"Never underestimate your enemies- sometimes they might win"~ Nicholas Langkey
Jack rounded the corner and quite literally bumped into the old Sheriff.
Upon the collision, the two bounced back, similar to a bullet ricocheting off into space.
Stan, the Sheriff, whose name Jack had finally learned, had been venturing down the passage with his head buried in a worn crossword puzzle.
Jack was willing to bet that the frayed puzzle rivaled Stan in age. Even now, after the bump, his thickly mustached upper lip hadn't strayed more than three inches from the paper.
To make the situation more comical, Stan wore two pairs of glasses; perhaps to amplify his vision or more likely, an accidental manifestation of his fleeting youth.
Either way, both pairs were now perched precariously on the tip of his crooked nose.
After the glasses threatened to become acquainted with the floor, the Sheriff raised his head and looked Jack head on.
"Oh, Mr. Rhodes! You're still here. It is quite late. Haven't you had enough fun for tonight? My men are tired and would like to go home to their wives."
Jack furrowed his brow. "Sheriff, one of your citizens was almost killed tonight. I think you should be more worried about a murderer running around on the streets than getting home."
The Sheriff sighed and cocked his head at Jack. "Mr. Rhodes. This town is a dot on a map, or it was. Before the rhodium discovery, it had a population of a thousand. Now, that number has almost tripled in the past six months. I ain't got the men or resources to deal with them. Or the skills!"
The Sheriff rubbed his maw halfheartedly and continued."We do the best that we can with what we got. And it ain't much. And now you fancy folk come on in here, demanding the world and we can't give it. We just can't!"
Jack knew he wasn't being fair to the man; Jack had come to Rinshawn with guns blazing and expected everything to fall into place.
He had craved action and adventure but instead received a dispiriting lack of turmoil.
Fresh out of the gate, the Sheriff had told Jack to go home; that his skills weren't needed. No one said 'no' to Jack Rhodes.
It just didn't happen.
The culture shock of Rinshawn combined with the lack of sleep had thrown him off his game.
If he had been a lesser man, he might have traipsed home with his tail between his legs.
But Jack was not a lesser man.
Jack contemplated his choices: he could alienate the local police by scolding their lack of professionalism, or he could temper his pride and compromise.
Deciding the latter, Jack abated his irritation and nodded "I understand where you're coming from, Sheriff. And I apologize that I came across demanding. We've both had a long night and nerves certainly have played a role in it. I suggest we start again in the morning. For the time being, I need Ms. Praxton put into protective custody. Can you do that?"
After the Sheriff had signaled positively, Jack asked one more question. "Where can I set up a temporary office for the night?"
The tension had been released and the Sheriff's own furrowed brows smoothed.
He motioned with his pen to an office at the end of the hall. "Best room in the house." With that said, he returned his gaze to his crossword and continued his way.
YOU ARE READING
Eridanus Flooding (WATTY 2018 WINNER)Mystery / Thriller
Commander Jack Rhodes is a retired Navy Seal. Well. Retired isn't what he would call it. More like fired. Yes. Fired would be the correct choice of word. No one retires at the age of 32. When a mission went wrong, leaving Jack as the only survivor...