Author's Note: This is a one shot with the McKenna tv show. Brick was simply too much too resist for me. It is set before the show with Brick as a teenager, and thus Guy plays a part. I hope you will all enjoy it.
Warning: The warning is placed here for vinsmouse, who wanted a spew warning here, claiming it might be a bad idea to drink while reading the funnier parts. So please keep in mind that drinking any kind of beverage while reading this, might be hazzard'ous to the health of your screen.
Disclaimer: I do not own McKenna, I do not make any money on this and I have no hope of ever making enough money to own McKenna. No permanent harm will come to Brick, but both he and his Mustang might require some tinkering once I'm done…
For Five Dollars
We all do foolish things in life, sometimes we don't know why. Sometimes even though we know that the reason we do it is not worth it, we still try. Someone will say it's because we're all men, and men don't know better. I don't know why exactly, but sometimes I think I've done it more times than not. Maybe I felt like I had something to prove to others about myself, maybe I felt that I need to prove it to myself, I don't know. I just know that we all do it, we make mistakes, we know better but we don't do better, and we can only pray we have someone who care enough about us to always be there, to never decide it's been once too many but to go there and help us out.
Guy was like that, he never stopped caring, and no matter how mad he was over what you had done, he would always take care of you. I guess I always knew that no matter how much I tried to prove myself, I could never live up to that so maybe I never tried….
Five Dollars was what the bet was, five dollars for him if he could do it and right now he was starting to wonder if that was the price he had put on his life.
Five dollars, it wasn't all that much….
He should have listened to Dale, he had tried to stop him. Hell, if Guy ever found out about this he would kill him, if he survived that long.
Why had he allowed himself to be talked into it?
"I bet you don't dare to, I bet you're too scared McKenna… To scared to do it…."
Yeah, that made sense, that was why. He didn't remember who had said it, but it was why he had done it. Not really because of the five dollars, but because they said he was too scared too do it. For some reason he never learned to back down from that challenge. He was in a big mess this time, bigger than usual.
The usual would see him grounded, would have Jack yelling at him and Guy furious. He really didn't mind the yelling that much though. Sure, it wasn't exactly fun, actually he hated it, but for those few minutes while Jack yelled at him he would know that his father cared about him enough to get mad.
He had heard about kids who messed up for attention, he had been accused of doing it, but that wasn't what he was doing, not exactly. If he wanted Jack's attention he knew plenty of other ways to do it, better ways. Yet while Jack yelled at him he knew he really cared, he cared enough to yell, cared enough to punish him. Jack would ground him, and while he was grounded would have several jobs for him, several dirty jobs that no one wanted to do. Sometimes he would work with him, other times he would inspect it one he was done and he would tell him he'd done a good job. He rather enjoyed that part actually.
This time though it wouldn't be like that, he had crossed the line…
Hell, he hadn't crossed it, he had leapt miles over it….
If he was lucky Dale wasn't so pissed at him that he didn't care about the plans they had made. If he was lucky Dale wouldn't just mutter something and walk away when he wasn't there to meet him, he might figure out something had gone wrong. That he had been stupid enough to take the bet, and then he might figure out where he was now.
If he didn't, then he was screwed because there was no way he was getting out of it on his own. Even if the rope had been long enough there was no way he could stand up to try and reach it, and even if he could reach it there was no way he could climb it.
Some miles from town was an old abandoned shack with a well in front of it, and rumour said the man living there had once dumped a gold treasure into the well. A narrow hole with sides of dirt and knee deep water at the bottom. Every once in a while someone had tried to get into it after the rumoured treasure, one died when a section of the wall caved in, someone else had hit his head and drowned. No one was stupid enough to try it anymore, except him…
It wasn't really the five dollars, it was the way they suggested he was a coward, and why he felt he had to prove himself to those jerks he would never know. He had attempted it though but the rope had been wet and his grip slipped. His attempts at grabbing on to the rope had resulted in nothing but rope-burns on his hands and he still landed with enough force to bust up his ankle. How bad it was busted he didn't know, the possibility that it was broken had crossed his mind but he didn't see how knowing for certain could improve things at the moment.
The water was so cold he was freezing and shivering, maybe the cold had helped to numb the pain, but it had also numbed other parts of his body and he didn't like that.
Why was he just as scared of not being found as he was of Guy finding him?
He didn't have a watch so he didn't know how long he had been stuck, the others had taken off as soon as they realized something had gone wrong. Stupid kids, if he wasn't so cold and miserable he would be pissed at them for leaving him there.
Sighing he leaned the back of his head against the dirt wall of the well, right now he would give anything to have Guy teach him a lesson for his stupidity. He would do anything to have him there, period. Guy seemed to be the only one who wasn't about to tire of him and his foolish ideas. Dale was a great friend, the best he could ever hope to have but he was a lot smarter in so many ways. He did a lot better in school, he got great grades and he always seemed to do the right thing.
No one would trick Dale into trying to walk across the beam in the cafeteria ceiling, nor con him into the 'slop' eating contest. He was just too smart for those things, unlike himself.
There were times when he was jealous of Dale, not just because he was smart but because of his family. For one thing, he still had a mother there who cared about him. Sure, he knew that Dale's mother tried to make him feel at home every time he was there, she made cookies and chocolate cakes and he loved it. It felt great when she started fussing over him but he always knew she wasn't 'his' mother.
His mother had never done that, fussed over him that way. She was a free spirit someone had said. She was too restless for a family but she had gone after it just the same because for a moment it seemed like a good idea. She had always been like that, she went after anything she wanted and never hesitated, then sometimes when she found herself chained down she was miserable and she made it well known.
Guy was the centre of Jack's world, he knew that, he had realized it quite early.
Cassidy was their baby girl, someone for Jack to dote upon and someone to ride in front of him in the saddle.
Then there was him, the middle child and youngest son, and when all was said and done there just wasn't a lot left for him. Sometimes he was certain that Jack had taken a look at him just after he was born and found him wanting even before he was given a chance. Other times when he looked at the relationship between Jack and his younger brother, their Uncle Sam, he wondered if maybe Jack had just decided that there was no use for younger brothers.
At least Guy never felt that way. They didn't always get along, hell, that was an understatement, but he knew that when he needed him Guy would always do all he could to help him. No matter how mad his brother might be at him he would help him and pull him out of the mess he had landed himself in.
Trying to fight the tears that wanted to come to his eyes he bounced the back of his head against the dirt wall again, and again in a slow rhythm.
"I told him it was stupid, I told him to ignore them,"
The quiet but annoyed voice caught his attention finally.
"If he tried it, I'm gonna wring his neck…"
That was a voice he knew only too well and for a moment he considered being silent, hoping they wouldn't notice him.
"Do you really think he did it Guy?" asked Dale worriedly. They had arranged to meet after school and when Brick hadn't shown up he started worrying that maybe his friend had allowed himself to be talked into doing something stupid. He had heard them talking about the well and the treasure, but he had tried to convince his friend not to do it. It was just kind of hard to convince Brick about things at times. He had been trying to decide what to do when he had seen Guy, and Guy was someone Dale trusted. It was hard at times with the older kids, they tended to look down on you but Guy had never done that and Dale didn't hesitate to tell him.
"If he did, he's going to wish he didn't when I get my hands on him," Guy told him firmly as they approached the well. "Brick!" he called out.
Groaning he knew he had no choice, Guy would see him as soon as he looked into the well, he had to admit he was there, but he didn't want to.
"There's no one home!" he called back.
"Aw, hell Brick," Guy sighed as he peered over the edge. "Why did you do it for?"
"Don't know," he dropped his head. It wasn't for the five dollars, maybe not for the dare either. He wasn't quite certain at the moment.
"Are you hurt?" Guy pushed, peering into the dark interior of the well.
"No," he hurried to say. "Well, at least not much, only a little…" his voice died away as Guy sighed again.
"You could have gotten yourself killed Brick, what were you thinking?" he demanded as he tried to figure out how to get his younger brother out of the predicament he was in.
"I, I don't know," he mumbled. "Guy, will you please help me up?"
"Yeah, I will," his older brother didn't sound mad any longer, just tired and sad. "How bad is it, where are you hurt?"
"Just my ankle a little, and my hands," he shrugged. "The rope isn't long enough, I can't reach it."
"Hold on," Guy noticed the rope was tied to a tree some yards away and went to untie it. He gripped it and went back to the well, holding on to maybe a yard of the rope. "Can you reach it now?"
"Yeah," he nodded even if Guy couldn't see it. He could reach it easily enough.
"Can you climb it?" Guy asked, tying the rope around his middle to secure it and bracing himself against Brick's weight.
Carefully climbing to his feet with the aid of the rope Brick bit his lip, he wasn't sure if he could climb it. His hands hurt pretty bad from grasping it.
"Tie it off under your arms Brick," Guy commanded. "You can do that, can't you?"
"Yeah," he nodded again, fighting the tears that once more wanted to come. Not because it hurt but because he was ashamed for what he had done.
"It's okay Brick, don't worry about it now. It's gonna be fine," Guy assured him. "We're here now, and I'll take care of it all, just tie the rope under your arms and tell me when you got it."
He fumbled with the knot for a moment, then managed to secure it. "Okay," he called back up.
"Good, me and Dale will pull you up, try and help as much as you can, okay?" grabbing the rope with both hands he pulled on the it. Brick was heavy and not able to help much except by holding himself free off the wall, but with Dale's help he was able to pull him up. Once his head came up over the edge of the well Dale let go of the rope with one hand and grabbed his hand, holding him firmly while Guy too dropped the rope and pulled him the rest of the way out. Looking his brother over more closely now that he could see him clearly. The cut off denim shorts and the t-shirt were soaked and caked with mud. His hands looked to have some pretty bad rope burns on them and his face was streaked with mud and some blood. Looking at the dirty and wet sneakers he noticed that one ankle was swollen and he was shivering but otherwise it didn't seem like he was hurt bad.
"I ought to tell Jack what you did," he threatened. Now that he had his brother safe and sound in front of him the anger he felt was welling up again. "Do you have any idea how worried we've been? What if Dale hadn't found me? Or if you had bashed your thick head in, you would have died down there Brick, that what you want?"
"No," he dropped his head. When Jack yelled at him he could yell right back, but not when it was Guy. He felt like he had really failed his brother.
"Damn it Brick, what am I supposed to do with you?" he cuffed him over the back of his head, but not hard. If he told Jack what had happened Brick would be in some serious trouble, and he thought the boy had suffered enough, and hopefully learned his lesson. He looked nothing if not ashamed and chastised. He wasn't sure if there would be any point in telling Jack, but at the same time he should see a doctor and they would have to explain his appearance some way.
"Alright," he decided. "Come on, Jack won't be home until late tonight. We'll get you back to the ranch and cleaned up. We'll tell them you were playing at the tree-house at the river and you slipped on the rope there. And then we're gonna hear what you have to say for yourself about all this."
Guy was as good as his word, together with Dale he got him back to the ranch and helped him get cleaned up and into dry clothes before Guy called the doctor to have a look at him. While he knew you shouldn't lie about things that could be that important Guy never felt any qualms about lying to the doctor. The man didn't care very much about what they told him anyway. He was a fairly young doctor who had inherited his position in the town and rather resented the fact that he would never practice at some fancy hospital in a big city. He didn't really pay attention to what they said but were satisfied with the concept of a rope and a fall. He put some salve on the rope-burns and bandaged them, then wrapped the ankle he declared was only sprain and ordered bed rest for a day or two. Then the man was satisfied that his job was done.
Dale had stayed at the ranch but kept out of the way until Guy went to have a talk with his brother. He rather wanted to hear his explanation too.
Brick slowly told them the story, and Guy sighed tiredly. Nothing of it really surprised him, and he wasn't certain if Brick would be better able to resist the next time. Truth was his brother simply couldn't understand that backing down from a stupid challenge didn't make him a lesser man. It wasn't really his fault and there was nothing he could do to change it, it was who Brick was.
When Jack came home Guy had settled the two boys in front of the television set in the den together with Cassidy, and gave him the same explanation he had given the doctor. Jack didn't think to question it, he was just grateful his son hadn't been hurt bad and that Guy had been able to handle it. He did notice that Brick was rather subdued and quiet, not at all his normal rather loud and rowdy self. On the other hand the boy always slowed down and clammed up when he was sick or hurt so he didn't think much about it.
Since the doctor had ordered bed rest he kept him home for the two days before the weekend and was confused the Monday after when he came limping home, mad as a bear with a sore paw because apparently someone who owed him five dollars had refused to pay it. That wasn't surprising in itself, but Guy only had to say one word to make him go quiet and slip out. That he wasn't used to and for a brief moment he considered asking what was going on, but by then Brick had taken off somewhere and Cassidy needed his help for something in school and there simply wasn't time to dig into it so he let it slide. If he needed to know, he was certain that one of the kids would eventually tell him. For now, he had work to focus on…
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