Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I had thought I would get this story in two installments but looking at the remaining section this morning, I will be posting it in three instead. So today, I bring you Part 2.  If you missed Part 1, just click on HERE and it will take you back. When we left Sheriff Butter, he was on his way over to the garage to check on the squad car.

       Sheriff Butter stood for a moment on the front step of the jail. Maybe he was bias, but his town was the best spot in Land ‘O Lakes County. Everyone was kind to their neighbor, lending a hand where needed without expecting something in return. Imperial folks took care of their own and trusted one another. Nothing every changed in this laid-back community except the population and the seasons. Days like today were his favorite. The sun shone bright, highlighting the warm colors of autumn everywhere. Weather was still pleasant enough for a stroll or a game of ball in Oleo Park.
    “Hey, Sheriff.”
    “Hi, Tommy,” he greeted the freckled boy skidding his bike to a stop. “How’s your folks?”
    “They’re okay. Dad’s comin’ home on Friday.”
    “Bet you can’t wait.”
   “We’re goin' campin’ at Shedds Lake.”
   “You’ll have a fine time. You know old Spud’s still swimmin’ out there. He’s just waitin’ for the perfect bait.”
   Legend or real, Spud was the biggest catfish you’d ever want on a platter. He’d been in Shedds Lake long before Butter was Tommy’s age. No one could catch him.
   “Hey Sheriff, I hear Deputy Parkay got stuck again.”
   Tommy grinned and shook his head. “You need to deputize me. I can back up real good.” Showing off the skill, he backed his bike up straight as an arrow then peddled back to the steps.
   “Good job, Tommy. I’ll keep you in mind.”
   “I gotta get home. Mom’s waitin’ on this loaf of bread.”
   “Then you best get goin’. Tell your folks I said hello.”
   “Okay. See ya, Sheriff.”
    Butter felt like a man with all the time in the world as he made his way down the street to Charlie’s Garage. Life was like that in Imperial; slow and easy. He’d been the law enforcement for sixteen years. Very seldom was he called upon in an official capacity. That is unless you counted rescuing Mrs. Honeyspread’s cat from the tree or directing traffic during the Spring Churn Festival. Yep, it was a fine place to live.
The mechanic backed the squad car out of the stall as Butter reached the station.
   “Everything okay?” he asked as the barrel of a man worked his way from behind the steering wheel.
   “I don’t know how he manages it, Sheriff. There doesn’t seem to be any damage. Little dent in the back bumper, but the trunk opens just fine.” Charlie handed the keys to him with a shake of his head. “How your nephew gets into so much curd and comes out like sweet cream is beyond me.”
   Sheriff Butter laughed. “He is the luckiest son of a gun. I’ll see ya,” he called as he got into the squad car and pulled away with a wave.

   Things were less than jovial back at the office.
   “You got a couple of suits in there,” Bonnie pointed over her shoulder when he came in., "Said they’re    from IBI.”
   “Internal Bureau of Investigations? Great. Just what I don’t need today. Internal Affair birds dumpin’ yogurt where they don’t belong.”
   “Oh… you’re in trouble now, Sheriff.” Sam teased through the bars.
   “Why are you still here?” Grabbing a clipboard off the wall, he signed his name. After handing the form to Bonnie, he unlocked the cell door. “Go on home, Sam. And try not to make a habit of this. I’m runnin’ a jail, not a hotel.”
   “True enough, Sheriff,” Sam replied, collecting his ball cap and jacket from the rack. “But the food’s better here. That was good biscuits and gravy, Miss Bonnie. I’ll be back.” He winked at the dispatcher.
As Sam left, Butter went into his office and greeted the men. Neither one offered to shake his hand. They were too busy going through the files.
   “Can I help you find something?”
   The blue-suited man shut the drawer. “We’re here on a complaint filed regarding the department finances.”
   “What complaint?” The sheriff sat in the chair and leaned back, lacing his fingers behind his head.
   “Seems you have paid a large sum of money to…” The other gentleman, dressed in brown, referred to a small spiral notebook before finishing. “Charlie’s Garage.”
   “Yeah, ‘spose I have. He’s the only place in town if you need a vehicle worked on. What’s the problem?”
   “We’re talking frequent alleged repairs, Sheriff. You’ve had the squad car serviced six times this month, alone.”
   “Almost seems like it’d be cheaper to get a new one every month, now don’t it?” He smiled but the other two didn’t share his humor.
   “Can you explain the expenditures?”
   The sheriff sat up and looked across the desk. “Either of you got a nephew you’d like to ship to a foreign country?” He thought one cracked a smile.
   “Well, I do. Every day my nephew, who also happens to be the deputy, makes the rural patrol sweep. And at least once a week I can count on him calling to tell me he’s stuck on Promise Bridge.”
The two men looked to one another then back at him.
   “That means every time he calls in, I have to get hold of Charlie’s Garage for a tow. Then Charlie goes over it, fixing anything the numbskull broke.”
   Again, neither man so much as blinked.
   “Is it costly? Yes. But I got enough to worry about with that boy trying to tear up the only squad car we can afford.” Sheriff Butter stood up, planting his large palms flat on the desk; he leaned across to the agents.
   “What I don’t need are a couple of hot shots comin’ in here telling me I’m spending too much money.”
   The men burst into bellows of laughter. “That is the craziest story we’ve ever heard,” Blue said. “And we’ve heard some good ones.”
   “Yeah. Can we see this bridge your deputy seems to favor?” Brown added with a snicker.
   “I’ll take you out there. Come on.”

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