Kids Will Be Kids - Part II

In case you missed it, here's Part I

The weekly poker game was something the women of Sweetwood had resigned themselves to long ago. It was held in the Sweetwood Tavern, which closed at eight on Wednesdays, just for that reason. Mama McAndrews approved of the game, she was even known to participate now and then, which was the other reason it continued. As she said, there were worse things the men could be up to and this way the women of Sweetwood could keep an eye on them.

"Hear tell you were looking for me," Doc said when Dougal joined the game. "Official business?"

"What's the matter, Dougal, another hangnail?" one of the players asked. Someone else snickered.

Dougal glared at the offender.

"There's this woman, keeps coming into my office --"

There were hoots of laughter. "That sure is a problem, Dougal, at least for you."

Dougal's ears reddened. "It ain't nothing like that. She's some tourist. I ain't sure, but I think she might be trying to stir up trouble."

As the game progressed, Dougal filled the others in on the strange woman and her bizarre visits.

"Well," Doc said slowly when Dougal was finished. "She sure sounds a few sandwiches short of a picnic."

"Sounds like city-folk to me," Henry Wendly said. "You never know what them city-folk'll do."

"Maybe she was on drugs, Dougal," Charlie Spritzer put in.

"How about it Doc, you think drugs could be making her talk crazy like that?"

"Can't tell without seeing her. Might be possible. Anybody phone in about strange goings on?"

Dougal shook his head. "Everything's been pretty quiet."

"Then I wouldn't worry about it."

"I heard tell Carl Jenkins has cottages for rent down at the cove," Amos Freeman volunteered. "Maybe you should talk to him."

"I just might do that," Dougal replied, frowning.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The next morning Dougal was on the phone to Carl Jenkins.

"I was fixin' to call you, Dougal. Yeah, I got cottages for rent, and I just had someone skip out without paying. Fella by the name of Gizwold."

"When did this happen?"

"Oh, must have been a couple of days ago. Real quiet fella, strange dresser."

"What kind of car did he have?"

"Didn't see no car. Ain't exactly sure how he arrived. Ain't sure how he left either, but he sure left a lot of junk behind."

"Junk, you mean all his clothes and such?"

"Nah, most of it's just garbage. Papers and odds and ends. Probably wanted to travel light. This ain't the first time this ever happened."

"That's so," Dougal agreed. "Be easier to track him down if he had a car. You come on down to the office, Carl, and fill out a report. We'll get a bulletin out on him."

"I appreciate it, Dougal. He owes me a week's rent, and I sure can use the money. Not much business, this time of year. Once the leaves start turning it gets too cold at night. Only got one other family."

"Had me a woman come into my office," Dougal said. "Pretty little thing, dark hair, real snappy dresser, that the same one?"

"Sounds like it. Talks real fast?"

"That's her."

"Seen her and the kid around, not much of the husband though. They're paid up for another week. They in some kind of trouble?" Carl asked anxiously.

"Just checking," Dougal said smoothly. "She just seemed a little odd, got me wondering."

Carl snorted. "Got me a whole mess of odd ones this year. Must be something in the water."

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