No Avail Slaps the Tale - A Jordan Dane Mystery
Slaps the Tail - Chapter Eleven
The weak pulsing of
blue lights and angry voices that emanated through the trees as
Jordan neared the end of the Proud's driveway didn't surprise her as
much as they might have were she not already on a mission to
retrieve a patrol car. The sort of cop scene she expected to find
however, as she came jogging onto the Loop proper, was nothing like
the one she found. Chester's ride was not the source of the lights
for one thing. And a man Jordan knew to be Montrose County Sheriff
Johnson J. Judge, and his strobing, smoking, dirt streaked patrol
car were parked just about where Jordan had expected Chester's jeep would
The sheriff appeared to have his hands full, both literally, with a
gun in each paw, and culturally as he was interrogating a real estate
agent looking character in lime green slacks who, at the very least,
was guilty of driving a shiny orange De Lorean. Not exactly an
arrestable offence in itself Jordan guessed, but on the mesa's bumpy
rutted dirt roads, a cause for suspicion just the same. J.J. Judge,
after all, had a reputation for pulling people over for much, much
Jordan was familiar with Sheriff Judge more from local legend and
the stories Chester had related to her from his childhood then from
any specific encounters of her own. Horror stories abounded of the
rednecked hassles Telluride locals faced after making the
miscalculation of straying into Judge's jurisdiction without proper
license, registration, American made vehicle, or hairstyle, and
Jordan had heard more than a few of them from some of the folks on
the bakery porch.
Colorado's license plating system could be seen as Judge's accessory
in these discriminations since the first couple letters on a
Colorado car's plate and the last couple on that of a truck serve to
identify the county where the vehicle is registered. A person didn't
have to be any expert in law enforcement to pull alongside a line of
cars and make a good guess who hailed from where. Unless of course a
car had vanity plates. And Judge was known to pull cars sporting
vanity plates over on general principle.
Over in Montrose County, Jordan reflected, it was a fairly common sight
to see a microbus with Colorado VZ plates pulled to the roadside and
a lineup of motley youths being spritzed with tobacco juice and
systematically dressed down in front of Judge's prodigious belly and
flattop. As a person with an eye for such details anyway, Jordan
made a mental note as she approached the scene by Mangas Creek that
the De Lorean was adorned with California vanity plates (did they
issue any other kind in that state?) and recently expired
The plates read RSWTR69.
"Now what would a slick So-Cal fella like you be doing driving
through our fair county pollutin' the air and offendin' the hard
working folks only to 'ventually end up tossin a Government Issue
service revolver out the window?" Judge was waving both guns in
the air as he blustered into the De Lorean driver's face; a face,
Jordan marveled, whose beet red countenance, broken veins, and bulbous honker
almost exactly mirrored Judge's own.
"I told you once, you spit dripping hick, that I've never seen
that goddamn gun before in my life. Now take a few steps back and
leave me be before I get on the car phone to my lawyers and have
them fly out here and see to it that your backwoods ass is in one of
your own jail cells by nightfall."
"Are you saying to me that this gun just happened to be a'layin
here in the water next to this I-talian piece of crap when you
finally pulled it over?" Judge gulped and expectorated a stream
of tobacco juice into the dirt at RSWTR69's feet. "You expectin
me to believe that boy? I hope I ain't that much of a stupid
"I-talian piece of crap?" RSWTR69 appeared increduled.
"This is a De Lorean. And it's got about as much Ity in it as
you and that swollen ugly mug of yours got. Boy."
Judge did take the two steps back but pointed both guns unsteadily
at RSWTR69 as if they were too heavy for him to hold. He was staring
quizzically at the car all the while as if it was a UFO that had
just dropped from the clouds.
"You tellin me that's Kraut machine there?"
"Guess again Porterhouse."
"Listen, Buford. I don't have time for this horseshit."
RSWTR69 made a move at this point to duck under the car's airplane
door and climb back in his vehicle but Judge lumbered forward and
managed to bulldoze him to one side pinning him to the car with a
knee between the legs and a gun behind each ear. The feel of cold
steel in stereo caused the slacks wearer's stout body to freeze. His
mouth however, kept moving.
"I'm warning you now you foul breathed sack of country ham. If
you think you can spend a morning tailgating and hassling me and now
planting evidence just because you've run out of farm animals to
fondle then think again. Remember, the cops where I'm from invented
evidence planting. In fact, one of my attorneys worked with De
Lorean himself when.…"
"There's that Ity name again."
"It's not an Ity name you goat plugger."
"See here you lunatic. I will not stand on the side of a dirt
road and be pistol whipped by Buford P. Justice. I need to get to my
sister's house and don't have time to…"
"You will remain silent you asshole." Judge interrupted.
"What you've said will be used against you sure as you're a
dirty dick bag. I arrest you for being a sleazy, West Coast
numbskull and attempting to outrun an officer of the law in this
foreign piece of shit here. I know an American car when I see it
Goddammit and whatever country this orange slice is from is along
way from here. Now I.... " Judge continued to sputter his version of Miranda as
he holstered one of the pistols and fumbled along his belt for his
The series of maneuvers that followed would be as hard to duplicate
as they were to understand. Jordan, who was standing ten feet away
during the production, couldn't explain later how the sheriff
managed to get one end of the handcuffs snapped around his own wrist
and the other around that of the belligerent and struggling RSWTR69
while also stringing the cuffs through a loop in his own gun belt.
The two men ended up joined together and all but holding hands with
one another down in the sheriff's crotch. As a finale to the skit, in
the scrambling melee that followed as the sheriff attempted to
rectify the gaff, Judge managed somehow to send his set of keys
arcing across the hood of the De Lorean towards the stream. The two
stopped bellowing and sucked in breath together as the likely
destination of the cuff key became evident and the audible kerplunk
confirmed their fears.
It was at that point that the two of them first noticed Jordan Dane
standing in the road observing them, clapping her hands with glee as
if she watched two carnival performers. As they listed against each
other wheezing and blinking at her, like a two-headed ogre on the
verge of some cardiac episode, Jordan's eye drifted down to the
firearm hanging at the Sheriff's side. She thought she recognized
the piece as the same one she had been helping Chester practice
"Good morning gentlemen." Jordan offered pleasantly.
"What's the situation here?"
The two tugged at each other but were momentarily silent.
"Situation Normal All Fucked Up" Judge finally blurted
inexplicably. "Yep we've sure enough got us a classic snafu. If
you'd lend a hand by…"
"Oh, is that what SNAFU stands for?" Jordan said
conversationally. "I always wondered."
"You run along now missy." Judge used a waving pistol to
direct her down the lane. "This is no place for anyone in a jog
bra with a rack like that to be horsing around in the street. Just
move down the way and let us finish up our business." The
sheriff caste a disgusted, sidelong glance at RSWTR69. "I've
got my hands full here with this piece of sh…what the goddamn
Jordan had relieved the sheriff of Chester's gun and, after noting
that the safety was on, reached behind her to tuck the pistol into
the back of her jogging shorts. At least Chester hadn't tossed his
gun down in the muddy road with the safety off.
"Here now, that there weapon is a key piece of evidence in this
case which I will ask you to return..." Judge was fumbling now
for his own sidearm but was having trouble navigating beneath the
stomach of his captive who was not cooperating at all. Jordan
stepped quickly behind the grunting pair and lifted the second
weapon as deftly as she had the first.
Clicking this safety on as well, she leaned against the side of the
De Lorean and placed the pistol on the hood behind her.
"Hey hey, let's watch the paint there titsy," said RSWTR69
gyrating about with a series of exacerbating tugs and twists that
succeeded only in getting them further tangled and forced a
contorted Judge to one knee. RSWTR69 had banged his own head on the
car door and stood, bent at the waist by Judges weight, rubbing it
and looking at Jordan sullenly.
"If you two are going to be joined at the hip you're going to
have to learn to cooperate a little better," Jordan said,
folding her arms across her chest. When Judge lunged at her with his
free hand, she reached behind her to grab the gun and stepped nimbly
out of reach. She walked around behind the car and leaned her elbows
casually on the roof, a gun in each hand pointing at the sky.
Jordan had to smile as she waited for the two of them to calm down
and surveyed the scene before her. The smile faded when her eyes
passed curiously over at the pond hoping to see where the cuff key
had settled. She realized suddenly that there wasn't normally a pond
there at all. She also realized that she was looking at Chester's submerged
patrol jeep glinting up at her from just below the surface.