Chapter 7: Trouble in Terrie Haute
Copyright© 2015 by maypop
Boyd and Loyd sat on the beds and read their Bibles and said their prayers and went down to the café' to eat. When their breakfast came, they said their blessings and ate hurriedly.
They were on the road by 8:00.
They pulled into Terre Haute, Indiana about noon.
They saw a sign that said Joseph's Boarding House and Café.
When they walked in the door, a young white girl, about sixteen, was behind the counter. She was being harassed by a man that was dressed in a suit that cost at least fifty dollars. "Your daddy is going to hang unless you sign this boarding house over to me. That is my pay. I can't defend him for nothing but a promise of pay."
"Excuse me, young lady, I know a shyster when I see one. If you need a lawyer, I will defend you free just to see why he wants your property so badly." Boyd said, handing her his card. She looked at it.
"Nobody does anything for nothing!" snorted the man in the expensive suit.
"Madam, this man, whatever his name, is obviously after your Boarding House. If you like, I will put in writing that my services are free," Boyd said quietly.
"I'll have you know, my name is Edward Stevens. My brother will have something to say about this!" snorted Edward as he stormed out, slamming the door.
About that time, a great big, thick furred, black dog walked out from behind the counter. He weighed about 150 pounds, and was big enough to be at least a small black bear.
"Good gracious! What is that?" Loyd spoke for the first time.
"That is Bear. A man left him about a month ago for us to hold for payment while he went and got his money. He said he was a very valuable Tibetan Mastiff. Mr. Harris, I must warn you, his brother is the Sheriff. He will be hard to deal with." she said.
"Have you signed anything from Edward?" Boyd asked.
"No, I haven't," she said.
Boyd pulled out a document from the briefcase he carried that was pre-written for free services and had her sign it. He then said, "Quick! Tell me what happened so I have something to go on."
She signed the document and said, "My name is Barbara Strand. A man was found dead in one of our rooms this morning and they arrested my father."
About this time the Sheriff came in with Edward behind him. The Sheriff said, "Sir, you will have to leave. This is a crime scene and Edward is her lawyer,"
"Does he have a signed document like this one," Boyd said, and handed the signed document to the Sheriff.
The Sheriff looked at it and was about to rip it in half when the mussel of Loyd's gun from his left holster touched his temple. "Tearing up a federal court document is punishable by about five years in prison," Loyd said softly, as he showed his gold Secret Service badge with his right hand.
The Sheriff looked at the badge and the color went out of his face. He had never seen one, but there was no denying it. It made his look like junior's toy one. He put two and two together real quick and said, "I will go over to the jail and let Joseph go. I'll tell the District Judge there is no evidence."
"No, Sheriff, let Joseph go but don't contact the Judge. Let him come on. There is still a crime to solve. When was he coming?" Boyd said, noticing the Sheriff had the button missing from his right shirt pocket.
"Ok, but the Judge will frown if he gets here on Friday and there is no trial to hold," the Sheriff said, as he tried to usher Edward out the door with him.
"Wait a minute, Sheriff. Where is the body?" Boyd asked.
"Down at the Coroner's office," the Sheriff said.
"Ok, Sheriff, go let Joseph out," Boyd said, and as soon as the Sheriff and Edward left, Boyd snarled to Loyd in French, "Boss, run down to the Coroner's office and tell him to wait until we tell him to continue the burial preparations."
"Sure thing, boy," barked Loyd, in German, as he walked out the door.
"That's right. Also check to see what killed him. Get some of his blood on a rag. I have an idea. When you come back, bring that finger print case," Boyd grumbled, speaking in Chinese.
"I always have to do the dirty work," Loyd shot back in Spanish as he went out and closed the door behind him
Barbara looked at both of them like they were crazy. "How well do you know each other?" she asked. "I have never seen a white man and black man talk that way to one another, let alone in four different languages."
"He's my adopted brother. We have been brothers from birth." said Boyd.
"Oh," was all she could think of to say as what she had heard went way over her head.
"Miss Barbara, have you been in the room since the man was killed in it?" Boyd asked.
"No, I have been here at the desk. Why?"
"Is it locked now?"
"Tell me everything, and give me the key, I want to see the room."
"Sam Slidell owned Slidell General Store down the street. He also owned the house on the hill outside of town. One month ago, his wife Peggy was killed when her horse threw her. She was riding. She loved to ride. She had ridden all her life. I don't understand how, but he threw her and her head hit a rock." Barbara said, handing him the key.
"Sorry to interrupt, but who found her?" Boyd asked, as Bear stood by him and just looked up at him. Boyd reached out and scratched his head.
"Edward Stevens was coming from Indianapolis and found her already dead."
"Ok, why was Sam living here, and who found him?"
"He said he could not stay in the house without his wife there, so he got a room here. Father found him. When he didn't come to breakfast this morning, we got a little worried. When it came time for him to open his store, Father went up to wake him and found him dead. He went to Sheriff Randy and he arrested him."
Loyd walked in about that time. "I just love this badge. It is amazing how people's attitudes change when they see it," said Loyd.
"You got back just in time. Let's go look at the room. Where is the room, Miss Barbara?" Boyd asked.
"It is the last one on the right by the back door." Barbara answered.
"Miss Barbara, what do you think about this dog?" Boyd asked.
"He is driving me and my father crazy! He eats like his name." Barbara answered, with a sounding resentment for the dog.
"Loyd and I will talk about him; but, right now let's see if he will follow us," Boyd said.
He reached down and scratched Bear's head and said, "Come on, Bear."
He and Loyd started for the hallway leading toward the room and Bear followed right along behind as though he belonged to them. Loyd was not too sure about the dog but decided maybe Boyd saw something he did not see. He would give Boyd the opportunity to show him.
When they got to the door of the room where Sam was killed, Loyd checked the back door and found it not locked inside or outside. The door key was just a plane skeleton key. Loyd tried several of the keys and almost all of them worked.
"Bear, go on in," Boyd said opening the door. Bear walked in like he understood every word.
They followed him into the room and closed the door. Boyd asked, "Did you get some blood, too?"
"Yes, here it is," Loyd said, handing him a small rag.
"Bear, here, smell," Boyd said, holding the rag to Bear.
"Go fetch, Bear."
Bear started to walk around the room. He walked up to the fireplace and stood by the Andirons in the fireplace.
"Good boy, Bear," Boyd said.
They both got down on their hands and knees and looked at the Andirons. They were both old and had ashes on them. On the end of one Andiron they saw blood had replaced the ashes. They sprinkled the powder on the ball at the top of the Andiron and virtually got all five fingers of the killer. They used the tape to lift them off the ball.
Further search of the room found a button that matched the one missing on the Sheriff's shirt. Loyd said, "Well, look here. Did you notice where this might go?"
"It sure does look like we know why the Sheriff wanted this case to go away so fast." Bear growled. Boyd looked at him and followed his eyes out the window. Then he cried, "Dive!"
They both dove for the floor just as two shots broke the window. It was so close it looked like both shots hit their target.
They crawled to the wall by the door. Loyd was just about to open the door when they heard the outside door open. They scrambled up against the wall behind the door.
"If they walk straight in, it will make things easier," Boyd whispered.
It was almost like a prayer answered when they heard Randy say, "They did not come to investigate the shots, so we will just go in and put their guns in their hands. That will cover us."
The door opened and both walked in to two chops to the neck and the fight never progressed any farther. They used the Sheriff's two handcuffs and handcuffed both of them. Loyd got the basin pitcher, poured water on their faces, waking both brothers up.
"What is the meaning of this?" demanded Edward.
"We woke you up so you could walk to the jail. You can tell your story to the Judge on Friday. One more word out of you and I will say, 'Bear bite him." Bear ran over and grabbed Edward's suit pants and started shaking.
"Get that animal off me!" shouted Edward.
"Down, Bear," Boyd said, and Bear backed off. "Either one of you say another word and I will not say, Down again."
Loyd said, "I'll take the Andiron down to the corner to see if it is the murder weapon. Then I will put it in the trailer, turn the horses into the livery stable, and meet you in the jail."
The brothers in crime said nothing all the way to the jail. When they walked into the jail, Billy Carter jumped up and danced around. Giggling, he said, "Hot diggity dog! My name is Billy Carter. I have looked a long time for the day to see these two going to the pokey!"
Boyd pulled out his badge and let Billy see it. "They are to stand trial on Friday for the murder of Sam Slidell." Boyd said, as he pushed them into the cell and closed the door. Bear laid down in the corner as though he was going to guard them.
"You can't pin that on us!" screamed Edward.
"Billy, I am going to ask you a few questions. If I hear anything from these two, leave their hands cuffed all night," Boyd said.
"Are there deputies or anyone else working out of the jail?" Loyd asked.
"No, and I have been working as janitor of the jail for thirty-five years." Billy aid.
"You should have enough saved up to retire now." Boyd said.
"My wife has what the doctor says is cataracts. She got them at age forty. She has been getting worse for about ten years. She can barely see now. They say there are surgeons that can help her but we don't have the money," Billy said, sadly.
Billy, you go home and get your wife and meet us at Joseph's Boarding House and Café. We will take the handcuffs off the two prisoners." Boyd said.
"The cell key locks the outside door, too," Billy said, just before he left.
Loyd walked in just in time to go back to the cell with Boyd.
"You and this nigger are not going to get away with this!" Edward said.
"Sheriff, what is the law against leaving a man handcuffed in the cell." Loyd asked.
"There ain't one," the Sheriff said.
"Sheriff, turn around," Boyd said, and undid his handcuffs.
"I have the finger print pad if you want to take their finger prints to find out who's is on the Andiron from the fireplace," Loyd said.
"Sheriff, put your hands through the bars," Boyd said.