Sheriff Porter 6 (edited)

Sheriff Porter 6

I went right from my office to the pub.  I got there in time for a cup of coffee, and some down time before I had dinner.  Dinner was also going to be from the pub.  Nita agreed to cook me a grilled cheese sandwich.  I have no idea why it wasn’t on the menu, since she made the best one in the state.

They started to drift in about eight.  “Brit put all their drinks on my tab but make absolutely sure none of them drives home tonight.”

“Me and Jeremy will take them home.  The SUV will hold seven passengers in a pinch.  Surely some of these clowns will be sober enough to drive,” The Brit commented.

By 10 PM there were eleven people drinking on my tab.  I wasn’t one of them.  I determined to stay sober to make sure they all got home safe.  Simpson came in alone then a half hour later Osborn entered to join him and the others.  She went to speak with Simpson, then went to talk to some of the road deputies.  Simpson sat alone.  He drank two beers then left.

By eleven o’clock the party was down to the slightly chubby young blond Osborn, the older and less attractive Ruth a female road deputy, Detective Letter the Vice Officer and me the Sheriff.  I put a damper on the party, so I wasn’t surprised they wanted to leave early as well.

Osborn left but came back a few minutes later.  “I decided I wasn’t ready to go home after all,” she said ordering coffee.  I was glad to see her switch to coffee.  I would hate to have to speak to her about drinking too much in public.  I could care less what she did at home.

She finished her coffee then came down to the end of the bar where I was talking to Brit and Jeremy.  “Sheriff Porter, I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to ride along with you and Detective Simpson.”

“Well Osborn you are more than welcome.  It should be obvious we are expecting great things of you,” I said.

“I hope I can live up to what you expect,” she said.

“Well the only way to tell is to keep throwing the load at you.  Maybe we will find the point where you buckle, and maybe not,” I suggested.

“I hope I can stand up to it,” she said with a smile.

“You will do fine,” I said sincerely.  Then I turned to The Brit and Jeremy.  This is Melissa Osborn,” then, “Allen and Jeremy, they are the closest thing to family I have in this world.”

The all just stood there and nodded.  Then The Brit said, “You know there will be talk.”

“There will never be any reason for it, or any truth to it,” I said.

“Good, you might finish your term,” he said.

“Odds are not that good,” I said with a smile.

“Probably worse than even we know,” The Brit replied.  “The church camp will be operational in a week.  I think between us all, we can keep the peace.”

“What is he talking about?” Osborn asked.

“Nothing at all.  Just an old man raving about something that means nothing,” I said.  “Go home and get some sleep Osborn.  We are going to make another arrest tomorrow, or not.”

Since I was in town, I ran around the softball field seven times and walked one.  It was all I could do.  And yes I puked up the grill cheese in the high weeds behind the field.  When I got home I went to work on the bag.  I couldn’t find my gloves and I was too sleepy to care.  I just set the timer and wailed away at the bag.

That next morning my hands hurt a little and were a little swollen, but I paid no attention.  I went to the take out window, then into the office to meet with Wilson.  He taught me about the new finger print reader and the high speed finger print ID computer, that the labs of both the University and the SBI had.

“Wilson since we don’t have access to a million dollar terminal, we won’t be seeing those anytime soon,” I said.

“But the University lab has a connection service.  If we put them on retainer we can email them a finger print sample and they will run the comparison software on it when there is time.  Guaranteed within 72 hours,” He said.

“I know you really want the University to work for us, but that isn’t very fast we need it right away now and then.”  Then I remembered the geek at Swamp Dog.  You know we could send the request to the lab for an official match.  While that is going on I could get it from a bootleg source.  It would only be a working ID not an official one.”

“If you feel comfortable with it, you are the boss, we can go with it,” Wilson said.  “By the way I heard you cracked the Burt Mathews murder.  Good on you, that should end some of the questions floating around about you.”

“Never happen, they will also say I don’t have enough experience to be the Sheriff and they are right,” I said.

“No they aren’t, you want to learn and you will do a hell of a job,” he said.

“Plus the word is you got some bad ass friends,” Wilson added.

“Speaking of that I have to go out now and interview some guy I hate to interview.”  With that I went to the box of evidence from the crime scene.  Owens had a picture on the table that he was looking at when he was shot.  There was no reason for a man with dementia to be interested in a picture he couldn’t remember so maybe there was more to it.  Hell I was sure that it was a picture of the killer.  I didn’t call anyone in for the interview I planned.  I just wanted it to be me and two of the three men.

When they both were at the courthouse, I carried them into the interrogation room.  “First of all guys, I’m not recording this interview and there is no one behind the mirror.  This is just the three of us.  Okay?” I asked.

“Okay,” they both said.  I noticed that neither one of them was nervous.  I also noticed that each of them was nearing seventy years old.  “So tell me about Owens,” I asked.

“Wilbur Owens was born about five miles from me.  We grew up on neighboring farms.  We played baseball in the summer and football in the fall and basketball in the winter.  We chased the same girls and tried like hell to get laid all during high school.  Truth is I loved Wilbur.  I cried when he died.”

“You all three are in uniform in the picture,” I said.

“Yeah me and Wilbur entered the army together on the buddy system in 1963.  We were really the first soldiers in Vietnam.  It wasn’t the marines like the history books say.  It was the advisors who trained the South Vietnamese Army.  We were there in 63, me and Wilbur right out of boot camp.  We were both good with machinery, so we learned to fix trucks and half tracks.”

“When out tours were over, we came back to the states and went into the Army Ranger program.  They were the guys who came before the green berets.  We wanted to be American heroes.  We told everyone we did it for the extra money, but we did it because we saw way too many John Wayne movies.

We went back for another tour in 65.  That time we were in the field trying to lead the ARVN.  To be honest by then we were mostly trying to stay alive.  We met Red here on that tour.”  The tall thin one named John stopped talking.

Then it was the man who had a red face and white hair that began talking.  The red face was all that suggested he might once have been a red headed soldier.

“Yeah I met Wilbur when we were assigned to the ARVN troops.  We would go out trying to find those sneaky little devils.  It was such a bore during the downtime, I asked Wilbur about his hometown.  That’s when I found out he and John were from the same town.  They talked about the kind of place County Seat was.  How friendly the small town was.  The only place a guy was sure to get a job was with the Dog Food plant or with the county government.  To be honest I kind of followed those two home to County Seat.  I bought a run down house with the VA loan and fixed it up.  I made a little money on it and did it again and again.  I own a construction company and some rental property these days.  Of course my son runs it all now.  I am pretty much retired like old John there.”

“Guys I hate to do this, but I got to know which one of you shot Wilbur?” I asked.

“What makes you think one of us shot him?” John asked.

“Well John it’s like this.  Wilbur’s life had gone to shit.  He was about to go into a nursing home and never come out of it.  He was going to have some little nurse’s aid wiping his ass and changing his diaper.  Hell the man was a hero, a fucking Army Ranger, he didn’t want that.  Did the three of you have a pact, or did he ask you, when he knew where it was heading.”

“He asked me, when he knew he had Alzheimer’s.  He knew he couldn’t do it himself.  He wanted to wait until he was no longer Wilbur Owens, the man who lay beside me in the stinkin’ jungle waiting for Charlie to come,” John said.

“You know he asked me the same thing.  We talked about it.  He was very specific about the timing he wanted.  He even told me what he wanted to do that last day.  Where he wanted to eat and what he wanted to see.  He wanted to see this building as a matter of fact,” Red said.

“So guys who did it,” I asked.

“I did,” John said.

“No you didn’t.  I did it,” Red said to me.

“So you both did it?” I asked.

“I guess that’s true.  Of course we will both deny it, when we go on the record.  We had no motive, so it will be impossible to prove,” John said.

“Not really John.  You had the strongest motive of all, love,” I said.  “Now, if you can live with what you did, I guess I can as well.  It’s not like you are going to kill anyone else.”

They looked at each other and Red looked up at me, “Maybe only one more time.”

I watched them limp away, two hard ass old men.  There goes Liam in twenty years, I thought.

I went up to the office and sat behind my big ass wooden desk and wondered what the fuck I was doing being Sheriff.  One thing I was sure of, being sheriff required more than just finding out who did what to who.

I left the office and found the maintenance man before I headed out for coffee at Hardee’s.  “Can you tell me something please,” I asked.

“I can try Sheriff.  What can I do for you?” he asked.

“Well I’m going to Hardee’s at the plaza for a decent cup of coffee.  When I get back in an hour, can you have that big fancy wooden desk removed from my office, and an old beat up metal one like they use in the regular offices installed.

“I sure can Sheriff, but why,” he asked.

“I ain’t earned the big desk yet,” I said.

I called Mrs. West, “Mrs. West a man is going to be switching out my desk, would you help him move everything over.  Also tell him to leave that old wooden chair.”

“Why of course Sheriff Porter,” she said.
Edited by Walt

 

About cindypress

sorry it is a mystery.
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11 Responses to Sheriff Porter 6 (edited)

  1. Mr. Twitchy says:

    Humility – a VERY valuable trait.
    We all have to earn respect; especially at new jobs.

  2. Barney R says:

    A pact by some old heroes, which is the way some of us old timers that went through that ‘senior trip’ feel sometimes. We weren’t heroes to ourselves, maybe to others we were, but we stuck together through thick and thin. Most of my really close friends from the service are all dead now, I’m about the only one left, and I’m not quite 70 yet. It kind of tells you about life when silent heroes die and no one cares. Sorry to be so maudlin this morning but this chapter brought back so many memories, both good and bad. I guess it was time to remember some things I had sorta forgotten. Thanks Cindy

  3. Dave says:

    You have done a great job in having Sylvia grow up into a person I would like to know.

    Dave

    • cindypress says:

      ah but you have evidently followed her even when she was just a dumb deputy so she must be somewhat likeable in and of herself.

      • Dave says:

        I have been following your writing since a lawyer took a bike ride; you have been getting better the whole way.

      • cindypress says:

        Walt and I thank you very much. It is very much a work in progress.

  4. jackballs57 says:

    Great Chapter thanks. Jack

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