Seth Canewood sat behind the wheel of his cruiser, watching the daily comings and goings of life in downtown Elk River, Nevada through the filmy windshield.
There wasn’t much to interest the eye today. No pretty
girls in short skirts, or even ugly girls in short skirts, just
Same old men sitting inside the barbershop, yapping
about the weather and how the dust storms keep getting
worse every year. Same high school dropouts ducking
into The Side Pocket, the local pool hall and the only
place to get a drink in town. Well, the only place to get a
legal drink, anyways.
The two-way radio squawked. “Sheriff? You there?”
“I’m here, Mary. Where else would I be?”
Mary was the switchboard operator down at the station and was in charge of forwarding calls to him and Jimmy over the radio. She hadn’t had much to do lately except file her nails. They were looking pretty good, too, long and lacquered red, although how she typed with them like that, Seth would never know.
“Just checkin’ in,” she said now. “My mama just brought
in a big plate full of brownies, by the way. I’ll try to save
one for you.”
“Thanks, Mare. Watch out that Jimmy don’t get big
chocolate smears on the keyboard this time, will you? I
swear he’s like a goddamn four year-old.”
“Jimmy says to tell you he heard that and does not
appreciate it,” Mary reported, all business-like, but Seth
knew she was about to bust with giggles.
“Tell Jimmy I’ll file that away for future consideration.”
He clicked off and leaned back against the worn leather
driver’s seat and lit a smoke in a thoughtful sort of way.
It was going to be another slow day, he could tell. Not
that he had expected anything different. Since taking
over Sheriff duties after his father--the late-great Sheriff
Buck Canewood--died two years ago, Elk River had only
seen three events that had required police attention.
One was a nasty car accident out on Route 60 (a drunken
teenager with too much time on his hands). One was a
bar brawl that had started as a dispute over a football
game and had ended with two black eyes, a broken hand,
and a mop bucket full of bloody water.But the third…that was one to think about. Gruesome, nasty stuff, the likes of which Seth and his police force had never seen. Of course, the Elk River Police Department consisted of himself and his nephew, Jimmy, and Jimmy had only been
deputized for about a month when the Freelander
business went down, but still…a call like that takes its toll
on a man, no matter how desensitized he thinks he is.
And it had happened on a day much like this one, when
Seth had thought he would die of boredom before
It all started when Ida May Freelander decided her
husband was never going to hit her again.