The Sweetwater Murders

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A small town finds out it has had a murder, actually two, and the sheriff won't investigate. Who will and who done it?

Submitted: August 25, 2016

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Submitted: August 25, 2016



Brian Bramblebush Dogwaller has been the mayor of Sweetwater for now-on 20 years. His repeated re-elections over those five election cycles were not because he was all that great a mayor, 'cause he wasn't. No, it was due to the facts that he wasn't real bad at it either, that and the fact that no one else wanted the thankless job.

Brian Dogwaller owns the local real-estate office and building refurbishment company, Dogwaller Construction. His only brother, Dillon Peppercorn Dogwaller, three years his senior, is the local sheriff and does occasional plumbing jobs on the side.

The Dogwaller brothers have the two sons each, Novis, Truman, Bud, and Travis, and all of them work for Brian; Travis is a real estate agent, all the others do construction work.

Brian was married to Trisha Schoolhouser Mitchel for 21 years, until she ran off with a circus magician who called himself, “The Fabulous Rantella". Word around town is that she spends her days being cut in half and sowing costumes; but she does get to travel. That information is just hear-say and no-one knows for sure. However, confirmation of Trisha's involvement with Rantella may soon be over, the circus is due back in town within the week.

Dillon, on the other hand, is happily married and with a third grandchild on the way.


Now the town of Sweetwater hasn't grown much sense the brewery closed in 2009, the brewery went belly-up after the financial crash and a few people left town that following year.

The former Brew Master retired for a while, but he came out of retirement and bought the brewery for the price of back taxes. With a newly acquired federal jobs grant he should have the place producing again soon; but then a problem occurred.

While readying the brewery for production, workers opened a brewing vat only to find two skeletons inside; and it was obvious to the Sheriff who the cloths belonged to.

There was the cape of “The Fabulous Rantella", and the one of a kind, gingham dress, of Trisha Mitchel Dogwaller; she always wore it to special occasions, in the summer months.

This was a disturbing situation for Sheriff Dogwaller, being his only brother would be the prime suspect. And no matter what the outcome, the talk around town would cast suspicion on the sheriff's part in the case.

So Sheriff Dogwaller did what any good sheriff would do, he took pictures, closed the lid, and called the state police to investigate.

He also placed as seal on the vat and the buildings doors, then he stood guard until a state trooper's car arrived.

Oh, and for confirmations sake he asked the Brew Master to stay too, to issue a statement to the police and to verify that the Sheriff had not touched either body.

Once the Troopers arrived he officially turned the case over to them, citing a conflict of interest. The local judge agreed and made the whole thing official before days end; the sheriff was off the case.

"What the hell's going on?" Brian Dogwaller asked his brother as he entered the sheriff's office.

"You probably know as much as I do, given how fast information flies around this town," the sheriff replied.

"Is it her, is it Trisha?" Brian asked, while wiping tears from his eyes.

Sheriff Dogwaller told his brother, "Her dress is there; who was wearing it is up to forensics to decide. Rantella's cape was there too.

If I were you I'd make myself readily available to the state investigators, whenever they arrive. And show some willingness to help them in any way possible."

Brian turned towards his brother and said, "I'll help in any way I can, but I want you to know that I didn't do this thing.

I could never hurt her, you know that I loved her.

This is my fault, I worked too much and seldom took her anywhere, I should have taken time for vacations and such; she always wanted to go to Paris."

The sheriff replied, "That is all water under the bridge now and you can't change what has happened.

This is serious, you could end up in a lot of trouble over circumstantial evidence, so co-operate. But I'm warning you; don't make statements saying that this was your fault. They may read more into that than you mean.

Look, just go home and don't talk to neighbors about this, you know how they talk."



Meanwhile the Lead investigator, Hershel Rodriguez, and his partner, Colleen McAllister, paid a visit to the Circus grounds.

"Hi, I am Lieutenant Rodriguez and this is Detective McAllister. We are from the state's homicide department and we'd like to talk to Chester Long, the proprietor."

"You're talking to him! How can I help you?"

"We are looking into the death of someone who might have worked for you; he went by the name "The Fabulous Rantella", aka, John Pepper Anderson, aka, John Anderson, and aka, John Pepper."

"Dead, and here I thought that he just ran off or was picked up on a warrant. His real name is, --- was, Fred Stills. He got that Anderson ID from an old man who used to work for me. The old man died about six years ago and Fred had warrants out, so he took the old man’s name," Chester Long replied.

I don't know what I can tell you detectives, I haven't seen Fred Stills for about a year now, in fact, he disappeared last year, about the time we were packing up to leave this town. His long-time girlfriend, Sally Sharpton, our high-wire act, was pretty broken-up about his leaving. It seems to me that she cried for days after he disappeared."

"And where can we find Ms. Sharpton?"

Chester Long looked oddly at the two detectives and said, "You can't, she fell from a wire a month after we left here. It was the darnedest thing, she broke her neck when she hit the net; that's the first time that has ever happened.

Tell you what; you might want to talk to Tina Trudeau, our Fat-lady and sometimes Knife-swallower. She was Sally's best friend, maybe she knows something more."

"And where would we find her?"

"She is in the third trailer, just beyond the monkey cages."

"Thanks, here's my card if you should think of anything else," the Lieutenant said.

They found Tina, practicing knife swallowing, and after she had put the knives away, they started asking questions.

This very large lady told the detectives that Sally confessed killing her boyfriend and his lover.

Sally had caught her boyfriend, Fred Stills, together with some woman named Trisha; the two were secretly meeting in an old Brewery and Sally followed Fred there on at least two occasions.

The second time that Sally followed him there, she brought her gun with her. She confronted them and made them climb into a vat of some kind. She said that she was so angry that she locked them in there and was going to leave them to starve. But then she got cold feet and went back to let them out, but when she returned they were making love. That is when she became enraged and shot them both.

Tina Trudeau took a cigar box from a drawer and gave it to the detectives, it contained the murder weapon.

"Here," she said, "I had Sally put the gun in here and no-one has touched it sense."

The two detectives asked Tina if she was willing to make a formal statement, as to what she had just said, and she agreed.

They told her that if the prints on the gun were verified, and ballistic was a match, they would be back for her formal statement.

Tina looked at them with an odd smile on her face, and replied, "Well, I guess it is true what they say, ("It isn't over until the fat lady sings.").



D. Thurmond / JEF  ---  08-24-2016

© Copyright 2019 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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