“Well, its about time to go collect Rowdy,” Steve thought as he wheeled his cruiser through the silent county roads, the woods and fields only punctuated by the occasional flash of the headlights off a set of eyes, belonging to a raccoon, an opossum, or a deer. The clock on the dash flipped to 1:37, as Merle Haggard played softly in the background. The veteran deputy knew how this would go, he’d seen it more than a few times already. He wasn’t really in the mood for it, the Packers had lost to the Vikings earlier, and he’d been working all night.
Greg had called him earlier to give Steve a head’s up “Rowdy is down at the Elk’s Lodge again, looks like Linda musta really tore into him this time. He’s already bought a couple rounds of whiskey.” Steve figured he could save everyone a lot of trouble by getting to the Lodge before last call. His cousin usually seemed to behave until the bartender started to shut things down. Course, you live that far north, and it seems like just about everyone was your cousin. Or married to your cousin. Or both.
See Linda, she was a nice enough girl, but she got mean after a couple glasses of white wine. Course he could say that, she was his cousin too—at least it was on the other side of the family. After she got mean, she’d get into it with Rowdy. Then he’d end up down at Lodge, getting drunk and looking for trouble. Seemed like he didn’t care much who he fought, but he’d be throwing hands with someone. And if he didn’t find a fight, they’d probably have to drag his old Chevy out of the ditch again.
As Steve wheeled around the last bend in the road and over the culvert that Old Man Creek ran through, he could see the camo-painted flanks of Rowdy’s big, smokey squarebody. He knew the 350 in it well—hell, he should, he’d helped Rowdy work on the damn thing enough times. Hopefully Rowdy only had a skoal tin of actual dip on him tonight—the paperwork was a lot worse when the second one, the meth one, was in his pocket. Hopefully Steve was just going to give Rowdy a ride back to Linda and the trailer tonight, and not a ride to the drunk tank.
Steve stepped out of the cruiser, as his other cousin Leroy came running back, and hollered “Yer too late, Steve.” Of course, Steve knew that, he could hear Billy Ray and Rowdy yelling from here. He sighed as he reached back into the cruiser and flipped on the lights.
It was going to be one of those nights.