Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Vacation (part 4)

By Monette Bebow-Reinhard

Editor's Note: This is part 4 of a four-part story about the Cartwright family written by our own Monette Bebow-Reinhard. To read part 1, click here; to read part 2, click here., to read part 3, click here. --Al Colombo, publisher

Dear Pa. I know I should be home by now. Remember when I said they were going to let me out and I’d grab the first stage. Well, before they let me out, I started to get this strange feeling. Something came over me. I felt like I was burning inside, like I wanted to take all my clothes off and jump back in that horse trough. Only I’d have to wait in line this time. I think maybe something in that water put a curse on me. Or maybe it was Linda. I thought there was something strange about her. Until I shake this feeling, I told them to keep me locked up. 

I felt like … I know this will be hard to believe but I felt like running naked in the woods and howling at the moon. Remember those stories you used to tell me when I was a boy? I’m thinking of those now, and they’re scaring me. One was about a fellow in France, in 1573, Gilles Garnier. They called him the Werewolf of Dole. He went around killing people, lapping up their blood. I didn’t want to kill anyone, but I started to feel awful thirsty. “I committed a crime! Keep me in here,” I yelled at the sheriff. I figured I better stay locked up until I could figure out what this curse was and find a way to reverse it.

I’m not saying I believe in all those crazy tales, but these legends are as old as time and always are based on something real. That much I knew. There has to be something to them. Even the ancient Greeks borrowed stories of the legend of ly … ly …

Hoss showed the letter to Joe because his Pa looked too green just listening. “Lycanthropy.”


Joe looked at Ben for help. “Oh, that’s the word for ah … a man turning into a wolf.”

“Oh.” Hoss nodded. “Lycan … topy … anyhow.” Reading again.

The Greeks got that idea back in 1200 BC … hey Pa, what does BC mean?”

“Before Christ.” Ben grabbed Hoss’s arm. “We shouldn’t be reading this in the street. Come on, let’s go to the bank so they can lock us in the vault.”

“We can’t do that, Pa, we’d suffocate.”

“All right, the International House then, Should be quiet this time of day.”

They sat in a quiet corner with coffee. Hoss picked up the letter again.

Ah, 1200 BC from the … well, from some other people …

Ben grabbed the letter. “Phoenicians.”

“Yeah. Thought so.” Hoss grabbed it back.

From them, and spread around the world, like a disease. That’s what he says. Pa, he’s got a disease.”

“Give me that.” Ben took the letter back and continued reading aloud.

And then those Russians, father and son. Pa, you really scared me with that story. Sigmund and Sinfjotli found some wolf pelts and when they put them on, they turned into wolves. But this isn’t the same as that because I don’t want to wear anything at all. But now I figure, when the full moon comes, the urge will be too great, and I’ll have to take off the clothes and throw on the wolf pelt. So to speak.

“Pa, what does he mean, so to speak,” Joe asked, looking like he might be sick.

“It means … he’ll transform.”

“Awww, I’ll bet that Linda was just spoofing with him.” Hoss swallowed hard. “Wasn’t she?”

“Let me finish here.

Those two, Sigmund and Sinfjotli, turned into wolves and began wandering about the forest together. Before they split up, they agreed to howl to each other if either of them encounters seven men to fight at a time. Sinfjotli, the son, breached the agreement and killed 11 men at one time. Angered, Sigmund fatally injures his son. But then a raven, the messenger of Odin, brings a healing leaf to place on Sinfjotli’s wound. After Sinfjotli is healed from his wound, he and his father take off the enchanted wolf pelts as the tenth day arrived. They burned the pelts to ashes and freed themselves from the curse of lycanthropy.

Ah! If only it were that easy!

I’m feeling so hot. And there’s a full moon tonight. Pa, if I’m not back on the stage the day after you get this letter, you’ll have to look for me in the woods around San Francisco. I’ll send for Linda .. she has to do something ….

And that’s where it ends.”

Hoss shuddered. “All of that because of meeting two gals. It’s your fault, Joe.” “My fault?”

“Always teasing him about not being married at his age. He’s gone loco now.”

Ben tucked the letter away. “Nothing we can do about it now. We’ll have some dinner, play some cards, and if he’s not on the stage tomorrow, well, we’ll just start walking the woods looking for him.”

“It’s a full moon tonight, too, isn’t it.” As they stood, Joe grabbed Ben’s arm. “Pa, I don’t think I want to go on vacation this year.”

“Just stay away from the girls, Joe, that’s all.”

“Pa, you know Joe can’t do that. He’s weak, Pa.”

“Yeah. I am, Pa.”


The stage pulling into Virginia City was highly anticipated by the three Cartwrights and half of Virginia City after word leaked out that Adam might not be on it.

And that he might.

And that he might be somewhere in-between, and most of the people in town didn’t know what that meant, Ben judged by the conversations around him. But he kept his serious expression, and worries on his face, and no one dared talked to him in that state.

When the stage rolled to a stop, it seemed no one was going to get off, and there were no suitcases to unstrap. The driver didn’t budge. He appeared frozen.

“Pa. Something wrong with the driver? He looks spooky.” Joe stood ahead of Hoss and Ben, anxious for Adam’s saga to be over, and that he’s home, where he could be taken care of. The door of the stagecoach began to open. Joe couldn’t figure out how they got the door to squeak like that. A foot came out, a black boot. “Pa, that’s Adam, right? Looks like he’s got clothes on.”

The door flew open, and everyone jumped back a step, with an ‘oooh’. A man, long, dark and lean, stepped out, hat pulled low over his eyes, a strong beard on his face.

“It’s … Adam?”

Hoss nudged Joe. “Go welcome him back.”

“You go. I’ll wait here.”

Hoss strode up to Adam, shook his hand and gave him a hug. He walked him to Joe. Adam put out a hand.

“Is that …” Joe gulped. “Hair on your hand?”

“Well, yes,” Adam said. “Got some on my chest, too. Wanna see? Fact is I’m feeling kind of hot.” Adam removed his jacket and started unbuttoning his shirt.

“No, that’s okay. Look Adam, it’s not a full moon tonight. I’m gonna go … I’m gonna get us some beers, and then …” He fell backward into Ben. “Pa, make sure he’s okay, and can have beer, okay?”

Joe ran inside the Bucket of Blood, came back out, looked at the name, gave them a sick grin, and ran into the Sazerac instead.

The crowd begun to disperse, some welcoming Adam home, others chuckling as if part of a private joke.

The three Cartwrights tried to keep from laughing out loud.

“So Joe really bought it?”

“You saw younger brother, Adam. He was plum scared of you.”

“All right, boys, we had our fun. Let’s go tell him your letters were just joking.”

Hoss grabbed Ben’s arm. “You think we have to right now?”

Ben looked at the mischievous faces of his two sons, shook his head and went into the Sazerac. A few minutes later, Hoss and Adam followed, and sat at their table.

Joe backed his chair up a bit. “Adam, maybe … you should get a shave.”

Adam rubbed his chin. “Don’t know. Kind of liking it this way now. You shave, and it just … grows back.”

“Come on, younger brother, I better get you home. Adam done told me that you better keep away from him, until at least after the next full moon. Just in case.”

Hoss followed Joe out, after finishing his beer.

Adam laughed. “Ah, another month of vacation.”

“Yeah, you better enjoy it, too. Joe says he’s going to have the newspaper publish one of your letters.”

“He what?” Adam got up and ran out. “Joe! Hey, Joe!”

Ben finished his beer, and Adam’s. He pulled at the letters out of his coat pocket and laughed. 

“Will be nice to have things back to normal. Someday.”

Want to read part 1 again?
Click Here!

About the Author Monette Bebow-Reinhard is an established book author, specializing in historical accounts, issues, and events. She began writing movie scripts in 1975 and from 1992 to 1995, she co-wrote scripts for the Bonanza series. She has won several minor awards and Monette has several novels on the market.

Monette's new Bonanza nonfiction history project is now revealed: 
Be sure to get a copy of Monette's "Felling of the Sons" at 
“I VERY HIGHLY (HIGHLYHIGHLYRECOMMEND Felling of the Sons to every Western genre enthusiast, especially those that hold Bonanza in high-esteem.—Patricia Spork, Reviewer, ebook Reviews Weekly.  

Here's a link to Monette's Website where you will find some very interesting reading: Also, connect with Monette via email at

One of her latest books, entitled "Civil War & Bloody Peace: Following Orders, a historical works involving the American Civil War, is also available through Amazon (click here).

Order your copy of Monette Bebow-Reinhard's book:
Civil War & Bloody Peace: Following Orders

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