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What The Hell Is A Yankton? by d. b. brisbin

Word Count 749

 The cattlemen were abuzz.  Released from the constraints of their convention for the day, most had settled into the swanky hotel saloon for some ‘serious’ poker. 

 Johnny had been looking forward to this part of the day, all day.  He had a pretty good stake as he had won a lot of money from the initial one thousand dollars in listenin’ money from Murdoch last year.  He had turned it into about five thousand dollars in the last year, with his gunfighter’s poker face.

 As he picked up his drink from the bar, preparing to scan the room and look for his ‘best shot’ at a profitable game, a burly rancher came up to him and put his hand on his shoulder.

 “Now Yankton, I don’t want you pullin’ any of your big bluffs in here tonight.  You’re a married man now and married to MY little girl.  If you think I hit like a mule kicks, you just lose your stake and see just how much like her daddy she really is!  Another thing.  You be careful.  Murdoch Lancer’s brought his youngest boy here and he’s a gunfighter, or was.  I know you’ve heard of Johnny Madrid.  So you be careful around him.  Murdoch told me he was a good boy and that he’s workin’ hard to change his lifestyle, but I know how you seem to find your way into more scrapes, and that’s just one we don’t want happenin’.”

 Johnny stared at the man.  He was very unused to having anyone grab him and ‘what the hell was a Yankton?’

 “Mister, I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but nobody grabs me like that.  I don’t know who or what the hell, Yankton is, but my name is Johnny, Johnny Lancer and I used to be Johnny Madrid.”

 “What kind of fool game are you playin’ boy?”

 About that time, there was a loud commotion, distracting the two men.  A fight had broken out and Johnny saw Murdoch and Scott grabbing hold of, of, of HIM?

 He ran over to them when ‘his’ opponent broke free of the two men holding him.  Johnny recognized him as a ranch hand that he personally had fired from Lancer a few months back. 

 “Madrid, I’m not through with you.  Don’t go runnin’ off to hide behind your big rancher daddy now!”

 Johnny saw the shocked expression on ‘his’ face and stepped up in front of the opponent and tucked his jacket back out of the way of the low slung Colt. 

“Well, Wink, I don’t believe I’m hidin’ behind anybody.”

 The room fell as silent as the undertaker’s parlor. 

 Wink looked at Johnny and then back at the man Scott and Murdoch held.  They were staring at him and then looked down and up at him again.

 “Johnny?”  Murdoch and Scott both recognized the familiar Colt in the low-slung holster and realized that the ‘Johnny’ they were holding on to, wasn’t even wearing a gun.

 The other big rancher, when he saw the gun, looked at the Johnny that Murdoch and Scott were holding and yelled, “Yankton?”

 As the real Yankton looked up, the town marshal entered the hotel with two deputies who sent the crowd away.  As he approached, Wink looked at the real Johnny, whose hand was a little too close for comfort to that deadly Colt, and told the marshal, “Sorry sir, just a case of mistaken identity,” As he turned away.  Satisfied with that, the marshal left them alone. 

 Scott and Murdoch had released Yankton, noticing the wedding ring on his finger. 

 Johnny looked at Yankton and Yankton at Johnny.  Dressed in their suits, they were pretty much identical, especially since neither was wearing a tie. 

 Simultaneously, they broke into laughter. The white of their near perfect teeth and dancing blue eyes were amazingly the same. 

 Johnny stuck out his hand, “Johnny Ma…, I mean Johnny Lancer.”


 “Your momma wasn’t Mexican, was she?”  Johnny laughed and took a quick look at Murdoch. 


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