Jul 5, 2005
The Jump Rope Murder, Installment Five
This is the fifth installment for Short Story Wednesday. If you missed the first four you might want to catch up by going
After stopping by the Five & Dime around dusk, Sam walked up to the house next door to Mother’s Diner. The door on the dark, screened-in porch gave an eerie squeak then banged shut behind him. He could hear loud TV noises coming from inside, and he could smell supper cooking.
After he knocked, a tall, thin man with a scowl on his face came to the door. He was bare-chested with baggy work-style pants and stood in sock feet.
The little girl’s daddy snarled, “What do you want?”
“I need to talk to you and your daughter about Father Pendleton’s death.”
The man stared at the sheriff for a while then pushed back the door to let him in. “Sister…get in here.”
“This morning you called her Sissy.”
“Sister…Sissy. What’s it to ya?”
The little blonde peeked around a doorway, looking like she was in trouble.
“The sheriff wants to ask us some question, Sissy. You just answer honest.”
The little girl looked at her Daddy as though trying to read what he really meant. “Okay,” she said almost inaudibly.
Sam patted the green divan for her to come sit by him. She obliged and he pulled the new jump rope out of his jacket.
“Here, I bought this for you.”
Her eyes lit with excitement. “Thanks, Mister!”
“I need to know if you knew the man in the station wagon.”
“That was Father Pendleton. He's my priest.” Sissy pushed her hair out of her face and the Sheriff could see her make-up was an attempt to cover a black eye. Then he noticed some finger marks on her bare arm. “I gave my first confession to him on Sunday.”
“You did what?” yelled her Daddy. “We ain’t even Catholic!”
“Well, maybe YOU aren’t, but I can be Catholic if I wanna.” The six year old seemed brave with the Sheriff there to protect her. “Besides, they have the best socials. And that’s what Mama was—before she went with the angels…” Her voice trailed.
Her Daddy shot her a “you’re gonna get it” look.
“Did you see what happened to Father Pendleton?”
“No,” she said defensively. “I would never hurt the Father. He was my friend.” Tears started to roll down her face.
“Now, don’t cry. I know you wouldn’t hurt anybody. Why don’t you go outside and play. Let me talk to your Daddy.”
The girl’s mood lightened and she ran out the front to try the new rope.
Alone, the sheriff and the girl’s father sat facing each other.
Finally Sam spoke. “What if I told you Father Pendleton came to my office Sunday afternoon and said your little girl confessed that you were physically abusing her?”
The girl’s Daddy said nothing.
The Sheriff continued. “That would give you a motive to kill the Father, wouldn’t it?”
“I didn’t kill that priest!”
“But it sure looks like it, doesn’t it? Especially with the bruises on her and the murder weapon from your house.”
The man stood up and so did Sam.
“Now, I’m not saying I would, but I could pin this murder on you.”
“What are you getting at?”
The sheriff thought for a moment. “Let me take your daughter away from your abuse. Sister Mary Ellen can help find her a good family--one who deserves a sweet angel like her.”
“Now, why would I let you do that?”
“Because if you don’t, you’ll go to jail for murder. And I don’t imagine they go too lightly on someone who’s killed a priest.”
The girl’s daddy was speechless. Finally he said, “Take her. She’s just a sassy little bitch anyway—more ‘an I can handle.”
Go HERE for the NEXT INSTALLMENT OF
The Jump Rope Murder.
Posted by Karyn Lyndon at 7/05/2005 01:19:00 PM