Monday, March 1, 2010
by Jim Wisneski "They're back," the small voiced echoed through the small room. Sheriff G remained still, looking out the yellow stained glass window as a small group of cars lined up at a red light. He felt a shot of jealousy burn through his veins as he wanted to be one of the innocent people sitting in their car, tapping the steering wheel to some song. His hidden secret of "murderer" was killing him on the inside, and now because of the damn kid's shoes, it might have been trying to kill him on the outside. "Sheriff?" the voice echoed. Sheriff G raised a hand to acknowledge the words. He had run out of excuses and ideas. This was the third time just this month (only being the 12th) that the shoes came back. By now the local newspapers had already contacted the big city papers with the story - whoever told it first and best would get their shot at working for a "real" newspaper; not just some shit town paper where the headline is "Mrs. Mongulstine turned 100!". "Do we move 'em?" the voice asked. Sheriff G turned slowly in his creaky chair. "Leave 'em this time. Chase everyone away. Tell 'em my orders. Tell 'em I have called in a special f'rensic team to check things out. You know the drill Pete's, let's shake a goddamned leg here and move on." Pete's tipped his hand and left. To Sheriff G, through the power of replay and denial, the murder was turning into an accident every time he played it in his mind. There was the boat. Himself. The kid. The kid that snooped and found Sheriff G's pill bottles hidden in his desk drawers. But that didn't matter though. That wasn't why they were on the boat. They were there to fish. Relax. There was only one fishing pole. But that was because Sheriff G wanted the kid to fish. The kids hands were tied behind his back. It was night out. But that's okay though, night fishing is great. But his hands were tied behind his hand. But that's okay. . . night fishing is great. Then the kid slipped. Yup, he slipped. Right off the boat. Yup. Into the water. See, Sheriff G sped away to find help. That's all. He wanted to help the kid. But then he somehow forgot all about the kid. . . screaming as water filled his mouth. . . Sheriff G slammed his hand off his desk. All the thoughts vanished. The kid was reported missing. Sheriff G oversaw the investigation and kept everything clean. Clear. There was never any finger pointing, no. Just good 'ol detective work that suggested the kid ran off. Prolly to the big city ma'am, Sheriff G had told the kids mother. Then his shoes showed up on the shore. Just there. Pointing towards the water. All that did was give hope to everyone that the kid was still around. Sheriff G took the shoes and burned them. To ash. But they came back again. That time he burned them to ash again and again and again until there was nothing left. "Now they're back again," Sheriff G whispered. He opened his top drawer and took out a pill bottle. His little white friends would make the demons go away. Sheriff G closed his eyes and put the pills in his mouth. Their bitter taste had become welcomed. As he swallowed them, he heard the sound of water sloshing against the floor. Sheriff G jumped and mashed pieces of his pills dribbled on his lips as he saw the kid standing in the doorway. "Still eatin' 'em, huh?" the kid said as water poured out of his mouth like a broken faucet. He leaned in the doorway with soggy clothes and a wrinkled, purplish face. A few stringy pieces of seaweed hung from the kid's head and shoulders. Sheriff G reached for his gun and held it out. The kid laughed. "There ain't nothin' left of me. You ain't gon' shoot me." Sheriff G blinked and the kid was now standing at his desk. He placed his hands on it and leaned forward. Water dripped onto the paperwork on Sheriff G's desk. His eyes watched as the papers absorbed the water. This is real, he thought as the kid opened his mouth. A tiny white crab climbed out of the kid's mouth and fell onto the desk. "Pretty cool, huh? When you’re swimming with the fishes, there's not much to do." Sheriff G dropped the gun to his desk and blessed himself. "The water dissolved the rope enough so my hands got free." The kid grabbed Sheriff G by his shirt and pulled him forward. He touched his cold, wet nose to the Sheriff's and then smiled. "I'm sorry," Sheriff G whispered. "This job and town is all I've got. If you told them about the pills. . ." The kid pushed Sheriff G back into his chair and started to laugh. "I just came for my shoes," the kid said as his eyes turned white to black. "But since we're on the subject about your pills. . ." The kid stepped around the desk. He opened the drawer and with one hand held Sheriff G's throat so his mouth was open and with the other poured all the pills into the Sheriff's mouth. . . "Suicide?" the Deputy asked. "Has to be. Why would he take so many damn pills?" "It's because of those damn shoes comin' back." "The shoes? What, did he think it was a ghost er somethin'?" "Maybe," the Deputy said closing Sheriff G's eyes with his fingers. "Man, why the hell is his desk soaked? And look at the floor. And, hey, is that a crab over there?"