"PP, lend my your jeep keys," she repeats when he ignores her.
"Why should MY gas be used on your errand of mercy?"
"Come on, PP. My truck is too tightly packed."
"You're getting entirely too high and mighty. Tex's fall has gone to your head. You need to be shown who's boss."
Stumbling toward her, Paul Peter tries to pin her against the side of the jeep in a torrid embrace.
"Pete!" she squeaks. Instead of fighting him off, she slides around until she can work her hand into his jeans pocket. Wiggling first one way, then the other, she fishes around until she comes up with the keys. Ducking easily under his arm, she slips away.
"Thanks, PP. You're a real brick."
Shaking his head, the sheriff thinks, Paul Peter, Pete. PP; she's awfully familiar with him -- enough not to think of him as a threat,he thinks as he reaches into Tex's pocket and withdraws HIS keys, then heads toward his patrol car, where he calls in. Climbing into a jacked up 4x4 360, he says, "Follow me."
Paul Peter steps back as she climbs into the cockpit and fires up the jeep.
Ten minutes down the highway, the monster truck signals a left. Despina can see nothing past the ornate Bar J sign. Another five minutes' drive brings a huge ranch house into sight. White fences surround irrigated paddocks.
Pulling the jeep as close to the front door as possible, Despina shuts off the engine and joins the sheriff on the wide stoop. A lovely lady in a silk Chinese style wrap opens the door. Seeing Tex recumbent on the back of the jeep, she rings for a servant to help bring him in.
"Oh, a woman! Did he?"
"No, don't worry. He got his comeuppance. Despina seems to have a way about her."
"I'll have to cultivate her closer acquaintance."
"Miz Johnson, this is Despina MacKenzie, the new elementary teacher at the Stone Circles Reservation. Despina, Nancy."
Last updated 1/4/02.