Law and love in the heart of the country.
|Somewhere between Texas and other states of confusion, in the outer bounds of counties in proximity to Tuscaloosa, Jessup made his living as sheriff. Being the only law man for hundreds of miles around made his life somewhat challenging, bordering on burdensome at times. The fact that he had to cover so much real estate by himself each day in an old dilapidated pickup truck, proved to be a true testament to the power of his character as a valued and respected man in his community.
He and his pretty wife of 30 years lived in a remote area on an old Indian ranch called Choctaw Bend. Ancient cowpoke lore has it that the regional Indians, who once owned the land, gave up the ghost early on in their disputes with the white man since they figured superior weapons like guns and rifles were no match for bows and arrows. The European invaders soon descended like locust in vast numbers which presented an even greater incentive to the indigenous tribes to succumb quickly and quietly to the new world order overlords.
Six days a week at 6:00 am, the sheriff began his rounds by driving throughout the countryside in his truck looking for things that might seem to be out of place. Not to mince words; he was looking for crime or suspicious activity worthy of the facilitating of his skills and expertise for the common good. He would pick a random direction and start driving. You can’t get anywhere in life if you don’t take that first step or apply that first impression on the gas pedal.
He and his vehicle rumbled through the south lands on this one particular blistering hot Saturday. The sun followed at a distance, at an angle appropriate to the time of day and could do nothing more than heat things up and measure their success more with shadow than light as they cruised along the highways.
Jessup would never work on Sundays. It is the Lords Day. He gave his workers off as well from their tending the cattle and tilling the fields, which would soon be transformed like magic into blankets of white with their bountiful yields of cotton fibers, exploding plants, rising from the ground, into bloom and into the afternoon. He and his wife Alice would go to church together, pray for prosperity and world peace. She had lost some of her charm over the years. When they were first dating she weighed about 80 lbs. How times change. Her charm was replaced by mega weight. She is more like 280 lbs. these days and like the universe, expanding ever outwards at a rapid pace.
As with all good marriages, this one had its difficulties. Hills and valleys on the road through life come with challenges. By noon time on most days the sheriff could be found in his office filling out paperwork, checking messages and staying in touch with the locals and their common grievances, most of which were of a generic mundane nature.
His wife knew his pattern. She would make a point of visiting him every day in his office at the appropriate time, which in her mind was all the time and obviously the time in which he would or should be there. She would not see him to nag him or to be a pest but to innumerate his many deficiency as a human being. It was most important for her to impart this mystical wisdom of hers, given to her by none other than God Himself to make her husband a better man, a better sheriff and better member of society. Illumination is good. Everyone should be illuminated. It was for his sake and his self improvement. Her husband must be made aware frequently and often as to the nature of his multiple short comings and that only she could make him understand fully who is in charge.
Being that God was busy with other matters she felt perfectly at home to make decisions on His behalf in her mission and agenda which clearly had no end in sight. Enlightenment was about to rise and shine.
She would storm into his office, lean over his desk and begin her rant. “You worthless bum!” “What are you good for?” “Nothing!” “Absolutely nothing!” “My washing machine has been broken for two days.” “What are you going to do about it?!” “What do you want me to do?” “I’m not a repair woman!” “Do you expect me to drag the clothes down to the river and pound them on the rocks?” “What is wrong with you?!”
Jessup would smile and say, “The repair man has other jobs.” “He will be by our place in about an hour.” To which Alice would retort, “What am I a mind reader?” “How am I supposed to know if or when the man is coming out?” “Are you lying to me?” “Don’t you dare lie to me!”
On this particular morning his lovely wife had a long list of items she was unhappy with. She was not shy in outlining her husband’s faults. She made no bones about informing him that she found him to be 100% accountable for the countless miseries she must endure. In her judgment she found him to be guilty for all of her problems and then some. In her estimation he was and is the cause of every little thing she could conjure up over a life time or two. Jessup was a tolerant man. He knew sooner or later she would run out of steam and storm out of the place screaming and cursing as was her nature.
She made one valid point that he felt a necessity to address. One of their cars was in the shop for repairs. A part needed to be ordered. It had just arrived that morning. He informed his wife the vehicle was ready to be picked up. For some reason this news made her even more angry. She yelled, “You could have told me that when I came in!” He replied, “I didn’t want to interrupt you dear.”
Fidelity is a very important social commodity. It could even save your soul when things go south.
Jessup was very good at his job. Over the years he had seen it all. Young boys running around with their friends, torturing small animals; growing up to become killers and monsters, becoming cynical people with no sense of direction or remorse. The sheriff was always there to show them the errors of their ways, to show them that all actions have consequences. There was great satisfaction in seeing the bad ones get put away for the common good of all. He had many ups and downs but somehow he remained balanced and calm.
Alice had changed for the worse. She no longer cooked his meals or cleaned his clothes, (with or without the washing machine repairs being factored in.) He ate out at the local diner most nights or bought fast foods or pizza and ate alone. On this one particular evening his precious seemed to be possessed by evil spirits. She was yelling, screaming, jumping, bouncing off the walls like a crazy lady. Jessup by nature was a very peace loving and serene man. He decided to take action. In one of his locked cabinets where he keeps his rifles and ammo secured, he has his medical equipment. He pulled out a syringe and filled it with a high dose of Sodium Pentothal. He came up from behind his wife, shot her in the neck with it, immediately rendering her unconscious as the drug streamed through her nervous system quickly, quietly and efficiently, placing her in a state of peaceful nocturnal bliss.
He dragged her limp large body out the door and over to the abandoned water well. At first he had the idea of hanging her upside down from a rope and lowering her into the well. Then he thought perhaps she might die due to all the weight and blood rushing to her head.
He decided to place a harness around her waist and lower her down on pulleys. He tied her feet and hands with rope. Ample duct tape was used to secure her very over active mouth. He really didn’t need to do that. No one would be able to hear her screams if she should wake up. Their ranch hands and farm workers lived off property. They had no neighbors living near by. He needed a good nights sleep so it is better to be safe than sorry. More duct tape please. Things were moving along like clockwork.
Next morning he pulled her out of the well, untied her and acted like nothing had happened. He said, “Honey, how about you rustle us up some ham and eggs and coffee for your adoring husband?” She smiled an extremely crooked disturbing looking smile and said, “Any thing you want dear.”
That night when Jessup was fast asleep, Alice went out and found a large rectangular shaped rock. It was almost too heavy for her to manage. She brought it into the bedroom, held it over her husband while standing on the bed directly over him and with a primal scream most blood-curdling loud, she came down with it heavy on his head which cracked it wide open like an egg or perhaps more like a watermelon which went sploosh! with that awful kind of sound which only sploosh can make.
Quite the mess was left behind. She had to move quickly before the workers arrived. Work was the last thing poor Alice had in mind or liked to do. She hated the very concept of it but in a fit of anger she dragged the sorry carcass of the late sheriff to his final resting place. After dumping him and the bloodied bed linens into the well she called a concrete delivery company to fill it up. It took two truckloads of cement mix to fill it in.
The road to success is always under construction. You could say the same is true for filling in a well for some purpose or person. Alice had a concrete thought. Maybe it was a solid idea. She could have easily buried her loved one in the back fields. If crime is a growth industry, she would be better served to have buried him with the cotton plants where it could flourish.
Some people in town were convinced the sheriff was a bad man, especially since he had gone missing. His wife had done a good job of condemning him over the years. Some people thought that she deserved the insurance money after he disappeared. They thought she had it coming. Others were not so sure. In any event she’s got it coming.