My Life A Bit South of Normal

Thursday, August 2, 2018

You Haven't Heard? The War is Over

Ruthanna didn't just stand there, she poked Delmar. "Tell them dimwit, tell them what you saw the other night."

Delmar shuffled his feet and looked at the floor.

Ruthanna slapped him on his arm, "Well, tell 'em?"

"The other night I was walking home, you know from playing cards with the boys. I cut through that ally behind the stores on Main Street. Soon as I got close to the bank, I heard 2 fellas talking." Delmar got quiet again as he looked at the floor and twisted the canvas hat he was holding.

The Sheriff asked, "And, what were they saying?"

"Well, one said sumptin' like, 'I'm not sure 'bout this.' Then the other said, 'There is no way they will ever know 'bout this.'

"Delmar, did you see them?"

"Nosuh, just heard 'em. It was dark back there."

"And, what time was this?"

"Gosh, I don't know, maybe around 11. I know it was before midnight 'cause Ruthanna'd kill me if I was out past midnight."

"Did you see a car?"

"Not 'xactly. But, it was a big un'. It was too dark to see much of anything."

"And, only 1 car?"

"Yessuh, that's all I saw."

"Did they see you?"

"Don't know how, I was hiden' behind a big box."

"Nothing else?"

"Nosuh."

Ruth Ann was furious, "You idiot, tell him what else happened." 

Everyone was quiet, waiting for either Delmar to speak or Ruthanna to start screaming. Finally Delmar looked up and spoke. "Well suh, there was some shooting. I thought it was firecrackers until I saw one of the men fall down."

"He was shot?"

"Guess so. Then a truck drove up and a 'nuther man got out." Delmar was silent again. He added, "Then the 2 men dragged the body into the back of the truck and the truck left."

"Both men left in the truck?"

"Nosuh, only one. Well, only 1 live one."

"Now, Delmar when you said 'the other night', what night was that?"

"Don't rightly remember. I get confused 'bout my days."

Ruthanna smiled, showing her 2 missing front teeth, "Sheriff, we brought some damn good information about a crime, maybe a bank robbery. We both know that's worth sumpmen." She smiled smugly, "Seems you didn't know nuttin' about it until we walked in here this morning." 

"I'll admit, this is the first I've heard about this."

"Well, it's worth sumpmen i'dnit?"

The Sheriff just smiled and looked over at Mike, who was just shaking his head.

"Ruthanna, we've gone 'round this before. I appreciate the 2 of you being such good citizens. Why without folks like you, always paying close attention, there'd certainly be things we would miss." He could tell she was a bit miffed. "But there are some holes here. First, Delmar can't tell us what night it was, the time of night it happened, the kind of car he saw, or any details about the men. No one's called in about a dead body or even a missing a loved one. Ruthanna, as I have said before, we don't pay folks for information you should be telling us anyway."

"Sheriff, I've had 'nough of you. Next time Delmar sees sumptin' happen, we'll just keep it to ourselves." She grabbed Delmar's arm, "We're going home."

They turned to walk out, but not before the Sheriff asked, "Delmar, one question - why were you in that alley behind Main Street? My guess is if you were going home from playing cards, you had been at Junior's Barber shop. If I recall correctly, Junior's is just 2 or 3 blocks from your house. And, Main street ain't close to either one."

"No, sir. I got a little lost. Took a wrong turn. Didn't have my bearings. It'd been a long night."

"If I here anything else about this, I may call you for some more help."

"We ain't talking to you without getting something for it." Ruthanna turned to walk out. Delmar just stood there."Dimwit, we're going now."

"Suh, I know I saw sumpmen, I just can't remember all the stuff, you know the things you asked me."

"Delmar, I don't doubt you. We'll look into it. Thank you for letting us know."

As the Flynns walked out of the station, the Sheriff feared for Delmar's well being. If looks could kill, poor Delmar was probably a dead man walking. 

Mike and Mary Lou just stood there as the Flynns left. "What do you think?" asked Mike.

"Hell, if I know. Delmar's a good guy, despite his taste in women. I don't doubt he saw something, I'm just not sure if was 2 alley cats going at each other behind a trash can or some mob hit."

Mary Lou and Mike laughed with the Sheriff. He continued, "After a night with the boys at Junior's, he could have seen unicorns, mystics, or little green men." 

As they stood there, the sound of steps coming down the stairs in the hall caught their attention. There stood Ada Mae, dressed in Victorian era attire head to toe.

Mary Lou spoke first, "Ada Mae, I must say you look quite fetching. What is the occasion?"

"Oh my dear, you haven't heard? The war is over."

Mike was confused,"What war?"

"The Spanish-American war of course, the boys are coming home. I'm going to meet them at the station." With that she walked out the door, parasol and all.

As the 3 returned to what they were doing before the Flynn's visit, the Sheriff mumbled, "Or, the boys coming home from the war, albeit during the McKinley administration. 

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