The Much Maligned (by Molly)

Summary:  A follow on of sorts to “Fictems.”
Category:  Lancer
Genre:  Western
Rated:  PG
Word Count:  1308



“It’s a cool autumn evening; the sun is beginning its nightly descent. I’m all alone and sitting rather pensively at my desk, I do that rather a lot, I find.

“In fact, my life tends to revolve around the great room. But as much as I like my home comforts, I’d be happy to venture a little further afield from time to time.

“Yes. I’d quite like to find myself on some hair-raising adventure, especially if my two sons were along for the ride! I’d certainly like the opportunity to prove to them that I’m not as enfeebled as they might think!

“You’re wondering who I’m talking to aren’t you? Well actually… I’m talking to YOU!

“Yes you! /chuckles softly to himself/ Now don’t look so surprised; you knew this was coming, didn’t you?

 “Good evening, ladies. Murdoch Lancer here. The much maligned and woefully misunderstood head of the Lancer Clan!

“How is everybody? Well I hope?

“Good, good. I’m delighted to hear that you are. I’m glad to say I am too, but sadly my boys are not so fortunate. /sighs forlornly/

“What do I mean by that? Well. Scott is nursing both a broken arm and a broken heart, and Johnny… well I don’t quite know where Johnny is right now! But I dare say he’s in some sort of trouble; he usually is! NOT that I believe for one minute that he’s at fault…I thought I’d better slip that comment in before I’m  accused of doing the boy down unfairly!

/Frowns/ “Now, let me see…so far this month, he’s broken four bones, taken three bullets, had his tonsils and a larger than average splinter removed, not to mention suffered the indignity of a rather large blister on…well…/shakes head thoughtfully/… maybe that will teach him not to spend so long in the saddle!

“I’ll have you know I had to sit down when I received Sam Jenkins’s latest bill for services rendered. It came as quite a shock! It gives me palpitations just to think about it!

“Why? Well, it was almost as long as my arm and it made a serious dent in the bank balance, I can tell you. Sam’s a good doctor – ahead of his time I’m told – and all that expertise doesn’t come cheap!

“But, being a canny Scot, I’ve been looking for ways of reducing such unnecessary expenditure and I believe I’ve come up with the solution. I either wrap my sons up in cotton wool and lock them in their rooms or… I politely ask you ladies to go a little easier on them!

“Now ladies, please…please don’t all speak at once…

“Sorry, what was that?

“Yes, I do know you’ve already had this conversation with Johnny, Molly, but…

“Yes I quite understand your ‘need’ to nurse them back to health, really I do. I um… /colors a little with embarrassment/… I quite like tending to them myself, you know. Fussing over them a little and trying to make up for the times I wasn’t there to do so when they were growing up.

“It’s just that in your hands, they usually end up with more than just minor bumps and bruises…a damn site more! Oh forgive me, ladies. I was forgetting myself!

“It’s just that I get a little worked up thinking about everything that has happened to them and what is happening to them as we speak! Why Scott he… /pales in horror/…well, I’d best not dwell on that right now!

“I do lose a terrible amount of sleep over them. I had, on their return, believed there would be no more sleepless nights…how wrong could I be!

“I must admit I dread getting up some mornings, fearing what misfortune will befall one or both of them that day! So too how I will conduct myself! /Shudders at the thought/

“I apparently have a tendency to say the wrong thing, and a terrible habit of jumping to completely the wrong conclusion. Worse still, I afford my youngest very little credit! /Hangs head in shame/

“Why my sons are still under this roof I just do not know! I’m quite surprised Johnny hasn’t shot me, the way I treat him at times. Still, he keeps coming back for more!

“That reminds me; the last time I saw him, he had also lost the power of speech! At least he had where I was concerned! Apparently I went and did it again!

“But what exactly I said or did wrong I just do not know, but then I rarely do know what I’ve done to upset him. I can be quite clueless where my youngest boy is concerned…younger boy, rather! I swear I’ve only fathered two sons; God knows my nerves couldn’t cope with another injury-prone trouble magnet!

“Now where was I? Oh yes, Johnny! He has slammed that front door so many times now that I’m surprised it’s still on its hinges. He’s disappeared over the horizon a few times too and with no intention of ever coming back, still…he does… so…

“I can’t be all that bad then now can I?” /glances hopefully around the sea of female faces/ “One or two of you don’t look so sure about that!

“Yes, I know I have my faults! But what man doesn’t?

/Rolls eyes in exasperation/ I can assure you, Ma’am, that my elder son is far from perfect!

“I’m wrongheaded, I know…heavens, Teresa tells me that often enough and I’m…well, I’m sure between you all, you could come up with a long list of adjectives to describe me. I’d probably not agree with most of them mind but then, what do I know?

“Let me answer that for you! Very little it seems! At least where my boys are concerned!

“Some of you ladies give me so very little credit!

“Yes…yes alight! /raises voice to be heard above the ensuing outcry/ I know what I said that first day…how could I possibly forget? Those words are thrown in my face all too often! But my boys have forgiven me, so why can’t you?

“I do talk to them!

“Yes I do…

“No…” /shrugs uncomfortably/… I admit I don’t always say what they want to hear but…

“Yes, I know what I told Scott about the past was wrong but then I can’t always help what comes out of my mouth…to be fair, I’m not responsible for everything I say, now am I? Some – most – of those words that first day – apart from the odd adlib, that is – were put in my mouth by a third party; it’s they who lost the plot!

“I really don’t like being at odds with either of my sons; Johnny’s and my relationship regularly takes a pounding. It’s a wonder either one of us have a voice left, the amount of yelling we do at each other.

“Not that I’m asking for some overly mushy scenes, mind you!! I’m a man’s man after all.

“I suppose I just want to be portrayed as a man with a heart rather than a man who has a swinging brick, where his heart is supposed to be!

“I’m really not that bad! I’d have been a good father to them both and I like being given the chance to prove that to them.

“So please ladies, how about you give me a break…

“No, Molly! By that I did not mean my neck…or any other bone for that matter!

/shakes head in defeat/ “I’m beginning to think my sons’ promise to wreak a terrible revenge on some of you…isn’t nearly such a bad idea after all!

M Lancer, Esq.


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