The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link | subglobal1 link
subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link | subglobal2 link
subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link | subglobal3 link
subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link | subglobal4 link
subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link | subglobal5 link
subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link | subglobal6 link
subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link | subglobal7 link
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

Doc

 

 

A Change of Clothes

A Post-Lancer story: click here for the chronological order

For National Tailor Day (June 7) with grateful thanks to my beta, Margaret P.

“Ah, Mr. Lancer, welcome! So good to see you. You’re looking well. How can I help you today?”

The always-eager tailor fawned over Johnny every time he came in. Scott said the fellow did the same to him, too. Johnny didn’t mind; it was a nice change from the suspicious frowns that used to greet him in stores, before he got lucky and became the son of Murdoch Lancer.

“Hi, Mr. Butterfield.” Johnny shrugged out of his bolero jacket and found the new rip in the back. He stuck his finger straight through and gave it a waggle.

Mr. Butterfield shook his head as he examined the gash. He hesitated for a moment, then peered up at Johnny through his pince-nez. “This coat has served you well, Mr. Lancer. But it’s been repaired so many times it’s starting to…show its age.”

Repaired? Well, that was for sure. A bullet hole here and there; rips and scrapes from fights and falls; the time an angry bull stomped it, luckily without him in it…

Mr. Butterfield was still talking.  “If you don’t mind me saying so, the other gentlemen in your family have recently purchased new coats. Perhaps you, too, would be interested in something a little less…well-used.”

Johnny knew what Butterfield was getting at. A beat-up bolero jacket was okay for a drifter, but it was out of place on a Lancer. Appearances were important, and not just to gunfighters trying to hold on to a hard-won reputation.

“All right. You convinced me.” Johnny moved to take his old jacket back, but stopped. If he got a new coat he wouldn’t need it; no sense carrying it around. He let Mr. Butterfield have it. “Can you give this a decent burial?”

Mr. Butterfield laughed and didn’t even wrinkle his nose as he dropped the jacket in a trash can. As the tailor fingered his way through his inventory, Johnny wandered over to an assortment of shirts and vests on a beat up wooden table. They were more colorful than most of the merchandise in this shop. A pretty shade of pale yellow peeked out from the bottom; it looked like a jacket sleeve. When he rubbed his palm over it, it was the softest leather he’d ever touched.

He tugged it, trying to pull it out from under the other shirts, but it came off in his hand. Mr. Butterfield scurried over, two bolero jackets in hand, and tsked as he saw the unattached sleeve in Johnny’s hand. Johnny felt like a kid about to get scolded.

“Oh, I was afraid of that.” The tailor slung the boleros on the table and snatched the coatless sleeve away. “This is a consignment article. I’m afraid the young lady who made it didn’t understand how to properly attach the pieces together.”

“What is this? It’s real soft.”

Mr. Butterfield waved his hand. “It’s called suede, Mr. Lancer. Fine for making ladies’ gloves, but it doesn’t look like it would stand up to hard use, that’s for sure.”

“Guess not.”

Johnny turned his attention to the bolero jackets Mr. Butterfield wanted to show him. Time was he wouldn’t even consider another kind of jacket. Mexican vaqueros wore short coats because they gave freedom of movement on horseback and didn’t get wrinkled under their butts on the saddle. Johnny wore one because it didn’t interfere with his draw. Flipping a long duster out of the way looked impressive, but when seconds counted he preferred an unimpeded grab at his Colt.

Lately, though, there had been plenty of time to draw before the shooting started. And Johnny's eye had gotten comfortable with the gringo way of doing things, of cooking, and decorating, and dressing. His hats reflected it. Maybe his coat should, too.

“I like this one.” Johnny pulled out the rest of the soft yellow coat and shook it open. The other sleeve was stitched on with a thin cord that matched the color of the jacket. He liked it even better when he saw that.

“Are you sure, Mr. Lancer? I’d hate to sell you something that falls apart after just a few weeks.” Even as he spoke, though, the tailor was measuring Johnny’s shoulders, comparing the tape to the width of the shoulders on the jacket, and sticking a few pins he’d pulled from who knows where to attach the sleeve.

It took both of them to get him into the jacket without getting stuck by pins. Johnny stood in front of the mirror and pulled the front closed. Lacking lapels, the garment hung cleanly from his shoulders. It covered his gun, but not so much he’d have any trouble drawing. It was less binding than his old jacket, more comfortable. That surprised him at first; then it pleased him.

“Tell you what. If you can get this fixed up, you know, so it don’t fall apart, I can come back for it next week.”

“Yes, I can arrange that. It’s certainly an unusual garment. One of a kind.”

Johnny smiled. “Maybe that’s good. I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for any of the other gentlemen in my family, would I? Now, you got anything I can buy on the cheap, to tide me over til I get that yellow one?”

Mr. Butterfield took a nondescript brown leather jacket from a rack and held it up. It was a little big, but it was serviceable. “I can take this in for you right away…”

“Naw, it’s fine that way. Don’t go to any trouble.”

Johnny let the tailor pull the jacket up over his shoulders. It was roomy, that was for sure. It had big pockets and it hung down well past his belts. Wearing it made Johnny feel bigger, more solid. Like he belonged.

Hell, he felt like Murdoch.

Chuckling at the thought, he paid Mr. Butterfield for both jackets and walked out the door. He didn’t regret leaving his old jacket behind. The big one he wore was good enough, and he didn’t mind feeling like Murdoch for a while.

Next week he’d come back for the jacket that made him feel like Johnny Lancer.

 

 

 

~ end ~

Want to comment? Email Doc