Number Interpretation
by  Southernfrau


ANC Stand Alone Story 


Disclaimer: I wish I needed one but sadly Twentieth Century Fox doesn’t seem to give a flying flip about the Lancer characters.

Author’s Note: This is to appease all the people hollering for the completion of Web of Deceit.


~*~ L ~*~ A ~*~ N ~*~ C ~*~ E ~*~ R ~*~


Thunk… Moan… Thunk… Moan….Arrrgghhhh!

On a coffee run to the kitchen, Murdoch Lancer stopped and canted his head in curiosity at the unusual sounds drifting from the family’s media room.  Despite the hair-raising sensation the noise caused he didn’t rush into the room combat ready because he didn’t wish to embarrass himself, yet again, by rushing to the defense of one of his sons battling a WII game.

Thunk… Moan… Thunk… Moan….Arrrgghhhh!

The pattern of sounds repeated and this time there was no mistaking it was not a sound effect from a game.  Concern replaced curiosity as Murdoch entered the room, back ramrod straight and his arms raised and prepared for confrontation. He wasn’t sure what he expected to find but it certainly wasn’t this.

“Scott?  What in the world?” Murdoch questioned, marching to his son’s side, where he sat at the table they used for cards and games.

Johnny.” Scott growled, waving two sheets of papers he had crushed and clenched in his hand.   Thunk… Moan… Thunk… Moan….Arrrgghhhh!  Scott’s head connected with the table again. “Sir, he’s driving me crazy! I don’t know how much longer I can tutor him without losing my mind!”

Huffing out a great gob resignation, Murdoch scrubbed his face and asked, “What has he done now?”

“What he’s done is what I asked him to do but in such a back-handed, thumb his nose at authority fashion…Arrrggh!”  Scott lifted his face from the table.  His forehead bore a raised red welt and his features were contorted with aggravation. “To quote Jelly,” he muttered, “sometimes that boy makes my ass want to suck a lemon.”  Unable to stop himself, he fingered the goose-egg that was forming just at his hairline. 

“It can’t be that bad!” Even as he said it, the battle hardened General didn’t believe it.  He knew his youngest had an uncanny knack for finding the very thing that could drive a person off the deep end, and would then push until he heard the splash.

Powering up to his feet, Scott stood toe to toe with his father and did something no one else but his baby brother would have the balls to do to the big man: he jabbed his father’s broad chest with a rigid forefinger.  Eyes narrowing as he lifted his head to meet his Dad’s smoldering glare, he almost dared the man to speak.  His lips pulled into tight white lines across his bared and clenched teeth as he ground out, “I have survived SEAL training, countless top secret missions, hostage retrieval, being dropped behind enemy lines, being separated from my unit under battle situations; and none of that was as bad as tutoring Johnny.”  I can’t believe one of his teachers never gave into the urge to shoot him…it’s not like they don’t all own guns in Texas.

Pulling out a chair and dropping wearily into it, Murdoch motioned for Scott to take a seat as well. Perhaps I should pack the boy off to the Citadel. Oh Hell, that would put him and Teresa in the same state. I can’t do that to South Carolina, they survived the Civil War, a great earthquake and countless hurricanes. I can’t in good conscience put them in that kind of jeopardy.  Still…  He shook the thought away.  “Let’s hear it.”

Shaking the crumpled papers in his hand, Scott began his explanation. “I gave Johnny the Los Angeles Times and told him to pick a news item and translate the premise of the story into mathematical expressions.  The purpose of the exercise was for him to demonstrate that given a problem, he could plug his known values into this equation, solve it, and then explain his answer.” Nearly hitting his father in the nose as he waved the papers wildly about, he added, “Just look at what your son came up with!”

Taking the papers from Scott, Murdoch placed them on the table and patiently smoothed out the wrinkles.  The top page had a small square section of the newspaper glued to it.  Murdoch couldn’t stop the smile and snort that came to his face. Trust Johnny to choose the shortest article he could find. He quickly scanned the blurb on a joint study by California Department of Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles. He glanced up at Scott when he finished.

Shaking his head, a maniacal look on his face and a crazed gleam in his slate blue eyes, Scott pounded at the piece of paper with two rigid fingers of his right hand.  “Now read the mathematical expression he turned it into.”  It was a command, not a suggestion. 

Turning his eyes back to the page Johnny had written his answer on, Murdoch began to read the neatly scripted words.  A recent joint study conducted by the California Department of Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that 23% of all traffic accidents are alcohol related.  Taking this known value into account we can deduce (100% - 23% =77%) that the remaining 77% of the accidents  are caused by idiots that just drink coffee, carbonated drinks, juices, milk, water, and shit like that.

Furthermore, based on the two values we now know; we can conclude we should all watch out for people who do not drink (77%) before driving, because they cause approximately three times as many accidents as those that do drink (23%).  This can be expressed as 77% ÷ 23% =3.34782609 (or 23% goes into 77% approximately 3 times). In summary, getting hammered before you drive lessens your chance of dying and splattering your guts all over the California highways.

Scott snorted; the sound echoing with derision.  He could tell from the way his father was squinting his eyes, the big man felt a migraine coming on.

Pinching the bridge of his nose in the hope he could contain the ache building in his skull, Murdoch slumped back in the chair, fighting the urge to bang his head against the table as Scott had been doing earlier.  His mouth opened and shut repeatedly; but no words were forthcoming.  As much as he hated to admit it -- based on the information and the values given in the article --Johnny could (and undoubtedly would) argue his theory was correct

Harlan had just strolled into the media room.  “I was about to think everyone was AWOL,” he smiled.  He came to an abrupt stop when he noted the frazzled and perturbed looks on his son-in-law and oldest grandson’s faces. “I’ll probably be sorry I asked,” he sighed, “but what has Johnny done now to leave you two in this state?”

“His homework.” Scott replied, with droll aplomb as he picked up the papers from the table and handed them to his grandfather.

Taking the papers into his well manicured fingers, Harlan scanned them.  As he read, his smile grew, and he began to chuckle. “Well, that’s one way to interpret the numbers.”  Shrugging, he offered the papers back to his grandson.  When Scott held up his hands in refusal, he tried again; this time attempting to hand the papers off to his son-in-law.  He frowned when Murdoch refused the documents too.  Well, he fumed, enough of this foolishness.  He shook the papers at both men, the next words coming in the same tone Harlan Garrett used when he was addressing an ill-prepared underling.  “Rather you like it or not, gentlemen; technically, he did support his theory.”

Murdoch snorted.  “You know well and good, Harlan, he does not believe his ‘theory’,” he exclaimed, his facial muscles twitching in agitation as he glared at the benevolent grandfather. 

“Of course he doesn’t,” Scott replied.  He thumped his chest.  “Johnny does things like this on purpose,” he complained.  “To drive me crazy.”

“And it was a short trip,” Johnny crowed; spewing cake crumbs as he shoved a piece of chocolate cake into his mouth with his right hand.  There was a second piece of cake in his left hand; and behind him on the floor leading from the kitchen, a trail of crumbs and the clear imprint of his stockinged feet.  There had been only two pieces of cake left from the one Maria had prepared just the day before; one for you, nińo, the housekeeper had firmly reminded him, and one for Scott.  Johnny frowned as he contemplated the piece of cake in his left hand; but only for a short moment.  “Oh,” he said, glancing at his brother and flashing a smile.  “Sorry.”  Then, shrugging, he stuffed the cake into his mouth; an audible sigh coming as he made a big production of licking the thick frosting from his fingers, one-by-one, purposely lingering on his pinky.       


Off the deep end Scott sailed…next he was torpedoing out of his chair and after his swiftly departing brother, who had decided it was time for one of those strategic retreats he was all the time being lectured about.


The End


January 2, 2011     








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