Conversations (by PSW)


Summary: A series of utterly random, (hopefully) humorous conversations written as responses to Pinecone Challenges this year.  I have bolded the prompts within the body of the story, then listed them all at the end.

Rating: K     Word Count: 4051






“Yeah, Hoss?”

“I feel … Ohhhhh.”

“Yeah.  You might’ve … had a little too much last night.”

“I don’t … what happened last night?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Would I be askin’ you if I did?”

“No.  No, guess not.”

“So …?”

“So, what?”

“Joseph …”

“Oh, what happened.”

“Yeah.  What happened?”

“Well … you was feelin’ down over Bessie Sue takin’ up with that Hargrove fella.”

“Dadblamed Melvin Hargrove.”


“Right, but what does that have ta do with anything?”

“You needed a night out to forget it all.”

“Don’t remember thinkin’ that.”

“Well, you did.  Need a night out, I mean.  Not necessarily … think of it yourself.”

“Joseph …”

“But you enjoyed yourself.  I made sure of it.”

“You did, did you?  Then how come I feel so dadburned awful?”

“Well …”

“What did you do?”

“Now wait a minute!  Before you … you accuse me, take a look at yourself!”

“Why do I think I got every right ta be accusin’—”

Look!  Look at yourself!”

“Well dadblame it, Joe, I … why can’t … wait a minute.  Where are we?”

“We’re, uh … I’m not exactly sure.  I think we’re out back of the livery stable.”

“What are we doin’ out here?”

“We’re, uh … we’re layin’ here.”

“Joseph …”

“Yeah, Hoss?”

“Why are we layin’ here?”

“Cause we can’t go anywhere else.”

“And why can’t we …  Wait.  Why can’t I move my feet?”

“Funny thing, right?”

“Are my … are my feet mortared into a wall?”

“Um … yeah.  Mine too.”

Why are my feet mortared into a wall?  Ohhhhh…”

“Mine too!”

“I don’t care about your feet, Joseph!  I wanna know why I’m layin’ in an alley behind the livery stable at… what time is it, anyway?”

“Dunno.  Almost morning?”

“At ‘almost morning’ with my head feelin’ like a stage run over it and my feet in a wall!”

“It’s not all my fault.”

“Joseph …”

“You started the fight.  I was just tryin’ ta help you have a good time, is all.”

“Don’t you go all injured innocent on me, little brother.”

“I’m just sayin’—”

What happened?  Ohhhh…”

“Shh!  You don’t want anybody ta see us here like this, do ya?”

“Well … naw, I guess not.  But dang it, Joe—what happened?”

“See … there was some of them bricklayers from the new bank playin’ poker in the Silver Dollar.”


“And … Melvin Hargrove was with ‘em.”

“Dadblamed Melvin Hargrove.”

“Yeah.  But, you had ta go over there and get loud.”

“Dang right.  I been datin’ Bessie Sue for years …”

“And … things just kinda took off from there.”

“Huh.  Good fight?”

“Yeah.  Real good fight.  ‘Cept … I guess we both went down, and when I woke up here we were with, uh … with our feet in a wall.”

“Dadburned bricklayers.”

“Yeah.  Do you think you can get us outa here?”

“Mortar can’t be set yet.  One thing I don’t understand, though.”


“I ain’t been this drunk in forever.  Can’t understand how that happened.”



“Well …  I was tryin’ to help you have a good time …”





“Ben.  Doc.  Ain’t seen you two in a while.”

“Can’t seem to get on top of the calls.  I don’t remember the last time life got this crazy.”

“And I haven’t been into town for … well, I’m not even sure, between the rustlers and the lumber contract and Joseph.”

“Little Joe.  Now, there’s one adding to my list as well.  Sit down, Roy, have a drink.”

“Aw, I can’t.  I gotta get back to the jail before those kids in there kill each other.”

“Thompson brothers again?”


“Trust me, the most they’ll do is a black eye or bloody nose.  I’ve never even patched up a busted rib on any of the three—not from each other, at least.”

“Well … you’re probably right.  I’ll sit for a couple of minutes.”

“Good, good.  Sam!  A beer for the sheriff!”

“How many times is that, anyway?”

“Recently?  Too many.  Every time I turn around, them boys are bustin’ up a saloon or knockin’ somebody over or horseracin’ backwards down C street.”


“Yep, this morning.  Lou and the stagecoach almost killed each other.  Thanks, Sam.  Other two jumped in when the driver took exception.  Got the whole lot of ‘em locked up for disorderly conduct.”

“Do I need to stop by?”

“Nah.  Coupla bruises is all.  I’d say it’d be a good lesson, but those boys don’t seem ta learn.  I tell ya, Ben, they make Little Joe at his worst look like an angel.”

“Good grief, Roy, don’t say that in front of Joseph.”

“Especially not now.  What part of ‘stay off the broken leg’ doesn’t Joe understand, Ben?  Every time I come out, he’s in the kitchen or the barn or—”

“I haven’t had time to ride herd on him.”

“The boy’s nineteen—you shouldn’t have to!  I know he understands plain English.”

“You also know Joseph.”

“Only too well.”

“Adam’s been camped out with the lumberjacks trying to meet our contract deadline, and Hoss is off with half the hands looking for rustlers.  I’ve been stretched thin with everything else.  That leaves Joe to his own devices.”

“Hop Sing—”

“Putty in Joseph’s hands.  One pout and the man melts.”

“Well, I’ll try to get out more often, but don’t count on it.  The Addison girl has croup and John Henderson’s gout is acting up.”

“You shouldn’t have to come out more often.”

“And let’s not forget Widow Blaire.”

“Alice Blaire?”

“The same.  Stop laughing, Roy.”

“Sorry, Doc.  But I—”

“See how gentle I am next time you get shot.”

“What’s wrong with Alice Blaire?”


“And …?”

“Every evening about five thirty, she calls me out to look at them.  Then she insists I stay for dinner…  Roy!  Now, Ben, don’t you start!”

“You know, she’s … quite a woman, Paul.”

“Who thinks the way to a man’s heart is through her bunions.”

Howls of mirth.  Even Paul chuckles wryly.

“Oh, gentlemen.  If we weren’t all crazy, we would go insane.”

“I’ll drink to that.”




“Yes, there are two paths you can go by.  But in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”

“What’s the point of havin’ two paths, then?”

“What do you mean, what’s the point?”

“What I mean, Adam, is that if ya can still switch paths after ya’ve been on the one for a while, they run pretty close together, right?”

“Well … yes.”

“And neither one gets ya there any faster?”

“Not really.  Unless the stream is up– the lower path washes out sometimes.”

“Then what’s the point of havin’ two paths?”

“Well… if the lower path washes out, you need to be able to switch to the upper.”

“But why even have the lower at all?”

“It’s closer to the stream.”


“If you need to fill canteens or water horses, you need to be down by the stream.”

“So that’s why you’d take the lower path.”

“It’s one reason, yes.”

“But the stream crosses the upper a ways down the road.”


“So again, why even have that lower path?”

“We get rock slides up here, you know.”


“The upper path is more likely to be blocked in the spring, after we haven’t been through for a while.”

“So, if it was blocked, then you’d want ta move down to the lower.”


“And leave the next person ta clear off the upper.”

“Hoss …”

“Is that why I keep havin’ ta clear this path every time I make a trip through?  ‘Cause you just switch on down to the lower and leave it for the next fella?”

“Hoss …”

“That’s pretty low, Adam.  I wouldn’ta thought it of ya.”

“I don’t … all right, I don’t always stop to clear the upper path.  But–”

“All’s I’m sayin’ is that it don’t make sense for us ta upkeep two different paths out here.  It ain’t like we get out this way so all-fire much.”

“Yes, but … we do still make this run three or four times a year.”

“So we should have one path that we know is gonna get us where we need ta go, instead of two ya have ta keep switchin’ back and forth on.”

“All right.  Where do you plan to build this new path?”

“Why are you askin’ me?  You’re the engineer.”

“But … I don’t have a problem with the two path system.”

“Ya should.  It ain’t efficient.”

“Not … efficient.  But, the existing paths already … exist.”


“If they’re already doing the job, why build a new one?  Even if you do have to switch back and forth sometimes?”

“Well, if you don’t want ta be efficient …”

“Hoss, that makes no sense.”

“What don’t make sense is you switchin’ back and forth when we could just have one.”


“Yeah, Adam?”

“Go to sleep.”

“But we ain’t washed the dinner dishes yet.”

“I don’t care.”

“Ya sure?”


“All right.  If you say so.”

“I do.  Good night.”

A yawn, a snicker, and a sigh of deep content.

“Night, Adam.”




“Hey fellas.  Whatcha doin’ up here?”

“Looking for you.”

“Yeah, Hoss.  You been out here alone long enough.”

“I guess.  Ain’t doin’ no good just sittin’.  But …”


“Dadgummit, fellas, I really thought she was the one.”

“So did we all, little brother.  So did we all.”

“Sweet as honey, purty as a rose.”

“Seemed like a nice girl, Hoss.”

“Floated like a butterfly, but stung like a bee when she got riled.”

“She would have been a fine addition to the Ponderosa, if …”

“Yeah …  Who’da thought?”

“No one could have guessed, brother.”

“Not me, for sure.  I mean … how many sock puppets did they find in her room?”


“Forty-two sock puppets.”


“That was a narrow escape, brother.”

“You don’t gotta tell me!  Three days, and we woulda been hitched!  Can you imagine, all them puppets always starin’ at a body?  Gives me the willies.”

“Did she really have one of each of us?”

“Had one of half the town.  Yers even had a little left-hand gun, Joe.”

“Well, that was good of her.”

“She always did like you real well.”

“Well …”

“But why, Hoss?”

“Why’d she like Joe?  Well look at him, Adam.  He’s awful durn cute, ain’t he?”

“Why the sock puppets, Hoss?”

“Oh.  Ya know… I don’t rightly know.  She never did say.  But she apparently spent an awful lot o’ time in there, talkin’ to ‘em and all.”

“Gosh, Hoss.”

“Yeah … I guess every rose has its thorn.”

Just like every night has its dawn, brother.”

Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song.”

“Sure enough, Little Joe … sure enough.”

“That reminds me, Adam.  Eddie Parker’s been here for almost two weeks now, and you ain’t got his song assigned yet.  How’s he going to join in on the cattle drive?”

“I know, I know.  We’ve had a lot going on, with the fire out at the mill and the flooded creek.”

“And the sock puppet girl.”

“Right.  The sock puppet girl.”

“You know, boys, I don’t know why I thought this one would work out.  Ain’t none of ‘em before.”

“But we can’t give up, brother.  Surely one of us, someday…”

“Yeah.  I know we gotta keep on.  But it’s just hard.”

“Hoss … we’re here for you, brother.”

“We’re all here for each other, Adam.  I got your back too, ya know.  Even after that thing with—”

Don’t say it.”

“Yeah.  You’re prob’ly right.”

“I know I’m right.”

“Fellas, can we get out of the hayloft now?  I think Pa’s startin’ ta get antsy about chores.”

“Yeah, and Hop Sing’ll be mad if we’re not in for dinner.”

“You comin’ back tomorrow, Hoss?”

“Don’t know.  Maybe.  I tell ya though, boys, it’s sure been a whole heap easier since we decided on the hayloft ‘stead of some month long trek through the mountains or the woods after these things.”

“Right!  Who’s got time for that?”

“Not us.  It’s a working ranch, you know.”


“Climb faster, Hoss.”




“You’re … Aw, Adam, do I really gotta say it?”

“Yeah, Hoss, you really gotta.”

“But how come?”

“Because I’m the director, and I say so.”

“Ain’t no fancy title gonna make me say such a plumb fool—”

“Because it’s in the script.”

“Dadburn it.”

“Exactly.  Ready?”

“No.  But … dadburn it.  You’re … you’re walkin’ a … Well, it don’t have ta be in the script, do it?”

“What do you mean?  It is.  Already.”

“Well yeah, but … don’t we got liberty license, or some such?”

“Liberty … license?”

“Ya know!  When ya change stuff cause ya need to for the story.”

“Oh.  Literary license.”

“That’s it!  Well, don’t we?”

“I don’t … think so.  Not this time.”

“How come?”

“Hoss, do you want to be the one to tell Abigail Jones—”


“Abigail Myers, then …”

“Ya know she gets right aggravated if ya forget.”

“That is the truth …”

“I wouldn’t figure it’d be so hard for you ta remember, seein’ as how you were the one—”

“Oh, you needn’t remind me.  I remember it quite well.”

“Ya better call her Abigail Myers, then.”

“All right.  Do you want to be the one to tell Abigail Myers you took literary license with her script?”

“Aw, dadblame it.”

“I thought so.  Come on, now.  We’re wasting time.”

“You’re … you’re walkin’ a line—”


“Line, wire.  What’s the difference?”

“One rhymes.  The other—”

“Dang fool play.”

“It’s for charity, Hoss.  Try to—”

“I know, and that’s the only reason I’m standin’ up there and—”


“Fine.  You’re … you’re walkin’ a wire between pain an’ desire … But it sounds plumb ridiculous!”

“Hoss …”

“Well, why don’t he just say, ‘Joe, you an’—’”



“He’s Stoddard, not Joe.”

“What kind of a dang fool name is—”

“It’s my name.”

“Oh yeah.”  Snicker.  “You don’t really suppose—”

“We’ve already had this conversation.  I’m not having it again.  Abigail J—Myers did not name her leading character after me.”

“Iffn ya say so.”

“I do.”

“All right.  Well, then why don’t he just say, ‘Stoddard, you and that little gal are no good for—”

“Because it’s not in the script!  This paper with—”

“Ya don’t need ta get testy, Adam.  If ya want me ta stick to the—”

“I do!  Want you to!  Thank you.”

“All right, then.  You’re … you’re walkin’ a wire between pain an’ desire, and lookin’ for …  Think she’ll come by an’ scold ya if I—”

“What do you think?”

“Simmer down, older brother!  Sheesh.  I got it.  Here, listen.  You’re walkin’ a wire between pain an’ desire, and lookin’ for love in between.  See?”

“Now, why was that so hard?”

“Ya seen Joe … I mean, Stoddard’s next line?”

Papers shuffle.

“Ohhh … Maybe I’ll get attacked by Indians on the way home.”


“A crazed madman looking for vengeance.”

“Escaped prisoners.”

Anything would be better than this …”




“Hoss!  What’s this?”

“Well, Roy, I done caught me a coupla shoplifters.”


“Yeah, comin’ out o’ the—”

“Now wait just a minute!  We was gonna—”

“—general store with a coupla knives and a whole passel o’—”

“Amos Tate!  You swore ta me you was goin’ straight!  Just last week, you said—”

“Sheriff, we didn’t do it!  I’m tellin’ ya, we—”

“Who’s we?

“Well … I don’t rightly remember.”

“You don’t remember?

“Nope.  I—”

“Hoss, you recognize the other one?”

“Naw.  Wasn’t anybody I knew.”

“Well, wait here while I lock this one up.  I’ll come back for a description.”

“Sheriff!  It’s my word against his, and I say we didn’t do no such—”

“All right, Amos.  Just get on in there.”

“You gonna believe him over me?”

“Do I really gotta answer that?  Hoss, you gotta description?”

“Well now … see, it happened pretty fast.  Weren’t much time ta get too many details.”

“Can ya give me anything?


“We didn’t do it, Sheriff!  He don’t know because we didn’t—”

“You was gonna mail yer payment in, was that it?”

“Guess he was about Adam’s height.”

“Why you always gotta believe the worst about me, Sheriff?”

“Too many reasons ta count, Amos.  Adam’s height, Hoss?  That all?”

“Well …”

No one knows what it’s like ta be the bad man.”

“Pipe down back there!  And stop rattlin’ them bars!”

Ta be the sad man behind—”

Blue eyes!  He had blue eyes.”

“So, Adam’s height with blue eyes.”


“Well Hoss, that could be half the men in the Territory.  Ain’t you got anything else?”

“Always bein’ misunderstood …”

“He was … well Roy, I was too busy collarin’ Amos here!  I didn’t have time ta be gettin’ shirt sizes and such on the other.”

“No one ever believin’ a word I say.”

Amos!  Well Hoss … look, how long are you here?”

“Nother coupla hours.  Joe wants ta get a drink, and ya know once he gets goin’ it ain’t gonna—”

I was gonna get a drink.  Just sit there, mind my own—”

“Well, go on then.  If you think of anything, stop back on your way out.  If I’m not here, I’ll be down talkin’ ta Bert Tanner.  Did he see anything, at least?”

“Doubt it.  He were in back with Mrs. Lincoln.

“He was in back with—”

No!  Dadburn it, Roy!  Not back back.  Just in the back, lookin’ at sugar and such.”


“Yeah, sugar!  Now you just hold on.  I ain’t gonna have that little gal thinkin’ I been spreadin’—”

“Well Hoss, you just said—”

“See, Sheriff!  Hoss can’t be trusted!  He can’t even—”

“Amos, you either stay—”

“Hey Roy?”

“—outa this, or you tell me about your friend.  I’m—”


“—tired o’ havin’ you in here ever’ other weekend for—”


What, Hoss?”

“That guy out on the street just dropped a whole bunch o’ pocketknives …”




“So, what do you think?”

“I think it’s a terrible, horrible, incredibly foolish idea.”

“Yeah … but let’s do it!”

“Oh come on, Joe!  There has to be some other way.  You can’t possibly expect me to—”

“Why not?”

“What do you—”

“I mean, why not?  You said we were in this together.”

“I did say that.  And I meant it, because it was partly my fault.”

“At least half.”

“All right.  It was at least half my fault.”

“Maybe more.”

“Don’t push it, little brother.”

“Okay, but if you’re too proud of your shiny, perfect image to—”

“Watch it, kid.”

“So you’ll do it?”

“Joe …”

“It’s for Hoss, Adam.”

“Yeah, I know.  I just … all right.  But … Calm down!  That’s the only reason, Joe.”

“You think I would do this if it were for anybody else?”

“I think you’d do it if a stranger off the street walked up and gave you half a chance.”

“Ha!  Well … okay, maybe.”

“How do I get myself into these things?”

“It’s gonna be great, Adam.  Hoss’ll really appreciate it.”

“He’d better.  Because I still think it’s a terrible, horrible, incredibly foolish idea.”

“Do you wanna be the reindeer or the elf?”

“Are those … are those my only choices?”

“Well … there’s Mrs. Claus, but I didn’t think you’d wanna be—”

No!  No, you’re right.  A reindeer or an elf will be … fine.”

“Maybe you should be the elf.  You’re better at singing than I am, so—”

“Whoa, wait.  Who said anything about singing?”

“Well, Adam …”

“And what does that have to do with being an elf?”

“You can sing while you hand out the toys and stuff.  The costume might be a little—”

“That!?  NO.

“Well, it wasn’t made for—”

“You’re kidding me, right?  This is some sort of joke.”

“No, they’ll love it!  Abigail Jones said last year that—”

“I’ll be the reindeer.”

“But Adam …”

“Reindeer, Joe.  I’ll do this, but there’s no way I’m going to put that on and sing while I—”

“The reindeer’s gotta pull Hoss.”

“That definitely leaves you out, Little Joe.”

“Hey …”

“Besides, you’d make a far better elf than me.”

“Well … I guess Cindy May Carson’ll probably be a whole lot more willin’ ta snuggle up with an elf than a reindeer around the bonfire.”

“See, there you go.  Where’s the reindeer costume?”

“It’s … here it is.  It—”

That?  I—”

“Look, Adam—”

“No, never mind.  I said I’d do it, and I will.  But … how am I supposed to balance with that on my head?”

“Well, you’re pullin’ Hoss, see?”

“And … ?”

“You’ll be leanin’ forward.  Like this, right?  It’ll help keep you movin’.”

“You’re joking, right?”

“Look!  You said you’d—”

“Right.  And I will.  Give me that thing.  But next time …”

“Next time what?”

“Next time I don’t care if both his legs are broken and I’m wholly to blame.  He can ride in a wagon behind a horse.”

“Santa doesn’t drive a—”

Joe …”




“Roy!  What are you doing out this way?”

“Afternoon, Ben.  I’d love to say this is a social call, but it ain’t.”

“Oh?  Well, what can I do for you?”

“Not a thing.  But there was an incident outside town earlier.  Remember those—”

“An incident?”

“Yeah, but don’t worry, Ben.  There’s no—”



“How is he, Roy?  He’s still recovering from that kidnapping last week, he doesn’t need another—”

“Now, Ben.  Just wait.  I never said anything about—”

“Hop Sing just ordered a fresh supply of bandages and herbs.  We should be good there.  I don’t—”

“Ben!  Will you just stop for a second!  Hoss—”

“Yes, Hoss.  We’ll need him to carry his brother upstairs when they get here.  Are they coming out here, or do I need to go in to Doc Martin’s?”

“Ben, the doc didn’t even hafta—”

“But … Joe wasn’t even supposed to be in town today.  Are you sure—”

“Ben, I never said anything about Joe.  I—”

“Oh, Adam!  My boy.  I—”

“Adam’s fine.  You—”

“What was it this time?  Another madman?  Another friend turned against him?  I worry for him, Roy.  He’s already restless, I worry this will—”

“You remember those two hands Hoss fired last month?  Well, they—”

“He has job offers.  Did you know that?  In several cities.  Any more problems like the ones he’s—”

“Ben, focus!  Those two—”

“It’s both of them?  Not again …  Sometimes I don’t think my heart can take it.  I’ll set up a cot in one of the rooms so Hoss and I don’t have to—”

“… hands caught up with Hoss outside of town.  They—”

“You’re right.  Hoss is always my right hand, in these situations.”

“… tried to—”

“Roy, now I think I understand how the world can overcome a man.  So much pain and fear, so many kidnappings and shootings.  I don’t see how—”

“… bushwack him, but they got too close and Hoss managed to get his hands on ’em.  He—”

“… either of them are still sane, after all of it.  Did you say I needed to go in to Doc Martin’s?  I’ll get Buck saddled and—”

“No!  Ben, you don’t need to go anywhere.  Hoss brought those two cowpunchers in, and I came out to have you sign a complaint about—”

“Doc’s on his way out, then?  Should I get the spare room ready, or—”

“Nobody’s hurt, Ben!  Nobody!  Hoss bruised up his knuckles, is all.  You got the brandy close by?  Seems to me you—”

“Wait, Roy.  Nobody?

“That’s what I’ve been tryin’ ta tell you!  Ain’t nobody hurt this time.”

“But Roy, I—”

“Let’s go get a drink, Ben, and I’ll start from the beginning.”

“Nobody’s hurt.”

“Nope.  I—”

“Roy, wait.  Did you … I don’t understand.  Did you say they were after Hoss? That can’t be right …”




1) Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself.  ~~Bo Diddley

2) If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane. ~~Jimmy Buffett

3) Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on. ~~Led Zepplin

4) Every rose has its thorn just like every night has its dawn, just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song. ~~Poison

5) You’re walking a wire between pain and desire, and looking for love in between.  ~~The Eagles

6) No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man, to be the sad man behind blue eyes. ~~Peter Townsend of The Who

7) That is a terrible, horrible, incredibly foolish idea.  Let’s do it.  ~~Random BoNaNo prompt from Cheaux

8) Now I think I understand how the world can overcome a man. ~~Avenged Sevenfold

Other Stories by this Author


Author: PSW

Hi! I started watching Bonanza on a whim in March 2017, and was instantly sucked in. So much fun! I have rarely watched a show where I really like all the main characters equally -- very refreshing. :-) I do so love stories about Hoss, though ... I love to read, and was excited to find this wonderful library. Definitely been spending some time there ... ;-)

8 thoughts on “Conversations (by PSW)

  1. Oh my gosh. The conversations alone are great, but it’s the mental pictures I’m left with–Joe and Hoss with their feet to a wall; Adam in a reindeer outfit, just to name two–that leave me snickering wildly. These were such a treat to read!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them! I had a lot of fun with them … and yes, the images I have in my head are just as good as the actual dialogue, too. ?

      Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them!

  2. These are all so wonderful. It’s amazing how just conversations can trigger incredible images. I love them all but I think the one between Ben, Roy and Paul is my most favorite. Crazy…Insane?? That’s fer dang sure!!! LOL

    1. Hee! Those three do have their work cut out for them on a daily basis, don’t they? ?

      I’m so glad you enjoyed these, they were a lot of fun to write — usually a nice little break in my day. Thx so much for your comments!

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