The Stranger In Town

The woods at night are like a place where time stands still.A place of calm ,where people can go to forget the troubles of the modern world.Sometimes you can catch yourself seeing things that are not there.That might have been the reaction if there were somebody around to see the dark figure walking the woods ,and then disappearing into the shadows.
Sheriff Cooper is petrolling his town.His kingdom really.He rules it like an iron fist.Everyone understands that ,and if they don’t they find out real quick.He hates problems.Which is why he’s pissed off at what he sees next.
“Jack do you see that bullshit?” He says in a matter a fact way.
Deputy Jack Robinson who is sitting next to him looks over. “Looks like a bunch of punks partying it up” He comments
The Sheriff agrees “Exactly.”
Well it has been a boring night he thinks.Might as well have a little fun ,and teach a life lesson at the same time…not to fuck with a Sheriff like him.
The car stops ,and they get out.They then walk over to the partying youths.As they get closer the boys see them…but they don’t seem to care.The law then stops in front of them.
The Sheriff asks the question “What are you boys doing here?”
One of them has a smart ass answer “Have you ever seen drinking before?”
Ah yeah this will really be fun.
The Sheriff is still deadly serious ,and sounds it “You know every time you idiots are out here theres a huge fucking mess…I don’t like that.”
Another drunk kid chimes in “Who gives a fuck what you think!?…we have every right to be out here!”
Oh we have a tough guy.Lets teach him the rest.
The Sheriff punches him dead in the face ,and drops him “Oh really?” The kids expressions turn to fear. “What if me ,and my deputy just shoot you all now ,and save our selfs the hassle of repeating this next time?” The Sheriff takes out his gun.
One kid is still not convinced “You wouldn’t dare”
He has no idea.The Sheriff smiles “It’s just you ,and us out here…I could say anything happened…Its your word against mine…who do you think they’ll believe?”
Then out of the blue he fires the gun in the air “Now get home!”
The crowd of kids run off.When their well gone the two cops share a laugh ,and get back in their car.They then drive off with no idea that a figure is hidden in the shadows…watching.
The sun rises in the sky.It’s warm with a slight breeze.What one might call the perfect day.Of course that’s what Lisa thought when see set out on her hike in the woods.No crowded noisy bar.No loud ignorant drunks…well not until tonight anyway.It would be really tempting to just build a shack ,and live like a hermit out here.The town back there is really going to shit ,and seems to like it that way.Why she stays is unknown to everyone…even her.She could sell the family home anytime she wanted.The location is a dream for any stressed out city dweller to spend their downtime in.What could possibly keep her here?Guilt?Not wanting to throw away her family’s past?
It was 20 years ago ,and she was the only one to walk away from the crash the chosen one…but they stay dead.Why can’t she let go ,and move on?But she’s been though this before.As usual when the sun does down ,she’ll make her way to The Thirsty Mule to pour a million drinks.Thoughts are one thing ,but actions are another story.It’s easy to think about such things out in the silence of the…She hears something.
“Whose there?” She says ,but gets no answer.
She continues to look around.She then says to herself “A little jumpy are we?”
She then walks away not seeing the figure that is watching her from the brush.It watches ,and waits.That’s what it’s always done best.Stay hidden ,wait ,and react when needed.
Mayor Stevens sits in his office in reflection.Cooper is out of control.He didn’t want this town to become the typical redneck shit hole ,with a Sheriff having the “this is my town” attitude.But here we are.
His father didn’t want that either when he was mayor.He wanted a town to be proud of ,not mocked as the standard backwards living.And it was perfect…until he took over I guess.He had to screw it all up.
Sheriff Cooper walks in. “Hi Mayor” He says. “Hard at work I see.”
“Why do you bother to check in Cooper?” The Mayor says dryly “I know you have no respect for me.”
The Sheriff smiles “Well we’re still good buddies Mr Mayor.”He says loving every second of it. “We make a good team.”
“Yeah right…You still need me to clean up your messes ,and keep the FBI from coming down here”.The Mayor says matter of factly. “But one day it will all come crashing down.”
The Sheriff walks up closer. “And you’ll keep that from happening…that’s if you don’t want people to find out about your past my friend.” The Sheriff says.
The Mayor stares at him intensely “Are you done?” The Mayor says not breaking his stare.
The Sheriff’s smile disappears ,and he then becomes serious. “You just remember…I run this town…You just sit at that desk ,and pretend to be Mayor” The Sheriff then walks out.
The Mayor begins to think back.It was 20 years ago ,and he was 17.He was at a party ,and feeling fine.So fine that it never occurred to him that he wasn’t in any shape to drive.But he did ,and crashed.But if that was all he wouldn’t be in this situation.As it turned out he crashed into a family instead of a tree.His father the Mayor pulled some strings ,covered things up ,and made it look like he wasn’t there at all.His father made sure that the few officers that knew were “transfered”,and in the end he took the secret to his grave.Stevens went on ,lived his life ,and went on to become Mayor himself.Until the day Cooper came.It seemed his father hadn’t transfered one of the officers far enough.Cooper had heard the story from one of those officers.That Officer was Cooper’s own father ,and Cooper was the only one to believe him.Cooper began to realize…he could use this.So he came in ,dropped the bomb ,and laid out his terms.And like his father did before him ,Mayor Stevens pulled some strings.Now here he sits.A coward.
We forward to night.Lisa makes her way to work as a bar maid.It’s at least the tamest thing she’s been called there.Still it’s owned by Dave ,and he’s the best guy she could ever work for.In the whole world even ,but she hasn’t gotten that far yet.Dave was the first person to give her a job.I guess as a friend of the family he felt he had to.
She walks in ,and makes her way to the bar.It is quiet for a Saturday night with all but three people in the whole place.Dave walks out to great her.
“Your late again.” He says. "I picked up the slack.
“I know Dave I’m sorry…but it doesn’t look like your too swamped.” She responds thinking shes being cute.
“Come on Lisa you know better then that.” He says ,and then walks out back.
One thing about Dave he’s still a tough boss to work for ,and she will never get away away with a thing.The boss is the boss ,and will still fire you family friend ,or not.That is what they established early on.In fact she prefers it like that.It makes it more give ,and take instead of her taking.
She looks around at the bar.At the people drinking their troubles away glass by glass.Is this really where she wants to stay for the rest of her life?The inter reflection stops ,as an armed man bursts though the door.
“Give me the fucking money!” The gunman yells as he runs up. “Or I blow your pretty little head off!”
With the gun in her face Lisa freezes.
“I’m not playing bitch!” The gunman yells ,as he slaps her.She falls hard to the floor.
Dave then appears. "What the hells going on here? He yells.
The gunman then turns the gun his way. “Just get the cash old man before I kill everyone!”
One of the people in the bar makes a run for it.The gunman catches him.
“No!” The gunman yells ,as he shoots him in the back.He falls face first ,and doesn’t move again.
The gunman then turns his attention back to Dave. “If you don’t wanna be next get the cash!”
Dave walks over ,opens the cash register ,and takes out some bills. “Here you go you son of a bitch.”
The gunman walks over ,and takes the money.
“Well thanks.” He says ,and then punches Dave in the face knocking him down.Then for good measure he kicks him.
He leaves with a warning “Anyone pokes there head out I’m shooting it off!” He then runs out.
Lisa then runs to Dave “Dave!” But Dave is not responding.She then gets to the phone to call the police.
A cop at the station picks up the phone “Yeah?”
Lisa is frantic "We’ve just been robbed!
The cop is responds dryly “Where’s that now?”
Lisa is still frantic "At The Thirsty Mule
The cop then sounds annoyed “Look we’ll get there when we can now take it easy.”He then puts down the phone.
Lisa then stares at the phone in disbelieve.The police around here are really useless.She thinks most of them wouldn’t last five seconds in a big city with an attitude like that.Thats why small town law is mocked ,and looked on as being just a little backwards.Another one to add to the list of reasons to go.But as Dave begins to move ,she turns her attention to him.
The gunman is running though the woods.He really knew how to pick’em this time.Just 500 shity dollars.Just his luck now he appears to be lost!He then breaks into a run again.Might as well keep running.The law should be on his trail by now.He runs ,and then runs some more until he stops.Standing there in front of him is a figure dressed in black ,and wearing a mask.
“Who the fuck ,are you?” the gunman says somewhat startled.
The figure just stands there.
The gunman points the gun at it.What is this guy doing out here dressed like that?It’s like something out of a movie.Except for a teenage girl there’s him.
“I said what do you want?” The gunman says.
The figure does not answer ,and still doesn’t move.
“What do you have on you?…empty your pockets.” The gunman says walking a little closer.Does he have to kill this crazy?
The figure is still unmoved.
Sheriff Cooper ,and Deputy Robinson enter the bar.They look at the body of the drunk ,then back up at Lisa ,and Dave. “What seems to be the problem tonight?” The Sheriff says. “Someone pick the wrong poison?”
"For the last time we we’re robbed. "Lisa answers agitated. “And I think you should be looking for him.”
“I’d watch that mouth lady” the Sheriff says sternly. “I know my job.”
“Excuse me?” Lisa says ,sounding surprised.
Sheriff Cooper walks up to her till their face to face. “Just shut the fuck up you bitch.”
Dave is not amused. “Hey are you here to help us ,or not?!”
Deputy Robinson grabs him “Do you wanna get arrested?”
Dave is pissed “Your get yours asshole…Carma is a bitch.”
The Sheriff then turns to him “I never liked this shit hole bar of yours Dave…bad things can happen here.” The Sheriff then grabs a bottle ,and takes a drink. “Your lucky I even offered you my business.”
“Are you gonna look for the guy?” Lisa says ,her frustration growing.
The Sheriff ignores her “Dave I know you’ve been talking to people you shouldn’t have…telling them what goes on down here…that can’t go on.” The Sheriff then takes the bottle ,and chucks it against the wall.
“That your a lousy Sheriff?…yeah you got me.” Dave responds. "No drugs will be coming though my place you shit…so make your dirty money else where
The Sheriff then nods at his Deputy.His Deputy nods in return ,and then punches Dave in the stomach.Lisa tries to intervene but is held by the Sheriff.
“Stay out of it” He says ,then throws her to the floor. “I’m trying to knock some sense into somebody here.”
The Deputy continues to kick ,and punch the downed Dave.The Sheriff is amused by it all.Dave’s really been asking for this for a long time ,and now he’s got it.
“So you don’t like how things are run old man?” The Deputy says “No outsiders!”
He kicks him some more.
“OK Jack…I think he’s got the message.” The Sheriff says “Now as for your little problem well….”
Something then crashes though a window ,and falls at their feet.It’s the limp body of the robber.He’s all cut up ,dead ,and with one feature that stands out…A missing hand.

Copyright John Vasiliou

The Stranger In Town

John Vasiliou

Joined October 2008

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Artist's Description

Chapter 1 of a novel I’m working on

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