A bright, warm Saturday afternoon in October, what could be better than going for a ride in the country to find apples and black walnut fudge?
Alex and Claire had been married a year now and whatever they did, they plunged in and found the fun in it. Responsible people on their jobs during the week, they walled off the weekend for their time together. Work hard, play hard together, that’s Alex and Claire.
Apple in the cup holder and fudge in his right hand, Alex steered with his left. “Oh this fudge is good” he said. “There’s nothing that sets it off better than black walnuts, a dark, delicious taste.”
Alex and Claire had never been back in here, along this road. A dirt road but well kept.
Alex was perhaps concentrating a little too much on the fudge as they went around the bend.
Sheep! A herd of sheep in the road! Alex slammed on the brake, fishtailed and corrected but not fast enough to save one of the sheep. It was pretty clearly dead as it lay in the road.
Alex jumped out of the car and the farmer yelled “What are doin’ Mister, drivin’ so fast on these roads? You killed one of my favorite ewes.”
Alex was speechless. He tried to swallow but couldn’t. He pulled himself together and said “I’m very sorry and I know that is not nearly enough. What can I do to make up for this?”
The farmer scratched his chin with a broken finger nail, looked up at the sky and said “I know you didn’t mean to do that but I’m out one good ewe. $200 would help.”
Alex and Claire counted out their money and handed the farmer ten $20 bills.
The farmer took them, licked his finger and counted the money. “OK. I’ll move the herd and you can go on. But you be more careful.”
Just then a police car came around the bend and just missed the closest sheep before it stopped. It was a county cop and he took down Alex’s license number and checked it before getting out of his cruiser. He opened the door and got out, his belt creaking with the pistol, baton, bullet case, flashlight and handcuffs he had on it. He walked, not fast, not slow, over to Alex and the farmer.
Ignoring Alex, the cop turned to the farmer and said “Orvie, we’ve talked about this in the past. You’ve pulled this trick once too often. Get those sheep back in the field. You and I are going for a little ride.”
The cop turned to Alex and said “Well, you were going too fast coming around that curve weren’t you? How much did Orvie take you for?”
“$200.” Alex said, rather abashed.
“There’s a lesson for you. Why don’t you go on your way and just be more careful, will you?”