Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Case of the Missing Calves

I've written before about how farmers wear many hats. The other day I got to pretend that I was wearing a detective's hat.

It had been a long hot day. The kind where the heat hits you like a ton of bricks when you walk outside. The wind was as dead as a body at the county morgue. I had worked a case all day long and had nothing to show for it except a sweat stained shirt and expenses. Like I said, it had been a long, hot day and I was glad for it to be over. Except it wasn't, but I didn't know that yet.

I was at home and ready for the shower I'd needed since four o'clock this morning when the phone rang. I could let it ring, I wanted to let it ring, but my gut told me to answer, and he's the only one who's never done me wrong. Tommy was the one calling. Now Tommy was a neighbor, a guy you could count on when your chips were down, but the reason of this call was as unexpected as a sucker punch to the stomach. He had seen some of my calves where they didn't belong, or more specifically out in a corn field behind his house. It was a case I couldn't refuse.

Questions ricocheted in my my mind like bullets off a brick wall. What were the calves doing? Why did they get out? And who did it? What did it? There was only one thing to do: investigate.

Back out into the heat I went with an eye to the ground and ear to the sky listening for the sounds of moos. I scoured the corn field for clues and you didn't have to be a gumshoe like me to find one. The calves had been there alright and they didn't care to hide the fact.

From a distance I could hear a small engine coming down the woody hill towards me. Now I wasn't looking for trouble, I was looking for the calves and I didn't come alone. My best friend was right by my side, holstered in fact, and he only knows how to say the same word six times. Turns out my friend didn't have to do any talking because it was Farmer Paul, the owner of the corn field that was riding on the four wheeler I'd heard. He said the calves had gone back across the hill to my hay field.

I gave him my thanks and drove back around to my side of the hill. The calves were there waiting on me like dummies waiting on a ventriloquist. But I only had one thing to make them do: go back to their field and stay there. 

While I led the calves back into their field my mind raced. I now had the where they had been question answered, but the why still remained. I wiped the sweat from my brow, took a swig from my water flask, and gazed up the hill. Somewhere up there the answers would be found. With the sun sinking fast I knew I had to hurry or all the evidence would soon be out of sight.

By the time I reached the top of the hill my dogs were killing me. I hadn't seen anything out of the ordinary and time was running out. Up ahead I finally saw a clue that my blind grandmother wouldn't miss. Let me tell you, dead men tell no tales, but this dead tree had written me a book.
Everything came together like a twenty-five piece puzzle. A tree fell. Calves walked out. It was an open shut case and that is the kind I like.


  1. i always knew when the phone rang and the first thing said was I DON'T KNOW IF THEY'RE YOURS,that someone thought i would be delighted to hear this news, and not one time asked if i needed any help.as i strode out to get some feed sacks and a fencing tool i would think of the old State Farm INS. jingle LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR I'M THE ONLY ONE HERE!!