Illness strikes a small town. A private detective helps the local doctor unravel mystery.
| Jim Cannon clenched the wheel as he drove to town. Ignoring the magnificent sunset on his left, he barreled toward Gremlin, Texas, along the dusty road. This little town was his workplace, but his heart wandered in the Olympic forest. A roadrunner zipped across in front of him, and he bounced his fist on the horn. On the roadside ahead, he spotted a bedraggled female. She was limping slightly. |
Jim pulled over, rolled down the window, and hollered, "Want a ride to town?" The woman looked over, nodded, and muttered, "Thanks. My horse threw me while I was riding from Pike's Ranch to town." She was fairly tall, brown-haired, and sunburned. A greenhorn, he thought.
"I'll take you to see Dr. Brown," he offered. "Doesn't every doctor in Texas answer to 'Doc'?" she asked. "Not Ann Brown," he said. "She'd take out my appendix without anesthesia, if I did." Snickering, the woman laughed, "Thanks. I needed a laugh. My name is Helen. You're right about Mom."
Helen continued, “Mom’s a lady bear. You don’t mess with her, or her cubs. She likes things done a certain way. She speaks her mind. You don’t come into her cave unless you’re invited.”
“Let me tell you, one time a burglar got in the house. She sprayed him with pepper spray, then lectured him until the constable got there. He was glad to leave our house, and the constable was smiling.”
Jim felt his shoulders relax a little. “It sounds like Dr. Brown doesn’t let anything get to her,” he said. “The world needs bears to keep us in line.”
“You’d better slow down before this curve,” warned Helen, “because the State Troopers will have a speed trap set up.”
Jim gave her a skeptical look, but he slowed down anyway. He saw the official’s car, and he was glad he’d listened. Helen looked him over as they drove towards town. He was tall, thin, and looked put out with the whole idea of being in Texas. “Why are you here?” she demanded. “I haven’t seen you before, and you don’t talk like you’re from Texas.”
“I’m helping the Dowling family with some things,” he hedged. Better to keep his real goal quiet for now, he thought.