By the time I got to my room it was 5AM. Some of the state highway workers, who stayed at the Motel, had already begun to stir. If I had gotten into my room an hour earlier, I would have likely just fallen into bed and passed out. Since people were moving around, I knew that if I didn’t run, I would lay awake filled with guilt.
I refused to clean up though. That being the case, I dressed in my tight fleece running pants, and my tight long sleeve fleece knit shirt. After that I wrapped my lightweight holster and belt around my waist just before I pulled the thick sweatshirt over my head. I wore heavy socks and cheap running shoes. I wasn’t even close to being a speed runner. Yes I had lied to Gypsy. I was also not a long distance runner.
I was what the pros called a half hearted runner. I ran one half hour, which was once around the downtown and to the cafe in the square for breakfast. I tried to do that any morning, when I had time. Fortunately for me that wasn’t very often. I could usually delude myself into thinking I burned enough calories in my daily life. After two days of riding in a car, I didn’t even try to avoid the run. If I did, I would be calling myself names for days.
I gritted my teeth and headed off into the 15 degree morning. I was thankful for the ski mask I wore when I ran. I carried my badge since approaching anyone dressed as I was could easily get me shot. I ran through the back streets and around the parking lots as I kept track of the time not the distance I ran. I always expected to find a broken door, hear a burglar alarm, stumble on a robbery, or maybe a murder victim, but alas so far I found a stray cat or dog now and then. If they were small enough I carried them with me to the cafe. The waitress there either found them a home or called animal control for me. If they were not easily portable I made a note of their location which I gave the waitress so that she could call. I just couldn’t do it. I just wasn’t the snitch type.
Even though I was totally exhausted and stumbling a bit, I stopped for breakfast. Without the food, I would be waking hungry every couple of hours. I had the cafe’s full breakfast special even the grits. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be caught dead eating grits, but it was okay to eat grits in the Cafe on the Square.
After a half hour run and a half hour breakfast, I ran back to my room. Something about sleeping after so long without a shower made me feel like a real redneck, but I just didn’t care. I fell into the bed and pulled the heavy covers up over me. It was easy to drift off to sleep under the weight of those covers. It was 7AM when I fell asleep and it was 5PM when I woke up to pee. I should have stayed up, but I was groggy enough to just slip right back into the land of nod.
When I woke up hungry at 9PM, I knew I had to get out of bed right that moment or risk never getting out. I showered and dressed in my off duty uniform. Jeans and a long sleeve knit tee shirt over an elastic strap they jokingly called a sports bra, so the could charge twenty bucks for it. They couldn’t charge me that but they could some folks.
I slipped the pistol rig onto my belt then pulled the medium weight field parka on over it all. I was hungry but my first stop was a walk through the lounge in the parking lot. I hadn’t seen Sarah in a couple of days and wanted to fulfill my part of the rent discount deal.
“Hey Sarah, how have you been without me?” I asked jokingly.
“I have managed to get by without seeing you,” she said smiling. “But it was hard.”
I had a feeling Sarah had a little girl crush on me. I thought it was cute and I was flattered, even though I had no interest in her at all. “I’m crushed,” I said. “Anything been happening?”
“Nothing at all, You know someone is always having words in a bar. As long as there is a minimum amount of name calling, and no blood shed, I tend to let it slide.”
“That’s probably the best thing for business,” I said.
“I heard you brought that Gypsy Allen woman back this morning?” Sarah asked.
“How did you know that?” I asked.
“Her lawyer gave an interview with the local cable news people. They sure have a lot of nice things to say about you. Now detective Simpson, not so many,” Sarah suggested.
“Well, I had nothing to do with any of that,” I replied.
“He ended with you should please be careful of the good ole boy system, since Gypsy needs you.” With that Sarah began to giggle.
“Well the only damage to him would be from the press coverage. Since the local new is only seen by about ten people including Sarah and my momma, I think Simpson is safe.” I finished my coffee, then I left the lounge.
I drove the Toyota to the small shopping area out by the interstate highway’s exchange. My guess was that since all the buildings looked about the same age, it had either just all sprang up about the same time or it was a shopping area owned by one man and the stores leased out. Either was it didn’t matter to me my only concern was the Waffle House restaurant with the Sheriffs patrol car parked outside.
“Deputy Porter,” the deputy sitting in the window booth said.
“Damn Letter, don’t they ever give you a day off?” I asked.
“Oh hell Sylvia, I am not the chief deputy’s favorite new lackey,” Letter said.
“Letter, you are just jealous because I got to work with Simpson yesterday. I know you two are big buddies. I won’t tell you how the other deputies describe your relationship.”
“Now, now Sylvia that is evil,” he said with a laugh. “Beside you are just covering your own ass. I heard the rumors about you and the Boyle brothers.”
“Did you now, well I probably am guilty of poor taste sometimes, but nothing worse than that.” I said.
“Keep them close Sylvia, they can be useful. They know how to find people we can’t find. They also know where things are, that we are looking to find. So don’t let anyone tell you that you should stop seeing them.” Letter said.
“Now that is a good thing to know,” I said.
“I have no idea what else you are up to with them and I don’t want to know,” he said finishing his coffee. “I need to get a move on, we are running one deputy short at the moment.”
“You just got off didn’t you?” I asked. wanting to know where my trainer was in the rotation.
“Yeah off at 11PM. Stopped to eat on the way home. That’s what people like me and you do honey. Nobody to cook for us, so we eat in places like this. Pretty damn sad,” he said.
“Listen Letter, we need a wife,” I suggested.
“What the fuck you talking about. I don’t even like you Sylvia,” he said with a smile.
“That’s why we would be perfect to share a wife. Give it some thought,” I said only half kidding.”
“So would you like the breakfast menu,” the waitress asked after Letter left without answering me.
“Damn I have had nothing but breakfast food for two days, I want meat,” I said.
“Well, I can get you a steak, and fries with a salad,” she suggested.
“Okay it’s a done deal,” I agreed. “I want the steak done though. Nothing bleeding for me, thank you very much.” I smiled at a couple of people who smiled at me. None of them knew me, so it had to be men on the make. I could do a reality TV show with that. ‘Men, with no taste, on the make,’ I thought with a inward laugh.
The steak wasn’t bad and the potatoes were excellent. The salad was okay. I ate all of it which I don’t usually do. I mostly eat salad only from a fifty item salad bar kind of place. Still I needed the green I knew.
I managed to make it back in time to be in bed by 1:30AM. That gave me enough time to catch up on my sleep by 7AM. My morning run ended after forty minutes with me in the Cafe on the Square. I explain to Lucille that there was a very pregnant pit bull roaming around main street. Someone would be looking for her, so if the animal control lady didn’t find her, most likely the owner had. Which might or might not be a good thing. After breakfast I ran back to the Motel.
Once I finished my morning run all funky, I had my morning shower, then I finally felt clean again. It was after nine when I showed up at the courthouse, I went to Sergeant Michaels office but he was on the evening tour with Letter. So I moved on down to the Chief Deputy’s office.
“So Chief Deputy Webster, do I report back to my old unit now? They are on the evening tour.”
“You can do that if you like, or you can work with Simpson till he nails this Allen thing down tight,” he suggested.
“I think Simpson would be happier with someone else, but thanks anyway,” I replied.
“Yeah he said that too, but I kind of told him that it was up to you not him. Now if you want to piss him off say yes, and go to work for him. If you really want to piss him off say no. Then write me a real report about your trip home, not a fairly tale. Gypsy’s lawyer told me, as well as the press, a very interesting story.”
“I have nothing to add to my report, which I haven’t written yet. Maybe I will find out what Gypsy’s lawyer said before I do.” I admitted.
“Good plan,” Webster said. “Okay come in at 3PM and see Michaels”
“Thanks Chief Deputy,” I replied.
“We still might have to send you home, if the hours get out of line. You have worked a lot of strange hours and we don’t pay overtime or allow you to work off the clock. Anyway get home and get a uniform on. I will tell the press when you are due in. I will also tell Simpson, if he wants to tell his side he needs to do it at three.”
“You are the boss,” I said happy to have it settled for me. Once back in my room, I checked all my email and phone messages. I returned a call to my mom to let her know that I had been out of town with no phone service. I had to explain that I had been escorting a prisoner back from out of state.
“Oh, was it fun?” she asked.
“Mom it’s a job, just like before. The hours are just a little better, and no one has been shooting at me yet, so it has it’s advantages.” I said.
“Yes it does. So have you met any candidates for son in law,” she asked.
“Not a one, but I have made love with a few guys. They just failed the son in law test, sorry,” I said. After that call I dressed then drove the Toyota to the courthouse parking lot.
I almost made it to the rear door before Simpson tried to tackle me. “Have you heard what that bitch is saying about us?” he asked.