The Red White and Blue Festival in Cedarton was on again. This was a highlight of every year, with banners and tents flapping in the brisk late-summer breeze, the smell of fried dough and the sounds of the town band and clean little children’s laughter carried on the same breeze.
There was always a breeze, it seemed.
So too, there was always one person in town who refused to come in the required color-coded dresswear. This year, it was Jason McWilliams in his bright orange tee shirt jangling the view down Main Street. Nobody was surprised. Last year Jason’s older brother wore green, the year before his cousin Abby wore purple (and tried to pass it off as ‘a mix of red and blue’). The McWilliams family were trouble, all right.
But the people of Cedarton knew how to deal with troublemakers. They left it to the Raches.
Annie and Grace Rache were in charge of Behavior at the fair, indeed, they were in charge of Behavior year round. As the most powerful pair in Cederton, it was their beholden duty to keep the town in line, and over the years had suceeeded in spectacular fashion. The folks of Cedarton knew what was expected of them, expecially the folks who’d been around a generation or two. They told stories of behind-the-barn beatings of people who shunned the Rache Plan, beatings adminstered by Annie herself when she was younger, and now by Amos, their handyman (and some would say Grace’s son). The Rache sisters were ever-present in town, seeing all, like small-town Gods in their omniscience. They knew everything, and heaven help you if you crossed their invisible line.
This year, as the aging Rache sisters toddled along Main Street in their crisp white and blue togs, Grace was very excited. This year Behavior lessons were to be taken from behind the barn and brought to the public. Therefore, Grace had been hooked into the Cedarton police radio by virtue of a small mic hidden between her mountainous breasts, a ‘gift’ from Officer Joe, who knew better than to say no. He also knew better than to say no when Grace asked for his ‘help’ at the fair.
And now, the game was on. Linking arms, the Sisters crossed the street (the first sign), Grace alerting Joe of the young malfactor’s whereabouts.
The unmarked SUV pulled out.
Annie flicked her cane, the second sign.
Grace whispered the code word.
The driver’s side window of the SUV rolled down. A slim dark cylinder slid out.
A shot rang out.
Jason crumpled to the ground, his jarring orange shirt sporting a growing red stain.
That’ll teach him, said Grace.
Yes, yes it will, said Annie.
And the people of Cedarton walked around Jason as he cried on the sidwalk, dabbing at the paintball smear and the blooming blue bruise on his chest.
Those McWilliamses are trouble, but in Cedarton, they know how to deal with troublemakers. Just call the Raches.
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