Summary: The best mishaps are the ones you can laugh about.
Rating: K Word count: 660
“Quick! Hide behind the sofa!”
It was difficult to stifle our laughter as we did so, the situation was just too absurd, but somehow we managed something resembling silence as the door latch clicked open and the hinges creaked softly open.
The two were so engaged in their argument that they might not have noticed us even if we’d been out in plain sight, dressed up as clowns and dancing around, but we were hidden and they had no idea of our presence in the room as they crossed from the front door and made their way up the stairs, us carefully sidling around the couch to keep it between us and them at all times. At the top of the stairs they paused to punctuate a particular point angrily with their gestures, which troubled us, but then they moved on down the hallway and their voices faded away to a murmur.
That’s when I turned to Hoss and grinned again, “Make a run for the barn. I’m right behind you.”
And so we counted on the continued altercation upstairs to cover the clatter of two pairs of boots as we scurried across the room, and we tried not to slam the door behind us, and we ran as fast as we could across the unsheltered exposure of the yard until we were safely within the barn, and then we collapsed into the hay and laughed. We laughed, great bellyfuls of mirth, until we could hardly breathe, and then we caught our breath and tried to avoid each other’s eyes in order to keep our feeble hold on solemnity.
“Do ya think he saw us?”
“Nah. They were both pretty preoccupied.”
“How long do ya think we’ve got?”
“Until they figure out that you let that sow drop a litter of piglets in Pa’s room?”
“Hold on a second, brother. The way I figure it, that was a team effort.”
“And whose job was it to feed her this morning?”
“And who said that I didn’t have ta latch the gate ‘cause he got it?”
“I said no such thing!”
“You know perfectly well I didn’t.”
“You just can’t bring yourself to fess up to being wrong for once.”
“I am not wrong! You just forgot to latch the gate and then you made up a story to make yourself feel better while she was chasing you to kingdom come.”
“Not to kingdom come. Just to…”
“…Pa’s room,” I finished for him with a chortle, and we both lost ourselves to laughter again. Because, really, the morning had so tremendously derailed from what we had planned, and the only options left were laughter and despair. And laughter is usually the best option.
Pa’s bellow of rage that day was outrageously loud, the kind of loud you expect from an actor in a slapstick comedy play who’s just learned that his house was hauled away in the night by an army of dwarves. Or, come to think of it, kind of like a father who’d just walked into his bedroom—his personal sanctum—and found a pig and her newly-birthed piglets all over everywhere. So perhaps he wasn’t so out of character.
Regardless, Hoss and I had no trouble hearing him from the barn and no doubts at all that the jig was up and it was time to go inside and fess up to what had happened. But it was with something less than seriousness that we scrambled to our feet and wiped the tears of laughter from our faces.
“You know how they say that the punishment should be worthy of the crime?”
“Well, I think this time that perhaps the crime will be worth the punishment.”
“Ya know, Adam, I think it just might be.”
And with that, we two mischief-makers linked arms and trooped inside to what the price would be for an uncommon afternoon of laughter.