LawDog, Bobby, Earl And Bird Hunting
I had been out west of town, settling a dispute concerning the paternity of a litter of puppies and was heading back to the SO on one of those lovely Panhandle fall afternoons.
I had the window down, just generally enjoying myself, when I was passed by a 1958 Chevy pickup doing approximately twice the legal speed limit.
About ten miles later, I get this Chevy pulled over, when the driver gets out and sprints back to the cruiser. I have a real dislike for people doing that, so I promptly tear into him;
"Bobby, what the hell are you doing?"
"Well," he says, scrunching and fidgeting with his gimme hat, "I done murdered Earl, and I thought I might oughta find a doctor for him."
"Do you realize how fast you were going? All four of these tires are so bald that they're showing wire, the passenger side front fender is going to fly off in the wind...You did what?"
Bobby's expression kind of wrinkles up, and he mauls his cap a bit more. "I kilt Earl."
Oh, God. This I don't need. I find myself speaking very slowly and carefully, "Bobby, are you sure you killed Earl?"
"We-eeell, I shot him in the face with a shotgun."
Oh, yeah. That'll do the trick. I feel a headache tip-toeing it's way up my spine with all the dainty grace of a rhino in steel-toed combat boots.
"Bobby," says I, still in that slow, calm voice, "Think carefully now. Did you mean to shoot your brother?"
He abruptly takes on a hunted expression. His hands clutch convulsively at the John Deere cap -- he knows there's a legal trick somewhere in my words. He seeks a neutral, non-condemning answer, an answer which won't violate his Fifth Amendment Rights -- he has it!
"You mean, this time?"
"One felony at a time, Bobby. And where's the body?"
Bobby looks at the truck, "He's in the back."
I point at Bobby, "Don't go anywhere!", vault onto the rear bumper of the truck, and sure enough we have a body laying on a bed of fish poles, beer cans, oil jugs, shotgun shells and other assorted detritus necessary for the proper operation of a country truck. And, even better, the corpus has slid forward until everything from the armpits up is hidden under the toolbox.
Oh, joy. I swallow a couple of times, take a deep breath, latch onto the ankles of the cadaver and begin to pull him out from under the toolbox, when the Deceased promptly spasms violently in my grip, such spasm together with the deep, sonorous tone of a bell sounding in a place where there weren't any bells, causes me to turn loose of the ankles of the Dearly Departed and tumble into the bar ditch.
Okay. No problem.
I'm laying there in the bar-ditch, pulling goat-head stickers out of my limbs and very carefully not wondering about how much a face being slammed into the bottom of a stainless-steel toolbox sounds remarkably like a church bell, when said face appears over the edge of the pickup bed and peers down at me in an accusatory fashion.
"Ju brogd by dode."
I concentrate on a particulary ambitious sticker.
"By ond brugga choosts be in de ged, and deen de gops breg by dode."
I roll to my feet, and carefully amble back to the cruiser, and fish around in the back seat until I find a handkerchief, walk back to the pickup and hand it to Earl.
"Thakds" he mubbled, dabbling the blood flowing down his face and revealing several dozen dark grey (one might even go as far as to call them lead-colored) pimples.
I sit on the bumper, fishing around in my vest for a badly needed stick of gum, "Hunting accident?" I hazard, minutely studying a paleolithic stick of Juicy Fruit clutched in my ever-so-slightly trembling paw.
"Dumg fezant tookt off betweeg us, and by dumg chit brugga wagn't looging where he was chooging..."
"Quail, Earl," I say very firmly, "Pheasant season is still a couple of weeks away."
"Dugn't magger. By dumg chit brugga goodn't git a bull in de bugt widt a figgle angyway."
I look at Bobby, who is cogitating intently, "That about what happened, Bobby?"
"I'm pretty sure it was a pheasant," opines Bobby, carefully, "It had a long tail, and a ring around it's neck and it was a lot bigger than one of them little quail."
"Bobby, don't say anything. Now, nod your head. No, keep nodding. Did you accidently shoot your brother while hunting birds? Good. Take Earl to the doctor and get him patched up."
"Dumg chit brugga goona neeg a goctor agger I gicg his bugt."
"Oh, yeah? You and which army?"
Which was the last thing I heard as I went in search of a badly-needed, soothing cup of tea.
LawDog is a deputy sheriff in a small Texas town. For reasons that should be obvious, he wishes to remain anonymous. Reprinting or redistribution of any of The LawDog Files stories without LawDog's permission is expressly prohibited. LawDog is a moderator and regular poster on TheHighRoad.org and TheFiringLine.com, where this story originally appeared.