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Waisting Away by SandySha

Word Count 4,715

* I don’t own them, wish I did.
** Thanks to Alice Marie, Susan, and Cathie for doing the Beta


2nd in the Stitches Series

“Ass…sets, my ass,” Johnny mumbled as he stormed into his room, slamming the door behind him.   He grimaced as the one picture he had hanging on the wall near the door crashed to the floor.   

First, he had to suffer through a dinner, if you could call it that, with less food, than he had when he rode trail and then he had to suffer through Murdoch’s lecture on the ‘attributes’ of underwear.

 “Attributes,” he mumbled.   “Hell, what kinda’ word was that.”

Johnny sat on the edge of his bed and shook his head.  He still didn’t know what ‘attributes’ meant.  He had an idea, but damn the old man was as bad as Scott in throwing around those big words.  

He’d tried to argue with Murdoch after the old man had dragged him into the Great Room.  He hadn’t wanted to talk about his drawers.  He’d wanted to talk about food.  Teresa and Maria were going to put him, Johnny Madrid, on a diet.  Almost made a man wanta’ cry.

A diet.  Hell, if what they gave him to eat tonight was any indication, he’d been on a diet most of his life. 

Johnny had come to some definite conclusions by the time the old man had finally finished his lecture.  First, he couldn’t care less about the ‘attributes’ of underwear.   Second, it was clear who ‘called the tune’ in this house and it sure as hell wasn’t Murdoch Lancer.

Johnny wondered again where the hell Scott had come up with the term ‘ass…sets.’ His brother had explained to him that it was his ‘dairy…air’ he was talking about.   Of course, he always considered his backside an asset when dealing with the ladies.   He knew they couldn’t keep their eyes off his hips when he walked away from them. 

Grinning, he knew there were a lot of ladies out there that admired his ass…sets.  Why did they think he wore his pants so tight?

He could still hear Teresa, “Maria and I are tired of sewing up your pants.   In fact, we’ve decided to let all your pants out and double stitch every seam in them.” 

“Pffft,” Johnny mumbled, “don’t need my pants double stitched.  Maybe, if she learned to sew in the first place, the seam wouldn’t keep givin’ way.”   His eyes lit up.  That was it; she wasn’t sewin’ them up right, to begin with!  

Hell, who was he foolin’?  Teresa was gonna’ put him on a diet, and there was nothing he could do about it.  

Johnny kicked his boots off.   One boot sailed across the room, bounced off the wall, and landed under the window.   Grunting, he got up to get the boot.  He bent over and heard the sound of the stitches in his pants giving way.   The instant feel of fresh air on his ‘dairy…air,’ told him the tear was large enough that his ass…sets were showing again.

Johnny closed his eyes tight and groaned.     

Well, he wasn’t going to stand for it.

Johnny quickly changed his pants and put his boots back on.  He was smiling as he quietly made his way down the back stairs.   No one was going to get the best of him.

Once outside Johnny made his way to the bunkhouse.  He knew he could get something to eat from Jonesy, the bunkhouse cook.


“Can’t do it, Johnny,” Jonesy stood in front of Johnny and shook his head.

Jonesy glanced around the room to see all the hands sitting unnaturally quiet.   They were watching and waiting to see what the reaction was going to be from the young gunhawk.  Every man on the ranch had heard what Teresa had told Jonesy.   They even had bets going as to how long Johnny would last on this diet.

“What do you mean, you can’t do it?” Johnny glared at the man.  “Hell, Jonesy it’s just a sandwich or a plate of beans.”

“I know that Johnny,” Jonesy lowered his head.  He couldn’t meet Johnny’s eyes.  “It’s just that… well, Miss Teresa has already told me not to give you anything to eat.  She said that her and Maria were putting you on a… diet.  Lordy, Johnny what have you done that them women want to put you on a diet?  I never even heard of such a thing until Miss Teresa explained it to me.”

Johnny gave Jonesy his best Madrid glare.

“Ain’t gonna’ do you no good looking at me like that Johnny.  Yeah, that look makes me want to piss myself, but I ain’t gonna’ go up against Miss Teresa.  Don’t want her mad at me, Johnny.  Don’t want you mad at me either, but Lordy that woman…”

Johnny shook his head and stomped out of the bunkhouse, slamming the door behind him.  He thought he heard some snickering coming from some of the men as he stood outside the door.   He started to go back in and face the men but decided to go back to his room.

“Alright,” he grumbled.  “I’ll make them think they’ve won, but no one gets the best of Johnny Madrid.  No one.”

His final thought, as he crawled into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin, was how hungry he was.


It was lunchtime, and Scott and Johnny found a shade tree next to a stream to settle.   Johnny opened the small lunch bag Teresa had packed.   He looked at his lunch and shook his head.  He looked at what Scott had for lunch.

“Scott, can I have half your sandwich?”

Scott looked at his large sandwich and then at the small lunch Johnny had.   Teresa had already spoken to him about not sharing his food with his brother.

“Johnny…,” Scott hesitated.

“Aw… come on, Scott.  I’m wasting away here.  If I don’t get some real food soon, I’m gonna’ keel over.”

“Johnny…,” Scott wanted to tell his brother no, but the look on the boy’s face was too much.  He started to hand over half his sandwich when he remembered Teresa’s words:

“Scott Lancer, do not under any circumstances give Johnny part of your lunch.  If I find out you did, I will make sure you go on a diet with him.   Do I make myself clear?”

Scott took another look at his brother’s lunch and remembered the dinner the night before.  He was pretty sure he didn’t want to share this diet with his little brother.

“I’m sorry, brother, can’t do it,” Scott finally said.

Johnny’s glare made Scott want to shrink under a rock.  He watched as Johnny’s hand moved ever so slightly toward the butt of his gun.

“He won’t shoot me… he won’t shoot me…,” Scott kept repeating silently to himself.

Scott looked at Johnny who had the same look as a hungry wolf.   Scott considered that look and felt a little afraid after all. 

“Maybe he would shoot me.”

Scott dipped his head, turned his body away from his brother, and hurriedly stuffed his sandwich in his mouth.  He glanced over his shoulder and took a breath of relief when he saw Johnny was concentrating on his own lunch, meager that it was.

Every few seconds, Johnny would look at his brother and shoot daggers at him with his eyes.  

Murdoch Lancer liked peace and harmony in his household.  There had been precious little of that for the last week.  Ever since Teresa and Maria had put his youngest son on a diet, there hadn’t been any peace or harmony.

The first few days had been the worst.  Johnny had been a bear, snapping at everyone.  In the last three- or four-days things had changed.  Now Johnny was quiet and subdued, and that had Murdoch worried.

It was late afternoon, and Murdoch had been at his desk all day.   When he heard the front door open and then close a few moments earlier, he paid no attention expecting that it was one of his sons coming home for the day.

Murdoch could always tell which son it was by the way they walked into a room.  Scott’s boot heels would hit the tile floor with a definite sound of authority, reminding Murdoch of his son’s military training.   Johnny’s footsteps were quieter. However, the sound of his spurs ringing always preceded him where ever he went.

Murdoch looked up wondering which son was home when he saw his youngest son moving slowly and quietly across the Great Room toward the main stairs.   There was a definite lack of energy in the boy’s step. 

Murdoch watched as Johnny slowly lifted one foot and then the other as he made his way up the stairs.   Thinking back over the last couple of days, he realized that of late the usual bounce seemed to have gone out of his step.

As Johnny disappeared at the top of the stairs, the front door opened again, and Scott marched in.  He stopped in the middle of the room and looked around.  Scott dropped his head and let out a deep sigh.

Murdoch stood up, “What’s wrong, son?”

“It’s Johnny, Sir,” Scott answered.  “I’m not sure what’s wrong with him, but he isn’t acting like himself.  I believe he’s sick.”

“Sick?” Murdoch’s parental instincts kicked in.

“Yes, Sir,” Scott said as he sat his hat and gloves on the desk.   “It’s as if he has no energy.  The boy can barely get in and out of the saddle.  I was watching him today as he was trying to rope a steer.  It was if he was having trouble keeping his arm up long enough to throw the rope.   Murdoch, I’m worried about him.”

Murdoch moved around to the front of his desk.  

“I’m sure it’s nothing, Scott.  We’ll keep an eye on him,” Murdoch said looking toward the stairs his son had just gone up.


Dinner was served at 6:00 sharp.   Murdoch, Scott, and Teresa were already seated at the table when Johnny slowly walked in.  Although Teresa hadn’t noticed, the young man’s lethargic steps had not gone unnoticed by either Murdoch or Scott. 

Once everyone was seated, Maria came in with the main course.  Tonight, it was roast chicken.  Maria placed the chicken in front of Murdoch, and he promptly started cutting it up. 

Maria walked down the side of the table to Johnny’s chair and reached around him picking up his plate.   As they had been doing for a week, Maria took it to Teresa who put Johnny’s dinner on it and then Maria returned it to the boy.   Maria shook her head looking at the dish in her hand.  She felt terrible about depriving her Nino of the food she knew he needed.   

Teresa was pleased with herself.  Neither she nor Maria had stitched up one pair of Johnny’s pants since they put him on the diet.   She watched Johnny look at his dinner, shake his head, and sigh.  He turned his head and looked at her.  She gave him one of her prettiest smiles. 

Murdoch looked at his son and frowned.   He wasn’t so sure about this diet business and planned to talk to Teresa about it in private.

“So how was your day, John?” Murdoch asked as he took a bite of his chicken.  He actually felt guilty that he was eating a hearty meal and his son wasn’t.

“Oh,” Johnny looked at him with a weak smile.  “Fine.  We rounded up a few strays on the north pasture.  I think we’ll have all of them together by the time we start branding.”

“That’s good, son,” Murdoch responded as he watched Johnny push his food around his plate.

Murdoch turned his attention to Scott, “How was your day, Scott?”

Scott took a sip of wine before answering, “Fine, Sir.  As Johnny said, we should have the strays rounded up in a few more days.”   Scott lifted his fork to his mouth and then glanced at his brother.  Watching Johnny barely eating had ruined his appetite.

“John, aren’t you eating?” Murdoch asked.

Johnny looked at his father and then at his plate.  “Sure, Murdoch.  Sure,” Johnny answered as he finally took his first bite of food.

Murdoch turned to Teresa, “Darling, don’t you think John could use a little more to eat than that?”

Before Teresa could answer, Johnny spoke up.  “That’s alright, Murdoch.  I know Teresa and Maria mean well.”  He took a small bite of his chicken; he didn’t dare take a large one.  He wanted to try to make the meal last.

Johnny looked at his plate and then at Teresa, “You know, Teresa, this is more than I got in some weeks when I was a kid.  Lucky to have had it too.”

“Is that right?” Teresa said as she stuffed chicken in her mouth.   Teresa noticed for the first time that both Murdoch and Scott had stopped eating.

“Yeah, I remember once when…, well, there were a lot of nights I went to bed on an empty stomach.  So, you see this is plenty,” Johnny said as he took another small bite. 

 Johnny finished his meal in only a few minutes and sat quietly while everyone else ate.

No one spoke for the rest of the meal.    

When Maria brought dessert out for everyone, she also brought Johnny his.    As she sat the dish down in front of Johnny, he thanked her but didn’t touch it.   He pushed the plate away and waited until everyone was finished eating before excusing himself. 

“Do you want to play checkers, brother?” Scott asked as they moved into the Great Room.

“Not tonight, Scott.  I think I’ll call it an early night.  Kinda’ tired,” Johnny responded as he turned toward the stairs.

“Good night, son,” Murdoch said as he watched Johnny once again trudge up the stairs.

“Night,” Johnny responded glancing over his shoulder.

Murdoch and Scott looked at each other, shaking their heads.


Johnny slowly went to his room, opened the door, stepped inside, closed the door, locked it behind him, and then fell onto his bed.   Looking up at the ceiling, a wide grin formed on his face.

Rubbing his hands together in glee, he pushed himself off the bed and walked over to the tall chest in his room.  Opening the top drawer, he reached to the back of the drawer and brought out a sandwich.  It consisted of two thick slices of bread and a thick slice of roast beef.

Looking back toward the closed and locked door, Johnny took a big bite of the sandwich and sighed.  

After finishing his sandwich, Johnny checked around to make sure he hadn’t dropped any crumbs.  The last thing he needed was for either Teresa or Maria to find out he had been sneaking food up to his room.

The thought of Johnny Madrid on a diet made him shiver.  When Teresa and Maria had put him on a diet a week earlier, they thought they had cut him off from access to extra food.   They thought wrong.

For two days he went along with the woman.  On the third day, Johnny thought his stomach was going to start eating his backbone.  He was working just as hard; however, he wasn’t getting enough to eat to keep his energy up.

On that third day, he had looked around at the men he was working with and wondered who he could trust to sneak him food.  When his eyes fell on Jose, he smiled.

Since that day, Jose had been sneaking him sandwiches and desserts from the bunkhouse.  Jonesy had even asked Jose about his increased appetite.  Jose had only shrugged and said Jonesy’s cooking was so good he couldn’t get enough of it.

Two days ago, Johnny had gone to town and sweet-talked ‘Sweet’ Sally at the saloon into letting out a shirt and pair of his pants.  ‘Sweet’ Sally, as everyone called her, did all the sewing for the girls at the saloon.  What Sally had charged he had gladly paid with an afternoon in her room.

Johnny smiled remembering how ‘Sweet’ Sally had made a lot of comments on the attributes of his ass…sets.

Today, Johnny had kept an eye on Scott.  He knew his brother had been watching him.  He wanted Scott to think he was getting weaker by the day. 

Johnny had thought long and hard as to how he was going to get even with Teresa for cutting back on his food and all but eliminating his desserts.

Johnny smiled thinking about the expressions of Murdoch’s and Scott’s faces at dinner.  They hadn’t stood up for him against Teresa and Maria.  Now they were feeling guilty.  So, let them, he thought. 

Johnny went back to the door and unlocked it.  He undressed and slipped into bed.  Tomorrow he would put the next phase of his plan into motion. 


The next morning Johnny dressed in the clothes that ‘Sweet’ Sally had altered for him.  His shirt almost hung off of him, and his pants were baggy in the seat and very loose around the waist.   He hadn’t realized she had let them out so much.

The last time Johnny’s clothes had fit him like this was when he had escaped from the firing squad in Mexico.  He remembered the white prison clothes he had worn the day he rode away from the Rurales. The pants had been so loose they fell low on his hips as he got into the saddle.  Talk about feeling the air on his backside and showing off his ass…sets.

Johnny waited until he knew that Murdoch, Scott, and Teresa were in the kitchen before he went down the back stairs.   He slowly walked to his seat at the kitchen table and sat down.  

Teresa sat a platter of eggs, bacon, and fried potatoes on the table.  Johnny looked at the dish longingly.   In front of Johnny, Teresa sat a plate with one scrambled egg and a piece of dry toast.

Johnny shook his head and started to push the plate away.

“Johnny, aren’t you hungry?” Teresa smiled at him.

“Yeah, I’m hungry,” Johnny answered sarcastically.

Murdoch and Scott had already filled their plates and were now feeling guilty about it. 

“Well, aren’t you going to eat?” Teresa asked with a frown.  “You can have another scrambled egg if you want it.” 

Johnny looked at the plate and sighed.  “No, that’s alright,” he answered as he took a small bite of the dry toast and thought he would choke on it.    He looked up through his long dark lashes to see that Murdoch and Scott had stopped eating.  “Like I said last night, I’m getting’ more now than I did when I was a kid.”

“Oh,” she said as she set her fork down.

“Yeah, some days I didn’t get anything to eat,” he said as he took a bite of his egg.  “Guess that’s why I eat so fast.  If I didn’t eat it fast, someone else would have taken it away from me.”

Johnny finished eating and stood up.  When he did his pants slipped down over his hips.  He pulled them back up and frowned.   “Guess I’d better go up and get another belt.  Didn’t realize how loose these pants were,” he said as he started back up the stairs.   No one saw the smile on his face.

“Teresa,” Murdoch looked at the girl.  “Don’t you think you’ve overdone it with this diet business.  Look at the boy.  He’s lost so much weight his clothes are hanging off of him.”

“Murdoch,” Teresa held her ground, “the whole idea of cutting back on his eating was so he would lose weight.   Maria and I are tired of stitching up his pants.”

“Teresa,” Scott spoke up, “we understand that, but Johnny doesn’t seem to have any energy at all anymore.  I was watching him yesterday.  He can barely get in and out of the saddle.  You just saw him.  Look how much he’s lost.   Don’t you think he’s lost enough weight?”

Teresa thought for a moment.  Johnny did look like he had lost a few inches around the waist.

“I’ll talk to Maria about it,” Teresa conceded. 


After the men had left for the day, Teresa pulled Maria aside.

“Maria, do you think we’re doing the right thing with Johnny?” Teresa asked the older woman.  She knew how much Maria loved Johnny and how hard it had been for her to agree to the diet in the first place.

“Nina,” Maria shook her head, “my poor Juanito is so thin.  You saw how his clothes hang from him.”

“I know, Maria,” Teresa took a deep breath and let it out.  “I feel terrible.  Did you hear what he said about having so little to eat as a child?   No wonder he eats as much as he does.”

“Si, I hear,” Maria said wiping a tear from her eye.

“Maria, let’s fix him a real meal tonight,” Teresa said with a smile.  “Tamales and beans and… well, you know what to fix.”

“Si, I know what he likes,” Maria smiled and hurried into the kitchen to start cooking.


Scott was at the corral watching Johnny break horses.   Scott had been watching his brother all morning.  He had also been watching as Johnny pulled his pants up by the waistband every time he got into the saddle.   

It looked like his brother’s pants were actually getting looser on him.   

Johnny reached up with his left hand and took hold of the saddle horn.  He used his right hand to adjust the stirrup for his left foot.  Just as Johnny started to pull himself up toward the saddle, his pants dropped around his hips.  He reached back for what seemed like the hundredth time that day and tugged the pants back up.
Johnny finally mounted the horse, and it started to buck.   It was only a few seconds later that Johnny flew off the side of the bucking horse and landed on the ground.

“Johnny,” Scott called out, “are you alright?”  There was worry on the older brother’s face.

“Yeah,” Johnny responded as he pushed himself off the ground and brushed himself off.  Looking past Scott, Johnny saw Murdoch walking toward the corral.

As Johnny began to brush the dust off his clothes, he loosened his belt.  He had slowly been loosening it all morning.  Now that he had the audience he wanted, he let it out all the way.

Murdoch came to stand beside Scott. 

“How is he doing?” Murdoch asked his oldest son.

“Fine,” Scott answered in a not so convincing voice.

“What?” Murdoch asked turning to look at Scott.

“Oh, he’s fine.  He’s broken three horses this morning.  It’s just that he is having a hard time keeping his pants up,” Scott answered.    “Murdoch, he’s lost too much weight.  You need to talk to Teresa.”

“I know, son,” Murdoch frowned.  “He has lost a lot of weight.  I talked to her this morning and will again tonight.  Frankly, I feel guilty eating a large meal and your brother eating so little.  I’ve started cutting back on what I’m eating.   I know Johnny has lost weight, but I think I’ve lost a few pounds, too.”

“I know what you mean,” Scott laughed.  “I can’t eat a meal without feeling guilty.  I think I’ve lost weight myself.”

The two men laughed as they watched Johnny start to mount the wild horse again.

This time Johnny put his left hand on the saddle horn and lifted his left foot to the stirrup.  When he did, his pants dropped below his waist and down low onto his hips.  The sight of a bare butt sent a blush through Murdoch’s face.

Scott covered his eyes with his hand and peaked out through his fingers.   He shook his head.  Turning, he looked at the expression on his father’s face.

Murdoch stood wide-eyed, mouth open, and speechless.

Johnny had one foot in the stirrup and one on the ground.  His was trying to grab his pants with his right hand when out of nowhere the entire ranch heard, “JOHN!… INSIDE!… NOW!”

The bellowing voice caused the horse to bolt.  It reared up, throwing Johnny to the ground.

All attempts to save his dignity or to keep anyone from viewing all of his ass…sets was utterly lost.

His dignity, among other things, was in the dust, and he could hear the ranch hands snickering as his father stomped toward the house.

“Oh, little brother,” Scott shook his head, “you are in so much trouble.”


Murdoch stormed into the Great Room, Scott and Johnny right behind him.

As they entered the room, Johnny was holding his pants up with his left hand.  His gunbelt was over his left shoulder, and his right hand was reaching for his Colt.  He wasn’t so sure he wasn’t gonna’ have to shoot the old man.

“TERESA!” the tall man’s voice boomed and echoed through the house.

Teresa and Maria ran out of the kitchen.

“Murdoch, what’s wrong?” Teresa asked with a bit of panic in her voice.

“Teresa, the diet ends today,” Murdoch bellowed.  “Do you understand?”

“Yes, Murdoch,” she nodded her eyes going wide as she watched Johnny trying to maneuver his gun belt and his pants at the same time. “The diet ends today.”

Johnny held back the smile that almost crossed his face.   “Murdoch, does that mean I can get something to eat tonight?  I’m not on a diet anymore?”

“That’s exactly what it means,” Murdoch answered.

Johnny grinned.  “Thank you,” he silently said looking toward the heavens.

Murdoch looked at his youngest son and his eyes narrowed.   “John you and I need to talk… again,” there was no patience in the man’s voice.

“About what, old man?” Johnny asked looking wide-eyed at Murdoch.

Johnny almost took a step back when he felt Scott put a hand against his back and push him forward again.  Murdoch’s face was beet red, that vein on the side of the old man’s neck was bulging, and he had drawn himself to his full six-foot five-inch height.

“Now, Murdoch,” Johnny raised his hands into the air.   The moment he did his pants once again started heading south.  

Johnny looked down and then back up.   He grabbed his pants and pulled them up as Teresa and Maria covered their faces and ran from the room laughing.

Murdoch’s face had changed shades of red again.  Johnny couldn’t honestly tell what shade it was at that moment.

“No, John.   Don’t ‘now Murdoch’ me.  I don’t want to hear it again… or, for that matter, see it again.  I don’t believe anyone else on the ranch wants to see it again, either.”

“I don’t understand.  What do you want to talk about?” Johnny pulled himself up straight and looked his father in the eye.  Giving him one of his best Madrid glares.  When he did, his left hand let go of his pants.  He reached for them as they again gravitated down his hips.

“Underwear, John,” Murdoch had his hands on his hips now.  “Underwear.  The attributes of underwear.”

“Alright, but before we have our little talk, can I ask a question, old man?” Johnny tilted his head looking at first his father and then Scott.

“What?” Murdoch asked trying to control his temper.

“Pa, what does ‘attributes’ mean?” Johnny asked and watched while his father collapsed into a chair; holding his head in both his hands.  

“Why me, Lord?  Why me?”  Murdoch was muttered.

“Well?” Johnny asked looking at his older, smarter brother, who knew everything.  

Scott was looking skyward; shaking his head.  “Lord, are you sure he’s my brother?”

“Johnny, a good pair of underwear can …let’s see… prevent chaffing, absorb sweat, stop episodes of accidental exposure, and of course, keep your derriere as soft as a babies butt.  In short, little brother, it means the modest, family-friendly features of underwear, which you desperately need, to cover your ass…sets before anyone else sees them.”
“OH!” Johnny nodded his understanding. “Alright, but I’m still off the diet, ain’t I?  Cause’ I gotta’ tell you, old man, I’m wasting away here.”   

Murdoch groaned as he looked up just in time to see Johnny’s arms going out, palms up, as his pants dropped again to just above his ass…sets.

November 2018

Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment.  Even the simplest ‘I liked this!” can make all the difference to an author and encourage them to keep writing and posting their stories here.  You can comment in the ‘reply’ box below or  Email SandySha directly.


7 thoughts on “Waisting Away by SandySha

  1. You fooled me really good. I actually thought Johnny was wasting away I was already tearing up. Wow. So did he actually gain weight or was the stitches weak. Ha! Anyways I will be reading this little series again. Thanks for sharing and keeping Lancer land alive. JML always ♥️


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