My piece of blog fiction, concerning a small town named Sturgeons, continues...
by John L. Harmon
Acting Sheriff Benjamin Straker, and at the moment he really feels like he is acting, sits brooding behind the desk of his quickly vacated predecessor. It has been a long Sunday, and now, at eight o’clock in the evening, there doesn’t seem to be much to do but wait. Wait for evidence that isn’t there. Wait for Bob Kinney and Tommy Schroder to turn up. Wait for answers that make sense.
He runs his fingers over his buzzcut hair in mental frustration. Ned Dobson and Tracy Newcastle are not known for being liars or prone to flights of fancy. They are also not known for being murderers or abductors. A ballcap, a lawnchair, a truck with a boat trailer, a picnic basket, and a blanket only prove that certain people were at certain places at certain times; nothing else.
Ben’s light chestnut eyes traverse the top of the old oak desk, hoping to distract his mind from the problem twisting before him like a pretzel. Soon they rest upon a small, silver, oval frame placed innocuously to the far right. The photograph, a trimmed snapshot, strikes him familiar and he picks it up for thorough examination.
There is Sheriff Lester Lawrence, his hair still showing some of its natural reddish-orange, clad in his beige uniform. Standing next to him is a young boy wearing the Sheriff’s sturdy hat. Ben starts a little as he recognizes the boy as himself at 12 years of age.
It was the day they met, fifteen years ago, at a school function. Police officers were there, along with firefighters, lawyers, and doctors, all presenting their careers to the burgeoning future. Young Ben took to the police officers, which surprised no one since he always followed the rules in any situation, but that was not the real reason he was interested in such a profession.
Those shiny badges were an unspoken promise. An unspoken promise Ben had made to himself to find his father, who had left him and his mother before he was born. He believed a badge could give him that power, but as time would prove, he didn’t need it.
Sheriff Lester Lawrence became his mentor, his father figure, by teaching young Ben how to fish, how to play golf, how to build birdhouses, and, most importantly, how to fire a pistol. The desire to find his biological father slowly faded away from Benjamin Straker over the years. Any last vestiges of that dream died when his mother succumbed to cancer.
Ben sets the memories and the photograph down and slams a defiant fist against the desk. He is not going to allow another parental figure to slip away. First his father, then his mother, and now Sheriff Lawrence.
“He is not getting off the hook that easily,” Ben mutters, standing up and grabbing the beige hat off the coatrack. Opening the Sheriff’s office door, he is surprised to find Miss Miranda Whiffle, and her blond bouffant-esque hair, hunched over the front counter. His determined attitude temporarily softens, “Miss Whiffle, what are you doing here at this hour on a Sunday night? The dispatcher and the officer-on-duty can handle things.”
“I’m certain Joe and Leslie can,” Miss Whiffle chuckles sweetly, “but this weekend has been so hectic that I needed to catch up on my own paperwork.”
“Well, okay then,” he smiles proudly at the hardest working soul in Sturgeons. “Take it easy, Miss Whiffle.”
“You, too, Sheriff Straker.”
Those alliterative words follow him outside and into the SUV, where the fifteen year old memories roar back to life with the engine. The first time he met Lawrence. The first time he wore the Sheriff’s beige hat. The first time he was certain where his life was headed. Now his destiny seems to have come to pass. Just one last piece of unfinished pseudo-parental business to take care of before he can drop the acting and simply be Sheriff._________________________________________
Click CHAPTER SEVEN to continue.
Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,