Word Count 889
Note from the Author:
In 2005, I was checking out an e-card website for April Fools Day cards. I didn’t find any I liked, but I did notice in the site’s list of special days for April that the 13th was Blame Someone Else Day. It seemed a perfect idea for a Lancer story. Hope you agree.
Incidentally, this particular special day was not among those listed on the site that Janet B posted the link to on the Lancer groups, nor was it on the list that EarthDogue posted. I wonder how it came to be overlooked! *big grin*
This show story was posted to the Yahoo Lancer groups on April 13, 2005. I made minor revisions in 2014 prior to uploading to the files at the Lancer FanFiction group on Facebook.
Silence prevailed, except for the muted tread of boots against the carpet as the big man paced from one end of parlor to the other. Even the grandfather clock seemed reluctant to make itself known at that moment in time on April 13, 1872.
Murdoch Lancer passed behind the flowery sofa for the second time and paused before his younger son. Johnny Lancer was leaning against the front of the oak desk that was in front of the tall, arched window, which faced the main roadway to the ranch headquarters.
Johnny glanced up to meet his father’s eyes. “Don’t look at me. It was Scott’s idea.”
Scott Lancer lunged out of the nearest blue arm chair and glared at Johnny. “Now just a minute, Brother. I’m not the one at fault here. I only suggested it be moved because Teresa wanted to clean the rug.” He emphasized his words with his hands and fingers.
Teresa O’Brien, Murdoch’s seventeen-year-old ward, jumped up from the other blue chair. “Oh . . . so now the whole thing is my fault.” Her hands went to her hips, and she scowled at Scott. “If you want to put the blame where it belongs, why not blame Jelly for getting the rug dirty in the first place?”
Jelly Hoskins, a whiskered man in his early fifties, stepped away from the middle set of French doors. “Hey, it ain’t my fault I tripped. How was I supposed to see the ottoman had been moved? I had my arms full of wood.”
Murdoch’s temper flared. He nearly shouted as he whirled to face Jelly and then gave each of the other three occupants of the room a piercing glance. “Well, somebody is to blame. If not one of you, then who?”
Johnny shrugged. “I’d say whoever caused Jelly to trip. After all, if he hadn’t gotten the rug dirty, Teresa wouldn’t have needed to clean it, and then Scott wouldn’t have needed help moving the sofa.”
“Sounds logical to me,” Scott said with a sharp nod.
“Yeah, Boss.” Jelly jutted out his chin. “Why don’t ya find the culprit who moved the furniture in the first place?”
Teresa made known her agreement with what the other three had said.
Murdoch chewed at his lower lip and ran a thumb down the side of his nose. He knew for a fact that Maria had moved the ottoman that morning, but he couldn’t put the blame on her for the sofa knocking over a lamp. She would say she had moved the stool because his leg had been bothering him and he needed to have it elevated.
My leg wouldn’t have hurt if Barranca hadn’t kicked me, thought Murdoch. Still, he couldn’t blame the horse for striking out at whoever was nearest. The incident would never have happened if Dewdrop hadn’t aired his lungs and flapped his wings at the cat that was chasing a mouse across the barnyard.
With a sigh Murdoch scowled and shook his head. It seemed that no matter who he tried to pin the blame on, there was someone or something else at fault. He supposed even the mouse would deny being responsible for leading the cat in a merry chase from the hay stack to a hole in the wall of the barn.
Johnny’s voice cut through Murdoch’s thoughts. “Well, what now?”
Murdoch’s anger ebbed a little. “I’m going to my room and change for supper. When I return, I expect this mess to be cleaned up.”
“I didn’t knock over the lamp that hit your desk and sent your papers flying,” Jelly grumbled.
Murdoch’s temper flared, and he abruptly turned to face the smaller man. “I don’t care who’s to blame. Clean it up anyway!”
As he left the room, Murdoch could hear the rest of his family arguing over who did what. He supposed that in a roundabout way he was as responsible as anyone else for the living room’s disarray. However, he was not about to admit that he should have put the papers away instead of leaving them spread out on the desktop when he had finished with them earlier that day. His leg had been aching at the time, and his only thought had been to get off of it.
Besides, I’m the boss. It’s my prerogative to call the tune, Murdoch silently told himself. He then ignored the small voice niggling at his conscience. Some days it was just easier to blame someone else.
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