He cried…the day he was born.
He cried….when his mother took him from the safety of his home.
He cried….when other children teased and beat him, because his eyes were not like theirs.
He cried….when he was old enough to understand the lies his mother had told about his father.
He cried ….when his mama violently died.
He cried…..when he was alone, scared and hungry.
He cried…..when he killed his first man, who wanted to kill him first.
He cried…on the inside for the men who had lost their lives after they had faced his gun.
He cried…..silently when he looked into his father’s eyes again, and that first night he spent in his bedroom when he was told it used to be his nursery.
Now sick with fever and far away from home, he lay there in that bed, with nobody to care for him but an old doctor, who visited him whenever he had the time. No one wanted to nursemaid the gunfighter they knew as Madrid. To them he was not worth the trouble to even give him a second thought, now that he was no longer a threat to them as sick as he was. And once again prejudice had reared its ugly head as they left him there in that stuffy dirty room to die….alone.
A young man entered the hotel and overheard the doctor saying to the clerk that Madrid’s chances were not good if that fever didn’t break soon.
The young man intruded on the conversation and anxiously asked, “Why is he sick, and where is he?”
The doctor looks at him confused and replied, “He’s upstairs, and he’s suffering from influenza, and is not responding to treatment. What’s it to you?”
The young man frowned at that remark, “It’s everything to me.” Then asked, as he looked around at the blank faces on the other occupants as they lingered about, “Who is caring for him while your not around?”
The old doc shrugged his shoulders, “Nobody. I guess they don’t care if he lives or not, he’s only a killer to them and not worth their trouble,” he coldly put it.
The young man’s face turned a bright shade of red, and his nostrils flared, “What kind of town is this?” he growled and grabbed the hotel clerk by the collar, “What room is he in?” he angrily demanded.
“204” The clerk whimpered
The young man stormed upstairs flinging the door open and was immediately appalled by the unsanitary condition of the room. He quickly opened the window for fresh air and turned to the doctor and clerk who stood there in the doorway astounded, and then harshly belted out orders.
“I want this room cleaned up with fresh bedding and water at all times. And I want it done NOW!” he shouted. “It’s no wonder he’s not responding, it’s a pigsty in here. He needs fresh air in his lungs and proper care.”
The clerk nervously took off to do what he was so rudely told to do, as the old doc stood there, shaking his head. “Why bother? He wouldn’t know the difference. He’s been in a fever induced coma for the last couple of days, and I highly doubt he’ll ever wake up,” he said, very uncaring for a man of medicine.
“Well, we’ll see about that! I for one don‘t give up as easy as others.” The young man proclaimed as he sat down on the bed, and proceeded to pull the covers down off Madrid’s heated body. He opened his shirt and began to tenderly wipe Johnny’s chest with a cool cloth.
The doctor watched in amazement at the love and compassion that generated out of this stranger for a man like Madrid, as he work on bringing down the fever that ravaged his thin weakened form. Then his eyes widened in more confusion, when he notice that within seconds the bleak, pale expression on the gunfighter’s face changed to a soft more relaxed look, and his dark eyelashes became moist.
“Is he crying?” the old man asked.
“Does that shock you?” the young man huffed backed. “He’s human too. And wouldn’t you cry too if you thought you were going to die alone and never see your family again? Those are tears of relief and contentment. He knows he’s not alone anymore, isn’t that right little brother?” Scott sadly said as he wiped the tears that trickled down his brother’s sunken cheeks.
“Brother, you say?” the old doc asked a little bewildered.
“So sorry I’m late in getting here, Brother” Scott went on, ignoring the incompetent doctor’s question. “And how in the world did you get so sick? Well no matter. I’m here now and I’ll make sure you get the proper care you need. And then we can go on home together where we belong.” He softly assured his sleeping sibling. Then looked up at the flabbergasted doctor. “I’ll be back in a moment.” he whispered in Johnny’s ear. “Outside now!” he ordered the man.
Scott shoved the stout medical man out the door leaving it open a crack. “Now see here!”
“No, you see here! When our father hears how you and this town have treated my brother, he’s going to have your license revoked, I‘ll make sure of it. No matter who or what you are or were, no man should have to suffer at the hands of incompetent, heartless bastards such as yourself.” The outraged Lancer loudly snarled in the doctor’s quivering face. “And his name is Lancer, get it right!”
Scott’s strong deep compassionate voice echoed back into the room, reaching his brother’s ears again, penetrating his fevered mind. A soft smile surfaced through the darkness and graced his pale face. No longer feeling alone, hated and afraid, now only feeling loved, and wanted for who he was, a brother, a son, John Lancer and again……he cried.