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The Shirt Off His Back by Sharon

Word Count 3,400

1st in Scott and Johnny in LancerLand Series

WARNING: the following is a satire.  It is supposed to be amusing.  If it will offend you to see Scott portrayed as somewhat obsessive-compulsive and Johnny as slightly dim, please read no further . Like anything else, this probably is funnier read late at night.  Very late.
DISCLAIMER :  I love Scott and Johnny both.  REALLY!!!!  (But especially Scott. )
CHALLENGE:  To identify quotes and episodes referenced.  Many are from “Scott episodes”, so it could be challenging for some of you “Johnny girls.

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    It was a fine day and the Lancer brothers had set out early, riding along in a companionable silence.  Johnny Lancer, in his trademark flared pants with silver buttons along the sides, was wearing his blue flowered shirt.  His hat sat firmly on his brow, the string dangling beneath his chin moving with the rhythm of his horse.  Scott Lancer’s military bearing was accented by his blue cropped jacket with the leather trim at the shoulders.   His long legs were also sheathed in black, albeit without the decorations that festooned his brother.  In addition to a crisp white shirt, Scott was also attired in his usual hat and ever present yellow leather gloves.

    Turning slightly in the saddle, pushing his hat back onto the crown of his head as he regarded his brother, Scott Lancer broke the silence with a question: “So Johnny, what are you going to do this week?”  Johnny turned towards Scott, his startlingly blue eyes widening in surprise, then quickly narrowing as he said darkly: “It ain’t my turn.”

    “Wrong, as usual, Little Brother, “ Scott responded indulgently.  “Murdoch and Jelly took over last week, perhaps that’s what has thrown you off.  But it was my episode the week before . . . so it would appear that it is, in fact, your turn.  And don’t try to say that you ‘forgot’ again”. With this last, Scott gestured quotation marks with his gloved hands, and looked meaningfully at his brother: “It won‘t work any more.”

<<“ It won‘t work any more–he always says that. >>, Johnny thought.  Then he imitated Scott’s gesture and asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Never mind,” Scott said wearily.  “it’s not important. What is important is that you know what you are going to do this week. “  “I already have a plan for next week”, he added with a small smile.

“Well, Brother, “ Johnny drawled, “Looks like you have your plan and I have mine.”

Scott shot him a knowing glance. “You don’t have a plan“, he said shaking his head.  “You didn’t have one in the pilot and you obviously don’t have a plan now.  Why don’t you just admit it?”

“I had a plan in the pilot, ” Johnny said in a defensive tone.

“I’m sure you did“, was Scott’s dry response.  “Was it a plan to get shot —-or was it a plan to get me to carry you into the house?”

Johnny grinned at his brother.  “Now Boston, why do you think I was wearing that weighted gun belt?”

Scott stared straight ahead, squinting up his eyes as he considered this.  << Had he really? >>  It was getting to be so difficult to remember; after all it had been over thirty years ago now.  Scott was annoyed to hear that instead of one of the endless variations on the “Lancer theme”, the background music had changed to a Neil Diamond number, circa 1970.   He decided that it was probably best to change the subject.

Scott looked at Johnny with his most sincere, concerned expression: “So, Johnny, what are you going to do?“

“Don’t worry, I’ll think of somethin‘.”

In reality, Johnny didn’t have any ideas at all.  << But, >> he thought, << I still got good ol’ Scott, and he’s real smart, ‘least he thinks he is. > > He’d learned that it usually wasn’t that difficult to get Scott to come up with some pretty good suggestions.  You just had to get him started . . .

“I was thinkin’ maybe I could get thrown in jail, “ Johnny ventured.

Scott responded calmly with:  “You’ve already done that.  So have I.”

“Murder charge”?

“You’ve already done it, so have I,” was the smooth rejoinder.

“Mistaken identity?”

“Done.” Scott said.

“Well . .  . maybe I could lose my eyesight.”

Scott was actually starting to show some emotion now, a rare occurrence–”You’ve already done it.  So have–”

“I know I‘ve already done it, but it was one of my best ones! “  Johnny was getting somewhat exasperated himself.  “I just thought maybe I could do it again. —- And you’ve never been blind!”

Scott’s eyebrows shot upwards.  “Oh really?  When I was in the desert, my eyes were scorched.”

“Scorched!?!” Johnny snorted derisively.

“That’s right.  And for your information, I also tumbled down a rocky outcropping.  Then, I was hit on the head and knocked out cold, not once, but twice–and the second time the woman used a rather sizeable boulder.”  Noting that Johnny seemed singularly unimpressed by this litany, Scott added–”I had to perform with a herd of goats . ”  Still no reaction from Johnny.  “ And that was supposed to be your episode.”

That finally roused Johnny’s interest.  “No kiddin’??  It was supposed to be me with that funny little Family Affair kid and his ‘thirst for knowledge’?”

“Yes, —until some one realized that Johnny Madrid teaching  the ‘quick draw’ to young ‘Jody’ might not go over very well. “

The brothers rode on for a while.  Finally, it was Johnny’s turn to break the silence: “Scott, I just don’t wanna to get shot again.”

Scott shot him a sideways glance.  “I’ve been shot many more times than you have”, he said evenly.

Johnny narrowed his eyes. He wasn’t sure whether or not that was true, but he knew that Scott could count pretty good . . . They‘d taught him that at Harvard.

”I was blind because of a gunshot.  And I was shot in the pilot; that should count double.”

“Fine”.  Scott was still confident that his total would easily surpass his brother’s.

“So when was the first time you got shot?”

“Episode three.  . . .  It was your fault.”

“Episode three?”, Johnny asked.  Scott wasn’t the only one whose memory of thirty years past was growing dim.   “What happened in episode three??”

“You shot and killed a man.  His family wanted revenge.”

“Yeah?  Really? I shot someone?  Killed him?? C’mon Scott, how about givin’  me something I might remember!”

Scott sighed.  “You were mending—– a fence.”

“Ranch work?” Johnny asked doubtfully, then recollection slowly dawned: “Oh yeah!!  The fence!”  he said, face brightening in a grin.  “That sure was one of my more popular ones.”

After indulging in a moment of fond memory, of his own muscled torso glistening in the sun, Johnny directed his attention towards Scott once more. “So, now wait a minute, you’re tellin’ me that you were in that episode?”

Scott sighed again.  “Not that anyone noticed.  You were going to leave the ranch–for good.   I found you at the saloon, just you and your beer, in the middle of the day. I tried to convince you to return. There was some significant dialogue between us.”

“Oh yeah. You said I’d be dead before I was thirty.  Well, it seems like I’m still here.”

“We both are”, said Scott dismally.

“Anyway,  I  do seemta remember that you sure were worried ‘bout me goin’.”

“Of course.  Would you want to be alone with Murdoch?”  Johnny shook his head emphatically.  Their eyes met.  Smiling broadly, they shouted “Drink?!” in unison, echoing the very first thing that their father had said to them in the pilot.  It was something that they both recalled clearly and it never failed to amuse them.  Johnny laughed so hard that he almost fell off of his horse.  Even Scott managed a small chuckle.

“Besides,” Scott added in his usual serious tone, “if you’d left, they would have expected me to deal with all of your calamities in addition to my own problems.  It was only the third episode.”

“So where was it you got shot in that one?”

“Back at the ranch. The Strikers were just outside the house.  They shot me off of my horse.”

“That?!  That was nothin ‘.  You weren’t really shot.”

“Well, then, forgive me.  Actually, at the sound of gunfire I do tend to just fling myself out of the saddle.  It must be my military training.”

“You don’t have to be so sarcastic.  You were on the porch firin’ a rifle in the next scene.”

After a moment Johnny added, “But ya know, Scott, it is strange, me havin’ been a professional gunfighter and all, that you’re the one always ends up gettin’ shot– ‘specially when people from the past show up—Murdoch’s friend Barker, your army buddies.  Even your grandfather, he comes to visit, you get shot—

“—I was tempted to shoot him, if he’d called me “Scotty” one more time.”

“Yeah, you sure didn’t like that much. . . .  But, look, face it Boston, seems like you’re just a bullet magnet.”

“Bullet magnet?”, repeated Scott, turning to regard his brother once more.  “Bullet magnet??  Tell that to Drago and his men.”

<< Oh, here we go ,> >thought Johnny. << He’s always bringing up that Gatling gun .> >

It was pretty tiresome how Scott had to be so noble all the time, and always do the “right” thing.   But it had been just plain ridiculous how brave his brother had been in that Gatling gun episode.  <<“ The rope won‘t break for me .” >>  Johnny felt like breaking something, just thinking about it.  “Okay, okay, you don’t hafta remind me–‘sides, I’ve already told you that that was your best one.”

“I know it.  I just like to hear you say it.”  Scott replied.

  << Well ,>> Johnny thought,  << I sure liked hearing you say you were Johnny Madrid.  Got a real good laugh out of it >>  Out loud, he added: “Though you weren’t looking too “pretty” right after the Gatling gun incident–you sure didn’t photograph well in that scene.”

“Its called acting, Little Brother, there’s more to it than simply posing for the cameras.” That was a sore spot for Scott.  He’d worked so hard in “The Buscaderos“, only to see a poster made of Johnny’s initial on-screen appearance in  the episode.

“You don’t come in until the last five minutes, you gotta make an entrance.  You just ain’t learned that yet.  ‘Sides the ladies enjoyed it—-though not as much as they enjoyed my ‘posing’ in episode three.”

“Well, then”, Scott said dryly, “there’s your idea –what to do this week.”

“What?”  Johnny asked in eager anticipation.  He just known that Scott would come up with something—-after all, he was the smart one.

“You can ride around with your shirt off for sixty minutes.”

For a moment Johnny seriously considered the idea, then realized that his brother wasn’t giving him his trademark, sincere ‘Scott-look.’  Sarcasm again.  Johnny hid his annoyance under his usual bravado.  “There’s them that would ‘preciate it.”

“And there are those who will appreciate it even more next week when I provide an actual storyline and characters.”

Silence from Johnny.  Then: “So, you probably already got your guest star lined up.”

“I have.”

“Lemme guess, is it Brenda Scott or Stephanie Powers?”

Scott just smiled.  He knew that he had enjoyed more onscreen kisses than his brother, because he’d counted them. “It does bother you that my leading ladies are eager for return engagements.  Well, I’m very sorry that Julie Sommars and that girl from the Brady Bunch didn’t feel the same way about you. “  “However“, he added sardonically, “Joe Don Baker seemed to like you well enough.“

Suddenly, Johnny had an idea, a pretty rare occurrence.  “Let’s do somethin’ together.”

Scott nodded his acceptance. “All right.  What would you like to do?”

“We could rob a bank,” Johnny offered.

His brother was unimpressed. “That’s just not something that I would do, ” Scott explained patiently.

“Well, you robbed a train, didn‘t ya?”

“Thanks for reminding me.”

Johnny thought a bit more.  “We could have a fight.”

Scott seemed intrigued by this idea.  “All right.”  The reserved Easterner had probably thrown more on-screen punches than his fiery younger brother.  << I’ll have to do a count >> he thought.

Johnny felt a great sense of relief.  << Finally .>>  he thought, waiting for Scott to expand upon  the idea.

But no, his brother just asked a few questions in that mild tone of his.  “Verbal or physical?  And exactly what would you like to fight about?”

This really wasn’t going so well. Scott was usually more helpful.  Actually, Johnny’d  figured that Scott would have taken charge and come up with a plan by now, the way that he had in all two of the episodes in which the brothers had actually been allowed to do something together.  Not that Johnny Madrid would ‘follow” his Big Brother around of course; but someone had to go along to protect Boston and keep him out of trouble.  Johnny thought for a bit.  “Hey, how ‘bout Teresa? She ain’t done much lately.  It could have somethin’ to do with her.”

Scott stared at his brother.  “You really do not pay attention at all, do you?”

“Huh?”

“Johnny”, Scott said in his measured voice.  “Teresa is gone. She left. And quite some time ago.”

“We brought her back!”

“When she was taken away by Angel, I was the one who  brought her back,” Scott corrected him.  “No, this time she left for good.”

“No kiddin”?!!! Where’d she go?”

“To the city.  She’s in law enforcement now.  In fact, I had a letter from her just the other day.”

Johnny’s eyes narrowed. “No one even tells me she’s gone and she’s writin’ you letters?”, he asked in a resentful tone.

“Don’t worry,” Scott responded, a hint of sadness in his voice.  Teresa had been the only female who had ever stayed for more than an hour at a time.  The blonde man started working his gloves, removing the left one, one finger at a time.  “Mostly what she wrote about was someone named Detective Sergeant Ed Brown.  But, perhaps if you plan ahead next time, you might convince her to return for one more episode.”  Now Scott was starting on the right glove: “May I remind you, Johnny— you still don’t have a plan. We’re almost at the turnoff– and I’ll be leaving you there.”  Scott was starting to feel guilty that he hadn’t been of more help to his younger brother, so, as he put his gloves back on, he offered a suggestion:  “You could always go back to the ranch and do something with Murdoch.  You are his favorite, after all.”  Scott smiled; he clearly was not the least bit saddened by this fact. “That’s what you should do, Johnny, go back and talk with Murdoch.”

That idea really made Johnny feel desperate.  He tried to think of something, anything that he and Scott could do together.  << Yeah, Murdoch.  That‘s it .>> “The two of us could get a present for Murdoch.”

Scott reined to a halt.  “Johnny, we’ve already done that.”

Johnny stopped Barranca and wheeled back towards Scott.  “I know it, Scott!”  Then, in a calmer tone he added, ”I was just thinkin’ it‘d give you a chance to pick out somethin’ decent, ‘stead of that stupid toy.”

Scott gave him that pressed lips look of his, which made Johnny grin all the more.
“It wasn’t a toy.  It was called a stereopticon.”  He urged his nameless horse forward.  Then, without looking at Johnny, he softly added, “Your gift was better.”

“I know it.  I just like to hear you say it.”

“It wasn’t one of my better moments,” Scott admitted ruefully.

“Coulda been worse.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well,”, Johnny drawled, not looking at his brother.  “Originally, that episode was  supposed to be just the two of us.”

Scott was clearly caught off guard by this.  “What?  No Jelly?!  No prize sow!?”, he demanded.

Now it was Johnny’s turn to spur Barranca forward.  “Well, no Jelly”, he tossed over his shoulder.

Scott, on “No Name”,  caught up with him again.  He had a feeling about where this was going, (after all, he was the smart one), and besides, the ominous background music provided him with an additional clue.  But Scott refused to give Johnny the satisfaction of hearing him ask.  He coolly regarded his brother.  Finally Johnny relented: “The pig was supposed to be your present.”

Scott exploded.  “I wouldn’t . . !  They would never .. !   .how could they think that I . .

“Yeah right.”  Johnny said.  “Like them writers never had us do anything out of character.”

Scott was in shock, staring at a mental picture of himself and the sow.  Flashing before his eyes were additional images:  of himself robbing a train, of Johnny teaching school, of the lengthy parade of entirely inappropriate female characters with whom each of them had been paired . . .

Johnny explained.  “So, Jelly, he’d been complaining somethin’ fierce ‘bout havin’ nothin’ to do, and . . . Well, I expected that you probably wouldn’t ‘preciate performin’ with a pig, so I just had a little talk with them writer fellas. . .  That time they listened for a change.”

Scott didn’t respond.  He started working his gloves again, removing the left one, one finger at a time.  Then the right one, one finger at a time.  Johnny watched, knowing that his brother was just gonna put the damn things back on again.  He’d played numerous practical jokes on ol’ Boston over the years, but there were a few things that even the renowned gunfighter had been too scared to attempt.  Johnny had always been afraid, truly afraid, of what it might do to Scott if something were to ever happen to those gloves.  And with Scott, if it wasn’t the gloves, it was the hat—–first it would be square on his head, then back on the crown, square on his head, back on the crown.   Drove the lady in charge of scene continuity crazy.

“Scott!” He said a little louder than was necessary.  “So which episode was my best one?”

“Oh,  . . . I suppose it would have to be the one where you took your shirt off.”   Scott gave his brother a squinted eyed look—”of course, if I’d had to wear a pink shirt, I would have done the same. “

Johnny was simultaneously relieved and insulted–relieved that his brother was sounding more like himself, insulted by the description of his first season shirt.  “Wasn‘t pink“, he said.

Scott began listing colors.  “Red, rose, blush, salmon” . . . .

“Weren’t salmon, I know that’s a fish”, Johnny interjected.

“That’s right Johnny, I‘m glad to hear that you know that.  What you evidently don’t know is that you ahn’t supposed to shoot them.”  As Johnny sat in silence, his face assuming the patented “Madrid glower”, Scott continued. “The color of the shirt depends entirely upon the quality of the tape“,  he explained.  “Let’s just say it’s ‘ineffable‘.   And in your case, extraneous“.

Johnny wasn’t sure what those words meant, but decided they were better than ‘pink‘.

The brothers had finally reached the fork in the road.  Scott halted, and fixed his sincere gaze on Johnny’s face.  “Well, so long, Brother.  I’ll see you in an hour.  Good luck.”

Scott turned his horse and cantered off.  “Bye Scott, “ Johnny said in a forlorn voice.  He sat very still, hoping that perhaps the cameraman would be fooled into following Scott, seeing as how  his brother looked like he was actually going off to do something.  But, when Johnny glanced up he could see, out of the corner of his eye, that the lens was still trained on him.

Well, perhaps ol’ Boston had given him an idea after all.

Pivoting Barranca, he rode in a leisurely manner in the general direction of the camera.  Reaching for the top button of his shirt, Johnny deliberately, tantalizingly, unfastened each of them, one by one.  Accompanied by a burlesque version of the “Lancer theme”, he very slowly removed his shirt.  Then, putting on his most winning smile, he gazed into the lens and announced, “Yahoo Ladies, this episode’s for you.”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Scott and Johnny in Lancerland
Episode One.  “The Shirt off His Back”
Written by S. Coulton

Starring:
Barranca as . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . Johnny’s Horse
Scott Lancer as  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scott Lancer
Johnny Madrid Lancer as . . . . . . . . . . . . .Johnny Madrid Lancer

Music Credits:
“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”
(B. Scott and B. Russell)
Performed by Neil Diamond, 1970.

~end~

TO LANCERLAND EPISODE 2 –  The Ends


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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. You can do so using the ‘reply’ box below, or, if you prefer, you can email Sharon directly.

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Scott and Johnny in LancerLand Series
The Shirt Off His Back
The Ends
The Portal

One thought on “The Shirt Off His Back by Sharon

  1. I’ve just read this series of stories and enjoyed them very much. All three are very clever and have made me smile! Thank you

    Like

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