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Pride Goeth Before A Fall
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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    the pacific north west
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    4,549
    We have a old mama cougar that lives in the woods behind us. She shows up every summer with a kit. The neighbor has hunting dogs, and it's easy to hear when she parades her offspring where the dogs can get a whiff. We've seen her 6 years in a row, and older neighbors say she has been here ten years or more. By the way, we had bear tracks around the chicken yard this morning. Guess I won't go running out in the dark to do chores!

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    State WA
    Posts
    12,918
    Nope no running out there lol. Have a weapon with you for sure just in case. And to answer if our windows were up, yep they were it was still a cool spring in the hills of Vrginy.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    W. Georgia
    Posts
    7,095
    Oh ya'll, I'll never complain about an armadillo again. lol

  4. #44
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    Aug 2011
    Location
    the pacific north west
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    4,549
    #13
    Claude picked up the night's receipts and locked them in his office. He really needed to see Inga and headed outside to his car, the wind and snow slammed the door back against him. His car a white lump, no street lights, no way to drive home; this looked like a sleep in the back room kind of night. He stopped to grab a bottle from the back bar; if he had to be his own company, he wanted to be able to stand himself.

    Will stomped the snow from his feet as he entered the dimly lit sheriff's office. Kevin had the portable genset running and the place was cool but liveable. They had no inmates, so he made the decision to button the outfit up for the night. There was no traffic, no citizens on the street; so he switched the phone over to his house number and locked the door. He stopped by the courthouse to check the doors and nearly got stuck backing out of the parking lot. The auditors safe combination number Evie had found remained a mystery. Betty vowed no knowledge, no one would 'fess up to having the numbers.

    The 'ladies' were highly perturbed at having to interrupt their set routine of combination numbers, but as sheriff, Will insisted it be done. He had not forgotten the breech of security, but waited for someone to show their hand.

    As sheriff of a destitute county in a economic failure country; Will had a near zero dollar budget. His 4 wheel drive was the only patrol car, and surprising enough, there was little crime. It's not easy to be a criminal when you had to walk as a get away vehicle.

    A few residents still had autos. He relied heavily on Ev out in his area, and Sam to the north. But the rest of the county was up to Will to patrol. His house was dark and cold, Cassy must be at her mother's place. Will sure wished she had started a fire before she left. He sat with his feet up in the recliner with a heavy blanket covering his worn out bones as the warmth started to slowly circulate. Will was asleep as the wind fought and tore at any house containing warmth, stealing heat and comfort.


    Evie sent everyone to bed. There was grumbling and more than a little pushing and shoving as the deed was done. Cleaning the kitchen, Evie was finishing the last of the cups, when Inga came wandering in. "Ma, what do you think about that cat scream?"

    "I rightly don't know for sure, it's been.......probably 15 years since we've had a problem. We'll look for tracks in the morning and see what we might have, but Ev will take care of it for us." Evie assured her daughter.

    "Ma, how about you tell me about Pete and what has been going on around here. I have bits and pieces, and frankly don't know what to believe. Has he really gone off the deep end?" Inga asked, puzzled at her brother's behavior.

    Mother and daughter talked long into the night; until the lamp burned low and Evie was forced to her empty bedroom

  5. #45
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    Jun 2004
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    State WA
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    Thank you, would be nice if Inga could straighten up. Good luck to Will.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
    Posts
    17,575
    I agree - hope that at least one of Evie's children is salvageable. It's always amazing that you can have really nice, good parents and they turn out rotten kids.

    PNW, your writing is so wonderful at drawing us into the story. The characters are real to me.
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  7. #47
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    Aug 2011
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    the pacific north west
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    #14
    The huge cat slunk along the fence line between Evie's and Everett's, easily jumping the 4 wire fence onto Ev's property. He could smell fresh meat and the scent of blood. The fury of the storm diluted the rank ripeness of the blood, but the whiff was alluring drawing the hungry animal closer and closer to the source. The barn was securely shut. The cat made two circuits around the perimeter to make sure. Hunger made him jump to the top of the woodshed, to see if there was another way into the barn. The metal roof under the snow caused the cat to slide down, claws raking the tin in a long, drawn out screeching sound.

    He listened to the barking of a dog from inside the house, but it stopped. Ears flattened, he snarled into the howl of the wind. There was a slight, faint murmur that snagged his attention. Attention diverted, curiosity caused him to investigate the new sound.
    The yearling steer had come into water. The cat sprang and landed on the back of the Angus cross and with one perfectly placed bite, severed the spinal cord while raking it's back claws along the flanks. Blood spurted, and the resulting kill area was bright crimson with sprayed blood. The cat ate his fill, and then started dragging the carcass further down the pasture to hide.

    The cat's movement caused the cattle that were ice crusted blobs of white, to move away and gather at the far corner behind the barn. That's were Ev found them the next morning, when he looked out the window to do his usual check of his kingdom. The storm had abated soon after the cat's kill, and the scene was very visible in the light of morning.

    Swearing at the top of his lungs, Ev grabbed his pants and yanked his boots on. Cheryl sat up in bed at the panic she could hear in her husband's voice and dressed quickly.

    "Grab your gun," Ev was shouting as he ran off the porch, slipping in the icy crust and nearly landing flat on his back. Cheryl stopped long enough to pull on her old snow boots and chore coat before joining Ev. The massacre had flattened the snow into the mud with blood, hunks of hide and entrails strewn around. Ruby ran around whining and sniffing the hated smell of cougar, darting in ever widening circles in a frenzy.

    The air was blue with Ev's cursing. That particular nice, fat steer was going to be their food in another month. Now...wasted and wantonly destroyed by a stinkin cat. Cheryl had to sneak back around the barn to share her amusement with no one but herself; as Ev in his rage was a comical sight. He was vibrating and quivering with fury, stomping and flailing his arms like a 3 year old in a tantrum. Ruby stopped at looked in astonishment at her master as Ev continued his enraged displeasure.

    Cheryl whistled low and the dog bounded over. Bending over she spoke to Ruby and rubbed the heeler behind the ears. The two of them retreated to the porch where Cheryl grabbed the broom and started sweeping snow off the porch, and Ruby lay on the welcome matt out of the line of fire.


    Evie woke early, the cold seeping under the covers to make the room uncomfortable. Hurrying into long underwear, she donned her old standby skirt and settled a heavy sweater around her shoulders. She didn't give a rip if every one else in the wide world thought she was frumpy and weird looking, it was time to be warm.

    Thank goodness the boys had brought in so much extra wood, and the building flames began to warm the kitchen. The battered, blue speckled perculator started to hiss and sigh, the first hiccup of water thumping against the glass top. Evie started a big pot of water for oatmeal and hot chocolate. Finding a moment to herself, she looked out the window at what the world looked like frosted with a foot of snow.

  8. #48
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    Jun 2004
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    State WA
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    12,918
    Wonderful another chapter in Evie's snow covered world.

  9. #49
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    Aug 2011
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    the pacific north west
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    4,549
    #15
    Will woke up cold and stiff, his frame molded to the chair. Another night in paradise sans electricity, he mused at his mostly rotten luck. Stumbling into the kitchen, he went to fill the coffee pot. No water, crap! He walked around the room, looking aimlessly for a water solution when a difference in the scenery began to bite at his awareness.

    Looking closer, it was apparent that Cassy had pulled out. All her favorite coffee mugs were gone, her collection of country ducks, and blast it she took her waffle iron. The bedroom was spotlessly clean and empty of her things. The bathroom was the same, spotless but devoid of her personal effects. That was kind of a severe, abrupt ending, he decided. Not even a note, oh wait, he bet that's what was taped to the refrigerator. It was typical and contained all the usual platitudes, but over is over no matter how it's written.

    Will guessed it had just flamed out. She wasn't willing to cut him slack over his job; and he didn't know how to make it better for her. He dressed and headed for the cafe, coffee was on his mind; lots of it.

    It was a tussle getting to the cafe. The streets had a good foot of snow, and he was the first vehicle through. Changing his mind, Will changed direction and drove to Jerry's to have the station owner chain up the SUV. It was evident the cruiser was parked in the garage for the winter. Jerry was walking down the street, stepping high to move through the snow, and he was as grumpy as Will for the lack of coffee.

    "Is the cafe open," Jerry greeted Will as soon as the sheriff exited his vehicle; not bothering to say hello. Coffee was more important.

    "Dunno, but I'm headed that way right away. The powers still out at my house." he groused through clenched teeth. "I'll do this," and Jerry looked at the SUV, "when I get back from breakfast."

    Both men crossed the street and rounded the corner in the hunt for coffee and pancakes. The cafe was open, cold as a well digger's glove and full of the scent of coffee. The ancient gas grill heaped with an assorted gaggle of coffee pots and hash browns.

    Leta turned around and hollered at the boys to help themselves, cups on the counter and how did they want their eggs. Will poured cups of the thick dark goo that passed for coffee and settled in a chair.
    Jerry picked up his cup, sniffed and said to no one in particular, "I don't know if I'm man enough for this," and took a big swallow.

    The door opened and Claude came stumbling through. The man looked like hell. Uncombed, unshaven and obviously in yesterday's clothes. 'Lo," Claude groped for a cup, filled it and took a big gulp. He backed up, hit a chair and took another drink that went down the wrong way. He coughed, sputtered and hacked along, trying to get a breath.

    The men made small talk until Leta passed out platters of breakfast. Then they didn't talk at all. They were all business with the chow. The cold room taking the heat from the food faster than they could eat.

    Claude was the first done, and he got up and poured more coffee for his table mates. "I don't see how this can be made with water," he griped, as the liquid gurgled from the pour spout. Shuddering, he took another swallow. "This smells as bad as that @#%&@ skunk out at Hanson's place." The whole town was well aware of Claude's tangle with the skunk, so he didn't have to explain.

    "That dog is vicious, he should be put away," Claude said flat out. "She shouldn't be allowed to have that mutt there with all those kids."

    "Oh, I don't know," Will countered, and they debated the merits of having a mean dog. Jerry left to install the chains and Will and Claude continued to talk.

    Will didn't much care for Claude, and he was itching to find out why the roadhouse owner was out at Evie's place so much; so he pushed a little on Claude's buttons.

    Claude let it slip that Inga was home, and that perked up Will's interest. The gossip about Claude and Inga's breakup had circled around town several times. Will had heard and not paid much mind, but Claude seemed to be irritated and jumpy about the fact.
    Will had just been elected to sheriff and if he had known then, what he knew now, he would have charged Claude with stalking.

    Claude was a poor, poor excuse of a man, Will thought as he pushed away from the table and paid for his meal. He was almost to the door when gunshots echoed down the street, and the glass shattered in the door he started to open.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    SW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,086
    Oh Nooooo, please don't let it be Will. Thanks for the addition. It just keeps getting better.

  11. #51
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    Dec 2002
    Location
    Atlantic Canada
    Posts
    9,217
    and Cliff shows up again!

    1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer

    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    Joh 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.


  12. #52
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    Jun 2004
    Location
    State WA
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    12,918
    Oh man now what, hope Will is okay. And dang why go with a law man if u cant take their hours? His girl friend needs to grow up.

  13. #53
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    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
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    17,575
    Ooooh, you cleared the way for Inga and Will to get together, when Inga gets her head on straight.
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    the pacific north west
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    #16
    Will instinctively ducked to the left, putting the solid wooden door frame and wall, between him and the shooter. Shouting for everyone to get down, he scooted under the cafe front window to the brick corner protection. His service weapon in hand, Will peered intently in the direction the shots had come from. He cataloged and inventoried a million bits of information, and could find nothing. No movement, no faint whisper of where a person had been, no further shots.

    "Dear Lord a' Mercy!" Leta exclaimed with shock at her first look at Claude. The roadhouse owner had been creased on the right side of his head by the almost spent bullet. Spurting blood from the temple artery pumped with every beat of Claude's heart. Smashing his thumb on the bleeder. Will snapped orders at Leta to find him a clean towel. "Hurry," he urged. Snatching the dubiously clean cloth, Will pressed it tight against Claude's head. "Go out the back door and go get Kevin," he ordered, without looking. When Leta didn't move, he glanced up to see her wrinkled face go pasty white and her form crumple to the floor.

    Leta had managed to faint without hurting herself, so Will left her on the floor. He tried dragging Claude, but couldn't move the older, heavier man with one hand. Unbuckling Claude's belt, he pulled it free from the belt loops and wound it around the unconscious man's head. One, two, three times around and then buckled it tightly. That let both hands pull the bleeding man behind the counter. Will crawled on the floor below the window height to reach Leta, and pulled her behind the counter. He was reaching for a chair to move it out of his way when another shot took out his hat laying on the table.

    Mad at the destruction of his stetson, Will gritted his teeth against the headache forming, and checked once again on Claude. Wiggling to the back of the cafe, Will got up and zig zagged through the kitchen to the back door. Later he was to recall that he was disgusted at the amount of filth and grease on Leta's floor. Her cafe really needed cleaning and an inspection, he would have to get to that.

    Brushing sweat from his eyes, he felt the stinging bite of glass shards as he touched his face. Bursting out the back door he headed for the corner where Kevin was crouched, the deputy turning to see who was busting up behind him. Kevin took one look at Will and passed out.

  15. #55
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    Aug 2004
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    SW Louisiana
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    Oh please don't leave us hanging int he middle of a shootout!

  16. #56
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    Aug 2011
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    #17
    Ev finally wound down from his raging display of temper. Lips thinned in a severe line he began plotting the hunt and destruction of the bold cat. Cheryl had the porch swept by the time Ev showed back, sheepishly poking his head around the railing to ask if he could come in. Cheryl rested her chin on the broom handle, heaved a huge sigh, and said "I suppose so" with a grin. "Ev, your gonna give yourself a heart attack, the way your carrying on," she scolded again for the thousandth time.

    Grinning unrepentantly, he smarted back,"yeah, but you love me anyway." He ducked when Cheryl took a swipe at him with the broom.

    Arms entwined, they stood on the porch listening to the silence of the snow covered morning. What they both heard was muffled reports from a rifle. "Do you hear that?" Cheryl said in a hushed voice.

    "Yeah, that's coming from town, isn't it?" Ev scanned the layout of his farm, looking over the distant fence to Evie's, where everything seemed quiet and serene. "Do you suppose I should go in and see what's going on?"

    Alarmed at the eagerness Ev displayed for getting into town trouble. Cheryl was about to put the kaibosh on jumping in with both feet, when he moved off the porch with alacrity, and used her broom to sweep the snow off the windshield. "You coming?" he shot over his shoulder, as he placed his rifle in the back window rack.

    Cheryl was only three steps behind him; so much for her version of being cautious, she chided herself. It was tough driving, the amount of snow the tires were pushing, so Ev feathered the accelerator and crept into town.

    Ev shut the motor off at the edge of town, Cautiously they got out of the pickup with guns at the ready. There was a man crouched by the edge of the brick building housing the cafe, and Ev motioned Cheryl to stay low. At the distance they were away, he had trouble telling who they were looking at. The shooter or the shootee. The man stood up to move and Ev could see the tan uniform with the darker brown stripe on the pants leg. Will was in front of them.

    Using a sharp, piercing whistle that alerted the man to people behind him, Ev and Cheryl started to advance.
    Will turned at the familiar sound, he waved his two friends forward. Another shot sounded, more glass breaking in the front of the cafe.

    Ev and Cheryl moved close in, and Will turned to tell them what was happening. His attention was caught by the widening of Cheryl's eyes as she stared in horrified wonderment at the huge shard of glass impaled in Will's head.
    Will frowned, and went to brush his face with his hand, but was fiercely stopped by Ev clamping his hand around the sheriff's wrist.

    "Don't" Ev cautioned, "Will your hurt, don't touch yourself." the command was swift and sure. "Tell me what's going down. Who's shooting."

  17. #57
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    Jun 2004
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    State WA
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    12,918
    OHHHH that helps, having everyone passing out around you, get lots of help that way. NOT. Am glad EV and Cheryl came. Thank you.

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    SW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,086
    Oh the suspense is wicked and driving me nuts. More please!

  19. #59
    i'm betting it's Pete doing the shooting

  20. #60
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    West central Georgia
    Posts
    17,575
    Sure hope you get the next bit written tonight! We can't handle all the suspense.
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  21. #61
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    Aug 2011
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    the pacific north west
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    #18
    Will swayed on his feet, going down into a crouch and signaling his friends to do the same. "Stay down," he ordered. "I don't know who is shooting, or where from. Claude is in the cafe, he's been shot and bleeding out. Leta fainted, at the sight of me, I guess.
    Hell if I know who's shooting or at what." Will's voice got faint as he fought for control. "Damm; Ev I'm deputizing you right here and now. Cheryl can you take me to the hospital. Kevin's over there, he fainte......" Will went down for the count.

    "Ev, I'm gonna run to the hospital, the only way I know how to reach them in a hurry. Do you need anything thing else?"

    "Leave me your rifle, Cheryl; ...becarefull honey." Ev instructed his wife with a solemn look.

    Cheryl darted a pattern between the trees on the way to the hospital. As she burst into the waiting room, Hobart had the room empty and was waiting with his gun drawn. Breathlessly she garbled what she needed, stressing that the scene wasn't secure, but that people were in grave condition and needed help now.

    "Hobie, you can get to the back of the cafe and go in that way. Will said Claude and Leta are on the floor behind the counter. He's on the corner of the cafe across from the hardware store." In her stress and the confusion, Cheryl couldn't remember the street names; but Hobie understood.

    "Will do, Miss Cheryl. You stay here and I'll take care of it," he added confidently; grabbing his trousers, he hitched them up a couple of inches. "Gotta be ready, ya know." he added as he spoke into his shoulder radio.

    Cheryl had no illusions. "Hobie, grab me a handful of gauze squares, or towels or something that will stop blood, I've got to go back. Ev is the only one holding down the fort." Cheryl grabbed the bandages and ran out the door.

    Streaking from tree to tree, she whistled sharply at Ev to let him know she was on her way back. His hand acknowledged her presence but his attention was focused on an unseen person, and Cheryl watched as he shouldered his rifle and carefully took his shot. The rifle report echoed in the building alley, and there was a prolonged scream in the distance.

    "God knows when they'll get here," she advised Ev. "Hobie is in charge, and he's as confused as a June bug in December. What can I do."

    "I think I got the shooter, not positive there is only one, but the one I shot is down. I can see him. Check the cafe," he directed Cheryl. "Stay behind the counter, and stay down."

    With Ev covering her, Cheryl ran for the cafe back door. Stopping long enough to check the line of sight, she wiggled through the door and into the main room. Leta was stirring, the older woman trying to stand up, and Cheryl yanked her down when Leta wouldn't listen.

    "Let me up, I've gotta get my gun," Leta was sputtering and jerking away from Cheryl. "I'll show that punk who's gonna get shot," she raged. "This is my diner, not some shooting gallery."

    "Leta," Cheryl growled through her clenched teeth. "If you don't stay down, I'm gonna punch you in the jaw and leave you on this bloody floor."

    Claude was alive; he had a faint pulse, and that was about all. Cheryl unwrapped the makeshift compress and applied the almost clean wad of absorbent gauze. Claude was just as repulsive up close as she expected him to be. Swallowing bile as it rose in her throat, she held pressure on the greasy bum's temple.

    "Leta if you go to get up, I'm gonna punch you." she warned again. "If you can crawl, move back into the kitchen, but don't stand up!"

    "You must think I'm some kinda kid," Leta complained with nasty feeling. "I'm almost 70 years old, and I don't care if I get shot, I'm putting a stop to this."

    "I care," Cheryl warned her the third time. "Ev thinks he got the shooter; but there may be more than one."

    "All the more reason to have my shootin iron," Leta snapped, as she scooted backwards on her rear into the kitchen.

    "Good gracious," Cheryl thought, 'shooting iron, I didn't think anyone actually said that." all the while checking on Claude's life signs. "Leta, are there any blankets here, Claude's in shock."

    "No" the muffled voice replied.

    Cheryl reached up and jerked a tablecloth down, tucking it around Claude as best she could with one hand.

    It was surreal. The cafe was shot in every window, glass was inches deep on the floor. It looked like a bulldozer was beginning demolition, it was so damaged.

    A dark shadow crossed the surface of the reflective floor, and Cheryl sucked in her breath. A short shrill blast relieved her instant fear, as Ev pushed open what was left of the front door.

    "Get them in here," Cheryl commanded. "He's going fast."

    "The crew is with Will," he explained. "I'm afraid triage is done by popularity. Nobody seems to be concerned about Claude."

    "Sad but true. I don't think Claude will make it, his pulse keeps dropping," she added unnecessarily. "Did you get the shooter?"

    "Yeah," Ev's terse, clipped answer had her looking up, searching his face.

    "It was Sarah."

  22. #62
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Atlantic Canada
    Posts
    9,217
    Sarah????? Wow.....

    1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer

    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    Joh 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.


  23. #63
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    Jun 2004
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    State WA
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    12,918
    I guess Claude must have fired her after all. THank you

  24. #64
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    Jul 2006
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    W. Georgia
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    Thank you for getting us off of this cliff tonight.

  25. #65
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    the pacific north west
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    #19
    "I didn't see that one coming," Cheryl said to Ev. "I thought she was a hot house flower from; wasn't it Frisco? So where did she learn to shoot?"

    "Evidently from her husband, they did safari's, and skeet. She shot Betty, but that's a tough dame, and she's gonna pull through.
    Kevin doesn't look good, she clipped him behind the ear. Then Claude, and then Will. I've never seen a man in Will's shape. That shard must be 6 inches long, if it's a inch."

    "Did they take that glass out before they moved him?" Cheryl inquired with gruesome curiosity.

    "No, strapped him on a backboard with a collar to immobilize, then ran him on foot to the ER. They couldn't run the ambulance in this snow." Ev looked at Claude. Shaking his head, he said softly, "Don't look down honey, he's gone."

    Cheryl started to give a quick look, but Ev's hand cupped her chin. "Don't" he repeated and helped her off the floor and covered Claude with the tablecloth.

    "Found it," Leta was cackling with glee. Swaggering into the room, the ancient cook had the biggest, meanest looking cowboy 'shootin iron' in a age cracked leather holster strapped around her waist. Ev thought it a toss up as to which was the older, the cook or the gun. She tried to draw the gun, but it was stuck in the holster. Shrugging away that small annoyance, Leta pranced around the cafe until she almost slipped on the glass. Exhausted by then, she sat down with a cold cup of coffee.

    Slowly the townfolk started appearing, gathering at the front of the cafe to talk about what had happened, and why. Ever the opportunist, Leta started selling cups of hot coffee and rolls, until the rolls and donuts ran out.

  26. #66
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    Jun 2004
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    State WA
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    So Claudes out of the picture, whew, he was a trouble maker number 1. Hope the rest survive. Thank you. Lol on leta.

  27. #67
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    Aug 2011
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    #20
    The noise in the Hanson household was at a gentle roar. Kids were bickering, singing, playing hangman and staring out the window trying to pretend they were anywhere but here. It was Patty, who noticed the Sheriff's SUV headed down the drive toward the house. She went to the kitchen to tell Evie, and to check on what was for lunch.

    All the Hanson's were surprised that it was Ev that got out of the official Chevy, and more surprised that he helped Betty into the house. Heavily bandaged on her right shoulder and right leg, she walked unsteadily up the steps and into the kitchen. Patty hung back in the doorway to the living room and let the other children flock about the injured woman.

    In a rapid fire explanation, Ev outlined what had happened in town. In a hurry, he asked Inga if she could come help. The community needed volunteers, and he wondered if she could help with the roadhouse, or the sheriff's office.

    Inga took a step back and was shaking her head no; when Ev remembered to tell her that Claude had been killed. Ev could see her position softening, and reluctantly she agreed. "Grab your clothes and heavy coat," he instructed. "We've got to be going, I can't be away from town very long. Evie," he warned his neighbor, "there's a cat loose. Killed my best steer last night. Keep everyone safe till I can deal with it."

    Evie nodded her agreement, and went to get a sandwich for Ev to eat on the way back in.

    "Can I go too, I'm real good help," Patty whined hopefully. "I can help the old woman with the cafe clean up. I'm kinda bored here." she added on as an afterthought. "I can't get to school, so I might as well be doing something."

    Evie looked at Betty and got a nod. Patty looked eagerly at Ev, then back at Evie. Benny said later it was enough to make a person dizzy watching all the head bobbing going on. Ev said 'ok, but let's get going. No funny business" he warned Patty sternly. "You will regret it if you cause problems, and you will answer to Cheryl. Got it?"

    Patty got it alright. Her excitement at leaving the close confines of the house was also real. She would rather be working than stuck in that loser house another minute. Besides her mother was there, and that was reason enough to be anywhere else.

    Ev bet Inga didn't say two words on the way into town, mainly because Patty sounded like a bad case of verbal diarrhea in her excitement. He left Patty with Leta, and brought Inga to the Sheriff's office to answer the phone and help with the paperwork.

    Cheryl had volunteers with shovels scooping glass into barrels all around town. Sarah had been very accurate and had destroyed many store fronts. Jess at the hardware store had rolls of plastic, Les at the fuel distributorship had empty oil barrels, the co-op had brooms and shovels and all worked to benefit the whole town.

    It was better to work than stand around and 'suppose why' for a hundred times. The town worried about Will and Kevin, they were capable men that worked hard and gave of themselves to support the small community. Plenty of folks gave blood, shoveled the sidewalks free of snow so the people could get around, and a few dug the necessary graves. The three churches in town held a communal service the next day and buried Claude and Sarah. Leta with Patty's help furnished coffee and donuts to the hard working people of Evergreen.

    Patty had many times over, regretted being bored at home. That wrinkled old woman worked her tail off, leaving Patty no time to complain, or sit down. It seemed maybe she had lost a couple of pounds being on the go so much. Her jeans were looser and she was proud of it. The kids in town were friendlier when they noticed she was willing to work, and help out. It was a win-win situation for the teen, and the interesting boy from church turned out to be the son of the hardware owner. He worked right across the street from the cafe. Just down right convenient.

    Kevin was touch and go medically. The bullet had gone across the top of his ear and blasted his skull. Will was another matter altogether. The shard in the top of his head was removed with success. The splinters of glass in his face and neck were painstakingly removed, removed again and again. There was one in the outside corner of his eye that cut the eyelid, but the rest were more nuisance than dangerous. The town was about cleaned up when the electric finally came back on.

    The state plowed the road clear and the state patrol came to town. Ev was busier than a one armed paperhanger coordinating the paperwork and interviews over the shootings, and the night he finally got home to sleep; Evie woke him up in the wee hours of the morning shooting at the cat.

    She left the huge tom lying on the barn floor overnight, and sent Brett to pound on Ev's door the next morning.

  28. #68
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    Whew, what a night. I'm tired just from reading about it.

  29. #69
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    The gene pool seems to have cleansed itself. The town will thrive as long as they continue to work together.

  30. #70
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    #21
    "Mr Ev, could you come help Grandma. She shot the cat last night." Brett was still big eyed with excitement over the happening.
    "He clawed Inky some, but Grandma thinks he's gonna be OK."

    "Everyone at your house alright," Ev wanted to know. He wasn't terribly surprised that Evie had shot the cat. She was a hold over from a rougher, tougher time when individuals solved their own problems, relying on themselves first. Now, that she needed help meant that the cat was probably big.

    It was a big cat. 9' from nose to tip of tail. Ev thought the cat was sick. Mangy looking, gaunt with bleeding gums and matted eyes.
    Ev scuffed the dirt with the toe of his boot. Silently he studied Inky's wounds. Two claw marks on the dog's side were deep, and bite on the shoulder was still oozing. Inky was keeping the wounds licked clean. The dog met Ev's stare with regal calmness, seemingly aware of the danger.

    Evie stood next to Ev, and finally Ev said, "do you want the cat."

    "No" it's diseased. Can you bury it, and maybe burn it first?" she wanted to know.

    "Yeah, you want help moving Inky in the barn. He needs to be separated from the kids right away."

    "I do, thank you Ev. This is gonna be a barn burner if it plays out."

    "Evie, anything Cheryl and I can do, we're happy to do." Ev put his arm around Evie and gave her a little hug. He wasn't prepared when she burst into tears. "I'm sorry Ev; I'm just weepy."

    "S'all right, I miss Hap also." Ev reassured her. "You two had an amazing life together. I hope Cheryl and I can accomplish what you and Hap have done." Evie nodded at him and patted his hand. "You will," she said positively.

    Evie's hand dove down into the amazing pocket and came up with a handkerchief to blow her nose. Stiffening her back, she pulled an ratty, tatty horse blanket from the tack room and and made Inky a comfortable nest to lay in. They reconsidered and used the blanket to roll Inky on top and pulled him to the back, straw covered stall. It still smelled faintly like skunk, but Ev had taken care of that problem.

    Ev hauled a bucket of water and a small pan of food. Inky wasn't likely to eat, but it was there if he wanted. There wasn't anything but time that would help at this point.

    Ev went home and brought his tractor over. Digging a pit away from the house, he doused the animal with gas and set it afire. The whoosh of flame as cleansing as could happen given the times. Poor people got poor ways, he consoled Evie.


    Betty hobbled painfully to the couch. "I gotta lay down," she panted with pain. Sliding into the bed Inga vacated, she asked for a glass of water and one of her pills. Ashen faced, she shut her eyes and hoped for rapid relief from the pain reliever. This was bigger than she had ever experienced. It was food for contemplating what she had been put on this earth to do, and reducing all the previous petty problems down to nothing. And for sure she was gonna think on that as soon as she felt better.

    Brett felt sorry his mom had been hurt. He wouldn't want anybody to go through that. But it was funny weird that he didn't feel upset and scared for her. Brett thought something might be the matter with him. He was thinking of asking Grandma or Benny if they thought he was a bad kid or something, but not right now. He wanted to think on this a bit.


    Inga shuffled papers into their appropriate stacks. This wasn't hard work, it was just frustrating to have to have umpteen copies of the same thing and then have somebody complain they didn't get their precious copy. She snorted under her breath, and the ultra attentive state police corporal snapped to attention and inquired breathlessly if she needed anything, could he help in any way to ease her workload.

    "No," Inga assured him. "I'm just not familiar with the filing system that Will and Kevin used. Some of it is by incident and some by last name alphabetical order, it makes retrieving former paperwork twice as difficult.

    "Well, some of these small enforcement agencies arn't as organized as they should be," the young man commiserated with superior knowledge that his state agency was of course the best.

    Inga had a small smile, but continued to time and date stamp the phone book thick stack of paperwork. She needed to be at the hospital at 3pm to get a statement from Will. Today was the fist day he could be questioned, and a lot of anxious officials wanted to hear his version of the events.

    Inga barely remembered Will from school, so he probably wouldn't remember her. She gathered up pens, legal pads and grabbed her coat for the trek to the hospital. The group assembled in the ER waiting room where nurse Donna wasn't pleased with the noise and interruption, and sat with pursed lips, frowning her displeasure. Dr Phillips came striding down the hall, the tails of his white coat flapping in his rush, "Follow me please," he snapped at the waiting group. Inga trailed along behind, feeling no kinship with all these professionals, but there to record for the sheriff's office whatever statement Will was strong enough to make.

    Hobart rushed up behind her, his boots clattering on the tiled floor. "Have I missed anything?" he drawled, as he adjusted his duty belt once again. "How's Betty feeling?" he asked hopefully."

    "Don't know, I haven't been home," Inga furrowed her brow at the security guard's eager interest. Gack, that had to be gross.

    Will looked like he had a fight with a barb wire fence in a tornado. Inga bit her lip and looked at the monitor rather than his face. The smell was all too familiar, causing her heart to race in panic. She had to step back to the window and look out side. Gripping the pens hard enough to crack the plastic, she ducked her head and concentrated on writing the time and date, waiting for Will to start. If he didn't hurry up, she was going to have to leave, the room was closing in on her.

  31. #71
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    Thank you so much for the new chapter.

  32. #72
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    Thank you for another great chapter.

  33. #73
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    Thank you for the new chapter. Great story and I'm always waiting for more.

  34. #74
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    #22
    Will felt like hell; and here a mob of his contemporaries wanted to pick his brain. Now that was a rich one, he thought, as the room filled and then quieted. There was a small skinny blonde over by the window that looked like she was close to panic. She held Will's attention long enough, that he missed the first question.

    "Please repeat" he requested groggily, resting his head back on the pillow. All the LE rapid fired questions at the same time, creating chaos.

    "Enough!" Dr Phillips thundered above the fracas, causing heads to swivel in his direction. "One question per officer," he commanded, standing firm with his arms crossed across his chest. This was his play ground and he set the rules, and he didn't care who had more authority outside the hospital walls; he did inside.

    "You," and he pointed to the State Police officer closest to him, "start."

    Eight questions and answers later, Dr. Phillips pointed to Inga. "Your the last one, what's your question?" he demanded, more short tempered than ever.

    "Oh, " she stammered, surprised at the order. "I'm just here for the sheriff's office to keep notes, no questions." she finished flustered at the attention. Phillips opened the door and dismissed the law and order men like so many school boys let out for recess.

    Will gave her a more complete appraisal. He didn't recognize her, must be someone Ev brought in to help him. So tired he could hardly squeak, Will shut his eyes and wished for the world to go away. He didn't hear Inga slip out of the room, ignoring Will and Dr. Phillips. The good doctor checking the limp and uneven gait with a professional eye; as the woman walked down the hall.

    Inga walked carefully through the snow and slush. She didn't dare fall and create more problems for herself. Her broken pelvis, right femur and ankle were supposedly healed; but there were days it sure didn't feel like it. The cold weather made the repaired bones ache worse than a toothache.

    The sheriff's office was cold and miserable. Sitting down to do her work, Inga wrapped a wool blanket from one of the cells around her legs to keep the pain manageable.
    She had been shocked to find out Sarah was her aunt. Inga knew she had aunts and uncles, but her mom hadn't kept in close contact with any of them. Her dad had family, but she didn't know any more about them than she did mom's. At the thought of her dad, Inga let a few tears slip. It was impossible for a private person as she was; to grieve in her mother's house. There wasn't a personal quiet moment, except for the deep of night, to mourn.

    All those kids. And then to find out they all belonged to Pete, who had turned out to be a first class scuzzball with his personal and corporate life. It was a calamity.

    Well, there was work. It helped to focus on that, instead of her broken, trampled dreams of being a championship eventer. It hurt so much to loose all those thousands of hours of hard work. She was at loose ends with her life now, as horse riding had been her tether to fame and fortune.

    Instead of wintering in Evergreen, she should be training in the south of France, or Spain. Early morning exercises runs in the mist with the sea smell and tang of wine grapes growing; oh she missed that so much. And Gunter. She missed Gunter very much. She had left money for him to ship her trunk full of belongings from France to here. It should have been here by now. She must get in touch with him and make sure he had sent it. Her boots, her saddle, mementos of her worldly travel, all precious items to her.

    Inga was working on her status as an Olympic eventer, she was that good, but, she thought sadly. Not any more. She was further down the list than a 'has been', she was a nevermore. Her heart was hurting so much, she missed Ev coming in and sitting down.

    Ev was more than uncomfortable. He didn't know how to handle weepy, teary females. Cheryl wasn't like that, thank God. But this one appeared to be working on a downpour, from the look on her face. Desperate, he did the first thing that came to mind.

    On purpose, Ev accidentally dropped a book to create noise and bring Inga back to the present. Head down, he mumbled "sorry, didn't mean to startle you. How did the interview go?"

    "Will really didn't know anything. It looks like Betty may have the best answers, as far as I can discover. She lived next door to Sarah, and they were in competition over Claude." She shuddered delicately, enough to convey her distaste of the idea of getting close to Claude.

    Ev ignored her little demonstration. Cheryl had given him an earful of her reaction to Claude, and he wasn't looking for another.

    Ev kicked himself for not questioning Betty when he was out there. Well, he'd catch her on the way home tonight.

  35. #75
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    Nice nice thank you so much, and I bet those docs didnt fix Inga as good as they should have.

  36. #76
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    May 2001
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    Okay, I'm caught up and ready for more. Thanks for the great story!
    Visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/TheCrochetFarm

    If we aren't showing love, His love, then what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?

    Psalm 73: 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

  37. #77
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    #23
    Evie got the lunch chores done, and needed to sit down. She had a headache and a ache in her stomach. She had been up and down three times getting things for Betty, until she felt bad enough to have the kids help. This was not the first time Evie had thought the children needed to take a more active part in life on the farm.

    Drinking a cup of mint tea to settle her stomach, Evie pondered her reluctance to require the kids to pitch in and help. Realistically, there was no way one old lady could chase after 4 active kids, 5 if she counted Patty. Soooo, things were going to change.
    Rest and improved food choices had the children growing, more active and able to weather the spells of heart tremors that were lessening in severity.

    Cold, Evie put more wood in the insert. Calling for Benny and Brett, she had them bring in more wood from the shed. Clora and Sandra were put to work cleaning beans, sorting out any bad and molded beans and rocks. Evie got the chills when the boys had the door open, the cold air making her shake. She gladly moved her chair closer to the stove, balancing her tea mug on her knee.

    It seemed like it was taking a long time for the room to warm up, until she looked at Clora and the girl had beads of sweat on her brow. Sandra was rolling up her sleeves, and wiping her upper lip.

    "Grandma it must be a hundred in here," Brett protested, as he dropped his last armload of wood in the box. "More than a hundred," Benny deposited his final load. "Are you OK Grandma, you look awful red in the face." he stopped to look intently at Evie;"I think your sick Grandma, what can we do for you."

    Whatever Evie was about to say was interrupted by Betty , who needed another drink of water. Then she needed help standing up to get to the bathroom. One of her crutches went on a walkabout, skittering across floor to collide with the bathroom door. It was clear that Betty was hurting, but she was reverting to her former prima donna status in the pain fog she was experiencing.

    Betty called out, requesting soup and bread for lunch. She had passed over the noon meal Evie had fixed, not liking the bean and baloney soup. "I'd like some chicken soup, that's good for people who don't feel well," her aristocratic demand floated in from the living room.

    Not feeling well herself, Evie stood up and walked hunched over, to the couch. Her arm around her mid section and the other on the sofa for support. "No," she said simply. "New rules. You eat at mealtime, or you go hungry. There's water to drink, or tea. Coffee is for mornings only. Supper will be rice and potato casserole, so you can be thinking on if your hungry by then,...or not.

    Evie thought being sick must make her cross-eyed cranky; cause she sure felt out of sorts and kinda mean around the edges.
    "You can behave yourself and be agreeable, or you can flounce your fanny back to the hospital, do you have any questions?" she asked in her best 'Grandmother' voice.

    Not surprisingly, Betty had no problems with the new rules, and meekly agreed that she would probably like rice and potato casserole just fine.

    Evie nodded and walked with faltering steps toward her bedroom. "I need to take a little nap, I feel poorly, like maybe I have the flu." she told Clora who was walking with her. "Can you be in charge?" she asked the helpful child. Clora nodded and helped Evie take her shoes off and get under the covers.

    'Yes Grandma, I'll help Aunt Betty also," Clora promised as she spread a third blanket over Evie and closed the bedroom door.

    Evie hated getting the flu. It always made her sicker than normal people. She must have a deficient gene in her makeup to have it nearly incapacitate as it would. It felt good to curl up under the covers and lay so still that her headache didn't send shooting pains up the back of her head. Eyes closed, she carefully controlled her breathing to keep her stomach from churning.

    When Ev got to the Hanson's, the kids were playing Sorry at the kitchen table. Evie was asleep, as was Betty. He hated to backtrack back into town, but this group needed supervision and he went to fetch Inga.

  38. #78
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    Thank you so much. It looks like the past month has finally taken its toll on Ms. Evie.

  39. #79
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    #24
    That Hanson family. Ev drove silently back to Evie's place after picking up Inga. When he requested that she come, he thought, as she hesitated so long; she was actually going to refuse to help her mother. There must have been something in his incredulous expression that changed her mind at the last minute. That Inga was a strange woman for sure. She had just looked at him, turned away and gathered her few things and walked to the door.

    Ev explained, as they sloshed through the melting snow to the farmhouse door, there probably wasn't much food in the house. He actually couldn't figure out how Evie made the meals she did, but there was always something on the table to eat. He explained about Inky, and said he would look in on him before he left.

    The kids had the back door open a crack, the cold air making the sweltering hot kitchen more tolerable. Brett explained about Evie piling on the wood because she was cold, and how uncomfortable the rest of them were. They made enough noise coming in, that Betty woke up. That suited Ev. He needed answers to the shooting, and she might as well give her version tonight.

    Betty sighed. She really didn't feel like going into detail, but she guessed now was as good as any to give her explanation. "Well, you see it was like this..." she started and then realized there were 4 children eagerly listening. There was no way to clean it up enough for kids to hear, so she pointedly looked at the youngsters and waved her hands towards the kitchen.

    Ev thought she was acting goofy and stupid, when it dawned on him what Betty was doing.

    "Out to the kitchen, or down to the basement," he ordered. "This is official business and needs to be done without an audience." The amount of grumbling was proof they were eager to participate in the interrogation, and hated to give up their ring side seats.

    Betty's account of that morning was quite simple. Sarah had broken into Claude's moody reverie about Inga; and it had not gone well. Trying her sultry best to entice Claude to pay attention to her, Sarah had been dismissed to her room. The fight began from that moment on. Betty explained she hadn't been in the room, but the walls were thin and the pair had been loud.

    Betty had no idea Sarah could shoot, they hadn't been that close as friends, she remarked wryly. Ev nodded, he didn't want to speak and break Betty's concentration. Everyone knew Claude had an extensive gun collection. He had a private loan shark business on the side, and usually preferred guns as collateral. That was news to Ev, but he held his peace.

    It seemed a lot of under the table 'enterprises' happened at the roadhouse; beyond it's whispered happenings in the back rooms. Betty shrugged, that type of shenanigans was going to happen, might as well make some money off it; had been Claude's business model. Betty thought Claude might have a considerable amount of money on hand, but hadn't seen it nor did she know where his safe was located.

    Sarah had moved in and taken over from the instant she hit the door, Betty recounted. So she was most likely to have more inside information than Betty would have had the opportunity to gather. The longer she went on about how Sarah had the inside track, Ev got the feeling that he was being set up.

    Sarah had not taken her dismissal with grace. Claude had told her to pack up and get out; and she had objected. Betty didn't know why Sarah had obviously snapped, but she had shot her as she was getting out of bed.

    Betty had her fingers crossed; she hadn't actually told a lie, she just hadn't been truthful about who's bed she was getting out of. Betty was a storyteller of cunning proportions, and with practiced ease she led the Barney Fife wannabe down the path she had chosen for him. It was easy to be overcome with fatigue and pain, when she had given Ev all the information she was prepared to divulge.

  40. #80
    If I was Betty I'd be careful. Ev isn't Barney Fife and Inga is probably a woman who can figure things out real quick.

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