The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to other flash fictions.
Josh carefully backed the travel trailer into one of the parking spots along the edge of the fairgrounds. It was as far from the midway and as close to their animals as possible.
Danny and Samantha were in the backseat of the pickup getting edgier with each passing second. Josh was waiting for one or both of them to have a screaming shit fit of a breakdown. But they moved into place and were glad they’d already bedded down the animals so they were taken care of, at least for a few minutes. Now he needed to work out a little structure for his kids to help keep them out of trouble.
“Okay, Danny, you’re in charge of getting everything ready in the trailer. Tonight you’re cooking so you better start getting something ready for tonight.” He cocked his eyebrow and caught Danny’s gaze. “And I don’t want bags of junk food from the midway. You actually have to cook.”
Danny smirked at his dad. “No problem. Rob offered to help cook. So we’re having something good tonight.”
“You better be right. Otherwise you’re eating whatever he cooks.” He turned to Samantha. “Same for you. Levi is not cooking every meal when it’s your turn.”
He expected a torrent of anger with a tornado of teenage angst but instead they stood smiling at him. He could almost see the golden halos and hear the symphony of harps. It was one of their more pathetic attempts.
“Don’t think you’ve pulled anything over on me. Neither of you is that innocent. Just promise me not to mess with people and not to leave the fairgrounds. If I have to bail you out of jail, the next time you’ll get to leave the ranch will be when you are driving me to the home.” He scanned each of them with a harsh scowl.
He glanced into the rearview mirror to find Levi standing on one side of the trailer and Rob on the other. He had to admit, the twins had good tastes. Both Rob and Levi were good looking. Danny and Samantha baled from the truck and ran back to their perspective dates. It was one time he was reminded things had changed far too little.
While Samantha had sprinted for Levi, wrapped her arms around him, and kissed him with enough heat that he wouldn’t be able to walk around for a few minutes without announcing to the world that he was having a teenage boy stiffy moment.
But he knew Danny couldn’t greet Rob with the same unbridled lust. It wasn’t that they shook hands like they’d just been introduced. They greeted each other enthusiastically, wrapping their arms around each other in a warm hug; a warm friendly hug. But Josh had seen his son greet Rob before at the ranch. Usually there was a ridiculously loud squeal of delight that brought the attention of everyone in a five-mile radius. Then he’d run at Rob and launch himself. In self-defense, Rob had no choice but to catch Danny and hold on tight. The whole thing would end with Rob holding tight onto Danny while he covered Rob with kisses.
The whole performance usually brought grins to anyone watching. Even an occasional ‘ahhh’ was pronounced. But this time the greeting was much more reserved. Josh frowned. It tore him apart. A few months ago he would have said his friends would have supported his marriage with Trent and the twins identified, but things had changed so much…
He changed his focus back to the boys in time to see Danny grab Rob’s ass for a second. Josh scowled and scanned the area and his blood ran cold when he spotted a group of young guys coming toward them. Josh didn’t see how they could avoid seeing what Danny had done.
I may regret not getting that concealed carry license and being able to protect my family from a hate crime. But he hadn’t. There wasn’t even anything to use as a weapon. The band looked back and forth, uncertain what was about to happen. They hadn’t said anything. That was a good sign. Maybe the odds are in our favor.
Then he heard someone speaking, but it took him a few seconds to realize it was Levi.
“Hey guys, how’s things going?”
The group looked a little startled, then they smiled and started exchanging handshakes and explosive back thumping. They stepped apart, grinning at each other. “You a-holes! What’re you doing? Causing trouble?”
The largest of the group grinned at Levi. “Not us. We stay out of trouble.”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Hey, let me introduce everyone. We should go grab some lemonade from the midway.” He turned to Josh. “That okay?”
Josh nodded and waved them away. “Go relax, just don’t disappear for too long. We have cattle to take care of in a little while.”
Josh wasn’t certain how he felt about this new development as the group headed down the fairgrounds.
The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.