Read Turkey Ranch Road Rage Online

Authors: Paula Boyd

Tags: #mystery, #mayhem, #Paula Boyd, #horny toad, #Jolene, #Lucille, #Texas

Turkey Ranch Road Rage

Turkey Ranch Road Rage

Paula Boyd

Copyright © Paula Boyd, 2010

Library of Congress Control Number: 2010925266

ISBN 0967478626

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written consent of the copyright owner except that brief excerpts may be quoted for reviews.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, locales or events are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Diomo Books

Hot Springs, AR

The medical, herbal and spiritual commentary included herein is intended for amusement purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation for or against any particular belief, program, medication, dietary supplement or crackpot theory. A warranty regarding the truth of anything herein is neither expressed nor implied—particularly those statements made in reference to giant pharmaceutical companies who have more money than God and attorneys who know how to use it.


Springtime in the Rockies is just plain gorgeous, but don’t tell anyone. There’s a foot of new snow on the ground, but I could sit outside on my deck naked if I wanted to. I don’t do that sort of thing much after that incident involving the bird feeder and the meter reader, but I could if I wanted to. So, instead of working on my winter tan, I was sitting at my desk putting the finishing touches on a feature story about a friend of mine here in the mountains who has a book coming out this month. I do a variety of freelance jobs to supplement my income, which otherwise comes solely from a card company I sold a few years ago. For the most part, it means I do not have to live in a box under a bridge while I do what I enjoy. What can I say, I got lucky.

Feeling warm and fuzzy and satisfied with life in general, I ended the article and started to log on to the Internet to send it to the newspaper that had agreed to pay me for it. The ringing of the telephone stopped me.

As I grabbed the receiver, I turned my chair to look out the window at the unbelievably blue sky, a deep vivid blue that I’ve never seen anywhere but here in the mountains. Some days—actually a lot of days—it’s just too blue to be real, too good to be true, and it always makes me thankful I live here rather than someplace else.

“Hello,” I said, my voice lilting upward in a cheerful happy tone.

“Jolene, it’s Jerry.”

Zing. My sky-blue musings flew out the window for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the deep timbre of Jerry Don Parker’s voice. Jerry, AKA Sheriff Parker of Bowman County, Texas, and I had been communicating quite a bit lately—and quite pleasantly, I might add—but not in the middle of a work day. That was my first clue that this was not a personal call. The second was the weary resignation in his usually seductive voice as he said, “It’s about your mother.”

Oh, lovely, wasn’t it always. Just as my ugly thoughts were queuing up for a fast-forward replay of Lucille history, a stab of real fear punched the pause button. The woman is in her seventies after all. “Is she okay?”

“Relatively speaking, I suppose.”

Jerry’s voice was not one of compassion, as if preparing to deliver the ultimate of bad news, but rather a weary tone heavy with disillusionment, distress and déjà vu, and I got the message loud and clear. “What has she done this time?”

“I’m sorry, Jolene, but she’s in jail.”

Jail. Behind bars. Oh, my.

Okay, we all know I was not shocked. I quit being shocked about such things several months ago when my mother officially became insane. Well, maybe she’s not really insane, in technical and clinical terms, but from where I sit she is plainly nuts. I leaned back in my chair, closed my eyes and rubbed my lids, a futile gesture usually practiced when my mother is actually in front of me. I’ve yet to make her—or me—magically disappear, but somehow it’s comforting to know that you can blink the world away for a few seconds. A very few. “All right, let’s hear it.”

“We had no choice but to arrest her and her friends.”

You expect me to be surprised, what? “And?”

“Fritz tried to post her bail the minute after he booked her, but she didn’t take too kindly to any of it.”

No, I bet she didn’t, particularly from Fritz Harper, who was, last I’d heard, my mother’s latest squeeze. He was also a semi-retired deputy who worked for Jerry, my old high school sweetheart and would-be lover. Would be, that is, if we weren’t distracted by my mother’s determination to get herself arrested, or the various murdering crazies running loose spoiling things. That we’re seven hundred miles apart wasn’t helping much either. One bad thought led to another, and before I knew it the big screen version of Terminator 73: Lucille on the Loose was playing wildly in my head. “Who’d she kill?”

“No one was hurt,” Jerry said tentatively. “But there’s a county maintenance truck with a bullet in the radiator, at least that’s the only one we’ve found so far. Bullet, that is.”

I groaned, but asked the obvious anyway. “Why did she shoot a county truck?”

“You knew about the picket line, right?”

Wrong. I knew nothing about anything, and in particular, nothing about a picket line. “As in protesters with signs and things?”

“Exactly. They set up out on the north end of Turkey Ranch Road where the county was doing some right-of-way work.”

The mental geography was fairly easy in that Jerry Don Parker and I had spent quite a bit of our teenage days in that area. Turkey Ranch Road went past the old Little Ranch, which had several access roads up to oil wells that were perfect for star gazing. Dedicated students that we were, we went out there several times a week to map constellations for extra credit. I might not be able to locate more than six constellations, but I knew exactly where Turkey Ranch Road was, and it wasn’t very far from my mother’s house. That answered nothing about why she was out there causing trouble, however. “Okay, Jerry, I don’t have a clue about what’s going on. Tell me.”

“It’s about the RV park that’s going in.”

“RV park?”

“I’m not sure of all the details myself, but the rumor is that about two thousand acres at the edge of Kickapoo are going to be turned into a camping park of some sort.”

A park? With camping? In Kickapoo? Why? “Oh, geez, this doesn’t have anything to do with the new falls, does it?”

“Well, yeah,” he said, a sort of “duh” tone in his voice. “Redwater’s getting a lot of tourist traffic now. People that would have just passed through are making this a stopover. The waterfall is a nice tourist attraction.”

I suppose it was that, relatively speaking, since the only other tourist attraction around town was the four-story medical building out off the bypass that was affectionately known as “the tower.” I did not say these things aloud as I’ve noticed that Jerry Don seems to kind of like the place and does not find my little observations and witty commentaries particularly humorous. It was yet another of the insurmountable gulfs between us, maybe even harder to overcome than the distance factor. “So, let me get this straight. Mother isn’t happy about this so-called park and was protesting. She got a little carried away, whipped out her concealed weapon and maimed a radiator. Am I close?”

“Yes, generally speaking, I guess. But the county guys were just mowing the grass, not actually starting on the park. Gifford Geller’s nephew Gus had just parked the truck on the shoulder and walked across the road when she shot it. He’s making noise about attempted murder, but we only charged her with destruction of public property.”

I took a deep breath and willed away all the pesky questions that were flitting through my mind. The details of what happened and why were irrelevant. What mattered was how I was going to get myself uninvolved with it. “Okay, listen, Jerry,” I said, a plan forming as I spoke. For all my faults, I can make decisions fast and firm when I have to. “I’ll call Mother and tell her to control herself. You just take my VISA number and pay her fine, or bail, or whatever. As long as it’s under five grand, I should be okay. Just free her and haul her home. I’ll handle it from there.”

“I can’t.”

“Excuse me?”

“She refuses to leave, Jolene,” he said, sort of pitiful-like. “She even tried to assault Fritz when he went to get her then told us to arrest her for that too. We’re in a tough place here.”

I let another little groan slip out before I caught myself. I knew exactly where this was headed, and I wasn’t going for it, not no-way, not no-how. My mother was a grown woman and could very well take care of herself. Besides, she tended to get even more Lucille-ish when I got involved; therefore, it was my civic duty to stay out of the mess. (Rationalization is as handy as denial and I am free and loose with both.) “I’m not coming down there, Jerry. At some point, I need to do some actual work here and make some money so I can keep my house.”


There was a definite pleading tone to his voice that I would have preferred to hear in a very different context—one that didn’t involve my mother. “I can’t.”

“If Fritz can’t make her see reason, you’re the only one who can. She’s a seventy-year-old woman and she doesn’t need to be staying here at the jail. It’s not good for her, and it’s not good for me either.”

For him? Oh, now we were getting somewhere. Mr. Sheriff’s concerns extended past the usual pain-in-the-butt Lucille issues. “PR worries, eh?”

He hemmed and hawed for a second then said, “Well, yes. She called up the newspaper and one of the radio stations before we took her cell phone away.”

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