A crossover with The Wild Wild West. Episode tag for The Escape
Word count: 4,340
Two strangers rode under the Lancer gate. The man dressed in blue radiated authority and confidence while his companion appeared to be more relaxed. After tying up their horses, the younger man knocked on the door of the hacienda.
When Teresa O’Brien answered, both men removed their hats. James West, at his most charming, asked, “Is Scott Lancer here?”
“Well yes. I’ll go get him. Please wait in the living room.”
Artemus Gordon whispered to his partner, “Who is that?”
“I don’t know, Artie. Scott never mentioned a sister.”
Just then Scott Lancer spied the two agents. “Jim! Jim West! What are you doing here?”
Grinning broadly, West replied, “Good to see you, Scott. This is my partner, Artemus Gordon.”
“I work for the U.S. government.”
“I’m not surprised. Oh by the way, this my father’s ward, Teresa O’Brien.”
“Ma’am. We’re happy to meet you.”
“Well, I’ll leave you gentlemen to talk.”
“Your grandfather told me that you were living out here in California with your father.”
“You went all the way to Boston to find me? Why?”
“I’ll tell you that if you come into town with us. We’ll buy you dinner.”
Peaked by curiosity, Scott agreed. “Just let me saddle my horse.”
As they mounted, Scott’s younger brother rode up. “Hey Scott, where ya going?”
“Just into town. Johnny, this is my friend James West and his partner Artemus Gordon. We’re just going to into Morro Coyo to talk over old times. Jim and I met during the war.”
“Oh I see. Well, have a good time.”
For one moment, Jim West’s blue eyes stared at the younger Lancer. “Aren’t you Johnny Madrid?”
“Used to be. Now I’m Johnny Lancer. Have we met before?”
“Not exactly.” Turning to the older Lancer, West said, “Come on, let’s go.” So the three rode out.
As Johnny entered the house, a shiver went down his spine. Something bothered him about the man called West; but his brother had said that they were friends, so maybe it was nothing.
On the ride to town Artemus was silent, letting his friend converse with the blond. He and West had been partners for several years. Their skills complemented each other’s, and as a result they were President Grant’s best secret service agents.
The three men walked into the cantina; each ordered a beer. “So tell me what do you do for the government?”
“Basically we do whatever the President asks of us.”
“Ah, U.S. Grant–your one-time commander. I always knew you were his fair-haired boy.”
West smiled. “You wouldn’t say that if you heard some of the missions we’ve been handed.”
“So why are you here?”
Artie looked at Jim. “Do you want me to tell him?”
“Tell me what?”
“Scott, do you remember Lt. Dan Cassidy?”
“I certainly do. We tried to escape from Libby Prison. He stayed behind because he was sick. Sixteen men died that night because he was delirious.”
“We know. Unfortunately one of the men who died that night was the son of a U.S. Senator. This senator has demanded an investigation.”
“But I thought the army knew it wasn’t his fault?”
“There seems to be some question now. The War Department received an anonymous note charging that Cassidy pretended to be delirious so that he could pass on the information.”
“Pretended? I saw him. He was sick. I can testify to that.”
“Uh, there’s just one other little problem. This same note charged that you consorted with the enemy as well.”
Scott rose to his feet. “If that’s a joke, I don’t like it!”
“Believe me, it’s no joke. This source said that you two were working together to help the Confederates.”
Scott sank down into his chair and took a swallow of his beer. “James, I was not a traitor.”
Jim West looked into the blond’s blue eyes. “I don’t believe you were.”
“I told the President that the Scott Lancer I knew couldn’t possibly be a traitor, but he insists that we check this out. You know how many problems he’s had lately. This Senator Chalmers threatens to make one more big stink if it’s not cleared up. When’s the last time you saw Cassidy?”
“A few months ago. He and his wife were here.”
Jim looked at Artie, then at Scott. “Tell us about it.”
“Cassidy and two men came looking for me. They thought that I was responsible for the death of the sixteen men at Libby. Sarah, Dan’s wife, finally told him the truth about his delirium. They left together for a new life. I…I thought this was behind us.”
“Uh Mr. Lancer, what happened to the other two men?”
“Jed Lewis and Rick Hardy?” Artie nodded. “They went on their way too.”
“Well Scott, are you ready for dinner now?”
“Jim, if you don’t mind I think I’ll go back to the ranch.”
“Sure. I understand. I’m sorry, Scott. We’ll get this straightened out as soon as possible.”
“Night Jim,…Mr. Gordon.”
Scott rode back to Lancer. <<God, will this haunt me forever?>>
When the young man arrived at the ranch, Johnny, Murdoch and Teresa were eating dinner. “Scott, I didn’t think you’d be here. Sit down.”
“No thanks. I’m not hungry.”
The blond went to his room, lay down on the bed closing his eyes. A few minutes later he heard a light tap on the door. Teresa entered. ” I made your favorite cherry pie for dessert. I bought you a piece and some coffee.”
“Thanks, Teresa. It looks great. I’ll bring out the plate later.”
“Sure. Night, Scott.”
As the young woman reentered the dining room, Johnny asked, “What did he say?”
“Well, I’m going to go talk to him.”
“No, you’re not. He’s a grown man. If he wants to tell us what this Jim West wants, he will.”
Johnny searched Murdoch’s face. “Are you so sure about that?”
“Yes if he needs help, he’ll ask.”
“This isn’t about me.”
“Isn’t it? With that Johnny walked to his room.
Back in Morro Coyo, James West and his partner discussed their meeting with the Lancer son. “Jim, I know this fellow is a friend, but you haven’t seen him in years.”
“I know, Artie, but I’m sure he was not a traitor.”
“But he was lying about something.”
“Well, at least there was something he wasn’t telling us. Maybe we’d better ride out to the ranch tomorrow.”
James, why don’t we go directly after Cassidy?”
“I would, Artemus, but I’d like to give Scott a chance to clear his name. If he can, then it will be easier to deal with Cassidy.”
“All right, but we can’t give him much time. The President is determined to lay this to rest before Senator Chalmers can make political hay out of it.”
“I know. Let’s just hope that there’s something Scott can tell us that will help.”
The full moon shone through the window in Scott’s room. Since he wasn’t asleep, this hardly mattered. Countless hours had passed in the quiet hacienda.
Finally the blond got up and left the house. Somehow the four walls reminded him of that damnable tunnel where sixteen men had met their deaths. It was truly a miracle that he had survived. And all because one man had had the bad luck to fall ill! <<God, how does Cassidy live with that guilt? Maybe his wife was wrong not to tell him before, but how could any man stay sane knowing he caused the death of sixteen men?>>
Scott walked into the stable. When troubled, the young man frequently visited his mare Catherine. The simple act of grooming the beautiful horse always brought him solace.
But tonight the mare’s presence brought little comfort. Realistically, Scott knew that men die in war. Battles like Cold Harbor doomed men by the thousands. Grant’s Overland Campaign had brought about unimaginable carnage.
Grant, general and President–and James West was his man. The West that Scott knew during the war had been a dedicated soldier. He had no doubt that James would be a formidable lawman. He had once seen the agent take on four Confederates with only his fists, and yet he had taken them prisoner.
The cool of the night gave the stable a pleasant feel. Catherine was in foal again so he kept a close eye on her welfare.
“Can’t sleep, Brother?”
The blond head started. “Johnny? I didn’t hear you.”
“I know. Catherine’s doing real well. Wonder if her new foal will look like Madrid?” Scott had given Catherine’s first foal to Johnny.
“Don’t know, but I doubt it since the sire’s different.”
“Just the opposite of us, right?”
Scott looked at his brother with affection. “Right.”
For a moment there was only silence. “Is there something I can help you with, Boston?”
“No, nothing. I have to handle this on my own.”
“Hey, I know you’re used to handling things by yourself, but you know I’ll do anything I can.”
“I know, Little Brother, but your gun and guts can’t solve this. Only the truth can.”
Johnny walked over to look into Scott’s eyes. “Does this have something to do with your friend West?”
“In a way.”
“He’s some kind of lawman, isn’t he?”
“I thought so. I saw him once–in Texas. He’s fast with a gun.”
“Faster than you?”
“Don’t know. He’s also good with his fists.”
“That I did know.”
“Why’s he here?”
“It has to do with Dan Cassidy.”
Johnny grimaced. He knew that Cassidy’s obsession had nearly cost Scott his life. “Tell me.”
“Someone in Washington thinks Dan was faking his delirium.”
“Johnny, he really was sick. I know he was.”
“Why can’t you tell them that?”
“For one thing, I’m not a doctor.” He turned away from the brunet. “Plus they think I was helping him give information to the Rebs,” he whispered.
His brother was speechless for a moment or two. “Why? How could they think that?”
“Evdently someone sent a note to the War Department stating just that.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Try to convince Jim that I’m innocent for one thing, but President Grant needs answers and I have none–except that I’m being framed.”
“You don’t think it’s Cassidy, do you?”
“No. Why would he implicate himself too? I…I’ve been wondering if might not be Lewis and Hardy.”
“His two friends?”
“Well, after what happened in the woods, I don’t think I’d call them that.”
“No, I suppose not.”
“It would be just like them to get revenge on both of us.”
“Let’s go talk to Murdoch.”
“NO! I do not intend to tell him.”
“But why not?”
“I should never have brought Sarah and Dan here the last time. I will not involve anyone else in this.”
“Not even me?”
“Johnny, I appreciate your offer, but you’ve had enough grief. We tend to turn to you for everything. I’m not going to keep doing that. It’s my problem.”
“Scott,I want you to understand something. After my mother died, I had
no one to care about–and no one to care about me. I always knew that any gunfight might be my last so I figured it was good that there was no one to care. That isn’t true anymore. I care about you, and if there’s anything I can do to help, then I want to–I need to.”
“Thanks, Brother. I guess…would you mind going into town with me tomorrow? I think I should tell Jim the whole truth.”
“Sure. But right now you’re going to get some sleep.”
“All right. I suppose I should. Oh and by the way, Little Brother, I care about you too.”
At breakfast the next morning Scott announced his intention of seeking out Jim West in Morro Coyo.
“Scott, you were gone most of yesterday. When are you going to get your work done?”
“Hopefully, we won’t be gone long.”
Murdoch’s eyes narrowed. “Who else is going?”
Frowning with displeasure, Murdoch got up, slammed his napkin on the table and stalked out.
Neither Lancer son said anything except to tell Teresa goodbye. Then they saddled up and headed to Morro Coyo.
“He wasn’t pleased, was he?”
“No, I guess he’s not. Johnny, maybe you should go back?”
“Do you really want me to?” The blond shook his head No. “Then let’s go see these two secret service agents.”
Half-way to town, they encountered West and Gordon. “Scott, we were just riding out to see you.”
“Well, that’s good timing. I wanted to give you the details of what happened during Cassidy’s visit. I think it might have a bearing on that note.”
“Fine. Let’s hear it.”
So Scott detailed the confrontation with Cassidy, ending with the departure of Lewis and Hardy. “Johnny and I think they could be behind this whole note business.”
West’s blue eyes glanced at the younger Lancer. “So you don’t believe Scott’s guilty, Mr. Madrid?”
“The name’s Lancer and no, I don’t believe my brother was a traitor.”
“Ah, but you weren’t even aware of your brother’s existence in 1864, were you?”
“No, but I still know he’s not the kind of man who would betray sixteen comrades.”
“Well, Mr. Lancer, Artie and I don’t think so either. Unfortunately Senator Chalmers’ son was one of those sixteen so he’s going to demand more proof than your testimonial.” There seemed to be no answer for that.
“Scott, do you have any idea where Lewis and Hardy went?”
“No, they just took off as fast as they could. I’m not even sure where Dan and Sarah settled.”
“We know where they are.”
“Maybe I should go see them.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea considering that you’re suspected of working together already. No, I think you should let us handle this.”
“If you think that’s best.”
“For right now, yes. Come on, Artie, let’s get back to the train. I want to be there in a couple of days.”
“”Train? I don’t think the train comes through today,”
“Oh, we have our own–courtesy of the President.”
“See Johnny. I told you they were special.”
Both agents laughed. “We’ll be back after we talk to Cassidy.” The two secret service men rode off.
“Well, Brother, I guess we can go back and do our chores.” Johnny groaned.
4 DAYS LATER
Scott and Johnny rode into Morro Coyo to collect supplies, however, at that moment both were enjoying a cold beer. Sam, the telegraph clerk, walked into the cantina. “I thought I saw you come in here, Scott. This came for you.”
“It’s from Jim.” Scott grinned. “Evidently they’ve traced the telegram to Hardy and Davis with Dan’s help. West and Gordon are on their way to pick them up. He says he’ll tell me the full story later.”
Johnny slapped his brother on the back. “Hey, that calls for another beer. Uh, you got any money, Scott?”
With an amused smile, the blond handed over a coin.
A week went by without more news from the secret service men. Then out of the blue the younger agent rode up to Lancer again.
Johnny walked out to meet him. “Mr. West, good to see you.”
“That may not be true when you hear my news.”
“What do you mean?”
“Is Scott here?”
“No, he’s out doing some surveying near the Tate place.”
“Is that far?”
“Not really. I can show you.”
“Fine. Let’s go.”
As they rode along, the younger Lancer inquired, “What’s this all about?”
Three days ago Hardy and Davis almost killed Cassidy. They took his wife hostage. I think they’re heading this way.”
Johnny’s stomach knotted. “They’re after Scott?”
West nodded. “It seems likely.”
“Evidently Lewis and Hardy realized their plot wasn’t going to work so they decided to take one last chance to kill Cassidy.”
“But why take Sarah and come after Scott?”
“I don’t know, Mr. Lancer.”
“Where’s Mr. Gordon?”
“He’s back on the train with a bullet wound in his back. Lewis shot him when we tried to help Mrs. Cassidy.” Johnny looked at West. The clenched jaw said a lot. “Artie went under a white flag, but Lewis shot him anyway.” West’s blue eyes looked at the young man. “He’s not getting away this time., Mr. Lancer.”
“You can call me Johnny.”
The two men rode on; neither said a word.
It wasn’t long until they halted at the Tate place. At first it seemed deserted until they heard sobs. Entering the barn they found Sarah Cassidy sitting tied up next to a man’s body. For one horrible instant Johnny thought it was his brother, but at second glance he recognized the man as Gus Morgan, the ranch hand who had been working with Scott.
Sarah looked up as they released her.. “Dan? How’s Dan? Is he all right?”
“Easy, Mrs. Cassidy. He’ll be fine. Are you okay?” She nodded.
Johnny interrupted with, “Where’s Scott?”
“They took him with them.”
“Tell us what happened.”
“After they took me hostage, we rode all night. I knew they planned to come after Scott. I told them they were crazy, but Hardy just hit me. Mr. Lancer, I think they are crazy. They want revenge for what happened during the escape and also for when…we were here before. We spent the night at this house. I just couldn’t believe it when your brother rode up this morning. They shot that poor man before anyone could react. I thought they were going to kill Scott and me too. Instead they clubbed him and told me I was free. I guess they just used me to make sure he didn’t give them any trouble.”
Mrs. Cassidy, can you get to Lancer by yourself?
“I think so.”
“Then take Morgan’s horse and let my father know.”
“You’re going after them?”
“They’ve got my brother.”
“All right, I’ll go get help. Be careful. I really believe they’re mad dogs.”
West and Lancer watched the blonde woman ride out. “Johnny, I think you should leave this to me.”
“That’s my brother, and I’m not going to let him be killed.”
“All right, but control yourself. You won’t do Scott any good if you go off half-cocked.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes to bring him back alive. Now let’s ride; they’ve got a big head start already.”
Following the trail of the three horses, the two men remained quiet for some time as they set a fast pace. Slowing to give the horses a breather, Johnny asked, “How long have you and Gordon been partners?”
“Several years. He always protects my back.”
Johnny could read West’s face. “It wasn’t your fault that Lewis shot him.”
“What do you know about it? I shouldn’t have let him take the chance, but he thought… I’m just thankful he survived.”
You’re lucky to have such a good friend. I guess you know Scott and I didn’t even know about each other until a year ago. I sure don’t want to lose him now.” West said nothing. “Do you have a plan?”
“I think it’s best to assess the situation when we find them. Believe me, I don’t want to see Scott die either.”
“How did you meet my brother?”
“I was an aide to General Grant. One time Scott came along with General Sheridan to a meeting. While they were conferring, we shared a bottle. He told me a little about his life in Boston. Later he went with Sheridan to the Shenandoah Valley. I guess he was captured before Cedar Creek.”
“Suppose so. He doesn’t talk much about the war.”
“I had a couple of friends who died in Libby Prison. It was mainly for officers. You had to be strong to survive a hellhole like that.”
“I was in Mexico during the war, but I heard stuff about those prisons–both Union and Confederate.”
“Johnny, the war changed a lot of things. Too many boys grew into men real fast. But I guess I don’t have to tell you about growing up fast.”
For one second Johnny grew rigid in the saddle. “Scott talked about me?”
“Not much. He told me how proud he is of you.”
“Proud of me?”
“He admires how you’ve changed your life around.” Suddenly West pulled up.
“What is it?”
“For a moment I thought I saw a light over in those trees.”
“Could be. Let’s tie up the horses and check it out.”
Advancing quietly, the two young men inched their way into visual range of the small fire. Sitting near the fire were two men while a third man lay on the ground not too far away. Backing away Jim motioned for Johnny to follow.
“Could you see if Scott’s tied up?”
“No, but they wouldn’t just let him lie there, would they?”
Johnny looked up at West. “He’s not dead!”
“I didn’t mean that. He may be unconscious though.”
“West, you go around the other side and protect Scott. I’ll take out these two.”
“I was just about to suggest the same–except that I’ll take then out.”
“He’s my brother!”
“And they shot my partner!” He hesitated. “Okay, okay. Let’s not argue. I’m the one in charge so we do it my way.”
“You’d better be right because if anything happens to Scott….”
“That’s your job–to make sure that it doesn’t.”
The two men split up, Lancer going around through the trees to remove Scott from the danger area.
The agent waited for the younger man to get into position then he quietly drew his gun to take aim at Lewis and Hardy. Suddenly, he realized that only one man sat there, and that man had a gun pointing right at the blond head of Scott Lancer.
“Whoever’s out there show themselves or this guy’s dead!” West hesitated. The click of the hammer being pulled back was loud in the clear night air.
West stepped forward. “Put your gun down.” West complied. “Now who are you? I expected that gunfighter brother of the lieutenant to come after him.”
“I work for the government.”
“Well, well–just like that guy we shot.”
“He’s my partner.”
“You mean I didn’t kill him? Too bad.”
Jim controlled his desire to throttle Jed Lewis. He knew that losing control could cost all their lives.
“Are you so stupid that you came out here by yourself or is someone with you?”
At that moment Scott groaned. Four eyes focused on the prone man. “Shut up!” Lewis viciously struck him across his face.
Johnny launched himself at Lewis. The two men grappled with each other.
Picking up his gun, West tried to fire, but the darkness prevented a clear shot. “Hold it!” Jim turned to see Rick Hardy holding a gun on the secret service man. “Toss down your piece.”
Hardy turned his gun towards the two locked in a deadly wrestling match. Lewis managed to draw his weapon while Johnny’s had fallen in the scuffle. Lewis brought up his gun to fire point blank at the younger Lancer. Time seemed to freeze until the sound of a shot echoed around the campfire. Lewis looked down to see the gaping hole in his chest, then his eyes closed forever as he slumped to the ground.
Taking advantage of the momentary diversion, James West scooped up his gun and fired in the same motion. Rick Hardy, too, died without even getting a shot off.
West stood, then walked over to where Johnny Lancer tended to his brother who still clutched the pistol which had killed Jed Lewis. How is he?”
“Not good. but I think he’ll be okay if we can get back to the ranch as soon as possible.”
“Right. I’ll take care of these two while you start back.”
At a walking pace Barranca took a fair amount of time to carry the two Lancers. In fact, West caught up to them just as they passed under the gate. Then the two men carried Scott into his bedroom.
“Johnny, I know you’re going to be occupied with Scott so I’ll say goodbye now.”
“Can’t you stay for a day or so?”
“Thanks but I really want to get back to the train so I can see how Artie’s doing.”
“I understand. I hope he’ll be up and around soon.”
“So do I. When Scott’s better, tell him I’ll stop by again sometime.”
“I will. Have a safe trip–and thank you.”
After James West’s departure, Johnny’s attention returned to his brother. Luckily, Teresa had seen the men enter the house and was prepared with hot water and bandages. Scott’s cuts and scrapes were rapidly tended to. Teresa was especially upset to see the livid bruises covering most of the older Lancer’s body.
“Johnny, what did they do to him?”
“They gave him one hell of a beating, but I think he’ll mend okay with time. Could you get me a cup of hot coffee? I plan to sit with him for a spell.”
“Sure. Is there anything else you need?”
“Not right now. Do you know where Murdoch is? We didn’t meet up with him on the way in.”
“He hasn’t returned yet.”
“Then it’s good we didn’t need more men!”
Teresa hurried off to get the coffee.
The brunet spent the next two hours drinking the coffee and eating the sandwiches that Teresa had prepared. She also told him about Sarah Cassidy. “She said to tell you she was sorry about Scott. She would have stayed, but she wanted to get back to her husband. She’s a brave woman.”
“Yeah, she is that. I hope Cassidy’s gonna make it.”
A small moan echoed from the bed. Then more silence.
“Teresa, why don’t you go back to bed?
“You should be the one in bed. You’ve been up all night.”
“I just can’t sleep until he wakes up. I just gotta know if he’s okay.”
“All right then, just go lie down and if he stirs, I’ll yell for you. How about that?”
“I would like to go wash up some. I feel like I’ve been rolling with the pigs.”
“Do that. I’ll be right here.”
So Johnny went into his bedroom, poured some water into the bowl, and wiped off the worst of the dirt. Just taking his boots off felt wonderful. He looked over at the bed. <<It can’t hurt to lie down for five minutes. Teresa will call me.>>
A clatter of boots broke into his sleep. Voices filled the house. Immediately the young man moved towards Scott’s room. He found Jelly and Murdoch standing in the doorway looking at Scott.
Murdoch turned toward his son. “Johnny, glad to see you. I knew things would work out. What happened to Hardy and Lewis?”
“They’re both dead. Jim West will take care of things so there should be no more problems.”
“Good, good. I think I’m going to get a drink and then head to bed myself. These old bones aren’t much for all those hours in the saddle.” Murdoch headed for the kitchen.
“Jelly, what happened to all of you”
“I thought that after Mrs. Casssidy told you what happened you’d come after us?”
“We tried, but we got a late start. Anyway you and that West feller did a bang-up job. Well, I’m mighty tired myself so I’m heading to the bunkhouse. See ya in a few hours.”
Johnny walked over to look at Scott. He looked slightly flushed , but hadn’t moved an inch. Quietly Johnny headed to the kitchen. “Murdoch, I think we should get a doctor out here”
“Are you sure? The men are really bushed. Maybe we could wait another few hours?”
“If you say so. I’ll be in Scott’s room.”
Another hour passed. At least the blond didn’t look worse. Johnny’s head lowered to his chest. His eyes closed when a sudden terrifying scream roused him.
“Don’t shoot them! Don’t shoot!” The older Lancer tried to escape his tormentors, but his brother physically held him down until Scott gave up the struggle with a sob.
Murdoch, half-asleep, walked into the room. “What’s going on?”
“He had some kind of nightmare, I guess.”
Murdoch just nodded and returned to his room while Johnny continued his vigil. Finally his patience was rewarded when he heard his name called.
“About time you woke up, Boston.”
Scott gazed up into his brother’s face. “‘kay?”
“Sure I’m fine. What about you?”
“I’ll bet. You’re covered with bruises.”
At that, a spark of fear entered the blue eyes. “Sarah?”
“She’s fine. She’s on her way back to Dan.”
Johnny looked down. “He didn’t make it.”
Scott clenched his eyes shut. “Didn’t have a chance. The young man fell silent again. Johnny started to move away, figuring his brother had returned to sleep. But then Scott touched Johnny’s arm. “Lewis…dead?”
“Yeah, he sure is. You saved my life.”
The next three days passed slowly. After finishing his chores, Johnny spent most of his time with his brother. Murdoch urged his son to go into town for the dance on Saturday night, but he stayed put.
For the most part conversation was limited until the day Jelly rushed in to say that the birth of Catherine’s foal was imminent. Scott insisted that Johnny should go and supervise the birth. After a tense hour or two, a very happy former gunfighter came in to announce that Catherine now had a filly, and that both were in perfect health.
Looking at Scott’s smiling face, Johnny inquired, “What are you going to name her?”
“I don’t know. Ask Teresa. The filly belongs to her.”
The young woman, who had come into the room to share in the happy news, started with surprise. “Mine? You don’t have to do that.”
“But I want to–to say thank you for all that you’ve done during the past year.” Teresa walked over and kissed him.
“So, Teresa, what are you going to name her?”
“I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.”
“Well, just don’t name her some silly girl’s name like Josephine or Gertrude!”
“I once went out with a girl named Gertrude.”
“Oh? And she looked like a horse?”
“No, actually she was kind of pretty, but did her father have a temper!”
Teresa blushed. ”Johnny, I’m not sure I want to hear this.”
“Oh okay. I’ll tell you later, Boston.”
Laughing with joy, Teresa announced, “Well, I’m going out to see my new horse.”
“Now Scott, let me tell you about Gertrude.”
“Uh Brother, I’m not sure I have the strength for this.”
“Sure you do. She had long black hair she could sit on, and she loved to read.”
“Read? You actually knew a girl who could read?”
Johnny gave him a withering look. “That’s not all she could do!”
“Oh, is that so?…. You know, Little Brother, if you’d help me I’ll bet I could make it to the stable to see the filly.”
The younger man frowned. “I don”t think that’s a good idea. You don’t want to overdo.”
“Aw, come on, be a good brother.”
“Well okay, but just for a couple of minutes.
When they arrived at the mare’s stall, they found the foal nursing.
“She’s beautiful, just like Catherine.”
“She certainly is that, Big Brother.”
Teresa walked over to Scott. “I’ve decided to name her Escape.”
Both Lancers looked puzzled. “What kind of name is that?”
“When she’s big enough to ride, I can use her to escape from household chores. And even better–now when Scott hears that word, he’ll have good memories, not sad ones.”
Putting his arm around Teresa, Scott agreed with the choice. “You are one hell of a woman.”
Smiling with delight, the young woman announced, “And don’t either of you ever forget it!”
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