It was an unusual occurrence for fan mail to actually get onto the set, but Ann Perkins figured the boys might like to see this one. She smiled as she handed it to Mike.
"This one's from someone with your last name."
He smiled at her. "Thanks, Ann." As she left, he glanced at the envelope. "Hey, it's from my Aunt Kate!" Mike slid open the envelope.
”Mike has an Aunt Kate?" Micky said. "Maybe we could put that in an episode someday."
"Maybe!" Peter agreed, grinning broadly.
"You're in a good mood," Davy pointed out.
"The reporter's on vacation!" Peter laughed. "Peace at last!"
That set them all to laughing, then Mike slid out the letter....and frowned.
In her distinctive handwriting, Kate had written:
Mike's frown deepened. There was both an undercurrent of urgency in the letter and a lot of unanswered questions.
"What is it, Michael?" Peter asked.
"She needs my help."
Davy grinned, slapping the table they were sitting at. "Texas, here we come!"
Mike looked at him. "Hey, hold on! What's this 'we' jazz? She's my aunt!"
Peter nodded. "And we're your partners. So your aunt's in trouble. So you wanna help her. So we help you help your aunt. It's as simple as that."
Mike grinned at him. "Peter Tork, the silver-tongued devil with the glow-blue eyes!"
Those blue eyes narrowed slightly. "Watch it, Nesmith... Anyway, we're still goin' with you."
Mike looked from one to the other, then smiled. "You guys... Okay. But I gotta warn you... There may be an identity problem. Aunt Kate calls me Mickey."
Micky blinked at him. "Micky Nesmith? Ouch!"
Mike nodded, looking sideways at Micky. "Yeah, that's Mickey with an 'E'," he
Days later, the Monkees' battered red pickup rolled into the Lazy N Ranch country.
Peter leaned out the window. "Are you guys sure that dust isn't bothering you?" he yelled back to Micky and Davy.
Micky laughed. "We're fine back here, Pete. I've got a shield around the truck, so the dust can't get to us!"
Davy leaned forward. "Hey, Mike?" he asked. "What's your Aunt Kate like?"
Mike smiled, eyes never leaving the familiar road. "She's m'mom's sister, and she married m'dad's brother. She's sweet, but when she's riled--- Whew!"
Peter grinned at him. "Translation? She's a Nesmith, through and through."
Mike shot him a sidelong glare. "I should'a stuck you in back instead of Micky."
"Hey!" Peter whined. "They both insisted on the back!"
"Okay, you two!" Micky snapped. "This isn't the place for your mock running feud!"
A car pulled up beside them. A young blonde woman looked out and honked the horn. "Howdy!" she called. "Where y'all headin'?"
"The Lazy N!" Mike called back.
She blinked at him, grinning. "Well, I'll be... I thought I recognized you! Mickey! Mickey Nesmith! D'you remember me?"
"No," he said, then smiled. "Wait! Diana? Little Diana Parker from the Rocking J?"
She laughed. "Not so little anymore." Then she sobered. "Hey, Mick... be careful. Your aunt's in a lot o'trouble."
"Understood," Mike said. She gave him a final wink and drove off.
Davy was staring after her. "Who was that?"
"Diana Parker. Neighbor's kid with a huge crush on me."
Micky leaned against the back window. "I'll never get used to these people calling Mike 'Mickey'."
Davy grinned at him. "Maybe we should call you Mike, Micky."
Mike nodded. "Davy's got a point. We're both named Michael, but here everyone calls me Mickey. So, just while we're here, how 'bout if we nickname you 'Mike'?"
Peter looked at Mike, and his eyes glowed blue. Mike's hat lifted off his head and sailed over to Peter's hand. Peter then reached it out the window and began smacking Micky with it.
"Okay, okay!" Micky said, backing away. "I give in! I give!!! GET THAT
THING AWAY FROM ME!!" The others burst out laughing.
Soon, the pickup slid through the gates of the Lazy N. Davy vaulted out of the back. "Well... we're here."
Micky stood up to get out, and saw Peter start to rocket out of the truck. "Careful, Pete..." Peter yelped as his feet impacted something invisible and he was pitched to the ground. "...My shield's still up," Micky finished.
"Now you tell me!" Peter glared at him.
Mike was worrying his door handle, which would not turn. "At least you three're out! Micky's got me pinned! C'mon, Dolenz, ease up on the field so I can--"
All four jumped as a small explosion was heard and a shotgun shell bounced off of Micky's field.
An older woman cocked the shotgun for a second blast, and screamed, "If you're from Black Bart, GET OUTTA HERE!" She aimed for the three standing by the truck.
Mike rocketed out of the passenger side door and stood in front of Peter. "Aunt Kate, no! They're my friends!"
The woman blinked. She lowered the gun and blinked again, mouthing, *Mickey?* Then she flung the gun aside and began to run. Micky dissolved his force field right as she reached it. The woman practically flew into Mike's arms. Tears were streaming down her face.
"Mickey!" she sobbed. "Mickey, you came!"
Mike hugged her back. "Course I did! You know I'd never abandon my favourite aunt!" He pulled back and asked her, "What kind o'trouble are you in?"
She shrugged. "There's loads o'time for that. Why don't you introduce me to your friends?"
Davy stepped forward. "Enchanted, Madam."
She smiled at him. "British, right? Manchester?" At his stunned look, she smiled. "I thought so. You've the same exact accent as Jackson."
"Before y'ask," Mike said, "Jackson's our foreman. Peter Tork..."
Peter stepped forward. "Mrs. Nesmith."
She looked him up and down. "There's something odd about you, son..."
"More than you know, ma'am." Peter stepped back and whispered, "She can sense the powers."
"I know," Mike whispered back. Aloud, he said, "And last, but not least, Mi-- uhm, Mike Dolenz."
Micky stepped forward. "Pleasure to meet you, Ma'am."
"Same here... Micky." Micky and Mike shot looks at each other, and Kate finished, "Michael stuttered on your name. He hasn't done that since he was fifteen and trying to convince me to call him Mike." Mike's cheeks flamed red, drawing grins from Davy and Peter. "So I figured he was Mike now, and your name had to be Micky. And any friend of Michael's can call me Aunt Kate."
"I was right," Peter whispered to Davy.
"M-hm. She's a Nesmith, through and through."
Twenty minutes passed, during which Kate fixed the boys a batch of pancakes. Mike finished the last bite of his, drained the last drop of milk, and leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes in contentment.
"Mmmm... Aunt Kate, you still make the best pancakes this side of the Rio Grande!"
For answer, Kate walked over, removed Mike's hat by the pompom, and slapped him in the back of the head with it. "And you, boy, still got no manners! Hat off in the house!" She flung the green hat over to the counter. This was a scene that had obviously been played out many times before, as Mike's rapidly reddening face attested. The others burst into near-hysterical laughter.
And at that point, the antique table they were seated at split neatly in two. Everything on it began to fall. Kate gasped as Peter's eyes began to glow a brilliant blue. The dishes all froze in place, then gathered themselves into two neat little stacks, plates and silverware in one, glasses in another.
Micky's almond eyes were wide as he focused on the syrup and butter dishes. "I've got these!"
Davy was suddenly so tall his hair grazed the ceiling. He held each half of the table in one hand with only the slight effort one would have in carrying two small books. "Table's set!"
Mike had moved to the sink. His arms stretched across the room and gathered each of the two stacks Peter had formed, pulling them into the sink. "Dishes set!" he called.
Peter then looked at the syrup and butter. "See about the table, Mick. I've got these." Micky nodded, eyes returning to normal width. The two dishes shuddered as the field surrounding them dissolved and Peter's telekinesis took over. He glided the syrup and butter to rest beside Mike's hat.
Kate had been watching this, stunned beyond measure. She stood, staring, her hand spread on her chest to contain her heart. At last, she managed to choke out, "Mi...Mickey...what... in the world...!"
Peter, Davy and Micky turned suddenly, realizing their actions were reflex, and were no longer secret. Mike smiled at Aunt Kate, amusement and affection warring in his dark eyes. "We've... changed, Aunt Kate."
She blinked at him. "Obviously!" she gasped, leaning a hand on the counter. Mike put a hand on her shoulder and kissed her head comfortingly, laughing.
Mike and Davy washed and put away the dishes while Micky and Peter repaired the table. Kate watched the four, who were still using their powers off and on, and the possibilities hit her. She smiled, sliding a finger over the gentle cleft in her chin. If they had powers... then maybe they just could be the ones!
She sashayed over, hooking her arms in Micky's and Peter's, pulling them toward the living room. "Come on, boys," she said. "It's high time you knew what was goin' on."
Mike laughed. "They look so embarrassed!" he said to Davy. "I guess I should'a warned them... Aunt Kate's an incorrigible flirt!"
Davy laughed. "Yeah, you should've!"
Minutes later, Kate sat at the table and shuffled her pack of well-played cards. "Three months ago, Black Bart began to terrorize this ranch." She looked sidelong at Mike. "Mickey, Bart's men murdered Jackson when he stood up to them. They're threatening my life."
Mike's eyes narrowed. "What can we do?"
"Nothin' you can do, except maybe protect me. If only he'd play me! If I could beat him at poker, I could maybe put the Lazy N up as stakes and keep it."
"You good at it?" Peter asked.
She smiled. "Till Bart moved in, I was the best this part of Texas!"
Micky sat down across from her. "Care for a quick game?"
She smiled. Distributing the chips, she dealt.
Minutes later, she only had three chips left. The others were all stacked up by Micky. She looked at Mike. "Mickey, you've been givin' this boy lessons!"
"No, Ma'am," Peter said, cheeks tinged with red. "I... uhm... kind of gave him an extra edge."
"How?" she asked.
Peter tapped his cheek. "It's called telekinesis, Aunt Kate. I can move things with my mind. I kept.. .uhm... manipulating the deck."
Kate looked at him incredulously for a second, then she burst into laughter. "Clever, Peter! With teamwork like that, you may be able to--"
They heard the shotgun blast at the same instant Kate crumpled to the ground.
"Aunt Kate!" Mike screamed. He raced over and lay a hand over her and under her, to try to turn her over and talk to her. A strange look -- shock mirrored with denial -- spread over his face as he pulled out the hand he had slid under her shoulder.
The hand was covered with
Continue to Part Two