An outlander, a heavy booted carnival merchant married Wesley Flint’s only daughter, only child: dim-witted Sally Flint of almost twenty-years; lived on a small farm outside the city limits of St. Paul, Minnesota, like hermits.
Even after twenty-years of marriage old man, Wesley Flint watched over his daughter, against the wilds, and potential harm, Rambling Ramsey (his son-in-law)might inflict upon her-might do, not that he had ever harmed her, but it was in his head, he might. He was the one who gave Ramsey the four-acres of land, and even built a farm house on it for them, so they’d be close by.
According to the nearby township of Stillwater, according to the resident’s accounts, old Flint hardly went anywhere, in his later years, he simply just raised chickens and pigeons, sold them at the Farmers’ Market, in the downtown area of the City of St. Paul, so rumor said.
He bought Sally a new truck, and he drove a second hand truck himself, a 1952, vintage; he bought the new truck in 1982. This is the truck Mr. Ramsey would drive Sally to church in every Sunday; when he’d go play cards at the neighbors. In fact, everyone said he bought the truck for Ramsey just so he’d go and play cards, get out of his way, leave him and Sally alone for an hour or two out of the week. Nor did he allow Ramsey a foot into his house unless he had to, that is, on Christmas, or holidays, his birthday, or Sally’s birthday, or when Ramsey came to pick her up after she made a meal for her father, now and then, living no more than four acres away.
Ramsey was a man in his early fifties now. Taller than short, thinner than heavy; in fact he didn’t have much of a shadow; but what he did have was a cantankerous un-intellectual smirk on his face, permanently enveloped in plaster of Paris, which never appeared to crack one iota. He was lazy as the day is long, other than once being a dweller among the city’s bars.
He was known throughout the county, Dakota County, as an opportunist by folks he’d never met. He drank his wine heated with sugar in it, said it made him sweat all the evils, and poisons out of him at night. He’d drink it as if it was water, or cool aid.
Then this Friday, old Wesley phoned the sheriff he had killed his son-in-law, just like that, saying: “I done brought him into the outside privy, you can come and get him there, anytime you wish.”
“It was an accident,” said the sheriff; then hesitated, as if waiting for Wesley to confirm that statement. “Of course, you can update me when I get out there.” He added.
“No,” said Wesley, “I aint never said that, nor did I lead youall to think that, I done killed him, straight and truthful, that’s exactly what I did, and I feel all the better for it!”
The Sheriff briefly and quickly brought the matter up to the County Attorney.
“Interesting,” said the County Attorney, “I’ve known old man Flint ever since I was a kid, and his dim-witted daughter Sally, what’s he gone local?”
“I best hightail it on out there, see what’s goin’ on,” said the Sheriff.
“Yaw,” said the County Attorney, “find out the facts, seems to me like a rare case.”
Henry Dodge, was a big man, with big owl like eyes, and floppy ears, a broken nose, pot belly, he had seen his day, not much of a neck, but alert, perhaps closer to sixty than fifty. Not fast moving, but moving nonetheless, and spitting out that tobacco like a pigeon flaps its wings.
“Well, sheriff, why did he kill him?” questioned the County Attorney.
“What are the facts?”
“Why does a father kill a son-in-law, you mean?” he comes back with.
“Yes, why?” asked the County Attorney.
“It’s seems to me, he’s got thinkin’ his days are numbered, he’s eighty-five now, you-know! and he knows Ramsey’s waiting for him to drop dead-to inherit his whatever he’s got, and killing a varmint like Ramsey, knowing his daughter might not be safe, while he’s in his grave, well, that was just all too much for him to take. I do believe he’ll sleep better now I reckon, something like that.”
“Well,” said the County Attorney, “that makes sense to me. He hasn’t a thing to lose I suppose, or so he feels, a year or two in jail and bingo he’s gone-and left us with all the paperwork and tax overload.”
He batted his eye some. For a minute, maybe more, gave the papers on his desk a hard look.
“So he wants the county to room and board him and then pay for his funeral in a year or so, that’s it in a nutshell, and to boot, his daughter likewise.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” said Sheriff Dodge, a mouth full of slimy tobacco juice dripping onto his lips, looking for a spittoon.
“No one saw the killing, correct?” asked the County Attorney.
“Not even a bird,” said the Sheriff, and Sally, she’s down at the jail visiting her father, comforting him.
“Good daughter,” said the County Attorney, adding… “What do they call them things, you know when, when: an unexpected result of a cartridge fires in a rifle, causing a fragmented explosion during its escape, you know what I mean don’t you… ?”
“Yes, sir, a backfire,” said the Sheriff.
“That’s what I think really happened; he’s a bit senile anyhow, right?”