Q Street Publishing
Also by Don Roble
The Rob Saga
There are people living on the edge in what is called Appalachia. They're called ridgerunners, rednecks, hillbillies and mountaineers. No one thinks of them very often. They don't earn much and usually don't live well according to society's standards. They stay where they are because they love the area.They are the heart of America. Some of the folks aren't too bright; others are very bright; most are life smart.Some of what happens to these folks is funny but only because they have bad luck or bad fate.These are people who's word is their bond and who's trust is sacred.
When Joe Bob got the job as deputy at the sheriff’s office he finally was making a decent dollar. No more scrounging around doing odd jobs to make a little extra cash. Jobs like cleaning out cesspools and skinning cows. Now, along with the added respect, he’d be able to live better. The county was so poor being a deputy sheriff was a high paying job in contrast to most. It was highly prized and made Joe Bob's selection even more puzzling. After all, the Sheriff had other nephews.
Joe Bob was a large man. He wasn't all that fat-looking but he was a large man. Clarence Williams once said , “Joe Bob is a six-foot two man in a five-eight body and he sure ain't goin' to grow no taller.”
Maybe now he could move the trailer to a paved road. If not, at least one that had some gravel. Trying to drive through the mud was hard enough for him with his four wheel drive. For the little woman, in her 77 Chevy, it was the nearest thing to impossible. Many a time Joe Bob had to hook the chain to her and pull her out of the mud. The Chevy, not the little woman. When it was dry the ruts would almost shake her apart. The little woman, not the Chevy.
Speaking of the trailer, maybe a new one. If not new, at least newer. Maybe one of those double wides he’d heard so much about. Put it on blocks, plant some flowers here and there and maybe it’d look like something. Well, the trailer he had looked like something , just not like something he liked or something.
He thought back to the words the Sheriff told him. “Now, son, ya'll listen up real close here. I runs a clean office. You go on out thar and keep things peaceable like. Make sure no one drives too awful fast or gets into to many fights and things’ll be fine. Don’t be takin' no bribes or nothin' and could be when the day comes that I retire my son’ll keep you on.” It sounded great unless you realized the Sheriff didn't have a son. Joe Bob never quite got it.
The Sheriff gave Joe Bob the keys to his patrol car and told him to go keep an eye on things. He also told him not to get carried away with his job. Joe Bob was so proud. He was a deputy Sheriff! He was driving along out by the lake when he spotted Mosh Henry. Mosh was a moonshiner. Everyone knew it. No one cared. Joe Bob decided to pull Mosh over. It gave him a chance to use his siren and his authority. He wanted to make an impression and impress someone on the first day. That made his choice to pull Mosh Henry over all the more wrong.
“Why, if it ain’t Joe Bob. I heerd you be a new deputy. How is you, Joe Bob?”, Mosh said to Joe Bob. Mosh had known Joe Bob his entire life. He'd sold booze to his father. That might explain Joe Bob.
“Jus' fine, thar, Mosh. Now, Mosh, everybody be knowin' you run shine. I looked up under your car and you gots two tanks there. I reckon one be for gas and the other be the shine. I gotta run you in.” Catching a shiner on day one was great Joe Bob thought.
“No, Joe Bob, no you don’. Runnin me in just be a waste of yer time. Ya got no business stoppin me in the first place and you sure ain’t got no business a lookin' at my tanks. Reckon they not be no law agin havin' two gas tanks. Ya got no reason to be checkin' them tanks. They calls it ‘unreasonable search’ or somethin likes that. My lawyer fella know that stuff.”
“Well, I reckon the Sheriff can sort that out.” Joe Bob didn't care about what happened to Mosh after the arrest. He only cared about making the arrest.
“I reckon the Sheriff be pissed off like wildfire if you get my lawyer on him. My lawyer be Squire Davis an' he be a good one as ya darn well knows. You be driving the back roads the rest of your life. That be the truth, Joe Bob. Now, I be a reasonable man. I gonna go on 'bout my business and you gonna mind your own. You hear me, boy?” Mosh thought that should set things straight with Joe Bob.
Joe Bob heard the truth. He didn’t like it much but he knew it. Mosh had been running shine for years. The Sheriff, like everyone else in these parts, knew it. If the Sheriff didn’t do anything about it then maybe Joe Bob shouldn’t. Mosh’s lawyer, Squire Davis, was a tough, smart old bird. He could cause Joe Bob some problems. Joe Bob's life was full of problems and perhaps he didn't need to add one more.
“OK, Mosh. Have yerself a nice day.” Have a nice day? What a way to start his new career. Outwitted by a half-wit like Mosh Henry. Back in the old days Mosh would be sweating bullets along about now. Joe Bob would have him scared to death. Not that Joe Bob knew much about the old days. Joe Bob was 23 years old.
Joe Bob stopped in at Mother Mary’s Cafe for breakfast. He was hungry and wanted to show off his badge to the folks there. He knew all the regulars who ate there. Most of them thought he was a horse’s ass. Well, he was a deputy sheriff now. Joe Bob guessed he’d get some respect now from those people. He guessed wrong.
“Well, lookie here. If it ain’t Joe Bob. That’s a nice car you be driving. That’s a shiny new badge you be wearin. Going to a costume party, are you, Joe Bob?”, Mother Mary herself called out to him. She knew he was a real deputy since her son was the Sheriff.
The rest of the crowd hooted and hollered. Joe Bob began to feel like coming here was a mistake, a bigger mistake than pulling Mosh Henry over. After all, there was only one of Mosh Henry and there was a whole crowd here. With Mosh there wasn’t a witness although Mosh would tell the story and make it worse and worse with each telling.
“I just came in for eats. This is still an eatery, ain’t it?”
“Why, sure it is, Joe Bob. Just having a little laugh with you. Don’t have to be uppity about it. Sit yourself down here and have some grits. Then you can go on back out there and protect us some more.” The others laughed some more.
That sounded OK but Joe Bob knew they were still laughing at him. Well, he couldn’t do too much about it. For one thing, Mother Mary was the Sheriff’s ma. That’s all Joe Bob needed to do was arrest the Sheriff’s ma. He’d like to, though, the heartless old crone. She couldn’t cook very well either. The grits were awful. How can she not cook grits right? Come to think of it, Joe Bob didn’t recall ever seeing the Sheriff eating in here. Maybe he shouldn't either.
Joe Bob drove back out to the lake. He saw the Sheriff’s car behind him so he pulled over. The Sheriff got out and walked up to Joe Bob’s. He wasn't happy and intended to let his newest deputy know it. How could his brother have such a stupid son although his brother was as stupid as a rail post.
“Well, Joe Bob, you’ve sure had a fine start. Ya pulled over Mosh Henry, who be smarter than you ever goin' to be. The, you et at my ma’s place, which just proves it. Now, Joe Bob, I hopes you learnt something from this morning. You ain’t Wyatt Earp. You ain’t no FBI guy. You be a deputy sheriff in a small, out of the way county thet nobody cares about. We don’ have no real problems here unlessen you makes one. You ain’t gonna make none. Don’t make me regret givin' you this here job. Hell, boy, just take it easy and everything gonna be just fine. Now, do you hear me, Joe Bob?”
Yea, Joe Bob heard him all right. Still, he was going to get Mosh Henry if it was the last thing he ever did. Well, maybe he shouldn’t ought to be thinking that.