In response to the CHALLENGE #2 of tying in Laramie and Wagon Train’s Cooper Smith years to Emergency, I do so for my friend, here on her web site.



Kel’s childhood heroes play a part in his recovery time after an accident. The accident was very nicely written by:  Ginger Hudson.  It was called “Helpless Hands”.  I thank her kindly for her nice job.  You may want to read it first so the beginning and end will make sense.  Also, Linda Taggatz’s uses of Kelly Brackett’s mother, and his childhood were accepted as part of his life story here.  Some how with time, Dixie is accepted for Kel, as his gal and gives a needed nudge for him to get well.


I used “Helpless Hands” as a ‘springboard’ as to how and why Kel began to think of his heroes AND how HIS feelings of similarities between THEIR natures and his, are now of help to him.


The Wagon Train episode:  “The Barbara Linquist Story” was used as a reference and Laramie Episode:   “The Marshals” was used as a reference also.


Here now is the story:












Well, Dix, I can almost hear your voice Kel thought to himself.  It seems a bit distant but if I just try and concentrate a little harder I think I can make out what you would be saying to me.  Drinking and medicine don’t mix, is that it?  NO, she knew I could never get the blasted pills open.  Now I remember, I can hear her clearly now.  Drinking isn’t the way to get through this.  Well, I have to get through this, I just HAVE to.  Determination, that’s the key, determination.  Determination, why and for what though?  Kel continued his thinking as he looked down at his hands finally.  The whiskey was wearing off, and his hands were aching again.  He had continually been avoiding eye contact with them the last few days, staring at wall, chairs, pictures, any object would do.  He just wanted a large subject-change in his brain, but couldn’t seem to get it.


He had started drinking for the pain since he couldn’t open the pills. Dixie had opened the pills, but he didn’t trust his judgement yet.  Being a good doctor his conscious would never mix drinking and pills, but if he was too buzzed he knew there was a chance he may not know what he was doing.  He may feel like he wished he could crawl in a hole and die, but feeling and wanting to were too different things.  It had been about a week since he had been home, and Dixie had just been by two days ago.  She had found him a mess, and tried to fix him up, but he just wasn’t up to it yet.  Well, now the whiskey is gone, and there will be no more…now, it would be safe for the pills, well tomorrow, anyway, I just don’t feel like moving at the moment, still too dizzy, still a little foggy, thought Kel.  Kel was now back to square one, staring at his injured hands, damaged so seriously from the earthquake’s aftershocks.  The whiskey fog was lifting but he was very, very tired from it … now what? His thoughts floated back and forth and finally reached upon a decision.  He pushed the remote and decided to stare at the blank screen and let it buzz himself to sleep.







Music?  It was not the National Anthem, what was it, Kel thought?  He had heard it before, when he was young.  It was before he wanted to be a doctor, it was when his mother was still alive.  He used to feel wild and free when he heard it, what was it?  He perked up a bit and was surprised to see Wagon Train.  Odd, he thought, nothing should be on this late.  Maybe I am just dreaming, no… he heard the clock ticking on the wall, well, no sleep for me now I guess.  I need some happy memories right now… a different kind of medicine maybe?  Too quickly Kel realized soon that he had seen this episode before, and he began to get depressed all over again. 


“Yeah,” he said out loud to himself, “this is the one where Coop’s leg is damaged so badly that he fears he will lose it, and then he learns he won’t but he now will end up crippled the rest of his life.  Crippled, that’s what they said in those days, DISABLED it is for me now.  Well, THANKS A LOT, Coop.  I thought you were my friend.”


Come to think of it, Kel thought, you were just like a friend to me when I was growing up.  You taught me right from wrong, and how to handle situations, and be a man.  Here I am, snapping at an imaginary friend and at a TV set.   What will I be doing next?  He smiled wryly.  It had been about a week and a half or so since he had smiled any kind of a smile.  Well, that would just have to do for now, he thought. 


As Kel continued watching he began to think a bit about Coop.  Coop decided to handle his trouble by leaving the train and moving out to Boston with the lady he rescued, and even decided to marry her, as she wanted him.  He just couldn’t face the fact the he wouldn’t be scouting, and it was just too much to face it as he watched the others working and riding. 


Maybe that’s what I need to do, Kel thought.  I just need to move away, and start over…over…over  AT WHAT!  Well, that was Cooper’s dilemma too, all he ever was, was a scout….and all I ever wanted to be was a doctor.  It gnawed at him though, one of his heroes was willing to go on, and after a disabling injuring.  His hero had the courage to try something new, something this woman would help him find in another place.  He had strength of character. 


Well, where is mine?  Dixie said I have it.  I know I learned some of it from these boyhood hero’s of mine, they are part of me, and who I am.  Kel, for a split moment in time, actually felt like himself again, he had the “guts” to rise up above and take hold of the situation.  He felt like the same kind of man that he was when he came to the aid of his patients, he felt good inside.  He felt good about himself.  He felt just like Cooper Smith.  He would scout out new territory, and master the troubles along the way.


“DOES IT HAPPEN…DOES IT EVER REALLY HAPPEN?”  He yelled it so loud, Kel, surprised at himself, threw his head back against the chair in despair and gazed at the dark ceiling. “So you’re not in your office, and you’re not on the job, so what do you do?”  He continued, “you yell at the TV now, huh Kel.  Oh, dear God, does it?” he said aloud, again. “Look here, good ol’ Coop has a last minute check from a nearby Doc, ‘modern times are coming’ and he will get to use his leg again after much hard work and agony that would make him cry like a baby.  In other words… after much therapy.  Look at Coop’s face he almost wants to cry from joy, he doesn’t care about the pain because he KNOWS he will walk.  It is a SURE THING for HIM, and HE can stay with the wagon train.  Therapy.” 


Therapy, he said to himself, there’s that ‘magic’ word Dixie was trying to lure me out of my self-made hole I’ve been digging here. Am I getting tired yet, of camping out here in this hole… he wondered?


Kel began to realize that someone else a lot stronger than Cooper Smith was ‘talking’ to him.  Someone’ else knew he had the same strength of Cooper Smith, ‘Someone’, who made him, while he was yet in his mother’s womb.  Mother, her thought, she is gone, and I wanted to help others because of her.  ‘Someone’ else higher and mightier knew all this.  Seeing this show was no accident, and Kel soon realized it.  And this is how I end up?  No, I need to fight it.  I am a fighter, too.  But tonight, I just don’t feel like it.  I just plain DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.


Kelly Brackett desperately needed a goal in sight, and he just wasn’t able to fix his mind on it yet, but once he did, there would be no stopping him.  That’s what got him this far, and his name was known all through Rampart.  He was high quality stuff.  He made sure of it himself. 


He began to doze off now, thinking and almost willing to try…If I FIGHT THIS REALLY HARD, will I ever use my hand again, what about my wrist, will it ever be the same?  Do I dare hope for my life’s work or has it been shot to pieces?  Being a Doctor is the essence of who I am, I have to fight this.  It’s the only way I know to help and care for others, will it be lost to me?    FIGHT… I need that word, he thought, as he began to fall asleep.  Jess Harper, now HE’S a fighter.  He’s sensitive like me, he has a concern for people.  He’s been through a lot in his past.  Yeah, he has deep feelings too, but he and I sure know how to fight for a cause.  Kel drifted off to sleep, thinking about his other hero, Jess Harper, one of a kind.  He fights with his fist and his fast gun, and I USED to fight with my skilled hands, and well, a few good punches, if needs be.  Yeah, I remember once in the emergency room, when that guy knocked me down as I came in the door, I sure decked him……Kel was out and on to a new adventure on his way to overcoming.






Kel found himself sitting by the campfire, the stars were beautiful, he could have sworn, he was in a dark room with the buzz of a TV, but he must have been mistaken.  “TV”, Kel said, and looked around, “guess not.”


“T, V?” Jess said, looking at Kel oddly, “well, sure, T V, Take Vitals, I reckon Slim won’t mind none, JUST so’s ya’ leave him some for morning.”


Now I KNOW I’m REALLY dreaming here, Kel thought to himself, but it sure feels good.  He looked at his hands and they were just fine, and his face beamed by the fire, and he smiled at his hero.  It seemed his hands were aching a bit, but he figured it must be the cold and got a bit closer to the fire.


“So, what are you looking at Jess”, Kel was still in awe of his hero standing right in front of him, and right about now, he really needed one.  “It looks like some kind of medical notes, can I take a look?  I’m really interested in anything new I can learn. There’s always something new with the paramedic program going on, you never know what to expect, it’s a real challenge and I just love it” he felt himself holding the papers, and felt himself in his office.  How can I be in my office and a split second later I’m here with Jess?  I need time to analyze this, Kel thought, but at the moment Jess is a lot more interesting, I suppose I could make a note of it.


“Well, near as I can figure, looks like Slim has some ‘cowboy poetry’ going on here.  Looks like he was so grateful to that Doc over in Ironwood that saved my life, it appears he wants to hoot and holler about it to high heaven.  I had a bullet lodged near my heart, and took a hard ride in a tumbleweed wagon to the wrong town at the wrong time, and nearly didn’t have a Doc at all.  Some REAL good friends took some REAL good care of me, though, I’ll say.  Lost a lot of blood, and was sure near death.  The Doc worked hard all night, and his skills saved my life. To tell you the truth, Pard, I was kinda’ glad he did too”.


“Did what?” Kel, was now a bit confused, and the fire wasn’t warming his hands much, as he felt them ache a bit more. “Hey, did you just call me ‘Pard’?”  Kel looked up at the stars, it was just great being outdoors, he thought, not holed up in a dark room, staring at four wall, and all the etc’s.  He still wondered about the TV, he thought he heard it, but maybe it was just a nearby creek.


“Yeah, Slim and I are Pards, but you and I Kel, why we’re Pards in a different way. Ol’ Slim and I are just like brothers, but you and me, why we’re just about the same, why we got a bit of the same ‘rootstock’ you might say and we go way back.   Remember now, you used to watch me, and you thought we were a mighty good match up?  Why you wanted to be a hero with your own special code, just like me.  After your mother died, you found a way to be that hero, too.  I got shot up, or shot down, I should say, quite a few times, but I kept on making tracks to finish my goal.   If I slipped up, ol’ Slim gave me a nudge, or if I slipped back a mite cause of my past, why he set me straight…well, now I can do that for you.  All you got to do is remember when you were a kid, and dream like a kid again Kel…don’t be afraid to have hope.”


“AND in answer to your “DID WHAT?” Jess continued, “I’m glad he ‘DID’… save my life, that is!  You’re a Doc, you MUST know I would be glad if you saved mine, right? Doc?  Doctor Brackett, it is Doctor Brackett, ain’t it, or is it just Kelly Brackett now?”


Kel didn’t know what to think at this point, medically speaking none of this made sense, and his analyzing skills seemed to have floated out into space and turned left at the moon, which he noticed had been missing all night.  He began to read the poetry:


Jess Harper, my hero, since I was a kid…

He had dealt with trouble straight on, and from it, never hid…


He was fast with his gun, he made himself a name…

Like me, Doc Brackett, we walked with integrity, our hearts weren’t lame…


When we saw a need, a hand we would lend…

We’d give our all, at any risk, for a friend…


God saw and rewarded us often…

As our life, he would defend…


He’d bring us safely home...

After every adventure, where ever we did roam…


“Hey Jess, this isn’t Slim’s ‘cowboy poetry’ this is mine…I mean, it’s my thoughts, but I had it down in medical terminology, I know I did, how did this happen?” Kel was fast getting a bad headache, and for some reason his hands were too heavy to rub his aching temples.


Jess was up on his horse now, and Slim was still sleeping by the fire, but his food looked safe … not a fire hazard at least, thought Kel, so Kel approached Jess Harper.


“You fixin’ to ride with me, are ya’ now, Pard?  Or should I say, Doc?”  Jess said with a WRY SMILE, followed by a sparkle in his eyes.  Kel could have SWORN he’d seen that same wry smile before, on his own bathroom mirror.


“You’ve got me thinking really hard on it Jess” Kel said as he saddled up.   His hands held the reins, and they rode off into the night.  Kel never felt so strong before, as he did now.  He felt even stronger than he had to be when his mother died.   But his hands were feeling heavy and aching so badly he felt the reins slip. He could see that Jess didn’t know or understand what had happened and disappeared into the night.  Kel tried to continue to hold on but his hands were too heavy to move now.  He was left behind and just like Jess, he couldn’t understand what was happening either.  He felt himself falling off the horse, he began to feel desperate, and was aware of the walls closing in.


Kelly Brackett looked up at the ceiling and the stars were gone.  He looked down at his hands and the heavy bandages, and the cast, and he cried.   For a small moment in time he felt well and strong, now the TV was buzzing.  He looked around, and upon noticing the apartment was clean, he realized he had sleep through the whole morning.  Dixie must have come early, cleaned and gone.  Yes, it was true, it was afternoon now, and Jess Harper was gone, but NOT forgotten.  Kel had gotten a good push with a ‘prescription of Jess’, in poetry form, but he was in the real world now, and needed a real push to continue that spark of inner hope.  It needed to grow, or it would die out like an unfed fire.


The phone rang, an annoyance that didn’t help his headache one bit.  Trying to answer it was just another unwelcome chore, having dropped it and managing to put it back, Kel waited for it to ring again and start the whole process all over again.  Well, success, this time, anyway, sure don’t know why I bothered…guess I just needed to know I could do it, I suppose…straight shooting’ there Jess, went through Kel’s mind as he proceeded to speak.  It was Dix, and having hung it up he wished to God that he had never answered it.  Company, the last thing I want is company, he thought bitterly and now she’s bringing it.  He fell back into a fitful sleep in the chair until he heard the door knock.


Kelly Brackett needed a few more nudges from the good Lord above, and he’d have himself ‘pointing north’ again.  He was unaware, that Dixie was bringing the next nudge, in the form of Tammy, and he would have his work cut out for him soon.   It would be a long hard climb, but he was going to make it.


He muted the TV and went to answer the door, “yeah, this’ll be fun” he said, trying to remember how he opened it the last time when Joe came by, all the while running some new ideas through his head.  Kel opened the door and now stood face to face with Dixie and Tammy, his new beginning.