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2007 Secert Santa Challenge - EMS: Holiday Heart


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Secret Santa Challenge Short Story – 1500 words or less

Main character: Enos

Other characters: Rosco and Mrs. Berry

Spoiler: Enos's first Christmas working as a Hazzard County police officer.

EMS: Holiday Heart

Enos had read the new notes written in a case file several times since he had started his shift. The original investigation had occurred during the second week of him being on the Hazzard County police force. Last night, someone tried to rob a gas station on Blossom Road during the time Enos and Rosco were both on shift. When they got back to the station, the deputy had needed to get off duty or risk having the county commissioner call Enos into his office about overtime.

After getting the prisoner booked and secured in a cell, Rosco went through a few cabinets worth of folders before he found the necessary folder. An item in the suspect’s possession had reminded him of a specific case. By the time Enos had arrived for work, his commanding officer had finished the new case details.

Enos wanted to make sure he had all of those correct. He didn’t want to give an incorrect update to the victim’s relatives. He just felt like he should do that in person instead of over the telephone. The deputy wouldn’t be able to give them all of the details, enough to know that a person was in custody.

Rosco came into work an hour before he was supposed to be on duty. The police department had a few light sets, garland and a wreath to make the place look festive. Enos was fidgeting with the wreath.

“It’s only gonna be up until this evening probably.†Rosco said quietly to announce his presence.

The deputy turned and looked at the Sheriff. His lips parted into a slightly crooked grin. “Hey Sheriff, I know – haven’t had any calls.â€

“That’s good,†Rosco replied. He didn’t mind if it was a busy day, it was nice to have time where they could attend to other duties. There was more to being a police officer than citations and patrol.

“Are you sure you don’t want to give the Berrys the update?†Enos asked.

“I don’t mind at all,†Rosco smiled. “I think you’ll do just fine.â€

“Yeah,†the deputy raised his right hand and brushed the hair off his forehead. “Should I change out of my uniform?â€

“You can stay in uniform,†Rosco answered. “Otherwise I might get a call about an unauthorized person driving a patrol car…â€

Enos laughed for a moment. The Sheriff had a way with words and getting him not to be so nervous. Rosco was glad to hear the deputy laugh. “If you want to take the case file with you…†He began to offer.

“That’s ok,†Enos paused. “Did you get some new cologne for Christmas?â€

“Um hum,†Rosco said. “Does it smell alright?â€

Enos nodded, some hair fell back on his forehead with the movement. “It’s nice.â€

“Yeah,†Rosco agreed.

“I best be going,†Enos said. “Merry Christmas, Sheriff.â€

“Merry Christmas, Enos.†Rosco replied and walked toward his office.

Enos got his jacket. He put it on as he walked out of the police station and to the patrol car. The Berrys lived about fifteen minutes from town limits. He got into the police cruiser and fastened the seat belt before putting the key in the ignition. He thought about the case one last time on the drive to the Berry residence.

There were a few other residences like it along the dirt road Enos drove on. He slowed the patrol car down, thankful he had been here before. Had made it easier to find. He carefully turned onto a wide patch of the yard, as there was no driveway. The deputy saw a figure at the window, as he put the gear shift in park and turned the ignition key off. He took the keys and placed them on the dashboard. Then unfastened his seatbelt and opened the car door. He grabbed the keys and got out of the car. He put the keys in his jacket pocket and shut the car door.

He walked up to the house and raised his hand to knock on the door. The figure from the window opened it just enough, Enos could partly see the elderly african american woman’s face. “Mrs. Berry?†He asked.

“Yes, officer.†She replied.

“I have an update about Logan’s case,†He said.

The door opened to about halfway before the woman spoke. “Would you like to come in?†The deputy smiled. “Yes, ma’am.†She stepped away from the door as Enos stepped inside. He glanced into the room, shut the door behind him. “Last evening, the Sheriff and I captured a man who tried to rob a gas station.†He paused. “We have a few items that need examined by the state lab, we believe the suspect is responsible for what happened to your grandson.â€

“I-†tears moistened Mrs. Berry’s eyelashes and she tried not to cry.

Enos removed a handkerchief from his jacket pocket. “Ma’am…â€

She gingerly took the handkerchief. “I’m sure you understand I didn’t think a suspect would be found.†She began to dab the handkerchief at a cheek. “And you taking the time from your family…â€

“It’s ok,†Enos smiled. “Mrs. Berry, the suspect had a few items of Logan’s. I wasn’t able to bring them today, as they are evidence. After the trial or a plea arrangement, you can choose to have them back.â€

Mrs. Berry smiled. Caroline remembered the list of items she reported that Logan may have had on him. “He wanted to be an artist, would you like to see a few pieces I have?â€

“Yes, ma’am.†Enos said. He followed her over to a corner of the room. A few paint brushes, sketch paper and paint tubes lay on a small table. On the walls above were four pictures. One was of Logan. A charcoal nature scene. The nature scene in paint. The fourth had a title Holiday Heart – a family in the kitchen.

“They’re really nice,†Enos stated. “So detailed.â€

“Yeah,†she answered. “How long will it be for the trial?†Caroline asked.

“Soon as we know, I will come out and let you know.†Enos replied.

“Ok,†Caroline looked at Enos. “I need to get ready for supper at a relative’s.â€

“Would you like me to drive you?†He inquired.

She looked at him. “It’s not that far, the house just before this one.†She responded and walked toward the front door.

Enos followed her. “I’m sorry if I made you late.â€

“You didn’t-†Caroline reached a hand up and gently squeezed the young man’s shoulder. “They’re going to be so surprised with the news about Logan’s case.â€

Enos smiled. “I’m glad there was news to share, Merry Christmas Mrs. Berry.†He said, her hand went from his shoulder to the door knob.

“Merry Christmas,†Mrs. Berry started to open the door. “Officer Strate was it?â€

“You can call me Enos if you like ma’am,†he replied.

Mrs. Berry was still smiling as the officer went outside to his vehicle. She watched from the window and waved to him. She saw him wave back. And then the patrol car left the yard and began to travel on the dirt road.

A light snow began to fall when Enos arrived at his folks place about ten minutes later. He parked the patrol car and then walked inside. The Christmas tree lights were on, presents still stacked around the base. He left his jacket on and moved quietly toward the kitchen, where food and family were waiting for officer Enos Michael Strate.

©December 2007

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