Bi-weekly drabbles are written in an hour or less, lightly edited, and highly inaccurate to history. Enjoy them at your own risk. They are based off WritingExercises.co.uk’s Random First Line Generator.
“It would only be a fling – she wasn’t about to break up the happy home,” Sheriff Books mocked, waving her fork around in derision, a piece of chicken stuck to the end. Her voice boomed around the dining room, catching the attention of several other patrons.
Lady Woolthief, on the receiving end of the sordid tale, sat riveted. “You jest.”
“Nope,” Sheriff Books said simply, popping the chicken into her mouth.
“Did she believe her own words?”
“Unequivocally. She was convinced Missy Longworth would be nothing but fine with her husband spending a third of their monthly income putting her up. Of course, she hadn’t had the benefit of growing up with Missy, seeing as she’s ten years our junior. Poor girl never saw Hurricane Missy coming. At the inquiry, she even had the audacity to suggest to me – me, the only known female sheriff in the country – that Mr. Longworth should have kept Missy in line instead of ending their ‘fling.’”
“I don’t blame her for her naivety.” Lady Woolthief raised her voice an octave higher so any lingering ease-droppers could hear her boldly say, “If women were brought up to be autonomous, allowed a proper education, and able to hold respectable jobs, they wouldn’t need to rely on husbands or lovers to put a roof over their heads. Relations would be purely about mutual desire, not financial benefit. Why are men so intimidated by that?”
Sheriff Books sat back cozily. “I don’t disagree, but feel the need to point out that I’m a woman holding a respectable job.”
“Not every woman has the gumption to walk into a jailhouse and demand the position of sheriff.”
“Or to steal sheep on the sly.”
Lady Woolthief didn’t miss a beat. “You think the sheep stealer is a woman?” she asked, picking up her spoon to start on her soup.
“Undoubtedly,” Sheriff Books said, staring fixedly at Lady Woolthief. “Did I mention I almost caught her Friday night last.”
“I find that unlikely,” Lady Woolthief retorted. “Why are you so convinced the sheep stealer’s a she?”
“Call it instinct.” Sheriff Books pulled a piece of parchment out of her side pouch and placed it in front of Lady Woolthief. “She leaves poems as her calling cards. You should read her latest.”
Lady Woolthief looked at the paper, genuinely interested in re-reading the poem she felt had been one of her best.
From afar I’ve watched how you treat your sheep
Kicking, starving until their wool you reap
Beautiful animals that provide for you
Deserve respect, tenderness, and comfort, too
If you don’t improve their lives each day
One by one I’ll steal them away
“Poetry is not this sheep stealer’s strong suit,” Sheriff Books said smugly.
Catching sheep stealers is not your strong suit, Lady Woothief wanted to snap. She kept her eyes down as she let the flicker of irritation at the barb pass.
“I mean, ‘deserve respect, tenderness, and comfort, too.’ Is she going for irony?” Sheriff Books continued.
Lifting her head with a brave, fake grin Lady Woolthief bit. “Irony?”
“Tender,” Sheriff Books taunted, “that’s how most people like their lamb chops.”
Lady Woolthief’s smile turned genuine. Her friend could talk tough all she wanted. As long as the sheep stealer roamed free, they both knew who had the upper hand.