People here, we keep to ourselves. We’re not showy; we’re not glad-handers. We keep our barns painted and our fences mended. The social life here can be found at 10am on Sunday morning at First Presbyterian. We keep our noses out of other people’s business.
And yet, when the Willard boy went missing, I knew, without having to place a single telephone call, that the women would be with Mrs. Willard and every able-bodied man would be waiting for me at the feed store.
My name is Grant. This star I’m wearing, I might pin it to my shirt two or three times in a year. I don’t draw a paycheck for it. Those men in the feed store, they’re waiting for me. I’m the law here, and there’s work to do.
“Who’s a good boy? Huh? Who’s a good boy?”
“Oh yes you are! That’s right, you are! You are!”
“What do I got? What do I got?”
“A stick? A stick? Is it a stick, boy?”
“Am I gonna throw it? Am I? Am I gonna throw it?”
I Let Him In
He never calls ahead, never says how long he’ll be staying this time. Just shows up at my door, his shapeless cloth hat on his head, a rucksack slung easily over one shoulder. A wry, knowing half-smile on his face.
“Hey,” he says. Hey amounts to a speech from him.
And I let him in.
He always smells of boat fuel and brine. His skin is sticky with it for days. His hands are coarse and calloused from months of hauling nets. He has a careful way of moving, as if the very earth were a rolling deck that might sway out from under him at any moment. And, oh, his eyes. His eyes are the blue of the sea that’s calling to him already, even as he’s standing there on my porch.