Summary: Two brothers brace themselves for the inevitable…or is it?
Rated T (1,100 words)
Fools Rush In
“The day’s almost over – do you think he’s forgotten?” Hoss wondered aloud, rubbing Chubb down with a vigorous brushstroke.
“He’s never forgotten in all the years this day has come and gone Hoss. He always has something up that sleeve of his, and I am sure this year is no exception,” replied Adam as he hung Sport’s bridle on the peg above his stall.
The two brothers walked from the barn, their eyes cautiously scouring every inch of the yard as they headed to the front door.
“Do you want to open the door Adam?” Hoss asked, his voice filled with trepidation.
Adam and Hoss looked forlornly at the massive brown oak door in front of them. Neither wanted to be the first recipient of Joe’s annual April Fools joke.
“Why don’t we go through the kitchen – might be safer that way!” said Adam, as he quickly stepped off the porch. Hoss nodded in agreement as he followed his older brother’s lead.
When they reached the back door, Hoss stamped his foot in disgust. “Dadburnit it Adam, how do we know that this door ain’t the one Joe rigged?”
“What do you mean Hoss?” Adam asked.
Taking a deep breath, Hoss put forth his hypothesis. “What’s to say if Joe knew that we were waitin’ to see what he’d do to us….and he knew we’d head to the front door, but knew that we’d be thinkin’ that he rigged it somehow to get us….and he knew that we….”
“I know what you’re thinking Hoss, and you are right, that little brother of ours could be one step ahead of us in this. He can certainly be sneaky sometimes,” Adam sighed. “Let’s head back to the barn and figure out just how we’re going to get in the house.” The brothers began their slow walk back to the only safe place they could think of.
Hoss looked up at the darkening evening sky. “Lordy, I am plum tired and downright hungry. Little brother, wait til I get my hands on you…..”
“Joe Cartwright. What are you thinking about?” purred the gorgeous blonde as she stroked his bare chest with her fingers.
Joe was looking the picture of contentment, having spent the afternoon in the arms of such a beautiful woman. However, as the day was coming to an end, his mind shifted to thoughts of his brothers and what fate they thought was in store for them on this particular April 1st. He couldn’t help but chuckle to himself as he thought of their well deserved paranoia, waiting for a prank that this year, wouldn’t happen.
He turned to his companion and smiled. “Just thinking about you, darling!” as he leaned over to continue his passionate April evening.
Cochise sauntered slowly into the yard. Night had descended upon the Ponderosa long ago, and tiny edges of sunlight now crept along the eastern horizon. Way past tired, Joe hopped off his mount and guided her into the barn. As he saw what lay before him, Joe couldn’t help but howl with laughter.
Snoring in tandem, the sight and sounds of Hoss and Adam sleeping uncomfortably in a pile of hay was something that Joe had not expected.
Hoss started to wake as he heard Joe’s high pitched giggle. “What you laughin’ at?” he muttered groggily.
Adam woke up with more of a start, and much more alert than his big brother. “Where have you been? We’ve been waiting up for you half the night!” he exclaimed at Joe as he tried to straighten out his back from an uncomfortable night’s sleep. “And just what is so funny?”
Joe wiped the tears from his eyes as he replied, “The sight of you two sleeping here in this barn – why didn’t you go inside?” he chuckled.
“You know why!” said Hoss as he stood and put his big hat on his head. “We didn’t know what type of trick you had planned for us this year and we weren’t takin’ any chances!”
Joe finished hanging up Cochise’s tack and started to walk out the door. “Brothers, I don’t have any clue what you are implying here. There is no reason why the two of you couldn’t have slept in your own beds last night.” Joe continued towards the front door of the house, with his two brothers right behind him.
“You’re gonna open that door? Just like that?” Hoss exclaimed. Adam was a little more direct. “Do you mean to tell us you never booby trapped anything in this house yesterday little brother?” he asked as his eyes scanned his youngest siblings face.
“Nope, no reason at all for the two of you to have been so skittish,” said Joe, matter of factly as he opened the door and strode inside into the large sitting room. Hoss and Adam looked at each other, both astonished at what they had just seen. Their faces began to redden as they realized how foolish their little brother had made them look.
A lopsided grin crept on Joe’s face as he started to walk up the stairs. “You mustn’t forget – I may be the youngest, but I’m an adult now ~ and sadly, the jokes have come to an end ~ for this year anyway!” he winked. “And on that note, older brothers, I will bid you a good night – or good morning as the case may be.”
Incredulous, Adam and Hoss turned to each other. “It’s YOUR fault we stayed out of the house!” Adam said petulantly.
Hoss, still shocked over what had happened, was snapped back into reality when hearing Adam’s words. “What! You’re blaming me?” he yelled. “I’d say we’re both to blame for this turn of events! We were both hoodwinked by our little brother!”
Upstairs, Joe smiled again as he heard the muffled voices of his brothers downstairs in the midst of an argument once more. As he undressed, ready for some much needed sleep, Joe noticed his afternoon companion’s handkerchief fall out of his shirt pocket onto the floor. Picking it up, he sighed deeply and contentedly with happy memories as he climbed into bed. As he lay there, recalling the previous day’s events, Joe Cartwright couldn’t help but believe that for once he had had the best of both worlds this particular April Fools Day!