Bobby Fix-It Turns Over a New Leaf: The Billy the Kid Saga Continues
Welcome Back, My Friends
We are approaching the end of this series. This was never meant to be an on-going series of short stories. I was just testing a new character and gauging your reaction as the stories unfolded. I now have that reaction, and Bobby Fix-It and Dawn will take their story to the self-publishing arena where they will continue the story. I thank you all for following along. Your comments have been very helpful.
As I begin this final chapter, I’m debating whether this installment will be the end, or if I’ll need one more. I guess we’ll find out when we get there.
So let’s find out!
The last installment
- Trouble in Paradise with Bobby Fix-It: Part One
Our anti-hero continues to stumble into trouble. Let's see what he's into this week and how he's going to get out of it.
On the Hunt
Sheriff Wyman was not hard to find that Saturday morning. I knew he wouldn’t be. It’s been my experience, on the streets of New York, that people in power believe themselves to be untouchable, above the mundane concerns that trouble most of us. I was counting on it and he didn’t let me down.
It is also my experience that following someone like Wyman is fairly easy. Those among us who are corrupt, who have used their status to intimidate and see nothing wrong with it, never believe for a second it is possible that someone would dare to hunt them. They are the hunters. They are the ones who prey on the weak and defenseless. The possibility of those roles being reversed is a foreign concept to them. It just isn’t done.
And yet I was doing it!
It was a sparkling Wyoming morning as I aimed my Ford F-150 into town. The tourists were out early in garish shirts, armed only with expensive digital cameras, hoping to capture the perfect picture or an elk or bison that would fill their friends with envy when posted on Facebook. For the most part the animals were obliging and patient with the interlopers. I had my camera along as well, but I was after two-legged game.
I found Wyman’s department-issued Ford Explorer parked in front of Delaney’s Grocery on East Broadway Drive near St. John’s Medical Center. I parked four cars down and sat back to enjoy the early morning sunshine and the show as it developed. I was in no hurry. I had all day to spend with the sheriff, and I learned a long time ago to be patient when on a stakeout. I had snacks with me, as well as a thermos of hot coffee and, of course, my Glock. I never leave home without it when on a manhunt.
The sheriff spent the first three hours driving to various businesses. He spent about fifteen minutes at each stop. Appearances can be deceiving, even on a sunny day in a tourist town. Wyman looked, to the untrained eye, like a concerned public servant, checking on his people, making sure all was well in his town. To me, however, he looked like a predator, stalking his prey, feeding on their helplessness, confident of his stature as king of the urban jungle.
A Chink in His Armor
The break came a little past eleven. Wyman wrapped up his affairs at Highland Outfitters and then drove a half-mile to the Snake River Rest Easy Motel where he parked, got out of his car, hitched up his belt and walked up to Cabin Sixteen. He produced a key from his pocket and entered the cabin. I snapped pictures. Five minutes later a late-model Volkswagen pulled up and parked next to the sheriff’s SUV. A lithe redhead exited the VW. She looked like she was poured into her clothes, her jeans and sweater form-fitting, accentuating a generous body built for action. She strode with purpose to Sixteen, knocked twice and entered. I snapped more pictures. It was all so predictable.
An hour passed. Cars entered and left the parking lot. Birds played tag among the aspen branches overhead. The housekeeping staff cleaned rooms. I munched on a peanut butter cup and drank coffee. Finally the door to Sixteen opened and I was treated to the ultimate gift, the sheriff and the redhead departing together. I snapped more pictures, quite pleased to catch the door number in the shots. The redhead left in the VW, the sheriff in his rig and I decided it was time to do some research.
Fifty minutes past eleven and I entered the door to the Jackson Gazette and walked up to the information desk. Some young gal, leaning on the side of homely, probably an intern from the local high school, asked me if she could help me. I told her I was looking for Max Graber and she told me to walk down a hall to the right until I got to the newsroom. Her instructions led me right to him. I found him staring out the window while eating what looked to be a Big Mac.
Max Graber knows Jackson. He’s lived here all his life, written about it for thirty years and he’s a casual friend, a friend of a friend, a have a drink together and shoot the shit friend. He saw me coming, stood up and shook my hand. He’s shorter than I am but solidly built, built like a brick shithouse, my old man would have said. His handshake was firm. His smile welcoming.
“Bobby O’Dowd, good to see you. Sit down and take a load off your feet while I finish up this heart-attack-in-a-bun. What brings you down to the hallowed halls of journalism?”
“I’m just looking for a little information, Max. All I need to know is if Sheriff Wyman is married and if so, to whom?” I was pretty damned sure he was. Men in power always are. It’s good for the image if you’re hooked up with some eye-candy.
“I’ll answer your question, Bobby, and I’ll toss in a warning for free. Keep your distance from the good sheriff. Rumor has it he steps outside of the law on occasion, and he sure as shit don’t like being asked about. He is married, to the former Jill McClatchen. Her daddy is Peter McClatchen, CEO of McClatchen Industries, just about the biggest mining operation in Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho. In other words, she comes from money and shits money for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Good lookin’ woman, ten years the sheriff’s junior, she’s a brunette with tits to die for and an attitude that says look all you want, boys, but you’ll never be good enough to have it.”
“So what’s’ in it for her, Max? If she’s got money and family power, why marry a sheriff, especially one ten years older and not what one would call handsome? And please don’t tell me it was love at first sight.”
“The oldest story in the book, Bobby. She’s after the power of the position. The sheriff, Jill and Jill’s daddy are all looking for a bigger share of the pond. Word has it he’s going to run for county judge next year and after that the state legislature. They see him on the fast track to the state capitol in Cheyenne. This sheriff gig is just a stepping stone to bigger and better.”
I stood up and shook his hand.
“You’ve been a big help, Max. I owe you a beer next week at the watering hole.”
“Bobby, I meant what I said. Whatever you’re up to, make sure you keep your head down and your nose clean. The sheriff does not take kindly to scrutiny of any sort.”
The next four hours were spent tracking down the sheriff’s wife, snapping a few pictures of her and thinking about the origins of power, the distortions it brings and the lengths one will go to in order to keep it.
My writing guide
For years now I’ve heard about this special glow that pregnant women give off. I always thought it was bullshit until I walked in our cabin that afternoon and took a look at Dawn. I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than in that cabin, with that woman at that moment. She smiled when I entered. Her smile always softened my hardened Irish heart. I kissed her then bent and kissed our unborn child.
“I didn’t kill anyone today,” I told her.
“Well that’s proof positive that there is a God, Bobby, and he answers my prayers. What did you find out?
I told her about the motel, the secret tryst, and my conversation with Max.
“What are you going to do with this new information?”
“I’m going to make the sheriff an offer he can’t refuse, darlin’. Now what’s for dinner? All I’ve eaten today are peanut butter cups and I’m hungrier that a grizzly in April.”
“You can have anything you want cuz you’re taking me out to dinner. Go clean up. I won’t be sharing a table with a crazy Mick who dresses like an uncouth cowboy. I’ve got standards, you know.”
That’s the problem, I thought. We’ve all got standards to live by, but sometimes my standards clash with someone else’s standards, or theirs with mine, and then we’ve got a problem.
The Final Chapter Next Week
I can tell you one thing with complete certainty….I would not want to be the sheriff right about now. When Bobby Fix-It decides to get involved in a matter, someone is not going to like the outcome.
I’ll see you all next week with the final chapter. Thanks for riding along.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)