Feb
0

The Shy Horse Chapter Twenty-Four

The Shy Horse Chapter Twenty-Four

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-four

Cole and the Streets of Orrin

Cole Petty had done nothing but looked for tree houses since paying Callahan for the pizza with cardboard crust. At the time, he pretended to like the damn thing. It was all he could do to keep up the act. He had asked Dusty Callahan a lot but had forgotten to asked where Troy Underwood lived. Eudora would know; as the town’s paper’s publisher and editor, she knew where everyone in Orrin lived. For that matter, the whole town knew where everyone lived. But when you asked where someone resided, you’d get an answered like this: “two blocks south of Bill Green’s and right by Sandy Lohrmeys” You had to know where Bill Green lived as well as Lohrmeyer. Cole rarely did.

If you have a blue tattoo on a face in Orrin, you do not get greeted with open arms, accept by a loyal Legion post commander who hired you over the phone and is too stubborn to admit an error.

About a month after being hired, Cole had gained professional acceptance but not private hospitality except by the Laws. At first, he thought being friends with the richest family in Jericho County was his ticket to popularity. Then he learned most of Orrin suspected of being connected to the New York Mafia. (Why else would the prostitution queen Agnes O’Brien make him her heir, leaving her own granddaughters with very little?)

Back to the tree house. Of course he could have waited till three and let Eudora show him but he had nothing better to do right now and a reconnaissance mission seemed in order.

When he was ten his old man had taken him to the ?little Big Horn. He found that name very funny until his father explained how Custer’s men and been wiped out because they hadn’t bothered to learned the sized of the Lakota-Cheyenne camp. The elder Petty had led a squad of men into an ambush in Vietnam because of piss poor reconnaissance. The one thing Tyrone Petty never wavered on was you never walked into a potentially dangerous situation blind. Cole’s own training, first as an infantryman in Afghanistan and the later as an MP and cop had made him a firm believer in good scouting.

So upon leaving the pool hall, Cole had decided to find the house with the tree house himself. His error had been in assuming Orrin just had one tree house in the era if cable TV, smart phones and Facebook. But Orrin was Orrin and the damn place had at least six. He was stuck.

Then he saw her, the one person not put off by his tattoo outside his work circle: Bev O”Brain, the town man eater.

They had met his first Saturday night in Orrin. He had just sat beside her at the bar when their eyes met and they both felt absolutely no sexual tension. But she had merry blue eyes.

“You ain’t getting lucky tonight, cowboy,” she said.

“Who said I was trying? Buy you a beer?’

Bev grinned. “If you ain’t trying to get me, why the beer?”

“Why not, ma’am? Why can’t a man buy a lady a beer because he just wants to talk?”

Bev save him a once-over. “Cowboy,” she said, “I think I like you.”

They sat and talked until a real cowboy came in and a mating dance between Bev and he commenced. But Cole had made a friend. Given his facial tattoo and current home, he tried not to hope for more.

However, the next time, they met in Hall’s grocery, she began another conversation that ended in Bev asking herself over to dinner to try Cole’s cooking. This began a weekly tradition which led one night to a tip from her about a possible meth and pot dealer in Jericho County. He told the Chief who passed it on to his counterpart in Pikesville and the sheriff. They used Cole as an undercover buyer. The bust went down, the perp copped a plea and gave up the meth lab people and his pot supplier. Bev got a reward, Cole got a bonus via the county and the Chief got one from Orrin.

Bev never gave that big of a lead again but she did help catch two kids who had vandalized several businesses.

So when he saw her leaving the beauty salon where she worked for lunch at the diner, he caught up with her and offered to pay her check.

“This must be business. You’re too much the gourmet for Ralph’s,” she said. He just laughed. “Well, Cole, I’ll help if I can but I can’t promise anything.”

“Of course, you can’t,” he said as he opened the door for her.

“You always treat me as a lady,” Bev said wistfully. “Thanks, Cole.”

When they found a table, Cole pulled out a chair for her but made no reply. They both ordered chef salads and coffee.

The coffee came. Cole put sugar in his and took a sip. Bev looked at him.

“What’s this about, Cole?” Bev asked.

“Troy Underwood. Ever date him?”

“No,” she said. “I’ve barely talked him”

“You recall what about?”

“We’ve chatted some while checking out at the grocery store, the weather, prices, crap like that. Wait, one time he was complaining about the Love sisters,” she said.

“Yeah, I forgot about that. He accused them of egging his house last fall. He lives on Elm by them. Hey, is that the house with that big oak and the fancy tree house? I have been looking at every damn tree house in Orrin trying to find Underwood’s and I could have figured it out if I had thought about what Dr. Fine told the Chief, Mrs. Cunningham-Marsh and me last night.”

“OK,” Bev said, “I’m lost. This is about Underwood’s tree house? I get lunch for my vast knowledge about that?”
Cole hesitated. How much should he tell Bev? The books said nothing more than necessary. Most departments had strict policies on informants. Orrin had none. The Chief knew he talked to Bev and got tips from her. But his remarks about her had been strictly about her scandalous lifestyle. There were no rules to beak by telling her everything. So he did.

“It figures,” was all she said.

“You sound…I don’t know what you sound like. You don’t seem outraged.”

“Look, Petty, I don’t like the guy, OK? He’s creepy. Not overtly but you pick up vibes. So, no, I’m not surprised? Outraged? Yes, But I keep things bottled up. I did not have a happy home growing up. There was secrets, my grandmother’s. She was a bitch. She controlled us. Then Law comes and busts her. Fine by me. But she treats him banter than us before she dies. And when she does die, he gets her estate, lock, stock and barrel. Then he and the bitch gets married, write a book and get richer.

“Me? My sisters and I get nothing but they don’t care. They’re good little Catholic girls who get married, teach and nurse and raise their brats. I can’t do that. I want to be somebody. I want to go to college and go places. But I can’t. I’m stuck with being the town’s designated slut, which I’m not anymore. I mean, I was. But I got tired of men using me. Most nights, I stay home and read. But nobody believes that.

“Sorry. Look, I know this is bad but I don’t hang around parents that much or teacher for that matter. How the hell do you expect me to get you leads on this one, Cole?”

“Fair question. I just need you to dig around while I dig around. You ever go to pot lucks? I know some church or group has one every week or so. You could start going to those, Bev.”

“And ask question? To whom?”

“No. Like you said, the town looks down on you. Just eat and listen.”

“That’s a long shot.”
:”No. People talk about four thing here: the weather, politics, farming and their kids. You just listen”

She smiled. “i might hear more about wheat than Underwood.”

He shrugged. “You said it’s a long shot. How much you want?”

“Here’s the deal. You give me money for the soup suppers’ costs and you cook for me every Sunday night.”

“Say what?’

“i work for food.”

Cole thought he heard something in her voice he knew he didn’t, which was completely an irrational thought itself but before he could sort it out, he cell rang.

It was the Chief.

“What, if anything,” the Chief asked, “have you found out this morning?”

“I ran into Bev O’Brien—we’re eating lunch—and she said Underwood’s not dating and never has here.”

“Have you?”

“No, sir.”

“So?”

That made Cole think. Not dating did not prove anything. The Chief and Cole never dated and Joel Law never dated. He looked at Bev.

“He creeps Bev out, sir.”

“Wonders never cease. A man Bev’s not ready to pounce.”

Cole frowned. In every talk he had with the Chief about Bev, the Chief made a snide remark abouit her. Everyone did, even men Cole knew slept with her,

But Cole swallowed hard and asked “So why does Underwood give her bad vibes, Chief?”

Silence. Then the Chief spoke. “You know Bev as a friend, don’t you, son?”

“Yes, sir, I do.”

“I must respect that. But is her gut reaction helpful?”

“You already said it?”

Another pause. “You’re goong to use her on this?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I don’t see how.”

“We agreed I’d run her and you’d trust me.”

Chief Rundle laughed. “Cole Petty,head of the Orrin PD intelligence unit. OK, spymaster, meet me at fourteen-hundred-forty-five.” The Chief’s use of military time puzzled Cole till he recalled.Dr,.Fine and winced as the call ended.

“What’s wrong?”

“The Chief and a thirty-something psychologist have the hots for each other.”

“Jesus, Joseph and Mary!” Bev, a lapsed Catholic, exclaimed.

Cole said nothing, paid the check, gave Bev a good-bye and went to the library and tried not to think about the Chief’s love life by browsing cookbooks.

It did not work.

At one, Cole decided to buy some tomatoes from a retired farmer he knew, The old man had cross-bred several fruits and vegetables all his life and his tomatoes were the best Cole had come axross.,

He and the old man were sitting on the gardener’s porch haggling when a couple came up. The tension between them broke the good-matured mood.

“Do you have that rhubarb and okra, Jake?” The woman asked,

“Rhubarb? Oh, Ms Smythe,forgive me. Forgot you called. Back in a jiffy.”

The old man got up and went inside, leaving Cole with the couple. Being with strangers always was hard because Cole had his tattoo. He never knew if he should speak first or wait to be addressed. He spoke.

“Jane,” the man said, ignoring Cole, “Carla or Sandy Love are just as good. Why must me always get Undercwood to sit?’

But the old man returned before she could answer. He gave the woman a paper bag and got cash. The couple left.

As if reading Cole’s man, the old man said. “Dick and Jane Smythe, S-m-y=t-h-e. He don’t farm; bookkeeper, I think.”

“What about her?” Cole asked,

“Don’t know.”

“Kids?”

“Again, I ain’t sure. Two, maybe.”

“They were arguing over what sitter to use,” Cole said, fishing for gossip.

“Don’t care. My grandkids live in Osborne. But if they lived here, I’d tell Molly Sam not to use the teacher, Underwood. He only sits girls.”

“Just little girls?”

“That’s right, Petty. Now about those tomatoes…”

Cole paid more than the old man had asked and hired his second informant without saying a word.

Before he knew, it was two thirty and time to head to the station. He hoped the Chief was doing paperwork and nothing or no one else.

To be continued.

Dec
0

This Timbers

This Timbers

This Timbers

By David P. Rundle

This Timbers

With its ten acres of trees and grass

Ponds, bushes, and flowers

Cats, dogs, squirrels, ducks and other critters wild and tame

This Timberrs

With ten score apartments

Residents, each unique

Each limited but free

This Timbers

With diverse races, loves and faiths

Secrets and rumors

Tales and jokes

This Timbers

With its vans and drivers

Going to and fro

Going to doctors

Going to churches

This Timbers

With its office workers

Therapists, shop workers and receptionists

Maintence men, janitors and security staff

This Timbers

With its overworked, underpaid aides

Its nurses and other busy souls

This Timbers

With its Bingo and Uno

Chess, others games

This Timbers

With its gardens, chapel and library

Quiet times, parties, dinners and fests

This Timbers

With its weddings, births and deaths

Past, presents and future

Dashed hopes and fulfilled dreams

This Timbers

With a mission and vision

Families and a Family

A community, a hope, a dream

This Timbers

My past, present and futue

Family and friends

This Timbers

This is my home

Mar
0

Our Lady of the High Plains

Our Lady of the High Plains

Copyright 2017 David P. Rundle

Our Lady, Mother of our Lord, pray for these plains,

Windswept, open, fertile

Home of the coyote, Quayle and cottonwood

Where grain grows and Gelbviegs graze on grass

Bless all these plants and creatures of beauty and bounty

And pray for the people who are their stewards

Farmers, ranchers others

From the native tribes on reserve rations

To the descendants of European pioneers and ex-slaves,

Cowboys and sod busters

To the new immigrants who pack meat in Garden City, Kansas,

Some of whom pray in Arabic but honor you

Dear Mother, pray for our water to be pure and plenty

Our ground be not ablaze with wildfire

Nor our skies ever again be blackened by dust

We need your prayers that our children not completely forsake this land,

That those on the coasts respect us and not see us as backwards bigots

Who love guns more than God and neighbor

May we know peace, fellowship and faith all our lives

May you pray for us and this land always

Praise the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Amen

Mar
0

Out Lady of the High Plains

Out Lady of the High Plains

those

By David P. Rundle

Copyright 2017 David P. Rundle

Our Lady, Mother of our Lord, pray for these plains,

Windswept, open, fertile

Home of the coyote, Quayle and cottonwood

Where grain grows and Gelbviegs graze on grass

Bless all these plants and creatures of beauty and bounty

And pray for the people who are their stewards

Farmers, ranchers others

From the native tribes on reserve rations

To the descendants of European pioneers and ex-slaves,

Cowboys and sod busters

To the new immigrants who pack meat in Garden City, Kansas,

Some of whom pray in Arabic but honor you

Dear Mother, pray for our water to be pure and plenty

Our ground be not ablaze with wildfire

Nor our skies ever again be blackened by dust

We need your prayers that our children not completely forsake this land,

That those on the coasts respect us and not see us as backwards bigots

Who love guns more than God and neighbor

May we know peace, fellowship and faith all our lives

May you pray for us and this land always

Praise the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Amen

Nov
0

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

Chapter Twenty-Four of The Sky Horse. I regret the delay.