“That you gagged about the pies you make EVERY YEAR FOR THE CHURCH BAKE SALE?! Yep, I’m pretty sure they caught that!” I shriek.

“It’s fine, I’m sure it’s fine. If they knew, they would have arrested us immediately, right? I mean, from what I saw when I came down here, Leo wasn’t exactly getting ready to slap his cuffs on you,” she says with a wag of her eyebrows. “Or was he?”

I smack her in the arm even though I’d really like to know the answer to that question myself.

I wonder if he brings his handcuffs with him when he’s not in uniform? If Emma Jo hadn’t interrupted us, would I be handcuffed to a headboard right now screaming Leo’s name?

“Well, there’s only one thing to do. You need to keep doing what you were doing when I walked in on you guys. There’s no way Leo will arrest you if he’s busy sticking his tongue down your throat,” Emma Jo says with satisfied nod.

“And what about you? Are you going to stick your tongue down Buddy’s throat to keep yourself out of jail?” I ask sweetly.

“What?! What are you talking about? Buddy Lloyd? Like he’d really want to kiss me,” she scoffs, her cheeks reddening in embarrassment.

I laugh, moving over to the hall closet, opening the door, and pulling out the white garbage bag I stuffed in there this morning.

“What are you doing?” Emma Jo asks, following behind me as I carry it through the house.

“Sneaking out of the laundry room window to burn the evidence in your backyard so no one sees. And then we’re going to sit down and discuss Deputy Lloyd and how long exactly you’ve had a thing for him.”

“You sound like your mother,” Emma Jo complains when I flip the light switch in the laundry room.

“Eat me,” I growl with a flip of my middle finger.


Recorded Interview

June 3, 2016

Bald Knob, KY Police Department

Deputy Lloyd: Are you sure you don’t want your parents present for this interview, Caden?

Caden Jefferson: You want to talk about the night Mayor Jackson was murdered, right?

Deputy Lloyd: Yes.

Caden Jefferson: Then definitely not. My parents thought I was in my room all night, but I was really at a party down at Bald Knob lake with a bunch of friends. You’re not going to tell them what I say in here, right? Because, I’d be grounded for life if they knew I lied.

Deputy Lloyd: No. Everything so you say is confidential right now. Unless of course this goes to trial and you’re called in as a witness.

Caden Jefferson: Oh, man. They’re going to kill me if I have to testify against Payton and they find out where I was that night. Do I really have to get up on a stand and say she murdered Mayor Jackson? I mean, she was really nice when she used to babysit me. I don’t want to be the one to send her to jail.

Deputy Lloyd: Right now, Payton isn’t going to trial because she hasn’t been charged with anything. We’re just trying to piece together what happened that night. So, you were at a party down at the lake. What time was the party over?

Caden Jefferson: Well, it was supposed to go all night, but Brad Miller and Eric Friedman got into a fight over who could tip the most cows at Mr. Mayford’s farm, and Brad said Eric cheated, although I don’t really know how you’d cheat at tipping cows unless Eric’s got some sort of friendship with the cows and they tipped over all on their own to help him out. Anyway, we broke up the fight and then there wasn’t much else to do so we all went home. I’d say it was around 2:30 in the morning and I heard some yelling from the Jackson’s backyard when I was sneaking in my window. You’re not going to tell my parents that, right?

Deputy Lloyd: No, I won’t tell your parents what you said. Do you remember what you heard being yelled from the Jackson’s backyard?

Caden Jefferson: Nah, it was just some loud voices and then they just stopped all of a sudden and I didn’t hear anything else. I saw Sheriff Hudson’s car parked a few houses down, but he wasn’t in his car when I walked by. Do you think he saw Payton killing Mayor Jackson and tried to stop her? His knuckles were all bruised when I saw him a few days later in town, but he said he was changing a flat tire and that’s how he hurt them. Is he going to marry Payton? Is she moving back to Bald Knob? My mom will go even more crazy if that happens. She thinks Payton is a bad influence on me and the worst babysitter ever.

Deputy Lloyd: Caden, it’s really important for you to try and remember what you heard that night. Male voices, female voices, both?

Caden Jefferson: I really don’t remember. I had a lot of beers to drink down by the lake. I MEAN SODAS! I had a lot of sodas to drink and, whew, that caffeine went right to my head! Oh, my God, don’t tell my mom I was drinking beer. She’ll KILL me. I mean, not really kill me. My mom would never kill anyone, especially Mayor Jackson. She loved Mayor Jackson. She’s been crying every day since we got the news. I heard my dad telling her she was just crying because she felt guilty, so I think she was so upset because she hadn’t gone over to say hello to the mayor in a few days or something. Anyway, I think it would be great if Payton moved back to Bald Knob. She’s like, really pretty. My friend Ryan said he wouldn’t mind her being a bad influence on him, but I told him to shut his mouth and not talk about my babysitter like that. Even if she did teach me to call my mom a whore.


I don’t like morning people. Or mornings. Or people.

—Coffee Mug

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