent eyebrow.

“Shotz. My daughter La Verne works in the factory. All we got is Shotz. Shotz or milk and coke.”

Ben didn’t take a second to make up his mind as he was a decisive, manly man, cattle baron and SUPER DAD. He had no desire to experiment with odd beverages like milk and coke. He would leave that up to Adam. “Shotz beer it is. Take your time. I‘m in no rush.”

Frank poured long cold brew. “What brings you to Milwaukee, Mister? Mister?”

“Cartwright. Ben Cartwright,” Ben said with a friendly smile.

“Cartwright? From the Ponderosa Cartwrights?”

Ben nodded. “One and the same. You have heard of me?”

Frank grinned and shoved the bowl of peanuts towards the silver haired cowboy. “Everyone has heard of the Cartwrights. Me and La Verne and her roomie Shirley watch Bonanza every Sunday Night. Right after Ed Sullivan.”

Ben smiled proudly. “Me and my boys watch Sullivan too. Hoss just loves Topo Giggio!”

“Don’t we all! Did you see the Beatles the other week?”

Ben curled up his nose and shuddered. “Those long haired mop tops. They should get their hair cut. I told my son Joseph…”

“Little Joe? La Verne thinks he is a good looking boy but Shirley is more partial to Adam,” Frank poured Ben a second beer. “On the house, Mr. Cartwright.”

“I told Little Joe those mop tops should get hair cuts. They look like…”

“Riverboat gamblers?” Frank ventured.

Ben shook his head. “No… mops.”

“Want some pizza?” Frank pulled a molten pizza out of the oven and started slicing it with one of those sharp metal wheelie slicey thingees. (Editor’s note: Adam Cartwright had invented those pizza slicers the second year after he left the Ponderosa)

“Pizza?” Ben nodded. “I haven’t had any decent pizza since I was a sailor and spent some time in Sicily!”

Frank slid a slice across the not yet invented Formica counter. “What brings you to these parts? Pizza? Milwaukee ain’t near Nevada. “

“I’m looking for Jamie…my errr…”

“Son?” Frank ventured.

“You can say that,” Ben sighed. “We all make mistakes…”

“Like pineapple and spam on pizza?” Frank shuddered.

“And blue berry bagels.” Ben looked dramatically nauseous at the concept.

“Have a picture?”

Ben reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumbled, stained picture of Jamie. It was filed with tiny holes from when Joe used it as a dart board. At least that is what Joe claimed he did. Ben suspected the pin pricks were from when Hoss traced down Tirza and had her put a gypsy curse on Jamie.

“Red hair?” Frank said.

Ben nodded sipping his beer. He nibbled on his second piece of pizza. “Red hair.”

You know, Mr. Cartwright…”

“Ben. Call me Ben. A man who makes such wonderful pizza should call me Ben.” Frank served him a third slice and topped off his beer. Then Ben burped.

“You know, I think he once went out with La Verne. He calls himself Richie Cunningham. “

Ben nodded. “That makes sense. Boy would change his name if he was on the lam.”

**********

“Have I seen red haired boy? Why you ask?” the little oriental man glared at Ben Cartwright.

“He’s…….He’s sort of my son,” he answered with regret. This man reminded him of Hop Sing. Thinking of Hop Sing made Ben home sick. Why hadn’t he listened to Hop Sing’s advise? He sure wished he was back home with his boys and Hoppy and Candy!

WOWOWOOWOoooOOOO (flash back music)

“Mr. Cahtlight! You no want red hair boy. Little Joe youngest! And if you eat 3 slices pizza, you get heartburn.”

Ben had fire in his belly and he wished he had a bromo or at least a cast iron gut like his boys did.

“Is this dude bothering you?” a tough voice cut through Ben’s reverie. The greasy-haired young man was wearing a black leather jacket, tight black pants and a cool look. Little Joe used to practice those sort of cool looks years ago when he was sixteen or seventeen or thirty two. He also liked tight pants. Joe used to wear a blue jacket in those days.

Ben once walked in on Little Joe talking to his own reflection in the looking glass over his bureau. He was practicing looking tough and growling tough things like “You could die from a bad case of slow” or “Draw when you say that!” or “Your mother wears army boots” or “Get out of Walnut Grove, Nellie Olsen!” Joe thought he looked tough but he was just a good boy trying to act like a hard case.

Ben looked at the leather jacketed boy and realized he too was just a good kid trying to act tough. Ben was wise. He had the power to see through to the heart of people.

“What’s your name, son?” Ben’s hand hovered above his pistol and stared at the boy.

The guy in the leather jacket backed off. “Stay cool, man! Stay cool. Arnold, tell him to stay cool!”

Ben stared at the tough. “I said, what’s your name?”

The boy didn’t answer.

“Arthur Fonzerelli,” said the little oriental man. “People call him Fonzie. My name is Arnold. You want to order something? How about a milk shake?”

Ben’s stomach growled. Those 3 slices of pizza were giving him heartburn. He wasn’t as young as he used to be. “Nothing to eat…just a little information and a milk shake for my heart burn. I’m looking for a red haired boy.”

“It could be Richie Cunningham. He lives at 565 North Clinton Drive… or Ralph Malf.” said Arnold.

Ben had a hard decision to make. How hard did he REALLY want to hunt for Jamie? Besides, he had indigestion from that pizza. “565 North Clinton?”

Fonzie nodded. “Two blocks west and turn on the corner, sir.”

Ben smiled. The lad called him ‘sir’. His estimation was correct. Fonzie was a good boy.

***********

Meanwhile back at the Ponderosa…

“I sure hope Pa gets back soon!” Hoss and Joe sighed as they looked at Ben’s empty place at the table. Hop Sing had already used Jamie’s chair for firewood. He used the gaudy turquoise vest for a dust rag and put Jamie’s bed in pig pen where even the pigs refused to go near it.

“Do you think you boys should go ride west and hunt for Jamie?” Candy said nervously.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Joe and Hoss shook their heads. “Nope!”

“Great idea!” Candy said. It always paid to agree with the boss’ sons.

“Mr. Adam agrees,” Hop Sing added. “He emailed me.”

“Well, that settles that!” said Hoss taking charge. “Pass the stuffed artichokes.”

“Arty chokes? They could have choked Artie but they sure won’t choke me!” Joe joked as he dug in to the antipasto.

**********

Meanwhile back at the Vandervoorts.

“Oh Mama! Oh Papa! I do wish I could dance!” Jamie sighed.

“Dance!” declared Mr. and Mrs. Vandervort looking at the gawky amnesiac. “Peepy? You vant to DANCE?” Their real son Peepy loved to dance and had danced to his death in the microwave.

“Yes Mama! Yes Papa! I vant to dance!” Jamie started twitching and spinning much like the ungraceful dance style of his friend Carlton Banks or one of the bulls on the Ponderosa who ate loco weed and then was struck by lightening. He spun and twirled and shook his boney booty and stomped his feet and crashed into Mrs. Vandervoort’s knickknack collection. One of her prize Hello Kitty Figurines smashed to the floor along with the bowl of pickled turnip and herring soufflé on the kitchen table.

“PEEPY!” Mr. and Mrs. V exclaimed.

Jamie started tap dancing and cha cha cha-ed over the smashed crockery crunching it under his wooden shoes. “I gotta DANCE!”

“PEEPY!”

Looking much like a sheep who had been struck by lightening, Jamie leaped stiffly into the air and bowed. “I gotta dance Mama and Papa!”

“Vell… if it makes you happy,” Mrs. V started.

“Mama! You know the dangers!” her husband cautioned. “Dancing killed the REAL Peepy!”

“Hush Papa! At least he got on the Ed Sullivan Show!” Mrs. Vandervoort hissed. “Dance, Peepy, Dance!”

“But do it outside!” Mr. V opened the kitchen door and shoved Jamie outside.

Jamie whirled and twirled his way across the barn yard, stomping chickens, tulips and a goose until he fell exhausted into the manure pit.

“Good night, Peepy! Sleep tight!” called his “mother’.

Mr. V. slammed the door and shook his head. “Mama, this can be very dangerous!”

“I LAUGH at danger! HA HA HA!” cackled the desperate Mrs. V. She decided that Peepy needed new patent leather tap shoes instead of the wooden shoes he had been wearing.

***********

Ben Cartwright tied Buck at the hitching rail in front of 565 North Clinton, Milwaukee. It was an unassuming, neat clapboard sided home. There was a basketball hoop on the side of the garage. Ben sighed. Years ago, Adam had wanted to put a basketball hoop on the side of the Ponderosa barn but Ben wouldn’t permit it. He said that the thudding and thumping of the ball against the siding would spook the horses and make the milk cow go dry. Adam argued that he could possibly go to college on an athletic scholarship like some of his pals. Ben told him that was balderdash and he could get in on his intelligence and good grades. Ben was right (as always); Adam got into Back East U on his sparkling scholastic record. Ross Marquette got an athletic scholarship, partied hearty, flunked out and came back to Nevada in disgrace.

And we all know what happened to Ross Marquette.

Ben knocked at the door and a cute little girl answered.

“Hello. Who are you?”

“Is your mother or father here?” the cattle baron. “I’m Ben Cartwright.”

“I’m Joanie. I’ll get my mommy,” the sweet girl asked. She had cuter curls than Little Joe and that is hard to find. “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!” she shouted.

“Joanie, darling,” an attractive mature woman came quickly to the front door. “No need to shout.”

Ben’s heart stood still. He hadn’t seen such a lovely woman in a long time…

She had auburn hair and wore a feminine dress and an apron. “Howdy, Ma’am.”

“May I help you?”

“I‘m……… looking …..for a red….. haired ….boy,” Ben said slowly. He was in no rush to find Jamie.

“I’m Marion Cunningham. A red haired boy? Could it be my son Richie? Mr.…?”

“Cartwright. Ben Cartwright,” Ben said Ben-a-liously. He tipped his hat politely.

The lovely lady almost swooned. She threw the door open wide and invited Ben inside with a wide smile on her face. “BEN CARTWRIGHT! Come right in! I know all about you!”

“BEN CARTWRIGHT!” squealed Joanie. The little girl jumped up and down and clapped her hands with glee. “Ben CARTWRIGHT! We know YOU!”

Ben smiled modestly “You know me?” Remembering what Frank De Fazio had said about watching not-yet-invented television on Sunday nights, Ben said “You watch Bonanza?”

Mrs. Cunningham shook her head and said “No! My husband Howard talks about you and your boys all the time! Joanie, go get Daddy!”

In a few seconds, the little girl had fetched her chubby daddy from the basement where he was practicing his lines for the Lodge Show, “Fiorello“. He was playing Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Howard Cunningham had always dreamed of being a mayor.

“Ben! Ben Cartwright!” shouted Howard Cunningham. He embraced his old friend.

“Why you old son of a gun!” Ben pounded him on the back. “I haven’t seen you in years! Not since you ran for Virginia City Mayor against Wally Cox!”

The two men laughed and hugged and for a few minutes reminisced about the awful election fiasco when Hoss and Joe backed the two opposing mayoral candidates and Ben had to cast the deciding vote. “Yes, and two weeks later, I met Marion here and we left for Milwaukee. I bought Cunningham’s Hardware and changed my name as it was cheaper to change my name than getting a new sign painted.”

“Wise move, “Ben nodded. Ben always admired thrift and hard work.

***********

“I sure hope Pa gets back soon!” Hoss and Joe sighed as they looked at Ben’s empty place at the table. Hop Sing had already used Jamie’s stupid school books for firewood. He used the flat moron hat for a chamber pot and put Jamie’s picture in the outhouse.

“Do you think you boys should go hunt for Jamie?” Candy said nervously. “Pay day is coming up and without your Pa around, the hands are worried about getting paid.”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Joe and Hoss shook their heads. “No problem. We have the payroll all set. Matter of fact, we are going to have a great big party to celebrate pay day.”

“…. and a bon fire of ugly turquoise vest and bucket dog pictures!” Hop Sing chortled.

“Great idea!” Candy said. “And I’ll toss in the money we get from selling Jamie’s stupid horse to the glue factory. Is that ok?”

“Sure!” Joe and Hoss high-fived each other and butted butts.

“Mr. Adam agrees,” Hop Sing added. “He emailed me his proxy.”

************

“What brings you here, Ben,” Howard Cunningham asked cordially.

“I’m looking for this red-haired lad,” Ben said showing him the crumpled, pin pricked picture.

“Is that your son?” Marian asked praying that she could find something pleasant to say about the less than handsome child. She couldn’t imagine how a fine looking man like Ben Cartwright could father such a weird looking boy. Perhaps he was in an accident and his head was run over by a wagon or he was struck by lightning? She decided she had to say something complimentary about the boy. “He has a nice shirt.”

Ben nodded. “Adam sent him that shirt from The Gap for Festivus. Jamie disappeared returning from an errand. I fear he was waylaid and robbed of the cash he was carrying. I sure want that cash. I was told a red-haired boy lived here.”

“Oh, you must mean our son Richard,” Marian smiled. “Joanie, go get Richard. He is upstairs doing homework.”

Ben sighed. Adam always did his homework upstairs. He missed Adam big time. Jamie always was whining and mewling about doing homework and making a big production over it. He missed Adam.

A minute later, the Cunningham’s red haired boy Richard came into the room. “Dad, Mom, Joanie said you wanted me? What’s up?” Then noticing the visitor, the boy smiled and extended his hand. “Hello, sir. I didn’t realize we had company.”

Looking at the boy, Ben’s heart stopped. The boy looked like…….. OPIE!

**********

Meanwhile back at the Vandervoorts …

“So you vant to learn to dance, Peepy?” Mrs. V. asked Jamie.

He nodded like a bobble head. “Yes Mama! Like Fred Upstairs!”

“Peepy, there is no upstairs. Just de roof. “Mr. Vandervoort pointed out to the lunkhead boy.

“I think Peepy means Fred Astaire, Papa.” Mrs. Vandervoort patted her “son” Peepy’s woolen hat. “Peepy wants to be on “Dancing Vit de Stars.” Show Papa how you dance, Peepy!”

Jamie stood up and swung his arms and stomped his feet awkwardly. Frankenstein had more grace. Old Sheba had more grace. Mount Rushmore had more grace.

“Mama, he dances like a cow!”

“So? Vat does that mean?” Mrs. V asked, watching Jamie stumble and stomp and twirl around the living room. She picked up her frying pan and swatted him a couple of times.

“Cows don‘t make good dancers; they have two left feet.” Mr. V sighed. As Jamie spun near the doorway, Mr. Vandervoort quickly opened the door and shoved him out.

Jamie tap danced and cha cha-ed and spun his arms over his head. “BIG FINISH!!!” he said smiling like a jack-o-lantern as he crashed into the chicken house.

“Cluck Cluck Buk SQUAUK!” The chickens exploded out of the hen house and started pecking at Jamie.

“Papa, go help Peepy out before the chickens stop laying.” Mrs. V sighed. “And don’t let Peepy track poop into the parlor.”

**********

Meanwhile back on the Ponderosa…

The boys were celebrating in the usual Cartwright party hearty mode. Candy was stringing up colorful lanterns, Hoss was making basins of Pa’s special punch, Joe was indiscriminately proposing to all the voluptuous blond girls, who were immediately accepting and dying, Hop Sing was making sushi and pigs in blankets…. A fabulous time was being had by all.

***********

“So Peepy, you say you van to dance like a cow?” Mrs. V patted Jamie’s hand as she tucked him into her dead son’s bed.

“Yes, Mama. It is my dream to do the BOSSY Nova!”

“What do cows like to dance to?” Mr. V. said tucking the coverlet around Jamie.

Jamie grinned. “Moosic!”

“Good night, Peepy!” said Mr. and Mrs. V.

“Good Night Mama & Papa!” said Jamie as visions of sugar plums danced in his lumpy cranium.

BOINK! Mrs. V gave him one last crack with the cast iron pan and called out “Sveet dreams!”

**********

For a nano-second, Ben Cartwright thought the red haired boy walking into the Cunningham home was Jamie, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t Opie either. The lad was Richie Cunningham.

“My old friend Ben Cartwright….”

“From the Ponderosa Cartwrights?” Richie grinned excitedly. He extended his hand and vigorously shook Ben’s in a firm handshake. “Mr. Cartwright! My father speaks of you often. Matter of fact, he lets us stay up to watch Bonanza on Sunday nights…”

Ben smiled modestly.

“As long as we get ready for bed first,” Joanie added.

“Yes, we have to wash brush, pee and flush!” Richie explained.

Ben blushed. That last part was a bit more information than he needed. “Oh?”

“Yes, I love Hoss a lot!” Joanie giggled. “And Little Joe of course. Mommy likes Adam. She said he is HOT!”

“Joanie Cunningham!” Marion Cunningham turned bright red. “You come in the kitchen with me and help me start supper. Ben? You are staying, aren’t you?”

“Well ….I should keep searching for my missing boy, Jamie….” Ben hesitated. He was getting very hungry.

“We are having meatloaf, Ben,” Howard urged. “And no one makes meat loaf like Marion.”

“Well….” Ben hesitated. “Meatloaf?”

“Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Please, Mr. Cartwright! I sure would like to hear you tell some of your tales about when Dad lived in Virginia City. And I know another red-haired boy…”

“Sure,” Ben couldn’t refuse. “You say you know another red haired boy?”

“Yes, Ben,” Howard said leading Ben towards the most comfortable arm chair in the living room. “Richard has a friend Ralph Malf. His father is a dentist…”

“A dentist?” Ben’s hand slid over his gun. “Doc Holiday was a dentist.”

***********

Meanwhile back on the Ponderosa, the boys were celebrating in the usual Cartwright party hearty mode. All the furniture had been moved out of the house to make room for dancing. Tables filled with delicious delectable donated by the darling daughters of dumpy dowagers hoping to snag a bachelor Cartwright.

“Aren’t you concerned about the curse?” Becky Sue Hightower who had her eye on Hoss asked Penelope Ann Pishinpants, the banker’s daughter who had her eye on Little Joe.

“Pshaw! Becoming Mrs. Little Joe Cartwright is worth the risk!” Penny pouted. Her sister, Nickela Ann Pishinpants, had set up her not-yet-invented laptop computer and was IM-ing with Adam who was either back east, in Paris or in the Outback of Australia…or in an “Outback Steakhouse” in New Jersey eating French fries.

Candy and all the hands were eating and joshing, Hoss was still making basins of Pa’s special punch, Joe was still indiscriminately proposing to all the voluptuous blond girls and giving them all numbered tickets for pre-nuptial honeymoon in the hayloft raffle, Hop Sing was making Mulligan Stew a la Annie O‘Toole and fondue…. A fabulous time was being had by all.

There was only one complaint by a few of the female guests: that besides the Cartwright boys who did everything perfectly, most of the single men couldn’t dance particularly well.

“I’m mighty fond of this fondue!” exclaimed Philip Diedershiemer. “Tis the best I had since I left Switzerland!”

“It was my mother’s favorite fondue recipe,” Joe explained. “Pa loved Mama’s fondue almost as much as her meatloaf. Pa is a real meatloaf fan. He was mighty fond of her fondue.”

He chugged down a cup of punch and then a second and a third. They were teeny tiny cups and Joe was very dry. It was the first break he had from escorting the 348 winners of the “Pre Nuptial Honeymoon With Little Joe” contest to the hayloft. And that prenuptial honeymoon stuff was mighty thirsty work!

“Little Joe, Hoss, when do you think Ben is a gonna be back?” asked Roy Coffee. He had a walk-on part in a John Wayne movie and was going to be playing one of the justices in “Judgment at Nuremberg” and didn’t quite feel comfortable leaving Deputy Clem in charge of Virginia City or taking care of Roy’s cat Puffy-poo for more than a week without having Ben Cartwright as back up. The last time Roy was out of town for his annual two week saxophone aficionado convention at Disney World, Clem had fed Puffy-poo store brand cat food from Wal-Mart and upset the kitty’s delicate digestion. It took Doc Martin three weeks and lots of Sun Sweet Prunes to get poor Puffy regular again.

Joe and Hoss shrugged. “Jamie disappeared and Pa is hunting for him.”

“Jamie disappeared?” Roy stroked his moustache trying not to cheer. Puffy-poo hated Jamie. He smelled like a wet dog.

Joe and Hoss smiled “YUP! Jamie disappeared.”

“Well, well… Jamie disappeared,” Roy smiled.

“Jamie Who?” asked Clem.

“Jamie Who?” asked Lillian. She was a close friend of Rebecca Kaufman and the two of them were emailing Adam on Nickela Pishinpant’s not-yet-invented laptop while Nickela danced with Candy.

By the end of the evening, Doc Martin had his hands full. “That’s the twenty-third gal with a broken foot or twisted ankle or wrenched back from getting stepped on or dropped while dancing with one of the cowhands.” The porch and living room of the Ponderosa was crowded with tearful ladies soaking their tootsies in every available pot, basin or bowl on the Ponderosa. “This is worse than the Paiute Wars and the time Jigger Thurmond’s bull stampeded thru town!” Doc Martin declared, wrapping a bandage around Connie McKee’s delicate foot. She had been waltzing with Lars Lardass, the blacksmith from “Horseshoes R Us” while she waited for Joe to get up to her number in the “pre-nuptial honeymoon in the hayloft raffle”. Just as Julia Bulette and Lotta Crabtree got into a cat fight over who was next in line, Lardass stomped on Connie’s instep. “If only those boys could dance as well as the Cartwrights!” she moaned.

***********

Meanwhile, back in Milwaukee…

The Cunninghams are serving a yummy and wholesome dinner to Ben Cartwright: meatloaf, gravy, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, gravy and applesauce and gravy.

“Mmmmm! Marian, this is the best gravy I ever had!” Howard exclaimed appreciatively as he slurped up the last. “Ben, did I ever tell you how my wife got her name?”

Ben sopped up the last of his gravy with a piece of Wonder Bread. “No, tell me! I sure hope it is a long story. I‘m in no rush.”

“Mom was named after her late uncle, Lord Marion!” Richie explained.

“Lord Marion?” Ben raised his eyebrows. “The sissy who couldn’t shoot!?!?” The lovely and feminine Marian Cunningham was more of a man that that sissy whose wife Lady Bea tried to seduce Adam.

“One and the same,” Marian Cunningham smiled bringing in a fresh hot apple pie from the kitchen. “By the way, Ralph Malf and his father are coming by for dessert. They should be here any minute with a gallon of vanilla ice cream to top off the apple pie.”

With that, the doorbell rang and Ben warily slid his hand to his holstered gun. He never much trusted dentists since that run in Little Joe had with Doc Holliday, not to mention the bad orthodenture Hoss had gotten as a kid.

A red-haired boy with a rubbery face walked in, followed by a lanky dark-haired man. The boy was clearly not the missing Jamie. As weird looking as the kid was, there was absolutely no competition for the UGLY Prize. Jamie was the easy winner. At least the kid could win something besides the annual “Kid You Most Want to Toss in the Truckee” contest sponsored by Glad Bags.

“Howdy Mr. C., Mrs. C.!” Ralph greeted his pal’s parents. “And Mr. C also.” He smiled at Ben Cartwright. “This is my dad, Doctor Malf.”

“Pleased to meet you!” Dr. Malf said pleasantly. He looked vaguely familiar to Ben Cartwright.

“Have we met before?” Ben asked Dr. Malf as they dug into the hot apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream. It was mighty good but nowhere as good as Hop Sing’s. Ben was home sick.

“I don’t think so… though I do watch Bonanza on Sunday nights,” Doctor Malf said polishing his fork with the napkin.

Ben suddenly realized why Doctor Malf looked so familiar. “Do you have any relatives named Sprague?”

“Indeed I do! My cousin Howard is a town clerk in….”

“Mayberry!” Ben smiled. “Home of Opie.”

“People always tell me we look alike, but I don’t see the connection,” Richard said devouring his pie that was better than any pie Aunt Bea ever made.

“Anyone like some gravy on their pie?” Mrs. Cunningham offered.

“Mmmmmm!” they all chorused.

***********

“Pigs love ballet, Mama,” Amnesiac Jamie told Mrs. Vandervoort as he fed the marshmallow chicks and bunnies.

She looked at the orange-haired boy with as much love as she could muster without blinding herself. The lad frequently did and said odd and weird things, like when he tried to carry their collie around in a bucket or claimed he was going to get engaged so the gal could die. When Mr. and Mrs. Vandervoort tried to correct him or question his odd behavior, Jamie clutched at his head in agony and made his eyes roll in his head and drooled. This was not a pretty sight! That made the Vandervoorts back off Jamie and just agree with whatever he wanted.

“So, Peepy,” Mrs. V asked. “Vhat is a pig’s favorite ballet?”

“Swine Lake!” Jamie said, twirling around the barn yard sprinkling jelly beans to the marshmallow chickens. He almost stumbled over a marshmallow bunny who gave him a dirty look and hopped across the yard.

Mr. V shook his head. “Mama, Vhat are you doing?”

“Peepy vants to be a dancing star, Papa.”

“Dis boy isn’t Peepy, Mama. He must have family who miss him and vant to find him.

If Peepy vas a star, he would be a hit,” she said ignoring her beloved husband’s remark. “A big hit!”

Mr. V sighed. His wife always wanted to be a stage mother.

***********

Meanwhile back on the Ponderosa, Hoss has brought out the piñata shaped like Jamie.

“Wow, Big Brother! That sure is a good likeness of Jamie!” Joe grinned. Hoss always did very well in Arts & Crafts in cub scouts. He once made a model of the Ponderosa using popsicle sticks and bits of gum wrappers.

Hoss picked up a fence post and held it high. “Ok folks! Who wants to take a big hit at the piñata?!”

The party guests all leaped to their feet and cheered “Me ME Me!”

“Ok folks! There’s’ plenty of hits on Jamie for everyone!” Roy Coffee restored order. “Everyone jest line up here behind Candy and Hop Sing!”

************

Meanwhile, Ben was torn at what to do next. He always went the extra mile for his boys. He would give up the Ponderosa and his own life to protect his sons. When Adam was lost on the desert and held prisoner by Kane, Ben hunted for him without giving up. When Hoss was squished on the cattle drive, Ben did everything he could do to get Doctor Bones Mc Coy out of jail to save Hoss. When Little Joe had acrophobia and freaked out on Eagle’s Nest, Ben almost had to fling himself off a cliff to help Joe.

On the other hand, Jamie was a different story.

Doctor Malf, DDS had suggested that his cousin Howard Sprague in Mayberry North Carolina knew a red-haired boy named Opie. Fonzie suggested he check out the red-haired Walton family in Virginia. “Mrs. Walton is almost a va-va-voom as Mrs. C.!” he said winking at their hostess.

“And Jamie’s grandfather is Grandpa Walton,” Howard Cunningham reminded Ben.

“And don’t forget Bozo!” Joanie Cunningham pointed out. “He has red hair too! And he sure looks like that Jamie. Just cuter. And Bozo‘s feet look smaller.”

Ben wasn’t sure he should travel so far east. What if Jamie was still in Nevada Territory? What if he was in the desert or on top of Eagle’s Nest or being held hostage by Lee Marvin?

Suddenly, Mrs. Cunningham started to weep.

“Marian! What’s wrong!” her husband embraced her as she wept on his pudgy shoulder.

“What if Jamie disappeared for good like our son, Chuck?” she wept. “We never saw him again!!!”

Ben handed her his cattle baron hankie. “Chuck?”

“Yes, Mr. Cartwright,” Richie explained. “I had an older brother in the early seasons and he just disappeared one day after shooting baskets in the driveway.”

“Poof!” Joanie added. “He is gone for good. I did get his room, though.”

“Disappeared? Do you think he is gone for good?” Ben’s eyes lit up. Maybe that would happen to Jamie?

***********

Meanwhile, Jamie was doing his darndest to master a new tap dance routine.
The amnesiac lad had found a top hat in the barn and put it on his lumpy head over his knitted cap. Tufts of orange hair stuck out at a confused, freakish Bozo-like angle. He was using the heavy iron fireplace poker as a cane and dancing to the music of Mrs. Vandervoort’s Fred Astaire music box.

He staggered stiffly around the parlor swinging his arms and stomping his feet looking very much like an orange haired Peter Boyle in the not-yet-invented movie, “Young Frankenstein”. He swung the heavy poker around in an awkward attempt to simulate a cane. Instead, the clumsy boy knocked over things, shattered the windows and speared all the down cushions on the settee that had been newly purchased from Lazlo’s “Settees R Us”.

Goose feathers floated through the air.

Jamie sang off key in a cracking voice that sounded like a crow laying a watermelon size egg:

“I’m puttin’ on my top hat,
Tyin’ up my white stie,
Brushin’ off my snails.
I’m dudin’ up my shirt front,
Puttin’ in the shirt studs,
Polishin’ my snails,
I’m steppin’ out, my rear,
To breathe an atmosphere
That simply reeks with class;
And I trust that you’ll excuse my dust
When I step on the glass,
For I’ll be there,
Puttin’ down my top hat,
Mussin’ up my white tie,
Dancin’ in on my snails”

“What do you think Papa? Isn’t Peepy amazing?” Mrs. V. asked hopefully. She always wanted to be a stage mother.

“Amazing? Amazing good or amazing bad?” Mr. Vandervoort groaned as Jamie crashed into the what-not and knocked over a knickknack of a dodo bird in a tutu. The figurine crashed to the floor and shattered into smithereens. It had been one of Mr. Vandervoort’s favorites. He had won it for his wife on the boardwalk in Rockaway playing skeeball on their honeymoon.

“Vell….You would be a good dancer except for two things, Peepy,” Mr. Vandervort started. He was a man who prided himself on his honesty but his love for his wife blinded him like staring at the blazing sun, at high noon in the middle of Death Valley after having your pupils dilated by your optometrist with that drippy eye drop stuff they drip in your eye.

“What are the two things? “ Peepy said as Mrs. V helped him to his feet and tried to pick the shards of shattered crockery and pillow feathers from her “son’s” saggy baggy pantaloons.

“Vat are the two things? Your feet.”

**********

So, even though the Ponderosa was in Nevada Territory, which was west of Milwaukee, Ben Cartwright rode east out on the trail of red-heads. He followed the clues to the Walton farm in Virginia. Jamie wasn’t there. Then he went to Mayberry North Carolina in search of the red-haired boy.

“Have you tried New York?” suggested Opie, the Mayberry sheriff’s red-haired boy as he handed Ben a cup of coffee through the iron bars. “My Aunt Bea made this for you, sir. She sent over some ham and cheese sandwiches & pecan pie too.”

“No thanks. Just coffee,” Ben said. Buck had complained all the way from Virginia to North Carolina that he had put on a few pounds.

“Aunt Bea said to ask if you are a widower, Mr. Cartwright, because she is a single lady.”

“I’m a widower but …but… I’m…I’m spoken for,” Ben lied. He hated to lie to a little boy but Aunt Bea was definitely not his type. “I’m engaged to… to… Martha Stewart!” Ben had no idea why he said Martha Stewart but it was the first name that came into his head. Perhaps it was the jail connection? “She’s a great home maker and very neat.”

“I heard tell there is a red-head there named Lu.” Barney Fife suggested.

“Lu?” Ben asked. “A red head named Lu?” He took a sip of the coffee. It was almost as good as Hop Sing’s. Too bad Bea was so chunky.

Ben was very homesick. He hoped everything was under control on the ranch while he was gone and not too many fiancées had died. After all, it was spring round-up time and all those funerals could distract Joe and Hoss from calf branding.

Opie nodded. “Heard Lu caused an awful lot of trouble up north.”

“That could be Jamie. He sure caused trouble on the Ponderosa.” Ben pointed out from inside the cell.

Then Deputy Barney Fife pointed out. “Lu has wrecked factories, caused havoc in the streets and disrupted shows and broke into places with a side kick.” Fife unlocked the jail cell and let Ben out. “Sorry about locking you up, Mr. Cartwright, but it isn‘t often we have cowboys wearing a six gun riding into Mayberry on a horse looking for little Opie here.” Barney patted the lad’s head protectively.

Ben sighed “I explained a thousand times. I was looking for a red-haired boy named Jamie.”

Sheriff Andy Taylor strolled in the front door of the Mayberry Sheriff’s office.” Mr. Cartwright, I fed your horse and brought him round front of the office. Sorry about my deputy’s mistake, Good thing you suggested we wire Sheriff Coffee to check out your story.”

“Yes it was. And you said he swore my ranch was ok?”

Andy nodded as he handed Ben’s gun belt back to him. “Yes indeed. He said your boys were jest fine. Jest fine. A couple of broken engagements. That’s all. Ranch is jest fine.”

“Well, as homesick as I am, I had better head to New York City to check out this Lu person. That might be Jamie.”

***********

Meanwhile, back on the ranch….

Little Joe came into the house, hung his hat on the hat rack and slowly coiled his gun belt on the sideboard. He wearily blew his nose and wiped the tears from his eyes. “I’m back,” he sighed as he pulled his string tie from his collar. It was the seventeenth funeral he had attended since Pa had gone off looking for Jamie. That is what he got for being so successful at the series of parties he and Hoss had thrown while Pa was away.

Hoss lumbered down the stairs “Give me a hand with my tie, Little Joe. I got me two funerals before supper time and three more tomorrow.”

“Bessie Sue would have made a fine sister in-law, Hoss,” Joe patted his brother’s shoulder. “Send my condolences to her family. I would go with you but I have to go out to Peggy Sue’s funeral in Carson City,”

Hoss lifted up his chin and Joe neatly tied his own tie around his large brother’s neck.

“How was Jan’s funeral?” Hoss asked.

“Very touching. Almost as touching as Cindy ‘s and Marcia’s…” Joe sighed, thinking of the three blond Brady sisters who he had almost married.

“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” Hoss shook his head. “She was a mighty purty gal.”

“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” Joe sighed.

“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” Candy echoed.

Candy, who had just walked in the front door said “Joe, Hoss, the hands are getting pretty riled over this. At the rate all these gals are dying, there won’t be any single women left in Nevada Territory. Can’t you boys quit proposing? Just love ’em and leave ’em like the rest of us do.”

Joe and Hoss shrugged. Old habits were hard to break, and with Pa out of town and Adam where ever Adam was, the two of them were cutting loose with the women, falling in love, proposing and triggering the inevitable deaths.

“Oh, by the way, Roy Coffee was at Bessie Sue’s funeral. He said he got a wire from the sheriff of Mayberry. Pa was there and he is now on his way to New York City to find this red headed trouble maker, Lu,” Joe reported hoping to change the subject from dead gals to something else.

“Lu? A red-headed trouble maker in New York City?” Hoss said. “That don’t bode well…”

“Indeed it don’t,” Candy shook his head and started calculating how long it would be before there were no living single women between fifteen and forty in Nevada Territory. “Joe? Did you say Lu? In New York City?”

Joe nodded. “That’s what Roy said. Lu, a red head in New York City.”

Candy shuddered. “I sure hope your Pa ain’t riding after Lu C. That can mean disaster!”

“OH NO!” Hop Sing gasped. “Lu C! Mr. Cahtlight doomed. Number 42 cousin say Lu C make havoc in New York, California and Europe too!”

***********

Jamie, wearing his crunched top hat and a black tail suit he had borrowed from the undertaker, sang off key in a cracking voice that sounded like a fingernails scratching the black board in Miss Jones’ school house:

“Heaven, I’m in Heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly squeak;
And I seem to find the happiness I sneak
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek.”

Jamie bumped his boney butt against the pig’s rump

“Oink!” the pig squealed as Jamie (aka Peepy) twirled her around ala Ginger Rogers. “Oink!’

“Heaven, I’m in Heaven,
And the cares that hang around me thro’ the squeak
Seem to vanish like a gambler’s lucky streak
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek.”

Jamie kissed the pig on her snout.

“Mama, this is awful!” Mr. Vandervoort. “The boy can’t dance and he can’t sing!”

“But Peepy wants to be a star!” his wife argued.

Jamie whirled and twirled and almost tripped over one of the chickens.

“Oh! I love to climb a mountain,
And to reach the highest peak,
But it doesn’t thrill me half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek. “

“The boy has absolutely no talent and the pig dances better den him!” Mr. V pointed out. “And is better lookin’ too. He‘s no Fred Astaire!”

“Vell de pig is no Ginger Rogers eeder, Papa!” she argued back.

“Oh! I love to go out fishing
In a river or a creek,
But I don’t enjoy it half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek.

Dance with me
I want my arm about you;
The charm about you
Will carry me thro’ to Heaven

I’m in Heaven,
and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek.”

“I vont give up Papa!” his wife said adamantly. “Peepy will be a dancing star! I vill never give up! “

“I want to be in the show!” Jamie whined.

“You can’t be in the show!” Mr. Vandervoort spat back. “You schtink!”

“Oink!” said the pig in agreement.

**********

The bar was dark, empty when Ben strode in. He had tied Buck to a lamp post on the corner of 47th Street and Broadway.

There weren’t too many customers in the place this early in the day. There was a bar along one side of the room and the other side had good sized stage and a fake palm tree. A couple of dozen tiny round tables were scattered in between.

Ben went up to the bar and ordered a brandy squash. A lone piano player was plinking out a tune on the stage.

“Can I help you, sir,” asked the bartender.

“A brandy squash?” Ben asked. “I’ve worked up a mighty thirst riding up here from Virginia…” He didn’t add that Grandpa Walton and four of his red-haired Walton grandkids chased him down the mountain firing his shotgun at Ben saying “Don’t never mention that whiney Jamie again! And get out of here!” Ben would have fired back but he didn’t want to hit any of the kids or Granny Walton who looked awfully like Mrs. Milford.

“Brandy squash? Never heard of that,” said the bartender.

“Really? I would have been sure that in a place like this in New York,” Ben said. He looked around at the saloon. It has a few palm trees painted on the walls and a decidedly tropical motif. It looked like a place he had frequented one time when he was in the Caribbean when he was a sailor.

“No, sir,” said the bartender. “We have Anisette, Batido de Mango y Papaya, Batido de Papaya, Cafe con Leche Custard, Cafe Cubano Champola de Guanabana, Cuba Libre, Cubata, Cuban Brandy, Cafe Cubano, Daiquiri, Frozen Papaya Coctail, Fruit Punch, Havana Cooler, Havana Special Martini, Mango Rum Punch, Orange Daiquiri, Papaya Coffee Liqueur Shake, Pina Colada, Pinerito Margarita, Pineapple Liquor, Rum Collins, Sangria, Sangria Serrano Havana, Tigre Volador, Toro Techila, Tamarindo Nectar, And a heavy Malaga Spritzer but no Brandy Squash.”

“Hmmm…” said Ben trying to make up his mind from the lavish menu. “Back in home in Nevada Territory, the saloons only serve beer and whiskey and occasionally brandy squash.”

The bartender nodded and said “If you tell me how it’s made, I can make it for you,”

“No, that’s alright, I’ll try one of your house specials. Could you repeat them? It was an awfully long list.” Ben asked cordially. He was in no rush to find Jamie and when would he ever get to NYC? “Could you repeat that menu…slowly this time.”

“Slowly?”

“Yes… verrrrrrrrrrrrrry ssssssllllllllloowly,” Ben put a few coins on the polished surface of the bar.

“Yes, sir,” said the bartender. “We have Anisette, Batido de Mango y Papaya, Batido de Papaya, Cafe con Leche Custard, Cafe Cubano Champola de Guanabana, Cuba Libre, Cubata, Cuban Brandy, Cafe Cubano, Daiquiri, Frozen Papaya Coctail, Fruit Punch, Havana Cooler, Havana Special Martini, Mango Rum Punch, Orange Daiquiri, Papaya Coffee Liqueur Shake, Pina Colada, Pinerito Margarita, Pineapple Liquor, Rum Collins, Sangria, Sangria Serrano Havana, Tigre Volador, Toro Techila, Tamarindo Nectar, And a heavy Malaga Spritzer but no Brandy Squash.”

***********

Meanwhile back on the Ponderosa…

“SIGH,” Little Joe and Hoss sighed simultaneously. The two bereaved brothers were sitting side by side, tush cheek to tush cheek, on the settee. Hop Sing carried in a tray holding a fresh pot of coffee and some black and white cookies Adam had sent home by way of the Pony Express from NYC.

“I sure wish your father was here, ” Candy said. He stood next to the massive stone fireplace nibbling on his cookie. “We are running out of timber from making all those coffins for the dead fiancées. Think he would mind if we used the coffee table to build a couple of coffins?”

Hoss shook his head. “Go right ahead, Candy. Dead Delia Denise Dimwoody loved this here coffee table.”

“Good,” Candy said. He reached for the table but Joe’s feet were solidly planted top of the table. “Um…errr… Joe…”

“What?” Joe said tearfully. He had been very fond of Dead Delia Denise Dimwoody and would have proposed to her had Hoss not beat him to it.

“JOSEPH! GET FEET OFF TABLE!” Hop Sing bellowed in a very Ben-like tone.

Joe jumped four feet into the air.

“Father tell me tell you keep feet off table while he go look for red-haired misfit Jamie!” Hop Sing smiled.

“I miss Pa!” Joe wept.

“Me too!” Hoss wept.

“Me three!” Candy added.

“Let’s have a party!” they all said in unison as they leapt to their feet.

***********

Meanwhile back on the Vandervoorts farm

“I want to be in the show!” Jamie whined.

“You can’t be in the show!” Mr. Vandervoort spat back. “You schtink!”

“WWWWWWWaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” wailed the redhead.

***********

Ben Cartwright of the Ponderosa was leaning on the bar, pondering the ponderous decision of what drink to have. “Hmmm. Should I have a Cuba Libre, Cubata, Cuban Brandy, or Cafe Cubano? It’s so hard to decide.”

The bartender nodded and wiped the shiny black not yet invented formica-top of the elaborate bar. He hated when the hick tourists came into the Club Babaloo. “How about one of each?”

“Back home, we only have beer and whiskey in the saloons,” Ben said pleasantly.

“You told me,” the bartender eyed Ben’s outfit. “Where are you from? Texas?”

Ben shook his head “Nevada Territory.

“Are you here with the rodeo that is playing in Madison Square Garden? “

Ben shook his head. “How about a Sangria Serrano Havana?“

“That has wine in it. It’s light and fruity. I’m not sure it is the kind of drink a manly man like you would like.”

“Wine?” Ben sighed remembering the afternoon he picked grapes with Joyce Edwards. Joyce was a wonderful gal in many many many many ways.

“How about a rum and not yet invented coke?”

Ben nodded, “That sounds just fine. I’m looking for a red-haired trouble maker…”

“Lu C?” The bartender handed the drink to Ben.

Suddenly angry shouts filled the place. “I want to be in the show!” someone whined.

“You can’t be in de show!” spat back an angry voice that reminded Ben of those Mexican guys who tried to kidnap Little Joe for a bunch of gold and scared the beejeezus out of him claiming they had his thumb wrapped up like a not yet invented McDonald’s sausage breakfast burrito.

“WWWWWWWaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” wailed the red head.

**********

Meanwhile, back on the Ponderosa

“I miss Pa!” Joe wept.

“Me too!” Hoss wept.

“Me three!” Candy added.

“Let’s have a party!” they all said in unison as they leapt to their feet.

“No Party! You stupid cowboys! You go find Mr. Cahtlight! Bring back to Ponderosa!” Hop Sing admonished. Enough was enough. Hop Sing was sick of cleaning up from parties and making casseroles for all the wakes of dead sweethearts. “Bring back your father with or without Jamie!”

“Jamie WHO?” asked Lillian who just happened to be passing by to deliver some more NYC cookies, cakes and yummy baked goods that Adam had sent.

“Jamie, red-haired troublemaker!” Hop Sing muttered and this was followed by a stream of curses in Cantonese, Mandarin and Yiddish. “Mr. Cahtlight go to New York and everything go to hell here on Ponderosa!”

“New York City?” Lillian said as she unpacked the challahs, black and white cookies, brownies, biscotti (aka Mandelbrot), cup cakes, Danish and sponge cake. “Adam is in New York City!”

***********

“I know the perfect spot to spend the evening! Great food, great music. Dancing. You are going to love it, Adam,” said the pretty dark haired girl. “Ross told me about it!”

“Ross?” Adam sighed remembering his best pal Ross Marquette. Sadly, he had to kill Ross in a shoot out in the desert.

“Don’t look so morose, Adam!” the blonde gave him a quick hug. “Go change your clothes and we’ll all go. It’s an amazing club.”

“Should I wear my black shirt or my black shirt?” Adam asked her. She was so pretty and had great fashion sense. He had met the girls in a little café when he first came to NYC and they became fast friends right away.

“Wear your black shirt!” she said emphatically. “The one you got in Bloomingdales. And your black pants. It looks so metro-sexual!”

“Absolutely!” said the dark-haired girl. “We’ll leave at 9 and everyone else will meet us at the club.

Adam smiled proudly. “Dinner! Dancing! And a great Latin show!“ Though they were never going to be more than friends, Adam loved these girls and their friends and enjoyed spending time with them.

**********

Meanwhile, back at the Ponderosa….

Hop Sing sat in the green leather chair behind Ben Cartwright’s desk. He had made a comprehensive list of tasks and gone on not-yet-invented Mapquest “Candy! You go saddle horses. Pack food and make sure boys have plenty clean underwear. Even Little Joe!”

Candy nodded, “Yes sir.” Everyone knew Joe preferred to go with out drawers when given the chance.

“You have money, Mr. Hoss?” Hop Sing asked.

Hoss nodded and held up his wallet.

“No wave money around, Big Fool Number two son! You look for trouble!” Hop Sing reprimanded Hoss. “You want get bushwhacked? Put third of the money in boot, third of the money in wallet, third of the money in hat!”

Hoss turned red and did what he was told.

“You have map, Little Joe?”

Joe nodded and held up the map he printed out from not-yet-invented Mapquest. “Got the map. We are going to find Pa and bring him home.”

“Mr. Adam too?” Hop Sing queried.

“Of course,” Joe winked. “He’s our brother. He’ll straighten out all this.”

“Now go!” Hop Sing ordered.

When the door closed behind them Hop Sing sighed. “What would Cahtlights do without me?”

***********

Meanwhile back at the Vandervoorts, Mrs. Vandervoort has packed her bags and Peepy’s and left the following note for her husband.

Dear Klaus,

Peepy and I are headed for New York City. Ve vill make Peepy a shtar on Broadvay.

Love, Your vife.

PS Feed de marshmallow chicks and bunnies and der catz Felix”.

**********

They were waiting for the rest of their FRIENDS to arrive so they could all go to Club Babaloo together. Adam leaned back in the upholstered chair and relaxed while one of the girls played her guitar and sang her latest composition. Phoebe was an odd but likeable girl, who sang pleasantly and played the guitar moderately well but her compositions were awfully weird, stranger than the Frenchman’s poems and those blank verse sonnets that Tirza recited about fish and trees and moon lit rocks of love. How did Little Joe fall for that wacko?

Adam recalled saying “Joseph Francis Cartwright. When it comes to pretty gypsy girls and using your brains, if brains were dynamite, you don’t have enough brains to blow your nose.”

“And this is my new song!” Phoebe announced. And then she sang

Smelly Cat, smelly cat

What aren’t they feeding you?

Smelly cat, smelly cat

It’s not your fault.

They won’t take you to the vet

You’re obviously not their favorite pet

You may not be a bed of roses

And you’re no friend to those with noses.

Smelly cat, smelly cat

It’s not your fault.

**********

Meanwhile Mrs. Vandervoort and Amnesiac Jamie head towards the bright lights of Broadway via stage coach, train, Greyhound bus and the Staten Island Ferry.

“Look, Peepy! “ Mrs. Vandervoort said from the top deck of the Staten Island Ferry. “New York!”

“Where?” said Jamie, looking at his feet in the shiny new tap shoes Mrs. V had purchased for him in St. Louis before they got on the eastbound train.

She shoved Jamie up to the rail over looking the churning water of NY harbor. Unfortunately, she shoved him a bit too enthusiastically and he flipped head first over the rail into the murky cold water of the Hudson River.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaa!” shrieked Jamie. He hit the water with a huge splash and sunk below the surface pulled to the bottom by his heavy tap shoes.

“Glub bbb glubb blub” said Peepy.

“AAAAAAAAAh! Save my son!” Mrs. V shrieked.

***********

Moments before, on the lower deck of the ferry three men stood by the rails, chatting.

“Hey!” said the tall weird skinny one. He had wiry hair that looked like he had been electrocuted and walked with an oddly uncoordinated manner.

“Hey.” answered the short, balding stocky one wearing a NY Yankees shirt.

“Who wants to have some fun?!” said the tall weird one.

“I do!” said the other two simultaneously

“Are you just sayin’ you wanna have fun, or do you really wanna have fun?!”

“I really wanna have fun!” said the third man. He was homely in a handsome sort of way or was it handsome in a homely sort of way. He was a semi-successful comic who had made his tales of nothing into his career. He was opening at the Club Babaloo that evening and was killing time with his two friends by taking a ride on the ferry.

“I’m just sayin’ I wanna have fun.” said the balding stocky fellow.

The skinny weird guy, called Kramer, was increasingly more excited. “Right now, there are 600 golf balls that I got at the driving range in the trunk of my car. Why don’t we drive out to Rockaway and hit ’em…into the ocean? Now, picture this…we find a nice sweet spot between the dunes, we take out our drivers, we tee up, and…” He mimed swining a golf club “That ball goes sailin’ into the sky, holds there for a moment, and then…” With a spread of the arms and a huge enthusiastic grin, Kramer imitates the sound of a golf ball hitting the water.

The stocky guy, George turns to Jerry, the comic unimpressed. “C’mon, ya wanna go get some lunch?”

**********

Suddenly they hear a shriek and a red-haired boy wearing tap shoes flies past them and lands in the murky water of NY harbor.

KER SPLASH!

“Save my Peepy!” Mrs. Vandervoort wailed from the top deck of the Staten Island Ferry.

“Do something Jerry!” Kramer shrieked as he grabbed a handful of Jerry’s expensive new yellow suede jacket and started shaking him like a toaster with a slice of rye bread stuck in the mechanism.

“Me?” Jerry whined. “I have to perform tonight at the Club Babaloo! And you know how suede gets ruined by water.”

“Especially Hudson River water…” George started.

Unfortunately, Kramer stepped on a banana peel dropped on the ferry deck by a high flying seagull who had filched it from the Fountain Avenue Landfill in Brooklyn. He lost his footing, dropped his grip on Jerry, who knocked George over the rail into the river.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” George shrieked as he hit the water seconds after Jamie (aka Peepy)

***********

Later at the Club Babaloo…

Adam Cartwright was sitting with Rachel, Monica, Phoebe and another young lady. Elaine, who worked with Rachel. The guys had sent word that they were delayed because of some accident at the Staten Island Ferry.

“Oh I see my friend Jerry over in the bar! Move over so I can get through,” Elaine Benis demanded. She jumped up and rudely shoved Adam Cartwright aside before he could ask her to dance.

Adam shrugged. He would never quite get used to these New York women. He wished the other guys would show up. He was wearing his favorite black pants, black shirt and yellow suede jacket.

“Don’t pay her any mind, Adam,” Rachel patted his arm. “Let’s dance. You look terrific tonight.”

“I thought you were Ross’ girl,” Adam said thoughtfully. “I don’t want to cause any trouble with FRIENDS….”

Rachel threw back her head and laughed melodically. “Adam! You are so old fashioned! We are only dancing the tango. We’re not having S….”

“Let’s dance, Rachel” His face turning bright red, Adam interrupted before the young lady could say a naughty word…or get fresh with him. Adam Cartwright really didn’t like females to get fresh with him. Pa brought up his boys to initiate the freshness… They were old-fashioned out on the Ponderosa, even though Joe occasionally dated those forward types like Tirza the gypsy and Lotta Crabtree and Jennifer Beal.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Adam dancing the tango and the rhumba on the dance floor of the Club Babaloo, his own father was leaning on the bar in the corner of the place sipping his drink.

“I’ll try one of your house specials. Could you repeat them? It was an awfully long list,” Ben asked cordially. He was in no rush to find Jamie and when would he ever get to NYC? “Could you repeat that menu…slowly this time.”

“Slowly?”

“Yes… verrrrrrrrrrrrrry ssssssllllllllloowly,” Ben put a few more coins on the polished surface of the bar. He had been there for many pleasant hours. “Tell me that beverage menu again.”

“Yes, sir,” said the bartender. “We have Anisette, Batido de Mango y Papaya, Batido de Papaya, Cafe con Leche Custard, Cafe Cubano Champola de Guanabana, Cuba Libre, Cubata, Cuban Brandy, Cafe Cubano, Daiquiri, Frozen Papaya Cocktail, Fruit Punch, Havana Cooler, Havana Special Martini, Mango Rum Punch, Orange Daiquiri, Papaya Coffee Liqueur Shake, Pina Colada, Pinerito Margarita, Pineapple Liquor, Rum Collins, Sangria, Sangria Serrano Havana, Tigre Volador, Toro Techila, Tamarindo Nectar, And a heavy Malaga Spritzer but no Brandy Squash.”

“No Brandy Squash?” Ben sighed for the 23rd time that day as the bar tender refilled his glass with another Cuba Libre.

“No brandy squash.”

A chubby man, wet man bumped into Ben Cartwright and knocked his drink out of his hands. Before the cowboy could get angry, his companion, Jerry Seinfeld the comic waved his hand at the bartender and said “Sorry, sorry. Have a fresh drink on me. I’m Jerry Seinfeld and I’m going to be performing my act here at the Club Babaloo tonight.”

The bartender refilled Ben’s glass with another Cuba Libre and tucked in an adorable fuchsia paper umbrella. Ben glared at it and the bartender quickly plucked it out. “Sorry, sir.”

Ben sniffed the air. The chubby guy next to him smelled of low tide and dead fish. He glanced at the puddle forming around George’s feet and Ben side stepped away from him. “Umm… you are a bit drippy. How did that happen?” Ben said cordially. He put out his hand and said “I’m Ben Cartwright.”

“From the Ponderosa Cartwrights? Bonanza? WOW! I watch you guys every Sunday night!” Jerry shook Ben’s hand enthusiastically.

Kramer nudged George, “Tell Ben what happened.”

“The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli. So I started to jump into the water. I won’t lie to you, boys, I was terrified. But I pressed on! And as I made my way past the breakers, a strange calm came over me. I don’t know if it was divine intervention, or the kinship of all living things, but I tell you, Ben, at that moment…I was a marine biologist!”

“A marine biologist?” Ben raised his eyebrow.

George ignored the silver haired cattle baron and continued to brag. “I got about fifty feet out, and then suddenly the great beast appeared before me. I tell you, he was ten stories high if he was a foot! As if sensing my presence, he let out a great bellow. I said, “Easy, big fella!” And then as I watched him struggling, I realized something was obstructing his breathing. From where I was standing, I could see directly into the eye of the great fish!

Jerry rolled his eyes, “Mammal.”

“Whatever,” George shrugged.

Ben sighed. He was beginning to get homesick. “How long do you think it would take for me to get back to the Ponderosa?” he asked the bartender shoving a few coins at him.

“By horse? Hmm….” the bartender hated for this big tipper to leave. “Have another drink and think about it? Why not stay for the show? Jerry here is pretty funny and Ricky Ricardo does a great musical number with this new girl singer Phoebe.”

Kramer eyes lit up at the mention of Phoebe. He asked “So what did you do next, Georgie?”

George continued his baloney tale. “Well, then, from out of nowhere, a huge tidal wave lifted me, tossed me like a cork, and I found myself on top of him! Face to face with the blowhole! I could barely see from all the waves crashing down on top of me, but I knew something was there! So I reached my hand in, felt around, and……pulled out this!” With a flourish, George pulled something out of his inside coat pocket He waved a battered, sodden white felt ten gallon hat. Jerry, Kramer and Elaine look at it in astonishment.

“That’s my son’s hat!” Ben exclaimed. He snatched it from George’s hand. “Where did you get this?”

A crowd started to gather. Club owner Ricky Ricardo came out of his dressing room.

“What’s goin’ on?” Ricky demanded.

“When I bravely dove in after the poor red-haired …” George started.

“A redhead? Lucy? Did you see Lucy?” Ricky grabbed George’s throat. ”What did you do to my WIFE!!!!”

Ben pulled Ricky off George and he grabbed George by the throat. “Why do you have my son’s hat!?!?!?”

“Akkaaagagg!” gasped George. Kramer picked up Ricky’s conga drum and bopped Ben over the head while Jerry dove under a teeny round cocktail table.

“Stop them! Stop them!” Phoebe screamed. She wouldn’t be able to debut her new song if Jerry Seinfeld and Ricky Ricardo were in a brawl.

Chairs flew through the air and glass shattered. An artificial palm tree crashed into the mirror behind the bar.

Seeing the up roar at the bar, Adam raced over and tried to break up the brawl. He grabbed one of the men and spun him around.

“PA!” Adam said recognizing his father. “What are you doing in NYC???”

“Adam!” Ben exclaimed. “Duck!” He pulled Adam to the left just as a bottle of champagne was thrown at Ricky by Elaine.

***********

Earlier that day at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal….

“Think we can stop for coffee? Coochie is tired,” Joe said sliding from his saddle and landed on the grey planks of the dock. He and Candy and Hoss had been riding east for days following Ben’s trail from Milwaukee, to Virginia and North Carolina and then to New York City.

“Ticket agent said there won’t be room for us and the horses on this boat,” Hoss said. He pulled his hat off and wiped his brow with a “souvenir of the Joisy Toinpike” bandana.

“Next ferry won’t be pulling out for a while,” Candy said checking the schedule.

“That stinks. What if you fellers start firing and distract the ferry captain and I’ll slide in the water and climb up on the bow and take over the boat and….”

“Joe, that’s what you did on “Show Down on Tahoe,” Hoss pointed out.

“So? It worked once. It will work again!” Joe grinned.

“Heck Joe, the ferry is halfway across the bay…”

Suddenly screams filled the air “PEEPY! Save my Peepy!”

Never one to resist danger, Hoss, Joe and Candy bravely leaped in the water of lower New York Bay and swam towards Peepy.

“Gol-dang! Bet we don’t get coffee,” Cochise griped to Chubby.

************

Meanwhile, back on the Ponderosa, Hop Sing was taking a well deserved coffee break, with his feet planted on the coffee table. He had spent the last few days making order out of chaos around the house. All the bedding had been changed, floors scrubbed, laundry washed, ironed and stowed away. Hop Sing had repainted the eyeballs of the spooky Indian painting in Little Joe’s room so they followed you around the room, alphabetized Hoss’ collection of not-yet-invented country western cds, and balanced the ranch ledgers. Even the gold frames of the dead mommy pictures were shined and Mr. Ben’s burning map boxers were ironed and ready, and the fruit bowl on the table was filled with chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Hop Sing was relaxing and watching not-yet-invented TV. He was hoping to catch a few episodes of “Walker Texas Ranger” on Encore Westerns (Hop Sing enjoyed the martial arts mixed in with the western scenery. Chuck Norris. Little Joe had told him that China was once bordering the United States, until Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked it all the way through the Earth. ) or the “Charlie Chan Film Festival” on TCM (Hoppie always fantasized himself as Jimmy Chan) or a new episode of HGTVs “Painted House”. Hop Sing loved Debbie Travis was hoping to learn how to faux finish the walls and get rid of some of the bullet holes left over from some of the wilder parties the boys had thrown while Mr. Cartwright was off looking for the stupid red haired boy.

Suddenly, there was a news flash.

“This is Diane Sawyer of ABC news from New York…”

“Diane Sawyer?” Hop Sing shrugged. “Too bad Mr. Cahtlight not here. He love Diane Sawyer almost as much as Candice Bergen.” Grabbing the not yet invented remote, he turned up the volume.

“I am here at the Staten Island Ferry terminal where a horrifically horrible tragedy has been averted!” Diane said to the camera.

“Horrific?” Hop Sing shook his head. Diane Sawyer never smelled the dirty socks Hoss had under his bed or read the misspelled love letters Little Joe had under his. That was horrific. And why did Candy have a girl’s name? That was horrific too!

“Earlier today, these brave cowboys saved young show biz hopeful Peepy Vandervoort from drowning when he fell off the Staten Island Ferry into the murky waters of lower New York Harbor.”

The camera pulled back and there was Hoss, Candy and Little Joe dripping wet, wrapped in “Staten Island Ferry” blankets smiling at the camera.

“Tell us what it is like to be so heroic!” Diane shoved the not yet invented microphone in Hoss’ face.

“Well…ummm … Ma’am…ummm…” Hoss froze.

“Well, Ma’am, we just did what we had to do!“ Little Joe winked at the camera and grabbed the microphone with one hand and threw his arm around Diane Sawyer. Unfortunately he forgot that he had nothing on under the blanket and with his hands otherwise occupied, the blanket fell to the deck of the ferry terminal revealing Joe in all his neked glory.

The TV suddenly went blank and an announcer said “We interrupt this interruption for a blanket malfunction. We will resume regular programming and return to ‘The View’.”

“Return to view?” Hop Sing shrugged. “Coffeebreak over! Now I go wallpaper out house.”

***********

“Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!” Ricky bellowed jealously. “What was that Joselito doin’ weeth no clothes on!!?!?”

“Joselito?” Lucy had no idea what her hot headed Cuban band leader husband was talking about.

“Leetle Joe! Leetle Joe!” Ricky roared.

“Oh Little Joe Cartwright! The cowboy who saved the little red-haired boy Peepy with his brother.”

“Yes! That Little Joe who saved that boy.” Ricky put his hands on his hips and stared angrily at Lucy.

“Nothing, Ricky! I was just on the ferry with Ethel trying to learn how to not be seasick for when we sail to Europe on the Constitution and after the cowboys pulled Peepy out of the water, I promised his mother, Mrs. Vandervoort, you would put him in the show. Peepy is a great talent.”

“Are you sure? Are you sure you and that Cartwright character didn’t have a romance?”

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Lucy cried. “I never had anything to do with any of the Cartwrights!”

“Are you sure?” Ricky growled jealously. He couldn’t bear the idea of another man looking at his beautiful red-haired wife.

“Ricky! You are the only guy I love! I only watch the Cartwrights on Sunday nights on Bonanza!” Lucy hugged Ricky who hugged her back. “Now put Peepy in the show!”

“I love you Lucy!” Ricky said kissing his wife.

***********

“Here’s your hat, big fella,” George wrung the water out of Hoss white felt ten gallon hat and handed it to Hoss.

“Thanks,” Hoss patted George on his back. He set the hat on his head and grinned. “I ain’t used to being hatless. I feel sort of neked without it.”

“Not as neked as Little Joe was when he dropped that blanket,” Candy pointed out and they all laughed.

Suddenly, Wilbur Hatch, conducting the Desi Arnaz Orchestra, started to play “Cuban Pete”. “Ok folks! The show is gonna begeen in a few minutes. Jerry, Peepy, Phoebe and I have a show to put on….”

“Ricky, can I be in the show?” Lucy asked hopefully. It couldn’t hurt to ask for the 9,342nd time.

“No Lucy,” Ricky said for the 9,342nd time. “But I did find a place for Peepy in one of the musical numbers, the one with Phoebe.”

“Thank you, Ricky!” Lucy kissed him.

“How about you folks all take tables and have a good time and eat and drink and dance. It’s on the house!” Ricky generously declared declaratively.

“Oh Ricky!” Lucy swooned.

***********

The entire group found seats at the small round tables surrounding the dance floor of the Club Babaloo.

“My Peepy is going to be in the show!” Mrs. Vandervoort bragged.

“Darlin’, you know, these days have been mighty special.” Joe pulled Rachel closer and stroked her perfectly perfect long blonde hair. Rachel’s hair was almost as beautiful as Joe’s. “But you are my brother Adam’s special FRIEND and I can‘t cut in on Adam‘s gal.”

“Adam’s? I’m not your brother’s girl friend. Ross is my guy.” Rachel crushed herself against Joe and wrapped her arms around his neck, her face crushed against the newly dry-cleaned green corduroy jacket. It no longer smelled like low tide and smiled of Joe’s incredibly irresistible pheromones, Aqua Velva and the moonlit rock of love in Central Park.

“Ross?” Joe hadn’t realized that Ross was Rachel’s boy friend, not Adam. That made things really different. Ross was a nerdy geek and absolutely no competition for a manly cowboy like Joe Cartwright. “Ross is your intended?”

“We are on a break!” Rachel declared pulling Joe into a dark corner of the Club Babaloo.

“Leave that to our little brother! Heh hehh,” Hoss chuckled. “We are in New York less then a day and he already got himself a gal. Hope they don‘t get engaged.”

“Har har har!” laughed Ben, Candy, Adam and George Costanza.

“And what a gal!” Kramer said staring at Monica with his eyes bugging out.

“Shhhh…the show is about to begin, “Monica said squeezing Adam’s thigh under the table cloth. Adam smiled knowingly.

The curtain parted and Phoebe sat on a tall bar stool with her guitar; amnesiac Jamie thinking he was Peepy lay sprawled stupidly at her feet like an arthritic beagle with a weak bladder.

Smelly Boy, smelly boy

What aren’t they feeding you?”“ Phoebe sang through her nose…

Smelly boy, smelly boy

It’s not your fault.

They won’t take you to Doc Martin.

You’re obviously not their favorite son,

You may not be a bed of roses

And you’re no friend to those with noses.

Smelly boy, smelly boy

It’s not your fault.

“That’s my son, Peepy!” Mrs. Vandervoort bragged, elbowing Ben Cartwright who was sitting to her right. She had very sharp pointy elbows, and if Ben wasn’t such an immensely strong cattle baron, she would have inflicted a near fatal kidney wound.

“You must be very proud of YOUR son,” Ben said. He turned to the attractive woman sitting on the other side of him and said “That hideous red-haired lad is HER SON!”

“I know,” said Diane Sawyer.

“That’s right, Mrs. Vandervoort! YOUR son!” Adam, Hoss, & Joe said in a brotherly chorus.

“Peepy Vandervoort!” Candy agreed. He sure hoped Mr. Cartwright would give him a bonus for this or a couple of weeks off in Vegas. Or both.

Ben smiled. He had finally extricated himself from this entire mess and got to have dinner with Diane Sawyer at the Club Babaloo as well as convince Adam to come back to the Ponderosa. They would be saddling up and riding out at sunrise.

***********

Finally it was time for Candy and the Cartwrights to ride out of New York City and head back to the Ponderosa. The Cartwrights and Candy had a powerfully good New York breakfast of bagels and lox with the Ricardos, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer at Monk’s Café. Then they rode over to Times Square so Ben could wave goodbye to Diane Sawyer at “Good Morning America.” At last, they rode out, heading west through the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey. Hoss had a couple of gals there who had offered put them up for the night.

“Ain’t it great that Peepy is staying in New York?” Hoss grinned as they trotted through the Lincoln Tunnel. “Maybe we’ll never see him again!”

“Let’s hope so!” Adam said.

“And it’s great that Pa convinced Adam to come back home!” Joe winked the toll taker who waved them through for free.

“I’m so happy I can sing!” Adam announced as the entered the Lincoln tunnel.

“Let’s all sing!” Ben agreed. And they all started to harmonize, even the horses and Candy. The acoustics were great.

So no one told you life was going to be this way.
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

But, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, ’cause you’re there for me too.

You’re still in bed at ten, the work began at eight.
You’ve burned your breakfast, so far, things are going great.
Your mother warned you there’d be days like these,
But she didn’t tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees.

That, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, ’cause you’re there for me too.

No one could ever know me, no one could ever see me.
Seems like you’re the only one who knows what it’s like to be me.
Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with,
Someone I’ll always laugh with, even at my worst, I’m best with you.

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

But, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour.
I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before.
I’ll be there for you, ’cause you’re there for me too.

Here in the West, we’re livin’ the best, Bonanza, if anyone fights any one of us, he’s go a fight with me, Bonanza.

*****THE END (Finally)*****

 

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