the man with the metal face episode 8

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alberto stood there in a semi sort of suspended state of disbelief. eternal life? burnsworth had somehow or another invented or stumbled upon the deal everyone since ponce de leon and before had been searching after. eternal life? good lord, he thought.

along with those thoughts he was also thinking that yesterday’s oddness was about to get trumped that morning by an even weirder today that had only just got rolling. eternal life and the apparent blossoming trouble between the fed, mr. smith, and the local, sheriff townsend, was about to blow up. big time.

‘gentlemen, please. calm down. there’s no need for the bickering. mr smith, i’m an attorney and a friend of burnsworth. we already have a client attorney relationship due to another matter. AND since we do, i’m advising mr. osceola not to say anything further to you about anything. nothing. got that, boo?’

‘understood, albert.’

‘look here, shyster, you don’t want any trouble from me, that i assure you. i have the full weight of the united states postal service behind me. and i’m here on official government business. so now if you hicks would just step aside i’ll start working on why i’m here. got that, shyster?’

‘ah, mr. smith, if that is your real name. your petty name calling means nothing to me. what does mean something to me is the fact you have no papers, like a search warrant or an arrest warrant in your possession and i’m sure, sheriff townsend here would agree with me that you have no authority to search or remove anything from mr. osceola’s property. you have no legal right to ask us anything or give you anything.’

‘mr. smith, albert here is right. if you would have let me get on with my job i would have said the same thing to you. now you either show burnsworth some paper or you can just get on out of here. i’ve had enough of you for one morning and if you continue i’ll run your sorry ass in. got that, smith?’

‘you fucking cracker hicks. by god i’ll have your license to practice for this shyster. and you, sheriff fife, you’re just a fucking piss ant deputy dawg blowhard…’

‘mr. smith, i’m only going to say this one more time. back off or you go down. go down hard. i mean it. i’m not afraid of you or the feds. i’m an elected official and the folks around these parts happen to like me and the job i’m doing. they also don’t like the federal government much at all. so then, as far as i can see your options in this matter are slim and none. plus, i just don’t understand why a postal inspector is interested in anything burnsworth is doing. a warrant might help clear that up. but you don’t have one. now beat it. get in your car and leave mr. smith, now.’

mr. smith stepped up into sheriff townsand’s space and very quietly said. ‘deputy dawg, i’m going to go over by that oak tree and make a couple of phone calls. i’m not afraid of you either. however, you, on the other hand should be very very afraid of me.’

mr. smith turned on his heels and removed a cell phone from his suit jacket pocket as he walked the short distance to the old oak.

faye jenkins-de bonne had stood by and watched the unfolding drama with more than a modicum of interest. in all her days as a mail carrier she had seen any number of disputes played out while she was on and off the job. she had also been paying attention to the gathering darkness to the west.

off on the horizon dark metal gray black clouds were forming and seemingly rushing towards them. flashes of light bounced here and there behind the approaching clouds. the wind had picked up and dead plant material was beginning to blow about. a small dust devil swirled in from the road picking up leaves and loose kentucky soil as it raced along on it’s meandering path.

the air had cooled considerably. even though the clouds were still a ways off, large rain drops began to pelt the dry sandy soil. small puffs of dirt rose and were then smothered by larger drops of rain. gusts of wind further chilled the late morning air as they blew the dark clouds closer. now everyone was aware of the approaching storm. everyone but mr. smith, who was talking very excitedly into his phone.

the smell of the approaching rain was heady, as it always is. the rain drops grew to the size of silver dollars and became more constant as the wind whipped them about. boo, alberto, the sheriff, and faye began making their way to boo’s front porch and a dry safe harbor. they had just reached the steps when they felt the hair on their arms and the back of their necks stand up. another all to familiar smell hit them as well. then the loud crack as a bolt of lightening hit nearby.

the three turned as one and saw that the old oak had been split by the lightening. it’s trunk smoking in the rain. mr. smith had been thrown ten or twenty feet from the now dead tree and lay face down in the forming mud. yep, today was sure as hell going to top yesterday, thought alberto.


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