View Full Version : The Sparrows Whisper - Chapt 4

05-07-2011, 02:02 AM
Do I Have a Choice?

“How do you want it cut?”
Those words were the key to one of the longest running inside jokes in town. Mel Brown had been cutting hair in Jubal for well over 20 years, and for all those years, he never failed to ask his customers how they wanted their hair cut. The thing of it was, the customer could spend ten minutes explaining just how he wanted it done, but when he finished talking, Mel was going to give him the very same haircut he gave everybody.
Truth was, Mel only knew one way to cut hair, but he never failed to ask how you wanted it done......
I had purposely waited for a busy day in the barber shop to drop in and get my haircut. If you are looking for information, there was no better place than in Mel's barber shop. Mel loved to talk, and with a room full of customers, a lot of subjects got covered, and if you listened close, you might well pick up some information that hadn't been intended to be given out.
Like the Mayor, I wasn't interested in asking a lot of direct questions about the Emma Roberts murder, at least not yet. His reasons were political, mine were practical. When a law officer starts asking pointed questions of people, they tend to get guarded with their answers. I figured to take two or three weeks and get around town and let folks talk all they want on whatever subject pleased them. Certainly I didn't expect anybody to give any direct answers to who killed Emma, but a tidbit of information here, a bit of gossip there, something else said in an argument, etc., might add up to enough to give birth to questions that did need asking.
My couple of hours at the barber shop getting a hair cut didn't yield anything of substance, but that was to be expected. The main thing was that it had served to remind folks that the new Sheriff was one of them, which might help them talk more freely at another time.
After stopping by the feed store and talking with the folks there for a bit, I went over to the Cafe to get a little something for lunch. As I entered, the first thing I saw, was Cindy Blue Eyes sitting at a table, reading a book as she waited for her food.

Both of her blue eyes looked up as I stopped at her table.
“Cindy Mae isn't it”, I asked? “Do I know you well enough to ask to sit down at your table?”
“Probably not, but considering that you are the Sheriff, I suppose I would be safe enough.”
“Well that's probably true. As a rule, girls are safe with me till 3p.m.”
Blue Eyes closed her book, and responded, “So, what happens after 3p.m.?”
“Tell you the truth, I'm not sure. The girls always seem to leave before then.”
Flashing an interesting smile she replied, “That sounds like a mystery that you need to solve Sheriff”.
I was about to ask her if she was interested in helping,when Wanda called me to the phone. Turned out I was needed over by the Cotton Gin to handle a fender bender of some sort.
My momma would not have been proud of the words I chose to express my frustration as I muttered quietly, waved to Cindy, and walked out the door.
The accident turned out to have inflicted no damage to either vehicle, and there were no injuries, so I let them both go about their business, after reminding them to be more careful. As I climbed back in my pickup, I remembered that Emma Robert's mother lived just a few blocks away. This would be as good time as any to check in with her, both to see if she had any worthwhile information, and, perhaps more importantly, to let her know that someone was still investigating her daughter's death.
When there was no answer at her door, I walked around back and found Mrs. Roberts pulling weeds in her garden. When I asked her if she remembered me, she replied, “Oh of course...your momma was always a good friend to me before they moved. I remember the day you were born.” She then invited me into the kitchen and poured a couple of glasses of iced tea.
After several minutes of catching up on people and families we knew, I got around to the difficult part. “Mrs. Roberts, as you know, I was away in the Marines when you daughter was killed. There's not a lot of information in the records, and I wondered if perhaps you might know of anything that might help me find her killer.”
With a steady hand, she took another sip of tea, and said “Sheriff, I'm afraid I really don't know anything that would be useful. Actually, I didn't think anyone other than me, was even worried about it anymore.”
“Ma'am, I can't promise you that I will be able to find Emma's killer, but I can promise you that as long as I'm Sheriff, I'll keep doing my best to find the guilty party. If you think of anything at all, no matter how unimportant it might seem to be, please let me know. I'll be stopping by from time to time to check on you. I remember Emma was your only child, so if you need someone to take you to the doctor, or bring you something from the grocery store, just call my office, and I'll see to it that it gets taken care of. My Momma considered you a good friend, and I know she would want me to look after you.”
“ Mrs. Roberts grabbed my hand, and said, “ Thank you John David. You be sure and come by for supper sometime.”
“Yes Ma'am, I'll make a point of it”, I answered, as I headed for my pickup, and then headed back downtown.
With nothing more pressing going on, I swung by Jesse's Esso Service Station and bought a cold bottle of Dr. Pepper and a bag of peanuts. From there, I drove by the school to keep an eye out for the kids as they left on their way home, then returned to my office.
Charlie Winger, the part time deputy I had inherited with this job, had left me a note that the Mayor had called – no reason given. So, I picked up the phone and dialed his number. Only two rings went by before the soft voice of Blue Eyes announced that I had reached the Mayor's office.
“Hi Cindy Mae, you remember me?”
“Of course I do John David. Are you calling for me, or the Mayor?”
Waving at Ben Davis as he walked by the office, I said, “Well, I would prefer talking to you, but he left a message that he had called while I was out, so I suppose I better talk to Carl.”
“Unless it's an emergency, I think it will have to wait until tomorrow. He's in a meeting with some County officials, and left word that he's not to be disturbed for anything less than a catastrophe. Are you a catastrophe?”
“At times Cindy Mae....at times....but not today.” O.K., if it can't be business, how about pleasure? We didn't get to have our lunch at the Cafe today, so how about meeting me there for supper?”
In the background, I could hear Carl come out of his office, and ask for a certain report, then I could hear the closing of the door as he went back in. Then she said, “I'm sorry, but I'm already committed to supper with the Mayor tonight. Perhaps another night?”
Sure...Maybe another night, talk to you later”, I answered and hung up.
I had one foot out the door when, the phone rang. Turned out to be Cindy calling back. “John David, just so you understand.... The man I'm having supper with is not just my boss....he's my uncle. I just realized that with your having been gone for so long, that you probably didn't know that. He and my aunt asked me to join them for supper last week, but I canceled because of a cold I wasn't feeling well. I didn't want to cancel on them again. Otherwise I would have certainly have accepted your invitation.
Of course, I suppose you could call Lacy Beth.
Unable to finish chapter here due to size restrictions.
Full chapter can be read here.

Done with AR 2.5, Spray, Brush, Marker, Crayon, Knife, Eraser, and pencil.
This work is copywrited 2011. No part may be used for professional use without my permission.

05-07-2011, 02:28 AM
What a generous girl ... :D Your portrait of the sheriff is quite effective also to express some perplexities about the situation he's in. ;):p

05-07-2011, 03:23 AM
A facinating read once again Barnburner.:) Great painting too

05-07-2011, 04:44 AM
And the story continues...

05-07-2011, 04:53 AM
Great story barnburner. I used your link and have read the story so far. I'm hooked and am looking forward to reading the next chapter

05-07-2011, 07:15 AM
Caesar - Well, the last line can be misleading. If you continue further in the chapter, it's obvious that generosity should be replaced by jelousy... :D
Wish I could take credit for the expression on the sheriff, but honestly, I looked up, and there it was.. :):)

Katie - I'm very glad that you enjoyed it. I'm really glad you like the painting too, because I swear it was a total disaster. Three times I started to delete it, but each time I'd make another desperate try, and somehow, it worked out.. LOL..:):)

Steve - Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy. :):)

Shiela - Well, if you are hooked - I'm delighted! :):)
I appreciate your interest very much. :)

05-07-2011, 03:51 PM
Good writing and painting Mr. B!!

05-07-2011, 10:38 PM
I'm with Sheila there-looking forward to reading more Mike!

05-07-2011, 11:13 PM
Neal - Many thanks. Your kind words are much appreciated. :):)

Sandy - I'm glad you are enjoying it. Thank you very much. :):)

05-08-2011, 11:53 PM
Both painting and the story are going well.

My father was a policeman and he hung out in the coffee shops and barbers too, I thought he was doing the man's thing of hanging out, never thought that he could have had gathering info.! Well done dear Barn.:)

05-09-2011, 11:18 PM
Both painting and the story are going well.

My father was a policeman and he hung out in the coffee shops and barbers too, I thought he was doing the man's thing of hanging out, never thought that he could have had gathering info.! Well done dear Barn.:)

Jasmine, thank you very much. My wife has cut my hair for the last 40 years or so, but my memories of being a child listening to the men talk in the barbershop that inspired the one in the story, remains with me still. I couldn't wait to go back again. It seemed to me that all the stories I heard were worth 5 years of schooling. :):)