Joe Bob, the Hill and Mosh hHnry

Story written by Don Roble on Tuesday 10, September 2019

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Another trip to the Appalachias

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Deputy Joe Bob stopped at the stop sign. He was amazed. He placed the cruiser in park and got out. He looked at the sign. He was stopped exactly as he was supposed to stop. He was the exact distance from the curb, if there had been a curb and he was allowed to park here. He had done a 360 on the icy road and didn’t believe his good luck. Then it ended. “Hey, Joe Bob, I betchya couldn't do that again if yer life depended on it.,” one said, pointing at Joe Bob and laughing. “Hell. I ain’t that sure he done it now,” another said after taking a long swig from the bottle. “Whatcha talkin’ about. We jus’ seen him do it, stupid”, first one said with a look of disgust. That was his normal look when around his brothers. He thought he was the smart one in the family. “Who ya callin’ stupid?’ “Well, who the one said somethin’ stupid?” “Stupid is standin’ across the street.” “Well, I lost the mood to make funa Joe Bob when I got at least one stupid brother.” “Huh? Ya talkin’ about me? I oughta whack ya a good one”, the 3 one said. Joe Bob looked over and sighed. Those Crawford boys were at it again. He’d have to go over and threaten to call the sheriff if they didn’t stop. They would ignore him but were scared to death of the Sheriff. The Sheriff watched as Joe Bob brought the boys in. The Sheriff hoped it was for something serious. He wanted to get them onto prison where they belonged. It wasn’t so much as them being really bad as it was them being a pain in his ass. Of course, if it was anything that serious, Joe Bob wouldn’t have been the one to bring them in. Joe Bob was another pain in his ass. The boy meant well and tried hard but he had no luck. He was the guy who, if things were going to go wrong, Joe Bob would be there. He’d get his revenge on the Crawford boys though. He’d feed them from his mother’s place. Mother Mary’s was always full but the Sheriff wouldn’t eat there on a bet. He grew up eating that crap and swore he’d never eat her cooking again. He went out to the squad room. “Joe Bob, I give you real credit for bring them in all by yourself. What did they do now?” “Well, I did a 360 out on 22 and they-” “Wait a minute. You did a 360 in one of my cruisers?” “Well, it was all slippery out there. You know how the sun melts the snow and then it gets dark and the water-” “Joe Bob, I know that. What I don’t know is why you were going too fast for conditions. You knew it was going to turn to ice. Okay, what about theses Crawford boys. Why did you bring them in?” “Why when I got out to check for damage they started funnin’ me. I brung them in for loitering,” Joe Bob was proud of bring them in too. “Loitering? Joe Bob, at any given time half the town is loitering. You know we don’t do anything about that,” the Sheriff told him. “Yea, I know, This is the Crawford boys. I know how you feel 'bout them,” Joe Bob said with a little less confidence. One of the Billy Crawford spoke up at this point. “Yea, we was just standin’ there drinkin’ some shine and Joe Bob come over yellin' and screamin’ at us.” “Well, you're still under arrest. Now you’re really in for it.” “You wouldna made it here if I didn’t help ya.” another if the Billys said, smirking at Joe Bob. “How’s that?” the Sheriff asked. He had bad feeling, a really bad feeling. “Why, Joe Bob was all over the place. We thought we was going to slide right off the road. So, I took the wheel until we got to town, That’s how.” The Sheriff looked at Joe Bob really hard. Joe Bob had done a lot of things but this takes the cake.“Joe Bob, you let a prisoner, a Crawford, drive one of my cruisers? Tell me this boy is lying.” “Well, Sheriff, I could do that but then I’d be lyin.’ I was havin’ trouble-’ “Joe Bob, I want you to book these boys for public drunkenness. Then, I want you to go home. I want you to do the driving. I need to decide what to do about this.” The Sheriff didn’t want them in his jail, He wanted them in the State Prison and Joe Bob didn’t help. The Crawfords would certainly be found guilty but Judge Hill would slap them with a fine they wouldn’t pay. Joe Bob was pouting. He was in his warm cruiser pouting. Then he realized he could be home pouting. He also remembered the Sheriff told him to go home. Then he decided that pouting would do him no good. Making it down 22 would be the answer. He didn't think about the idea of not making it would not be the answer. He decided to give it a shot. That might be what would happen to him if he were to wreck the cruiser out there. He drove out of the parking lot and headed for 22. Going up the hill should be easier and safer than coming down. He had a couple of ways home from there that were smaller hills. He couldn’t see the downside to this. That he never did never occurred to him. The wind was bowing the snow around and Joe Bob thought that was a good sign. He didn’t know why he thought that, he just did. He made it to 22 with no real problem. He looked up the hill and remembered the way he almost wrecked and thought giving one of the Crawford’s the wheel. That wasn’t smart but it did make some sense to Joe Bob. He started up the hill and it was going well. He did notice that he was slowing down at first. When he noticed he stepped down on the gas pedal. He felt the cruise begin to spin its tires. He looked up the hill and thought he could make it even if it was barely. Then he was not going forward, he was gong backwards. Now he was scared. He had no control now. He knew he was going to either end up in a ditch or wreck the cruiser. He knew it wouldn’t matter to the Sheriff. He was only hired because the Sheriff owed his family for something from the past. Joe Bob was waiting for the cruiser to slide over or start spinning. He saw the cruiser was sitting still. Her looked at where he was. He had gone down the hill backwards and was sitting in the middle of the road. He didn’t understand how that happen. He was happy that he hadn’t wrecked. He knew it was a dumb idea to begin with. Then he got pissed at himself. He had done the impossible and didn’t dare tell anyone about it. Joe Bob loved being a deputy Sheriff. It wasn’t just the uniform, the gun, the badge or the authority that went with it. It was the money. Joe Bob had never made much and being a Deputy paid pretty well. He wished he was better at it. He would settle for being just good at it. He would be happy to be ordinary. He remembered when the Sheriff called him to come to the office. Joe Bob was wondering what he did, He was surprised when the Sheriff offered him the job. He got nervous when the Sheriff told him he needed to go to the state capitol for police training. “Joe Bob, I hate to send you there. I mean, I really hate it. It’s the law. I can get away with a lot. I can have old Hicky as my jailer but he never put on for retirement and I think they don’t know he’s still here. Hikcy was 86 years old and worked for the last three Sheriffs. To say Joe Bob had a hard time at the academy was understating it. The administrator called the Sheriff and asked if this was the real candidate, The Sheriff sighed and had to admit it was true. The Administrator said, “You must be really hard up down there.” “Well, I owe his daddy a favor,”the Sheriff told him. “It must be a helluva favor.” “How’s he doing.” “I don’t know where to start. He can’t shoot worth a damn. His first shots didn’t even hit the damn targets. Never seen that before in all my many years training cops. Seems he was closing his eyes when he shot. Hell, if he had hit he target doing that, I’d a passed him on the spot. Anyway, he keeps his eyes open now but still can’t hit the target. That’s a good thing to know. I’ll be sure as the Dickens keep that in mind my eyes on where I send him,” the Sheriff told him. “I’d keep him under lock and key if I was you.” “The Sheriff sighed. He didn’t have much of an argument for that. He didn’t have any argument for that.”Well, we don’t have a lot of crime down here that calls for a gun. It’s mostly for looks.” “Yea, well, he don’t look much like cop, I’ ll tell you that. The guy couldn’t take down a small woman.” “Well, that could be a problem. We do have some big, nasty fellows here. I may have to work with him --” The Sheriff sighed, he didn’t ave much of an argument against that. He didn’t have any argument against that. Someone like Teech Boom would eat Joe Bob’s lunch. “Well, we don’t have much in the way of problems that need a gun. It's mostly for looks. “I’ll get into that later, This guy can’t take anyone down. I doubt he could take a drunk down. I doubt he could take a small woman down.” “I may have to work with him some.” “There ain’t no ‘may’ about it. At least you won’t have any unnecessary force charges wit him.” “Okay. Umm. Are you going to be able to pass him?” “Hell yea, I’ll pass him. I don’t care who you hire as a deputy. It’s no skin off my butt. Good luck with him. He don’t even look like a cop. You might want to get him a big badge.” That was the first clue he had that Joe Bob was going to be a real problem. No, that wasn’t true. Hiring was the first problem and he knew it. The Sheriff thought Joe Bob would be too afraid to take the job. He wasn’t. The Sheriff was stuck with him. When Joe Bob returned from the academy he was very excited. He told the Sheriff,”The trainer told me he’d never seen a cadet like me. Ain’t that great!” “Yea, Joe Bob, his saying that doesn’t surprise me at all.” Joe Bob beamed at that. Joe Bob decided to take it easy going home. He didn’t want to push is luck. He’d never had much to begin with. And may have used a lot of it tonight. He went over to Rt 30. He knew it was always salted first. He was carefully driving along at 40 mph. He thought that was reasonable. Mosh Henry didn’t. Mosh went by Joe Bob at 70 mph. That was illegal to start with. Joe Bob put his lights on as a habit. Then he regretted it. He didn’t want to bother with anyone right now. He’s let whoever it w go. That didn’t work. The speeder stopped. Who’d do that, he thought. Joe Bob got out of the cruiser and recognized Mosh Henry's car immediately. Mosh made shine and lived better than he did. It didn’t seem fair. Joe Bob was one of those people who thought fair had anything to so with anything. Joe Bob approached Mosh’s car and shines his light into the backseat of the car. “Joe Bob, why ‘re ya lookin’ in the backseat of my car for? I ain’t stupid enough to be carrin’ anything there.” “Okay, then open your trunk and Ill have a look see at what ya got there.” He had to give Mosh a little bit of a hard time. “Now, why in tarnation would I do that.” Mosh wasn’t going to cooperate with Joe Bob. He thought Joe Bob was a ‘right fool.’” “Cause I told ya to, that’s why, you damned old coot.” “Well, you ain’t going to get a look unless you have on a them court things saying ya can.” “What court thing?” “One a those thins that say ya can look in my trunk, that’s what. Ya supposed to know that, Joe Bob.” “Ya wouldn’t be sayin’ that if ya wasn’t guilty.” “Joe Bob, I don’ know how to answer that one. Yer a bit smarter than I thought. But, I know this. Ya ain't got that paper so I ain’t allowin’ ya to peek in my trunk.” With that, mosh drove away. He knew Joe Bob couldn't keep up with him. He had time to hide his stash.
   

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