“Oh, nothing to be concerned about. Just a little stupid accident changing a flat tire,” Leo tells my mother with a self-deprecating laugh. “I need to get back to work, but I just wanted to stop by and remind Payton that we have an appointment to go over a few things at the station.”
He finally looks right at me, his blue eyes boring a hole right in my head like he’s trying to read my mind. If he is, I hope he can hear me screaming, “LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!”, Flat tire my ass! Jed Jackson had a black eye according to Andrea and now I’m kicking myself for being too preoccupied with Leo’s mouth to notice his knuckles last night when he had me pinned up against the wall.
Maybe Emma Jo and I really didn’t kill Jed, and maybe Leo still has no idea about the pie and the fact that it was missing from Emma Jo’s kitchen was all just a coincidence. Even with all the whispers and points in my direction that have resumed, I’m starting to feel a little bit better about my future. I’m not feeling so good about the fact that I might have made out with a murderer last night, but I’ll deal with that part of my conscience later.
“You folks have a good day. Make sure you get a piece of pie before you leave. I hear the blueberry is excellent. Not as good as Emma Jo’s, but delicious all the same,” Leo speaks to my parents, but keeps his eyes on me the entire time he talks. “Don’t forget to stop by the station, Payton.”
My mother giggles and waves at Leo like a lunatic when he winks at her before turning away from our table and walking back out the door.
“EVERYONE, GO BACK TO YOUR BREAKFASTS, NOTHING TO SEE HERE!” my mother shouts to the room after he’s gone. “Let’s just all have a moment of silence and say a prayer for poor Mayor Jackson and Emma Jo.”
The patrons of The Hungry Bear finally stop staring at me to do as my mother says, bowing their heads over their plates of eggs and toast.
“See? Everything will be fine. It’s not like people really think you killed Mayor Jackson, they’re just in shock and upset. I’m sure Sheriff Hudson will find the real killer in no time, everyone will forget all about this, and then you two can get busy making me a few beautiful grandchildren,” my mother states in an attempt to make me feel better.
Andrea comes back to our table while our heads our still down, my mother praying for beautiful grandchildren while I pray Leo is too busy remembering what happened between us last night to dig any deeper into Jed’s death. She gently sets down my parents’ plates and drops mine in front of me, the bowl of lumpy oatmeal in the middle of the plate that I didn’t order, splashing out onto the table.
“Payton is pregnant with Sheriff Hudson’s baby? Oh, lord, this town is never going to forget something like this,” Andrea complains with a huff before walking to another table to bend down and whisper with them.
Super. I’ve been here all of two days and I’ve murdered someone, gotten married, and now knocked up by the sheriff, according to the town. There’s no way things could get any worse.
June 3, 2016
Bald Knob, KY Police Department
Mo Wesley: Am I in here ’cuz you need a witness to swear about Payton Lambert?
Deputy Lloyd: You mean as a character witness or someone who was with her at the time of the murder and can vouch for her whereabouts?
Mo Wesley: I don’t know nothin’ about this character thing or whatever the blazes vouch means. Is that how the Frenchies say couch? Never did understand why people don’t just speak English from the good old U.S. of A.
Deputy Lloyd: You asked if we needed someone to swear about Payton Lambert and it would be nice if we could have someone corroborate the story she’s told us.
Mo Wesley: What? No. I just wanted to swear some about her and have it on official police record and whatnot. Will she get a copy of this report and know I called her a good-for-nothing coffee snob? Why aren’t you writing this down?
Deputy Lloyd: Mr. Wesley, I just need to know where you were on the night of May 31st, sometime after midnight.
Mo Wesley: I wasn’t killing Jed Jackson, that’s for damn sure. Can you also add that Payton Lambert is no longer allowed in the Gas N Sip unless she follows the rules like everyone else? You only get free coffee with gas, you don’t get to steal it like some sort of hoodlum. Those mean streets of Chicago have turned that girl into a thug, I tell you.
Deputy Lloyd: You’re saying Miss Lambert stole a cup of coffee from your establishment?
Mo Wesley: No, I’m saying she stole a cup of coffee from the Gas N Sip.
Deputy Lloyd: So, the business that you own. Right. Do you want to press charges?
Mo Wesley: Why would I want to do that when you can’t even understand it when I tell you she stole a cup of coffee from my business? How do you people expect to solve a murder when you can’t understand simple English? I bet you’re one of them Frenchies, aren’t ya? First a murder, then a stolen cup of coffee, next thing you know it will be the American Revolution all over again. My forefathers fought on this great land so you could-
Deputy Lloyd: Mr. Wesley, do you have anything you’d like to add about the night of May 31st, the night Jed Jackson was murdered?
Mo Wesley: Wait, yes! I almost forgot something really important. Payton Lambert shouldn’t be drinking coffee anyway on account of her being in the family way with Sheriff Hudson’s child. Caffeine isn’t good for the youngins I’m told. Why aren’t you writing this down?