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     The Patriot: A Short Story

       Sean Dexter / Mystery & Detective
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*****

The flight was uneventful for the most part. Sheriff Boyd had been easy to spot. We had only been circling for fifteen minutes when we saw the sheriff's cruiser pull out of the county lot in Wateeka, the Grove County seat. He had driven straight north on Highway 91 and pulled off the road into a little copse of trees that overlooked Dow Chemical. He sat on the hood, and even from this height I could see he was staring down at the complex of buildings with binoculars. At one point, I was pretty sure he trained those field glasses up at us. Hard to tell for sure.
"What you think he's lookin' for," Ken said. He was shouting so that I could hear him over the roar of the prop and buffeting winds.
I decided the best and easiest response was a shrug. It seemed to satisfy him. We spent another forty-five minutes looping wide circles around the sheriff. He had barely changed position, and I was paying for this flight by the hour. I tapped Ken on the shoulder and pointed down. It was time to call it quits.
He made one more pass over the sheriff. "By the way," he shouted, "I've never landed one of the babies before." He cackled manically all the way down to the tarmac.
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