Them's Fightin' Words!


Jake raked his eyes over Samantha before turning and heading back toward the door. “Never mind. I’ve delivered your order. Now I’m leaving. You can go back to hiding from the world.”

Taking long, outraged strides, he stormed out the door and straight for his truck.

Reaching the main road, he almost ran straight into one of her blasted mules. Slamming his brakes in time to swerve to the right, the truck landed in a ditch. Jake hit his hand against the steering wheel. He’d had enough.

Arriving at his house fifteen minutes later, he picked up the phone.

“Moss here.”

“Mickey, this is Jake. I want you to go out to Mrs. Major’s house and arrest her.”

Sheriff Moss almost choked on his laughter. “You want me to what?”

“You heard me. I want the blasted woman arrested right now. She’s as much a pain in the arse as her mules are. They’re out on the main road every afternoon and I’m tired of it.”

“Have you tried talking with her, Jake?”

“You know I have. The fool woman refuses to listen to reason—about anything. Plain and simple, I want her arrested. She breaks the law every day by letting those blasted mules run free.”

“It’s not one of my high priorities, Jake. Mules running around unchecked don’t have the same importance as keeping drunks and thieves locked up.”

“Well, it should,” Jake roared indignantly. “What if some fancy group of tourists comes through our town? What will they think of us if they see Miss Samantha Major’s mules blocking the road.”


“Mrs. Majors. You called her miss.”

“Have you lost your mind? You’re talking semantics when I’m demanding the woman be arrested? As one of our town’s councilmen, I order you to arrest the nuisance of a woman. She’s a damn nuisance.”

“You’re repeating yourself, Jake. You called her a nuisance twice in the same breath.” Sheriff Moss sighed. When he awoke at dawn, he’d somehow known this wasn’t going to be a good day.

Well, he had no recourse. He had to do it.

“All right, Jake. If you’re sure that’s what you really want. I’ll go arrest her.”

“It is,” Jake shot back.

The sheriff took a deep breath. “I’ll go do it shortly. I have one other stop to make first.”

Hanging up the telephone, Sheriff Moss headed out the door into the bright afternoon sun.

Within a half hour he pulled into Jake’s driveway, got out of his car and headed to the front door. He’d barely knocked on it when it opened.

“What are you doing here, Mickey?”

“Came to arrest you, Jake.”

Jake’s eyebrows shot up. “You’re here to what?”

“Arrest you.”

“Are you hard of hearing? Heard too many gunshots? I told you to arrest Mrs. Majors. Not me.”

“I know that, Jake. And I have every intention of arresting Samantha, but I have to arrest you, too. You swore over the telephone—not once, but twice.”

“I swore over the…are you daft? The woman drove me to frustration and you’re going to arrest me?”

Refusing to budge, Mickey just stared at him.

“You can’t arrest me. I didn’t do anything—“

“Yes, you did, Jake, and I intend to see you punished. You can’t go around breaking laws, no matter how archaic they are.”

Reaching his office, he prodded Jake inside and directly into one of the two empty cells in the small office.

Sheriff Moss turned and started back toward the door.

“Where are you going, Mickey Moss? Don’t you dare leave me in here. This nonsense has gone on long enough. Let me out of here.”

The sheriff strode out the door and closed it softly behind him. A smile played across his lips.

His next stop was Samantha Major’s house. She wasn’t going to appreciate this any more than Jake had.

“You’re here to do WHAT” Samantha shouted when he told her why he’d arrived so late in the day.

“A complaint’s been lodged against you, Mrs. Major. I have no recourse but to arrest you.”

“I have absolutely no intention of accompanying you, Mickey Moss.”

“Samantha, don’t make a fuss. I don’t want to use force to get you into town, but I’ll restrain you if need be.”

“You’ll restrain…” Samantha blustered, unable to complete her sentence.

“Yes, ma’am. Now come with me, please.”

A scant half hour later, Samantha was being ushered into Sheriff Moss’ office under the watchful eye of half of Goose Creek’s residents.

She stepped inside and rounded on him as soon as the door closed behind them.

“Mickey Moss, I’ve never been so humiliated in my entire life. How dare you treat me like a common criminal in front of the whole town? Why, I won’t be able to show my face again as long as I live.”

She spun away from him and only then did she see the room’s other inhabitant.

Her eyes narrowed as she turned back to the sheriff.

“What’s he doing here?”

“Had to arrest him, too, ma’am. Seems today’s the day for people to break the law. Ain’t had such a run on our cells since I became sheriff.” He started to move her toward the barred cell.

“Run on cells? There’s only two of us.”

“Yes, ma’am. And the judge ain’t gonna take kindly to having to listen to so many trials.”

“Trials? Mickey Moss, have you lost your sanity? Surely you’re not going to have me appear before the court because my mule wandered off my property.”

“Don’t rightly know, ma’am. Depends on the person who lodged the complaint.”

Samantha narrowed her eyes and glared at Jake. “I know exactly who lodged the complaint.”

“Yes, ma’am, I’m sure you do.” He placed the key in the lock and swung the cell door open. “Now, if you’ll step inside, I believe this situation can be settled nicely.”

Samantha stepped inside the cell before it dawned on her she was in the same cell as Jake. She turned just as the door swung shut and the lock clicked.

“Mickey Moss, open this door. I will not remain in the same cell as this…this… this miscreant.”

“Now don’t be swearing at me, Mrs. Major. That will only make things worse for you.”

“Swear at you? I vow, you can be so pigheaded at times. You know perfectly well I didn’t—“

“Have a seat, Mrs. Major, and calm yourself. You might as well make yourself comfortable. You’re not going anywhere for a spell.” He headed to his desk and placed the key in his desk drawer, closing it firmly. “I’ll send Mrs. Simmons over later with a basket of her famous food.” Tilting his hat to the side, he opened the door before turning back to face them. “You know Elizabeth makes the best fried chicken in the county. It’s late now, and I’m plum tuckered out. Takes a lot out of a body arresting two people in one day. I’m gonna head on home for the night. I’ll see you both in the morning.”

“In the morning? Mickey Moss, you come back here right this instant,” Samantha shouted as the sheriff firmly closed the door behind him.

©2005 Leanne L. Burroughs



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