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 2,405
Disclaimer: The Lancers are owned by them, but held captive by me.
Author’s Note: This is for Teresa (JT Girl). She’s needed to see Teresa suffer a little, just because she enjoys it, so I wrote this to tide her over as I have stalled on another story I was working on for her.
~*~ L ~*~ L ~*~ L ~*~ L ~*~L ~*~
Murdoch Lancer watched the two figures slowly canter through the stone Lancer arch. His keen eyes noted Johnny’s slouched posture and slumped shoulders, testament to the long day they had put in. Their clothes appeared damp; obviously they had been caught in the brief cloud burst that had occurred an hour earlier.
Murdoch couldn’t help but grin at their state of disrepair. He pulled his lips inward and bit down on the chuckle that fought to escape. In the months since they had been home, his sons had formed a bond that seemed unbreakable. They were as different as night and day in looks and temperament, yet they fit together like a lock and key, completing, as well as complementing each other. Their present disheveled state highlighted their dissimilarities.
Johnny sat low in the saddle, his body in tune with the movement of the equine. His body was moving with the step and motion of his horse, as though they were one. His youngest son was filthy. He looked like he had been rolled in road dust, which clung in layers to his still rain wet rumpled and wrinkled clothes. His hat bobbed merrily on his back, and the stampede string was caught in his mouth, as he chewed the thin length of leather. Unbidden memories of a toddler Johnny chewing anything small enough to fit in his mouth when he was teething popped into his mind. Even back then the beguiling child had a penchant for finding a way to get dirty. It seemed the dirtier he was, the happier he was. Looking at him now, he could detect the satiated contentment that oozed from the tired body, and he knew it was because he was pleased to have spent the day in the company of his older brother. Murdoch couldn’t stop the grin that beamed from his face over the sight of Johnny’s hair. It was quite apparent his hat had been off during the brief rain shower. Johnny’s glossy black hair was spiked out in all directions, obviously having been dried by the wind pushing through the silky strands as his son rode, now his hair stood out in wild disarray as though a stiff breeze continued to blow through it.
In stark contrast to Johnny’s extremely soiled and tousled appearance, Scott merely looked damp, his proclivity towards neatness making him appear untidy at worse. His clothes were smoothed in place and wrinkle-free. His hat sat squarely upon his head, and what blond hair that was visible lay as immaculately as it had this morning after being brushed into place, of course Scott’s shorter hair was easier to maintain. His older son sat ramrod straight in the saddle, the only clue to his tired state was the slight pinching creases of the skin around his eyes.
Both boys became aware of their father’s scrutiny at the same time. Scott nodded his head, and the briefest of smiles stretched his lips. His teeth remained covered as if he didn’t have the energy to force his facial muscles to fully stretch themselves. Johnny, however, graced his father with one of his full blown, bright, white teeth shining grins. As often happened when Johnny smiled, a short chuckle followed the action. Their greeting lightened Murdoch’s heart, lifting it like a feather on the wind, freeing it to soar on the thrilling knowledge that he was indeed loved by his sons. He watched with no small measure of pride as his sons reined to a stop at the hitching rail. Murdoch pushed his stiff form up from the chair he had been sitting in on the porch and approached the younger Lancers.
“Hello boys, rough day?”
“Not so much rough, sir, as busy,” Scott replied as he dismounted and methodically removed his tan colored work gloves, and then returned them to his saddlebags.
“What about you, Johnny? Would you say your day was rough?”
“Nope,” Johnny stated as he stretched his arms and rolled his shoulders before sliding gracefully from the saddle to land with a light thump on his booted feet. “I’d say my day was just long…real long.”
“Pedro, come see to the boys’ mounts,” Murdoch called to one of the hands. Turning back to his sons he draped his long arms across their shoulders as he escorted them into the hacienda. “Let’s get inside so you two can relax a few minutes and cool off.”
Murdoch gently guided them into the Great room and straight for the over-sized couch, where he tried to seat them. Scott sat with a protracted sigh but Johnny balked at the notion of dropping down onto the cushioned comfort of the sofa, even though he wanted nothing more than to sink into the softness. He was under no illusions as to the filthy condition of his clothes, and he was well aware if Teresa should happen into the room she would throw a conniption fit over them soiling the upholstery.
“Oh no, I’ll sit right here on the floor,” protested Johnny as he started to lower himself down in front of the couch.
His descent was halted by his father’s massive hand which wrapped around his bicep and pulled him back up. “Why on earth would you want to sit on that hard floor instead of on the softness of the couch? It was bought for sitting on, you know!”
“I know what it’s for! I also know if that bossy little hellcat Teresa comes in here and sees me sitting on it in these dirty clothes she’ll have a fit.”
“Johnny, this is your home, and if you want to sit on the couch and relax then do it, no matter what the state of your clothes. And if Teresa has anything to say about it, well then maybe you should have a fit right back. Perhaps a dose of her own behavior will show her you’re not going to be run rough shod over in your home. Now sit, get comfortable. I’ll get you boys a drink.”
“She’ll cry if I do that, besides I’m not sure I have the energy to muster up a fit…not to mention it goes against my gentlemanly nature.”
Scott snorted as he turned disbelieving eyes on his little brother. “Since when, are you a gentleman? And let me assure you before you claim excusing yourself for burping at the table the other day doesn’t count since the excuse me was rather rude when phrased as, and I quote, ‘Excuse me for burping, my butthole ain’t working.”
An unrepentant grin beamed from Johnny’s tired face as he claimed, “Well now big brother I think that rule you told me about the other day should apply here, it’s the thought that counts. I thought about it, and I excused myself.”
Murdoch chuckled at the banter between his boys, from his position at the drink sideboard. “Well you still have my permission to kick up your own fuss if Teresa gets after you. You used to be quite an accomplished tantrum thrower as a child.”
Before Johnny could reply to that, the sharp thud of boot heels on tile filled the lull as Teresa marched into the room and drew his attention. He looked at her and sighed, it was bad enough he had to hear her shrill admonishments, but he had to view it with her in those ridiculous orange pants that made her look like the hind quarters of a horse.
Johnny raised his hands as if to ward off the coming verbal attack, as he did he felt something brush against his right hand. To his horror a huge spider had dropped down from the ceiling still attached to a long flowing length of web silk, the waving action of his hand caused the spider to spin away, and then swing right back and land on his chest where it began to scurry towards his exposed neck.
In the span of less than a second, Johnny Madrid Lancer loss all sense of rationality and reason. As a small child in the border towns he had been bitten by a spider and had been sick for days with stomach cramps, vomiting and body aches. The bite on his leg had become infected and caused a fever to ravage his body, to this day he bore the scar from it on his leg, and to this day he suffered irrational fear anytime he came in close contact with one of the insects. His mind and body became consumed with an all important objective, to get that spider off of him, and to get rid of it.
Johnny leapt from the couch screeching incoherently. He brushed wildly at his clothes as though shooing Teresa away. Every time he knocked the spider off it would swing out in an arching line and float right back to land on his chest, where upon Johnny would jump up and down in mad agitation and slap at his torso, as he shrieked in Spanish.
Scott and Murdoch watched in amusement, erroneously assuming Johnny was trying to show Teresa what one of her bossy harangues looked like to him. Teresa watched in shocked silence, too stunned to rant back or even move. The huge spider went unnoticed by the others because to the normal, non-phobic eye it was in actuality about the size of a fingernail on a child sized pinkie finger.
Johnny’s tirade continued escalating in panicked movements and thought as he fought for his life against the giant, eight-legged murderous spider. He picked up a throw pillow and swung it violently about as he attempted to stop the attack. This only caused the wily spider to spin in a circle, swing around and land in his hair. With an eardrum piercing roar Johnny slung the pillow away viciously, it connected solidly with Teresa’s face causing her to stumble back a few steps.
As soon as the pillow left his hands, Johnny raised them to scrub ferociously through his hair. His over wrought system had endured more than he could handle at the moment. He wanted this malicious attack to be over. Finally the spider was flicked from his head, flying outward through the air on the fine strand of silk. This time the small arachnid landed on Teresa’s forehead.
Johnny Madrid saw his chance to finally end the hairy monster’s reign of terror. With lightning fast speed and somewhat crazed and raw nerves he drew his gun and pointed it at the fanged beast on Teresa’s head and spat venomously, “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Teresa’s mouth gaped open in shock the minute the gun was drawn. The only thing that saved her from a bullet was the fact she fainted and dropped like a rock to the floor, crumpling in an ungainly heap in a puddle of her own urine.
Finally deciding more was going on here than they realized, Murdoch and Scott jumped into action. Johnny’s face had gone stark white, as he fought to catch his breath, his body shook like leaves in a windstorm. His gun fell from his shaking hands, landing with a popping thud on Teresa’s forehead, smashing the little spider into an oozing glob of blood and squashed innards.
Johnny turned to face his father and brother, the terror still shining in his eyes. “S…s…sp…spi…der,” he stuttered as he pointed to the now crimson speck in between and above Teresa’s eyebrows. The realization that it was not near as big as his frightened mind imagined helped his heartbeat begin to slow down, and his control to return.
Teresa returned to consciousness as a calmer Johnny was explaining to his family the reason for his extreme fear of spiders. Murdoch and Scott assured him everything was all right, and that they understood. Anger filled her heart over the fact she was lying, ignored and unattended on the floor in a puddle of her own piss with the bloody remains of an insect decorating her forehead.
She rowdily objected as she rose from the floor, “Well I don’t happen to think it’s all right that you are more concerned with his wellbeing when I was the one lying at your feet obviously in need of attention.”
Johnny shrugged, lifting his hands to the side, palms upward. “All I can say is sorry Teresa. I have no control when it comes to spiders. Besides, you’re all right, nothing looks broke on you, and your mouth seemed to be working fine too.”
“Arrgghhhhhh, I don’t happen to think emotions of any kind can make your body lose control like that!” Teresa growled, as she glared at the Lancers. She spun around on her heel, preparing to stomp off in a huff. Her slick soled boot could not find purchase on the wet floor and her feet went out from under her. She landed unceremoniously on her backside, and lost control of her bowels. Therefore she resisted all attempts by the Lancer men to help her up, refusing to budge until they left the room, so she could slink off to the bathhouse to clean up.
The Lancer men each poured a drink and strolled out to the porch, leaving Teresa to get herself up in private, per her request. They were chuckling and snickering as they settled into chairs.
“Did y’all smell what I smelled,” inquired Johnny with a twinkle in his eye.
“Yes indeed. I do believe somebody else lost control. I just wonder if she’ll learn a lesson from it.” Scott stated.
Murdoch swirled the amber liquid in his glass, and then took a sip. “What lesson would that be? I can see several opportunities to learn here. Like…remembering to sweep the ceilings once in a while, not berating others for losing control, being mindful of bossing you boys around, never get angry or scared with a full bladder, but most importantly, if you do then don’t try to stomp off while standing in the evidence of your failure.”
“I learned an important lesson,” replied Johnny.
“What’s that son?”
“That spiders look way bigger alive, than they do dead,” Johnny stated in a serious tone, which the sincerity of was shattered when he grinned sheepishly at his father and brother.”
“I’d say that was a lesson well learned,” added Scott.
“To lessons learned,” toasted the Lancer men as they tapped their glasses together with a melodious clink, and then downed their drinks.
April 22, 2008
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