26 August 2013

Ambush in Bartlette: Chapter 18

Bo woke up to the sound of the alarm on his phone. It was playing some random song from Pandora that sounded like it belonged in a Eighties era disco. As he walked across the room to turn off the screaming techno-beat, he wondered yet again why his wife refused to use her own account and kept polluting his Pandora selections with this garbage.

Once the phone was quieted, he looked at the time. It was four o’clock in the afternoon, the time he usually woke up since the Sheriff banished him to the mid-night to eight in the morning shift. He could smell something cooking in the kitchen. Mary always tried to cook an especially good meal for him on Saturday afternoon. He was trying to sort out the odors when the house phone rang. He left it for Mary and started picking out clothes to change into after he showered.

After six rings, Mary’s voice echoed through the house. “Pick up the phone, lazybones. I hear you back there and my hands are covered with grease and flour from whatever this Southern-fried whatsimicallit is that I’m making because you like your arteries clogged.”

Bo smiled. Most of the week she made him eat healthy food (at least at home). But once a week he got real food and he would go to some lengths to preserve his Saturday feast - even answer the phone. He grabbed the handset next to the bed.

It was Clyde Mullins. The Mullins were a significant family in Bartlette because they owned the two Hardees in the county and seven banks there and elsewhere. However, Clyde was best known for being the head of the local Democrats and after exchanging a few pleasantries, he got directly to the reason for his call.

“Bo, I heard about what happened yesterday. You got royally screwed.”

“The Sheriff has every right to run for office again.” Bo replied in a neutral tone.

“No. No, he really doesn’t.” Clyde said. “We all know about his health problems. He’s not fit to hold the office anymore. And everyone knew you were the next in line. Now, because you had the gall to survive an attack by his deputies, he’s pissed at you. He’s not only stuck you with the worst duty he could find, he’s also messing with your future.”

“Clyde, what do . . .”

“I want?” Clyde continued, rolling right over Bo. “I want you to announce that you are running for sheriff on Wednesday just like you planned. Only, I want you to announce as a Democratic candidate.”

Bo sat down on the bed. He’d never even thought about running for office as a Democrat. He’d grown up in Bartlette and could not remember the last time a Democrat held a significant elected position. He must have remained silent for a while because Clyde started asking if he was still there. After he grunted something, Clyde went on.

“Look, I know I’ve kind of sprung this on you, but I’m going to need an answer. You’re the best choice, but at least one of the Mahans is a Democrat and I’ve got to call him if you won’t step up. And, I think you should know that we’ve already got a really good candidate for Commonwealth Attorney. Yusif has agreed to run.”

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