When I was out doing my daily exercise one day last week, I was nearly run over by four — count ‘em, four — squad cars going about 75 miles per hour on Johnson Drain Road.
I thought this was rather bizarre because they were headed toward Belleville Bluff, and I had just left said bluff and nothing seemed out of place. Evidently, Rosco P. Coletrain was after the Duke boys again.
I abruptly made a U-turn and headed back home in fear of an attack by some group of radicals trying to steal a crab stew recipe from one of the area’s five-star eateries. As soon as I entered the boundaries of the bluff, I saw lights flashing and a group of lawmen swarming Alec Ward’s partially torn-down house.
Oh no, I thought to myself, they’ve found Alec’s stash. It’s always been rumored that he had millions of dollars worth of gold bullion hidden somewhere on his property.
As I sidled up to the action, trying to look as if I belonged, I saw the police gathering evidence, putting it in paper sacks and sealing them up so they could not be tampered with by some nosey outsider who had no business sniffing around. I thought that the lawmen looked rather pudgy, but then I realized they were wearing flak jackets under their uniforms. You can’t be too careful when dealing with “The” Alec Ward.
I eased over to Alec’s sister, one of eight, and asked what was going on.
“Did they fine the gold?” I asked.
“No,” she answered. “Even better — they found bones!”
“What?!” I screeched.
“You heard me,” she said.
“We haven’t used the old house for years and it was in bad shape. So I let two boys tear it down for the lumber,” Alec’s sister continued. “They’re going to use it to build something. Some of it was rotten, but some of it was as good as the day daddy nailed it together. When they got to ripping up the floor, they found some bones, so I told them to stop what they were doing while I called CSI.”
Within minutes, yellow crime-scene tape had been stretched around Alec’s house and pandemonium ensued. This completely freaked out everybody on the bluff — except Alec.
“This ain’t my first rodeo,” Alec later told me. “I’ve seen crime-scene tape before. Well, one time, I had so much of it collected that I used it to hold the outboard on my boat. What I’m trying to say is, just because there’s crime-scene tape doesn’t necessarily mean a crime has been committed. However, having it stretched around my property does help to keep out the riffraff.”
Alec went on to tell me that he knew about the bones and had for quite some time.
“My nephew’s dog crawled up under the house a while back and died. When it started to smell, I got a flashlight and looked up under the back porch and there he was, all swelled up and nasty,” he said. “I told my nephew to come get him out, but he had gained a few pounds and couldn’t get under the house because his belly was higher than the floor joist. So I was stuck with the funk. I moved out of the house and stayed in my trailer next door until the odor had gone away.
“I didn’t mention this to the law because I didn’t think it was a legal matter, but you know how it is. Anytime somebody says ‘Alec’ and ‘law’ in the same sentence, it raises eyebrows, if you know what I mean. And besides, it’s cool to watch the investigation,” Alec said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna sit over here in the bushes and see if they blow the sirens when they leave to haul the bones to the crime lab.