Sheriff Roy, lost in the pages of Joe Hill’s book “NOS4A2,” heard a knock at his office door. A rather plain, unassuming young man stood at the door.
“Yes, son, come in.”
“Sheriff Roy Templeton?” asked the man, barely out of his teens.
“Yes, son. How can I help you?”
The teen pulled a stack of papers from a sheaf and said, “You’ve been served.” Having completed his assignment, the teen took off at a dead run for the Mud Lick Sheriff Department’s exit.
“Fucking process servers,” the Sheriff spat under his breath. In Sheriff Roy’s mind, the only lower form of life on the evolutionary rung than Tennessee Volunteer fans were process servers.
The Sheriff’s eyes widened and hardened with each flip of the Complaint’s pages. When he was done he picked up his phone and rang Deputy Miranda.
“Deputy Miranda, get two people you trust and go find the Mulkey brothers. Tell no one else in the Department. Make sure you can trust who you take with you. I want those sons of bitches in an interrogation room within the hour.”
Miranda knew how to get a job done. It was exactly forty-five minutes when Sheriff Roy’s intercom rang.
“Sheriff, it’s Miranda. The Mulkeys are in Interrogation Room 2.”
“Get the Clemson Fan interrogation kit from the locker, Deputy Miranda.”
“Sheriff, are you sure that’s a good idea?”
Sheriff Roy made his way with the toolbox containing forceps, a bone mallet, ball gags, stun guns, and a plank of wood with exposed nails into Interrogation 2, where he stared down Earl and Devin Mulkey, a pair of brothers who signed on with the Mud Lick Sheriff’s Department as a favor to Coach Saban. The Mulkey’s eyes widened in fear when they saw the black toolbox with “Clemson” painted in orange slam hard on the interrogation room table.
“You know what this is used for, boys?” Sheriff Roy asked.
“Yes, Sheriff,” Earl Mulkey replied.
“The tell me about the impromptu ‘baptism’ y’all performed last week.”
Devin spoke up. “We’d stopped for Earl to get a pack of smokes at the S-Mart when Earl swore he saw a woman with meth mouth making furtive movements. Earl told me we were going to stop her and search her car and lady parts for meth. I didn’t know he was going to make the stop at the perp’s house, Sheriff.”
“Earl, you wanna weigh in on this search?” Sheriff Roy asked.
Earl was silent until he saw the bone mallet and a ball gag removed from the Clemson toolbox.
“I was sure the bitch had some meth on her, Sheriff. I know the meth busts make the COPS people come to town, and I figured if I found some I’d get on the TV. When we tossed her car, I made sure she got a full body search. Even made her shake the underwire from her bra, but all we found was a lousy roach she admitted to.”
The Sheriff found himself getting redder by the second. “You boys pulled this shit in order to bring the COPS camera crews to Mud Lick? Against the Town Elders’ express wishes?”
“Or at least Live PD,” Devin piped up. “Then we can get another war tank with the TV money.”
“You numbskulls never cease to amaze,” Sheriff Roy spat through clenched teeth. “Now about the ‘baptism.'”
Earl mumbled until the forceps and stun gun were placed on the table.
“She needed Jesus, Sheriff. All the druggies do. I asked her if she’d been baptized and she said no, so Devin and I took her down to the boat dock. He had to watch because the Reverend says Baptisms don’t count unless there’s a witness. So I baptized her and we dried off after it was done. I wrote her a cite for the roach in the car and we called it a day. We was just doing the Lord’s work, Sheriff!”
“I’ll bet,” replied Sheriff Roy. He threw the Complaint on the interrogation room table with a thud. “Your stunt got us a lawsuit, not Jesus. The lady’s suing Mayor Tribe, the Department, me, and the both of your dumb asses. Now what do you think I’m supposed to do about that?”
A long silence filled the room. “I guess we invite her to church, Sheriff?” Devin asked.
“Devin, Earl, I’m going to do something worse than firing you both. Deputy Tyrone’s up for a trip out of town, and I need to make both of you disappear for a minute. So he’s going to Disney World, and you’re both going as his handlers. Remember, Deputy Tyrone loves Epcot.”
“I’ll turn in my badge and gun right now!” both Mulkey brothers said in unison.
“I see the two of you think alike as well. That’s why I know this is the perfect punishment.”