Common Law Knife
A Short Story by Tim Josephs
Written using the suggestion "Training"
Originally featured on 03-15-2007
As part of our series "Springset"

The day Alice Priddle killed her husband I was out fishing with Roscoe Brockton. It was a cool late summer afternoon and we were down at the river trying to hook us some Steerheads.


“I think it’s ‘Steelheads’ but keep reading.”


So me and Roscoe were down there for a couple of hours and besides an old boot that he kept because he said it matched another one he had, we didn’t catch anything. On the drive back into town we saw little Tommy Keeler standing by the side of the road. He was wearing his usual pair of dirty overalls and he was waving at us like he was trying to get our attention.

I slowed down just a little; I didn’t want to stop, Tommy was known to carry a squirt gun that was usually filled with something besides water — hot sauce or cat urine maybe.


“Crazy little kid, I like that. Keep going.”


So I hear Tommy say there’s some kind of commotion over at the Priddle place. Roscoe needed to get home so I dropped him off at his house and went over to the Priddles.

When I pulled up the long dirt driveway I could see Clem Brown leaning on the hood of his police car.

“What’s going on here, Clem?” I asked, getting out of my truck.

He took off his mirrored shades, the ones he had gotten at Myrtle Barker’s garage sale last year, and stuffed them into his front pocket.

“Hey, Ray. Well, I’m not really sure. I got a call a little while ago from Ruby Mae, who lives up a ways a little. She said she heard some weird things down here at the Priddle place, so I thought I’d check it out.”

“So, did you?” I asked after a moment.

“Did I what?”

“Did you check out the house?”

“Well, I’m not sure anybody’s home.”

“Did you knock on the door?”

“Nope, can’t say that I have.” He grinned at me. “I always knew you were a smart one, Ray. Let’s give it a shot.” He started walking up the old wooden stairs and I followed.


“Stupid country cop. A little clich

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COPYRIGHT 2006-2011
Portland Fiction Project

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