Cyrus Bleek had been the popular, long suffering sheriff some say, since the beginning of time. His nickname had always been “Ceebee” but he referred to himself as “4 dubya.”
When asked what that meant, he said with a humorous smile, “I’m a walking wealth of worldly wisdom.” He had been around the proverbial block more than a few times and had seen and heard things that ranged from ridiculous to eerily strange to heartbreaking.
He had used the famous “comb-over” for years to hide his balding head and attributed his pot belly to more than his share of late night pizzas. “If catching bad guys was as easy as ordering a pepperoni lovers’ pie, I don’t know which would be fatter…me or the jail,” he said.
He was a bachelor, who never had time for a wife but rumor had it that in his youth, he was quite the playboy. He had striking ice blue eyes that despite his age, still sparkled, especially when he smiled.
He was straight up, but like Captain Meade, had been known to turn a blind eye to certain things if it meant roping in a “bad guy.”
He and Captain Meade had been friends for years, more years than they cared to admit. Captain Meade, in his younger days was a bit of a scoundrel. One day, Ceebee found himself under attack from a BB gun. Young Meade was hiding in the woods, trying out his new Christmas present and thought it would be cool to shoot at the sheriffs’ car.
Ceebee saw him running away and drove to his house. Young Meade’s father covered for him and it irritated Ceebee but the experience was enough for young Meade to travel the straight and narrow path from then on. Although Captain Meade had never outright admitted to being the perpetrator, it was something they both often mused about.
Captain Meade had asked him to try to talk to Burke but warned him that he might not be receptive. Ceebee knew Burke as well as he knew any of the detectives, was aware of his situation and agreed to give it a shot.
He drove to Burke’s place and knocked on the door. Surprisingly, Burke answered. Ceebee walked in and said “Lord have mercy, son. What the hell is going on here?”
Burke, who was already well on his way to being in his usual drunken stupor, plopped down in his chair and didn’t answer. Ceebee said “What I should be doing is handing you a notice to vacate the premises but I’m going to talk to you like a son.”
Burke mumbled something that angered Ceebee. Not one to mince words, Ceebee said “shut up and listen to me. I don’t know what’s going on with you but what I do know is that you’re throwing your life away. I’ve heard rumors about you and the detective who was killed but you aren’t the only one who has suffered a loss.”
“She was killed and you’re acting like you’re the one who died. Get your shit together so I don’t have to come back here to tell you to get the hell out.”
In an unusually unsympathetic moment, Ceebee said “instead of hiding in this pig sty, having your pity party and drinking yourself to death, why don’t you get out and find the mother fucker who killed her?”
Burke shook his head and said “I can’t.”
“You can’t,” mocked Ceebee. “Maybe your rage should be stronger than your grief. Use it. Get off your ass, clean up this shit hole, pour the booze down the drain and find a fucking reason to carry on.”
Burke said “I just don’t seem to be able to parlay anything into a reason for living.”
Ceebee said “okay. Then put that bottle in your mouth and pull the trigger.”
To be continued_______________