No one's life is sane. It is learning how to live with the insanity that is the trick. Sure, down South, we all have our skeletons in the closet. The difference is - we open the doors and let them dance on the front porch. After all, who doesn't have a mother who thinks she knows it all, a father who knows best, at least one irritating sibling, and that weird uncle no one wants to sit by at supper. I'm not sure what "Normal" is, but whatever it is, I know I live a bit south of it.
Monday, August 6, 2018
Sins of the Flesh and the Hands of the Lord
By the time Mike made it back to the Station, Mary Lou had gotten Buck calmed down and into a back office. That way when the Sheriff returned, they would be able to get the Colonel's side of the story without any interference from Buck.
It wasn't long before the Sheriff walked in with the Colonel. Unlike the calm polite gentleman he always seemed to be, the Colonel was very worked up. As he and the Sheriff walked into the Sheriff's office, Mike raised his eyebrows. The Sheriff ignored him, "Colonel would you care for some coffee, a Coke, or water?"
"No, thank you," the Colonel replied in frustration.
Mike followed the Sheriff into the break room. "I've never seen him like this?"
The Sheriff handed Mike a Diet Coke and poured himself a cup of coffee. "Well," he said as he stirred a packet of sugar into the hot beverage, "wait until you hear his side of the story."
"He'll have to tell you. I want to hear it again, anyway - make sure I heard what I thought I did."
"Mary Lou, hold my calls."
"Yes sir, anything else?"
"Not yet." He followed Mike into the office and closed the door.
"Colonel, I know you told me what happened when I was at the museum. Can you please tell Mike what you told me, every detail. Take your time, try to remember everything you can."
The Colonel turned his chair so he was facing both the Sheriff and Mike, who was sitting on the old sofa across the room. "I was working in the museum arranging the cards for the new exhibit when I heard someone shouting out front. I walked out to see what was going on. Mr. Beaver was standing by the entrance to the museum ranting Bible verses."
"So he was outside the museum, not in it?", asked Mike.
"Yes, he was standing right outside the front door." The Colonel paused. "When I saw that it was just Mr. Beaver proselytizing, trying to save everyone's soul," he smiled, "I tried to be polite, telling him that he needed to move. I knew if anyone wanted to visit the museum, they would never come in if they had to walk past Mr. Beaver, his preaching, and his cross. I suggested, nicely, if he would mind moving onto another area. It was at that point that he got angry, incensed, said he was there to save me."
"Save you? Like save your soul?" asked Mike.
"That's what he said. When I thanked him but told him I was okay, he yelled at me. He said, "Your wife is a whore, you both need your souls saved." Mike and the Sheriff could both tell the Colonel was getting upset. He continued, "Now, generally I am a calm man. Its takes a lot to get me riled up but when somebody says something against my dear Winfred - now, that is going to get me upset."
He had Mike's attention now. "That's exactly what he said, 'that your wife is whore and you both need your souls saved'?"
"If those are not the exact words, they are close enough."
"So he just made the accusation, he didn't threaten you?"
"No, he didn't threaten me, but a man does not attack the reputation of another man's wife without expecting some reaction. So, I told him that he better leave and never say anything about my wife again, or any one else's for that matter."
The Colonel was quiet. The Sheriff sat still waiting for him to continue. After a minute or 2 of silence, the Sheriff spoke, "Colonel, tell Mike, what happened after that."
The Colonel's knuckles were red as he gripped the hat he was holding in his lap. "Then he started talking about my wife working at the Gentlemen's Club. I interrupted him and told him that, yes, I knew she worked there. But he kept on going. He accused my Winfred of being . . ., well working as . . . , he said she was one of 'those' women. You know the ones who entertain the members."
He was quiet again. "Deputy Pace, I am an honorable man. I couldn't get him to stop talking about her. He was making up things from whole cloth. A man can only take so much. I asked him to leave, but he just stood there. He would not be quiet - not stop talking about her." He paused. "All I could think of was defending my Winfred's honor. I always carry my sword on my waist belt. I just didn't think. Before I realized what I was doing, I had pulled the sword and pointed it toward him. I told him to leave."
"You never hit him or cut him with the sword?"
"No, I just pulled it out, pointed it toward him, and said something like, 'That's enough now'." The Colonel looked at Mike, as if waiting for some comment. Mike was quiet. The Colonel continued. "The next thing I knew he was screaming bloody murder that I had tried to kill him. Honestly, I didn't touch him, with my hand or my sword - although I should have."
"So where did the blood come from?"
"Blood? There was no blood." The Colonel looked genuinely surprised. "Honest Sheriff, I don't know where any blood came from. It wasn't from anything I did. He wasn't bleeding when he finally left, just yelling Bible verses about women of ill repute."
He was silent again. After waiting for him to continue, the Sheriff asked, "And, that's all you can tell us?"
"Sheriff, I am an honest man. That is all that happened."
"From all you have told us, this sounds like a disagreement and self defense on your part. Unless there is anything else you need to tell us, you are free to go."
"Thank you sir."
"Some advice - get an attorney in case this gets messy."
The Colonel stood, "Thank you, I'm sorry I reacted the way I did, but it was pure instinct."
Mike and the Sheriff also stood. "Colonel, I do have to ask that you don't leave town for now. Let's get this straight first." He offered his hand.
The Colonel shook it, turned to Mike, and also shook his hand. "Thank you."
"Taking the time to listen to my side of the story."
The Sheriff smiled, and the 3 men walked out of the Sheriff's office. "That's my job and one of the beauties of our constitution. Now I need to talk with Buck - hear his side. If I have any questions, I'll call." The Colonel thanked him again, then turned and acknowledged Mary Lou, " 'Miss' Mary Lou," he said nodding to the Sheriff's administrator. He then donned his hat and left the Station.
As soon as the door closed behind the Colonel, the Sheriff turned to Mike, "Now the fun part, let's go see what Buck's story is." With that the 2 men walked down the hall to the room where Buck was.
The Sheriff opened the door to find Buck's wooden cross was standing in the corner. He was facing the far wall and talking to himself. Because Buck was mumbling, the Sheriff could not understand exactly what he was saying. "Mr. Beaver, can we talk?"
Buck turned around. Mike noticed the distant look in his eyes. Silently Buck sat down at the table in the middle of the room. The Sheriff offered him something to drink.
"My soul is at peace, I do not need anything like that."
The Sheriff smiled, "Buck, I am talking about a bottle of water, a Coke, or cup of coffee - nothing more."
As soon as they were all settled, the Sheriff told Buck, "You are not under arrest and if you want an attorney, you are free to call one. Do you understand?"
"Yes, I'm at peace. Unlike the sinners of the world, I await the rapture and never ending life."
The Sheriff started, "Okay, I need you to tell me what happened earlier this afternoon at the museum."
Buck started telling his story. "Knowing the sin's of Mrs. Walker's soul, God spoke to me and said I must reveal the truth to the Colonel and offer him redemption."
"The sin's of Mrs. Walker? Exactly what 'sins' are you referring to?"
"Sins of the body. The Bible says, 'A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.' " He looked up at the Sheriff. "Proverbs 29:3. Sir the Colonel's wife is a harlot, a whore, and adulteress."
Mike spoke up, "And what makes you say that?"
"His wife walks among the sinners - she, herself, is a harlot."
"But, how do you know that is the case?"
"I've seen it by mine own eyes?"
Mike looked at the Sheriff and raised his eyebrows.
The Sheriff asked, "Saw what? Where?"
"The Lord told me to seek out sinners. I knew that Ms.Vontese operated a house of wayward women. So I followed the word of the Lord and my heart"
"You went to the Gentlemen's Club?"
"Is there any other house of harlots here?"
The Sheriff remained quiet not willing to go there. The man sitting before him was unshaven, dirty, with long stringy hair, dressed only in a filthy loin cloth and sandals made from rope and worn tire tread.
Buck continued,"I saw through the window. 'Thus they became unclean in their practices, and played the harlot in their deeds.' The Bible says that in Psalm 106:39."
"So you were looking through the windows of the Gentleman's Club?"
Buck was silent. The Sheriff continued, "Buck do you realize that there is a 'Peeping Tom' law that makes that illegal."
Ignoring the Sheriff's question, Mike spoke up, "But what did you see?"
"I saw the Colonel's wife, Sara, offering her flesh to a man who was not her husband."
This caught the Sheriff's attention. "Are you sure it was Mrs. Walker?" "I've seen Mrs. Walker, of course it was her?" "Sara Walker?" "My eyes saw the sins of the flesh."
The Sheriff, not wanting to offer Buck more stage for exhortation, interjected, "Buck, I don't know what you saw. Even though I have no reason to suspect Mrs. Walker of 'sinning' as you say, why did you approach the Colonel?"
Buck, staring at the table, spoke in a low voice that quickly rose into a loud accusation, " 'Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, . . . , will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." He looked up at the Sheriff, "1 Corinthians 6:9-11. He needs to be saved."
Mike could not resist. "So you took it into your own a hands to 'save' him?"
"Not my hands, but the hands of the Lord working through me."
Everyone was quiet for a moment. Finally the Sheriff broke the silence, "And what happened at the Museum?"
"I told the Colonel of his wife's sins. He needed to know. No man should keep company with his wife, is she sells her flesh to other men."
"But what happened?"
"He pulled his sword and threatened me with death?"
"Threatened you with death."
"He tried to kill me with his sword."
Mike smiled, "But Prov 12:19 says, 'The one who tells the truth will endure forever, but the one who lies will last only for a moment' ".
The Sheriff was impressed. But Buck offered in retort. "Thou shall not lift your hand against a man of the cloth."
Mike laughed, "I am not aware of that verse."
"So says the word of the House of Beaver."
The Sheriff interrupted,"The 'House of Beaver' aside, how do we know you are telling the truth?"
"Ask Davis Clark Butler the third - he was the man sharing his body with the Colonel's adulterous wife."
The Sheriff looked at Mike, who shrugged his shoulders. He continued,"Buck, false accusation are against the law. And the word of God."
Buck looked him in the eye,"Sir, you may think I to be crazy, but I don't lie."
"I never said you lied. However, you don't have any evidence that the Colonel truly tried to kill you. Buck, get an attorney to keep you out of trouble. You can leave now."
Without saying a word, Buck stood, got his cross from the corner, and left the room.
After he was gone, the Sheriff turned to Mike, "Mama never told me there would be days like this."
"No offense to your mother, but she lied."
Both men laughed as they left the room. As they walked back into the main part of the station, Mary Lou looked up. "I wonder what's next?"
Mike smiled, "No more for me. I think Mrs. McGillicuddy, Delmar Flynn, and, now, Buck Beaver are the trifecta."