I have a thing for you to do Humbert, a thing I can’t ask of the other officers…

The sun hung a yellow sash across Decon’s back, but stripped it when his office door rattled shut. “Do you know what it means to be Deputy?”

“I think so,” the visitor said, “yes.”

Decon turned. “I have a thing for you to do Humbert, a thing I can’t ask of the other officers to, do you understand what I’m saying?”

Humbert rapped his boot heels together and stiffened his arms at his sides. “Yes sir! I think so sir … but can I ask—”

“No. That’s one thing you cannot. You can listen and hear what I have to say before opening your mouth.”

Humbert nodded.

Decon took up the wine bottle from his oak desk. “What do you know about wine?” The cork gave report.

“Nothing sir, except I drink it and it is very dry and gets me—one drunk quickly.”

“I thought not. Well, I won’t confuse you with the details, but all you need know is that some very important vino has—”

“Vino, sir?”



“…May I continue?”


“Some very important wine that was to be delivered to some very important people has been intercepted.”

“No! By whom?”

“That’s where you come in Deputy. Now look, this town’s never been a haven, God knows I do what I can, but stealing from the Mayor? Tsk. Tsk. This can’t do Deputy, this won’t do!”

“No sir, mister Mayor. Do we have any leads?”

“Good man. First, take this.” Decon drew, from behind his waist, the largest revolver that Humbert thought he had ever seen.

“But I have a gun, sir.”

“That thirty-eight won’t do at all. Here, take it.”

The steel sunk Humbert’s hand to his knees before he could recover. “Who did you say stole this, um, vino? Should I expect gunfire?”

“I’m not going to lie to you son, you’re a top-notch peace officer, but frankly your role here has been uneventful to say the least. I understand that, most law men pray they never have to go into the line of fire, but tut-tut Deputy, they are not true men! So hear me and do this and all will be well.”

“For vino?”

“Fooor vino,” Decon said. He cracked Humbert on the shoulder. “Now, hurry along brave soldier. From what I hear, you might find him in Bursburry Park, camped under some sycamore trees, on the far north end, in a blue tent. You got that?”

“Blue tent? How do y—”

Decon took the deputy in his stride and opened the door. “There’s no time to lose.”

“I won’t let you down?”

Decon laughed. “No, no, you won’t constable, you can’t.”






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