(283 words)

Sheriff Carlton J. Fisker stepped out of the morning fog like a ghost emerging from beyond, his golden badge wet with the heavy mountain mist. Ascending the front stoop of a two-room hillside shack, he knocked.

“Yancy! C’mon out, we need to talk.”

The door creaked inward until Yancy Carmichael’s nose and left eye were visible in the opening.

“What c’n I do fer ya, Sheriff?”

“I hear there’s a new still up near Maggie’s Brook. I hear it belongs to you. Got anything to say about that?”

The door eased open so that the two men stood face to face. “I’ve heard it too. Don’t mean there’s nuthin’ to it. Why don’t you go on up and look yerself?”

Sheriff Fisker smiled. He could look for days without spotting a well-hidden still in the brookside overgrowth, and Yancy knew it.

“Now Yancy, you know it’s been a long, hot summer, and me ‘n’ the deputies been roamin’ this here mountain up ‘n’ down for the better part of three months, with nothing to show for it but one lousy still that Shep Mitchell probably put up just to make us happy. The new County Commissioner expects more from us, you understand that, and the longer this goes on, the hotter I get. And when I get this hot, you know what that means?”

Yancy stood arms crossed, looking over the top of his ancient wire-rimmed glasses. “Not ‘xactly, Sheriff. What’s it mean?”

“It means,” Sheriff Fisker sighed, “that I’m thirsty, Yancy. Damn thirsty!” He produced an empty Mason jar from under his windbreaker, and a toothy grin brightened Yancy’s face.

“Say no more, Sheriff,” he chortled, “just let me get my overcoat!”

Copyright 2018 by D.A. Donaldson

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