Tale of the Toupee

By: Michelle Denson

"Hey Pa, did it come in yet?" an excited Hoss Cartwright asked as he came down the stairs from an afternoon nap.

"Sure did Hoss and it sure is a beauty!" exclaimed Adam. "Why I might just give you my old one and take this one instead." He teased.

"Ah Adam, don't josh me like that. I been waiting for this for over a year."

Ben sat back laughing at the desk. Poor Hoss had been waiting his turn for almost four years for his package to arrive. It took each one of them over a year to make. The quality however was worth the wait.

"Here son why don't you try it on" Ben encouraged.

"You sure it's alright to try on right now? Little Joe ain't running around her anywhere is he?" Hoss asked while he scanned the general area.

"No son, I sent your brother into town for a haircut."

That brought a new round of laughter to the men of the house.

"Alright Pa, let me try it on." Hoss took the package and opened it excitedly. As he pulled out his new possession he smiled his biggest smile. He was positively grinning ear to ear.

"Well come on Hoss put it on already!" Adam was getting frustrated. He hoped it wouldn't fit right cause he sure did try it on once already and fit perfectly.

"Hey Pa it fits great!" Hoss exclaimed to his new attire.

Damn thought Adam, well maybe he could borrow it on occasion.

"Yes son looks great!" Ben was quite pleased with the new item.

"Pa, Adam, Hoss I'm home" announced the youngest of the clan of Cartwright's.

"Hi Joseph, did you remember your haircut son?" Ben asked even as he got up to inspect for the shortest possible cut.

"Yes sir" Joe replied as he took off his hat and tossed it on the credenza. "Pa that barber about scalped me. Why I barely have any hair left!"

"Oh Joseph, I seriously doubt that would every happen." Ben replied while he was internally praying his youngest boy would have a steady supply of hair for his lifetime.

"Pa I picked up the account information while I was in town. Your T.A. account his very low. What's that T.A. account anyway?" Joe continued.

"Well son it's not too important right now. I'll take a look at those figures later." Ben reassured.

About that time Hop Sing came around the corner, "Dinner ready. All eat now" He had to turn quick on his heel back to the kitchen to keep from bursting out in laughter. "Mr.Hoss have old rug on head" he laughed in his native language.

The men all made their way to the table and took their respective places. Joe having heard and understood what Hop Sing had said took a closer look at Hoss.

"Hey Hoss, there something different about you?" He asked in a teasing note. His face however told an entirely different story of mixed humor and disgust.

"Why no Little Joe, should there be? Hoss added with his on light-hearted comment.

"Um guess not." He spooned a pile of stew on his plate, then looked over at his brother Adam. "Hey Adam, you notice anything about Hoss?"

"Hmm now that you say something I do believe that there is something different with our brother. What do you think Pa?"

"Well son, you may just be right!"

"Ah shucks, y'all stop teasing me now." Hoss blushed. "So whatcha think Little Joe?"

"Um, um, it looks REEEEAAAAL nice" he stammered out, trying to stifle himself from laughing out loud. However it was too much and he let off with a giggling fit that found himself rolling on the floor.

"Dadburn you Little Joe, what's so dag blasted funny?" Hoss was growing irritated.

"Hoss you look like someone tore off a bears bottom and glued it to your head!" This just started another round of laughing from Joe.

"Joe I wouldn't be laughing too hard that hair came from your head1" smirked his oldest brother.

That quickly sobered Joe. "What do you mean from my head? Pa?"

"Well Joseph you unlike the rest of us seem to have an endless supply of hair. So since you were just a baby we have been, um what word would be best to describe it?"

"Cultivating" answered Adam matter of factly.

"Ah yes, thank you son. Cultivating your natural gift and using it to our advantage."

"I don't understand Pa."

"Well you see Little Joe. You know how they rest of us is really thin on the top and well you just seem to be pouring it over in spades?"

"Yeah, but I thought all of Adam's hair just grew on his chest and yours well you know where yours grows."

Laughing Ben finished, "What your brothers are trying to say is that the hair we cut from you goes into the T.A. account and when there is enough then we make arrangements for it's use."

Joe thought for a minute. "So that's what T.A. stands for!" He exclaimed while snapping his fingers. "That's the Toupee Account. Now that makes perfect sense!" Joe then gave an odd expression of confusion. "But Pa I don't understand, your hair is all white? How can my cut hair be any use to you?"

"Well Joseph, have you ever noticed how may times your pinto changes patterns?"

"Oh GOD!" Joe said as a look of total disgust passed over his features and he fell back over his chair passed out from shock.