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My Brother, My Friend by Ama

This story is an orphan – that is, the writer has not been active in the fandom for a long time, and the story has been rescued from the old, defunct Yahoo groups. So that we don’t lose the story entirely, we’re storing it here.

However the original author still owns this story. Should they reconnect with the fandom at some point, we will naturally respect whatever they want to do with their story.

Word Count 3,243

I was shocked but decided not to show it when I discovered that I had a brother. I had always wished for a brother, not an older but a younger brother. 

As the stage rode into Morro Coyo, my heart was beating faster and causing a throbbing feeling in my head. Was I getting anxious to finally meet the old man who had abandoned my mama and me? I told myself that whatever happened with that old man did not matter because I would come out with $1000.

Everything was planned out as I was to meet my so called father, now that is a laugh. That old man did not deserve to be called that and would never hear it from me. 

I stepped out of the stage and waited for my saddle and gun to be returned, when a sweet young lady asked for a Mr. Lancer. As I was about to reply, someone else replied as well. I turned ready to inform the young lady that I was an only child when this stranger interrupted and said he was Scott Lancer, son of Murdoch Lancer. The young lady pointed to me and stated, “You must be Johnny Lancer and your father has been expecting both of you. Come get in the wagon, your father does not like to be kept waiting.” This stranger and I exchanged a brief moment of confusion as our eyes met while we climbed on the wagon.

We rode in silence and I took a quick glimpse of the stranger who I just discovered was my brother, Scott. He appeared older than me and the way he spoke sounded like he was used to issuing orders in the army. He turned around to face me and asked in a military tone, “Does your mother know where you are? How old are you, boy?” I replied with sarcasm,” Old enough and it is none of your business.” 

He folded his arms and emphasized, “I see that you and I need to get acquainted very soon so that you can learn to answer properly to your elders, boy.” “I do my acquaintances with my friend right here.” I informed him as I placed my hand on my gun. He smiled and replied,” I still need to know where your mother is, she and Murdoch Lancer must be worried.” 

“My mama is dead and Lancer has never bothered worrying about me. Mind your own business. I did not come to meet you, I am here only to collect my listening money and then I am gone.” I replied as I placed my hand on my gun again. 

“You mean to tell me that you, a boy your age, has been on his own without a father or mother?” he asked. I chose to ignore him and turned my face away. 

I saw this massive house coming into my view and sighed as I remembered why mama had left. I was preparing myself mentally to meet Murdoch Lancer, but as I walked into the house I was astounded when I saw a man slowly rise from his desk. My eyes kept going higher and higher until I met his eyes staring back at me. Mama had never mentioned his height so I was taken by surprise. I found myself speechless and when I turned to see my brother Scott, he had that same look of surprise on his face. At least this stranger and I seemed to agree on something. 

I took another view of this tall man and wondered what my mama saw in him. He did not look friendly. 

He approached Scott and myself and with a harsh voice said as he looked at Scott, ”You have your mother’s eyes.” He then turned to look at me and I stated, “You got something to say old man, say it.” He gave me a glare that I had not seen for years and very slowly replied, “You . have . your . mother’s . temper.” I guess he was trying to control his own. 

I gave him another example of my mama’s temper. You asked for it old man. “I came for the money and nothing else.” He looked at me and inquired, “How old were you when your mother passed away? Who has been taking care of you?”

“That is none of your business old man. I am here only for the listening money, where is it?” I demanded. That old man turned around and went to his desk and pulled out two envelopes and placed them on top of the desk. I went forward to collect my money. I grabbed the envelope and counted it to make sure I was not cheated out of the deal. That military stranger collected his money and thanked the old man. 

As I placed the money in my shirt pocket, that old man remarked, ”I paid for an hour of your time, so sit down.” Both my tin soldier brother and I sat in the chairs directly in front of his huge desk that made us appear like two small boys. 

That old man revealed the real reason for having us here at his ranch. It was not for love or for a family reunion but rather for our guns and how we could assist him in the battle to keep his ranch. Mama had been right when she told me that Murdoch Lancer’s true love had always been this ranch. I got up from my chair and questioned him, ”What do I get in return? This is not enough.”

That old man got up and faced the huge window behind him as he spread his hand across he stated, ”One-third of everything you see.” At that time all I was staring at was this old man who had not spoken a single word of welcome to either of his sons. Yet for reasons known only to himself he felt he could buy our loyalty for his ranch. 

”Why should I bother fighting for your ranch old man? It brought nothing but heartache for my mama.” ”Did your mother tell you that, boy?” that old man fired back as he expected an answer from me. ”Why should you care and what difference does it make? My mama is not here anymore in your precious ranch old man.” I shouted back at him. ”I do not know what your mother told you what happened here fifteen years ago but that is in the past.” he growled. ”The truth old man.” I growled right back.

Suddenly, I felt myself standing in front of the old man ready to go at it when that stranger who called himself a Lancer stepped in between us. It appeared that once again he surprised me as he said, ”Why are we fighting among ourselves when the enemy is out there trying to take this ranch away? Maybe we can sit down and try another approach to reaching an agreement that will benefit us all.” he suggested as he gestured us to sit. 

Just then, we were summoned to eat and the old man pointed us toward the dining room. The old man sat himself at the head of table and instructed us to sit, Scott on his left and me on his right. I would have preferred to sit at the end of the table but I sat myself down where he instructed. Several people came with platters of home-cooked food that smelled so good, but what got my attention was how each servant approached him as if to get his approval first. 

I was starving and that wonderful aroma was captivating my senses, when I heard my name being called. ”Johnny are you ignoring me? Answer me, boy!” that old man shouted. I quickly turned my head to answer him, when Scott stated, ”Murdoch this exquisite meal is affecting my hearing as well. Johnny do you agree?” That stranger was smiling at me as I nodded my head. I guess having an older brother was something that maybe in time I could get used to. 

After dinner we sat down on the sofa and listened to the old man brief us on the attacks on the ranch. Everything was going fine until he poured himself a drink and one for Scott. I told him I wanted tequila and he looked at me and said I was too young to be drinking. I jumped up from my seat and said, “But not too young to be fighting for your precious ranch.” 

He turned to face me and ordered me to go to bed. That infuriated me because he had decided that he was a father to me now after all those years. I slowly replied, “No way, old man. No one tells me what to do.”

Scott once again interrupted the argument that was just starting and stated that it was late and maybe we should all go to bed. 

The old man agreed and said that was a very good idea. He led us both to our rooms where I felt a strange feeling as if I had been here before. What was I doing eating and resting in the old man’s house? My plan had been to take the money and leave. However, that stranger brother of mine made me want to stay to maybe get to know him better. I felt that he was protecting me and it was creating confusion in my thoughts. Why would that stranger take the time or waste his time on me? No one ever cared for me other than my mama. Did he want something from me like the old man did?

As we prepared for the fight with Pardee, I discovered that the old man had put Scott in charge. It must have included me as well because that military brother had started issuing orders and expected me to follow them. “I am in charge little brother and you will do as I order, is that clear?” he stated as he crossed his arms. “Sure whatever you say as long as I can come and go as I please.” I replied with a grin.

He stared at me and said,” We have to get acquainted much sooner than I expected.” He grabbed my arm and pulled me up close to his face and stated in his military tone,” Do not try my patience little brother because you will not win.” As hard as I attempted to break lose from his tight hold, I slowly realized I had no choice but to nod my head. He placed his hand near his ear until I replied, “Yes, sir.” “Good and I am glad we understand each other.” he informed me. 

I could not believe what was happening to me. Not only did I have a bossy old man but a military order-issuing brother. I had to get away before they could attempt to control me.

I spent a restless night dreaming about those two controlling strangers. The old man I could handle but that military brother would require more of my attention. I had let my defenses slip as I tried to figure out that stranger and got careless enough to put myself at his command. No one told me what to do or what not to do. I drifted to sleep with a firm determination that tomorrow those two controlling strangers would meet the real me.   

A loud pounding on my door woke me up. “Get up John!” bellowed the old man. “I expect you down stairs for breakfast in ten minutes.” continued that old man as I heard him call out for my military brother and issue the same orders. A firm “Yes, sir!” was his reply while I turned my head and went back to sleep. It was too early and I was not interested in breakfast and had resolved to start this final day with those controlling strangers as Johnny Madrid. 

I felt two strong arms pull me out of bed and shake me as a loud voice boomed in my ears, “I said to get up boy!” He pulled me toward the water basin and splashed water on my face. I felt my temper rising as the cold water ran down my neck. “What do you think you are doing, old man!” I shouted and broke away from his firm hold on my arm. He ignored me and replied as he left the room, “Five minutes young man.”

I descended the stairs with my gun in my hand. I was more determined than ever to demonstrate to those strangers that no one told me what to do or not to do. They had gotten the wrong impression and I was about to show them what they could do with their orders. 

“Put that gun away”, ordered the old man as he rose from his chair and instructed me to sit down next to him. I was going to refuse his instructions but the smell of bacon and eggs mellowed my temper. Fresh home-made tortillas scented the air as I smiled and sat down as instructed. Two cups of freshly brewed coffee completed the perfect appetizing meal of the morning. 

I was about to rise and felt a massive hand on my shoulder. “Johnny there are rules that I expect you to follow and will not tolerate if broken. First, you will adhere to a bed time assigned by me. Second, you will arrive to breakfast on time. Third, you will do as you are told. Is that understood?” proclaimed the bossy old man who decided to become my father. My immediate response was to tell him what he could do with his rules, but I decided to wait for a better opportunity since he was holding on to me. 

“Alright”, I replied as if I cared for that old man and his rules. “Good, you have my permission to leave this table.” he smiled and patted my shoulder. 

I went outside and sat down on the front porch. I felt puzzled and could not comprehend what was happening to me. Did that old man believe that I wanted him to be my father? This is not what I had in mind when I first arrived here. It appeared that those two strangers wanted to become my family. It had been several years since I had a family and a place to come home to. I had been on my own with my own rules, doing what I chose to do and not answering to anyone. Was there a possibility that I could learn to like it here and someday love and be loved by these two strangers? 

I spent the rest of the day thinking and re-thinking what I should do. After dinner I decided to go up to my room and make a final decision. As I descended down the back stairs, I smiled and waved good bye to the old man’s house and to the two controlling strangers. 

I rode into town and headed to the saloon for a drink of tequila. I looked around and found a table at the corner hidden from the entrance. I signaled the bartender for a bottle of tequila which he promptly placed in front of me. I closed my eyes and savored the burning liquid proceeding down my throat. As I opened my eyes I saw my brother Scott standing next to me with his arms crossed and shaking his head.    

“Just what do you think you are doing little brother?” he questioned as he sat down. “This is the life I am used to living and I chose to remain in it.” I stated firmly. “Johnny you are a little boy who needs to be taken care of. Let’s go home.” he said as he reached for my arm. 

“No, Scott this is my home. I have been taking care of myself for five years and I do not need you or that old man trying to change and control me. Mama was right when she told me that Murdoch Lancer cared more for his precious ranch than me.” I replied. “You belong there. Go home Scott and let me live my own life.” 

“Johnny I wish I had known about you earlier so I could have been there to protect and take care of you. I realize the dramatic impact of meeting family that you never expected you had and having to adjust to demanding rules. Little brother it is my job to be here now and I will not let you go away.” he stated and reached for my arm. I pulled out my gun and remarked, “This has always protected me and I do not need or want you or that old man.” 

I had not noticed the old man standing near us until he replied, “Son you mean more to me than that ranch ever will. I spent nights worrying and crying for you. There were times when I felt desperate and wondered why your mother left me and took you away. I love you son. Please let your brother and I become your new family.” he pleated. 

Maybe that old man did care for me. I looked up from my seat and questioned them, “Do I have to follow your orders?” “Yes”, they both replied at the same time with a huge grin and love in their eyes. 

I was sure now that this was the place where I belonged along my brother and father’s side. I nodded my head and asked them to give me some time alone. I had to let go of my previous lonely life and accept these two strangers as my family. 

I saw my new family exit the saloon as I grabbed the tequila bottle and poured myself another drink. I did not need extra time alone to reach my decision, but rather to hide my emotions that were about to spill over with joy. I closed my eyes and said quietly to myself, ”They really want me. Mama, I have a family who cares for me.” 

Once again when I opened my eyes I saw Scott and my father standing by the saloon doors. As I grabbed for the bottle to pour myself another drink, I noticed both of them cross their arms and shake their heads. Before I realized what had happened both Scott and my father grabbed me up from my chair and led me out of the saloon. I realized that whatever destiny the future had in store for me, I would have my brother and father by my side. Those two bossy persons cared for me and even though I would not admit it, I enjoyed it.   

After breakfast my father proposed a toast to celebrate our coming together to form a family. He poured a glass of brandy for Scott and himself and ordered a glass of milk for me. I questioned him, “Milk, you must be kidding!” Scott interrupted and reasoned with our father, as he implied, “Sir, maybe just this time in order for Johnny to seal his agreement to become a family, he should be permitted to drink.” Papa looked at me and with a smiled agreed and poured me half a glass of brandy. Yes, I had made the right decision and my brother was indeed my best friend.   




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2 responses to “My Brother, My Friend by Ama”

  1. Great. Love it


  2. Thank you for sharing this perfect story with us.


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