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Drabbles by Olley



HighRiders Drabbles

Dios!!  The girl had stopped the wagon and there it was as far as I could see Lancer land.

I’ve hired out to men on both sides of the border who value land before people, I’m guessing Murdoch Lancer is no different to any of those.

This is my land I can feel it in my blood, it is my birthright. Murdoch Lancer and anyone else is in for a fight if they try to take this off me, coz I’m a gunfighter and am real good at that trade an’ I will fight for this land.


I don’t know what to think of you
I stomped out’ta there my blood boiling. Why was I so hurt?

Never bothered me before, big shot ranchers ignoring my advice an’ I sure as hell didn’t follow orders barked at me.

“I don’t know what to think of you” course he knows, the Pinks would have told him of my life as Madrid.  What did he expect?

Still no good letting my temper take hold that was a lesson learnt the hard way it’s a sure quick way to getting hurt.

Cool down Madrid first take care of ol’e Day then take care of the ol’e man.


Before the signing 1.
Now he was back on his feet the boy went from advertising his presence with those spurs to drifting as silent as a ghost.

Scott and Teresa had informed me of Johnny’s reaction to being told of his mother running away with a gambler.  I needed to speak to him, what had he heard about me?

I found him behind the barn his back to me practising his draw, the colt leaping into his hand, the speed almost supernatural.

Without turning he drawled, “You a man of your word Lancer. You still gonna sign over my third?”

“Yes son.”


Before the signing 2.
“Yes son” It took my breath, this man a stranger my father acknowledging me as his son.

As a kid being called son an’ whole lot else had been used to insult me as a worthless mestizo. But those two words from him were different they reached into me.

I turned and looked him in the eye I could see nothing of me in him. Dios what had Mama seen in this cold hard gringo?

Lessons learnt in range wars taught me going into partnership a man should take precautions.  I mean to find out who this Murdoch Lancer is.

(March 2017)


After the signing 3 – Good at my Trade.
Ya see it’s all about getting folks to see what ya want them to see.

As Johnny Madrid pistollero they had to see a cool hombre. Ya know a bit cocky, not afraid to get called out to the dance.  I took pride in being good at that trade.

Taking pride in being Johnny Lancer the ol’e man’s son and Boston’s brother now that’s gonna be a whole different trade.

Yeah, I will show them I’m good at any trade I set my mind to.

(9th Sept. 2017  amended 1st Oct.2018)


A Change of Clothes
The revolution failed, hours then turned into days and weeks. The beatings and humiliations leaving me only my pride and hate.

A kick to my ribs woke me. “Today you die as the worthless mestizo you always were. Here are clothes more suited to you.”

White pants and shirt were flung at me. It had been in the orphanage I had been made to wear peasant clothes, I hated them.

The memory of Mama embroidering my shirts with her fine needlework and telling me I am her handsome young vaquero comforts me as I am paraded through the village and thrown into the wagon.

Execution awaits.


“First thing after I get off this stage is to take off my boots an’ socks then soak my feet.” A grin crept across his face at the thought.

“Nope first get my gun back, then see to my feet.  Walking with the saddle on my shoulder was hard enough without these old socks curling up inside my boots.”

Johnny glanced at the fancy dan’s feet. “Whooe under the dust his shoes look expensive, bet his socks don’t rumple up, bet he has clean feet to put in ‘em as well.”

He closed his eyes as the stage rocked along the Morro Coyo road mentally making a list. “Need a good horse, need some good grub and a drink to wash it down. Need some pretty company. Need some nice new white socks.”

A sigh escaped. “Need to meet Murdoch Lancer.”


The Nino’s shirt is a washed out red, and now it is smudged and smelling of smoke, but so thin I can see where it has been ripped and then repaired.  Foolish boy wanted to keep it on saying it would be fine just sponged down, for me not to fuss.

Ai Ai what pride. I found him a clean white shirt that fits him. He smiled and said gracias when he saw my fine embroidery, running those long fingers of his over the stitches.

In it, he will look like the son of the Patron.


First time I saw him was on the stage, all fancied up wearing a hat that wouldn’t keep the sun out’ta your eyes, sort of hat I recall the Pink was wearing when I got lucky.

Then the first morning I went visiting him in his room, dios what a joke that hat with a feather was; even I couldn’t make it look good!  I found myself thinking it would be enough to cause a stampede if the beeves caught sight of it. 

Teresa was right saying what she did, she better make sure he gets a decent hat.



Warburton’s Edge Drabbles

At the graveside – Johnny

“Why Isham? Why take me on when you knew I could always read you?

Your pride in your trade was never gonna be an edge against mine.  I tried to tell ya how much my ole man meant to me, not to gun him. You must have known I would have come after you an’ Sexton Joe.

Hell Isham I counted you as a friend now you’re just another dead man.”

I wrap my arms around my chest and watch the earth cover the coffin. The hand on my shoulder brings comfort, my father’s voice soft “Let’s go home son.”


I owe him my life – Murdoch

There was no way for me to get away from those two gunfighters.  Cold eyed, cold hearted mercenaries hired by Warburton to kill me. The one with the bible said they were fallen angels.

 Johnny had stepped out of the shadows and returned fire with that one with no hesitation. Then without thought put his own body in front of mine to protect me from the younger one.  That death has caused him such pain.

My son had said all he ever wanted was pride in his trade I will show him I have pride in him as my son.

16th Oct. 2018




I kept my face straight as Scott carried on with his $5 words. Something about big brother rules.

Phooey to all that baloney. Still, I would go along with it ‘cos I know Scott enjoys that big brother feeling. Truth is I kind’a enjoy the big brother, little brother joking myself.

Still, an all wouldn’t do to let ol’e Boston get too big for his boots.

“Ya do know there are cowboy rules don’t ya Scott?” 

I grinned at the raised eyebrows and slightly open mouth on my brother’s face.

“Yep a good one is; never miss a good chance to shut up.”

With that, I avoided the good-natured swipe at my head and ran across the yard towards the hacienda with my big brother in hot pursuit.

V2 Johnny POV September 2018




Fencing always needing fixing, creeks needing clearing or dumb beeves needing moving. An’ the tune caller always calling his tune expecting it done now today, not mañana or else.

So here we are me an’ Barranca fixing his fence. I have my pride an’ reputation and some would say outright stubbornness so I ain’t gonn’a stop till I fix this fence.

Here he comes checking up on me, looking down from his horse at the fence.

“Looking good Johnny, you ready to take a break son?”

I glare up at my ol’e man, he has this way of putting me on the defensive an’ it riles me. “I don’t stop when I’m tired I stop when I’m done.”

He don’t take offence though. “A man can spend a lifetime fixing fences but sometimes there are wild horses to catch.”

We smile in understanding at each other.




Mistrust, Pity, Fear & Truth

Those looks drilling through to my soul.

Murdoch a look as black as night, mistrust written in his eyes.

Scott shaking his head, pity, Dios I hate that look.

T’resa tearful, not afraid of me, afraid for me.

I knew those looks, lived with ‘em for so long. Hated ‘em looks from strangers but this was supposed to be family, it was supposed to be different, I know that.

Stay and fight, or ride away?

Or maybe prove to them the truth of Johnny Lancer and his Mama.




The rancher held his new born son, the child so small and perfect.  He held him so close their hearts beat as one, telling him of the history of his family and home, and of a future full of hopes and dreams. The rancher spoke with passion of the land, its stock and the people who called it home.

The seasons waxed and waned the bad years endured the good years enjoyed and the ranch a constant in their lives.  

The rancher aged, time could not be stopped, but he had lived his life in tune with the land. He too enduring and surviving to eventually take pleasure in the quiet good times with the love of a family and loyal friends.

His passing was mourned with tears and sorrow, his life celebrated with promises he would not be forgotten. He would live on through the tales and stories that would be told.  His memory would be cherished and live on.

Written in memory of James Stacy who brought Johnny Madrid Lancer to life.


Jus’ Curious 

Johnny’s thoughts as he touches objects, watches his brother and studies Teresa.

About Murdoch 

Look at all these things, ornaments and books and such, must mean sum ‘thing to the o’le man,  wonder what? 

And that big o’le desk with that locked drawer wonder what he has in there?  “What you doing over there Johnny?” 

“Nut’hing Murdoch jus’ curious.” 


About Scott 

Just look at him, bulldogging them beeves, thought he was a fancy Dan tin soldier wonder  where he got his grit? 

Listen to him taking up my side ‘gainst the o’le man wonder why that is? 

“What you thinking about Johnny?” 

“Nut’hing Scott jus’ curious ‘bout you.” 


About Teresa 

She was born and lived here all her life, wonder what that was like? 

She had no mama and me I had no real papa, wonder if she feels like something was missing  growing up? 

“What do you want Johnny?” 

“Jus’ curious T’resa wondering what it’s like to be in a family.” 



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