“It was a dark and stormy night…”
“Haven’t we heard this story before?” Richie asked.
“Dad, come on that is so cliche.” Connor made a face.
“Mom! Dad is trying to be a weatherman again.” Duncan yelled.
“Listen to your father boys. He is trying out a new story idea.”
“Where was I?” Dad clears his throat. “It was a dark and stormy night. Conan threw the tent flap open and…”
“Wait. Are we talking the Conan? Like The Cimmerian Conan? Or TV dude Conan?” Connor asked.
“What? Yes the real Conan. Why would TV guy be in one of my stories?”
“I think you should Dad. Conan vs Conan.” Duncan giggled.
“Honey, where did we put the boys? These are heathens. And critics. No respect at all for the arts.”
“Oh dear. Did we not get the right ones? I told you we should have picked the other three.”
“Mom!” Connor, Duncan and Richie chorused. “We are your sons.”
Dad clapped his hands. “Back to the story. Conan stepped out of the weather. His advisor handed him a towel…”
“Remember to keep the naughty bits out. Your audience is still in the PG category.” Mom called out. “Just in case you forgot who was listening.”
“Aww Mom. Those are the best parts. Don’t listen to her Dad. Fellows gotta stick together.”
“Boys this is a learning moment. Moms are always right,” he leaned close and whispered “until they’re not.”
“I heard that dear.”
“This is an ill omen for the battle tomorrow. Slogging through mud gets men killed”. His advisor said.
“Perhaps. Perhaps not. Bad weather drives man and beast inside. Guards are down. Bad weather is the thief’s friend.” Conan muttered to himself thinking.
“What are you thinking old friend?”
“A small force sneaking into the camp and causing chaos. Perhaps if they’re lucky they’ll get the one in charge. Men won’t go into battle without a leader.”
“Who will you pick? We can’t afford to lose you. So you must pick someone to lead this merry band of lunatics.”
“Hurry up Dad. Get to the good parts.” The boys chorused.
“Dear you had best pick up the pace. Your audience is getting restless.” She peaked into the bedroom. She hid a smile, the boys were scattered around the bed surrounding him. Even the dog was listening intently.
“Fine. Fine. Screaming trailed through Conan’s camp. “What is all this ruckus?” Conan roared. The camp fell silent. The wet bedraggled woman landed at his feet. His men were bleeding and panting with the effort. She growled at him. He looked at her.
“Who is this? Looking at her curiously, he noted the bruises and cuts on his men. The woman didn’t look to have been misused or abused. Her clothes were muddied and soaked, but she was otherwise unharmed. He frowned at her. Had one woman gotten the better of his men?
“Who is she Dad?”
“What happened to taking out the bad guys’ leader?”
“How come she beat up the good guys?”
“All in good time boys, all in good time. It takes time to build a story. And not everything is as it seems.”
“Mom! Dad is talking in cliches again. Make him stop and just tell us who she is.” The boys pouted.
“Now, now my loves. Sometimes storytellers have to take a moment and regroup. Is that right dear?” She stepped into the room and lightly massaged his shoulders. A quick peck on top of his head and she left the room.
He watched her leave. Clearing his thoughts he said let’s get back in the story.