Sheriff Porter 29
“Mrs. Novak, I have some very bad news for you. We found Tommy. It appears now that he had an accident in the woods. I’m so sorry but Tommy died in the woods. I don’t know if this is any comfort at all, but I’m very sorry for you loss.”
She broke into wails of high pitched screams. It was a terrifying sound. I finally took hold her to try to calm her down. I let her cry it out. I knew I should let her grieve before I questioned her, but she would have to be one less vote I received next election.
“Mrs. Novak the medical examiner tells me Tommy had been dead for several hours before you called for help. Could you explain please?” I asked.
“I found him gone when I woke up at nine this morning,” she explained. “I thought he had gone out to play.”
“Do you usually sleep so late on a Sunday morning?” I asked.
“Yes, I sleep late on Sunday morning. It’s the only day I have to sleep in. I work two jobs six days a week. So I sleep late on Sunday morning,” she said.
“Mrs. Novak does your son often go into the woods before you wake up on Sunday Morning? Like 6 AM?” I asked.
“I don’t think so. He is usually playing in the yard with that dog of his,” she said.
“The dog stayed with Tommy till we got to him. The dog handler has the dog in his truck. I’m sure you want him back,” I said. “We will return him when you are ready,” I said.
“Take that fucking dog to the pound. He must have woke Tommy up, and then ran off into the woods. Tommy would have followed him,” she said.
“That might have happened or Tommy might have tried to get away from the house because something inside freighted him. Look I’m not a mother, but I am a woman. I know how things work. Do you have a boy friend?” I asked.
“Yes and he was over last night, if that’s your next question,” she said. “But he didn’t do anything to Tommy.”
“Did he spend the night?” I asked.
“Yes, but like I said, he didn’t do anything to Tommy,” she said.
“Why did he leave before you called us?” I asked.
“He left before I discovered Tommy was gone,” she said.
“I need his name and address,” I said. I wrote it down when she told me. “One more thing did you two have a loud argument last night?” Not even I knew where that came from. It was just one of many possibilities. It would explain the dog waking up and the boy running away.
“Yes, but it had nothing to do with Tommy,” she said.
“Well, we will check this out, but it looks like an accident at the moment. We will check back with you. What do you want me to do with the dog?” I asked again.
“Shoot him for all I care, but I won’t have him back in this house.” Melvin had been standing very quiet during the whole interview. So he was my witness to it all.
“So what do you think Sheriff?” Melvin asked.
“Do I think she should have checked on her son last night? Yes. Do I think she is a lousy mother, I can’t judge I’ve never been a mother. Did she do anything criminal? Probably not.
We can meet with the DA when we get back. Maybe he can think of something. In the meantime I have to do something with a four legged hero,” I said.
“You gonna take her mutt,” Melvin asked.
“Looks like it,” I said. “Where is the dog man.”
“He went home I think. I can call and see,” Melvin said.
“Do that, I’m not about to let them put that dog down. He followed that kid and tried to keep him safe. When he couldn’t, he still protected him. You see the dog’s fur?” I asked.
“No, I didn’t noticed anything,” Melvin said.
“It was matted. He hasn’t been well taken care of and he has some blood. He took some cuts last night looking after that kid. When, I can’t say but he did. He is not going to the shelter and he is not going to be put down. You heard the mother give the dog to me didn’t you?” I asked.
“I surely did Sheriff,” Melvin said.
“Good for you Melvin,” I said. “Now dial the dog man and let me talk to him.”
“Hello,” Melvin said when the dog man answered the phone then handed the phone to me.
“Do me a favor will you. Take the dog to the vet have him examined get any thing he needs done and tell the vet I’m going to stand good for his bill.”
“I’m glad to hear it Sheriff. That dog deserves better than he is used to,” he said.
“Yeah, just do it and don’t tell anyone. This is just between you, me, and Melvin,” I said.
“You got it,” the dog man said.
I stopped by and talked to the ADA and still got home before dark. I was too tired to eat, so I took out the bottle labeled Popov vodka. I had an ounce mixed with diet Mountain Dew. It was all I had in the house. I realized I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, but I still was too tired to even order a pizza.
I masturbated to the memory of Wendy Roberts, then I fell asleep on the sofa. I slept till the box house got cold about 3 AM. I moved to the bed and finished out the night.
It was 6 AM Monday, when I started moving again. I pulled out the new trike and rode it down the drive and out the gate. I rode it all the way to the plaza it was a chore. I stopped and ate breakfast then rode it back home. I managed to get it home very easily since most of that was down hill. The distance to the Plaza was about the same as it was to the gym. I figured I could ride the trike to the gym workout then ride it home. It would be a real workout but it should be about equal to the run I did everyday.
Later I drove to the gym. I was already tired from the trike ride, but I felt good as well. I worked the bag hard for an hour. While I was there Osborn came in.
“Honest Sheriff, I didn’t know you were here. It’s so hard to get down here I hope you don’t mind if I stay and work the bag,” she said.
“It’s not my place to run you out of Reggie’s gym. I was just finishing any way.” I stepped away from Osborn and called Mrs. West. “Mrs. West, do you need me for anything?” I asked.
“Not me, but the vet down at the animal clinic wants you to call him. Something about your dog,” she said obviously curious.
“Give me his number,” I said.
“Do you have a dog?” she asked.
“It looks as though I do now,” I said. I broke the connection and dialed the number Mrs. West had given me. “Yes, this is Sheriff Porter,” I said to the girl who answered.
“Yes ma’am we took a dog in and the man who dropped him off said you were going to guarantee payment,” she said.
“That’s right is there a problem,” I said.
“We really can’t start treatment until you stop by and sign an authorization, and give us your credit card number,” she said.
“I’m gonna tell you what, if I have to stop by there before my dog is ready to pick up, I’m going to bring the health department inspector, and every other petty bureaucrat I can get my hands on. You tell that Vet to take care of that dog, or get ready to spend the rest of his time in Warren County at the courthouse paying off citations,” I shouted into the phone.
“One moment please,” she said.
“This is Doc Ashby. Did you just threaten my receptionist?” he asked.
“Hell no, I threatened you. If you don’t treat my dog, I will make your life so fucking miserable, you will wish your clinic was in some other county. Here is where you tell me to bring it on. I’m sure you have a good lawyer. Then I am going to say to you, does he work free, because I will arrange for you to run up several thousand dollars in attorney fees.”
“For god’s sake,” he said into the phone, then I heard him say. “Give the bitch whatever she wants. It’s not worth this much aggravation.”
“So now that we have that straightened out. Check him for everything. I have no idea what shots he has had, probably none. Give him anything that won’t make him sick, if he hasn’t already had it. Give him a bath and tie a fucking bow around his neck,” I said angrily.
“You got a dog,” Reggie asked.
“Yeah, I got a dog, so what?” I asked.
“I thought you was too selfish to have any responsibilities,” he said.
“I’m trying to grow up,” I said smiling at him. “First a dog, then a husband.”
“Yeah right,” Reggie said.
I went to the office without stopping for anything. I got in about 10 AM. I hadn’t brought Wilson breakfast for over a month. I should do it but I hadn’t taken the time to sit in the lab for over a month either.
“One of those ADA types is here to see you,” Mrs West said.
She allowed the man to enter my office. “Well do come in,” I said.
“We have a dead child. One Tommy Novak, so where are we?” he asked.
“What is this we shit. I don’t remember you walking through the woods with us to find the boy. I don’t remember you interviewing the boy’s mother. I also don’t remember you standing bye till the van from the State Pathology lab at Abbottsville took him away,” I said angrily.
“So, you are awaiting the pathology report before you bring any charges?” he asked.
“We don’t bring charges you do. I just follow the law. I called your office yesterday and was told they couldn’t think of anything the mother had done criminal at this point. So I guess we are waiting for the Pathologist to tell us if there is anything inconsistent with an accident here.”
“Well the people you talked to yesterday didn’t seem to grasp all the nuances of the case,” the very handsome young man said.
“Tell you what, leave me your card and I’ll call you when we have something to report. You do know that’s how we do it here?” I asked.
“You know lawyers, even prosecutors, don’t get along well with cops as a rule. People like you Miss Porter are the reason why,” he said it stating the obvious.
I took a deep breath then said, “Counselor you do remember your way out? I will call you when I have something until then you are no longer welcome in this office. Please do not bother my Deputies for information.” I said it just as cold as I could. He obviously played on his good looks, because he had no charm at all.
We all played the waiting game. Wilson told me he could find nothing at the scene that indicated anyone else had been present when Tommy went over the mini cliff.
I left the office at 5 PM with no more information than I had when I started the day. I drove the candy cane color ford ranger toward the Vets office located on the Dobson Rd.
Edited by Walt