This is my first ANC: - This story is dedicated to Mary (SF). She created this particular modern day Lancer family; and pulled Kit into her universe. She once gave me permission to write and ANC story; a truly great honor. However I never rose to the challenge, until now.
I needed a lot of advice from Kit because I had never done an ANC before…So kit helped me out a lot with this piece and for that, I thank her very much, because without her input and advice this story would’ve gone array!
Johnny is in his final year of High School and has just turned 18 and Scott is 6 years his senior and is a Navy Seal. Murdoch Lancer is a General.
I hope it stood up to the faith Mary had in me and I hope she can see it from where she is and maybe….well…maybe … LOL…I’d like that. ….love and miss you still.
The two men were totally relaxed. Drinks in hand, Harlan and Murdoch were dressed casually and reclining in the chaise lounge chairs at the side of the pool; enjoying the late afternoon sun.
But most of all, they were enjoying the quiet. Silence and solitude was a rare thing at the Lancer hacienda; especially on a late summer afternoon when both Lancer boys were in residence. Murdoch smiled. It had been a pure stroke of genius to suggest that Scott take Johnny fishing. He could only hope Scott would eventually forgive him.
Harlan was staring into his near empty glass, studying the residue of mulled sugar and bitters. He felt almost guilty about breaking the silence. “Someday, I’m going to have to ask Maria for her recipe for Old Fashioned’s,” he sighed. Then, a wicked twinkle firing his pale eyes, “Or perhaps I’ll just make her an offer she can’t refuse, and hire her away from you.”
Murdoch stretched. He laughed. “You’d have to take the entire package,” he snorted. “Johnny is not about to give up his favorite cook just to satisfy your desire for the perfect Old Fashioned. And,” he turned to look at his father-in-law, “I have it on very good authority Maria is not about to spend even the Christmas holidays in a city noted for its snowy winters; not after that fiasco last year where the snow plows couldn’t navigate the streets!”
Harlan saluted his son-in-law with his now empty glass. “Johnny wasn’t too happy after a week of being confined to the house, either,” he ventured, remembering. He’d always thought the expression ‘bouncing off the walls’ was just that; an expression. Until the week long severe snow storm had kept Johnny house-bound for a very long seven days. The boy’s impromptu popcorn making, wiener roasting and s’mores making attempt in the library fireplace had been the final straw for the entire house-keeping staff; and the usually even-tempered Maria had gone – what had Scott called it? – ballistic.
Murdoch’s voice intruded into the older man’s reminiscences. “You’re thinking about the wienie roast fiasco, aren’t you?” he chuffed, stifling the outright laughter. The passage of time had mellowed his own memories of Johnny’s mischief.
Harlan snorted. “I had to double the Christmas bonuses for the entire staff,” he complained, “just to keep them from quitting.” He shook his head. “You can keep Maria,” he sighed. A slight grin was threatening to blossom on the man’s face; “at least until Johnny is full grown and out on his own.”
Murdoch chuckled. “Then I’m going to have her for a very long time,” he declared. He hoisted himself up from the lounger, gesturing toward the waning sun on the western horizon. “I think we might just have time for another quiet round of drinks, Harlan, before the boys get home. Are you ready for a refill?”
Harlan stretched, but he didn’t get up. “Only if it’s a double,” he smiled.
As if on cue, Maria appeared at the French doors of the Great Room, a covered tray balanced against her right hip. Somewhere in her mid-forties, Maria was a petite woman in excellent shape; and far more attractive than she realized. She graced both men with a wide smile. “If my internal clock is working right, you’ve got just about enough time for one more drink before Scott and Johnny arrive. And for some of these…” She pulled the checkered napkin aside, displaying a plate of still warm molasses cookies.
Harlan swung his legs off the lounger and levered himself erect, bowing slightly. “My dear, you are an absolute treasure,” he complimented. He quickly made a place on the small table to his right for the tray.
Maria blushed. “Thank you, Mr. Garrett.” She deposited the tray on the table and collected the empty glasses from both men. “Supper at six,” she reminded.
Murdoch had just taken a bite from one of the cookies. “Fresh fish?” he asked, smiling.
The woman laughed. “Roasted capon,” she replied, “with wild rice, sage stuffing and acorn squash.”
Murdoch’s smile widened. All of the foods – including the molasses cookies – were Scott’s favorites; his comfort food of choice. In this case, however, Murdoch knew they were going to serve more as a soothing reward for Scott’s willingness to take his younger brother fishing. “A bribe, Maria?” he teased, grateful for her insight.
The woman speared her employer with an intense and knowing glare. “If Scott had gone fishing by himself, I would have delayed dinner. But I have this distinct feeling,” she stressed the words, “Scott spent more time supervising Johnny’s efforts than doing any fishing on his own.” With that, she turned on her heel and exited the patio.
Harlan chuckled. “She knows those boys so well,” he observed.
“Thank God,” Murdoch murmured. Drink in hand, he sat back down. “She knows us well, too,” he acknowledged, saluting his father-in-law with his glass. Both of their drinks were in glasses twice the size of the traditional Old Fashioned tumblers.
For no apparent reason, Harlan laughed. His chin dipped against his chest. “Johnny’s going to need to clean up when he gets home,” he said. “Are you prepared, Murdoch, for the usual battle of the bath?
Murdoch groaned. He cast a brief look at the swimming pool. “If that boy thinks he’s going to come home and jump straight into the pool, he has another think coming,” he ground out. “And if he plans on eating supper, he will go upstairs, he will shower, and he will come to the table properly bathed and attired.” He took a deep breath. “There will be no ‘battle of the bath’!”
Harlan took another long drink before responding. “I don’t know why Jelly put up with Johnny’s aversion to bathing for so long, Murdoch. His idea it was something Johnny would outgrow…” the words drifted off as he shook his head.
Murdoch was rubbing at his eyes with the thumb and forefinger of his free hand. “It all started with Johnny’s theory he and Kevin could hunt better if they smelled ‘more natural’,” he began. “Something they gleaned from a survivalist’s manual they had picked up somewhere.”
Harlan grimaced. “No doubt written anonymously by some little old lady in the front parlor of her very comfortable home; surrounded by her deceased husband’s back issues of Field & Stream,” he complained.
Murdoch nodded. Both he and Harlan had been subjects of completely unauthorized and totally fabricated biographies that still haunted them. “Probably. Not that Johnny or Kevin was willing to accept that could happen.” He paused. “They believed everything in that damned book!” Johnny and Kevin were eleven years old when they had found the discarded paperback.
Harlan chuckled. “I remember only too well! Johnny used Scott’s credit card to order items recommended by the ‘author’; everything from a full, head to toe camouflage suit to that ridiculous ‘all purpose’ hunting knife.”
There was a chuffing sound as Murdoch choked back the laughter. The picture of Johnny all decked out in a size “S”, made in China twill outfit that was at least two sizes too big was overwhelming. And the knife… “Twelve inch blade, hollow haft with fish hook, line, two small Band-Aids and a sewing kit,” he chuckled.
“Don’t forget the compass and the magnifying glass built into the removable cap,” Harlan added; “and that packet of foul smelling animal musk he rubbed over his entire body.” He shuddered at the memory.
Murdoch laughed. “Yes. And Jelly’s attitude was to ignore him; that he would eventually wash.” He took another long drink. “Famous last words! When they showed up for Christmas Holiday, Johnny stank to high heaven.” Turning to look at his companion, he continued. “If you hadn’t sent your private plane to pick the two of them up instead of letting them fly commercially, they’d still be at the airport in Dallas.”
“Or in Guantanamo Bay being detained as suspected terrorists,” Harlan groused.
Murdoch pinched his nose. “I can remember vividly Maria’s reaction to him when she welcomed him at the front door.” He laughed out loud. “That no bath plan of his was suddenly shot all to Hell.” he snickered. “I thought for sure she’d scrub him away to nothing; either that or drown him.” He laughed, his eyes glinting at the memory of the woman dragging his errant son to the guest bathroom. “She burned his clothes, you know.”
Harlan was positively sore now from the sudden fit of tear producing laugher. The burning of Johnny’s clothes and the fact his father had confiscated the knife had caused the boy to throw a major temper tantrum that had disrupted the entire household. “Please stop. We could write a book, Murdoch. That younger boy of yours has been…” he paused, “…well let’s just say, life with your youngest son had been quite interesting!”
“Yes,” Murdoch agreed, swirling the drink in his hand. “He used the excuse of wanting to blend in with his surroundings, remember? Told us straight faced that blending in would not only be useful when he and Kevin went hunting; but when he grew up and enlisted in Special Forces.” Murdoch shook his head at his son’s audacity. In desperation, Johnny had added the part about someday enlisting in the army as something he thought – mistakenly – would garner his father’s approval.
Harlan nodded. “He stank more than those skunks he and Jelly were always trying to get rid of at the place in Texas,” he snickered; sipping his drink and coughing slightly when it went down the wrong way. His voice was raspy when he continued. “We couldn’t understand why he still smelled so foul even after his shower.” He grinned as he remembered what Johnny had done.
“Yes,” Murdoch agreed. “Maria sent him back upstairs to take another shower, and then caught him with the water running full out, sitting on the toilet seat reading, of all things…” Murdoch watched as Harlan’s eyes grew wider and his eyebrows rose up a notch, “… Playboy magazine.”
Harlan’s face was now awash with playful mirth and glee. “And so engrossed in the centerfold he never realized Maria was observing him and saw him simply put his head under the shower just enough to wet his hair and shoulders.”
Murdoch took a sip of his own drink. “The little devil spent twenty minutes, reading…” he corrected himself, “…looking at the pictures, while pretending to shower.”
Harlan was now sitting upright and sideways on the chair, his elbows resting on his knees. “Do you remember how Scott reacted when Maria confronted him about just where Johnny had found that Playboy? he guffawed. “I thought for sure there was going to be a lynching! Maria couldn’t believe Scott would read such things!” he chuckled.
Murdoch lips turned up in a sly smile. “Well, he did point out the magazine had some fairly decent articles; and, of course, the letters to the editors.” He took a drink. “Now if it had been a copy of Hustler…”
Harlan’s eyebrows arched, almost disappearing into his hair line. “Scott would have been dealing with me,” he snorted, the disgust evident. It was one thing for a young man to appreciate a woman’s form and figure artistically posed; entirely another to ogle something that was clearly pornographic. “Boys,” he muttered.
Murdoch took a single step forward and laid his hand on Harlan’s shoulder; the gesture filled with affection. “Our boys,” he smiled, “A delightful blend of their two mothers and an extremely lucky career soldier;” his voice lowered, “and one very indulgent and patient grandfather and father-in-law.”
Harlan patted Murdoch’s hand before shrugging it away. “We do tend to take care of our own, Murdoch,” he murmured. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
There was an awkward pause between the two men. Like most males of their respective generations, gestures or words of mutual affection were far too often difficult to express; yet clearly and quietly understood. “Speaking of our boys,” Murdoch began, gesturing towards the French doors and the interior of the house, “They’re back.”
From beyond the front door, boisterous voices could be heard; that and the distinctive sound of playful scuffling. “So much for a brief moment of tranquility,” Harlan laughed. “I’d be willing to wager Johnny is already disrobing in anticipation of a sudden plunge into the pool.”
Murdoch put down his glass. “Well, that’s not happening,” he scowled. “Not today.”
Scott’s long suffering voice drifted from the front hall. “Johnny, behave,” he growled when he saw Johnny stick out his tongue. “You could have at least pretended to enjoy fishing with me.” He leaned into his brother’s ear, whispering now. “Fly fishing is a noble art, little brother. It requires patience, something you desperately need to learn.”
Johnny made a loud ‘pfft’ sound before pulling away from his sibling. “Yeah? Well, I was hopin’ we were goin’ to town. When you came up with that hare-brained idea to go fishin’, I thought you were just bein’ sneaky.” He lowered his voice even more and leaned in closer to his brother’s ear, “I fuckin’ well hate fishin’, and you fuckin’ well know it!”
‘No shit!’ Scott thought rolling his eyes. “One can only hope,” he breathed. “Eventually, even you have to grow up enough to enjoy the more manly pursuits; or at least be courteous enough to feign interest.”
“What?” Johnny asked loudly, making a face and once more invading his brother’s space. “Fuck ‘feigning’,” he snorted, laughing.
The censure was obvious as Scott addressed his younger sibling. “Watch your mouth, Johnny. Murdoch’s hearing is much better than you assume, and you know how ticked he gets when you go all potty mouth.”
Shouldering past his brother and already unbuckling his pants, Johnny ignored his brother’s well-meaning advice. Right now, a quick dip in the pool was what he intended; to rinse off the pond crud he had accumulated when he had cannon-balled into the water just above where Scott had been fishing, and that was exactly what he was going to accomplish. “Fuck off, Scotty!” he pushed.
Scott reached out to grab his brother’s shoulder. “That’s enough, John! I wanted to share with you; something I enjoy, something Murdoch enjoys…”
“Fuck fishin’, Scotty!” Johnny interrupted, sounding a tad peevish at being held back. “I didn’t wanna go fishin’ in the first place,” he rolled his eyes, “at least, not your kind of fishin’.” He grinned. “Now, my way…” With that, he produced the Colt .44 that had been tucked into this waist band.
Scott gritted his teeth. Johnny had kept the pistol hidden until they had reached the pond; where he had proceeded to blast away at a half-dozen spawning trout with deadly precision, turning the fish into mincemeat. “Imbecile!” He grabbed for the weapon and the scuffle was on.
Johnny was in great form as he danced away from his brother. “Gee, usin’ big words now huh?” he teased. “Im..be..cile,” He sounded out the word, dramatically enunciating each syllable. “That fancy Harvard education sure wasn’t lost on you, was it, big brother?” Johnny snickered. “Im ..be…cile. Fuck! You got some more of them words tucked away in that brain of yours?”
“John.” The warning in Murdoch’s voice was very clear to everyone, except Johnny.
The boy turned around, his cheeks coloring. “Hey, Dad. You have a good day?” Inwardly, he cringed when he saw Harlan Garret standing at his old man’s back; knowing full well his grandfather had heard everything. “Ha?” he greeted sheepishly. Suddenly aware the pistol was still in his right hand, he quickly attempted to hide it behind his back.
Harlan wasted no time in getting right down to business. “I think we’ve had quite enough of your mouth, John,” he said sternly. Reaching out, he grabbed the boy’s arm just as the weapon was about to disappear. “And just where did you get that gun?”
A small bit of army doggerel danced through the boy’s head. This is your weapon, this is your gun. This is for shooting, this is for fun. He immediately dismissed the poem. Momentarily flummoxed, he debated his next words. “Found it,” he said, hefting the weapon. He lifted his head, aiming his most innocent smile in his father’s direction. “Upstairs, in the tower room,” he announced. “It was in an old trunk, Murdoch. Wrapped up all proper, and put away like someone had put it there just yesterday.” He displayed the butt, fingering the silver medallion set into the walnut grip; the old Lancer “L”.
Murdoch reached out, a frown appearing as he recognized the piece. He wasn’t about to tell Johnny the story of its origin; at least, not yet. “And you didn’t bother to tell me before you took it… fishing?” he asked as he confiscated the piece.
Johnny’s tongue appeared briefly at the corner of his mouth. “No-o-o,” he drawled, still eying the pistol. “Kinda forgot; what with Scott bein’ in such a big hurry to get goin’ before the ass-crack…before the sun came up.” God, it was great, having a big brother to blame for everything.
“I see,” Murdoch growled. He handed the pistol off to Scott who promptly put it in the drawer of the small table that was on the fall wall.
Johnny was clearly uncomfortable with the way everything had become so quiet all of a sudden. He loosened the fly on his trousers. “Think I’ll head out to the pool,” he said, looking everywhere except at his father. His nose twitched. “Take a quick dip before supper…”
Murdoch reached out, his fingers curling around the boy’s damp collar. Traces of algae and pond scum were still evident on the boy’s shirt and neck. “Upstairs,” he ordered. “You are not going into the pool until you’ve showered.” He paused. “With soap.”
The boy stared up at his father as if he was crazy. Who the hell took a shower before they went swimming? “But…”
“But, nothing,” Murdoch groused. He got right down to business. “No shower, no supper. End of discussion.”
Scott grinned across at his father. Like Johnny, he was now aware of the aroma that was filling the hallway; the succulent smell of roast capon with all the trimmings. He wondered if his father had suggested the menu as a way of making amends for the long day he had spent with his brother. Reaching out, he tapped his sibling’s shoulder. “Shall we, brother?” he invited, gesturing towards the stairway.
Johnny rolled his eyes. “Shall we what?” he snorted.
“Get cleaned up,” Scott smiled.
Johnny sighed. His brother was as crazy as their father. “Jeez. It ain’t like I’m – we’re – all that damned dirty, Scott. Quick dip in the pool,” he nodded towards the French doors, “and we’ll be fine; just fine.” He tugged at his brother’s sleeve.
Scott was shaking his head. “No soap in the pool, Johnny,” he cajoled, his voice all big brother.
Johnny’s eyes narrowed. Suck up, he thought, glaring at his brother. “Don’t need any soap,” he argued. “Pool’s got enough chlorine in it to sanitize a goat,” he snorted. “And I don’t end up smellin’ like a girl and all that damned perfume.” He poked a rigid finger against his brother’s chest. “You go wash up. Me, I’m gonna take a quick dip in the pool, and then I’m gonna play on my X Box until Maria calls us for supper.” With that, he headed for the patio doors.
Murdoch lunged forward and pulled his son up short. “Oh, no you don’t, young man. I can assure you; you will take a shower and change for dinner.” He wrinkled his nose at being in such close proximity to his sweaty younger son, and shook his head. “Stop behaving like a twelve-year old, and get yourself upstairs. Now!” To make his point, he gave the boy a swat on the backside to help him on his way.
Johnny dug his heels in and sniffed at his armpits. “C’mon, Murdoch. It’s not like I been out diggin’ trenches or doin’ a five mile run in full battle pack! What is it with you and Maria? I break out in a little sweat, and the next thing I know it’s ‘go take a shower, young man; and change your underwear.’” His brow furrowed. “I’m old enough to know when I need to take a shower, or to change my drawers! Jesus Fuck…” He stopped himself just in time, picking up the conversation in a more civil tone. “I changed my underwear this mornin’,” he griped. “And I don’t need a shower!”
Scott laughed. “Oh, please! Turning your tidy whities inside out and putting them back on is not changing your underwear!” He leaned in and sniffed. “And you certainly need a shower.”
Murdoch’s arms were crossed at his chest, and his jaws were tensing. “That’s two votes for a shower,” he stated firmly. “And you, Harlan?” he asked. He suppressed a slight smile as he addressed the older man.
Harlan glared at Johnny. “I believe my vote makes it a definite majority,” he replied. “And he will use soap.”
Johnny rolled his eyes. “Jesus! You people are…” he struggled to find the right words, “…compulsive-obsessive,” he crowed, remembering an Oprah show where Doctor Phil had gone on and on about people with the disorder. “Dr. Phil says…”
“Dr. Phil doesn’t live here,” Murdoch interrupted. “But we,” he gestured towards Scott and Harlan, “do, and we all agree you need a shower!” Without another word, he grabbed Johnny by his collar and then wrapped his long arms around the boy’s waist.
“Hey, put me down!” Johnny huffed, “Not fair, lemme go! Dammit, Murdoch. Put me down!” he yelped.
“Don’t make me call for Maria.” Murdoch threatened, levering his son over his shoulder. He headed for the stairs. Johnny’s wriggling didn’t hamper his stride one little bit. However, it did serve to annoy him, at least enough for him to take the odd pop at the boy’s backside; one for every other step.
Out of pure curiosity, Harlan and Scott found themselves following Murdoch as he trudged up the stairs. Unable to resist, Harlan reached out to tap Murdoch’s right shoulder. “Experiencing a little déjà vu, son?” he snickered. Winking he turned to smile at Scott, who was right beside him.
Murdoch turned around so sharply his wriggling son’s feet missed Scott’s head by mere inches, making the young man duck.
“What?” Murdoch huffed; totally unaware of the near miss.
Harlan laughed. “Are you all right, Scott?”
“Just fine, sir,” the blond answered, fighting the smile. He shouldered his way past his father, pausing just long enough to muss his brother’s hair and to make a parting shot. “The soap is that little rectangular object, on the shelf just below the shampoo, Johnny,” he whispered. “The stuff that smells like that baby lotion Maria always pats on your sunburn.” Laughing, he took off for his own room.
Murdoch felt a sudden shift in weight as Johnny took a swing at is departing brother. “Settle down,” he ordered. He glanced at his father-in-law. “Something particularly funny, Harlan,” he huffed as he continued on his way.
“Just reliving some old memories,” Harlan answered.
A light went off in Murdoch’s head, and he smiled contentedly.
He continued on into Johnny’s room; and turned to close the door. Purposefully he walked over to Johnny’s bed and put him down. “Get undressed, John, and then get into the shower. “I’ll find you some clean clothes.”
Johnny’s response was to immediately start complaining. He did, however, kick out of his pants. Fingering the tails of his shirt, he began to beg. “C’mon Dad, I could just give myself a spruce up,” he offered. “I don’t need a fu…..”
Johnny’s complaints were lost to the sound of his father’s hard slap to his backside; the loud smack echoing off of the walls; the shrill yowl following it, echoing just as loud.
“What was that for?” Johnny finally gasped, rubbing at the sting.
“You know very well what that was for. Now take off your shirt and underwear. Or do you need some help?” The expression on Murdoch’s face made it clear he was not joking.
Johnny shook his head and completely disrobed. He felt like a two-year old, and clasped his hands at his crotch. “Kinda cold here,” he complained.
“Then I would suggest you get yourself into the bathroom, turn on the heater, and then get into the shower,” Murdoch shot back.
Harlan was at the threshold, his head canting slightly as he spied the clear imprint of a hand on Johnny’s right butt cheek. He shook his head, and laughed.
It seemed to Harlan as if time had suddenly reversed and the hands of some great clock were spinning backwards to another time and another place. Johnny was a little boy again; as stubborn and as belligerent as he had been on that long ago afternoon. Even Murdoch’s stance – arms folded and his expression as obstinate as his child – was the same. There was no doubt who would win.
Johnny’s protests didn’t stop when the shower was turned on and Harlan canted his head even more. He knew from the commotion that Murdoch had physically shoved the boy into the shower cubicle. The water was pelting against the tiles; the multiple shower heads spraying water in all directions, the noise punctuated a sudden angry outburst. “Jesus, Murdoch! That water’s like ice! It’s fuckin’…”
”Owwwch! That hurt’s, old man!” Johnny moaned, immediately turning to look at his backside and watching as a perfect hand print now developed on his other butt cheek.
“I’ll warm you up, and make no mistake, if you don’t start using that soap….!!” Murdoch warned.
Johnny continued to complain, “But it’s cold, Dad!”
“The water will warm up, if you give it a moment. Now start washing!” Murdoch ordered.
“Look,” Johnny pouted, “that’s abuse you know!” he declared pointing to the perfect hand prints on his ass. Oprah and Dr. Phil had hosted a show about that as well. “I can report that, and you can be arrested for child abuse you know.” Johnny snarled.
Murdoch grinned, “Is that so?” he rubbed his chin, “Then I guess I’ll just have to make it worth my while,” he declared. “One smack or ten, it will all be the same.” He raised his right hand.
Johnny backed up against the shower wall and reconsidered his options. They were, he decided, somewhere between nil and none. “No, wait. I didn’t say I was gonna report you, I just said I could…” Johnny’s voice trailed off; his gaze fixed on his father’s raised hand.
“Wash!” Murdoch commanded, turning in a desperate attempt to hide the smile. Giving up, he stepped back and shut the shower door. “And don’t forget behind those ears!” he thundered.
Johnny gave in. He had no doubt his father was standing right outside the shower door, timing him. ‘Least the waters warm now.’ he thought. Frowning, he reached up for the bar of soap; grabbing a sponge and working up a batch of suds. Lifting it to his nose, he took a whiff.
“Goddammit,” he mumbled under his breath. Scott was right. The damned soap smelled exactly like the baby lotion Maria used to soothe his sunburn. It was worse than smellin’ like a girl.
The End by
Kit and Heather