Disclaimer: Not mine…just borrowed…I dinged Johnny up just a little, but I’m dusting him off and returning him.
Author’s note: I had one of those days…so I gave one to Johnny too.
~*~ L ~*~ A ~*~ N ~*~ C ~*~ E ~*~ R ~*~
The front door to the hacienda flew open so fast the rusty hinge that needed oiling didn't even have time to squeak before the heavy oak slammed in to the wall cracking the plaster. Murdoch and Scott jolted in surprise causing their before dinner drinks to slosh around in the glasses. Their eyes turned towards the entrance and they swallowed apprehensively at the rage that burned in Johnny's eyes and seethed through the rigid bearing of his body. The youngest Lancer stomped in to the Great room, his loose spurs bouncing up and down, striking the floor with a heavy ching and then scratching along the tile in a skin crawling screech as he lifted his foot to take the next step. He stormed by his father and brother, on a determined path for the drink cart.
Snatching up a glass, Johnny huffed and puffed, his nostrils flaring as he obviously fought the anger fueling his actions. His eyes narrowed as he looked at his family, he slammed the glass back down on the cart causing it to shake to the point the bottles and glassware clinked together in a melodious chiming. Johnny picked up the Tequila bottle, pulled the cork stopper with his teeth and spit it halfway across the room. He chugged the strong liquor like water from a canteen.
Murdoch and Scott studied the disheveled young man, it was quite apparent he had had a rough day. Not only were the leather straps that held his spurs on stretched out causing his spurs to drag, several concho buttons were undone or missing from his pants, his red shirt was ripped down the middle of his back from his shoulders to his waist. His hat was dangling down his back and was crushed and appeared to have hoof prints of the cow variety on it. He looked like he had rolled in dirt and dust, not only was his clothes coated in the reddish brown particles but his hands and face were as well...making his eyes look even more glacial blue than normal.
When he stopped gulping the Tequila, Johnny wiped his mouth with the dirty sleeve of his now ragged favorite shirt. He glared at his father and brother as he sneered and ran his tongue over his teeth, sucking the last drop of liquor from his pearly whites.
Swallowing his anxiety, in a very solicitous voice Murdoch stated, "You must have had a rough day, son. You look like you have been in a stampede."
Scott's head bobbed in agreement, but he kept his opinion to himself as he watched his younger brother's hand drop to his holster, the dirt encrusted fingers ghosting softly over the butt of his gun.
Finally he spoke in a tightly controlled drawl that left no doubt to the fact he was madder than a pissed off rattle snake with a fang ache. "Don't neither one of you ever hire a new man and expect me to break him in again. I am officially declaring that not my job. That college educated Bob that impressed y'all with all his book sense is a barely functional moron when it comes to common sense." Johnny's face turned purplish red as his fury overtook him again. His voice rose in direct proportion to the deepening color in his face so he ended up shouting out his rage. "I should have known things would go to hell in a hand basket when I had to explain to him we needed to catch the cows to brand them, that they wouldn't come like dogs if he whistled for them. So he asked me how to catch them. I held up the rope and told him with this, it's called a lariat. And do you know what that damn fool asked me then? I'll tell you...he looked at and asked me, what do you use for bait?"
Scott crossed his arms and pressed his chin to his chest as he fought the smile that wanted to bloom on his face. Murdoch bit his lower lip between his teeth, rubbing the side of his nose with a long finger, clearing his throat of mirth, he asked in his best concerned voice. "I understand...but why do you look so ..." he stuttered at a loss for words.
"Trampled," supplied Johnny as he advanced on his father until they were face to face, nose to nose. "Because, I made the mistake of telling that fool to never shoot a gun around a herd of cattle unless he wanted them to stampede. Of course I also had to explain that meant running wildly. Well, that idiot, when we got done branding and I said we would call it a day when we moved the cows to north pasture decided to run them there. He took out his gun and fired right into the herd. I was caught in the edge of it; I finally climbed a tree and held on for dear life."
"What happened to Bob and the other hands?" inquired Scott, all humor over the situation forgotten as he realized how close he came to losing his little brother.
"Relax, no one was hurt. The last I saw of Bob he was chasing the herd, whistling his fool head off and shouting for the cows to whoa! He was twirling his lariat, tossed it and caught himself. He was as tangled up in that rope, as a fly in a spider web...and I left his ass there! I'm goin' to get a bath and I don't want to talk about this no more!"
His energy spent on his raging and ranting, Johnny shuffled tiredly from the room on a course for the bath house.
March 9, 2009