by GSister

Main Character: JD

Disclaimer: These Characters do not belong to me (but if they did, I'D share… probably.) That said, this story was written purely for self entertainment and no money is being made, has changed hands, or has been paid out for the contents therein. Special thanks to my Betas Van, and "S", (who has threatened me with a Death by Larabee-Glare if I mention her by more than that). Van is so good at finding and plugging plot holes that I never notice until she points out – if any are left it’s purely my fault. And it's totally S’s fault that I got into fan fiction in the first place. Without her encouragement (nagging), constructive criticism, and long talks on characterization, I might still be writing pathetically depressing purple poetry, and what prose I did write, would NEVER be finished…

Author’s Note: This is most properly called a Song Fic in that it was inspired by a song. The song is not mentioned in the story, nor is it included in anyway. For those that are interested, I will include the chorus and first verse at the end; for those not interested, please feel free to skip them.

No actual mountains were harmed in the creation of this story.

~Constructive Criticism will be graciously accepted

~Flames will be used to toast marshmallows

“And with a last tip of his hat, the Cactus Kid rode off into the sunset, and yodeled the stars into the night sky.” J.D. Dunne closed the yellow-backed novel with a sigh. Sometimes he wished life were more like the stories of the west he had grown up with. Stories where the hero always gets the girl, the good guys always win, justice always triumphs over evil. He snorted. Of course, his friend, Buck Wilmington, would tell him that he – Buck – ALWAYS got the girl, and wasn’t he hero enough for anybody? But everyone knew Buck was full of crap. Four Corners taught him not only wasn’t life always the way it was portrayed in the ‘penny dreadfuls’, as Ezra called them, but sometimes the books out and out lied. ‘Boy,’ he thought, ‘it sure would be great to yodel like the hero in them books.’ He’d heard Ezra yodel once. He wasn’t half bad. He’d heard Ezra give a Rebel Yell, too. ‘’Course, he was drunk at the time… Maybe that explained it. Maybe you had to be from the South to be able to yodel.’ He wondered if Vin knew how… He sighed again and swung his feet down from the desk. It was time to patrol.

He made his way from the jail to the livery, exchanging greetings with the citizens of Four Corners. There were perks to being Sheriff, even if most people saw him as sheriff in name only. Chris Larabee was the real leader of the seven men who kept the peace in Four Corners. He along with Chris’s longtime friend and one-time partner, Buck Wilmington; Nathan Jackson, the closest the town had to a real doctor; Ezra Standish, gambler, and one-time con man; Josiah Sanchez, a preacher who had turned his back on his faith only to find that his faith never turned its back on him; and Vin Tanner, an ex-buffalo hunter turned bounty hunter who found himself wrongly accused; had agreed to stay in town to help its brand new green horn Sheriff, J.D. Dunne, keep the peace for room and board and a dollar a day. J.D. was pretty sure the town was getting the better part of the deal.

He tucked his book into the saddlebag thrown over his saddle as he prepared his mount. He was still glad that he had managed to find a horse that didn’t spook at the sound of gunfire, like the first horse he had rented when he had jumped off the stage in what was then a wild little western town. He’d had to sell the saddle that his first employer had let him buy off of the stables he’d used to work at; he’d been lucky to find an Englishman in the Territories that was complaining about having to put up with the “crippling saddles that the heathens of the west insisted upon torturing a well-bred Englishman with” on his tour of the Wild West. J.D. had been glad – there was no place out here for the low-backed English-style saddle that J.D. had arrived with. As he had quickly found out, there was nothing to help keep a body in the saddle when a wild, green-broke horse would rear or buck at something that startled it. With a last tug to tighten the cinch, and a pat to the beautiful little gelding that he called his own, J.D. mounted up and set off out of town at a trot.

As he rode, his thoughts circled back to their original topic. Maybe Ezra would teach him to yodel. He quickly negated that thought. He still couldn’t even get Ezra to admit that he could yodel. Maybe he could figure it out himself? He looked around. ‘Nothing out here but some lizards and cactuses. Or was that cacti?’ He wasn’t sure… Before he let himself get carried away trying to figure it out, he let the matter drop. Maybe he could teach himself? His mother used to tell him that there was nothing he couldn’t do if he didn’t try. And if it didn’t work, he should try again a different way. Only then could he say he couldn’t do it.

‘So the first order of business,' J.D. thought to himself… He liked that expression. It sounded so business-like when he’d heard Ezra and Judge Travis use it. ‘Kind of lawyer-like. Important. So the first order of business is to make sure no one is around.’ That no one was around to interrupt or, more likely, tease the daylights out of him. Like the guys mooing at him whenever Casey came around. It took weeks before he could look her in the eyes again… So – around the middle of the patrol, that would place him about Bellow’s Canyon, nothing out there but scrub brush and some rocks. That would be a good place to stop and take a break. ‘And try out my yodeling skills…’

Ok, so what were the words Ezra had used… oh, yeah, something like… yodel lodel lodel ay he hoo. ‘Course Ezra could yodel a song. Make it go up and down in a tune and all. Maybe I should start small…’

J.D. stopped his trusty mount and took a swig of water from his canteen. He looked around carefully. It would be too easy to arrange an ambush on an unsuspecting traveler among all these rocks, but there were no signs that another person had been by here for days. He dismounted, and taking another sip from his canteen, took off his hat and poured a measure of water into it. This he held like a bowl for his horse to drink from. It wasn’t much, but he knew better than to let his horse get dehydrated any more than himself. After all, it was a long walk back to Four Corners.

He took a deep breath, and lost his nerve before he could attempt a yodel. With a disgusted snort at himself, he took another deep breath, and before letting it out, tried to inhale as much as he could again, before finally letting it out with a loud, “Yodeleleleleleee!!” He coughed as the sound squeaked to a halt. Not quite what he had in mind.

He took another deep breath, and let it out with a “Yodel ladle ladle loo!” That went better. Still not perfect, but better.

“Yodel ladle yodel oodle yodel lay hee hoo!” ‘Nice and loud, that one… and the echo back was real interesting. Uh oh… was that…’ There was a rumble of a distant rock slide. ‘Oops. Didn’t mean for THAT to happen…’

He took another deep breath, as deep as he could, and tried for a tune this time. “Yodel lodel yodel lodel yodel lodel ladle lodel ladel leedle lodel…ack!” ‘That one hurt, damn it!’

“Mister! Hey mister! I give up already! Hey, Mister!”

J.D. whirled around, pulling his sidearm as he moved. Coming out of the rocks to his right and slightly behind him, stood a thin, grizzled man, his hands raised, one hand holding a pistol by the barrel, pointing down, using two fingers and his thumb.

J.D. took a cautious step towards him, keeping his gun on him but turning himself to keep it out of reach as he reached with the other hand to grab the gun in the raised hand. He couldn’t believe it. This was Black Jack Peters, the last in the gang of four that had hit the bank in Eagle Bend last week. Vin had tracked this guy for three days before losing the trail in the mountains north of here. If the guys had any idea he was out here, they never would have let J.D. ride a patrol alone. Well, if he were honest with himself, he knew Chris would have doubled up the patrols for everyone. The guys had figured Black Jack was long gone by now.

“I give up already! Just promise me you’ll stop that noise! It’s like to deafen a man!”

“What are you doing out here?” J.D. asked.

“I was figuring on ambushing the first traveler that came along, but then you started bringing down the mountain and all…” Peters explained, as J.D. guided him over to where J.D. could reach the rope from his saddle to tie his hands. Once his hands were tied, J.D. did a careful search, checking the places that he knew Ezra and the others used to hide everything from lock picks to knives to extra cards. He even checked the places that Buck and Vin had told him where fugitives sometimes secreted items that neither Vin nor Buck themselves would hide things, for various reasons. He found nothing, not even bullets for the gun. He checked Peters’s gun – it was empty. He was sure he had found the real reason the man had given himself up so easily then. No ammunition, most likely no food, probably no water. Depending on how long the outlaw was without water in the arid, back country landscape, it wasn’t a guarantee that Peters could best J.D. in a fight. So Black Jack had decided to be sensible about things.

J.D. tied his prisoner to his horse, and gave him the canteen just long enough for him to have a quick sip of water. After all, it was a long walk back to Four Corners. He then mounted his gelding, and decided on the shortest way back to town. Keeping to a walk, at most a trot if his prisoner proved troublesome, they had hours to go before they arrived back in the town. The guys would be worrying.

As they neared Four Corners, J.D. turned in the saddle to level one last warning at his prisoner. “Not a word about my yodeling. You hear me? Or I’ll make sure that everyone knows that you gave up on account of some bad singing.”

‘I can just see it now. The guys would never let me hear the end of it. And Josiah would say something about the Mountain coming to Mohammad or something like that when he heard about the rock slide and Buck… Buck would tease me about how my singing was so bad, it scared the bad guys right out of their hiding places. I don’t even want to think what Chris or Vin or … oh God, EZRA would come up with.’

“You came up on me unawares as I was trying to catch a snake for lunch. I swear.”

“Alright, then,” J.D. nodded, and the two entered the town, heading for the jail.

“Whatcha got there, J.D.?” Chris asked, standing up from his seat in front of the jail house.

“Black Jack Peters. Found him in Bellow’s Canyon.”

“Now how the hell’d you do that?” Buck asked, coming up to them from the Saloon.

“Just lucky, I guess,” J.D. answered, not wanting to have to lie.

“Well, get him in here while I go wire the judge,” Chris ordered as J.D. dismounted. J.D. nodded and proceeded to do just that.

“Remember, not one word,” he warned, when he was alone in the jail locking up Peters.

“Do I look stupid to you? Like anyone would believe me anyway. Leastaways, not until you started to sing…”

“Ah, Hell…” ‘Guess you had to be from the South, after all…’

el fin

Comments to: gsister@optimum.net

Oh I wish that I could yodel
I want to yodel so.
Yodel lady, yodel lady yodel lady-o.
And if that I could yodel,
I’d yodel all day through,
Yodel lady, yodel lady, yodel lady-oo.

One day out on the Range, I was yodeling while riding,
A bad man came up, from the place where he was hiding,
He was a critter the law was looking for,
He said he would surrender if I didn’t sing no more.

Oh I wish that I could yodel
I want to yodel so.
Yodel lady, yodel lady yodel lady-o.
And if that I could yodel,
I’d yodel all day through,
Yodel lady, yodel lady, yodel lady-oo.