This is my continuing work of fiction, inspired by a wayward voice-activated Internet Search.
by John L. Harmon
Miss Miranda Whiffle perches pleasantly at her station, located behind the enormous front counter of the Sturgeons Police Headquarters. She is the Sheriff’s office assistant and is generally the first person one sees when entering the predominately brown interior.
At 50 years of age, Miss Whiffle is as buoyant and engaging as her creamy blond bouffant-esque hair. She happily passes out forms, files paperwork, makes coffee, and performs other office chores. Do not mistake this woman for a throwback to a bygone era; she is a giver, and more importantly, the oil which keeps the Sturgeons Police Headquarters running smoothly. Also, quite inadvertently at times, she is an eavesdropper from being situated so near the Sheriff’s personal office.
Behind that dark brown door, with the word SHERIFF painted on its frosted window, Ned Dobson has just finished telling of the terrifying ordeal on Lake Pontoon that ended with the apparent death of Bob Kinney. A minute of intense silence follows, allowing for serious contemplation from the listeners, including Miss Whiffle.
The kindly gravel voice of the Sheriff soon echoes through frosted glass, “If you’ll please excuse us, Ned, I must confer privately with the Chief Deputy.”
Miss Whiffle, having been engrossed in Ned Dobson’s strange and horrifying tale, hurriedly makes herself busy as the Sheriff’s door swings open. Sheriff Lawrence, grey-haired and attired in beige, steps out and immediately approaches his bubbly office assistant with a warm smile masking his massive confusion.
“Miss Whiff, would you please bring Mr. Dobson a cup of tea?”
“No problem-o, Sheriff Law,” Miss Whiffle favorably complies with the task of assisting the ruggedly handsome Ned Dobson.
Sheriff Lester Lawrence thanks his assistant and then silently leads his Chief Deputy through the headquarters to the interrogation room. Once safely inside the flat, grey, surprisingly not brown, room, the longtime Sheriff stares gravely at his trusted second-in-command.
The 64-year-old man has been head keeper of law and order in Sturgeons for nigh onto twenty-five years, due in large part to his generally agreeable disposition. Over the years Sheriff Lawrence has experienced many unusual crimes (one with a trombone) and strange incidents (sometimes involving bananas), but never—NEVER—quite as bizarre as the unbelievable tale just spewed out before him.
“Give me your pad, Ben,” Sheriff Lawrence orders, holding out a hand.
“Yes, Sir,” the young Chief Deputy Straker acquiesces, handing over his little black notebook, with pen, in which he had been taking notes on the extremely odd seeming death of Bob Kinney.
Flipping through the crisp white pages filled with shorthand the older man finally locates a fresh sheet. He writes a quick note, rips out the page and hands the belongings back to their owner.
With a steady, determined hand the Sheriff places the note on the bleak interrogation table, along with his gun and badge. Before Chief Deputy Straker can react to the symbolic gesture, his mentor, his father-figure pats him on the shoulder with a farewell smile and abandons him in the desolate room.
Chief Deputy Benjamin Straker, all of 27 with buzz cut brown hair, stands dumbfounded for a moment, but only a moment. He grabs Sheriff Lawrence’s police possessions, along with the note, and gives a purposeful, yet pointless chase. Reaching the unoccupied front counter he stops short at the sound of emotional suffering.
Beyond the open door of the Sheriff’s office sits Ned Dobson bent over in a chair, hands covering his face, sobbing uncontrollably. Beside him is Miranda Whiffle, holding a cup of tea with one hand while gently massaging his back with the other.
Ben Straker glances at the note in his shaking hand. It simply reads, I resign, accompanied by the sheriff’s loopy L’ed signature. Focusing his attention back onto the tragic scene, choking down the tears, he perceives a coatrack positioned in the corner of the brown office.
On top of this tall, slender structure is Sheriff Lawrence’s personal police hat. Its rich wide brim calls the young man onward, like a deep beige beacon, to an uncertain and potentially dangerous future.
Click CHAPTER THREE to continue.
Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,