A ripple of quiet laughter came from the crowd massed around old Roy Catlin.
“Alright,” Sheriff Mac said, scolding the folks who were taking pleasure in the fact that it had been a Kennedy that had been gunned down, “that’s enough of that, Roy. Show some respect here. Did anyone witness anything?”
Dec and I shared a knowing look. We knew. We saw it all. We could provide Sheriff Mac with everything he needed to know about the crash that resulted in the shooting incident. Dec and I could give him a full account. But we weren’t supposed to be there. No, we were thought to be, by both Sheriff Mac and my dad, in school getting educated. How could we explain what we were doing in our tree fort in the middle of a school day? We’d both be in trouble if we gave ourselves away.
An argument suddenly erupted down there in the street, and for the moment our dilemma of being witnesses was put on hold.
“Sheriff’s orders!” Deputy Noah boomed in his loud, bull-roar voice. “You wanna stick around here, Ty, take it up with Mac! But I’m not taking any guff off you, boy! Just do as you’ve been told!”
Big Ty towered over Noah by a good six inches, but squat, broad-shouldered Noah was standing right up to him and not backing down an inch. “And I,” growled Ty, “won’t be having you order me around, Deputy Berry!”
The thing is, no one there thought it was anything out of the ordinary when Ty refused to simply follow Noah’s orders. The two lawmen were always having a rivalry about one thing or another. It just seemed natural that Big Ty would go blowing off at Deputy Noah, refusing to obey any order he might have given.
Sheriff Mac, who was kneeling down beside Jonathan Kennedy, looked up to see what the commotion was. “Would you two conduct yourselves a little more professionally?” he said, his deep voice carrying back to Ty’s squad car, where his two lawmen stood glaring at each other, their fists clenched in rage.
“Mac?” Deputy Noah said without taking his eyes off of Big Ty. “Deputy Burke here doesn’t believe you ordered us to escort Henry down to jail.”
Sheriff Mac offered Big Ty a stern look, and like magic, his look prompted a response. Big Ty simply gave a defiant snort. He then stomped over to his squad car, climbed inside, and after starting it up, he promptly drove Henry down to jail.
Which is how Jonathan Kennedy’s car keys got left in the trunk lid.
Which seemed to be calling out to Dec and I up there in our tree fort. Dec and I just had to find out what in hell Big Ty had seen in there.