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True Stories by Steve Keely
A BRIEF HISTORY OF DESERT LAW
I try again and again to explain that certain things differ in Sand Valley. Take sheriffs.
The original sheriff visited my neighbor TJ’s one afternoon six years ago, and I happened by as he ran the barrel of his .45 pistol up and down the long neck of Kilroy, the pet turkey. This tall bird has a disarming habit of standing on the feet of males and staring them in the face. ‘He likes you an’ he’s lonely,’ said Laura. ‘He’s gonna be soup!’ groused the sheriff. TJ kicked Kilroy who landed near me and pressed a thigh. I shoved him off, and the rest of us spoke of cactus blowing in the breeze which is the real reason the sheriff comes out here to unwind and target practice.
That sheriff was the empathetic kind we like in Sand Valley, but he got high blood pressure after the neighboring Indian blew off his finger with a .22 rifle for taking an environmentally unsafe tire used as a tree planter.
His replacement soon flagged me with a shinny star on the 10-mile private stretch into the Valley. ‘I just like to know who’s here since my processor’s lost his middle finger,’ he drawled. In truth, I believe he was embarrassed along with county law when the 67-year old Indian escaped by foot over open desert from eighty troopers with dogs and choppers. That sheriff was a stickler whose hefty ulcer no one grieved forced his retirement.
A John Wayne was the next sheriff until another neighbor, Cherokee, grabbed the barrel of his shotgun and threw him against the patrol car for trespassing. Then he called on the police radio for backup.
The next sheriff threw a feminine weight, though less so according to oldest gal in the Valley who reported next time she bothers her with petty matter’s she’ll ‘Rip her balls off. An’ if I can’t find them, I’ll reach till I do.’ I noticed that badge disappeared last year.
So Sand Valley held a meeting where a constable was elected by a valley quorum of five. He is a sag chinned ex-biker neighbor who calls the yearly black fly immigration ‘niggers’. One day this new sheriff brandished a shotgun to block a convey of U.S. Marines lost along the private road to the adjacent Coco Mt. Bombing Range. The military responded by machine-gunning his corrugated tin roof from a helicopter.
I thought once of becoming a sheriff or a Marine, but ended up a hermit writing stories from underground that no one seems to understand.
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