In this excerpt, beat cop Baron Witherspoon sits in the office of Chief Lester Richardson. It is right after two FBI agents have come to advise they are investigating an escaped German POW who they believe is heading toward Arkansas City, Kansas presumably to commit an act of sabotage. The bigger problem is they were advised to stay out of the FBI’s way.
I sat in Burke’s seat and stretched my feet out, clasping my hands at the back of my neck. Unless I was mistaken, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were intentionally excluding a local police department in its entirety from a search for a possible saboteur, an individual who could potentially cause great harm to the citizens of our city. On top of that, there was an unfounded accusation a resident was a conspirator. I wasn’t sure whether to yell or spit.
“How do you want to handle this, Chief?” I asked, taking the high road. I guess being older had somewhat softened my disposition.
Chief Richardson stared straight ahead at nothing, or at least not at anything I could see. His eyes were squinted and focused, fingertips touching delicately yet looking like he was ready to ball his fists. This didn’t set well with him either. From a night patrolman in ’26 to becoming Chief in ’34, he had worked hard to keep the town clean. While I had been on the force longer, he and I differed in that he was destined to move up the ranks and I was simply hiding. He respected the residents and couldn’t accept such a proposition as low and uninformed as what he had just heard.
“Put together a team of three other men. Morton, obviously. He’s practically been your right hand since those gruesome murders. I’d reach out to Marcus Hayes as well.”
“That old relic?” Hayes was pushing sixty-five, with a face like a saddlebag yet still not as bad as mine. A gruff, tobacco-chewing, no-nonsense guy who survived three shootings, two while with other police departments, he could have been higher up the chain if his attitude would have allowed it.
“He’s tough as nails and loves this city. Take Evan Cobb, too.” Cobb was college educated and married with two kids. He moved to Ark City from Salina on account of his wife getting a job as a teacher down here. I didn’t know him as much, as he’d only been on the force two months. The chief’s recommendation was good enough for me. “Conduct your own investigation. See what you come up with.”
Additionally, I will speaking at theKansas Authors Club Convention. I look forward to seeing you there and talking ANYTHING that has to do with writing.