Hot Tea Time by Patti H.


A Sizzling Short-Short – Part 1 of 3

For Scott and of course, Johnny

Something to Warm Us Up!  Mmmm Good But Please SSSSShhhhhhh!

Usual Disclaimers Apply

~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~

After his bath, Johnny walked back to the house, a man on a mission…he was going to go see his brother come hell, come high water or come Murdoch Lancer.  He discarded his dirty duds in the laundry basket, by the kitchen doorway, astounding Teresa who raised her eyebrows at his sudden tidiness.  He asked, “Teresa ya fix Scott anything yet with those herbs?”

“I’m making him some tea now.  Why?

“Use the bayberries, that stuff is great!  It brought my fever down within hours.”

“Hmmmm, just how sick were you Johnny?”

“Sick enough ta make me pass out and fall off of Barranca.  I don’t know how long I was in a snow drift before I was rescued and brought back ta my senses, just know I was cold and hot at the same time.  Here, I’ll take that tea up ta Scott, now that I’m clean and can pass inspection.”

Johnny picked up the mug with the pleasant aroma tantalizing his senses, “Boy if that don’t smell like the great outdoors!  Just like heaven ta me!”  Smiling lop-sided at her, he said, “I’ll sit with Scott ya take a break.  See ya!”

Teresa and Maria both stood there gaping after the retreating Johnny with looks of bewilderment on their faces at his sudden domesticity.  Maria muttered, “Que pasa con Juanito?”  Teresa shrugged her shoulders; she turned to examine the medicinal herbs Johnny had brought home, holding them close to her nose, as she smelled each packet before performing a taste test, shaking her head.

Johnny took the backstairs two at a time, careful not to slosh any of the precious steaming liquid over its rim, entered Scott room.  The curtains were closed with a lamp set low, casting off a warm glow; illuminating Scott’s feverish face in the dim light.  “Hey Boston ya awake?” Johnny asked quietly, placing a hand to his shoulder, gave him a gentle shake.

Scott had been kicking and twitching as he lay with his eyes closed, a compress on his forehead when his brother’s voice registered in the recesses of his brain, moaned, “Johnny, is that you?”

“Were ya expectin’ someone else?  Come on Scott, open your eyes.  I need ya ta sit-up, drink this here tea, every last drop.  It’ll have ya rarin’ ta go in no time, promise.”  He placed the mug down to guide Scott into a sitting position before handing him the hot tea.

“What is this?” Scott said as he sniffed at the concoction.

“That my brother will chase away your fever lickety-spilt; the sooner it goes down the sooner ya be feelin’ like your ol’ bossy big brother self…maybe even better than ever,” he teased, chuckling at his intimate knowledge of the healing powers of the brew.  “Just drink it.”

“It smells like a Christmas tree.”

“Never mind that Boston, for once will ya listen ta me?  This tea will do wonders for ya in more ways than ya can imagine,” smirked Johnny.  “I’ll fill ya in on the details later after ya feelin’ better.”

Scott drained the contents of his mug, handed it back to Johnny, “Well at least its taste is superior to that god-awful willow bark tea Teresa keeps forcing down my throat,” he shuttered with a grimace.  “Where did you get this?”

“Yosemite way.  Brother, I have a story to tell ya, just not now,” whispered Johnny, looking towards the doorway to make certain Murdoch, Teresa or even Maria weren’t lurking around.  “You need ta rest; let that tea work its magic.  I’ll bring ya another cup in a couple of hours.”

“Johnny, I must be missing something, what exactly will this phenomenal tea do for me?  How precisely does it perform magic?”

“Ya’ll see.  I didn’t ask Phoebe about the magic part, that comes later, but leave it ta ya Boston ta ask about somethin’ that’s not important.  In the long run it’s all about the results, not how ya got there.  Ya know how Murdoch is always goin’ on about actions bringin’ consequences…ya will like these!”

Scott looked quizzically at Johnny, “Hold on a minute…who’s Phoebe?  What results?  What actions?  What consequences?  You’re making my head throb with your riddles, little brother!”

Johnny grinned, reaching to feel Scott’s forehead, “Phoebe is someone ya might get ta meet one day.  SSSSShhhhhhh…rest now.  Here, put this compress on your forehead, brother, close your eyes.  We’ll talk later; couple more cups of tea…ya’ll be better come mornin’.”

How do you know I’ll be better in the morning?”

“Boston, I’ll bet ya a month’s wages ya feel like dancin’ a jig in the mornin’.  Deal?”

“A jig?  Johnny, you’re not really here are you?  I must be hallucinating.  But a month’s wages?  I’ll take that bet.”

Johnny grinned, turned the lamp off to bring the room into greater darkness, lulling Scott into much needed sleep.  He pulled up a chair alongside the bed, elevating his legs to the base of Scott’s bed, spurs and all, crossing one leg over the other he watched Scott fall into a peaceful slumber, minus any twitching and tossing.  Soon Johnny dozed with the satisfaction of knowing that his brother was on the road of recovery.

Both brothers were gentling snoring when Murdoch and Teresa peeked in later.  Teresa felt Scott’s forehead and whispered, “Murdoch, his temperature has gone down considerably.  I don’t get it, I never heard of bayberry tea before; you don’t suppose this Phoebe is a witch doctor do you?”

“Teresa, I don’t know.  We’ll have to wait…see if Johnny tells us more about his venture into the Yosemite Valley.  Who this Phoebe is, what she did for Johnny and now Scott?  I’d like to meet the lady myself to thank her.”

Johnny, playing possum, smiled at his father’s words, thought, “No sireee, I ain’t tellin’ ya nothin’ that ya don’t already know.”  He stretched his arms, yawned and asked, “What time is it?  I’m starvin’.  Teresa, what does a hungry man got ta do ta get any food around here?”

Both Teresa and Murdoch with index fingers at their lips uttered, “SSSSShhhhhhh!”

Murdoch whispered, “Don’t wake your brother Johnny.  This is the first decent sleep he’s had in days.  Come on, let’s go have lunch.”

Johnny grinned, displaying his pearly whites, “Hate ta say it, but I will, told ya that tea would do the trick for ol’ Boston here.  Just wait until the mornin’, he’ll be up and dancin’ a jig.”

“A jig?” Murdoch asked as he pulled the door closed to Scott’s room.

The End

Teaser Alert!  Coming Next: “HOT TO TROT”

Patti H. – February 9, 2009


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