The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

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Raian

 

 

San Francisco, Here We Come!

Part 5 of the Home Again series

Thank you to patient betas Starlit Drifter and StarGzer.

Scott stifled a yawn. It had been a long, arduous day. A squall had toppled trees onto part of the west pasture fence and a herd of steers took a shot at freedom. They had spent hours that morning rounding them all up.

A fence-fixing frenzy followed that. The ground in the west pasture was teeth-rattling hard and rocky. They had labored past sundown to replace or reset fence posts before restringing the wire. Scott had nearly fallen asleep in his soup at supper, and was more than ready for bed.

But Murdoch wouldn't stop talking.

He kept them after supper, doing a review of the monthly ranch accounts. After that, he moved on to a long list of chores needing to be done over the next several days. Scott couldn't focus on what he was saying as his voice droned on. And on.

“After that, I need to make a trip to San Francisco. I'd like you two to come with me.”

“What?” Johnny jerked upright in his seat by the fireplace. Scott wasn't the only one almost caught napping by Murdoch's announcement.

“San Francisco, Johnny. Haven't you been listening? I've been asked to attend meetings there. But I don't expect you both to sit around all day with me. I'd like you to come and use the days to explore the city. Perhaps we can meet for supper, or attend a play in the evenings. Or listen to some music?” Murdoch glanced at Scott.

Johnny looked at him, too. Scott had told Johnny some of what was said between him and Murdoch while Johnny was off delivering bulls. Murdoch knew they wanted to visit the city to find out if Johnny would like the cultural activities Scott had appreciated back in Boston. “I'd like that, sir.”

“Yeah, me too. Will be nice to shake this dirt off my heels.”

“Good, it's settled then.” Murdoch closed the ledger he'd been referring to. “It'll only be for three days. Time enough to see a few of the sights. We'll leave in the morning, four days from now.”

 

Day 1

They had an uneventful trip on the train to San Francisco. Murdoch checked them into a suite with two bedrooms at the hotel he preferred.

The next morning, Murdoch answered the question of what they should visit first. “I've arranged for you to meet Robert Woodward for lunch, and for him to give you a tour of the attractions he's put together for the Woodward's Gardens.”

“What's that? Looking at grass and trees? Flowers, maybe? We can see those at Lancer.”

“Not like these, Johnny. You should go early and take a look around. There are amusement rides as well.”

Scott and Johnny set off for the Gardens, leaving Murdoch to his business meetings.

Scott found the place enthralling. Johnny couldn't get enough of the sights, either. It turned into a full day of fun, enlightenment and discovery. Mr. Woodward shared his love for the plants, animals and art he collected, both at lunch and while he was their tour guide. The hours sped by. They almost missed their supper appointment with Murdoch.

******

“... and all the animals. I'd heard of some of them, but thought I was being lied to. Or they were exaggerating, at least. But they weren't. They're real. And the plants and flowers. Those were nice. I think Teresa 'd like 'em even more than we did. And then we saw ...”

Murdoch sent Scott an amused glance. Johnny was saying more about the Gardens than all the words he'd said since he'd been at Lancer. For once, all Scott had to do to keep the conversation going over supper was to add an occasional murmur of assent. For once, he and Murdoch finished eating before Johnny.

Over coffee, Johnny wound down. “We had some kind of fun. I'm all talked out.”

“I had the same reaction the first time I visited the Gardens,” Murdoch said as he refilled their cups. “I'm glad you both found it interesting. What do you two plan to do tomorrow?”

“We're going to walk Nob Hill and environs.” Scott took a sip of his coffee. “Supper at a restaurant I found on my last visit here. After that, a trip to the opera house to hear the evening performance.”

“The opera? I'd like to join you for that, and supper.”

 

Day 2

Walking all day on the hills of San Francisco was wearying, but Scott admired the views being on foot gave them. Taking time to dawdle would not have been possible if they'd ridden in a cab. He and Johnny looked into the many shops they passed. Both of them found gifts for those back at Lancer. They met up later with Murdoch in the hotel room.

“How did you like the city, Johnny?” Murdoch took off the jacket he'd worn to that day's meetings.

“I don't see how people can walk up and down those hills more than once. Give me Barranca, any day.”

“My feet are about worn out, too.” Scott removed his boots, flexed his ankles and wiggled his toes. Those boots weren't made for walking.

“There were bunches of people everywhere, Murdoch. They all need a place to light. Heaps of houses. Seemed to go on forever. It was different, and I like seeing it, but I like the views from the hills at Lancer better.”

“I'll agree with you on that, brother. We could do with a drink before dinner. Will you join us, sir?”

“I need a lie-down first, boys.”

“Me and Scott will go to the hotel bar while you catch your breath. Is a half hour long enough?”

“Of course. I just need to rest my back.”

******

After finishing their drinks, they stopped at the front desk. Scott verified he still had a reservation for the French restaurant where he wanted to take Murdoch and Johnny, and they headed upstairs to their rooms.

“This place sure turns expensive, what with you handing out money every time somebody does something for you.”

“Tips are a custom, Johnny. For service above and beyond normal duty, or to show appreciation.”

“I thought signing folks up for dinner was part of his job.”

“It is, for the hotel restaurant. His knowledge of the city helped us get a reservation elsewhere. It would have cost me more to hire a cab to go there and ask for a table. It's a small place. If this is a busy evening for them, we would have been turned away if we'd just showed up.”

“That makes sense.”

“In any case, he probably didn't do all the work himself – the tip, or part of it, will go to the boy who ran the errand, on top of what he already earned for doing it.”

They started up the last flight of stairs to their floor. “I like that. Some kids need those jobs to get by.”

Had Johnny run messages when he was young? Scott decided not to ask. “Largesse is one of the benefits of having money.”

“I don't know about that, but I've sure seen enough rich folk who are large.”

Scott chuckled. “Largess means sharing your wealth.”

Johnny looked him up and down. “So that's why you're so skinny.”

Scott back-handed Johnny in the stomach. “Not quite. Anyway, it isn't my money. It's Murdoch's. Part of the thousand dollars for coming to Lancer.”

“If I'd known you were going to do all this, I'd have gotten some of mine out of the bank. Ain't right, you spending all yours.”

“I wanted to see San Francisco with you. It's my treat. It's money well spent, to spend time with you. You can pay for the next trip.”

“Sounds fair. So what's this place we'll eat at tonight?”

“It's a French restaurant – an epicurean delight.”

“Epi – and so on. That mean something tasty?”

“It's a rich feast that satisfies all the senses. The term refers to something pleasurable or luxurious, and it refers to a Greek philosophy known as Epicureanism that saw pleasure as the ultimate good.”

“Pleasure is good. I can see why you use those twenty-dollar words. It shortens things, in the long run. Once you know what they mean and you can quit all that referring.”

They entered the suite and Scott went to their bedroom to get their coats. Johnny came to the door behind him and whispered, “Hey Scott, come look at Murdoch.”

“What? Is he all right?”

“Shh.” Johnny put a finger over his lips. “Just come look.”

Mystified, Scott followed Johnny across the main room to Murdoch's bedroom and looked in. Murdoch was on his back, arms bent so his forearms were perpendicular to the bed. He was snoring.

“What do you think that is, holding his hands up like that? Some Scottish tradition Murdoch hasn't told us about yet?”

“I don't have a clue, Johnny. I've never seen him do it before.”

Johnny reached out and rapped on the door. Murdoch startled awake and his arms dropped, slapping him in the stomach. “Sorry to wake you, Murdoch.” Johnny didn't look sorry, though.

“Oh. Johnny, Scott. Has it been a half hour already?”

“Closer to an hour, sir.”

“Hmm.” Murdoch swung his legs off the bed and sat up. “I didn't mean to fall asleep.”

“What was that thing you were doing?”

“What thing, Johnny?”

“That thing with your arms. They were stickin' up when we walked in.”

“That. Well. Hmm.” Murdoch ran a hand over his head and rolled his shoulders. “If I fall asleep, my arms are supposed to drop and wake me up.”

“Maybe you've been practicing too much. They were balanced real good.”

Scott had to clear his throat, or he'd have laughed out loud. “We're ready to go to supper, Murdoch, if you're awake now. We don't want to miss the start of the opera.”

“I'm perfectly awake now. Lead the way.”

******

The waiter seated them and handed out menus. After he'd left, Johnny dropped his menu onto the table.

“Why don't they put it in English, Scott? The waiters are all speaking it, even if they have an accent. He didn't even ask if we spoke French.”

“It's part of the ambiance.”

“What's that? Some French dish?”

“It means atmosphere. The feel of a place. People like to experience the foreign, and many people do speak French.”

“I couldn't say the French I know here. There's ladies in the room. I suppose you speak it good.”

“Mais bien sûr je parle français, mon frère.”

Johnny laughed. “Sure sounds like it. How many languages do you speak, anyway?”

“More than I need at the moment. It does help when traveling to speak the native tongue of the country you're visiting.”

“Guess that's what helped you settle in quick at Lancer.”

“It certainly didn't hurt. Knowing Spanish helped me avoid a few interesting situations.”

“Yeah, you sure threw the hands for a loop, knowing what they were planning and turning it around like you did. Have to say they were impressed.”

“That wasn't my intent. I only wanted to miss out on a ride on a bucking horse or a trip to a mud hole.”

Murdoch looked stern. “I hope the hands aren't trying to trick you still, Scott.”

“Murdoch, I didn't – and don't – mind. Initiations and trials are a part of joining any group. They played tricks on Johnny, too.”

“Just the same, I won't stand for it. Who's the ringleader?”

Johnny picked up his menu. “Murdoch, saying anything now would be a good way to make them start over. Scott showed 'em. I showed 'em. That's all there is to it.”

Murdoch pursed his lips and ground his jaw, staring at Scott, then Johnny. They both met his gaze. Murdoch sighed and shook his head. “You're right, both of you. I'd forgotten what it's like to be a greenhorn. And your abilities are far ahead of what I could do when I arrived at Lancer. Forget I brought up the subject.”

“Gladly, sir.” Scott scanned the menu. “Now, to start, I recommend …”

******

Murdoch led the way out of the building used by the traveling opera troupe.

“If I'd known that was opera, I'd have gone before this.” Johnny hummed part of “Non più andrai,” while Murdoch flagged down a cab.

“There are all kinds of opera. I'm glad you enjoyed Figaro, brother.”

“I did. It was funny, but serious. Italian's close enough to Spanish I got most of it. I'm game for more.”

Murdoch looked thunderstruck.

 

Day 3

Uncovering the nooks and crannies of a city appealed to both Johnny and himself. They got an early start and hired a cab for the day.

Johnny wanted to find as much as he could of the Mexican influence in the city. It sounded like a good idea to Scott. The coachman soon got into the spirit of the thing. Sometimes finding the past was easy – entire sections of the city were old enough, and the architecture spoke to Johnny of what he'd seen in Mexico. He shared a few stories of the towns he'd lived in as a child.

Other times they had to search, and would find a piece of a wall, or an old street sign. The coachman suggested they take a look at the church. The solemnity and beauty of the Catholic cathedral appealed to Scott. It had been years since he'd attended a church service.

After lunch, Scott asked the coachman to drive at random, and the afternoon was spent in a challenge – which brother could find the most interesting thing on his side of the coach and point it out in time for the other to see it as well. The coach driver took them past places he thought they would enjoy.

It was a wonderful day. No life-or-death situations, no list of chores, no timetable. Simply a day spent with his brother, learning more about Johnny through what caught his attention and what he said about it.

They shared some of what they'd seen with Murdoch over a light supper in the hotel dining room. After they'd eaten, Murdoch went off to visit a friend. Scott took Johnny to another musical event for their last night in San Francisco. They'd head back to Lancer in the morning.

******

Johnny wore his best calzoneras, short jacket and red embroidered shirt. Compared to Scott and the other men, all dark-suited and white-shirted, the outfit made him stand out.

“How are you doing, Johnny? Do you like the music?” Johnny had seemed entranced during the performance, but now, during the intermission, he looked uncomfortable as they walked through the foyer.

“Yeah, I like it just fine.” Johnny elbowed him. “How come they're all watching me?”

“You are avant-garde.”

“Haven't guard? That doesn't make sense.”

“You are a hothouse flower, brightening up an otherwise dull background – exciting and different from the local flora when in bloom. They are studying you before you wilt.”

Johnny poked him in the ribs again. “I'm used to the heat, and I know for a fact I don't wilt easy. Explain it better.”

“You are exotic. Unusual. Mysterious. Colorful. Fascinating.” Johnny started to smile. “Unfamiliar. Foreign. Romantic. Alluring. Something not seen often, and then only rarely. A sad fact, when you consider this used to be a part of Mexico.”

“You're better than one of Murdoch's word books.” Johnny, grinning and more at ease, slapped him on the arm. But then his eyes narrowed at something behind Scott.

Scott turned to find Frederick Dickerson and his overbearing wife sailing toward them. Scott and Murdoch had met them at the opera intermission the previous evening. At least this time Johnny was with him to blunt the force of their arrival. Scott glanced back to make sure Johnny was ready, and caught a glimpse of his brother disappearing behind a potted plant.

By the time Scott extricated himself from the Dickersons, Johnny was nowhere in sight. Scott moved through the crowd, trying not to look at anyone so as to avoid more social entanglements. He finally found Johnny – on the other side of the room among a group of women.

Trust his brother to end up in that situation. He seemed to be giving one of the women a dance lesson – strange, from a brother who swore he didn't like that activity. But they seemed to be having a good time. Scott's view was blocked for a moment. He dodged around a group of people, and homed in again on his brother in time to see a man roughly insert himself between the woman and Johnny. The man shook his fist in Johnny's face.

The confrontation escalated. Scott hurried to intervene. The man removed a glove and threw it down in front of Johnny. Did Johnny know what that meant? No, his brother didn't back down. Though he wouldn't, even if he did know what it meant. Scott got close enough to hear.

Johnny was in high dudgeon. “Just say where and when.”

The other man, equally as angry, replied, “Tomorrow, before dawn, at Hatcher's Field.”

Scott stepped in front of Johnny before more could be said. “I am this man's second, sir.”

“Scott, what the – ” Johnny tried to push him aside.

Scott turned and shoved Johnny backward, hissing in his ear. “Brother, let me say my piece.”

Johnny looked murderous, but crossed his arms and stood still. Scott left him and went to continue to talk to the man who'd just challenged his brother to a duel, but the challenger had also retreated. He was in furious whispered debate with another man and the woman Johnny had been dancing with. The other man broke away and approached Scott. “I'm Mark Forsythe, Gerald Harbisher's second. And you are?”

“Scott Lancer, second for Johnny Lancer.”

“I hate to say this, Mr. Lancer, but Gerald refuses to withdraw his challenge. He feels Johnny Lancer insulted his wife.”

His wife? This wouldn't be settled quickly or easily, then. “Mr. Forsythe, if I may beg your forbearance until later tonight, I will meet you to discuss terms.”

“Name the time and place.”

“Occidental Hotel, in one hour.”

“Agreed.” Mark shook Scott's hand, and ushered Gerald and the woman away.

“Come on, Johnny, we need to leave now.”

“Not 'til you tell me what's goin' on.”

“We're leaving now, Johnny. I'll fill you in on the way back to the hotel.”

******

Scott explained the rules and procedures of a formal duel.

“What kind of mixed-up deal is that? I thought he wanted a fist fight, out of sight of all the fancy folks. Where his woman wouldn't see if he lost. I didn't mean to get into a duel.”

“We're in it now, and he won't let us back out. He'll come looking for you if we don't show up.”

“Great. Just great. Murdoch will find out and get mixed up in it.”

“What were you doing with the woman, anyway?”

“She asked me to show her the Jarabe Tapatío.”

“The syrup ... what?”

“It's a dance. One most everybody knows. The ladies were talking about dancing. She'd seen it done somewhere, and thought it would be easy to learn. She asked me to show her the steps.”

Scott shook his head. “Her husband mistook your intentions.”

Johnny ran a hand down his face. “All right, I see where this is going. Didn't know she was his wife.”

“I have to meet with his second. I'll do what I can to keep this from turning to bloodshed, if I can't get it called off altogether.”

“She's his wife, Scott. You said it's my choice of weapons. Make it guns. No way he can shoot good as me. I'll wing him, and that'll be that.”

“I want to avoid a 'first blood drawn' deal, brother, and will not agree to a 'to the death' one. His second seemed no more eager to let this go forward than I am. I have an idea.”

Scott described what he had in mind. Johnny's smile started small, and ended up spread across his face. “Can we do that?”

“If we handle it right, yes. Especially if Mark agrees to play along.”

“You are one devious son of a gun, brother. I like the way you think.”

“I'll do what I can. You'll need to distract Murdoch until I return.”

Johnny swore, using a word Scott hadn't heard before. “Can I sign up for a range war instead?”

 

Day 4

Scott and Johnny caught a cab and were at the appointed dueling location well before dawn the next day.

It was a chilly morning. The evening fog lingered, waiting for the rising sun to burn it away. Johnny paced, arms swinging, to stay limber. Scott surveyed his preparations. He had done what he could to ensure his brother came out of the fight with his skin intact. He hoped it was enough.

Despite his efforts, by the time the duel was over his brother could end up arrested – or worse. It all depended on how dead set Gerald was on defending his wife's reputation. He could push to have Johnny put in jail. Mark had assured him Gerald was a level-headed man – usually – but Scott had seen situations fall apart when a man thought honor was at stake.

Mark and he had agreed to keep things quiet, but others had witnessed the exchange between Johnny and Gerald last night. Word could spread quickly. The last thing they wanted was for Murdoch to show up.

The Harbisher carriage arrived a half hour before dawn, carrying Mark, Gerald and Gerald's wife. They got out and she grabbed her husband's arm, but he pulled free and strode over to Scott and Johnny. Mark followed close behind.

Gerald stopped a few paces from Johnny and glared at him. Mark stepped up to Scott and they shook hands. “Is your man ready, Mr. Lancer?”

“He is. Is yours, Mr. Forsythe?”

“Despite our efforts, Mr. Harbisher is determined to carry this forward. What is your choice of weapons?”

Scott reached down and removed the sheet covering the arms and ammunition he'd ordered for the fight.

Gerald's jaw dropped. “What is this?”

Johnny put on his gunfighter mask. “Pies, at three paces.”

Gerald looked at Mark. “You were a party to this foolishness?”

“It's not my foolishness, Gerald.”

“What's the matter Gerald, you lose your nerve?” Johnny's cold stare continued, but his lip twitched.

“This is a farce! Name your weapon and let's get on with it.” Gerald crossed his arms and tried to stare Johnny down.

Scott picked up a pie, the one the bakery had made to Scott's specifications to be Johnny's first bullet. “Sir, you are the one who started this farce, but we accept your statement as a desire to commence. We have chosen our weapon. Johnny, you may start the proceedings.”

“Thank you, brother.” Johnny did not lose eye contact with Gerald as he took the pie and balanced it in his right hand. He took a step back. “Mr. Forsythe, this look about three paces to you?”

Mark moved out of the firing line. “That is acceptable, Mr. Lancer.”

“On your count, then.”

“On one, gentlemen. Three, two … one.”

Johnny feinted for a low blow. Gerald dropped his hands, unable to overcome the instinct to protect himself. Johnny's shot revealed his accuracy. The pie, overloaded with sticky juice, landed square on Gerald's head.

Blueberry filling dripped down around Gerald's nose and ears and onto his shoulders. He spluttered and his face turned a color that almost matched it.

Mark held out a pie. “It's your shot now, Gerald. Unless you're ready to stop this.”

“Give me that pie!” Gerald wasn't a marksman – his shot landed low and hit Johnny in the knees.

“My turn!” Johnny held out an arm and wiggled his fingers. “Reload me, brother.”

Scott obliged. This time Johnny hit Gerald square in the chest. The rich red of cherries spread out across his white shirt.

The pie throwing became a free-for-all after that. Mark and Scott backed away as Gerald and Johnny traded pie for pie, the three-pace rule forgotten in the melee. By the time Johnny tripped Gerald, the onlookers were all doubled over with laughter. Johnny stood over his challenger, lemon meringue held high, arm cocked and ready to fire. “You ready to give up?”

“Stop. Just stop.”

“That mean we're done here?”

“Yes.”

Johnny looked toward him. “Scott, is that enough?”

“He has to yield.” Mark chipped in.

Johnny looked down again. “You hear that, Gerald? Say it.”

“All right, all right. I yield.”

“Scott, what comes next?” Johnny put the pie down next to the few remaining intact.

“He has to apologize.”

Gerald sat up, wiping pie filling off his face. “I can't believe this.”

“You started it. I'm waitin' for that apology.” Johnny put hands on hips and looked stern. Scott didn't know how he managed it, adorned with chunks of pie and with a piece of crust stuck to one cheek. Scott couldn't stop grinning, himself.

Gerald harrumphed. “Mr. Lancer, I –”

“Nope. Not to me. To your wife.” Johnny beckoned for her to come closer. “Apologize to her, for wanting to throw your life away over something that was innocent. You're lucky that's cherries and not your life's blood. You should have more respect for your wife than to assume so fast she was doing something wrong.”

Gerald's wife knelt in the pie guts by Gerald's side. “I'm waiting, husband.”

Gerald gazed at her. “But, Mary –”

“No 'buts,' dear. I want to hear you say you're sorry for thinking I would ignore the vows I made to you.”

Gerald looked down. “But … he's young. I can't believe –”

Mary wrapped her hands behind Gerald's head, and drew him in for a long, languorous kiss. “I love you, husband. How could you not believe it?”

“I'm sorry. You're young, and so beautiful. I'm so sorry. I was worried –”

“Enough of that, Gerald. I didn't marry you because you could or would fight over me. I thought you were stronger than that. I married you because you are an intelligent, educated man. And because I love you.”

“But you were dancing with him.”

“I do love to dance, as well.”

Gerald held her hands. “You know I can't dance.”

“An old dog can learn new tricks, dear. Now, take me home, husband.”

Gerald rose, helped her up, and arm in arm they returned to their carriage.

“It's been a pleasure, Mr. Lancer.” Mark shook Scott's hand again. “You managed to carry it out. I can't say how grateful I am to you as well, Mr. Lancer.” He offered his hand to Johnny, but withdrew his arm when Johnny held out a hand in return. “Please excuse me if I decline to shake hands, sir.”

Johnny grinned and tried to wipe his hand off on his shirt. “It's the thought that counts.”

Scott and Johnny stood side by side, watching their opponents leave the field of battle. “Brains over brawn, little brother. All's well that ends well.”

“It ain't over yet, big brother.”

Scott didn't have a chance to ask what he meant. Johnny grabbed him in a bear hug and dragged him over to the pie-strewn ground. They wrestled – Scott couldn't stop laughing and put up only a token resistance. He ended up on his back, with Johnny straddling him and wiping handfuls of pie innards on his shirt and into his hair. “Stop it, Johnny. Stop! I yield. I yield!”

“Didn't think it was fair I was the only one having fun.” Johnny swung off of him, and sat down in the mess.

Scott sat up. Attempts to shake pie out of his hair and to wipe his shirt clean were futile.

Johnny tossed another handful of pie at him. “Didn't mean to mess up your outfit.”

“Oh, I think you meant to. This shirt needs a funeral service.”

“I told you not to wear your fancy-dan clothes. Duels get messy. And it ain't like you don't have more of those shirts at home.”

“True enough.”

“Can't say as I'll mind burying these pants.” Instead of his calzoneras, Johnny had on a pair of dress pants Murdoch had bought him. He surveyed the mess they'd made. “I can't believe you got all this set up in one night.”

“I couldn't have done it, if you hadn't distracted Murdoch and given him an excuse for my absence last night. And gotten him to drink enough at supper to make him sleep late this morning.”

“We better get going. Murdoch will spit nails if he sees us like this. We have to get cleaned up in time for breakfast.” Johnny got up and held out a hand.

Scott let Johnny help him to his feet and waved their coachman over. “If we're lucky, Murdoch won't hear about this until we're back at Lancer, if then.”

“I was never that lucky. Sorry to kick a leg out from under your plan, getting you all dirty, too.”

“It's all right. All for one and one for all, remember?”

Johnny slapped him on the back. “Always, brother.”

They put the pies that had survived the fight into baskets and set off to return to the hotel.

“I'm sorry I made you miss some of the music last night, Scott.”

“Can't be helped. Did you like what we did hear?”

“I did. It was different. Sad, but it made me happy, too. I'd like to hear more, if you want to go to another one.”

“We'll make time for another trip. Three days isn't enough. I hope you'll share your favorite things, too.”

“Sure, brother. Next time, it's your turn to get in trouble.”

They had a good laugh over that statement.

The coachman dropped them off and refused payment. “The chance to watch your show covered the fare and more, gents.” He tipped his hat and drove away, with instructions to drop off the pies at the nearest orphanage.

Scott hadn't told Johnny the last part of his plan. He'd already rented a room and ordered a bath drawn and clean clothes laid out – for himself as well as Johnny. It was a good way to spend more of Murdoch's thousand dollars. He'd known he'd end up a casualty of his brother's skirmish.

Scott headed for the hotel door, but Johnny pulled him to a halt. “I think we'd best go the back way.”

“Good idea, brother.”

It was a satisfying end to another adventure with Johnny. Scott looked forward to another trip – perhaps one to Mexico. He'd never been to Mexico. One day, Johnny had promised him, they would visit there together. Scott wanted Johnny to see Boston, as well. Someday. He hoped it would be soon.

 

 

~end~
March 10-11, 2018

History is full of stories of duels – a popular activity for the rich and famous. Here's a list of a few of them:
https://listverse.com/2015/03/11/10-of-historys-strangest-duels/

A bit about Woodward's Gardens:
http://www.sanfranciscomemories.com/woodwardsgardens/index.html

Want to comment? Email Raian