Chance Met

By Helen Adams

Originally a reply to a challenge to write a 100 word scene crossing over Mag7 with another show. I chose Bonanza and decided to expand this into a 1000 word story ten 100 word scenes. Sort of a deca-drabble. J

Moved to Blackraptor November 2009


Two riders sighed in relief as they rode into the town of Cedar Ridge. The dry ground beneath them seemed to be rising, the ripples of heat floating from the surface to wrap them in a devil's embrace.

Hoss Cartwright blew out a tired breath. "Lordy, it's a scorcher today. Feel like I could drain a saloon dry all by m'self."

"Just be sure and save some beer for me," Joe reminded, fanning his shirt in an attempt to cool his sweat soaked chest.

Hoss grinned. "Well, maybe just a glass or two."

Little Joe snorted. "You're all heart, brother."


~*~*~*~*~

Two observers watched the new arrivals.

"Look at the size of that'n on the left," Vin Tanner commented with a low whistle.

Ezra Standish was equally impressed. "He could give Yosemite a run for his money. I, for one, would not care to enmesh myself in a brawl with him."

"Reckon that won't happen, 'less he's cranky from the heat," Vin suggested. "What about the little'n?"

"Hard to judge, and I would say he's about our size. His companion simply makes him appear diminutive."

"Headin' for the saloon."

Ezra smiled. "I could use a drink."

Vin grinned back. "Me too."

~*~*~*~*~

"Good day gentlemen.
Can I interest you in a game of chance?"

Joe and Hoss looked up at the smooth southern voice. A well dressed man with vivid green eyes and a crooked grin was doing intricate one-handed card shuffles, the action making the fellow next to him, a blue eyed man in buckskins, smile.

"I dunno," Hoss said doubtfully. "Looks to me like you might be one of them cardsharps lookin' for an easy mark."

Surprising them, the man laughed. "Most perceptive, my friend. Perhaps a cool beer then?"

Joe grinned at them. "Pull up a chair."

"Thank you."


~*~*~*~*~


Ezra held out a hand. "Ezra Standish and this is my friend Vin."

"Joe Cartwright; my brother Hoss."

"Brothers, truly?"


Joe nodded. "So, what brings you over? There's a poker game in full swing in the corner."

Vin answered, "Reckon it's habit to keep track of new folks. Make sure there ain't gonna be no trouble."

The Cartwrights exchanged a questioning look. "You're the law here?" Hoss guessed.

"Not here," Ezra assured him. "The nearby town of Four Corners."

Joe grinned. "And you thought we looked like a couple of desperate characters?"

Ezra laughed. "Indeed. Desperate for some mental stimulation."


~*~*~*~*~


Watching as Ezra smoothly shuffled the cards, Joe reached into his shirt and pulled out a well-filled money clip, ignoring his brother's groan.

Noting that Ezra's eyes had lit up at the sight of the cash, Vin cautioned, "Take it easy, pard. This'n might be a sharp his own self."

Hoss burst out with a hearty guffaw, earning himself an annoyed scowl from Joe.

"I'm a rancher," Joe said sulkily, then brightened, "but a pretty mean card player."

Ezra smiled, gesturing toward the half empty game table behind them. "Well then, shall we test that claim?"

Joe grinned. "You're on."


~*~*~*~*~


The game was going well. Ezra was pleased that his new acquaintance presented something of a challenge.

"Four of a kind," Joe said, laying down his cards with a flourish.

Ezra smirked. "A good hand, but not good enough; straight flush, Queen high."

Joe whistled appreciatively.

"Damned cheat!"

Ezra's smile froze. "Excuse me?"

Another player jumped up. "I said you're cheating! Ever since you sat down, you and your friend have won every hand!"

Three other players decided this was a good point. Two grabbed Ezra, who promptly threw an elbow, and then a punch as all hell broke loose.

~*~*~*~*~

Two sets of clear blue eyes met across the table, twin expressions of exasperation shining in each face as they clinked their beer glasses together, knocked the drinks back and stood.

The fight had gotten off to a spectacular start and the two men had watched as their friend and brother each held his own against the crowd of drunken cowboys. Unfortunately things were now getting ugly.

Vin Tanner sighed. "They had to call Ezra a cheat."

Hoss Cartwright shook his head. "And Little Joe cain't stand an unfair fight."

Straightening their hats, the two men exchanged a purposeful nod.


~*~*~*~*~

Ezra lifted a raw steak away from his face, gingerly touching the bruised flesh around his eye. "We had the situation well in hand."

Nodding, Joe gingerly worked his own sore jaw. "Yep. Couple more minutes we'd have taken 'em. No need for these two to try and help us."

"Well, Mister Tanner is a touch sensitive to anyone being falsely accused in his presence."

"Yeah, and my brother Hoss can't stand what he views as an unfair fight."

Looking at the bunks in their adjoining cells, each holding one of their snoring rescuers, the two green eyed men smiled.


~*~*~*~*~

In the nearby town of Four Corners, Adam Cartwright folded a telegram and handed it to his father. "Joe and Hoss are in jail in Cedar Ridge."


Ben just sighed. "Can you finish up negotiations for that stud bull on your own?"

"Of course."

"
Your brothers didn't happen to get in a bar fight did they?" Chris Larabee was torn between annoyance and amusement as he read over his own telegram.

"Your men were involved too?" Adam chuckled, having come to know and like the peacekeepers over the past several days.

The two men in black exchanged a rueful headshake.


~*~*~*~*~

Two gray haired men shook their heads, observing the disheveled state of those they'd arrived to bail out. All four were standing at the bars looking chagrined.

"What did Chris tell you about getting into trouble?" Josiah asked.

"Not to," Vin muttered.

"It wasn't our fault, Pa," Joe tried, fixing Ben with a pleading look.

Ezra pointed. "They began the altercation. We merely finished it."

"They wasn't fightin' fair, Pa," Hoss added.

Observing the third cell, fairly overflowing with battered, hung-over cowboys, Ben and Josiah exchanged an amused look. The four younger men straightened indignantly when together they muttered, "Kids."


The End