“Hi, there. I wonder if you’d be willing to talk to me about what happened last week around here?”
“Oh boy, you stepped it now. You actually asked Colton Buck to talk. He may never stop.”
“Who are you?” I asked the chortling man who sat next to Colton.
Instead, Colton responded, “Oh, he’s nobody. Ole Billy Ray just sits here, shooting the breeze with me most days. You were right to ask me.”
“Like how is that different from what you do most days?” Billy Ray frowned at Colton.
I interrupted, “Well, okay, Colton. Were you a major player in all the goings-on in town last week?”
“Ha,” sniggered Billy Ray. “I wouldn’t describe Colton as a main character. He’s more of the goofy side character if you ask me.”
“Then that would make you a sidekick to a sidekick, Billy Ray,” snapped Colton. He turned back to me. “It might be most accurate to call me a key observer. Are you writing a newspaper article or something about last week?”
“Something like that,” I answered.
All of a sudden, Colton was looking over my shoulder. His posture had straightened and he started speaking in a rapid-fire patter into his fist. “Welcome to Jenkins Invitational Walk-About. The action today has taken a while to build up but now we’ve got Harriett and Reuben Stokes at the starting gate.”
“Huh?” I looked around, wondering what he was talking about. Colton seemed to be looking at an older couple standing at the opposite corner waiting for the light to turn.
“And they’re off,” Colton exclaimed. “Reuben and his big German shepherd are in the lead as their relentless training and focused discipline paid off with a quick reaction when the green light flashed. But don’t count Harriett out of the game quite yet. She and her poodle have gotten into their rhythm and she’s pulled up even with Reuben in only a few steps. Who will win the bonus points for crossing the street first? It’s looking like a photo finish folks. Stay tuned for our color analyst’s summary while we wait for the judges to evaluate the photo finish—”
Billy Ray broke in. “Colton fashions himself to be a broadcaster. That’s him pretending to be a sportscaster announcing daily life.”
“I am a sportscaster, Billy Ray.” Colton huffed and crossed his arms.
Billy Ray scoffed. “That’s ‘jes for the high school football games in the fall. Reuben and Harriet aren’t in the stadium now and it ain’t fall.”
“Well, I guess it don’t really work when nothing’s going on.” Colton looked around. Seeing no one, he slumped in a defeated pout.
I followed Colton’s glance again, seeing no one else in sight out on Main Street now that the older couple had continued on their way.
“Sorry for boring you,” he sniffed.
I shook that off. “What about the murder and all the suspects and how they found the real killer?”
“Oo, look at the time.” Colton said with enthusiasm, apparently done sulking as he stood up, knees creaking. “They’ll have just put out the fresh fried chicken and potato salad. Let’s go Billy Ray.” He ambled towards the grocery store behind me.
“Hey, can’t you wait a few more minutes until you get your lunch and tell me a little about last week?” I protested.
“Nah, you don’t want to miss their potato salad. It’s dang good and it sells out right fast.” Billy Ray rubbed his ample stomach in anticipation. “Wanna join us?”
If you’d like to learn what actually happened last week with the murder, sleuthing, and town secrets, be sure to read FISH OUT OF WATER. It’s the first book in my new Ozarks Lake Mystery series. The second book will be titled SWIMMING WITH THE FISHES.