John Chandler was in the stables, measuring the oats for the night. The background noise of the horses impatiently banging their hooves against the doors was a welcome distraction to the annoying buzz of the flies.
John wiped the sweat off his face with the back of his hand. Hottest May in years, and no end in sight.
“Move it, buddy.” He poked the grey stable cat to get it out of the wheelbarrow. It barely flicked its ears, too lazy to make a move in the heat. Grinning, John shoved it aside and set the oat buckets in its place.
He heard the squashing noise of wet shoes long before their occupant, his son, reached the doorway and stopped dead in his tracks.
“Hello Luke.” John sized his wet and muddy child up with a glance. “What happened to you? Been swimming in your clothes again?”
Luke’s head came up at that, his mouth twisted into an ugly scowl. Blood dripped from his nose and there was an angry scratch on his cheek.
“Great.” John dropped the measuring cup into the oats chest and took a closer look at his son’s face. “That hurt?” he asked, while gently pressing down on the bridge of Luke’s nose.
Luke twisted in his grip, trying to get away. “I’m fine.”
The boy wriggled out of his father's grasp. "I was doing my chores," he said, "when the cat came flying out of the barn, mad as hell, and darn near took my face off."
John concentrated his gaze on the oats. "That so," he replied. "Well, set yourself down there while I finish this, then we'll go get you cleaned up."
Luke crouched down against a barn support, while his father grabbed the barrow.
Two full buckets toppled over, rolled along the sloped barrow rim and launched themselves into Luke's face.
"Ow! Jesus, Pa!"
"Sorry 'bout that, son. Still, I told you working the stable'd make a man of you. First a face full of pussy, and now you got your wild oats."
Opening: Anon......Continuation: anon.