It finally happened. Quintin O’Dillmotte has lost his marbles. The wheels fell off. The cows went to pasture. The dog left home. The last chicken’s been plucked.
While Sheriff Pete Terkinberry works feverishly to solve the greatest mystery to ever grip the good folks of Maple Valley, Quintin O’Dillmotte, of O’Dillmotte Funeral Home, “Where we lay you down easy,” has announced he’s running for sheriff.
Three things about Quintin’s decision have people talking. Pete’s term as Sheriff of Terkot County does not end for another twenty-two months. Launching a campaign now is ridiculous.
O’Dilmotte’s choice for a campaign slogan is slanderous. “With Sheriff O’Dillmotte, have no fear! No one else will disappear!”
What really has neighbors wondering if Quintin has completely left home is his choice of a campaign handout. But, on the other hand, it’s Quintin O’Dillmotte. Some folks aren’t surprised at all.
Most people trying to get elected hand out things like pencils, shirts, or bags with their name on it. Last Saturday, Quintin was standing in the middle of Maple Valley passing out little coffins with his name printed on the outside and the campaign slogan on the inside. They must have cost him a fortune!
Sheriff Pete’s phone has been ringing off the hook. Marty Kue, news anchor of WREK-TV, called on Sunday, of all days.
“Is it true that Quintin O’Dillmotte has launched a campaign to take your place?” Kue asked.
“I don’t have any comment right now,” the sheriff answered.
“Is it true Quintin O’Dillmotte believes you’re not doing everything you can to find Sylvia Meisner?”
“I don’t have any comment right now,” Pete said.
“Why don’t you come on WREK live with me and defend yourself against these charges?” Marty Kue asked.
“What charges! What are you talking about? This conversation is over!” the sheriff hollered and slammed the phone down.
Quintin’s announcement is doing exactly what he hoped. It’s brilliant, at least to him. Everyone is talking about the little caskets. Kids are begging their parents for them.
Sheriff Pete received an important phone call last week. Dr. Ham Gerlein, the medical examiner from Colmash County, formally identified the bones found at the site of the watermain break.
“Pete, I can tell you with ninety-nine percent certainty, the bones do not belong to Ert Kreisel, or Sylvia Meisner,” Gerlein said.
“Who do they belong to?” Pete asked.
“A man named, Traver Flirsden. He was the contractor responsible for the watermain installation,” the doctor said.
“That makes no sense. How did his body end up there?” Pete asked.
“That’s for the Sheriff of Terkot County to figure out, Pete. I have no idea,” Ham said.
“Swell. Just what I need. Another disappearance with no answers. Thanks, Doc,” Pete said.
The sheriff hasn’t decided whether to respond to Quintin. He doesn’t want to do anything folks might interpret as concern about his future as sheriff. To Pete Terkinberry, the craziness Quintin O’Dillmotte is calling a campaign is just another item on the long list of Quintinistics.
Sheriff Terkinberry is more concerned about his friend, Mayor Alvin Thrashborn. The sheriff was called by Agent Vernald Bersker, and told the FBI is going to question Thrashborn about his relationship with Sylvia Meisner.
Pete immediately called his friend and told him about the conversation and asked what the agent was talking about.
“How should I know? I didn’t have any relationship with Sylvia,” the mayor said.
“Al, listen, the FBI doesn’t send agents out to ask questions unless they have a pretty good reason,” Pete said.
“Why did they call you?” Thrashborn asked.
“Remember when those two agents showed up after Sylvia disappeared? I chewed them pretty good for starting an investigation in Maple Valley without talking to me first. Maybe that’s it,” the sheriff said.
“I guess I’ll just wait and see what they ask me,” the mayor said.
Sheriff Pete Terkinberry couldn’t shake the feeling his lifelong friend was hiding something.