“Mickey, you think poorly of me! I wouldn’t come stirrin’ no trouble. I promise ya. I’ll be on my best behavior.”
Seeming relieved, he turned to head to the Tucker’s front door, but before he could take a step, I hollered, “Frances Tucker! Get your sorry ass out here ‘fore I bust down that door and drag you out here by your britches and tan your hide somethin’ proper!” Sheriff Myers and turned and looked at me in horror. I calmly shrugged my shoulders and said, “Well, that was my best behavior, at least when it concerns this sorry sack of horseshit!”
Frances came struttin’ out his house like the biggest rooster in the yard. He was wearin’ his fancy pinstriped pants, a pair of bright red suspenders, and a matching bow tie. He had his black hair slicked back and looked more like a carpetbagger than a proper Southern gentleman. As soon as I laid eyes on that varmint my blood boiled. It took all I had not to run up on that porch and ring that bastard’s neck. If he wanted to strut like a rooster, I’d treat him like one.
Frances took one look at me and snarled his lip up like bulldog thinkin’ about takin’ a bite out of somebody’s leg. “Mickey!” he exclaimed. “What are you doin’ bringin’ the likes of him onto my property?”
Now Mickey weren’t no fool, he knew if I had my chance I’d pounce on Frances Tucker like a rabid dog, so he kept one hand on my shoulder as he explained why we was there. “We’re actually here to see your boys, Frances. Seems Patches didn’t make it home last night and Alice Miller said she saw your boys with her down at Turkey Creek yesterday afternoon.”
Frances pursed his lips and played with his suspenders as he rocked back and forth on his porch. He looked over is shoulder and shouted, “Tommy! Timmy! Git your asses out here, boys! Sheriff wants to ask you some questions.”
The Tucker boys came out on the porch one at a time. Tommy, the oldest, appeared first. He was seventeen, almost eighteen, tall and slender with hair the color of fire. Timmy was next. Timmy was only fourteen but he was already as tall as his big brother and if one didn’t know better, one would swear the boys were twins.
Frances smiled down at me and then said, “Well, Sheriff, go ‘head. Ask my boys what you came to ask.”
Mickey removed his hat and slowly approached the porch, like he was dog beggin’ for table scraps. He nervously cleared his throat and said, “Patty Whisenhunt didn’t come home last night, boys. Some say they saw you with her down at the swimmin’ hole. You have any clue what might’ve become of her?”
Timmy gave Tommy a nervous look and let his older brother do the speaking. Tommy grinned as innocently as a six-year-old who had gotten caught with their hand in the cookie jar. “No, sheriff.” Tommy said, still grinnin’ that guilty grin. “Timmy and me never seen her.” Tommy elbowed Timmy in the side and said, “Did we Timmy?”
Timmy shook his head emphatically. His voice was crackin’ and scratchy as he lied through his teeth. “No, sir. We ain’t seen hide nor hair of Patches.”
“Well, a’ight, boys. Thank ya.” Mickey said and then started back towards his car. He may have been done with the twins, but I sure as Hell wasn’t.
“They’re lyin’, Mickey! Alice Miller done told us she saw them with Patches so why are you just turnin’ tail to leave like this? Are you that afraid of Frances Tucker that you won’t even do your God damned job?”
Mickey pushed me towards the car. He whispered, “Come on, Jimmy. We’ll get to the bottom of this.”
I looked up at the porch and Frances was grinnin’ at me like a cat who’d found a saucer of milk. “That’s right, Sheriff. Get him on out of here! I don’t care much for blasphemers!”
As Mickey forced me into the car, I pointed up at Frances and screamed, “And I don’t care much for liars!”