Word Count 5,523
This is my response for the Lancer Writers May 2021 ‘Fear’ challenge.
Scott & Johnny were finishing up lunch and preparing to go back out to the north fence line to check for breaks.
“Juanito, por favor. Go get me a jar of my spiced peaches from the smaller cellar. I need them for desert tonight.”
“Sure, I’ll get it. Oh boy peaches for desert tonight!” Turning back to Scott, Johnny advised he would meet him as soon as he completed his chore.
Whistling as he headed down the cellar. A sudden wind caused the door to slam shut and the latch to catch. Johnny began to feel uneasy. He found the peaches but dropped them as he stood frozen at the door which was jammed shut.
Leaving the kitchen heading to the barn, Scott heard the glass break. He pried open the door and headed down to the cellar. ‘Jelly has got to fix that cellar door and latch.’
“You okay Brother?” Scott noticed the broken jar at Johnny’s feet, but Johnny did not seem to notice Scott was there. “Oh Maria is not going to be happy about this. Johnny … Johnny?”
Johnny seemed to snap to and turned to Scott. Looking at the broken jar of peaches, he sheepishly replied, “The jar slipped out of my hand. I’ll make it up to her. I need to clean this up.”
“I’ll help. Get another jar and bring it to Maria. I’ll get started here. And get a lantern too, Johnny. It is too dark down here. It is a wonder you can even see the jars.”
“Thanks, Scott. I will be right back.”
Johnny headed back to the kitchen to make his apologies to Maria and grab a lantern from the porch.
As Johnny neared the root cellar, Scott was closing the door. “I finished cleaning up down there. Did Maria get you with her spoon?”
“Nah, she said she has done that before too. Man, I dropped just one jar and she wants to know if I’m cut anywhere. Thanks, I owe you one. Let’s get to work.”
“… wire will need to be replaced, but we can start moving…” stopping mid-sentence when he realized his brother did not seem to be listening. “Johnny you haven’t heard one thing I said. Are you alright? Since we came back here after lunch, it is like I’m talking to one of these posts. Is something going on, Brother?”
“No, I’m fine Scott. We got all our work done and you can report everything to the Old Man. He don’t listen to me anyway. Let’s head back home.”
As dinner progressed Scott brought Murdoch up to speed on repairs before the herd will be moved next week. Johnny tried to appear interested, but contributed nothing to the discussion. Maria entered with the spiced peaches and handed out the bowls. When she came to Johnny she smiled and patted his arm. Leaving, she placed a kiss on his head. Murdoch and Scott noticed, and gave each other a knowing smile. After dinner drinks were had in the great room. The men then retired to their rooms for the night.
Around 1am, Scott was awakened by the sound of yelling. It took him a second to realize it was coming from Johnny’s room. He hurried to Johnny’s room and barged in without bothering to knock.
“Please, no. I didn’t do it. I didn’t!” Johnny was pleading with someone. His sheets, blanket and pillow were in a tangled mess, half off the bed. Johnny was still locked in his nightmare as Scott rushed to the bed.
“Johnny, wake up. Wake up.”
Johnny felt hands on his shoulders and began trying to escape them.
“Johnny, it’s me, Scott. Come on, wake up. I’ve got you.”
Finally awake and gasping for breath, Johnny looked up at his brother. “Scott what are you doing in my room. Are you okay?”
“Am I okay? Johnny you were having a nightmare of sorts. You yelled so loud I practically fell out of my bed. I couldn’t get you to wake up. I’m surprised Murdoch didn’t hear you.”
“He did.” Scott turned to see Murdoch heading into the room. “John, are you alright Son?”
Johnny groaned, closing his eyes. “I’m sorry I woke you both. Please go back to bed. I’m fine.”
Murdoch handed Johnny a glass of water which he gratefully accepted. Scott collected and tried to get the bedclothes in some type of order.
The men said their goodnights and left Johnny’s room. Murdoch followed Scott into his son’s room.
“What do you think brought that on? I thought he wasn’t having these nightmares any more. As he became more settled, they seem to have all but disappeared.”
“No Sir, he has still been having some. Not as frequent or as bad as this one seems to have been. I can usually get to him and wake him, then he calms down and goes back to sleep.”
“Does he tell you anything about them Son? I wouldn’t want you to betray a trust. I’m just trying to figure this out. We can maybe talk about it some more later. Well we best get back to bed. Morning comes pretty early. Goodnight, Scott.”
Morning came. Murdoch met Scott in the hallway leading to the stairs. Murdoch knocked then opened Johnny’s door expecting to find him still asleep. His room was empty.
“I guess your brother is already in the kitchen. Well let’s get to it.”
They entered the kitchen to find an upset Marie, muttering in Spanish to herself. She noticed Murdoch and Scott enter the room. “Good morning Patron. Good morning Senior Scott. Sit! I will bring you your breakfast.”
Noticing her mood, both men tread cautiously.
“Good morning Maria. Have you seen Johnny yet this morning?” Murdoch asked as she filled his coffee cup. She then moved to fill Scott’s cup. She put the pot down with more force than necessary and she rounded on Murdoch.
“Juanito was here and gone. He does not eat! He cannot work all day by eating one biscuit. He did not look too well when he came to my kitchen. Is he sick?”
“No Maria, he is not sick. He had a bad night last night. He was probably just tired.” Murdoch tried to placate the housekeeper.
“Scott, do you have any idea where Johnny may have headed? I’ll check with the men when I give the morning orders.”
“No Sir. He may have headed over to the north fence line, but there is really nothing to do until we get the wire up there to fix the few breaks. I’ll keep an eye out for him.”
Scott spent most of the morning checking the water levels in the lakes to prepare for the move. Heading to the last small lake he noticed Barranca ground tied happily munching on the grass. The palomino’s owner was sitting near the edge of the lake, knees drawn up; arms resting on the knees.
Johnny heard Charlie’s nicker as Barranca answered back. He knew it was his brother. “Hey Boston, the Old Man send you to look for me?”
“Well, he did ask me to keep an eye out for strays. I guess I found one.” He dismounted and untied the sack holding their lunch. “I come offering gifts; our lunch. We have roast beef sandwiches and cookies for desert. Maria even included apples for our noble steeds.”
“Aw, I ain’t hungry Scott. Maybe I will take a couple of those cookies.”
“Nope, I have my orders and I better not return with your lunch uneaten. I do not plan on getting on Maria’s bad side, so eat up, now.”
The men ate in silence. Johnny excused himself to answer nature’s call in a small copse of trees. Unbeknownst to Scott, Johnny’s lunch made a return appearance.
The men headed back home. Johnny busied himself grooming Barranca until he heard Maria ring the dinner bell. “Guess I better go, Amigo.” He gave his horse one more pat and headed to the house.
Dinner was placed on the table, with Johnny taking very little to his plate. He felt three sets of eyes looking at him. “Everything looks really good Mamacita, but I’m not very hungry. You sent me a big lunch. Guess I’m still full. After dinner I’m making an early night of it. I’m tired.”
Maria was upset but held her tongue. She looked at Murdoch as if to expect him to say something.
“Son, are you feeling alright? You look pale.”
“I’m fine, just tired. Boston, I’ll have to bow out of our chess game tonight.”
“That’s alright Johnny, you get some sleep. Sir, can I interest you in a game?”
“I think that can be arranged. Good night John. We’ll see you in the morning.”
“Scott, I can see you are worried but maybe it really is just a lack of sleep. Let’s see how he is in the morning. If there is no change I’ll send for Sam. He may have some ideas.”
Again the night was marked with Johnny locked in his nightmare. Both older men made it to Johnny in record time. His pleading to whomever he was seeing was hard to take. Murdoch tried to break the nightmare’s hold. Again when he did wake he fought the hands holding him.
“John, Son. It’s me. You’re safe. No one will harm you.” Murdoch brushed Johnny’s hair from his eyes to mask his checking for fever. There was no fever.
“Oh no, not again! I’m so sorry I woke you again. I’ll be sleeping in one of the annex rooms downstairs. I can’t keep waking you up.”
“No John. You’ll stay in your own room. We want to help you through this. What triggered these nightmares? Maybe we can help you sort it out. Can you tell us about it?”
Head down, Johnny stared at his hands in his lap. “I don’t remember,” he lied.
“John, look at me.” Murdoch put his finger under Johnny’s chin, forcing him to look at his father. “You know how I feel about lying, Son. Please tell me what is going on.”
“I can’t. I can’t say. Please don’t push. I am not ready to talk about it, yet.”
Resigned, Murdoch let it drop. Scott returned to the room with a glass of warm milk. “Here Johnny, this used to help me when I couldn’t sleep.”
Johnny thanked Scott for the milk, and goodnights were passed around. The older men each went to their room to catch some sleep.
The third night was uneventful, or so it seemed. Scott knew differently. He decided he would speak with Murdoch about the events of the third night. The day started much as the previous one. Johnny ate very little breakfast and left, saying he was leaving to go to the corrals. He had some horses he was schooling.
Finishing a last cup of coffee, Murdoch spoke to Scott remarking that the previous night was peaceful, and Johnny evidentially got over whatever was bothering him. Scott advised his father how wrong he was.
“I heard Johnny moving around in his room. The door was locked and he did not answer my knock. I went back to my room to get some sleep. I woke up some time later, and went to Johnny’s door. I listened and it sounding like he was saying a prayer; something about salvation and his soul. His voice did not even sound like him. It was almost childlike.”
Scott this can’t keep up. He has been going for three days with very little sleep, yet he goes out and completes a full day’s work. We both know how dangerous ranch work can be if you’re not clear headed. Tonight that boy is going to tell me what is wrong, whether he is ready to say or not.”
“One word of caution, Sir. Just proceed carefully. You know how skittish he can get. If this turns into a shouting match between the two of you, nothing will be accomplished.”
Seeming annoyed at his oldest son’s remark, Murdoch did agree.
Johnny was at the corrals schooling the new younger horses. After working with them for over an hour, he came to the outside of the fence. Cipriano was speaking with him, and his eyes got a blank look to them. He had a death grip on the rail. Legs feeling rubbery, Johnny started to slowly wilt in front of his uncle. He caught Johnny before he hit the ground. Laying him down softly Cipriano started barking orders. “Juanito, wake up nephew! Jose, ride for the doctor. Walt, go get the Patron!”
Murdoch made it across the yard at a run. He went to his knees next to his son. “What happened? Was he thrown, or struck by one of the horses? Have you checked for injuries? Is someone going for Sam?”
Murdoch’s rapid fire questions did not give Cipriano a chance to answer. “He was schooling the horses but he was only putting them through their paces. He did not ride. He was not struck by any of the horses. I found no injuries. Jose is going for Sam. I was speaking to him by the gate, and he just passed out. I caught him before he fell, and laid him down.” A blanket was brought to cover him. “Frank is going for Senior Scott.”
Murdoch looked up to see Sam’s buggy coming up to the front door. “I was just leaving Aggie’s when Jose caught me. What has the boy done to himself this time?” Murdoch relayed the events. Sam decided it was safe to move Johnny to his room.
Scott rode through the arch at a full gallop, and was off Charlie before he made a full stop. Murdoch filled him in as they followed behind Cipriano with Johnny, and Sam.
Slowly, Johnny regained consciousness. “Well good afternoon, young man. I’m happy to see you have joined us. My boy, we need to talk. How are you feeling, and don’t say fine. You look like hell.”
“Good bedside manner there, Doc. I don’t know what happened. I was talking to Cip and then the next thing I know is I wake up with you in my room. Did one of the horses clip me?”
“No Son. You passed out, plain and simple. Your father tells me you’re not eating enough to keep a bird healthy, and you’re having really bad nightmares. That about sum up what’s going on with you?”
Johnny lowered his head speaking almost in a whisper. “Well, he don’t know about me throwing up.”
“Why haven’t you told your father or brother about this?” Johnny just shrugged, his head still lowered.
“Look at me son. We need to talk about what has been going on.”
“Doc, Scott said if you tell a doctor or a priest something in private, they can’t tell anyone; even my Pa since I’m not 21 yet. Is that really true?”
“Yes Johnny it is. Whatever is said in this room between us stays between us. Now let’s talk about why you’re not eating.”
“I can’t. My stomach is in knots all the time lately. If I eat, I end up puking it back up. I didn’t tell ‘em cause I did not want them all over me like mother hens, or sending for you. But that part didn’t work out.” Johnny offered Sam a weak smile.
“Okay. I can help you with that. I’ll give you something to take before you eat and it will settle your stomach. Don’t you give me that look. It doesn’t taste bad. It tastes a bit like peppermint. Now tell me about your nightmares.”
Johnny paused for a bit, worrying the edge of his quilt. He seemed to be searching for the right words.
“Sam, you ever see a person attacked by rats? Once when me and Mama were moving around, there was this old man, Tomas. He did odd jobs to get enough money to mostly buy a drink at the cantina. I guess he was the town drunk. One day he passed out behind the cantina after a few drinks. It was where the garbage from the cantina was thrown.” Johnny stopped as he gathered his thoughts. Sam waited patiently, reaching over to hand Johnny a glass of water. Johnny finally continued with this story.
“Tomas was back there with the garbage, which was also where the rats were. There were a lot of people out in town going about their business. Mama and me were there buying some fixings for a meal. Mama had a good night at the cantina. Everybody started hearing screaming. We headed in the direction of the screams. There were lots of rats, and they were biting on Tomas. He was all bloody. Some of the men scared off the rats, but Tomas continued to yell and moan. Mama pulled me away so I couldn’t see it. Some of the town people tried to help him, but he tried to run from the back of the cantina. He made it as far as the town fountain we had for water supply. He fell there and never got up. He was dead. I remembered that for a long time. Right after it happened, I had nightmares that it was me the rats were eating on. After a while, the dreams stopped, and I kinda forgot about the whole thing.”
Sadly shaking his head, Sam spoke, “Is that the nightmares you’ve been having recently?”
“Well some, but not really. After Mama died I was stuck in an orphanage run by the Padres at the mission. I was a mestizo so I was a target for all the brown eyed children. They would pick fights with me and hurt me whenever they could; especially the older kids. The Padre who was in charge was no better. He called me a spawn of the devil and not fit to live among decent people.”
Sam sat listening, as he watched Johnny’s face living the past again.
“He beat me a lot. When I did get to eat it was scraps left over by the other kids who had eaten already. It seems like he hated me more the longer I was there. He started punishing me by closing me up in this small cellar that was no longer used for storage. He would tell me what he was punishing me for but most times it was lies. I would beg him not to throw me in there, but he would just tell me I needed to repent and pray to God to cleanse me from my evil. “
“The cellar was so dark, and quiet, but then I heard them. Rats. I didn’t sleep while I was in the cellar. I thought of old Tomas. Sometimes I would feel one run across my feet. And they scream. Ever hear a rat scream? I can still hear them in my mind. After a day or two, Padre would give me some bread and a cup of water. The bread was moldy, and the water was dirty, but I was so hungry and thirsty I didn’t care. Lots of times I threw it up anyway. He would finally let me out, but he’d lock me in there a lot. I don’t understand how a supposed man of God could the things he did. I finally ran away, and after a long while I never thought of that place anymore.”
Sam, turned a way for a moment to let Johnny compose himself, and also to hide the tears forming in his own eyes. They sat there in silence for a while, and then Sam decided it was time for some questions.
“My boy, you have certainly had a difficult childhood. Are these events causing your nightmares? I can understand that, but what triggered the memories? You said you did not think of the place after a while.”
“Maria asked me to get some spiced peaches from the small cellar. I didn’t even think about it. I went down the steps into the cellar. The wind must have blown the door shut, and that door jams.
“All of a sudden, the hairs on my neck stood up. The smell of the dirt, and the darkness brought back those memories. I even thought I was seeing and hearing rats down there with me. I know there ain’t no critters in Maria’s cellar, but in my mind they were there. I dropped the peaches but I couldn’t move. Scott came down to see if I was okay. I just told him the peaches slipped from my hand. I started having the nightmares then.
“I hate that I keep waking Murdoch and Scott, but I can’t tell them about the nightmares. Truth is Doc; I am scared of being in dark confined places. Ya’ gotta swear you won’t tell them. Won’t that be fun? Big bad Johnny Madrid, gunfighter afraid of the dark. I just don’t know what to do. ”
“Well my boy, we will have to work to figure out how we can drive those images out of your head. And you are no longer big bad Johnny Madrid. You are Johnny Lancer; rancher, son and brother.”
Johnny wrapped his arms tightly around himself; a move all too familiar to the doctor.
“The first thing we need to do is to help you get some sleep. I am going to give you a sleeping powder now. I’ll leave some more for the next few days. You cannot keep going with little or no sleep. Because you haven’t reached your majority yet, I will have to inform your father…”
Johnny interrupted the doctor in a panic. “You promised you wouldn’t tell. Was that a lie you told me? Please don’t tell him the things I told you, please!”
“Calm down Son. I am not telling your father anything we spoke about. I do need to tell him what medications I am prescribing. The sleeping powders and the medication to help your stomach are the only things I will talk to your father about. I’ll cite doctor patient confidentiality if he pushes for info.”
“Do I gotta stay in bed? I didn’t hit nothing when I passed out.”
“No, you are not restricted to bed, but once I get a glass of milk to dissolve this powder in you won’t be going anywhere tonight. Now do you need to use the facilities while I get the milk? I won’t be long.”
Sam returned with the milk and met Johnny as he was climbing back in bed. Johnny settled, now comfortable while Sam mixed the powder in the milk. Johnny drank the milk and his eyes grew heavy. Sam told Johnny he would give the stomach medication to Maria to add to some peppermint tea.
After a big yawn, Johnny looked at the kindly doctor. “Remember your promise, okay?”
“Yes son, I give you my word. No one will know the particulars of our talk, and I always keep my word.”
With that, the young man snugged down, and Sam covered him with a quilt. He would go to meet an anxious father and brother to go over the medications and dosage. He was prepared to fend off questions from both.
Murdoch handed Sam a drink as he and Scott waited for Sam’s findings. “He cannot keep going on little or no sleep. And he needs to eat. I’m leaving some sleeping powders. Dissolve one each night in a glass of milk. I’m also leaving some elixir to help his appetite. Have Maria put one teaspoon full in a pot of peppermint tea.
“Sam did my son tell you what is going on in that head; why he is having these nightmares?”
“Murdoch, that is doctor patient confidentiality. I cannot betray a trust.”
“But Sam that is my son. I have a right to know what is upsetting him.” Murdoch was getting angry.
“Yes Murdoch, I know that, and I realize he has not reached his majority yet, but I will not betray a trust. He and I will be talking on my visits. Now, I have given him the powder and he is sleeping. Let him wake on his own. I am not restricting him to bed rest as he did not hurt himself when he passed out. However it may be a good idea to keep him close to home for a few days. If he does pass out again and is out working around the ranch, he could be badly hurt in a fall from his horse.”
Scott had been listening to the two older men and spoke up. “Sam, is there anything else we need to watch for or do for Johnny?”
“No Scott. What I told your father is all you can do for now. Well, gentlemen, I must leave. Mrs. Mc Bride’s baby is due any day. I’m going to see her now.” Sam was preparing to leave.
“Okay Sam. Thank you. Give Judith our regards. When you come for your next visit, be prepared to stay for dinner.”
Murdoch walked Sam to his buggy and saw him off.
Johnny started to stir. He was trying to open his eyes but they were not cooperating. He was finally awake enough to know that he was not alone. His blurred vision finally cleared up and he saw his father sitting in a chair by his bed.
“Hey Pa.” Johnny sheepishly addressed his father and scooted up against the headboard. “I guess I went to sleep for a bit. I better get back to work.”
“Son, you’re not going back to work just yet. Working in the dark would be too dangerous.” Murdoch almost smiled looking at his son’s face.
“In the dark? How long was I asleep?” Johnny started to get concerned as to what the answer would be.
“You have been sleeping thirteen hours, Son. Sam’s powder must really work well. We let you sleep because you needed it. Are you hungry? I may be able to find something in the kitchen.” He handed Johnny a glass of water.
“Thanks but I am not hungry. Thirteen hours? I can’t take any more of those powders Sam left. I’ll be sleeping my life away.” Murdoch could tell Johnny was getting agitated.
“Oh but you will, my son. You will take them as Sam prescribed until you can sleep through the night without those nightmares.”
“NO!” Johnny started to get out of bed, and noticed he was in a nightshirt. “Where’s my clothes. When I went to sleep, I wasn’t in this thing!”
“Scott and I got you into your nightshirt so you would be more comfortable. You may as well try to get a little more sleep, until morning.”
“More sleep? I been sleeping for thirteen hours already. And what are you doing up anyway? Shouldn’t you be asleep? You stayed up just to watch me sleep? Boy, this just gets better and better.”
“Call it a father’s prerogative. I wanted to check on you and be sure you were okay. John, we do need to talk and soon.” He held up his hand to stall his son’s words. “Maybe not tomorrow or the next, but soon. Now, I am heading to bed. I want you to leave your door open a bit in case you need me. Goodnight, Son.” Murdoch stood and leaned to give Johnny a kiss on his head. Johnny drifted back to sleep.
The next morning Johnny was up early, dressing for the day. “This is stupid Madrid. You faced down so many gunmen who came to dance, yet you can’t tell your family what‘s wrong. You know they’re not going to stop worrying and asking after me. And Mamacita keeps giving me those sad eyes. At least Sam’s medicine is helping so I can eat. Well, guess I better get to the table.”
Looking outside on his way, Johnny noticed that a rain storm was soaking everything. No one would be doing work today other than what absolutely needed to be done. “Maybe today is the day.”
After breakfast, the men retreated to the great room. Murdoch headed to his desk to work. Scott noticed Johnny looked rather pensive. “Well, little brother can I interest you in a game of chess?”
“No thanks, Boston. I’d kinda like to talk to you and Pa, if you are not busy.”
Murdoch sensed this may be the time to talk. “Not at all Son. Why don’t we sit over by the fire where we will be more comfortable? I’ll ask Maria to bring a fresh pot of coffee. It is a little too early for a drink.”
“So says you, Pa!”
Coffee was served and all were settled in to listen to Johnny.
“First of all I wanna say I am sorry for waking you up and for making you worry about me. I forget sometimes how good it is to have someone do that. Guess I been on my own too long. I need to tell you why I been having those nightmares and wasn’t eating. First I better fess up why I was not eating much. Whenever I ate, I would puke it back up. My stomach was all twisted. “
Murdoch started to admonish Johnny for not telling them, but thought better of it.
Johnny proceeded to tell the older men the events just as he relayed to Sam. Hearing Johnny speak of the treatment by the children but particularly by the priest hit Murdoch hard. ‘Why Maria? Why did you take him from his home to have to live this type life?’ When mentioning the rats, Johnny gave an involuntary shudder. Scott felt anger welling up in himself as he listened to Johnny. When finished, Johnny had his head down as if in shame. He could not look his father or brother in the eye. Murdoch lifted his son’s head but he still could get him to make eye contact.
“Look at me, John!” His words were stern but not angry. He finally got his son to look at him. He used his thumb to brush away a tear that escaped Johnny’s eye.
“John, I’m so very sorry you had to go through that as well as the other evil things done to you as a child. You should have grown up in your home surrounded by love. I know we cannot change the past, but we have a bright future ahead of us.”
Scott had moved to the couch, on the other side of his brother and was rubbing circles on his back.
“Son, why did you feel you couldn’t tell us. Were you afraid of what we would think?”
“Yeah, some. I didn’t know how you would feel to have a son or brother who is scared of the dark. That’s something to be proud of, huh?”
“Johnny, I am proud of you, and your brother, always. You were a child, and in no way responsible for the evil that was done to you. We are a family. We face things together. I hope you and your brother know you can confide in me anytime.”
“That’s right Little Brother. I am very proud to have such a brave man as my brother and best friend.”
“I just don’t know if I’ll ever get over that fear. Some things can’t be fixed. I didn’t think about it for a long time, but that day in the cellar brought it all back.”
“Son, everyone has a fear of something. That is just life. We handle it the best way we know how.”
“Johnny, I don’t want to pry, but on that third sleepless night, it sounded like you were talking to someone or praying. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I was just curious.”
“Well Brother, that was a prayer drilled into me almost daily. The ‘Act of Contrition’. I used to say that when I was locked in the cellar.”
The three men sat, saying nothing for a bit. Murdoch’s long arm came around Johnny’s shoulders as Scott continued to rub calming circles on his brother’s back.
“I think I feel better now that I told my childish secret. My stomach isn’t in knots any more. “Is it late enough now to have a drink? I can use it.” Johnny gave a slight smile as he looked up into his father’s face.
“I think we can do that, my boy! Scott will you do the honors?”
Scott went to the drink cart to retrieve the drinks. On his way back he noticed the rain had stopped. “Well, the rain has stopped. It looks like the sun is trying to come out.”
“Aw, I like the rain. It’s like everything is being washed new and starting fresh. But it sure ain’t gonna be fun chasing those dumb cows in the mud tomorrow.”
Murdoch gave his son another hug and the three men sat enjoying their drink.
May 15, 2021
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