Not Again

Clair Beaubien

Main Character(s): Vin and Chris

Type of story: Gen Fic, an attempt at humor

Universe: OW, mostly.

"Aw hell. Not again."

"What is it?"

"She's at it again."

Chris and Vin were at the top of a good sized hill. Chris sat under the shade of a live oak tree, reading a book. Vin was on his stomach at the cliff edge, gazing over the terrain with his spyglass.

"Which one?" Chris asked, not showing much interest.

"Clair. She's picking up her pencil again."

"Clair's not so bad," Chris said, still not sounding interested.

"Sure, not to you. All she's ever got you doin' is standing around, pickin' up the pieces. Me she litters all over the landscape." He took a long look through the glass again. "I guess pencil ain't so bad, can't mean she's serious. Otherwise she'd be working on her - oh, not again. She picked up her lap top." He dropped his head onto his arms.

"So, a few bumps and bruises and the next thing she's got you drinking whiskey and laying around in bed. Don't sound so bad."

"Careful Larabee, or I'll announce that you're volunteering."

"She never actually writes you gettin' beat up after all. She just has the aftermath."

"So? Still hurts like hell fire. Fool woman - last time she says I hurt too much to get on my horse, so she has me walk to town. Didn't occur to her it might hurt a damn sight too much to walk t'town?? Hell, once I was in the saddle, wouldn't a'hurt no more. But nooo - I gotta walk t'town." He checked his spyglass again. "Damn fool woman."

"You whine like the wheel on my wagon," Chris said, turning the page of his book. Vin didn't even hear him.

"And last time - don't even get me started on last time."

"Wouldn't dream of it."

"Last time she's got me whining and moping about how I got nobody to take care of me. How I'm all alone and dyin' a'heartbreak or some damn thing. Hell, I got plenty of people takin' care of me. I don't need her pity."

"Actually, I'm not sure that was last time. I think it might've been time before last," Chris offered. He turned another page of his book and shifted to find a more comfortable spot on the hard ground. "I think last time you called me 'stupid'."

"And like as not you deserved it."

"Don't go biting my head off just 'cause you're a favorite with the ladies."

"Favorite - ha! I'd hate to see how they treat the fellas they can't stand."

"They write 'em bitter, loathsome, and cantankerous."

"Wow. A lot of ladies must not be able to stand you," Vin said to Chris.

"Y'know, there's suggestions I could be givin' Clair or any number of ladies out there on ways to whack you. Since I'm the one usually picking up the pieces, might be you'll want to keep on my good side."

But Vin wasn't dissuaded by that.

"Aaahh, lot's of the ladies got Buck looking after me. And he wears better aftershave than you do."

Chris set his book down and leaned toward Vin.

"Does the word 'piles' mean anything to you?"

"I got two words for ya Larabee - 'Nursemaid Chris'. You wanna nurse me through that? Be - my - guest."

Chris huffed and went back to his book.

"You know, I heard that Clair ain't always careful about her punctuation. Today we got a comma between us; tomorrow it might be a slash." He raised an eyebrow at Vin. "And you're right in the position to be taking that seriously."

Vin thought about it a second, looked at how he was lying on the ground, then scrambled to sit up.

"I don't remember anybody writin' you a sense of humor."

Chris shrugged.

"A fella's gotta learn t'keep himself busy while he's sitting by the bedside of an unconscious friend."

"So - what? You pass the time by telling jokes? Unconscious I must make a mighty tough audience."

"I'm so funny, you laugh even then."

Vin rolled his eyes and sighed an injured sigh and looked through his spyglass again.

"We might be in luck. I might be in luck. I think she's just playing Spider Solitaire. Long as she keeps busy at that, she won't be writing."

"Not 'less she wrote it off fast while you were bellyachin' and not payin' attention," Chris offered. "Can you see if she's got her Word open?"

"Ohhh, let me see. I can see the icons at the bottom of her screen. She's got 'Folk Alley' on, listening to music. She's got - yeah, she's got Word open, and her email. Great. Not again."

"Might be nothing. Maybe you'll get to call me stupid again."

"Hell, I could do that right now if I'se of a mind to."

"You wanna know what treatment Nathan prescribes for piles?"

"What I don't want to know Larabee is how you know. Oh, I wish she'd finish the Spider Solitaire so I could see what she's got in Word. I wanna know what she's got in store for me. If she's gonna blind me in both eyes again."

"Isn't it always just the one eye you can't see out of? She always leaves one eye open."

"Oh big difference. However much I can or can't see, she throws more colors on me than a prism in the sunlight."

"Leastways she leaves your clothes on you. Lotsa writers don't."

"Yeah, but you know -." Vin lowered his voice to a loud whisper as though conveying a well-guarded secret. "I'm naked under my clothes."

Chris stared at him for a moment.

"I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer."

"Hey, you're the one brought up 'punctuation' before. I'm just saying, both of us sitting here, under our clothes, we're -."

Chris got to his feet in a hurry, cutting off Vin's remark.

"You know what, I'm heading back to town. I recommend you come with me. Clair's never whacked you in town. Not yet anyway. You'll probably be safer there."

"Yeah, reckon you're right," Vin admitted reluctantly. "I'm always out in the open when she beats me down. Out in the open and away from you. Reckon we oughta become roommates."

Chris didn't answer, only shook his head as they got their horses. They were down the hill and on the flat road to town when a cloud of dust in the distance caught their attention.

"What's that?" Chris asked. Vin gave a look through his spyglass.

"Looks like bounty hunters," he grumbled. "Not again."

The End