Author's Note,

Hello, I am new to this site, but I thought that I would just take that plunge and put my works out where others can read them. I have been writing for a while and have only recently begun sharing my stories with other people.

This story was a bit of an experiment. I am somewhat new to writing humor, but I thought that I would try my hand at it and this story was the end result. So let me know how I did. Should I keep trying? Or am I hopelessly lost in this field and I should just go back to my previous style of writing more serious stories with a moral?

So, enough of me and my questions. Enjoy!

Summary:

How much can three boys get into in the span of a single hour? Or, why I never want to have kids.

Mud, Burrs, and Grass Stains

The problem with having children is not so much that you have children, but that they have friends. You can train your children to be wonderful little human beings, with thoughts of their own and an ability to process the world in a way that will keep them safe. But when friends get involved, thinking sometimes gets thrown out the window.

These were the very thoughts running through Michael's head when he caught sight of his children and their newly acquired friend, whose name he could not remember. Something interesting had happened and he was determined to find out what it was.

"Do I even want to know what happened?" Michael asked.

"No," the first child piped up quickly, a young boy with dark eyes and a cheerful round face, most of which, along with a good amount of the rest of him, was covered in thick dark mud. "It is a very boring story, maybe we could tell you about what we did yesterday instead."

Michael gave the boy a hard stare and the words faded into nothing. He then turned his gaze to the boy on the other end of the line, an exact mirror of the first, except this one was covered in mud and green grass stains instead of just mud, like his counterpart. Being twins it made it hard to tell them apart and Michael was not really sure which one was which. It could prove problematic, but he wasn't about to ask them which one each one was.

"What about you?" he said to the boy with the grass stains all over him. "Do you have anything to say about this?"

The grass stained figure shrugged lightly and glanced at the boy in the middle. This boy was different from the other two. His hair was a light brown and his eyes were hazel; the obvious friend that could be picked from among the two twin brothers by even the most casual observer.

"I had nothing to do with this," the brown haired boy declared, earning a swift punch in the arm by the mud covered boy on his right. The one on his left stifled a smile and choked back a laugh.

"It was your idea," said the mud covered boy.

"What was your idea?" Michael said turning his full attention on the boy in the center.

The hazel eyes went big and then began darting between the other two boys. "I only suggested it. I never said that they had to do it."

"You dared him," Grass Stains said.

"That's right," said Mud. "He did dare me to do it."

"Do what?" Michael almost shouted.

Three pairs of guilty eyes looked back at him and suddenly everything went quiet.

"Well?"

"There was a tree," Grass Stains said. "Down by the lake."

More silence.

"What about the tree?"

Mud grimaced and looked nervous. "Are you sure that you don't want to hear about yesterday?"

"No. What about the tree?" He vaguely noticed that his refusal caused Grass Stains to relax slightly and breathe a sigh of relief.

The boy in the center carefully picked a cocklebur off of his sleeve. Michael did not want to be there during the removal of the giant blob of the tenacious little things that had somehow taken up residence in the boy's hair.

"There was a rope tangled in the branches," Burrs said.

The explanation stopped there and Michael knew that this was going to take a while, since they were apparently going to make him drag it out of them.

"A rope does not get you covered in mud, burrs, and grass stains," Michael said.

"No," Mud said. "But Tarzan apparently does."

"Nuh-uh," this from Grass Stains, "Tarzan only gives you skinned knees."

Michael rubbed his hands over his face and then vigorously through his hair. "What are you talking about?"

Mud elbowed Burrs and glared at him. "You said that the rope would hold my weight."

Burrs looked down at his feet and said nothing.

Grass Stains stayed out of the subject altogether.

"Am I to take it that you used the rope to swing from the tree into the lake and the rope ended up breaking?" Michael asked.

All three boys shook their heads.

Where was this going? How in the world could a rope in a tree end up making a complete disaster out of three boys in the span of one hour?

"Then what happened?"

"We only wanted to get the rope out of the tree," Grass Stains said.

"It was really tangled in the branches," Mud chimed in.

"And?"

"I volunteered to climb up and get it out," Mud went on.

"You should have let me do it," Grass Stains said.

"You didn't want to do it."

"I said I didn't want to do it while I was still finishing my lunch."

"Hold it!" Michael said. "What happened in the tree?"

The two boys on either end stopped their bickering and seemed to decide that if they wanted to make it through the rest of the day intact then they had better get on with the story. Burrs beat them to it.

"He was trying to get it untangled, but it was really stuck and he had to go around to the other side of the tree to finish."

"That's where Tarzan comes in," Grass Stains said with a grin.

Burrs cringed at the statement and Mud's face seemed to grow a little paler. Although, it was kind of hard to tell with so little skin showing between the drying crusts of dirt.

"What does Tarzan have to do with this?"

"He dared him to swing to the other side of the tree," Grass Stains said while pointing at Burrs.

"Doesn't mean that he had to do it," Burrs shot back while pointing an accusatory finger at Mud who put both hands on his hips and frowned.

"You were calling me a chicken!"

"Was not!"

"Yes you were."

"Boys!"

Instant silence dropped on the room once more.

"Just… tell me what happened."

"He swung and missed the branch that he was aiming for," Grass Stains said.

"No, I landed on it, but the rope frayed and I slipped off," Mud said in defense.

"Doesn't matter," Burrs put in. "He missed the branch and scraped up his knees."

"That explains your pants," Michael said as he stared at the ragged holes in Mud's pant legs, the barest glimpse of red scraped skin showing through the gaps. "But where did everything else come from?"

"We did eventually get the rope down," Grass Stains said. "At least, what was left of it."

"It was in several pieces," Mud explained.

"What were you going to do with it?"

"Nothing, really," Burrs said simply. "Not much you can do with a busted rope."

"Then why did you take it out of the tree?"

"It wasn't supposed to come apart," Mud said. "We thought that it would stay in one long piece."

"I know that something else happened?" Michael said. "So far, what you have told me has explained nothing except for a ruined pair of pants and how the rope got out of the tree and into the lawn mower blades."

None of the boys ventured any more information and so Michael went on.

"Tell me what happened."

"We did."

"Then where did the mud, burrs, and grass stains come from?"

"Oh, that" Burrs said. "I thought you were asking about the rope wrapped around the mower blades."

"That will be talked about later," Michael said as he pinched the bridge of his nose. "That whole thing is the only reason why I caught you before you could go and wash off the rest of the evidence. Now, tell me how you all ended up in such a mess."

"It started with that girl down the street," Mud said. "I think her name is Melanie."

Burrs seemed to gain a look of pure defiance. "She said that we were stupid for carrying around an old rope that couldn't be used for anything anyway."

Michael actually had to agree with Melanie, but he kept his mouth shut and let the boys continue.

"She said that we should just put it back where we found it," Grass Stains put in.

Melanie was sounding wiser by the moment.

"Yeah," Mud said. "But we didn't want to waste all of the work that it took to get the thing out of the tree in the first place."

"Please don't tell me that you got into a fight with a girl," Michael groaned.

"Why would we do that?" Mud asked.

"We just walked right past her and kept going home," said Grass Stains.

"But she wouldn't leave us alone," Burrs added. "She kept following us, telling us that we should just leave the rope and go back to our mothers."

"This is not sounding like something that doesn't end in a fight," Michael said. "Are you sure that nothing happened?"

"Oh, something happened," Mud said.

Grass Stains seemed to be having a hard time holding back a laugh and Burrs wasn't faring much better.

"What happened?"

Since Grass Stains and Burrs were having such a hard time keeping themselves composed, Mud continued the story.

"She tried to steal our rope and it turned into a tug of war."

"But you said that the rope wasn't strong enough to even hold one of you," Michael said. "How did you manage to play tug of war with the thing?"

"That's the thing," Grass Stains said, a smirk growing wider despite his best efforts. "It kind of… broke."

"Melanie rolled down the hill at the end of the street," Burrs said with a barely contained snort of laughter. "It was hilarious."

"You shouldn't laugh at people like that," Michael said. "Is she okay?"

"Oh, she's fine," Grass Stains said. "We went down and made sure."

"Good," Michael said. He wasn't really looking forward to any future phone calls now, but if the girl's parents did call, he could at least tell them that the boys weren't complete idiots.

"Did you get dirty going down to check on her?" Michael asked. He knew that there was a small stream at the bottom of the hill and plenty of grass and cockleburs on the way down; all things that would explain the state of the boys standing in front of him.

"No," Mud said. "We made it down the hill just fine."

"Then where did all of this come from?!"

"We helped her back up to the top of the hill," Grass Stains said, the smile disappearing and a frown taking its place.

"Yeah, and then she betrayed us," Mud said.

"She turned around and pushed us," Burrs said indignantly. "We help her out and she pushes us down the hill."

"She pushed you ," Grass Stains said while looking at Burrs. "You took us down with you."

Burrs had the decency to look guilty. "Sorry," he muttered.

"So that is how you got covered in all of this mess," Michael said. His anger had diminished somewhat now that he had heard the whole story. The rope in the lawnmower would eventually have to be sorted out, but at least the boys hadn't gotten so dirty by their own devices. He still couldn't believe that it had happened while trying to help out the mean neighbor girl. Maybe they were starting to learn some of the things that had been drilled into them almost from birth.

"Now," he said. "You should go and get cleaned up before supper." He turned to look at Burrs. "Your mother will be coming to get you later."

The three boys nodded, almost as one, and then filed out of the room. Michael watched them go, his mind on how he had at least gotten the whole story, and how he wouldn't have to deal with any more drama.

That is until he heard a high pitched shriek from the next room and realized that his wife had come back from her grocery run.

"Michael!" she yelled. "What happened to the boys and why was there a bucket of mud in the trunk of the car?"

Michael dropped his face into his hands. Maybe he should have listened to what the boys had done yesterday.