Janet made her way up the driveway to the rambler on the edge of town. A wooden sign had been cut with a jigsaw to form the name “The Bleekers” at an upward angle, and featured a wood-burned Loon on a lake edged with pine trees. The left side of the walk was considerably cleaner than the right, meaning either someone who was in a hurry to shovel and didn’t do the edging, or possibly someone who favored one side over the other, when it came to physical activity.
She knew which it was. Sheriff Bleeker retired some fifteen years prior after getting shot by some meth head who had held up a convenience store the Sheriff happened to be at. He’d been a popular figure in town, generous and more Andy Griffith than Wyatt Earp.
Getting shot had come as a surprise to the law man, who’d come out of the bathroom at just the wrong moment completely unaware. The papers didn’t report what happened next, but there were rumors of a black truck and a man in a Fur-Lined coat leaving the scene of the crime after the paramedics arrived. The paramedics found the assailant cuffed in the back seat of the car, asking to please be taken to jail now.
Janet had been surprised reading the story. It was obvious that Marcus had been there, but why had he been able to leave the scene without making a report. That just didn’t add up.
She knocked on the door.
“Sheriff Bleeker?” The sounds of an uneven gait assisted by a cane on a wood floor were audible as Janet waited outside. The door opened to reveal a bearded man of about 50 who was still well-built, despite his infirmity.
“Come in Ms. Rogers. I haven’t been a Sheriff in awhile now, so Frank will do me just fine.” He lead her into a house whose walls were covered in pictures of kids of various ages, mostly fishing or doing other cabin-related activities. A picture of a pyramid of water skiers from the 1970s caught her attention as she followed him through the living room to the kitchen. They sat at a table by a window.
“Alright Frank. In that case, please call me Janet.” He nodded in reply.
“What can I do for you Janet?”
“I’m looking for information about Marcus.”
“Now why would I give you information about Marcus Ms. Rogers?” She noted the change in demeanor.
“Look, he’s not in trouble or anything. I just want to find out more about him for an article I’m writing for the Echo.” The retired lawman’s shoulders relaxed fractionally, “There have been rumors and stories floating around The Range for years and I’d like to find out which of them are true and which are not. I’d also like to get people together for a dinner to thank him for the effect he’s had on the community.”
“Marcus knows about this does he?”
“I’ve spoken to him,” she said stating an unrelated truth, hoping it would work.
“Well, in that case, what would you like to know? Though I must say, the man is frosty. I have a hard time believing he’d take part in any sort of honors or awards or anything. Doesn’t seem the type.”
“Well, you know what they say about appearances.” She said, hastily. “I’d like to know what happened at the Voyageur 66.”
The Sheriff grunted and shifted uncomfortably. She continued. “It’s just that I’ve read the story in the Echo about the incident and there are some things that don’t add up. I was just hoping I could hear the story from you and see if there’s something interesting to follow up on.”
“Well you’ll have to understand, I’m not the best witness” he said with a rueful chuckle. “On account of I didn’t see anything after having been shot in the hip by some hop-head.”
“Hop-head? The papers said he was a meth user.”
“Hop-head, crackhead, glue sniffer. Whatever. The man was high as a kite apparently and decided to hold up the station. I came out of the bathroom after he made everyone get on the floor, he turned and shot me. I think I heard someone say “Excuse me” then, heard a few thumps. The rest I’m telling you I found out afterward in the official reports. Apparently Marcus came over with the first aid kit from behind the counter, staunched the bleeding and made the clerk hold pressure on the wound while he called paramedics.” He paused and shook his head. “He must’ve grabbed my cuffs off me or something because when the paramedics got there, they said that the criminal was in the back seat wrapped up like a christmas present, polite as you please.”
“Sorry, that’s all I know.”
“Did they ever release the name of the criminal, or is the clerk around?”
“Nah, the clerk was just some kid who moved to the cities shortly afterward. The criminal is probably still serving time at Arrowhead, drugs plus assault with a deadly weapon on a cop isn’t likely to get him a light sentence.”
“I see. Is there anything else you can tell me?”
“No. I’d just recommend you make sure this is alright with Marcus before you go making a fuss. He generally doesn’t like that.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, Frank.” She stood up and extended a hand. “Thank you for your help.”
“No problem.” He smiled and shook her hand. “Marcus is a good man. I’d like people to know about that too.”
“I’ll see my self out. Bye now.”
“Good bye ma’am.”