The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

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Darla M. Poulos

 

 

I Got Time

Beta: Lacy. I sure found out where’d I’d be without you. Thanks again girlfriend.

The Lancer boys, Johnny and Scott, stumbled through the back door of the lighted kitchen after arriving home from a late night on the town. No one seemed to be up and about.

“I’m starved,” mumbled Johnny, tossing his hat on the counter as he headed towards the cooler.

“When aren’t you hungry?” retorted his brother, discarding his own hat on the back of a chair and dropping the Sacramento Bee newspaper on the tabletop. He then heavily sat down with a sigh in Murdoch’s chair at the head of the long table.

From the cooler, Johnny called, “Wait till ya see what I found in here! Do you want a small steak for that shiner?”

“No,” grumpily replied Scott, scanning the paper as he heard the cooler door slam shut. A moment later his brother appeared with half a chocolate cake on a plate, a pitcher of milk and, a petite cold, raw steak in his hand.

“Ya sure? That eye is sure turnin’ colors.”

Johnny plopped the steak in front of Scott, which made a splat sound when it hit the surface. Then he set the plate and pitcher on the table. He doffed his cream-colored coat and threw it on top of his hat. Next, he gathered up a couple of plates, two forks, a knife and two glasses, and set them on the table. Johnny sat down in a chair to the right of his brother. He proceeded to pour the milk into the tall glasses and set one in front of each of them.

Rubbing his hands together in anticipation like a small child, Johnny picked up the knife and cut a wide wedge off the cake. “Ya do want a piece of cake, don’t ya Scott?”

“No.”

Shocked, Johnny repeated, “No?” He slid the slice onto a plate and pushed it towards his brother, who had his face buried in the newspaper. “Scott, this is the most wonderful thing in the world.”

From behind the paper, Johnny heard, “I know, but I’m not hungry.”

While cutting himself a wider piece and sliding it onto his plate, Johnny replied, “But Scott, this is good for what ails ya. It’ll even help yer black eye ta feel better.” He bit into the luscious treat and rolled his own eyes, then added, “When ya gonna tell me who slugged ya? You’ve been quiet as a mouse all the way home.”

In a flat, very matter-of-fact tone, the answer came, “I’m not.”

“No, huh?” Johnny slowly took another bite, savoring the taste. “Ya know I’ll find out. It’s only a matter of time.”

“Not this time,” griped his brother, moving the paper aside long enough to take a sip of milk. Over the rim of the glass, he caught Johnny’s sly grin. Scott swallowed, then heaved a sigh. “It’s a long story and I don’t want to talk about it.” He went back to the middle of the article he was reading.

“Why not? I got time,” prodded Johnny, shoveling in another fork full of the sweet confection. He closed his eyes in sweet bliss as he chewed…until Scott’s next statement.

“It’s my business and not yours, brother.”

Johnny’s hand froze on the way to his mouth. “Those are fightin’ words Scott.” He was beginning to realize there was more to his brother’s shiner than he had at first thought. “Besides we’re brothers. What happens ta you, happens to me.”

“Doesn’t matter. I’ll handle this in my own way,” firmly replied Scott, turning the two sided paper over in his hands. He let go of one edge of the newsprint and latched onto the glass of milk. Totally disgruntled, he felt his hand shake and hoped his hawk-eyed brother hadn’t noticed when he brought it to his mouth. It wasn’t to be. He heard a groan from his sibling.

“Ya spilled some of yer milk there, Scott.” Johnny paused and swallowed, “Right on yer cake.” His tone was light with a hint of seriousness. Something’s really eatin’ at ‘im. What the hell is it?

A grunt from his brother, then the glass came down onto the table with a thump, narrowly missing the steak still lying on the surface. Bringing his free hand back to the paper, Scott soundlessly continued to read.

Quietness engulfed them. All they could hear was the ticking of the kitchen mantel clock echoed by the grandfather clock in the great room and Johnny’s fork scraping his plate as he continued to eat his cake.

As he ate, Johnny wracked his memory trying to recall what all had happened in town tonight. What has ‘im so sideways? We arrived in town early, did what business we each had ta do. Met with Val for supper and drinks. Then got into our usual poker game with a few hands from the Bar C. Scott wasn’t winning or losin’. He was holdin’ his own right up until he said, “Deal me out.” Then, he got up and left the saloon. Seems I do recall a fellow motioning at ‘im from the swingin’ doors. Who was he? I never saw his face in the shadows. Didn’t really think anything of it. Later Scott came back with that shiner and we all razzed him. All he’d said was that he’d run into a post or something. Johnny closely studied the profile of his brother as Scott read the Sacramento Bee. He didn’t run into any post. I can see the knuckle marks. No, someone punched him a good one. The question is who and how am I gonna get it out of him?

Out of the quietness of the room, a chuckle came from Scott. Then, a full belly laugh, startling Johnny and causing him to almost choke while swallowing the last bite of cake. Curious at the change of emotion from his brother, he asked, “What’s so dang funny?”

“This article on time change.”

“Time change,” mimicked Johnny a bit perplexed. Then he asked, “Ya want your cake?”

Scott shoved the plate over to his brother. Relieved the topic had changed, the older sibling went on to explain what he’d just read. “Seems there are a group of people wanting to change our time.” He heard Johnny snicker.

“Now, how would ya do that Scott?” Johnny wasn’t sure he really cared. After all, how can anyone really change time? But, his brother was finally talking and he thought, given enough time, he could get Scott to open up about his eye and the big secret he seemed to want to hold onto.

Scott, glad to talk about anything other than his sore eye, described the article. “This group of men wants to restructure the way we tell time across the country. Right now the whole country is on the same time.”

“The only time Scott,” interrupted Johnny, plucking another forkful of cake. He was getting full and was slowing down. “The one that goes forward and keeps goin’ until the end of time.”

Scott smiled at his brother. He had a feeling this was going to take some explaining. But, he could understand the concept and the theory behind the debate of time zones. Having lived on both the east and west coast, he’d witnessed firsthand the dawning of each day and the sun setting in the evenings.

“Yes, that’s right. You see, the sun rises and falls three hours in the east before it does in the west. They want to break the country down into four different time zones depending on what part of the United States you live in.” He stopped and let it sink into his brother’s agile mind.

“Yeah?” was Johnny’s only explanation.

Scott educated his brother further. “Each time zone would be an hour behind the other. They’ve even picked out a name for each zone. The east would be Eastern Standard Time, followed by Central Time, Rocky Mountain Time and ours would be Pacific Time. You follow me so far?”

“Now how would they make that work? Ya can’t stop time Scott.”

“They wouldn’t. They’d designate a date and everyone involved would have to set their clocks forward or backward.”

Hearty laughter spouted from Johnny. “That sure’d mess up things. Can’t ya just see the gears jamming in a clock when ya run it backwards? What’s the point of all this anyways?”

“The bottom line,” replied Scott, “to make better use out of daylight and there’s even more to it.”

“How so?”

“Well, once they get the time zones established, then in a few years they want to be able to move time an hour back in the fall and an hour forward in the spring.”

Johnny replied with a disbelieving chuckle. “That’s the lamest thing I’ve ever heard. Changing time? Pftt!” Johnny finished his cake and drank the rest of his milk in deep thought.

“Ya know Elsie and Annabell could care less what time it is when they get milked. They’d just start bellering when its time. And Clyde, the rooster, is gonna crow when he damn well pleases, be it day or night. Hell, that time change stuff would mess up the entire routine of this ranch.”

Johnny stacked the plates together with his silverware and the two empty glasses, then proceeded to the sink where he left them. He came back to the table and noticed the smile on his brother’s face behind the paper. “Yer just pullin’ my leg, ain’t ya Scott? Trying to get my mind off that feller that socked ya in the eye. Well, it ain’t gonna work.”

Scott lost his smile. Slamming the paper down on the table and getting up in a hurry, he griped, “Drop it Johnny! I told you I’ll handle it my way!” With that, Scott angrily walked over to the stairway and stomped up the steps.

“No reason to get sore about it Scott!” yelled Johnny at his retreating brother’s back. “I’m gonna find out…sooner or later.”

He picked up the unused steak, the leftover cake, the pitcher of milk and put them back into the cooler. Walking over to the table, he snatched the paper from the surface and read the article for himself.

Tick, tick, tick…went the clocks in the silence of the house.

He crumpled the news rag somewhat and tossed it aside. He said out loud, “That really is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.” Johnny stared at the mantel clock as it struck two in the morning…thinking…well, it is Sunday morning. How much trouble can one changed hour do? Maybe, I could get an extra hour of shut-eye before Murdoch caught on.

The imp was coming out from inside him and he reached for the clock.

 

 

~ end ~
November 5, 2016

For those who are affected, Daylight Saving Time in the US ends / ended Sunday, November 6th, 2016 at 2:00 a.m. Did you remember to turn your clock back?

Four standard time zones for the continental United States were introduced on November 18, 1883. Britain, which already adopted its own standard time system for England, Scotland, and Wales, helped gather international consensus for global time zones in 1884.

Day Light Saving Time was first established in Canada in 1908.

Day Light Saving Time was first implemented in the United States on March 31, 1918, as a wartime measure. 

Note of interest: The sun, not the clock, dictated farmers’ schedules, so daylight saving was very disruptive. Farmers had to wait an extra hour for dew to evaporate to harvest hay, hired hands worked less since they still left at the same time for dinner and cows weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules. Agrarian interests led the fight for the 1919 repeal of national daylight saving time, which passed after Congress voted to override President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. Rather than rural interests, it has been urban entities such as retail outlets and recreational businesses that have championed daylight saving over the decades.

The above partial article was written by Christopher Klein, March 9, 2012.  Entitled: 8 Things You May Not Know About Daylight Saving Time. You’ll find it on Google.com

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