Murders in Progress…

Out of Gas

(Episode 11)

The bus dropped Leland off back at the Sheriff’s office.  Leland called Ramey, while Ruth tossed him the keys.

‘Ramey,’  Leland said into the phone, catching the keys.

“I’ve put on a pair of flannel pajamas’ and poured myself a big glass of wine and started a roaring fire and I’m just sitting here, “ Ramey lisp, in the slightly feminine voice.  “It’s been quite a couple days!”

“…You sound gay,’” Leland said, completely thrown.

“I’m not leaving the house today, Leland.  I need this quiet time to recoup, and to re-center!  I feel I’ve undergone a horrible psychic invasion,”  Ramey lisp.  Leland could hear the wine gurgle as it was poured.

“Ramey.  I need to see you, now.”

“And I don’t see what good I could do for you there, now,” Ramey spit it out like a mad cat.  “It’s all over now!  It’s too late.  I’ve been deflowered.  I just hope that monster didn’t give me some kind of disease.”

“Ramey, you get your ass in here right now, or I’m coming out there.”

“You know, where was the Law when I came to you?”  Ramey hissed.  “Huh?  You couldn’t be bothered.  You had pressing business. ..”

“How do you know Nancy Loomis, Ramey?”  Leland growled.

“What does it matter?  It’s too late now.  I’m dead!”

“What?”

“You heard me.  The monster beat me.  God my jaw hurts.  Then cut my head open, and pulled my brains out, and cut my head off…”  Ramey cried shrilly.  Then Leland heard the gurgle of more wine.

“How do you know all that?  ….   Ramey?  Are you there?!”

“Yes.  So I’m just sitting here, curled up here, now, on my pillow … (gurgle)…ing this wine!”  Ramey sighed.  “And not going anywhere!  Because let me tell you, I feel as if I’d been raked over the coals.  I feel humiliated, and abused, and horribly battered, and sore all…  (gurgle)  …and frankly,” Ramey whispered in a low voice, “pissed as all Hell! I think, Leland,” his voice slowly rose.

“And I’m the only male nearby,” Ramey whispered.

Leland said…   “What?”

“ I’m really worried.  Perhaps you could come out here, Leland.  Because I’m really worried.  She’s saying terrible things, and swearing…”

“You’re both there, at the house?”

I’m not going anywhere,” Ramey whined.

Leland didn’t know what to say.

“I’ll get there as soon as I can, Ramey,” Leland promised.  He didn’t know whether to whisper or shout.  So he did both, repeating himself twice.

Leland left the office, after leaving instructions with Ruth to Call Doc Chatham and have him patched to the patrol car.  Then Leland hit the lights on the squad car and with sirens screaming headed out of town.  Three miles out, he ran out of gas.

“That damned Ruth!”  Leland beat on the wheel.  The patrol car was stopped by the side of the road, in the midst of nowhere, lights flashing.

Leland got out.  As he stood there, he noticed what looked to be two guys approaching slowly in a faded pickup streaked with manure.  Leland unsnapped his holster, as the pickup rattled to a stop there in the road beside.

“You got a problem there, Shair-eef?”

As it had approached, Leland realized it was just Bob Weeds with his Great Dane, ‘Vomit’, who always rode sidekick.  Bob Weeds spit a slurry of tobacco juice out the window and smiled.

“No problem,” Leland replied.

“Cause a lot of us was wonderin’ whether or not you had made any progress on thet headless murder a week or so back, and hadn’t heard anything.  Some of us was thinkin’, maybe you’d run out of gas.”  Bob nodded at the can of gas.  He looked about to laugh, but bit it off with a glance from Leland.

Leland stepped around the truck, invading  Bob’s territory, and smacked the hood as he passed, smiling broadly.   Bob jumped.  Vomit started barking.

“Shut up!  Vomit.  Damn it, would you shut up!!”

“Well, we just about got the head and neck connected Bob.”  Leland drilled Bob Weeds with his eyes, staring in the window.

“That’s good.”  Bob nodded.  “That’s a start I guess.”

“Yes it is, Bob.”  Sheriff Leland agreed.

They did the stare down.  Finally, Bob was the one to blink.

“Uh, so good.  Good,” Bob said gruffly.

“And we’re looking to having more definitive developments to report in the next few days.”  Leland had to shout this latter while staring directly into Bob Weeds eyes, which had followed him nervously as Leland has strode around the hood of the pickup.

“Shut up! Vomit.  Would ya shut up!!”  It took Bob Weeds some doing to quiet his dog..

“Well, that’s good.  That’s real good…”  Bob mumbled as he turned his glance back to the roadway and put the truck into gear.  “So we’ll be seeing you now, Sheriff.”

Leland gave him a pleasant, nothing’s wrong, how are you doing neighbor wave – and Burt Weeds drove on.  Then Leland started filling his tank with the spare 5 gallons he kept for stranded roadside motorists.

This was a bit of puzzling behavior for Bob Weeds to be exhibiting, Leland considered.   He usually just slumped around with his head down doing whatever a hen-pecked dairy farmer did around here for a life and a livelihood.   With few friends but a long family history in the valley, everyone knew who Bob Weeds was.   There wasn’t much more to it than that, usually.  But it struck Leland now that he was acting downright cocky.  Downright cocky was what usually proceeded downright arrested.

‘Which really doesn’t  fit Bob Weeds’, Leland thought as he replaced the gas caps.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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