This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
“You need to get a move on!” Hannah called from the kitchen. ”The cruiser is all filled up and ready to roll!”
“I’ll be right down!” a reply echoed down the stairwell. “Fix me a cup of coffee, okay?”
Griffin finished buttoning his light blue polyester shirt and gave a tug on the ends of its collar. He tucked the shirt tails into the top of his navy blue slacks and straightened the bunched up linings of his front pockets. He slipped on the freshly-polished black shoes that sat at the foot of his bed and did a cricket-like jig to buff their tops on the back of his legs. Leaning closer to the mirror he gave the epaulets atop his shoulders an unnecessary dusting. He hung a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses from his breast pocket and headed downstairs toward the aroma of a single-serve cup of coffee.
Hannah was hidden behind a cabinet door, putting away the last of the dishes that were left in the rack to air-dry after dinner the night before. Griffin slid his hand along the countertop and scooped up his morning fuel.
“Thanks,” he said as he raised the cup toward Hannah.
“Welcome. Would it kill you guys to actually put the dishes back into the cabinet after you wash them?”
“I thought you’d be happy that they’re clean.”
“That is a nice change of pace.”
Hannah dried her hands on the dish towel that hung just below the sink. She turned and saw Griffin for the first time that morning.
“What in the hell do you think you’re wearing?” Hannah glared at Griffin.
“My uniform,” Griffin replied.
Hannah shook her head. ”Let’s get a couple of things straight. You are not a policeman. You have a roommate that is a policeman that needs you to make a quick check of the area while she tends to other business. You are at best a deputy-for-a-day. Are we clear on that point?”
Hannah approached Griffin and walked a slow circle around him.
“And that, my friend, is not a uniform. That is a costume,” Hannah added.
“It is so a uniform,” Griffin objected.
“That is the outfit you wore when you delivered strip-o-grams in college. Uniforms do not have break-away pants!”
Hannah tugged at Griffin’s waistline, exposing his backside to the dining room furniture. Griffin quickly reattached the Velcro closures.
“I need to leave,” Hannah continued, “and you need to change your clothes. Once you have changed your clothes, you will drive out to the rest stop to check in with Jacob. Then you will make a loop back along the highway and return to the farm. You will call me if you see anything out of the ordinary. That is all you are to do. Drive and call. Nothing else. Got it?” Hannah punctuated her point with a raised eyebrow.
Hannah arched her eyebrow higher.
“Yes, ma’am.” Griffin sighed.
Hannah grabbed her purse and headed for the door.
“See if Lewis wants to go with you,” she called over her shoulder as she left the house.
Griffin walked to the window and watched Hannah pull her truck out of the barn and kick up a cloud of dust as she drove past the police cruiser parked at the end of the back porch. He turned to head upstairs to change and caught a glance of himself in the hall mirror. He stopped and examined his attire.
“Not a costume,” he thought.
Defiantly, he returned to the kitchen to retrieve the keys to the squad car.
“Lewis, want to go for a ride?” Griffin called toward the other end of the house.
After a few moments of silence there was a light clicking on the hardwood floor. Lewis, a corgi that appeared to be half German Shepherd, half ottoman, entered the kitchen and looked up at Griffin.
“C’mon, boy, let’s go bye-bye in the car.”
Griffin opened the kitchen door and propped open the screen door. Lewis gave Griffin an “I’d rather stay home and chew on something in your bedroom” look then turned and went to do exactly that.
“Fine, be that way,” Griffin yelled to the tan hind-quarters making their way up the stairs.
He locked the door behind him and paused in the shade of the porch to take in the morning for a moment. The sun reflected brightly off of the single red cherry that sat on top of the old squad car. The car came with the job, as did the house. Griffin and Jacob, Hannah’s brother, moved here with her to help her live out her dream of being a small town sheriff. She was off trying to get funding to update the antiquated filing system, from an old rolodex and a metal filing cabinet to a couple of computers and a Wi-Fi network. Griffin had agreed to make her rounds in her absence. Hannah was hesitant at first but figured the presence of a police cruiser, even one with Griffin at the wheel, was better than nothing.
Griffin plopped down behind the wheel. He reached beneath the seat and released the lever that allowed him to move it forward. He adjusted the rear view and side view mirrors as he was taught in Driver’s Ed. Hannah’s baseball cap was on the seat beside him. He pulled it on and added his mirrored sunglasses as a finishing touch. He pulled a U-turn in the yard, scattering the chickens as he left.
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