Saloons and Songs
Disclaimer: Lancer is owned by whoever owns the copyright now, but Johnny is mine. Just because. ;-)
This is a little something that came into my head today and I wrote it on one setting. The song is a rework of "Billy The Kid" from Marty Robbins' Gunfighter Ballads CD and was the inspiration for the fic. Totally unbetaed. i hope you all enjoy. Char :-)
Saloons and Songs:
It was just after sunset when Johnny and Scott Lancer rode into the sleepy little town of Salinas. Johnny's eyes took in the street. Only a few people were milling about on the sidewalks. "Hey Scott, there's the saloon," Johnny said as he pointed down the street to the noisiest building on the street. Music, laughter, and loud talking filtered onto the street as they hitched their horses to the rail. "Sounds like they're having a good time."
"Indeed it does, Brother. I believe we should join them for some libations."
Johnny's blue eyes narrowed as he stared at his brother. "I don't know about that. I was thinking of some tequila myself."
Scott pulled his gloves off and tucked them in his belt. "Yes. What was I thinking," he drolly answered as he followed his brother into the saloon.
Johnny stopped just inside the batwing doors of the saloon, his eyes taking in the scene before him. The smoky room, a few saloon girls in low cut green dresses and black feathers in their hair, a poker game to his right. He could tell that the players were local cowhands. Nothing much to worry about except perhaps a fist fight or two. A few more men loitered at the bar and a table to the left. A half smile crossed Johnny's face as he noticed all of the men wore their guns way to high.
He headed to his left and a corner table. Sitting with his back to the wall, Johnny looked across the room at the small group of musicians -- a guitar and piano player who were engaged in a rousing rendition of Buffalo Gals.
"Lively little group," Scott said as he sat down to Johnny's left, placing his hat in an empty chair. He smiled as a small hand touched his shoulder and looked up into a pair of beautiful green eyes. "Hello."
"What'll ya have boys?" the buxom blonde asked as her hand massaged Scott's shoulders.
"Tequila," Johnny said pointing at himself. "He'll have a lie...bay...shun."
"A what?" she asked.
"A beer," Scott added with a roll of his eyes. "So, Brother, once we've quenched our thirst we need to find a bed. Here or at the hotel?"
Johnny grinned at a couple of girls including the one bringing their drinks back. "Here has definite possibilities." He held up his glass at his brother like a toast.
"That it does, that it does," Scott agreed. "Of course, we need to meet with Matthew Peterson about that bull Murdoch sent us to look at, so we might need some rest."
Johnny started to answer when the Mexican cords of the guitar caught his attention. He watched as the sandy haired guitar player spoke to the crowd.
Strumming the guitar, the man started "I'm going to play a song about a young man. A gunman by trade, and good at it he was with those eyes of cold steel and his lightning fast draws. This is a song popular along the border right now ...
I'll sing you a true song of Johnny
I'll sing of some desperate deeds that he did
Johnny's eyes narrowed as he watched the singer. He knew his brother sat rigidly to his side. What was Scott going to hear about him?
Way out in New Mexico long long ago
When a man's only chance was his own forty-four.
Scott watched Johnny's face but there was nothing to see. As soon as his name was mentioned, Madrid was in the room, an unreadable mask over Johnny's thoughts and emotions.
When Johnny Madrid was a very young
In old Silver City he went to the bad
Way out in the West with a gun in his hand
At the age of twelve years he did kill his first man.
Johnny's eyes dropped to the table. His finger running the rim of his glass as he tried to keep his breathing level. His first kill ... it hadn't been a gun fight. That hellish night was seared in his mind forever. Some scars never heal.
Scott worried about Johnny as he watched
the small muscle in his jaw flexing. Was the veneer about to crack? Was the
singer right? Had Johnny's first kill came when he was that young? He had to
have been young; he was still young at just twenty.
There's Mexican maidens play guitars and sing
Songs about Johnny, their boy bandit king,
Ere his young manhood has reached his sad end
With a notch on his pistol for thirty one men!
Thirty-one? Scott watched Johnny as a small smile crept into his lips. He wondered more about this brother of his. What secrets hid behind that mask of Johnny's, and would he ever know them?
Was on a sad day when poor Johnny died
Johnny looked back up, a full grin breaking out on his face as he leaned back in his chair, hands on his stomach. He wanted to hear this.
He said to his friend, "I'm not
There's thirty one men I have put bullets through
Captain Gutierrez must make thirty two!"
"Thirty-two?" Scott whispered.
I'll sing you how Johnny Madrid met
The bright sun was shinin', the hour was late
Shot down by Rurales along with four men
The young outlaw's life is now come to an end.
"I'd say this isn't exactly the true song of Johnny Madrid," Scott whispered again.
"Close enough," Johnny answered softly before he downed his drink. If Murdoch's Pinkerton had been a minute later the song would be true. He would have joined those four other men dead at the hands of a Mexican firing squad. He remembered how he felt that day, how he had not cared. He wasn't scared of dying. No, Johnny had long ago come to terms with dying. He was scared of leaving his friends unprotected. Scared of leaving his life unfulfilled, especially of never having confronted his sire, but he was never scared of dying. And, despite everything he felt he had not accomplished, that morning kneeling on the hard ground, he was numb of feelings and almost relieved. That scared him more than the thought of death had.
There's many a man with a face fine
Who start out in life with a chance to be square
Just like poor Johnny they wander astray
They'll lose their lives in the very same way!
Johnny stood. "Let's go to the hotel, Boston."
Nodding, Scott stood, grabbed his hat and gloves, and followed his brother toward the door.
Johnny stopped, pulled a few coins from his pocket and tossed them at the singer's hat. "Good song. Thanks," he said in his soft drawl before leaving the saloon. Johnny looked up at the almost full moon as he let the cool night air envelop him.
"Are you alright?" Scott asked.
"Are you sure? That song --"
"Was just a song. Leave it, okay?"
"I thought you would've corrected the man."
Johnny shrugged. "What's to correct?" He unhitched Barranca and started leading him towards the livery. "We need to bed them down first. Then we can get a room for us."
Scott grabbed his horse and followed his brother, not letting him change the subject. "What's to correct? We'll let's see ... you're not dead for one."
"Almost was. Would've been if not for Murdoch. Might be a good thing if people think Johnny Madrid is dead. Might give Johnny Lancer more of a chance."
Scott thought about his brother's words as they bedded the horses down for the night and paid the livery man their keep.
"Would'a liked another drink but ... well ... it was just time to leave. Maybe tomorrow, though," Johnny said on their way to the hotel.
"I'll make sure to request other songs," Scott said with a wink.
"Johnny?" Scott started hesitantly.
Johnny stared at his brother. They had become close in the six months since they'd met on a stage, but he knew his brother had questions. A grin crossed his face again. "Tell ya what, Boston. Once we get in the room, I'll tell ya about Johnny Madrid, but I gotta warn ya. He did a lot of bad things ... and ... had a lot of bad things done to him."
Scott nodded as he shot his little brother a sad smile. "Well, since I know the story has a happy ending, I can handle the rough spots."
"Yeah? C'mon then and I'll tell ya the 'true story of Johnny Madrid'. Just don't expect me to sing it to you."