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 3,440
A Lancer, A New Century story
Author’s note on Lancer ANC
A 667 Production
ANC Lancer Stand Alone Story
D isclaimer: We ain’t guilty of stealing them, the glove didn’t fit us so you must acquit.
Warning: Indignant naked Scott alert <VBEG>
Author’s note: This is to appease all the people begging for the next installment of the continuing ANC Lancer saga. Failure to read and heed author notes will result in anal warts, don’t say you weren’t warned.
~*~ L ~*~ A ~*~ N ~*~ C ~*~ E ~*~ R ~*~
Standing at the French doors, Scott Lancer alternated between slapping and swiping at the hay bits clinging to his clothes with his leather work gloves. Sweat caused particles of the silage to adhere to his face; his shirt was molded to his body from moisture due to the physical exertion of having hauled the load of hay to the loft by himself. Johnny laughed at Scott’s insistence that the chore be completed as it had been in the nineteenth century and took great delight in showing his brother in one of the old ledgers where Scott Lancer, the ancestor he was named after, was responsible for the purchase of the ranch’s first hay elevator in 1890.
Satisfied he had removed the majority of the loose debris to keep from making a mess on Maria’s clean floors, (something only a fool — or Johnny — might do); Scott pushed his gloves into the hip pocket of his jeans and entered the house. He sighed in relief at the blast of cold air that surrounded him, his wet shirt chilling against his skin; the cling of the fabric defining his finely chiseled arms and shoulders. While there were benefits to loading hay the old fashion way, the same could not be said about a lack of cooling; and air conditioning was definitely an invention he appreciated and had no plans of living without.
Moving across the room towards the kitchen to snitch one of the many bottles of Gatorade kept for Johnny, he stopped abruptly; his eyes narrowing as he slowly spun around. It was ominously silent; far too silent. Why is it so quiet in here? Johnny and quiet equals up to something and up to something means trouble for me since Dad told me to keep an eye on him. Marching towards the media room, where he had left his little brother two hours earlier when he went to store the hay, Scott was dismayed to find the room empty. The big screen TV was off and all the snacks Johnny had stock piled on the coffee table were missing. Shit…where can he be now?
Captain Scott Lancer was a lean, mean fighting machine, a US Navy SEAL trained in the art of warfare; battle hardened and tested under fire during harrowing missions behind enemy lines. Nothing he had ever faced, however, struck horror in his heart like not knowing where his baby brother was; or what the boy was up to. No, Johnny amongst the missing was never a good thing. Even a trip to the bathroom — any bathroom — was a reason to be on high alert, because Johnny had a true talent for creating mischief: anywhere, anytime, and under the most mundane circumstances. Who would ever have thought, by manipulating a few buttons and by-passing the electronic sensors, someone could actually flush a king-sized roll of commercial grade toilet paper down the commode in one of the classiest restaurants in Morro Coyo?
All thoughts of getting something cold to drink were replaced by the overwhelming need to ascertain where and what Johnny was up to. Quickly departing the media room, Scott sprinted for the stairs, praying to find Johnny upstairs. Jogging up the steps, his tongue feeling like it was expanding in his dry mouth, he didn’t even have enough moisture to wet his lips and call out for his brother’s name.
Cresting the top tread, Scott’s heart momentarily stopped its frantic beating when the sounds of rifle shots echoed in the hall. His basic training kicked in and he hit the floor, covering his head. Another shot sounded followed by the Johnny’s voice drifting from their father’s room.
“You dumb ass. I coulda made that shot with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back,” Johnny exclaimed, “and standin’ on one leg!”
“I’m going to kill him,” Scott whispered to no one but himself. Levering up off the floor, a grim expression darkened the blond’s face. Stalking into his dad’s room, Scott whistled as he surveyed the chaos. The down comforter was hanging akimbo off the bed; the king-sized pillows were scattered throughout the room, and the entire floor was littered with cheese puffs and M&Ms. A bottle of blue Gatorade was sitting, perfectly balanced, half on, half off the edge of the nightstand; and Johnny…
Johnny was dead center on the massive bed in his white socked feet, bouncing up and down jubilantly as he pointed his trigger finger at the TV.
Swiftly moving to the night table, Scott grabbed the Gatorade, relieved it had not toppled from its precarious perch to ruin the pale bedside rug. Since his own mission to procure a cold drink had been thwarted, the blond raised the bottle and greedily gulped the contents. He was truly sorry it was not something much stronger.
“Hey, that’s mine!” The pillow-top mattress squeaked in protest as Johnny bounced from the bed to the floor. Landing at his brother’s side he grabbed for the purloined drink only to have his efforts stymied by Scott’s sudden move. The blond immediately raised his hand high above younger brother’s head.
Pinning Johnny in place with a severe a glare that perfectly mirrored General Murdoch Lancer’s usual expression when dealing with his youngest child, Scott shook his head. “The loss of your Gatorade is the least of your problems, little brother. If Dad sees this mess,” he encompassed the entire room with a wave of his free hand, “he’s going to go ballistic!”
Failing in his second attempt to retrieve his drink, Johnny snorted his contempt at his brother’s scolding. “Yeah? Well, it’s his fault I’m in here.” Backing away, he executed a mid air flip; landing spread eagle on his back on the bed.
Inhaling deeply and then pinching the bridge of his nose, Scott carefully considered his next words. “I know I’ll be sorry for asking this… but just how do you figure this is all Dad’s fault?” Other than the fact he sired you! The Elvis song Trouble played in the back of his thoughts.
Linking his fingers together and stretching his arms towards the ceiling, Johnny took a deep breath. Then, relaxing, he allowed his arms to drop. He laced his fingers together behind his head and nestled into the mattress. As if he were explaining himself to a retarded sibling, he shared his logic with his big brother. “It’s his fault,” each word was carefully enunciated, “‘cause he was bein’ a pain in the ass the other night and turned on that V-chip thing on the big TV.”
Reaching out, Scott smacked his little brother’s foot. “Johnny, you know good and well the reason he set the parental controls is because he found out your nightmares have been acerbated by you watching all The Grudge movies.” You’ve lived through enough horror the past few months, little brother, without watching the supernatural kind.
Johnny’s head was rocking back and forth. “Well, he set the ratin’s so fuckin’ low I can’t even get the fuckin’ Disney channel. Blocked Top Shots, too.” Raising a white socked foot from the bed he pointed at the sixty inch plasma screen mounted across the room from the bed, right over the fireplace. “There’s nothin’ wrong with me watchin’ Top Shots, ya know.” He lifted his head slightly. “I am a competitive shooter.”
Scott laughed, but there was more censure in the sound than humor. “Too bad, so sad. Consider the fact it blocked shows you normally get to view as collateral damage…or another small consequence of your actions.” Picking up the remote, he prepared to turn the set off. “You need to get busy cleaning up Dad’s quarters, and before he gets home; or your only source of visual entertainment is going to be those copies of Hustler you’ve got stashed under your mattress.” He slapped his forehead with his palm. “Oh, I forgot. Maria found those and fed them to the incinerator.”
Johnny shot his brother a dark look, his expression suddenly changing. “Wait,” he called. Rolling over onto his belly and then rising up on his knees, he lunged forward and reached up to grab at his brother’s arm. “I want to watch this commercial first.”
Canting his head, Scott studied his brother’s face as the youth watched a commercial for a prescription strength acid reducer, Aciphex. His bemusement grew as the televised ad began to state the side effects in a low tone; the announcer sounding much like an auctioneer as he rattled off the long list of cautions. By the time the last of the fine print scrolled across the screen, Johnny was almost doubled over in laughter. “Do you mind, little brother, clueing me in as to why you find a heartburn medication commercial so amusing and entertaining?”
His eyes lit with devilment, Johnny rubbed his hands together gleefully. “I just think it’s funny all those medicines have side effects worse than the problem you’re takin’ ‘em for.” His face lit up at another memory. “Like those ‘male enhancement’ commercials.” He raised his right hand, writing in the air as he perfectly mimicked a T.V. announcer’s voice. “…‘or if you have an erection that lasts more than four hours…” He was giggling again, and had to take a deep breath. “Like someone wouldn’t pay a bunch of money…” He stopped mid sentence when he saw his elder brother’s right eye begin to twitch.
Plopping back down on the disheveled bed, Johnny quickly changed the subject; nodding at the T.V., which was running the commercial for the heartburn medication a second time. “You got to admit, big brother,” he nodded towards the screen and the Aciphex logo, “the name of that stuff is pretty funny. Hell, when the guy says it, it, it sounds like they’re sayin’ Ass Effects!” He flashed his brother a quick smile. “Which just happens to be the place where most of the side effects occur.” He began ticking them off with his fingers. “Like crampin’, constipation, diarrhea. Shit!” The laughter came again. “The only one they didn’t mention was anal seepage, whatever the hell that is.” He had remembered the phrase from another commercial that had caught his fancy: the one for a diet drug that eliminated fat from your system by shooting it from your stomach to your ass.
Clicking the TV off, Scott shook the remote at Johnny, “Funny you should mention ass effects, as I’m sure you’ll be experiencing some of you own. The stinging, smarting, beat red variety if Dad comes in here and sees this room looking like a bomb was detonated in the middle of his bed.”
Rolling his eyes, Johnny muttered, “It don’t look like a bomb exploded in here! Jesus. You and Dad think a single sock lying on the floor is massive terrorist strike.” Christ Almighty, how did I end up in a family of fuckin’ neat freaks?
“Destruction is in the eye of the beholder,” Scott declared. “I’m going to get a shower, and when I come back I expect to find this room restored to its normal neat and orderly appearance.” Turning on his heel and marching to the door, Scott executed a perfect about face and issued a final warning. “Dad and Ha will be here around one. You have precisely thirty minutes to avoid the wrath of El Patron!”
Waiting until his big brother resumed his departure, Johnny raised his right hand and flipped him the bird; deciding one wasn’t enough. He repeated the gesture with his left hand. Muttering under his breath, he levered himself up off the bed. “I don’t care what he says. This room is spic and span by most standards.” Well, teen-aged standards. Shaking his head, he sighed. Problem was, his Dad wasn’t a teen-ager; and probably had never been.
Accepting the inevitable and knowing time was ticking away, Johnny sprinted from the room and down the hall to the storage closet. Opening the door, he couldn’t stop the snort of derision that escaped. Maria was even more anal than his Dad. The closet was not only organized but also had labels on the edge of the shelves; and painted outlines on the wall for each tool that was hanging there. Grabbing the handle of the upright vacuum, Johnny grunted as he tried to lift it. It was an old 1960’s Hoover upright model, all metal parts, except for the zipper pouch that held the disposable bags, and it was heavy. Shit…the old man needs to pop for a new light weight model vacuum. Like that had a chance in Hell of happening while Maria was alive and kicking. He bent forward slightly, not at all surprised when he saw his mirrored reflection in the Hoover’s wheeled base.
Pulling the machine out into the hall, he pointed it in the direction of his father’s room, tipping it back to maneuver it on the two larger rear wheels. It squeaked all the way down the hallway. Entering his Dad’s room he spied the clock and realized he’d better hurry. Somehow he had managed to wool gather for ten minutes, and he had twenty minutes left to complete his chore. That was if his father didn’t arrive early, which wasn’t unheard with his Dad’s gung-ho personality.
Rushing into action, he pulled the electric cord to the vacuum loose, twisting about he looked for an outlet. Feeling slightly panicked when he didn’t readily spy one, he took a deep calming breath as he reasoned out there had to be one behind the night stand since the lamp and clock required electricity. To save time he draped the cord over the top of the table, and then plugged it into the wall. In his haste, he knocked his father’s crossword puzzle book and pencil on the floor. Picking the book up, he tossed it back in its place.
Johnny wasted another two minutes trying to find the switch to turn on the Hoover. The upright that Gramps had back in Texas automatically turned on when you stepped on the lever to drop the handle into the push position. Swearing, he explored the long handle with his fingers; finally locating the slide button that powered the sweeper.
The old Hoover roared to life like some great beast; the vibration from the machine causing the cheese puffs and M&Ms scattered on the floor to jiggle and dance as the rotating brush engaged. The noise level increased as the snack foods rattled and clinked as the beater bar rolled over them and sucked them up into the intake hose. The air and debris rushing through the tube quickly expanded the bag. Taking his eyes off the floor long enough to check the time, Johnny didn’t see the pencil dancing across the carpet as it was pulled towards the machine. He shrugged when he heard a grinding sound that was followed by a series of clanks; the Hoover revving up as the power and suction seemed to increase. Not paying attention, Johnny bent over to pick up one of the pillows he had tossed on the floor. The hungry vacuum cleaner continued to scoop up everything in its path as he absently pushed it forward. Completely unaware of what was about to happen, Johnny gave the machine another shove. Immediately, like a carnivore sniffing out raw meat, the Hoover sought out and found the edge of the comforter, which was hanging haphazardly from the corner of the bed.
The machine whined as the thick down filled covering was caught and sucked up from the floor. There was the slight smell of burning rubber as the coarse boar’s hair brushes tugged hard at the fabric, the speed of the beater bars increasing as the machine seemed to shift into high gear. The material began to shred, the seams opening up to expose the quilt’s innards. Unseen to Johnny, the bag began to fill with the feathers from the comforter.
Alerted that something was wrong by the sounds and smells coming from the machine, Johnny turned from retrieving the second pillow. His eyes widened at the sight of an ever expanding bag and the black smoke rising from the base of the vacuum. Jerking back on the handle to pull the machine free, he tripped on one of his boots and lost his balance.
Johnny hit the floor hard, bashing his right elbow with enough force to rob him of breath. Oh fuck…that hurt like a mother fucker…
The whine from the vacuum morphed into a high pitch screeching sound as the rubber belt spinning the beater bar suddenly refused to turn. Johnny struggled to rise, clutching his right elbow as his funny bone continued to send a signal of stabbing pain to his brain. A sick feeling of horror churned in his stomach when he gained his feet and saw the bag of the vacuum was three times larger than normal. He realized too late what was about to happen and he took a step forward as he screamed: “OH, SHIT, GOD! PLEASE. NO-O-O-O…” It was a piss pour prayer, and it didn’t work.
Stepping from the shower, Scott grabbed a towel and was wrapping it around his waist when a deafening explosion ripped through the second floor of the hacienda. Knotting the towel into place, he snatched the bathroom door open and headed for his father’s room, leaving a trail of water in his wake. Just before he reached the bedroom door, his father and Ha appeared at the top of the stairs, pale faced and breathless from their jog up the staircase.
Pushing and shoving each other, they all tried to be the first to enter the room; they finally managed to squeeze through the opening. Once they were in the room, they froze; their mouths dropped open in shock.
The room looked like a bomb had exploded. Or a goose. Correction. A gaggle of geese. Acrid smoke wafted near the ceiling, and the air was filled with a multitude of small dirty feathers caught in the draft of the air conditioning. Worse than the feathers was the other debris: as the bag burst, the force of the detonation slung a rainbow of half melted M&Ms that ricocheted against the cream colored walls. The pencil had sailed across the room and impaled the plasma TV screen. Particles of crushed cheese puffs and gray dirt littered every surface, including Johnny. He was coated in the filth, except for his eyes, which looked even bluer with his face painted gray with dust.
Murdoch’s face turned an alarming shade of reddish purple, and his right eye began the nervous twitch that always signaled a major eruption. “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?”
Opening his mouth to answer his father, Johnny gagged as a feather floated into his mouth; his sensitive to hair-like texture tongue betraying him. The horror that had been churning at the pit of his belly raced upwards; turning into a geyser of blue Gatorade speckled in the rainbow colors of M&Ms and bright orange cheese puffs. The pungent arc of used food shot four feet out from his body, water falling onto the thick carpeting.
Immediately, anger morphed to concern. Murdoch snatched the first thing he could — the towel around Scott’s waist — and threw it over the pool of vomit. Together, Murdoch and Ha maneuvered Johnny to the bed and helped him sit down. Immediately, they began to check him over; hands colliding as they felt his head for fever; and the questions began.
Standing stark naked in the middle of his father’s bedroom, Scott huffed in disgust; his hands going to his slim hips. “I don’t believe this,” he murmured. “I’m standing here buck naked,” he suppressed a shiver as the air conditioner kicked in, “freezing my ass off, and he’s getting all the attention!” Completely devoid of whatever dignity he had once possessed; Scott covered the family jewels with both hands and headed for his room. He was halted in his retreat by the sharp tone of his father.
General Lancer was in full commanding officer/stern father mode. “Scott, what the Hell has gotten into you? You know better than to leave your towel on the floor!” He immediately turned back to his younger son.
Ha’s tone was just as patronizing as his son-in-law’s. “I am surprised at you, Scotty,” he scolded. Shaking his head, he went back to wiping dust from Johnny’s face.
Scott sighed. He looked around the destroyed room. Too bad I can’t install a V-chip on my family, he mused, this is sure to give me nightmares.
September 18, 2010
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