Murdoch sat at his desk working on the ledgers when he heard his younger son scream. As his hand jerked the inkwell tipped over spilling ink across the page, it ran down the desk, and onto his pants. No time to worry about it now as he rushed to the patio.
Outside a four-year old was screaming and fighting his big brother who was trying to calm the very upset boy. "Calm down Johnny, it's okay, don't cry." Scott wanted to strangle the screaming, wiggling, very annoying pest that was his baby brother.
Murdoch ran through the French doors and bellowed, "What is going on here?"
Both boys jumped at the loud voice. Johnny stopped crying and stood still while Scott backed up and dropped his hands to his side.
Johnny hiccuped and pointed to Scott, "Scott fault.”
Murdoch rubbed his face, fatherhood was not easy, “What’s Scott’s fault?” Murdoch asked the upset boy.
Johnny pointed to the ground. Murdoch looked down and saw the squashed remains of a worm. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the story concerning the dead bait.
Johnny was sniffing and Scott was scuffing his foot in the dirt.
“Well.” Murdoch wasn’t yelling but was very close to it. “What’s going on?”
“Scott kilt worm.” Johnny accused his older brother. “Kilt him dead.”
“Johnny worms aren’t pets. What were you going to do with it?” Murdoch was trying to figure out what his younger son would want with a worm.
“Not pet, gonna give it mamacita’s chickens to play so like me not peck me.” Johnny explained.
“Pa, I tried to stop him because the chickens could hurt him.” Scott was trying not to cry, since he was afraid he might be in trouble.
Murdoch put his arm around Scott’s shoulders. “It’s okay son you did the right thing, Johnny could have been hurt.”
Scott relaxed and looked toward Johnny. “I didn’t want you to get hurt, I didn’t mean to hurt the worm.”
Murdoch took a deep breath, “Johnny if you give a worm to a chicken the chicken will kill the worm and eat it. So son it doesn’t matter if the worm is dead.” Murdoch realized this was probably the wrong thing to say when Johnny started to tear-up again.
“WAAAAAAAAAAA Johnny not want worm kilt.” He wiped his runny nose on his shirt sleeve.
Murdoch picked up Johnny and carried him to the bath house with Scott following behind his father.
“You boys need to get cleaned up and we’ll go see if Maria has some cookies.” Murdoch filled the tub with warm water. Scott undressed and climbed in while Murdoch helped Johnny undress then lifted the boy into the tub.
After they were scrubbed and in clean clothes they headed for the kitchen.
Johnny pulled on his father’s hand.
“Wait Papa.” Johnny stopped and tried to pull free from his father.
“Johnny, what’s wrong now?” Murdoch hoped this wouldn’t involve another bath.
“What about worm?” Johnny asked, “Gotta bury it?”
Murdoch and Scott looked at each other and shrugged, might as well go along with it because Johnny wouldn’t give up.
The three Lancer’s went back to the patio to bury the worm but when they got to the patio the body was missing.
“Where worm go?” Johnny was looking around for the thief but all he saw were mamacita’s chickens.
Murdoch and Scott just smiled at each other. Murdoch went to Johnny and took his hand, “Well son maybe the worm wasn’t dead after all and it crawled to safety.”
Relieved that his worm was safe Johnny took his father’s hand, “Okay.”
Murdoch took his boys to the kitchen and the three of them filled up on mamacita’s cookies and milk.