Word Count 705
August 27, 1871:
With arms crossed and brows pinched, Johnny Lancer stood glaring at his brother. “What’d ya do that for?”
“What kind o’ flimsy excuse is that? Now tell me why ya did it.”
Scott shrugged. “Just because.”
Johnny let out a snort. “Just because? Just because what? Because ya thought ya could get away with it? Ya think I’m too dumb to figure out what you were up to . . . is that it? Is it?”
“No, Johnny. You’re anything but dumb.”
“Like I said before . . . just because.”
“That ain’t no answer, and you know it.” Anger surged through Johnny. If he didn’t get a straight answer soon, his brother would be in danger of a sound thrashing.
A smile tugged at the corner of Scott’s lips, and mischief twinkled in his slate-blue eyes. “It is an answer, but to humor you, Little Brother, I’ll be more explicit. Will that make you happy?”
Johnny wondered if Scott was setting him up, but he couldn’t resist nodding his head. He needed a better answer than he’d gotten so far.
The corners of Scott’s mouth twitched again. “All right.” He lifted one hand. “But remember you insisted.”
“All right. All right!” Johnny raised both hands even with his shoulders. “Now, will ya just tell me why ya did it.”
“Because . . . today is the twenty-seventh of August.”
“The twenty-seventh of August?” Johnny let out a snort. Did his brother really expect him to be satisfied with that?
Scott flashed a gloating smile and nodded. “Exactly.”
Johnny knew he should let the whole thing drop, but he couldn’t stop himself from pressing for more answers. “And just what has that to do with it?”
Johnny shook his head. This was getting him nowhere. He might as well give up. “Just because,” he softly said and flashed a slight grin.
Scott slapped Johnny on the shoulder. “That’s right, Brother. Just because.”
Later that evening, Scott rose from his seat at the table where he had just finished beating his brother in a game of checkers. He announced he was retiring to his room and then stepped around behind Johnny’s chair.
“Night Scott,” Johnny said as he slid one foot into his brother’s path.
Scott tripped and staggered forward. His arms flew up and outward, his hands grasping at air as his feet scrambled to catch up with his body.
Johnny watched his brother’s frantic attempt to keep from falling and wished he could capture the moment in some form that would allow him to relive it over and over again. Never had he seen Scott so close to taking a nosedive. It was all he could do not to laugh.
Scott finally came to a halt with one arm wrapped over the chair at the other end of the table. The toe of his right boot was hooked around the nearest table-leg, and his legs were sprawled–right knee bent and almost touching the floor while the other foot pointed upward as it rested on its heel. He scowled at Johnny. “What’d you do that for?”
Johnny covered his mouth with one hand to hide his quirking lips, choked back a laugh, and spoke in as innocent of a tone as he could muster. “Just because.”
Indignation showed in the lines of Scott’s face, and Johnny’s grin broadened. What was good for the goose was good for the gander, or so he had been told. If the twenty-seventh of August was “Just Because” day for one member of his family then the same went for the rest.
As Scott righted himself, his expression remained clouded. Then the sun peeked through in the form of a smile. “Little Brother, one of these days, I’m going to have to teach you some manners.”
Johnny grinned. “Anytime, Big Brother. Anytime.”
Scott marched out of the room with shoulders back and chin lifted. Johnny laughed–just because.
Note: Written for Just Because Day, and posted to the Yahoo Lancer groups on August 27, 2005. I made minor revisions in September 2014 in preparation for uploading the story to the Lancer FanFiction group on Facebook.
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