Word Count 560
6th in the Modern Lancers (series story order)
“Hey, Murdoch, you ever box?”
Murdoch, in the middle of deciphering the driest business proposal imaginable, looked up as Johnny blew into the room.
“Back in my college days, off and on since then.” Murdoch glanced at Johnny’s fingers; saw their agitated dance on his thigh. “Any particular reason you ask?”
“Would you mind if I rig up a punching bag in the empty space you have in the big barn?”
“There’s space available in the exercise room.”
Johnny crossed his arms around his body, and Murdoch’s attention sharpened.
“Rather not have Teresa nearby.”
“Do you have a bag?”
A headshake. “Figured I’d see what you said first.”
Murdoch rose from his chair. “Good. I have one up in the attic. Should get you by until you find something better.” Business proposals could wait. There was an air of restraint around Johnny today – one that needed an outlet. He led the way to the attic, with Johnny trailing behind him.
Johnny laughed when Murdoch swung open the door and flipped on the light. “I expected dust and cobwebs.”
“You have met Maria.”
Organized to the housekeeper’s specifications, it was easy to locate the bag stacked along with the other unused sports equipment. Tossing Johnny the duffle that held the boxing gloves, Murdoch pulled the Everlast bag from the corner.
Johnny brushed his hand over a duct-taped seam. “Seen some good use.”
“That it has.”
Between them, they wrestled it down the three flights of stairs and hauled it out to the barn.
Locating a chain and a tall enough ladder took another fifteen minutes, but within a half an hour the bag was swaying before them.
“Hm?” His son was sitting on his heels digging through the duffle, pulling out the hand wraps.
“Are you still receiving calls?” Seemed longer, but Wes’ funeral was ten days ago.
Johnny’s hands tightened over the wraps. “Some. They all want to know what happened.”
“Pain in the ass to keep telling the story though.”
Johnny snorted and looked up. “That too.”
“Will this help?”
Johnny stood up, wraps and gloves in his hands. Murdoch took one wrap and the gloves from him.
“Want me to hold the bag?”
Murdoch met the steady regard of his son straight on. Waited while he decided.
“That’d be good. Thanks.”
Johnny wrapped his hands and Murdoch made quick work of tying the gloves on him. Murdoch braced himself behind the bag while Johnny warmed up with a few light jabs. He saw the shift in his son and wasn’t surprised when the next blow resonated through the bag. Murdoch grinned at the power behind it.
Johnny rolled his shoulders, bounced on the balls of his feet and started throwing punches in earnest. His arms worked like pistons and within minutes sweat was pouring down his face. Murdoch made a mental note to bring out towels next time and held on.
Murdoch stepped back when Johnny did, still feeling the vibrations from the blows. His son was bent at the waist, hands on his knees taking deep breaths.
A nod and one more deep breath, Johnny straightened. “Some days you just gotta hit something.”
Murdoch ran his hand over the taped seam, remembered the day it tore some twenty odd years ago.
Some days you do.
~ end ~
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