Silence lingered inside the Sheriff’s office; he had three bold old men with him, altogether three briefly pondering through the details of the subject the swarthy drunkard had brought along. The two could smell the tobacco aroma of the sheriff’s smoking pipe and they craved for this nicotine to run through their mind, to have that feel of feeling at ease.
The wind that roared and shook trees outside didn’t alarm them at all; they were all used to it, all born and raised through it. Especially this season close to winter, they all knew to be cautious of their whereabouts. The wind was rude and tough and always, especially man, they had to tie strings across their necks, so that their hats won’t get blown off. Most local ladies tie long clothes across their heads to shield off the hush wind.
The sheriff was seated on his burnished old oak chair which was decorated with stones, from a distance the stones looked much like diamonds. Anyone could see how much this chair was treasured; it was smoothly polished, with deep slanting lines and the others that cut across. The stones vertically set deep through the hard wood, giving it an adorable ordinary look.
His pale old leather coat barely matched the chair, it had weathered many rough seasons of rain, sun’s heat and the constantly dust that is set loose with horse hooves and chariots across remotely paths in Naim and neighbouring regions.
Between the sheriff’s lips, the pipe was tightly clutched and smoking like a goods train—as the smoke reached the ceiling it vanished and his next blow made the smoke look like miniature drifting clouds, getting blown away with a weak breath and fading off.
His coughing broke the silence, precisely for that moment, when he coughed again. Some of his tobacco-coloured mucus splattered on his oak wide thick desk, where his left hand rested. Without any hint of shyness, with his bare palm, he wiped the mucus off and smoked some more. The two watched idly. He was a man above them and should let it be.
By his left side stood his trusted hand man, Mnuero, a burly looking man, and all the while the swarthy drunkard talked, he had been steady observing and thinking. He wore cowboy’s pants and a black jacket, the one with a long collar that covers his ears when he pulled it up. The wide belt that runs around his waist was attached to a holster holding his gun. Still he looked serious, hands crisscrossed, irregularly passing his gaze over the man who was before the sheriff. He knew him pretty well, had shared a bottle last time he had been with him, but that was in a local bar not in an office. He needs to be less friendly with his outside mates when he’s in the presence of the sheriff, that’s how the job was done from generation to another and so the people kept their morals.
Seated, facing the sheriff was De Sancho looking gravely serious too than Mnuero. He seemed not to enjoy the atmosphere in the office and the people who occupied it as if he begrudged the million times he had already been with them. De Sancho was the widely known drunkard of a private bar called Summer on the northern side of Naim.
He wore a long coat familiar to the sheriff’s. It was pale with dust too, and had unmatched buttons and patches, though bad it looked. It looked quite noticeable and suited him well.
“I heard your story, Sancho. Oh, I heard it well!” she sheriff said, smoke emerging from his nostrils, looking as if it were spiralling out of two large-mouthed caves.
De Sancho watching the smoke said:
“Then it’s good! You’ve got to do something about this, because this isn’t a jest at all. I know it’s quite hard to believe me, but mark my words. In this case, I’m telling the truth. Not a dream, no-not at all” firmly he expressed, waving his hand across his face.
“But, Sancho,” said the surprised sheriff, by then De Sancho knew that he should do better.
He stared at sheriff, quite a while looking annoyed, he knew what he had started was to cost him to be believed. He was angry; no one in Naim takes his word. They all accused him of being the drunkard totem of Naim. Kids sang his name in the streets and daughters teases one another on who can be his girlfriend, mothers gossip about him every time and then. He knew all this, but he didn’t care, people always talk, they’re so judgmental as if they own someone.
“What is that for, sheriff? Look!” he buckled his long fingers together and placed his leg across the right. “I’m not making it up.”
“I don’t believe you, there is nothing like that. I’m the sheriff and know all the places in Naim, all the buildings, actually everything!”
De Sancho’s face twitched, he didn’t want to fight, but felt the urge getting so strong. It was anger and disappointment.
“So you don’t believe me at all?”
“I’m afraid I have to say I don’t, not at all!”
Sancho looked at the sheriff fixedly, his lips trembling, and then glanced at Mnuero furtively, to see if he was on his side. Mnuero wasn’t, he was there, making sure that the sheriff was protected, not to judge or to interfere, that could only happen by the sheriff’s order.
Disappointed and angry, he swatted at the desk vigorously, the green bottle he had placed there shook, sending its contents spilling.
Mnuero seemed to be the only one who was fascinated watching it and the rage of Sancho startled him a bit.
“My shit – my shit —! You think I’m crazy insane, right? Ha-a-a! Because I drink as everyone knows and for that reason, that fucking stupid reason, you don’t accept anything I say. The inn was there at the Roots and I was in it, with the people, I’m saying, they’re not earthly,–but aliens from the dead, I guess. It was so weird! But they’ve treated me nice, with good brandy as I had never tested in my life.” He shouted and went on shouting, frustrated.
“My horse out there—if it could talk—would have told you everything – I mean everything we saw!”
Some silence now. But then a gust of wind blew in from the window behind where the sheriff sat. It swept the papers on the table; they fell on the floor close to where Mnuero, was standing. He bent, picking them up and putting them back.
The sheriff nodded gratefully and smiled, he then faces the drunkard.
“Sancho, you know pretty well what the consequences of that behavior is. Shit–in my very office. Would you like me to be damned bad to you? You know me, don’t you?” he threatened.
Sancho was touched with that. He apologized.
“Ignoring manners, sir, I take it back, shame on my filthy mouth.”
“Then get out, mount your horse and make dust! Don’t you come here with those fairy tales, rather write them in a book–we really need writers in Naim!”
He looked at Mnuero with a mocking smile. Mnuero smiled back, too, knowing that it wasn’t meant for him.
“Next time, he would come saying that he saw pigs flying or he saw Jesus man on the clouds of west, him shouting, ‘Judgment Day, people! Repent – at once!”
Mnuero grinned, as they watched De Sancho stand and walk to the door where he drew his hat. Ready to leave now, he turned to look coldly at the sheriff once again.
“Sir, I ain’t gonna force you to believe me, but the truth is that last night, I saw the inn at the Roots. In my opinion, try tonight with your men, maybe it only appears at night. This is something mystic, sheriff, maybe our ancestors are resurging from the dead” His eyes looked strangely serous as he said this.
Innocently, he pulled the door open, making a swift bow, jammed his hat on, and closed the door.
The sheriff grinned arrogantly, looking at the closed door and said:
“Can you believe that, so serious–like?”
“Attention, sir, and fame for his lies” Mnuero replied respectfully. The two were good buddies for a very long time. Mnuero had began to serve the sheriff’s department at a very tender age, he was once a messenger and the fight he boldly took place four years ago promoted him to the rank he now posses.
It was the fight between the hunters of Ronaim and Naim, the issue here was that Ronaim hunters were found preying a portion of land that belonged to Naim. Before Gonaim penetrated in to cease the war, Nain had won already and the war ended. Ronaim assured Naim to have had realised its mistake and promised never to interfere again, but somehow this agreement was utterly in vain.
“And he thinks we’re fools! He’s the one.” the sheriff took his handkerchief and blew, then looking at the bottle he said:
“Well, he forgot, his rum tastes like urine, go throw it away! Mystery–shit– damn!” He laughed fumbling for matches to light his pipe once again.
Mnuero, seeing his predicament, took his own pipe and handed it to him.
He went on front of the desk, took the bottle, made a swift bow,
“Will be back now” He left.