The young sheriff’s deputy raised his eyes from the emails he’d been impatiently clearing off his phone. “Hello, Glennis.” He knew the reporter hadn’t just happened across him. She never did. He waited.
“I won’t insult you by saying I don’t mean to bother you.”
Sparks eyed her for a few long seconds. It was what the guys at the station called his “coply stare”, and it was making even the jaded newshound a little uneasy. Reporters weren’t in the only profession whose daily encounters caused distrust and made questioning motives a way of life. “Would you care for a cup of coffee? I need a refill.” He stood, pulled out a chair from his table, and waited until she sat. Considering herself at least liberated if not an avowed feminist, she knew Sparks was a true gentleman and would seat her, treating her like a lady whether she acted like one or not. Fleetingly: You know, being pampered a little isn’t all that bad… Thanking him, she took the proffered chair.
“Actually, no. I’m coffee’d out for awhile.”
Refilling his to-go cup, he walked back across the near-empty serving area of Howya Bean, a great little coffee shop he’d always enjoyed visiting when on break.
“What’s on your mind?” The hard-edged, interrogative tone was chilly, caused her to look up at him.
The reporter hesitated and took a breath, transmitting to a cop’s eye she was edging into sensitive territory.
“You’re friends with Granger, right?” He let her query lay there limp, like a windsock on a calm day.
“Where is this going? If you know anything about Granger, you know he’s a very private man, personally and professionally. He doesn’t talk, and no one counting him a friend does, either.”
“Well, I’m sure he—” Sparks just kept talking, his words popping like the 124-grain Lawman hollowpoints he carried being fired downrange for qualification.
“His ability to actively listen while keeping his mouth shut is one of the things that makes him so unique and effective at what he does.” The brittle echoes of the deputy’s words slapped against Witherspoon’s hardened resolve, momentarily quieting her. “No one he’s ever helped would intentionally compromise their relationship with him. Once more: where is this going?”
“I . . . I’ve heard things about him from snippets of conversations with those just like you’re talking about – people he’s helped. If he’d be willing, I’d like to interview him and find out his perspectives about what he does and how he does it.”
The wind had died down again. Though there were a few other conversations going on inside Howya Bean’s cheery, eclectic interior, it seemed there was a cylinder of dead air like a suspended moat around the table at which the two of them sat.
Sparks hesitated. “There was a time I’d be rather abrupt. I’m one of the thousands Granger’s helped across his career, and I’m considerate of him and his time. Maybe even slightly jealous. But one of the large things I’ve been learning from Granger is to never speak for someone able to speak for themselves. It’s a fine-edged insult and I don’t have that right. All I can tell you is this: it’s an understatement to say I’m protective of my relationship with this man. He’s easily the most simply complex, unforgettable person God’s ever brought across my path. I will tell him of your request. That’s all I’ll promise. The rest is up to him.”
© D. Dean Boone, November 2018