Murdoch’s Christmas Present by EJ

Word Count – 471

Johnny looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was in the hallway, all looked clear. At his last check, the Ol’Man was in Green River with Teresa, Scott was checking the North Pasture fence line, Jelly was helping Cip, and Maria was in her garden. Yep it was safe. 

He opened the door and slipped around the door, softly closing it and waiting for his eyes to adjust to the low light. Finally he moved to the wardrobe and sorted through the clothes, till he found what he wanted. Success, now to make an escape and head out to the corral to act like he was working the new mare.

That evening while they enjoyed after supper drinks, Johnny announced he needed some time in Morro Coyo, then acting like he was about to divulge a secret he whispered, “Christmas presents.”

It worked, Murdoch smiled and nodded approval, Scott just gave him a look that said, ‘I know you are up to something.’

The next morning Johnny and Barranca were on the way to Morro Coyo, he already had the other gifts but he still needed to get Murdoch’s. His first stop was easy, although the Señor wondered why Johnny would buy pants that were obviously much too big for him. Next stop was the silversmith, he also wondered why the ex-gunfighter needed more conchos. 

When he arrived home he threw his saddlebag over his shoulder, skipping the kitchen when he heard Murdoch talking to Maria. Slipping in the front door he cat-footed it up the stairs. Hiding the bag under his bed he reversed his trip to come around to enter the kitchen. He appeared the picture of innocence. Neither Murdoch nor Maria were buying it for one minute.

The next few days were uneventful, much to Murdoch’s relief. 

Finally Christmas arrived and after breakfast the family gathered around the tree. Johnny held back Murdoch’s gift until the pile of presents were opened. Scott looked at  his brother wondering why there was nothing for Murdoch.

Grinning, Johnny moved to behind the tree and made a production of pulling out a box. Everyone waited while Johnny walked to his father and handed him the box.

“Thank you, son.” He stared at the plain box.

“Sorry I didn’t get it wrapped, I tried but it didn’t work too good.” He glanced over his shoulder at Scott, “Couldn’t trust him not to peek.”

Murdoch chuckled, “It’s okay son.”

He pulled off the lid and… burst out laughing. Taking a deep breath he pulled out the pants and held them up, the silver conchos reflecting the glow of the fire. “Thank you son but I think one Lancer in conchos is enough.”

The room erupted into laughter. 

Yep, Johnny thought, it was a really good Christmas.

The End – 12/5/2021

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