Sheriff Randall was driving along Copperhead Road when lightning struck the ground nearby. All of his life he’d wanted to find a fulgurite just like his friend George, so he whipped the jeep around and backtracked. Let me remind you that there are no trees, no mountains, no boulders, not even a single house: the high plains you know. Even so, when he turned around, there was one of those horse drawn caravans sitting on the side of the road as if it had materialized there. He claimed he was worried about gypsies running off with his fulgurite. “It wouldn’t be the first time someone beat me to the punch,” so he sped to where he had seen the lightning strike and yes; there it was still waiting for him.
That idiot is probably so dumb he’ll burn his hand off.
Pretty good prediction, Marcia. In fact, he was just stooping down to burn his hand off when a voice, ‘a cold, crisp voice like an apple that was picked before it sweetened’ came from behind him: ‘You will burn your hand.’ He turned towards the voice. It was possessed by a woman with hair like strands of copper that reflected the sunlight ‘like a beacon’, and she glared at him out of eyes the color of jade—opaquely beautiful but ‘cold as death’. ‘Use this,’ she commanded, handing him a shovel. As soon as he had scooped up the fulgurite, she invited him into her caravan for a reading of his future. Even though the caravan had windows, they were covered by heavy curtains rendering the interior of the van dark except for a bit of lighting coming from a crystal ball sitting in the middle of a table with two chairs. During the trial, he was asked to produce the fulgurite as some kind of evidence to support his contentions, but he couldn’t because the woman had extracted it from him as payment for his reading.
He was even dumber than I thought.
Yeah, here’s what she said:
When the wheel is steel,
Diamonds will turn red.
He continued to the poker game with his jack in the beanstalk thoughts envisioning, for no good reason since he admittedly didn’t understand the prediction, a change in his fortunes. When he looked at his hand, and it contained a 5, 4, 3, 2, and ace of diamonds—a steel wheel—he assumed he was unbeatable, so he bet practically everything including the land his uncle left him. When George produced the royal flush, it was ‘Lady Luck kickin’ me in the ass one more time, but I’m used to it; it’s the story of my life. I wouldn’t kill George, no matter what.’
The following week, he again encountered the woman. On that occasion, he demanded his fulgurite back, since her prediction had not come true. ‘You did not have a steel wheel in your hand?’ ‘I did, but I didn’t win.’ ‘I can only predict the future, I cannot tell you what to do with that prediction: No refunds, but I will give you a second reading free of charge:
When the wheel is steel,
Diamonds turn red;
When the land trembles,
Shoot the cheat dead.
‘Take this, it is untraceable,’ she commanded handing him a .38.
He put the gun under his seat and forgot about it. Once again, he was hopeful that his fortunes had changed, and he was determined to make good use of his knowledge.
Wait a minute, Ben, are you trying to say that he actually admitted in court that he was given a gun, the murder weapon in fact, and told to shoot George?
Partially true; he had no idea who the cheat was; in fact, once again he was very confused as to the meaning of the rhyme. The one thing that was clear about Randall was that he was unremittingly honest.
And unremittingly stupid.
About midway through the poker game, there were tremors sufficiently robust to send people out into the street. And that’s when George got it in the back. The bullet came from a .38 that was discovered in Sheriff Randall’s jeep.
Hold your horses, Sheriff Ben, how did they think to look in Randall’s jeep?
Two words: unimpeachable witness.
I would think that Randall with his honesty blazoned all over his face like he got caught in the jam jar, I would think he would be the one who was unimpeachable.
Yeah, you would wouldn’t you, but I think people pretty well understood that Randall was short on attic space, so even though he maintained his innocence and the gun had been wiped clean of prints, no one believed him because in the end, people are sitting in judgment of themselves, and I’ll just bet the majority were thinking: ‘Hey who wouldn’t want to shoot a cheater.’ In the end, it’s all about weighing words in the balance. Obviously the witness was more respected than Randall.