Favorite Kind of Call
The radio gargled an old tune from another era. It fizzled, popped and cracked. It was hard to make out the words, but the melody came through just fine. It was a tune that reflected an easier times and a past that was nearly forgotten. The nostalgia of it would bring back memories of ones that were long gone, but the good times would never be forgotten. Never. There were few those days that would have listened to such music… could remember simpler times…
The deputy was not one of them.
He twisted the nob and tried to find something that would sooth his aching head. Blaring incoherent screams with a wailing guitar filled the truck’s cab as he turned the nob to the left. This only made his head pound worse. With a frustrated sigh, he forcibly pushed the nob in to silence the radio. The last thing he wanted to hear was someone screaming at him. He had enough of that for one morning.
He tried not to think about the argument he had with his unruly daughter. It wasn’t an unusually event, but this one was particularly nasty. She just wouldn’t listen to reason. She couldn’t understand what he was trying to warn her about. He was just looking out for her… like he had always done. He was her father after all.
She wished he wasn’t.
He slammed his hand against the steering wheel. He just couldn’t understand what happened to them. Their lives use to be so close; now they opposite ends of the spectrum. When he pulled, she pushed. When he encouraged, she dismissed. When he laid down the rules, she looked for any way to break them. Whatever he wanted, she wanted nothing to do with it. He just didn’t understand…
Looking up to the sun faded visor, he flipped it down. There in the clip he kept a picture of her… a more innocent time in their lives. Her smile was so sweet; he was so proud. It was one of the best fishing trips they ever had. That weekend was filled with joy and laughter. She caught all the big ones; leaving only minnows and chubs for him. It was such a happy photo. They standing on the dock and she trying with all her might to hold up her monstrous catch. She didn’t know, but he was holding most of the weight as he stood behind her. That was probably one of the last times that they were smiling at the same time.
He released a heavy sigh as he stopped at the only stoplight in town.
This morning’s argument was just something that he was going to have to let go. He had a job to do as he did every day. He had to leave behind what was going on at home and concentrate what was going on in town. It was duty that he took very seriously; even if he was the only one in the department. It wasn’t like nobody cared, but they often took a more relaxed view. It was a small town and the worst violations were usually DUIs and cow tipping. Not much happened Sawick, but Deputy Charles Brook was going to make sure that it stayed that way.
Gingerly he pulled into his designated spot. Seeing his name on the plaque in front of the spot made him feel he was somewhat important. It gave him a strange sense of satisfaction that he had done something right in his life. Even if someone didn’t believe that. She, of course, reminded him every day of that. She just wouldn’t let that go… she wouldn’t let that night go…
He gave his head a good shake. He was trying to not think about things like that. Pulling himself from the truck, Deputy Brooks placed his official Sawick police cap on his head. He could never drive with it on. Tipping his hat and opening the door for two women coming out, he made his way into the Sheriff’s department.
Most of the officers would have been at their desk waiting for a call, but there seemed to be quite a few missing that morning. The Deputy thought it was a little strange, but concluded that they must have been out on call or on a run. The few that were left were standing around with their morning coffee; laughing about something or another. Deputy Brooks didn’t mind the officers chatting, but there were better ways to spend their time. They must have noticed his stare and quickly went back to their desk to make themselves look busy.
“Good morning Deputy,” Sheryl greeted him with her usual smile.
“Good morning…,” he grumbled as he passed on by.
She rolled her eyes, “One of those mornings?” she questioned as she went back to cross word puzzle.
“Don’t want to talk about it…,” the Deputy grunted, “Is the Sheriff in?”
“He’s waiting for you in his office,” she answered as she concentrated on 5 down, “He has something for you to do this morning.”
“Why didn’t he radio me…,” he thought for a moment, “Don’t answer that…,” he growled as he made his way to the Sheriff’s office.
The Deputy paused for a moment. He always had to prepare himself before he entered the office. There was not telling what he would walk into. Placing his ear up to the frosted glass, he listened. It didn’t sound like much was going, but he did hear a familiar sound. He knew that he could enter.
Twisting the old brass knob, the Deputy peered into the office. It was just as he expected. The Sheriff sat at his desk with his hat over his face. His feet were crossed and rested heavily on the old oak desk. His chest moved rhythmically up and down as his nose whistled and snored. The Deputy was surprised that glass wasn’t rattling from the racket. Stepping lightly around the desk, he smirked thinking about what he was about to do. It was a ritual that he had performed about three to five times a week and done for so many years, he couldn’t count.
Gently placing his hands under the Sheriff’s worn leather boots, the Deputy readied himself for the show that was about to start. He lifted the Sheriff’s legs about six or so inches off the desk. Gently moving them away from the desk, he quietly counted down to zero. Once it rolled off his tongue, he let the Sheriff’s feet drop the ground with the thud.
“WHAT THE?!?” the Sheriff jolt forward with the motion of his downward feet.
“You’re getting a lot done this morning,” the Deputy smirked as he picked up the Sheriff’s hat.
The Sheriff growled as he grabbed his hat from the Deputy, “One of these days you’re going to break something… mainly me,” he pointed to himself, “Won’t you feel bad then?”
“Not really,” the Deputy continued to smirk as he made himself comfortable in the seat in front of the desk.
“Like hell you would,” he snorted as he placed his feet back on the desk, “You usually pick on me when something bothering you…”
“Or when you’re sleeping and should be working,” the Deputy didn’t want him to pick up on his bad mood.
“Ha!” the Sheriff smiled, “Jess gave you problems this morning. Didn’t she?”
“Don’t start,” he really didn’t want to talk about it.
The Sheriff started to shake his head, “How many times have I told you that you can’t push that girl. She pushes twice as hard back. You have to release your grip a little. Let her explore her surroundings,” he let out a sigh, “You can’t hold onto her forever you know,” he smiled.
He had heard the same speech countless times before. All the Deputy could do was stare at the Sheriff and make it look like he was listening. He looked from his graying hair down to the wrinkles that grew deeper and deeper every year. He wasn’t a young man anymore. He moved a little bit slower those days. It mainly kept him behind the desk instead of the field. His joints and bones had been cracking for years now. The Deputy started to wonder how much longer he could be Sheriff.
“Are you listening to me son?” the Sheriff got his attention.
“Sorry dad… I mean Sheriff,” he quickly corrected himself.
The Sheriff shook his head, “Charlie,” he gave him a hard look, “I know it’s not easy raising a girl on your own… I should know… I’m the audience most of the time,” he ran his hand down his face, “Just do me the favor and let Jess find out things on her own. She’s a smart kid… she just needs to make a few mistakes…”
“Mistakes like Cain Fisher?” Charlie growled.
“He’s just a fling,” the Sheriff shrugged his shoulders, “She’s just going with him because it just gets under your skin. Ignore it and she’ll get bored.”
“So I should ignore the fact that my daughter, your granddaughter,” he reminded him, “is dating a misfit that goes around town with his hoodlum friends blowing up mailboxes, stealing from the local market, trespassing… and that’s just naming a few of his crimes from this month alone,” Charlie crossed his arms with a huff, “That boy doesn’t have a future ahead of him and I don’t want Jess being dragged down with him.”
“She won’t be Charlie,” his father assured him, “She’s a good kid… she’ll be just fine. Now,” he decided it was best to pull away to another subject, “I have something for you to check out,” he pulled a file folder off of his desk and opened it, “There was a drunk driving accident this morning,” he handed to the Deputy.
“Hmm…,” he started to thumb through the preliminary report, “One dead at the scene?” he looked to the Sheriff.
He confirmed with a nod of his head, “John Riley Eckhart. He was the driver from what they could tell.”
“Who did he hit?” Charlie tried to find the rest of the report.
The Sheriff could only shrug his shoulders, “No one. He just seemed to run into something big and heavy and boom. John is dead and Bo is thrown from the truck. That’s all we know for now…”
“What are Bo’s injuries?” he asked as he set the file folder down.
“Actually,” his dad started to grin, “I need you to go down the hospital and check up on him and ask some questions regarding the accident. There are a lot of things that just don’t seem to add up.”
“Why are you smiling? It’s never a good thing when you’re smiling,” the Deputy grew worried.
“Oh nothing,” the Sheriff started to place his hat over his face, “It’s just your favorite kind of call…,” he laughed as he settled back down into a comfortable position.
“No… please no…,” Charlie rolled his eyes.