Word County – 921
This is my idea on how Johnny tried to get out of work on a summer day.
“Aw, come on Boston. I’m about to melt out here! Just a little while? No one will know.”
“No Johnny. We fixed that hole in the fence, and now we have to collect the cows that strayed through it. Murdoch expects us to finish the job he gave us. “Scott stopped short of reminding Johnny about the time he left a job unfinished, and what it cost him.
“We only got that little bunch of stupid cows to herd, and even they got sense enough to go over under the trees to get cool. We can go for a few minutes. I promise we’ll stop when you say so.”
“You always say that Johnny, and I’m always the one to get blamed for your foolishness.”
Johnny was getting angry at this point. “Foolishness, Boston? Really? Well that’s it. You stay here or go herd the cows but I’m going in. Don’t wait on me.”
Scott knew he would not win with Johnny, so he conceded. “Alright, but just for a little while. We need to let the horses drink, and rest a spell.”
Johnny let out a “Whoop” as he bounded off Barranca and started shedding clothes as he ran. Scott, laughing at his little brother, joined him and began shedding his clothes, placing them in an orderly pile.
Johnny was down to his pants as he made it to the edge of the lake. As he stepped out of his pants, he noticed Scott headed his way in nothing but a pair of cut off summer long johns.
Standing naked at the water’s edge, Johnny started laughing. “You leaving those on? Never knew you were the shy type.”
“I am not at all shy Brother, but there are snapping turtles in this lake and I do not want them getting any notions.”
Johnny fell backwards in the lake as he laughed at Scott’s reasoning. Scott soon joined him in the water. After several races and good natured dunking, the brothers relaxed in the water.
“Just look at that waterfall Scott. This is a beautiful spot, one of my favorite places on Lancer. “As the brothers talked, they failed to see a pair of eyes watching them, hidden behind the falls.
“Okay Johnny we’ve been here a long time and it was fun, but it’s time to get back to work. I’ll catch hell for this, I’m sure.” Scott started swimming toward the shallow part of the lake’s edge.
“Look Scott, if the old man yells, I’ll tell him it was my idea, okay?” Johnny swam over to his brother at the shallow edge.
They still had not noticed the intruder slowly emerging from under the falls. The brothers were still knee deep at the water’s edge when they heard it.
“Hello boys. Having fun?”
Johnny spun around, and grabbed for his gun, slapping only his wet thigh where his Colt should have been. He lost his footing and careened into Scott. They both went down in the water. Both boys were staring at their father’s head and shoulders in the lake as he headed toward his sons.
Realizing they were caught, Johnny did the only thing he could think to do. “It was Scott’s idea!”
“Why thank you, Little Brother. “ Scott knew they were in trouble but he had to laugh at the panicked look on Johnny’s face when their father appeared.
“Have you boys completed the job I gave you?” Murdoch was enjoying seeing his grown sons acting like two little school boys caught playing hooky.
“Well, almost Pa.” Johnny often threw out a “Pa” or two to soften up his father. “Why are you way out here and in the lake? I thought you were working at the forge today.”
“I was, but it was so hot, I decided to take a break and go for a swim.”
Feeling bad about his most recent misdeed, Johnny came clean. “Umm, it weren’t Scott’s idea. It was mine. I made him come to swim. Sorry Boston.” Johnny cast his eyes downward, embarrassed that he blamed his brother.
Scott swam over & hugged his brother round the neck showing there were no bad feelings; and then dunked him.
“Okay boys, I think we’ve soaked up enough water for the day. Let’s get dressed and head those cows back home. It’s getting late and Maria may decide not to feed us.”
Both boys stood, and Murdoch noticed Johnny was naked. “John, why didn’t you leave your cut offs on to swim, like Scott has? Let me guess. You didn’t wear any, am I correct? Son, we have had this discussion before!”
“I guess I kinda forgot them. I don’t see why I need ‘em anyway. My pants cover all the good parts.”
Scott was laughing as he watched his father and brother argue the need for underwear.
“You boys go ahead and get dressed. I want to spend a few more minutes here.”
Scott and Johnny were getting into their socks and boots when Johnny whispered to Scott. “You think the old man has any drawers on?”
“Yes, John. I do. And contrary to what you boys think, my hearing is just as sharp as it ever was.”
The three men saddled up and drove the wayward cows back home. Murdoch enjoyed his time with his sons. After all, what boy hasn’t played hooky at least once?
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