Sadly, Southernfrau is no longer with us. Her stories are archived here for her friends to remember her by. Enjoy her legacy to Lancer.
Word count 3,315
A Brat Pack Story.A 667 Production
Disclaimer: This is the work of delusional and obsessed minds. Do you really want to argue ownership with us? You will only anger us with your insolence.
Author’s Note SF: I was delighted to find out I had finally sucked Kit into ‘my kid reality’ and even more so when she asked me to join her in writing the discovery of the wet diaper (from Kit’s story Shadow of Things to Come).
Author’s Note Kit: Yep, that’s me. Sucked in hook, line and sinker. I will get even.
~*~ L ~*~ A ~*~ N ~*~ C ~*~ E ~*~ R ~*~
Murdoch heard the hesitant shuffle of sandals on the floor. Glancing up from his work in the ledger book, he confirmed to himself that it was indeed Maria entering his study. He sighed at the expression on her face. One second she looked confused, then she would shake her head and her features would display a hint of anger.
In her hands Maria held a towel that obviously had something bundled up inside. Her steps stalled and she canted her head to the side; her eyes narrowing and then opening wide as she came to some great revelation. She moved into action, the shuffle now a march.
” Patrón ,” she paused and pursed her lips, choosing her words carefully, “How often have the night time accidents been occurring with Scott?”
Laying his pen down on the inkwell stand, Murdoch laced his fingers together and placed his twined hands on the edge of his desk. His right eyebrow arched upward as he considered his answer. “That’s the first time in years. I don’t believe he’s wet the bed since he went through that jealousy spell about a month after Johnny was born.”
Frowning, Maria’s mouth tightened, as though highly annoyed. “If Scott has not been having accidents, why is he wearing a diaper to bed?” Unfolding the towel she revealed a damp flannel. “I found this among his blankets.”
Murdoch’s mouth dropped open; he stood and came around the desk, towering over the much shorter housekeeper. Staring down at the soiled bundle of white cloth he began to grind his teeth. This reeks of Johnny, literally. “I’m going to get to the bottom of this. Scott!” he called. He drummed his fingers on the desk top as he waited.
“Yes, sir,” Scott called, running in the open French doors, his face flushed from playing.
“Do you know anything about this?” Papa questioned, pointing to the towel in Maria’s hand.
Curious, Scott came forward and peered in the towel, his sensitive nose crinkling in disgust. “Ewwwwwww…its Johnny’s nasty diaper.”
Schooling his voice to a neutral tone so it wouldn’t sound like he was accusing the little boy, Murdoch addressed his son. “Maria found it in your bed, Scott.”
“What!” the shocked child shouted. Huffing, he balled his hands into fists and planted them on his slender hips. “Papa, I’m too old to wear diapers.” Grasping the top edges of the still pinned diaper, Scott lifted it up, “Look, see how little this is? Everyone says I’m skinny, but this diaper wouldn’t fit me!” The little blond shook with indignation.
Visions of all the times he saw his youngest shimmy out of his diaper; and the multitude of times they found Johnny’s abandoned and still pinned diapers danced through Murdoch’s mind. Chewing the inside of his cheek because his jaw ached from grinding his teeth, Murdoch replayed last night’s events in his mind. It was highly plausible…no, more than likely, Johnny was responsible. That scamp! He was paying Scott back for telling about him flushing the towel.
Patting his older son on the back, Papa instructed, “Go back to your playing, Scott. I’ll take care of this.”
Hugging his dad’s long legs, Scott smiled. “Papa, your friend Modoc Charlie is right. Johnny is sneakier than an egg stealing possum.”
Murdoch watched as Scott exited the house and rejoined the group of worker’s children he had been playing marbles with; puzzling the thing over in his mind. Turning his attention back to Maria, he sighed tiredly. I might as well get this over with. “Is Johnny up from his nap?”
“Si,” she nodded, shrugging. “ Señor Garrett has him in the play yard while he goes over his paperwork in the gazebo.” Grimacing, she folded the diaper up in the towel once more.
“Well, let’s go see what the little pistol has to say for his self.” Murdoch walked towards the kitchen, his steps as slow and heavy as a man headed for the gallows.
~*~ L ~*~ A ~*~ N ~*~ C ~*~ E ~*~ R ~*~
Hiding behind the oak tree, Johnny studied Ha. Harlan Garrett would glance up occasionally as he read over the papers in his hand, every so often shaking a finger in Johnny’s direction. Then, all of a sudden, Ha’s attention was caught by something he was reading. He sat straight up and began grabbing for other papers that had been lying on the table. Johnny knew now was his chance.
His little legs pumping furiously, Johnny shot out from behind the big tree, every so often pausing to duck behind a large rock or a chair; diving on his belly to slip under a stone bench before leaping to his feet and heading for the back door of the kitchen. Skidding into place, the toddler danced from foot to foot as he wiggled, skinning his little brown pants down to his knees. “Ahhhh…” he sighed as he freed himself and began to urinate in Mamacita’s big flower pot. He liked the way his peepee made a little mud puddle in the dirt; little golden bubbles forming and popping. So intent was he on watching the depression in the soil growing wider and deeper; he didn’t realize the back door was opening.
“JOHNNY!” Papa bellowed. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. An extremely modest man, Murdoch had prided himself on teaching his boys good manners and proper deportment; and now this… And in Maria’s prized clay flower pot!
Startled, Johnny spun towards the angry voice; his hand still on his willy. “Uh oh,” he squeaked, a renewed stream of pee splashing against the side of the house and then all over Papa’s pant legs and boots. Hard as he tried, the toddler couldn’t make it stop.
“Arrrgghhhh,” Murdoch growled, trying to high step out of the way. His quick maneuver put Maria in the direct line of fire.
“Ay yi yi,” shrieked Maria, tossing the towel and diaper towards the toddler as she danced away from the urine stream.
Attempting to flee, Johnny’s efforts were hampered by his pants being bunched up halfway down his legs. He tried to back up, colliding with the flower pot. Flipping backwards, he landed on his butt in the still urine soaked dirt. Mouth open, his eyes grew wide as something white flew by his head and landed on the ground near Papa’s feet. Johnny gasped as he recognized the diaper he had left in Squat’s bed. This was not good, not good at all for his little exposed behind. He needed to cover up…and fast.
Alerted to trouble by the loud howling at the rear of the house, Harlan had risen just in time to see his son-in-law performing some kind of high stepping jig, Maria spinning as if doing the fandango, and something white flying by Johnny’s head. And Johnny…
Catching a glimpse of his beloved Ha charging to his rescue, Johnny opted for the tried and true method. He howled; louder than a coyote at the moon. Allowing gravity to do its work, he tumbled backwards into the pot; his shoulders connecting with the fragile clay. A satisfying clunk came as the curved, top edge of the pot gave way and clattered onto the tiled patio. “Johnny’s butt broke!” he wailed, his compact body assuming a “V” shape, his head against one edge of the pot, his booted feet sticking up in the air at the other. “Johnny gonna d-i-i-i-i-e!”
A small crowd had gathered. Scott, his eyes wide, stood up and watched as his Grandfather practically ran across the garden.
“Murdoch Lancer!” Harlan shouted. “What are you doing to my baby?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “And what is he doing in that pot?” Turning his attention to his small grandson, he began clucking like a mother hen. “There, there, Johnny,” he crooned; bending down and intending to pick up the child.
Smiling, Johnny reached up to his grandfather. Then, aware of the giant shadow that was now looming over him, he drew back. Papa’s face was getting that funny color again, and the skin beneath his right eye was jumping up and down. Johnny knew he was in trouble; big trouble. He felt his tummy get tight; and then felt that tickle way down there, the same tickle that came when Squat was telling him monster stories.
He peed; a regular fountain of gold spurting up into the air.
Harlan Garrett straightened up; summoning whatever dignity he could muster from somewhere deep inside. Jaws tight, he reached into this front pants pocket and withdrew the carefully folded linen napkin and began to dab at the front of his shirt. “Your son,” he muttered.
Murdoch found himself chewing on his bottom lip. “I believe just a minute ago I heard you refer to him as ‘my baby’ ,” he chuffed.
Maria simply threw up her hands. Then, taking charge, she swept in between the two men and picked up the little boy, gathering him into her arms. “Bath,” she grumbled, holding him tightly. Already, she was beginning to strip the child of his clothing.
Johnny peered over the woman’s shoulders. Johnny no want ‘nother bath, not in Mamácita’s kitchen sink. His eyes swept his Grandfather’s face, and then Papa’s. Neither man seemed willing to help him. In desperation, Johnny called out to the only ally present. “Squat-t-t-t.”
~*~ L ~*~ A ~*~ N ~*~ C ~*~ E ~*~ R ~*~
They were standing in the shadows in the hallway; Murdoch Lancer and his father-in-law, Harlan. Both men were shamelessly eavesdropping; their attention focused on the two boys who were now in the Great Room. Johnny — freshly bathed, shampooed and redressed — was perched on the edge of the large leather ottoman, his face upturned. Scott was standing before his baby brother, shaking his finger.
“And what don’t we do?” Scott asked. He had just concluded his best ever big-brother lecture.
Johnny’s shoulders lifted in a hitching sob as he took a deep breath. “Johnny not pee on Papa, or Ha, or Mamácita ,” he answered.
“Very good,” Scott said, nodding his head. “And?”
Another soft sob. “Johnny not pee in Scott’s bed.”
Scott, hands behind his back, was pacing now. “And,” he asked again, pausing to face his brother.
Johnny’s neck was beginning to hurt from all the looking up and the turning from side to side. He fidgeted a bit before answering. “Johnny not pee in Mamácita’s pot?”
The blond looked askance at his younger sibling; not quite liking Johnny’s answer. It sounded way too much like a question. “Would you care to repeat that, John?”
Huh, Johnny thought, Squat sure sound like Papa. He tried again. After all, Scott had convinced Mamácita Johnny didn’t need another spanking with the spoon. “Johnny not pee in Mamácita’s pot.”
Scott was feeling pretty proud of himself. “And now what do we need to do?” he asked, once again using the royal we.
Johnny smiled up at his brother. “‘Pologize to Papa, Ha and Mamácita ?” He wasn’t quite sure what ‘pologize meant.
“You need to say you are sorry, Johnny,” Scott said, reading his brother’s mind.
There was a whooshing sound as Johnny let out a long breath. “Then Johnny not be in trouble anymore?” he sighed.
Scott laughed. He hadn’t meant to, it just came out. Johnny kicked him.
Murdoch was shaking his head. He cleared his throat, gesturing for Harlan to follow him as he stepped down into the Great Room. “Boys,” he greeted.
Scott was rubbing his knee and thinking how it was a good thing Papa had just come through the door. “I talked to Johnny, Papa,” he said.
Hiding the smile with an upraised hand, Murdoch nodded. “Yes, and you did a very fine job,” he said. “Your Grandfather and I heard.” He decided to clarify. “We heard you telling Johnny he needs to apologize.”
Johnny turned on the smile. He shoved himself off the ottoman and marched over to where his father and Grandfather were standing. “Johnny sorry,” he said.
The expressions on Murdoch and Harlan’s face were exactly the same; their right eyebrows arched, a similar half-smile gracing their countenances; as if they were both leaning towards the thought Johnny was apologizing for getting caught, not for what he had done.
Harlan was the first to speak. “Apology accepted,” he said. “But it better not happen again, young man.”
Murdoch tapped Johnny’s shoulder. “Now apologize to Scott,” he ordered.
Johnny turned around to face his brother. He moved forward a bit so Papa couldn’t see anything but the back of his head and stuck his tongue out. “Sorry, Squat.”
Scott didn’t believe him for a minute. He smiled. “Now tell Papa,” he said, getting in the last word.
Johnny spun around so fast he almost fell on his butt. “Sorry, Papa.” He was getting really tired of all this ‘sorry’ stuff.
“Uh-huh,” Murdoch nodded. “And now, my boy, you are going to come with me and make your peace with Maria.” Smiling, he reached down to take his baby boy’s hand.
“Aw, shit ,” the little boy muttered.
The obscenity was followed by the tolling of the Grandfather clock. Four times the gong sounded into a room gone as quiet as a mausoleum. Murdoch and Harlan, shocked by the baby’s language, turned to face each other in a wide eyed stare. Standing by the ottoman, Scott’s mouth was open forming a silent ‘oh’; his hands cradling the sides of his face.
The only other movement in the room was the anxious twitching of Johnny’s little body. He knew he was in trouble again from Papa, Ha and Squat’s reaction. The problem was he had no idea what he was in trouble for, so with Squat’s words of wisdom still ringing in his ears he tried to fix things. “Johnny sorry.”
Growling in frustration, Murdoch lifted the toddler and sat him back on the ottoman; crouching in front of him as he announced: “That’s not going to wash, my son. If you know to apologize for the language, then you knew it was bad to say it!”
Cocking his head to the side and chewing his lip, Johnny studied Papa’s face. It was all red with those big lines that looked like tater rows above his eyebrows and the corner of his eye was jumping like Papa was going to wink; but Papa didn’t look happy enough to do that. The pink tip of his tongue appeared as he tried to figure this out. What does Papa mean lane ridge?
Recognizing the signs of confusion on his grandbaby’s face, Harlan intervened. “I don’t think he knows what he was apologizing for; I don’t believe he really knows what he said.” Ha moved closer to the child; his arms yearning to pick his baby up.
What Johnny said? The toddler wrapped his arms around his chest and bowed his head as he thought about it. He looked up smiling brightly when he had it figured out. He did so know what he said. “Aw, shit,” he smiled bigger, “that what Johnny say. ‘Aw, shit’.” He looked highly pleased with his self.
Smack! Papa’s big hand struck hard and swiftly against the little thigh.
“Waaaaaaaaaaaah,” Johnny cried, upset that his answer made Papa mad instead of happy. Scrambling backward on the ottoman, Johnny raised his arms to Ha, an unspoken plea to save him.
Harlan reached for the toddler, but stopped mid bend when Murdoch’s calloused hand pressed against his chest. “No,” Murdoch stated firmly as he prevented the action, “Johnny will face the consequences on his own.”
Johnny cried harder. He didn’t really know what ‘con see benches’ meant either; but he knew whenever Papa used that word Johnny — and sometimes, Scott — was in trouble.
Visibly upset, Harlan’s tone changed as he cleared his throat. “Let me reiterate. I don’t think Johnny realizes he was using foul language. He merely apologized because he saw he was in trouble again. I have a feeling he’s repeating something he has heard.” Straightening up clasping his hands behind his back, Ha put forth a suggestion. “Murdoch, you need to find out if he knows what the word means and where he heard it.”
Turning the baby around to face him, Murdoch took a couple of deep restorative breaths. His expression eased as he forced the air out through his nose and he attempted to tamp down his emotions. “Johnny, the word you said when Papa told you we were going to make your peace with Maria,” he paused as the toddler nodded, his breath hitching as he snubbed and sniffed, “Can you tell Papa what the word means?”
Swiping his runny nose with his shirt sleeve, Johnny’s face crinkled in concentration. He wasn’t sure what shit meant but he knew when to use it. He frowned, unsure how to answer. “Johnny knows when to say it,” he confessed.
Scrubbing a hand over his weary face, Murdoch realized he needed to use a different approach. “All right. When would you say it?”
Tapping his chin with a tiny finger, Johnny’s eyes narrowed as he considered the question. “Johnny would say it when ink gets on his hands, like when Papa writes in the big book,” he paused as Ha snorted, “Johnny would say it when a pot boils over like Mamacita does.” Dropping his hands to his lap, Johnny drummed his fingers on his thighs, deep in thought, “Oh, Johnny would say it when the hammer hits Johnny’s thumb.” Then, his eyes narrowing, he turned slightly to look over his shoulder at his older brother.
Scott shuttered. He backed slowly into the shadowy corner; clasping his hands under his chin as though praying. Johnny had snuck up on him when he and Cipriano’s sons — Mateo and Paco — were swaggering about mimicking the older cowhands; and they had said a lot more than shit. They had also been smoking. He took no comfort from the fact Johnny wasn’t saying anything. No. Johnny was smiling; like he was actually filing some secret away to use at a more opportune time.
Completely missing the silent interaction between his sons, Murdoch groaned. Johnny had no idea what the word meant, he realized; he was merely repeating what he heard. Shit! Harlan was right. I can just hear him when the boys go to bed; Mr. Prim and Proper Bostonian and his ‘my generation’ lecture.
Smirking at his son-in-law, Harlan knelt down and gently took Johnny’s little hands into his, rubbing the tops with his thumbs. “Johnny, the word you used is a nasty or not nice word for…” he searched for the appropriate phrase, one the toddler would understand, “…poop. People say it when they are mad or upset, and they should never say it in front of children.” Ha turned and glared at Papa, one of the guilty parties.
“Oh,” Johnny replied, the light of understanding finally glowing in his eyes.
Ha was quite pleased with himself and decided to expound. “And bad language is when we say words that are not nice. If you ever hear a word and you’re not sure whether or not you can say it, you come and ask me or Papa.” He drew the baby into a hug, and then passed him to Murdoch, realizing Johnny needed his father’s reassurance as well.
“Johnny sorry,” he murmured, cuddling in Papa’s arms, relieved no one seemed mad anymore.
Squeezing the little one tightly and nuzzling his neck, Murdoch chuckled. “Papa’s sorry too. It seems quite a few of us need to apologize to you as well.” Johnny giggled as Papa tickled his side. “You still need to apologize to Maria, especially for the flowerpot.” He hefted the toddler so he was bent slightly over his shoulder and gave the little bottom a firm love pat.
“Aw, poop,” Johnny muttered.
The Brat Pack Series AU
Author’s note on the Brat Pack here
My Brother, The Brat
Another Day in the Life
Breakfast: A Proper Way to Start the Day
Taking the Town by Storm
Home Again Home Again
Itching to Break Out
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
Gifts of Love
The Easter Bunny Cometh
Just a Victim of Circus’Stance!
Ask and You Shall Receive
The Gospel According to Johnny
Serving Up Trouble
No More Monsters Under the Bed
Wrinkled Potatoes and Old Tomatoes
O Come Let Us Adore Him
Carving Out Fun
Look Before You Eat
Cover Up (written with Kit)
Kit and Southernfrau
July 13, 2011
Want to comment? Email Kit