SECTION 03

Mitch moved out of the thicker concentration of trees, and opened up the throttle, relishing the brisk air in his face and hair, and the sense of freedom afforded him by not being restricted to the asphalt rat track. Mitch rode for over an hour before he saw the familiar sheriff’s SUV, with the light bars flashing, and deputy Harris standing outside the vehicle, motioning him over with a disapproving look.
Mitch knew it was not worth running from the deputy; one of the disadvantages to living in such a small community was that Harris knew him, and knew where he lived and hung out. He eased the off-road bike over to the SUV, and lowered the kickstand.
“How can I help you, Deputy Harris?”
Robert sighed, “You can start by getting off of Mrs. Jackson’s back 80, then we can move on to you wearing your helmet while you’re riding, and after that, we can talk about you staying off of peoples’ property with your bike.”
Mitch looked at the exasperated deputy, “This is about Claudia, isn’t it?”
“No, Mitch,” Robert answered, “this is about you respecting the law, and peoples’ property, thatcan get you in trouble when someone finally decides to press charges. You dating my sister can get you shot in the face, and buried in a gully somewhere. Now… get outta here, before Mrs. Jackson decides to press charges.”
Mitch raised the kickstand, and kicked his bike back on, and headed out toward the road.
And stay off of peoples’ property!” Harris yelled after him.
Mitch raised his hand, whether to acknowledge the order, or to blow the deputy off, Robert couldn’t be certain. He just shook his head, got back in the service vehicle, and drove back to the station, taking an extra few minutes to patrol the streets, and listen to old man MacGregor tell him the story, once again, about storming some beach or other during World War II, and how he was reminded of it, years later, as a Major, in Korea when they were making a landing, to establish a beachhead.
Deputy Harris smiled, laughed at the appropriate spots, nodded, and seemed to pay close attention at all the requisite points in the story. Having been in the Marine Corps, himself, he fervently hoped he wouldn’t be one of the old soldiers telling about Kosovo, and Bosnia, and ducking potshots by random villagers in the Middle East.
Robert parked the SUV and went to his desk, pulling out action reports with a sigh, rubbing his temples, and writing up the latest complaints about Mitch.