A Missing Scene
Written by coyote
My tale is not exactly a missing scene. More of a missing character. Or perhaps it’s a case of editing error. Let me try again. I’m her. The missing character. You know, the stranger? The sixth one, who was supposed to be in Apache Springs. The one whose scenes ended up on the editing room floor causing the episode’s title, “Six Strangers at Apache Springs,” to be debated in ASJ fandom for the past several decades.
Well, any way you look at it, I can only come up with five strangers in Apache Springs. Unless you count Barney, but heck, he was dead! And unless you count those two heavenly co-stars of the series as one, though they often acted as a unit, but no, they were definitely two distinct and separate entities. I know, I met them. Cool, blue eyes, mischievous smile, a walk almost as captivating when he’s sayin’ hello as when he’s… well, you get the picture. And those other eyes, warm chocolate, smooth, baritone voice that could melt the snow on top of mount…
So anyway, it was a warm day, real warm, when those two handsome hunks of humanity rode their way slowly into my town. I watched them from my favorite hiding spot, in the cool shade beneath the porch of the only hotel located here in Apache Springs. Not much happens here that I miss. Not much happens here period, but if something were to happen, I’d be the first to know about it from my watching spot.
Smithers and Caroline, they’ve been around for years. Don’t pay me much mind though. Sometimes they give me a crust of bread or a leftover meal nobody else wanted. “Live and let live,” I always say, and that pretty much describes our relationship. Besides, I’m pretty good at fending for myself and that’s just the way I like it.
See that cloud of dust over that first rise? That’ll be the stage. Bringing a couple of rich Easterners, I hear. Take a look at that frilly flower getting off the stage now, would you? I give her two days tops before she wilts, begging that fancy Eastern husband of hers to take her back wherever it is she came from.
Feeling the need for a break from the day’s hectic pace and a brief dip in a cooling tub, I strolled into the bathhouse. Caroline’s voice was saying something about “not looking if he was pinned to a Christmas Tree,” so, what the heck? I stuck my head in the door. Bet she’d have changed her mind if she’d seen what I saw! Blushing, I hurried back out into the street.
Another stage. Wonder who this lady is? She doesn’t seem near as uppity as that last one. The other handsome fella is helping her with her bags. Hold on a minute… I’m watching them walk toward the hotel. I was right. Darn nice gait on that man!
This is my life. I hang around town most days just watching and checking things out, but my evenings, that’s when things really get howling. Oh, did I mention I’m not one of you humans? Maybe I forgot to tell you, seeing as how that little detail sometimes slips my mind. We canines don’t care that you humans only have half as many legs as a body needs to make it here in the West. We wouldn’t hold a little thing like that against you. Coyote or human, we’re all just people.
Mr. Fielding, I think he understands that. He came here trying to get a bunch of human people to treat each other better. Hope he succeeds too. Lots of people could get hurt if he doesn’t. Good thing I was there to help him and the other two fellas though. You remember how those Chiricahuas went running off when the two handsome fellas let loose of that mule? Now come on, do you really think a mule got that bunch of Indians so excited? It was me. Me and the rest of my gang. We parked ourselves at the top of the next hill and set to snarling and growling real mean-like. Turned those Indians right around. We did! Yeah, our scene got cut, but it was us that saved those men.
The three of them didn’t give up too easy either. Decided to go back again. Got themselves caught this time too, so I came back at night. Sneaked in that tepee, real quiet. Slipped right under the side and started chewing those ropes. When I had “Nice Gait” and “Smooth Talker” free, we searched out Mr. Fielding and freed him too, only he didn’t want to come with us. Wanted to stay right there and keep on talking with those Indians. I know that’s not the way the scene played out in the episode, but it’s what really happened.
So now you know the truth. Mr. Fielding talked the Chiricahuas into going back to their reservation peacefully. Mrs. Fielding took her cranky self back East where she and her husband never understood each other any better than they had during their trip to Apache Springs. Sister Grace went home to Boston to continue her work in the mission and lived a full, occasionally frivolous, life (with recurring dreams of a handsome young blue-eyed fella).
Caroline talked Smithers into helping her go after the rest of the gold since the danger was gone, only, I’m pretty sure they won’t find it when then get there. You see, when “Nice Gait” and “Smooth Talker” left town, one small coyote decided to go with them. She had been pretty good at sneaking a peek at the maps Caroline looked at over the years. She was pretty good at digging too!
Let’s just say Mr. Huggins should have called this episode: “Two Pretty Good Rich Men (and one coyote) at Apache Springs!”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.