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Madrid’s Gun: The Morning After by EJ

Word Count

a Sequel to Madrid’s Gun

Note: Suggest reading Madrid’s Gun first to understand what is happening in this story.

L * A * N * C * E * R

The enticing aromas of breakfast usually brought three hungry Lancer men willingly to the kitchen table; but not this morning. Each man had his own reasons for dreading this morning’s conversation. 

Dragging himself into the kitchen, Murdoch wasn’t surprised to find that he was the first to arrive. With all the turmoil from last night he certainly didn’t expect any smiling faces this morning. All the confidence he felt before finally falling into a restless sleep, fled as he readied himself to face breakfast with his sons. Shaking his head at the prospect, he was forced to admit it was not sons but the son with the hated gun.

Greeted by a sympathetic Maria holding a cup of coffee, Murdoch offered what was at best a poor excuse of a smile. After last night’s fiasco, he was certain that she would understand his request for her. “Maria, after breakfast will you give us some time alone?” 

“Sí Patrón, I will tend the garden.” Maria smiled warmly and patted his arm.

Feeling like the weight of the world was on his shoulders, he carefully sipped the hot brew. Alone with his thoughts, he admitted his selfish feelings of gratitude that Teresa was still in Stockton visiting Audra Barkley. Even more relieved that she hadn’t witnessed the events of last night, especially his own actions and words.

While waiting for his boys’ arrival, he sent a quick prayer that Scott would be down before Johnny. The despair he felt this morning made him feel like a coward at the prospect of facing his younger son alone.   

Exhaling, Murdoch stared into his coffee cup. Was he expecting it to hold the answers he needed? Sadly there were none to be found. He also found little comfort in the usual sounds of Maria fixing breakfast. In fact those sounds only frayed his ragged emotions. How can the outside feel normal when the inside is ragging like a lion waiting to pounce? Was that how he felt with Johnny? Was he waiting to pounce or was he waiting for Johnny to pounce?

Wishing his cup held more than coffee, he looked longingly toward the great room. No, I don’t need it. He grimaced as he took another sip of his now cooling coffee.  He did manage a nod of appreciation as Maria warmed his coffee. 

Staring at his fingers holding the cup he wondered, he was so certain last night that he had come to terms with the gun. Now this morning that certainty had all but abandoned him. Why was he allowing all those old, nagging doubts and fears to invade this morning’s plan? Why? He shook his head in frustration and scowled at his own weakness. In fact, he knew his biggest fear, but he just couldn’t, no didn’t want to admit it. He took a long drink of coffee to wash down that last thought.

Frustrated, he set the cup down harder than he had intended, causing some of the coffee to splash onto the table. Frowning, he muttered, “Can nothing go right this morning?”

This trip to the table Maria brought a rag and mopped up the coffee, “It will be all right,” she smiled. Then patting his hand she confidently assured him, “Your sons love you,” and returned to her stove. 

Hoping beyond hope that she was right, he glanced toward the stairs, and sent another quick prayer that Scott would arrive soon. He didn’t want to spend anymore time alone with his thoughts. No such reprieve arrived and he was alone, tormented with his imagination.

It all came down to words. Shuddering, he was forced to admit that it was HIS words; they always seemed to be inflammatory. Swallowing the bile that threatened, he was forced to face his fear, that once again he would probably say the wrong thing. No matter his intentions, the wrong words erupted like a volcano and it was all downhill from there. Why? All the while he so desperately wanted to say the right words. Words of understanding, words of support, and what Johnny truly needed, words of acceptance. Was it really so hard to accept his son? Or was it Madrid he couldn’t accept?

He sucked in a breath, there was another word. The word both sons needed to hear but that he found the hardest to say. Again he questioned why? At that simple question his grip tightened on the coffee cup, had he forgotten how to say it? Or was it that he was afraid to say it aloud?

These troubling thoughts were thankfully interrupted when he heard Scott’s steps on the stairway. He almost sighed in relief and gratitude as his older son entered the kitchen.

Scott nodded toward his father and couldn’t help noticing the gaunt face. After accepting the coffee with a nod of thanks; he took his place at the table. Keeping a neutral expression, “Good morning, sleep well?” He took a sip, using the cup to hide the sudden smirk at his father’s expression.

 “NO!” Immediately regretting his outburst, “Sorry son it’s not your fault I didn’t sleep well.” Slowly his anger dissipated and a sadness replaced it, “I’m sorry Scott. It’s just,” Murdoch hesitated, “I just want to say the right thing this morning, and to apologize to Johnny about last night.” 

Scott nodded acceptance of the apology as he sent his own prayer for a peaceful resolution of the issue of the gun. In his mind it was not just the gun but also Madrid that had his father in such an uproar.


Upstairs, Johnny leaned his ear to the door listening for the sound of big brother leaving his room. After waiting to give Scott time to at least get some coffee, he eased open the door and cat footed it down the hallway. Creeping to the top of the stairs he heard his father’s and brother’s voices. Using an old gunfighter trick, Johnny sat on the top step to hear the conversation. He had learned that hard lesson a long time ago; it never hurts to prepare for the coming fight. In this case it would be the usual fight with the Ol’Man. Well, so much for a peaceful breakfast this morning, not that he was really expecting peace. 


Leaning over his coffee cup, Murdoch sighed, “I didn’t sleep well last night.” 

“Nor did I.” Scott ran his finger over the rim of the coffee cup. He wasn’t going to ease the situation, that was Murdoch’s job. He caused it, he needs to solve it. I am not a meditator this morning. 

“Scott I don’t want to fight anymore.” Defeated, he lowered his head, “Last night I did some soul searching.” Not sure how to continue, he took another sip of coffee hoping Scott might offer something.

Looking into his older son’s face and hoping for support, he continued. “Those reports just kept playing out in my mind, all the gun fights, all the deaths, and all in Madrid’s wake.” In agony, Murdoch’s voice cracked, but he couldn’t let his emotions sour the conversation. He waited but as before, nothing. Was he alone in this? Would there be no help from Scott?

Forcing himself to take a deep breath, knowing this was all or nothing. It was time it all came out. Murdoch leaned back and placed his hands on the table. Then stared into Scott’s eyes, “Do you know why he was in front of the firing squad?”

Scott shook his head, “No sir you have never deemed it a topic for discussion.” No matter how shocked he was by the question, he was going to stay in control of his part of the conversation.


Johnny cringed, he didn’t want Scott to hear this, he wished he could somehow will Murdoch to drop the subject. He didn’t want Scott to know, not after what he went through during the war. He was sure firing squads were nothing new to his brother.

Only his own need to know what his father really thought about the firing squad kept him from running down the stairs to stop the telling. Shaking his head, they shouldn’t always put Scott in the middle of it. 

Wrapping his arms around his chest and bowing his head, he wondered would this morning end Johnny Madrid’s hope that Johnny Lancer would have a home and family?


At this point here was no turning back, Murdoch launched into the details as he knew them. “Well,” he hesitated a second, remembering his own shock when reading the final report. “Johnny was helping poor villagers who were suffering under a corrupt Don and the Federal Troops working for him.” He questioned the lack of expression on his older son’s face, “Does that surprise you?”

“No, no more than I would have expected of my brother.” Scott took another sip of coffee trying to control his own emotions, and waited for the rest of the story. He would give no quarter, Murdoch needed to come on his own to the fact of Johnny Madrid and the gun.


Considering the relationship developing between his sons; the answer didn’t surprise Murdoch. At the same time he intensely regretted not sharing that same relationship with his younger son. He needed to stop dwelling on what he didn’t have and move on to what he may have. He faced Scott, and like Johnny would say, ’get it said Ol’Man’.

“My first thought was, ‘how could poor villagers afford an expensive gunfighter like Madrid?’” He was shamed by the way he always thought of Madrid in the negative. “I have to admit, I was curious how that had come about.” Scott still just stared at him. Does Scott share that same curiosity; probably not.

Giving up on getting a response he continued. “Well, the answer came in the final report where I learned the whole story.” After pausing for effect and hoping at last for some kind of response. “Madrid didn’t do it for money.”

“He did it for his people.” Scott calmly but firmly replied. “Johnny’s heart isn’t about money, it’s about people. People without Madrid’s help had no hope.”

Smiling at Scott’s response, leave it to his older son to voice the true reason. Murdoch wished he was able to so easily trust and believe in Johnny. Hopeful that Scott finally joined in the conversation, Murdoch nodded in agreement. “His pay was to share what little food the villagers had and a place to sleep.” 

Telling his older son about Madrid was a release, but it didn’t free him from the sad fact that he needed to acknowledge to himself that Madrid did the right thing. Then he needed to tell Johnny he had done the right thing for the villagers. He questioned why it was so hard for him to do such a simple thing?

Once again Murdoch stared into the coffee cup seeking answers. Scott accepts Johnny, all of him, where I have difficulty accepting Madrid. Scott talks to Johnny where I end up yelling. But not this morning, not if I can help it. I will get it said. He closed his eyes, Please Lord, give me the right words, I don’t want to lose my younger son.


Breaking into his father’s reverie, Scott brought Murdoch back to the subject at hand. “Knowing Johnny, that makes perfect sense. Just look at the way he is with people.” Scott leaned toward his father to make his point, “People who are looked down on or shunned by the so called elite, those are the ones Johnny helps and supports. They know they can count on him to be there for them when no one else will. And he asks nothing in return. I don’t know many men who are so giving, especially after the life that was forced onto Johnny.” 


Johnny smiled, it sure felt good hearing his brother stick up for him. Why couldn’t his father? That’s what saddened him, what gave him so many doubts that he truly belonged at Lancer.

He needed Murdoch to stop the telling, Scott didn’t need to hear all that stuff. Ol’Man just leave, start handing out orders, you like giving orders. You sure like ordering me around.

Frowning and fighting the rising anger, he really didn’t want to hear Murdoch telling Scott the details in those reports on Madrid. It was bad enough knowing Murdoch read them. He huffed out, it was bad enough living and almost dying as Madrid.


Murdoch gripped his coffee cup again, the emotions were close to overwhelming him. Mostly concerned at how what comes next will affect Scott. 

“Before the firing squad,” He swallowed hard trying to keep the words from choking him. “He was in a Mexican prison for over a month.” The words rushed out.


What? No! Johnny hung his head.

Why, shaking his head, why did he have to tell Scott about the prison? What would listening to that do to Scott? Johnny hugged himself even tighter, rocking back and forth, whispering, “Don’t tell. Don’t tell, don’t go dragging Scott into it.”

Johnny didn’t want to hear anymore, but unfortunately the Ol’Man had already told too much.  Well, at least now I’ll know what he really thinks of me.


The words had rushed out, it was like they couldn’t be stopped even if Murdoch had wanted to. “Those places are hellholes. The prisoners are beaten and starved.” Both men stared at each other, Murdoch knew he was the cause of the shocked expression on his older son’s face.  Finally at Scott’s nod, he continued, “They used any and every means necessary to take their revenge out on Madrid. They hated him and wanted to make sure he could never defy them again. That he could never again be a hero to the people.” He felt like he was on a runaway horse, he knew he was hurting Scott but was unable to stop the words, they just poured out. Only thing he could be thankful for was at least Johnny wasn’t hearing it.


Dismayed by Murdoch’s revelation, Scott fought for control. Learning about the firing squad, that was bad enough but prison too. This was too close to his past. Overwrought, he gripped the coffee cup needing to hold something solid to keep his hands from shaking.

Yet Johnny’s experiences were-different. At least I was in a declared war, a soldier fighting with other soldiers. Scott bowed his head over the cup, Johnny was one man fighting for his people against a corrupt system. He tried to control his emotions; aware they were probably obvious to his father. Thankfully Johnny wasn’t down yet to hear the conversation.

His brother didn’t deserve what happened to him. How did he come through all that and remain sane? He was constantly amazed by Johnny; his eyes are not dead like he had seen in other men ravaged by war. 

The information his father disclosed didn’t lessen the impact, but it did provide an experience they shared in common. A kind of starting place for the brothers. For some perverse reason he found that comforting.

After we talk this morning little brother and I are going for a ride, and I won’t take no for an answer. We will find a quiet place and share our common experiences. I won’t hold back and will make it clear I expected the same from Johnny. Decision made and confidence boosted, my brother will stay home where he belongs.

At last, feeling his emotions were under enough control, he looked at his father. 


Murdoch patiently waited, watching the emotions playing out on his son’s face. Knowing he was hurting both sons and deeply regretting it; he also needed to continue. No more the past is in the past.

Murdoch’s next words came out just above a whisper. “You saw the scars, you saw how thin he was, did you ever wonder why he only had the clothes on his back?” Murdoch pondered, could the same be said about Scott when he returned home from the war?

Unfortunately, Scott understood all too well, he merely nodded. Obviously no answer was needed. 

No answer was wanted. 


Johnny was traumatized with Murdoch telling Scott about the firing squad and then the prison. What was the Ol’Man thinking telling Scott about that? Didn’t he know Scott would be reliving his own prison listening about Madrid’s? 

He was mad and fought the urge to go down and shoot his Ol’Man for being so stupid. 


Murdoch was desperate to end the discussion about the firing squad and prison. He wanted, no he needed, to avoid questions, especially the ones he couldn’t answer. Knowing only too well, Johnny certainly wouldn’t be forthcoming at least to him. Maybe to Scott? Hopefully to Scott!

There was still more about Madrid to tell, but at least these parts he knew first hand and not from the dreadful reports. 

“Have you heard talk around the ranch about Johnny?” At Scott’s nod he continued, “I have too. Everyone on Lancer knows Johnny was Johnny Madrid. In fact everyone in the valley knows.”


Murdoch sure didn’t sound happy about the whole valley knowing about Madrid, bet he was wondering when some gunfighter was gonna show up at his door looking for me. He’d be worried about Teresa and Scott getting caught in the middle of it. 

Madrid sure doesn’t help Murdoch’s reputation with the Cattle Growers and the other ranchers. Some of the good townsfolk have already made it clear I’m not welcome.

Well, Murdoch, how soon are you going to kick me out?  He debated if should just go back to his room and pack his saddlebags, but he needed to hear the rest of it. 

Good not much in his life, but the bad there’s plenty of that. Then the ugly I don’t even want to think about it. He hung his head not wanting to hear anymore but he couldn’t seem to move away.


“Most of the stories I’ve heard,” he smiled a little embarrassed, “I should confess I overheard.  Stories about how Madrid helped a friend or family member.” 

Scott chuckled at his father’s confession. “You are eavesdropping on the hand’s gossip sessions?”

Murdoch feigned annoyance at Scott’s humor over his minor misdeed.

With a hint of pride in his voice, “Did you know Madrid is a hero to the Mexican people? Did you also know they call him their Champion?”

“I’ve heard Johnny called that, even hearing it in Spanish I knew what it meant.”

Murdoch grinned at his son, “I’m not the only one eavesdropping.” Then sobering, “He is, you know, a champion.”

Smiling, Scott reached to touch his father’s arm, “Does this mean you have come to a resolution about Madrid and the gun?”

The morning’s revelations that caused so much distress seemed to dissipate as Murdoch smiled and nodded to his older son.


Johnny held his breath waiting to hear his father’s answer, but there wasn’t one.

 Guess that makes it clear enough, Madrid doesn’t have a place at Lancer. He closed his eyes and shut out everything. He needed to gain control. 


“As soon as your younger brother decides to join us this morning, I am ready to talk to him.” 

As if to reinforce the vow he repeated, “I mean talk, really talk, and not argue.” He hoped his serious expression convinced Scott of his sincerity.

Scott easily slipped into his Lt. Lancer mode, “That’s good news because… I won’t lose my little brother, especially after just discovering him.” 

“You won’t, I am not going to let it happen. This is Johnny’s home and we are his family.” As far as Murdoch was concerned, that was the end of it. At least he hoped so. Now it was up to him to convince Johnny.

A much relieved Scott smiled and toasted his father with the coffee cup. “Well,” he started to rise from his chair, “guess I better go up and roust him out of bed.” 


Johnny finally came out of his reverie when he heard Scott’s voice say, “Guess I better go up and roust him out of bed.” His mind was in such turmoil that he hadn’t heard any of the conversation after Scott’s question. 

He rose from his perch on the stair and straightened his gun belt so he was ready to face them.


Both men turned toward the stairs at the sound of spurs. “Guess you won’t need to son.” They smiled in anticipation at the arrival of the younger Lancer.

When Johnny entered the kitchen he deliberately ignored the other men. He went to the stove and poured a cup of coffee, maintaining the tension in the room. Keeping a neutral expression with Madrid just under the surface, he turned to face them, “Well, y’all ready to talk?” Without waiting for an answer he headed to the great room.

“Johnny” Two voices called at the same time, then giving up on receiving an answer they followed him.

Once in the great room, Johnny sat on the left end of the sofa while Scott moved to the right end. Murdock smiled as he sat in the leather chair. He knew Scott sat on the right, so Johnny’s gun hand was free. Seating was never addressed, it just happened. 

His older son understood what he never had, Madrid was never at ease. Just like the gun belt always hanging on the bedpost and an extra gun under his pillow. It was then that he noticed Johnny was wearing the gun.


With the atmosphere in the room getting more palpable by the minute, Murdoch knew he needed to get things started. However, he was not exactly sure how to begin the conversation, unnerved that Johnny was armed.  

Johnny quietly sat waiting for whatever was going to happen. 

Scott sipped his coffee trying not to look at Johnny, he too was concerned why his brother was wearing the gun. He was here for Johnny. He also knew Murdoch always kept his word, and fervently hoped Johnny would remember that fact once the conversation started.

Taking a deep breath and hoping to clear the air, Murdoch began with, “Johnny… son, I want to apologize for last night.”

“No need to Murdoch, what you said was true.” Johnny took a sip of coffee he would give no quarter. If they were going to throw him out then no fancy talk just say it outright.

“No son, it was not true, you are more than that gun…” Murdoch felt lost; he had hoped for more than the quick answer from his son.

“Murdoch, you’re right about Madrid, I can’t give up the gun. Johnny Lancer…”

Murdoch wanted to reach out, wishing he could touch Johnny, but he only had words, interrupting, “I want both.” He wasn’t going to let his son slip away, not now. “I want you to feel safe and if Madrid will make you feel safe here, so be it.”

Johnny just glared at his father, where is this coming from? Sure wasn’t from what he had heard.

Scott stared at Johnny willing him to listen to Murdoch, there were times he wanted to shake his little brother. This was quickly turning into one of those times and he swallowed the growl that threatened.

“Last night I thought about those Pinkerton reports.” Murdoch felt guilty bringing the reports into the conversation. “But the more I thought about them the more I saw a gunfighter who was also a caring and honorable man.” He rose and moved to sit on the coffee table. “I’m proud of you, past and present. You are my son. You belong here at Lancer with your family.”

Johnny didn’t want his father that close so he rose and moved away from the sofa toward the fireplace. “Murdoch, words are cheap.” Then he looked in his father’s eyes and raised his voice, “And I’ve learned to trust what was done not what was said.”

Murdoch stood but didn’t approach Johnny. “Son all I’m asking is for a chance to prove that I want to make this work.” Johnny didn’t move and Murdoch wasn’t going to lose this battle. “Please son, can we try again? Will you give me a chance?” 

Murdoch didn’t hesitate, daring to move nearer to Johnny but not touching him, “Will you son? Will you give me another chance?” Suddenly he reached out to take a firm hold on Johnny’s arm. 

Surprised by the speed of his father to grab him, Johnny glared and growled. “Let go Ol’Man.”

“I’m not lying, son, look into my eyes, do you see a lie?  Desperate but also afraid he was cornering his son he released his hold and took a step back. “I know you can read people, what do you see in my eyes?

Johnny didn’t want to see the lie he knew would be there, but he couldn’t stand his father’s emotions either. He closed his eyes, “I heard Scott’s question.”

Both Scott and Murdoch suddenly realized that Johnny had heard their earlier discussion.

Scott stood and faced Johnny, I’m sorry, it wasn’t right of us to…”

“What, talk behind my back?” He aimed a glare at Scott.

He turned on Murdoch, “Guess you got your money’s worth with the Pinks.” Placing his hand on the gun butt he sneered,“Make you all proud inside to know what your kid was doing?” Johnny lowered his head and in a soft voice, “You didn’t need to tell all that to Scott. Why couldn’t you keep it to yourself?”

Murdoch ached to take his younger son in his arms, “I’m sorry Johnny.” He moved to his desk and removed a file, then walked to the fireplace and stoked the coals into a flame. “This is a fresh start,” he dropped the file on the flames and watched as the fire enveloped the pages.

Scott moved closer to both men, “Johnny you didn’t hear Murdoch’s answer because Murdoch nodded his head.”

Surprised, but knowing his brother wouldn’t lie to him, he turned and finally looked into his father’s eyes. Relief washed over him, he found no lie. But that didn’t end it, Madrid is still here, why can’t they understand?

“Something will happen and Madrid will bring danger to Lancer.” 

“Then we will deal with it. I want you son, all of you.” He refused to break eye contact. 

At that moment the atmosphere in the room drastically changed, like the way the air is charged during a storm.  

Madrid, using his most intimidating glare, faced Murdoch. “Are you sure about that Ol Man?” 

Scott and Murdoch both stared as Madrid stood, and moved away from them. It was obvious who had just taken control of the room. 

“Are you sure, because I’m not going anywhere. There will be a time when someone calls me out and if you expect Johnny Lancer to step out for the dance you won’t like how it ends.”

 He moved further from them, he felt crowded, and needed some distance. He moved to stand behind the desk, “I know you want me to go away and for Lancer to stay.” 

Both men just stared, neither sure how to respond to Johnny’s statement. 

Scott felt like the conversation was devolving, but he knew he couldn’t interfere. This was up to Murdoch. Johnny needs to know he is accepted by his father.  


Frowning he shook his head, “You only want Johnny Lancer, but that can’t happen. You’re not dealing with two people.” He held up one finger, “I’m one person and right now I’m mostly Madrid with a little bit of Lancer. Ya got ta take me the way I am.” He bowed his head, his voice low and soft, “I don’t know, maybe one day there will be a little more Lancer and a little less Madrid.”

This conversation was getting to be more than Madrid wanted to deal with; he wanted to end it. He raised his head, “I don’t know, none of us knows. I do know if y’all can’t accept the part of me that’s Madrid… then it’s best we end it here.” 


Desperate to keep his younger son, he rose and moved toward Madrid but knew he didn’t dare touch his boy. “Please son, we can make it work. I want you…” he turned toward Scott. “I want both my sons home where you both belong.” He waited, hoping that Madrid would finally fade into the background. 


At this point Scott knew he needed to intervene, he moved toward Madrid and stood beside their father. “Johnny, trust me, I want you here and I believe Murdoch when he says he wants you here too. I believe that he can accept you, all of you. Now all I ask is that you give us a chance to prove it.” 

Scott turned to Murdoch, “Give your word, we both know your word is your covenant.”

“You have my word, son.” Then he sent a quick prayer that Johnny would believe him.

Each man waited for what seemed an eternity, at this point they weren’t going to rush him. Madrid needed time, Johnny needed time.


Madrid watched both men, in his heart he knew he was beginning to trust Scott. He also had to admit that Murdoch did keep his word. The old man lived up to the promised partnership. 

Madrid was always honest with himself and the fact was he really wanted to stay. Always being on the move, the range wars, the gunfights; the only true friends he had could be counted on one hand. He worried though, would they understand when he needed alone time and some space?  Was he ready to trust, he had been betrayed too many times? Was he willing to give it a try? 

Finally he made up his mind and faced both men. “Look, I want to stay, but y’all got to understand that sometimes I need to be alone. I need to practice.” He stopped when he saw Murdoch flinch.  Maybe this was a mistake after all.

“I’m telling you Murdoch, if I don’t practice I’ll lose my edge.” He glared at his father, “I can be killed and I am not going to let that happen just to please you.”

“Murdoch!” Scott fought for control, as he aimed his wrath toward his father. He had seen Murdoch’s  flinch.


Murdoch immediately realized his mistake and attempted to mollify Johnny. “I’m sorry, I guess I didn’t think, yes, I understand.” How quickly he had broken his word.

He turned toward both his sons and saw their disappointment. He bowed his head, then… He looked up. The solution was obvious, why hadn’t he seen it before? 

“I have a solution.” He smiled confident this idea would work. “There is a box canyon that would give you the needed privacy from prying eyes. It’s also near a line shack so you could stay as long as you need.” 

Murdoch relaxed a little when he saw Scott’s smile, at least one son agreed.    

“Well, will you give me a chance?” Murdoch moved a few steps toward his son but still maintained some space so as not to crowd him.


Madrid turned toward Scott who nodded his approval. 

Slowly he turned back toward his father, “Yeah, we can try.” Johnny silently hoped he had made the right decision. He wanted it to work. He hoped it would work.


Murdoch released the breath he was holding, and he couldn’t stop the smile from taking over his face.

Scott grinned at Johnny, and vowed he was going to make sure little brother stayed home where he belonged. 

Madrid slowly eased into the background, waiting and ready to come out when Johnny needed him.

Tension receded from the room much to the relief of all concerned. However, everyone realized not everything was settled, building a family is an ongoing endeavor. An endeavor each man was willing to accept. 

Scott moved to Johnny’s side and clapped him on the back, “Just remember big brother is always here to help you.” Grateful that Johnny didn’t draw back from him. He liked having a little brother.

“Yeah Boston, you’re going to make me into a gentleman like you?” Johnny grinned and slapped his brother’s stomach. He liked having a big brother.

“Well, I think that may be too much to expect but I can smooth the rough edges?” Scott dusted Johnny’s shoulder, “Maybe do something about your choice of colors.”

Affronted, “What’s wrong with my colors, sure are better than beige.” He flicked Scott’s collar and drawled, “Ya just sorta fade into the background.” 

Murdoch returned to the leather chair and enjoyed the easy banter between his sons; hoping someday we would be afforded the same privilege. Clapping his hands in relief, “Well, I think the three of us deserve a day off.”

Both sons nodded in agreement after the morning’s exhausting ordeal.

“How about we go up to the lake for a day of fishing?” Murdoch was getting excited about a day alone with his boys.

“Sounds wonderful, I do enjoy fishing.” Scott rubbed his hands together in anticipation. “This will give me a chance to try out my new rod from Boston.”

Johnny shook his head at his brother, “What’s so great about fishing?”

“It’s restful and provides a delicious meal. Don’t you agree Murdoch?”

“Yes, I do, a trout dinner is appealing.” Murdoch was bewildered at Johnny’s obvious lack of excitement for the idea. “Don’t you like to fish, son?”

“Nope, kinda hard to have much left over for eating after shooting it.” 

Scott was appalled, “Why in the world would you shoot a fish?” 

Murdoch smiled, eager to hear the answer to that question. 

“Well, Boston, just how do you think a gunfighter can carry a gun and a fishing pole?”

Scott shook his head while Murdoch tried to stifle his chuckle. 

“Johnny, I am sure Lancer owns more than one fishing pole.” Scott looked to Murdoch who nodded in the affirmative. “So I think a day of fishing is exactly what we need.”

Not sure that he agreed, but figured he’d already lost that battle. He checked his gun belt, “Okay but I’m still taking some extra ammunition.” 

At the sound of laughter coming from the great room, Maria entered the kitchen and began packing some lunch for her men. She smiled knowing her niño would be staying home where he belonged.

The day had turned out better than anyone expected. 

Even with Johnny frightening away most of the fish; they managed to bring home enough trout for Maria to cook for Scott and Murdoch. For her niño, she made his favorite tamales with lots of salsa.

The end, or maybe the beginning?
August 2022


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13 thoughts on “Madrid’s Gun: The Morning After by EJ

  1. That was such a good sequel. Both parts would have made a great episode. You really got under the skin of the characters.


  2. Wow Tina, that was an amazing review. Thank you, you made my day. I have workmen working on Hurricane Ian wind blown water damage in my unit.


    1. I took the time to read the two story all together and I liked them more than before.
      You’ve done a good job peering into the minds and feelings of all three Lancer men, coming to a conclusion that leaves room for new chapters.
      And I’ll tell you, I look forward to them.


  3. You certainly did a nice job getting inside Murdoch’s head and letting us know how he felt. Psychological drama can sometimes be difficult to write, but you made it look easy. One technique you used was to separate and show distinction between certain paragraphs; that clever technique packed a good punch! It was also fun to read because of the tension. Nicely done!


  4. Hey Goldie,

    Wow, that is quite a review. Thank you so much. Nice to hear you like the separations. Sometimes Murdock gets forgotten with attention going to the brothers so I want Murdoch to get his turn. Murdoch is a great character and Andrew Duggan did a good job bringing his to life in the show.


  5. Hey Silvia,
    Thank you for the compliments. Hmmm, more chapters? Maybe a follow up of the fishing trip?


  6. The Morning After is a great sequel. I’m glad you wrote from Murdoch’s view as well as Scott and Johnny. The fishing trip idea makes a perfect ending. I look forward to reading any story of yours.


    1. EJ replied: Hey Debra, thank you for your review of The Morning After I tried to answer you but it wouldn’t post. Appreciate all you said.


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