My sanitation crew of one is clearing the yard of excrement one turd at a time. I had often wondered how a crew of one, being Tig, was able to maintain two acres of fenced yard all by herself until this morning. I observed her underling, in dropped jaw, mixed emotions, Ziggy, my long haired rescue weenie dog, assisting Tig in the grooming process of the property. From this day on, Tig is not the only rescue dog of mine not allowed to lick me in the face.
Walking into the Grace Falls City Hall building, I was feeling pretty optimistic about the day so far. Fair coffee, damn good breakfast and all the juicy weekend gossip from the coffee drinkers down at Doc’s Corner Cafe, until…
Without looking up from the stack of papers being aggressively shuffled from one pile to another, “Sheriff”, was my greeting this fine sunny Monday morning from Maddie, the oldest, hardest working and only dispatcher/ Office Manager in Sweeter County. Maddie Mae James has been with the Sheriff’s / City Hall office for over thirty five years. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly come and go.
After three years, six months and fourteen days with the department, I’m still Maddie Mae’s trainee. One of the first things I learned was tardiness is not just inconsiderate, but rude. Another was that when I am addressed simply as ‘Sheriff’, not ‘Juss’ or, in mixed company, ‘Sheriff Walker’, I’m in the outhouse for sure.
“Well good morning to you too.” I responded with a wink.
The wink didn’t work this time.
“It’s only 8:20.” I said that because my day usually begins at 8:30 am. I’m early.
“You forgot didn’t you?”
“Pppff…No… I didn’t forget…”
“Your trainee is here. He’s waiting for you in the break room.” Maddie said with irritation in her voice.
“Shit. I forgot.”
“I know… That’s what I said.”
“Can I get a cup of coffee?” I asked.
“Sure. Get me one too while you’re at it.”
“Looks like you got the tiger by the tail now Officer Brody. Stay with ’em!” Justiss said in a teasing tone.
“Dispatch, this is unit one again. Officer Brody is attempting to obtain the subject. Over.”
“Unit one, this is dispatch. The subject? Dilbert? Over…?”
“Dispatch, this is unit one. Affirmative. The subjects name has been confirmed to be one Dilbert Eugene Rhoades.” Crackle…Crackle…Crackle
“Officer Brody has discharged his taser and now has the subject obtained. Over.”
“Unit one, this is dispatch, could you repeat that. Over.”
“Dispatch, this is unit one. Officer Brody has tazed the subject and now has the subject obtained. You copy? Over.”
…. Crackle… Crackle… “Umm yeah…Unit one, this is dispatch. Officer Diaz would like to speak with you for a moment. Sheriff, he requests that you call him on his cell phone.” Crackle… “Also, I have a few questions myself. Over.”
Doc Whichard is in his mid eighties, well respected in our tiny community and has been the only Veterinary Doctor in Sweeter County for over fifty years. Before Joe Pickard NP, Nurse Practitioner, opened Pickard Family Clinic in Crockett on East Main Street next to Crockett Nursing Home about twenty five years ago, most residents went to ‘Doc’ for everything from the sniffles to stitches. More than likely because ‘Doc Whichard prescribed “home remedies”, of which the last recommendation always came with, as doctor’s orders, a shot of whiskey. The sure fire cure for a toothache, for instance and according to ‘Doc, was to place a slice of onion on infected area, bite down, hold for a few minutes then for good measure, gargle with a shot of whiskey. For chronic hip and back pain, you were prescribed a daily juice glass of one Tbls of apple cider vinegar, one Tbls of Honey and a shot of whiskey. The child with the “sniffles” should be given lemon and honey for a recommended three to five days, twice a day. “Hot Toddies” for the rest of the household for the duration of the virus. ‘Doc was also known, from time to time, to suggest to young mothers with a colicky baby, to mix up some lemon juice, honey and a splash of, yep, whiskey, administer with a dropper and if that didn’t work, his advice was for ‘Mother’ to take two healthy shots for themselves and take a nap. The best cure for insomnia…a stiff shot of whiskey just before bedtime. And if you didn’t have enough to cover the cost of his services, that was ok ‘cause ‘Doc would run you a tab and you just paid it when you could. Many of the old folks still can’t bring themselves to trust a “young city fella” who’s not even a “real doctor”. “What’s a NP anyway?” They’d ask. So, they still turn to the old Vet for their everyday ailments. Of course most times when the affliction is found to be more than just the “sniffles and such”, ‘Doc Whichard refers them to NP Pickard.
When I need inspiration to write…I read. When I need to focus without distraction…I have Elvis Presley on in the background!
Elvis Presley was the original catalyst of diversity.
In 1957 Ed Sullivan didn’t want Elvis to perform ‘There Will Be Piece In The Valley’ (Elvis’s mother’s favorite spiritual song) on his TV show.
The way Elvis felt the beat of the music…so do I feel the beat of Life!
This is a character study and is a work of fiction and is the sole intellectual property of Tammy Jaye, me, and cannot be disseminated or copied without my specific permission. Names, characters, or incidents are the product of my imagination and used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.
On a personal note: I’ve been fiddling with different scenarios for a book for a long time. I always thought I would write something or at least chronicle a memoir. I’ve been jotting down, for the last few years, my thoughts and ideas on notepads, sticky notes, storing notes in my phone etc. I never really took myself or these ideas seriously. I was doing it just for fun. Now I have begun to take my note taking a bit more serious. (Serious or seriously?… See, still learning.)
I read pretty much everything I can get my hands on. Books, from several different authors and genres, to teach myself how to write, what words to use to describe certain situations and how people think. How to express what people are thinking, where their heads are and or where they’re going. What I found in reading other books and authors is, my ideas have already been explored in several works of fiction. I find that both scary and encouraging in that they’ve given me the confidence I need to continue dreaming and writing.
I think I might actually have a talent for this thing.
I am using some of my past experiences and observations about life as inspiration, which in my life has been, to say the least, kind of crazy. But, I am very careful not to have actual events portrayed in my stories. Most of them are parts of situations that I’ve experienced, read or heard about. Nothing intentionally damaging or hurtful. Just thoughts, feelings or intuitions I may have had about someone or a situation. But not actual true events. Well, some situations I had experienced, but those would not be intended to hurt or implicate someone in any wrongdoing without proof or charges.
Not exactly sure how to write this. I’m just covering my ass.
Having said that, If for some reason this actually goes somewhere and any individual feels that any of my storylines or situations are based on their life or things they have done or crimes they may have committed, feel free to turn yourself in, I won’t stop you. In fact, stay right there, someone will be around to pick you up!
“I don’t get hurt or bleed ; hair doesn’t muss, it’s one of the advantages of being imaginary.” – Ted Baxter in the The Purple Rose of Cairo
“All literature is gossip.” – Truman Capote
“Novelists are inspired gossips.” – Margaret Drabble
“But we are the sum of all the moments of our lives-all that is ours is in them: we cannot escape or conceal it. If the writer has used the clay of life to make his book, he has only used what all men must, what none can keep from using. Fiction is not fact, but fiction is fact selected and understood, fiction is fact arranged and charged with purpose.” Thomas Wolfe’s Preface to Look Homeward Angel
Ref: The Legal Consequences of Using Real People in Fiction
Ask a Lawyer Series
When Fiction & Reality Collide
By Attorney Lloyd J. Jassin
The War Of The Dollar Stores… By T. Jaye
Kathy, the manager of the ‘Dollar General’, called in a complaint this morning to the Sweeter County Sheriff’s Department against the ‘Family Dollar’ store.
Justiss is met at the reception area of the City Hall Building with an animated accounting of the complaint by our fair counties office manager / dispatcher of the past twenty five years, Maddie Mae.
Some genius, corporate suit and tie, out of Dallas, decided it’d be a good idea to build a brand new ‘Dollar’ store right next to, not across the street, not down the road a piece, but, right next door to the Dollar General we’ve had for the last 20 some years. I guess they figured you can never have too many such conveniences in a town populated by 2000 broke souls. (Well, make that 1,998 poor souls… We’ve lost a couple in the last couple months. But that’s a whole other can of fish worms.)
Maddie read off the complaint to Sheriff Walker from a notepad she kept by the telephone. This was apparently the first order of business this fine May Monday morning in the town of Crockett, the County Seat of Sweeter County.
“Kathy said that those genius’s over at the Family Dollar we’re too stupid to realize that their bills and such are not delivered by the UPS, but by Clara Drucker, our U.S.P.C, United States Postal Carrier. Said that she was sick and tired of paying Billy $9 an hour to walk their mail over to them. Said they need to get their own damn mailbox!” Maddie Mae ended her report to the Sheriff with an exasperated sigh.
Justiss thought to herself as she exited the building toward her official “Sheriff” vehicle, I guess the day could have certainly started out worse.
But then again, the day’s just getting started…