by Annette Dashofy
Unlike most of my fellow Working Stiffs, I am a country bumpkin. I’ve lived in rural Washington County all my life. Most folks think that crime doesn’t exist out here. Wrong. Although I’ll admit the frequency of major crime is much less and the types of calls our local police respond to tend to vary from their city counterparts.
For instance, last week a coyote was hit on the road in front of my house. Yes, you heard it right. A coyote. In front of my house. I’d heard they were around. Neighbors on the other side of the hill complained that coyotes take several of their lambs every spring. But I’d never seen or heard one. Apparently, neither had the cops. This road kill drew not one, not two, but THREE squad cars in response. All with flashing lights. It was the light show that caught our attention and drew my hubby to go outside in the darkness to see what was going on.
But some aspects of crime and intrigue span the city/country boundaries. I’ve been following the goings-on in a neighboring township that have the making for great murder mystery.
A resident whom I’ll call Bob (I’m changing the names to protect—well, not the innocent, but maybe me, since I’m adding editorial comments to the case) managed to get elected to the three-man board of supervisors. He then buddied up with a second supervisor, also new to the board. This second supervisor, Hank (not his real name) nominated Bob as chairman and Bob nominated Hank as deputy chairman and they basically took over control of the township. Bob signed himself up for health insurance at the tax payers’ expense and when the township legal eagle stepped in and said he wasn’t eligible for it, Bob fired the lawyer and brought in a crony from outside the township to become their legal council.
Two older ladies who had been secretaries for the township for decades protested. Bob arranged for charges to be brought up on both ladies for stealing township property and had both of them fired. The ridiculous charges were ultimately dropped, but by then, the two ladies didn’t want their old jobs back (can you blame them?) and Bob and Hank had a few more obstacles out of their way.
Township residents rebelled. They raised a ruckus at the township supervisors' meetings complaining about how Bob and Hank were running things. So Bob called the cops and had the “unruly” residents arrested and removed from the meeting. At one meeting things got exceptionally heated and Bob banged his gavel, adjourning the meeting before any real business had been completed and left through the back door. With police escort.
I guess things got to be too hot for Hank. He suddenly came up with a new job that prevented him from attending the supervisors’ meetings and resigned his post. The residents, back in control, replaced him with one of their own who partnered up with the third supervisor and put old Bob in his place. They fired the new lawyer and cut off Bob’s health insurance.
Bob still stirs up trouble from time to time, but now he’s the third man out. The local newspaper isn’t nearly as interesting to read anymore.
I saved boxes of clips from this little fiasco. As a mystery writer, I think Bob makes prime murder victim material. And the entire township population would be suspect.
Lots of us get our ideas from real life drama in the news. What makes this case all the more interesting (to me, at least) is that I am acquainted with Bob and consider Hank to be an old friend.
No crime or intrigue in the country? HA!