Chapter Eight

Luke cringed in his chair after hearing Sam mention a hanging. He wasn’t sure if Sam meant for him to join this posse or not. He’d never in his life committed a crime, as far as he knew. White lies don’t count, and that one time he borrowed a tool, he returned it, so there was really no harm done on his account. Luke didn’t see himself as being particularly capable of helping Sam carry out a plan such as that, and more than likely, it was showing on his face. He thought, “Sam doesn’t know me all that well. I should speak up.”

After hearing Sam’s pointed question, the deputy’s pulse quickened. His first response was physical. Fear and anxiety made him straighten up in his chair. His first thought was, “Sam’s going to ring my neck, if I say no.” So he hesitated, and silence permeated the air. Now everyone was nervously on edge. All except for Sam that is. He was always sure of himself, and he thought he knew beforehand exactly what the deputy was going to say. Deputy McCoy knew Sam was waiting to hear, “Yes. It’s okay. Go ahead. It’s fine with me. Do what you want, sir.” But our fine officer also had a future to consider. He wished to be a sheriff some day, Lord willing, so he didn’t want to get his hands dirty. He wanted no part of this, even though it was sort of his job to enforce the law and catch the bad guys. To calm himself, the deputy decided to give Sam what he felt was a reasonable answer, one that was in line with his badge. “Sam…sir, I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you say that.”

Sam raised his voice for the deaf man, and repeated himself, “Can we? Can we hang the murderer if we catch him? Yes or no.” Sam paused ever so slightly, then grinning he shouted, “Wait! You’re right. After we catch that sonuvabitch, we’ll bring him to you, Deputy. We’ll bring him back safe and sound and you can lock him up in your bedroom and teach him some manners. Is that what you want?” Sam didn’t give the deputy time to answer. Instead, he turned to Luke, who was sitting close by. Sam changed his angry facial expression to one of a more sympathetic nature. The tone of his authoritative voice transformed into one of a more consolatory fashion. “Listen, son, I can see your troubled by this. I never said I was going to hang anyone. As you heard, I was only asking the deputy a question.” Sam turned and glared once again at Deputy McCoy, “Hold your tongue for a minute and think about it!” But Sam was the one who needed a minute. He figured Luke had heard enough of this conversation. Perhaps, too much. It was time to send him on his way.

Sam never intended on taking Luke along with him. After the interview of the night before, Sam could tell Luke was an honest young man; the type of man who attempted to stay true to his faith, and act accordingly. Sam desperately needed someone he could trust back at the ranch. He saw no reason to try to teach him otherwise. But there were several factors weighing in on his decision. On the one hand, Luke was the lone witness, and they couldn’t afford to let anything bad happen to him. On the other hand, Luke wasn’t cut out for such a thing as aggressive enforcement of the law. And frankly, it appeared to Sam that Luke was still in recovery. His face was pale, his eyes were watery, and his gestures slow-moving. Lastly, and possibly the most important reason of all was that Sam hated being upstaged, especially by someone like him.

Facing Luke once again, Sam prepared to give him a good send off. It was high time for Luke to begin a daylong sentimental journey. “I wasn’t planning to take you along, so relax. You had a very rough night, and probably didn’t get much sleep. You may take your leave now. Go on home. Enjoy your wife. Enjoy your kids. I bet everyone in town wishes to talk to you. Go bask in your glory for a day, if you know what I mean.” Sam winks at Luke. “You’re a hero because of what you did last night. No need to take on another challenge so soon. These here men, along with me of course, we can and will take care of this. Don’t you worry about it. I want you healthy and in tip-top shape come Monday when you report for your first day of work. Now, go and take care of yourself and your family. They’re probably worried about you. Go and comfort them.” As a code of honor and a sign of their agreement, Sam walked up to Luke for the fellowship contained in a handshake.

Luke was perfectly relieved by the news. He stood up smiling and grabbed Sam’s hand with a strong grip and lifted it up and down. Luke tried to conceal his current state of exaltation. “Well, okay, sir. If you don’t need me right now, I’ll do as you say. I am pretty tired. Goodbye, and good luck with whatever it is you decide to do!” Luke nodded to his future co-workers with a look of optimism on his face. Then he turned back to Deputy McCoy. Luke put on a face of acceptable resignation, and silently waved to him as if to say, “Oh, well.” Opening the exit door, he turned back to the rest of the men in the room and waved, “See y’all later!”

Sam would have one more tiny favor to ask of Luke that day. As soon as Luke shut the door, Sam turned back to the deputy and calmly said, “Your turn.”


14 thoughts on “Chapter Eight

  1. well Luke’s off the hook for now, but i still think that Sam guy is trouble. i also would not like to be in the deputy’s place. Sam is one of those kind of guys that pushes people to draw more ‘lines’ than neccessary.

  2. Luke likes hooks, Derek.
    But he’s been on the line for too long, and we’re about to cut him
    some slack. The deputy fears more for his life than he does for his job.
    I’m having fun with this ‘Sam’ guy. Creating characters is fun after all.

    Our foreigner is not too well-defined at this moment. We’ll be working
    on him soon. I wonder…has Sam ever met his equal? I better hush.

  3. i have heard that actors find playing the villian or someone like Sam, the most challenging, and rewarding rolls.

    i have to say uncle that i can see this town and these people in my head. your words are creating a world that did not exit until now. your characters are more than just words and i enjoy watching you create them.

    he may have an equal, but i’m still gonna look over my shoulder every time Sam’s in the room……………

  4. To writers:

    “If you wish to create better characters, take acting classes.”

    That’s not an accurate quote, Derek. I heard something to that
    effect on the radio (NPR), or read it somewhere recently. I can’t
    remember right now. Your words brought it back to mind.

    Thanks for telling me all the rest of that, too! In public, no less.
    It’s nice to know who’s along for the ride when it’s such a long trip.
    You know, the kind The Dead sing about. A long strange trip. Oh, yeah.

  5. acting classes bring out the characters, that’s for sure. i’ve watched a few classes in my time. you gain a whole new respect for actores when you see them working in a class situation, no sets, florecent lighting, no catering or trailers. just a person in a chair conjuring up raw emotions. chills……..

    the longer and stranger, the better…………

  6. I liked the send off then Turn back to the deputy…Something like I would have done…I have done something similar to this before. Gives Sam a good personal ornery demeanor that I can relate to.

  7. Sam knows how to get your full attention, one-on-one. Except for being middle-aged, Sam is so not me. He is the authoritarian figure, or big head. Learned early on that you better butter up or stay away from those kinds of guys!

    I have a two-year old nephew. His name is Sam. Belongs to my big-bodied youngest brother. After Dad investigated our family tree, we found out that our great, great grandfather’s name was Sam, as were a few male ancestors before him. Roger decided to bring that name back into the family. That’s why I chose it, too.

  8. Hehe…Yeah that’s kinda how my son Eli got his name so to speak…As the story goes my great,great ,great grandfather was Eli Whitney’s best friend …he named his first son Eli after his friend. several times this name has been passed down my tree…It just seemed natural for Eli to be named so.
    Sam is a perfect name for that character… works great. I have always been that kind of personality. Dad used to work me from age 5 and I was kind of ahead of the other kids in maturity. I moved around about once a year for a while and learned real quick that if I didn’t talk some idiot would do the talking for me…and it was never going to be in my best interest if they did.
    I learned to box at age 9. Dad picked on me enough to toughen me up to the point that I felt like kids my age picking on me was a joke. Wasn’t scared of being hit that seemed like play…and I didn’t know any better so it kinda worked out pretty well I guess. The thing that I hated though was the fact that mom cut my hair in a chili bowl hair cut and sent me to school dressed in the cheapest things they could find. Kids tried me at every new school I went to just because I looked like the biggest sissy on the play ground. I didn’t want to get in trouble for fighting though so often I would catch the trouble makers and pull them aside for a rough courtesy talk to shut them up…always seemed to make things go easier at the new school to do this.
    One kid out of all of them decided to punch me in the mouth in the lunch room…Jarred my head. I wanted to kill him…but fearing my dad I looked at him and said “after school”. Must have been 100 kids gathered round…dad and mom was there to pick me up. I dropped my new coat off at the car said”Dad, I got business to take care of” and walked off toward that crowd. I must have hit that kid 50 times inside of a minute!
    That dagum principal stopped the beating and I got to write dictionary definitions for 2 weeks straight every day at school. Needless to say my vocabulary improved dramatically! Dad laughed about that point for years after. he just told me to make sure they don’t catch me next time!

  9. Eli’s a great name. I like it! He’s gonna be a big boy, yes?
    How big are you, anyway? I’m gonna guess 6’1”, 240.

    Don’t know exactly why you got into the boxing thing,
    but that’s a great story! Well done! Good punishment. 🙂
    I feel I know you much better now, ya big meanie. (He-he.)

  10. I’m 6’1 280 not exactly a fat 280 carry it well as you can tell by the FB pic’s most people guess that I weigh 240.
    Yeah…Eli should be pretty tall…I was 6’3″ a few years ago when I was modeling back in 1997… I was 70 lbs lighter, but Eli’s uncles on mama’s side are 6’5″ and 6’6″ ,my brother’s 6’3″,and his grand pa’s are 6’5″ and 6’1″ so he ought to be a big boy He’s one of the tallest kid’s in his class now. I seen a glimpse of the future the other day though. I was eating a bag of doughnut hole’s that I found on the table and he came up and took them out of my hand, sat down, and started eating them. I believe he’ll try to eat me out of house and home in his teens.
    Dad put me in boxing to toughen me up.
    My turn… How big a boy are ya? you look like you might be 6′ about 165lbs (soakin’ wet)…close? LOL!

  11. I’m a runt — a stump — and a shrimp. 5′ 6.5”, 140…and all wet.
    Me be nimble, me be quick, me jumped over the growing schtick.
    So much for my pro football career. Over at the age of 14…
    A small town wonder — a jock of all trades — naturally.
    At 12, I made it to the state finals in PP & K at Arrowhead Stadium.
    The boys my age were like…a foot taller. Me be shorter than the 10s.
    Golf was the family thing. Played like mad for 30 years. 6-handicap.
    Gave it up. Too expensive and time-consuming for this father.
    Wanted to find something else I could be good at, besides reading.
    So here I am. How do you do? How am I doing? Hee-Hawww!
    A stubbornly born Missouri mule who lives by the rule: Show Me!

    🙂 Happy Thanksgiving, Stuart!
    (Should I start packing? Or just pack it up? Ho-Ho-Ho! UT)

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