Johnny Lancer balanced precariously on one leg on top of the crate; the tug at his neck reminding him of just where the hell he was. The rope was a lot more of an annoyance than his still tender right leg, and it didn’t help that his hands were tied.
He sure was glad to see the Old Man. Even Scott was looking pretty good right now. He cleared his throat; spitting cotton balls. Funny how dry your tongue could get with a noose around your neck. “Hey,” he called, dancing a bit on his good leg. God, why did he feel like such an idiot! “Somebody mind gettin’ this rope off my neck?”
Scott Lancer dismounted to stand right next to his father. He cast a quick look at his younger brother, dipping his head a bit to hide a smile. Almost nonchalantly, he began peeling off his gloves. “What do you think, Murdoch?” he asked, “Should we cut him down?”
The elder Lancer’s gaze drifted to his youngest, who was -- for once -- actually doing a good job of almost standing still. Something very unusual for Johnny, who -- even when sitting -- was a tightly wound bundle of restless energy. “Do you realize, Scott,” he observed, “that’s the longest time I’ve ever seen your brother even close to standing still?”
“He is pretty tranquil,” the blond nodded in agreement. It was true. Usually, his younger brother was like a feather on the wind; never at rest. He was always fidgeting; toying with his spurs, playing with the storm strings on his hat. “Do you think that’s the answer, sir?” The smile reached his eyes now, warming them; turning them sky-blue. “A tether around his neck, his hands tied…
Murdoch looked as though he was seriously considering the idea; perhaps even a gag and hobbles. “I do remember telling him he was to come right home after he delivered that seed bull,” he reasoned, his voice rising a bit so that Johnny could hear.
“And I reminded him he was to stay out of trouble,” Scott declared, his voice the same as his father’s.
The dark haired youth stared hard at his sire and his sibling; who were both looking at him as if he were a fucking Greek statue. His leg was beginning to get tired “Hey,” he called again; mentally making a couple promises he wasn’t sure right now he was going to be able to keep. Like how hard he was going to kick his brother’s smart ass when this was over…
Murdoch gave Scott an affectionate pat on the shoulder, and nodded toward his youngest son. “We could just leave him here,” he suggested, sounding quite serious; before leading the way to where Johnny was still waiting. “I’m sure the widow Normile wouldn’t mind…”
Behind them, Mrs. Normile called out; her voice grating on the air like chalk on dry slate. “Oh, Mister Lancer…”
Johnny decided to jump.