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Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security, pursues an elusive chicken murderer.
Drover Confesses From Hank the Cowdog #6: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie A chicken killer is loose on the ranch. And with little or no evidence left behind, everyone's a suspect — including Drover, Hank's trusty assistant. Drover was still trembling all over.
"Boy, that was scary! I sure hope we don't lose any more chickens."
I studied him out of the corner of my eye. He was still behaving in a strange manner.
"How come you got so nervous up there, Drover?"
"Well, gosh, Loper was mad and..."
"Yes, but if you didn't do anything wrong, why should you get so antsy about it? You weren't by any chance feeling guilty, were you?"
"Well...maybe I was."
"I see." I began pacing. "And why were you feeling guilty, Drover? Just tell me in your own words."
"My own words. Okay. Let's see. Guilty. I don't know."
"Are those your own words?"
"I think so."
"Then think a little deeper. Why were you feeling guilty about something you didn't do?"
He rolled his eyes and twisted his head to one side.
"Well, I always feel guilty, Hank. Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is feel guilty."
"There must be a reason for it."
"Well...I mess up a lot. Do you suppose that could be it?"
"I'll ask the questions. You give the answers."
"Oh. All right."
I waited and waited. Nothing.
"Sure turned out to be a pretty day, didn't it?"
I paced over in front of him. "You're being slippery, Drover, but I'm afraid that won't wash. I'll ask you again. Why do you feel guilty every morning when you wake up?"
"Well...I think of all the things I can mess up during the day and..."
"Yes? Go on."
"...and it makes me feel awful. Then when I mess up for real, I don't have to worry about it."
He looked at me with a simple grin on his mouth, as though he had just said something wonderful.
I stopped pacing and went nose-to-nose with the runt.
"That makes no sense at all, and furthermore, it has nothing to do with the Case of the Vanishing Chickens."
"I want to know why you were acting so guilty when Loper was talking about the murders."
I sensed that I was very close to a confession. It was time to bore in with my toughest questions and break down his resistance. I had a suspicion that three or four questions would wrap the case up.
"Is it possible, Drover, that there's a side to your personality we don't know about? That on very short notice, you can change from being a simple buffoon into a chicken killer? That you have a secret craving for chicken meat? And finally...what are you staring at?"
"You've got four little circles of hair sticking up on your back."
I bent my neck around and looked at my back. Sure enough, I saw four little circles of hair sticking up.
"Oh. That's where the horses bit me. I was attacked by the entire horse herd a while ago."
"Oh my gosh!"
"I was working traffic, barked a pickup into the horse pasture, and the horses jumped me. If you'd been up there helping me, it never would have happened."
"But you were hiding in the machine shed..."
His head began to sink.
"...after you saw Sally May coming down to the garden."
He began to cry.
"You ran to save your own skin and left me alone."
"And you cowered in the machine shed while I was being mauled by thirteen dog-eating horses!"
"Yes, I did, Hank!"
I looked down at him. My questions had to reduced him to jelly.
"So you admit your guilt?"
He was bawling now, and the tears were dripping off the end of his nose.
It was all my fault and I feel so guilty I can hardly stand it." Is Drover the mild mannered little white mutt we all know and love? Or is he a crazed chicken killer? Find out in Hank the Cowdog #6:Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Copyright John R. Erickson).
Posted February 16, 2013