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Seaton: Sheriff Roy And The Reset

Sheriff Roy wondered if what he saw was part of some weird fever dream.

The sky above was white as a sheet of paper with no form or shape to anything. Same with the ground below. No scenery was visible. Just white everywhere.

In fact, the only thing more peculiar than the scenery was the young boy standing in front of the Sheriff. Approximately twelve, wearing corduroy pants, a green polka-dotted shirt and a red bow tie, the ginger haired child smiled at Sheriff Roy with a knowing smirk.

“Time,” the boy said, “is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

“Do what now?” Sheriff Roy sputtered.

“Oh, it’s just something I read once in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ I think,” replied the boy. He never took his eyes off the Sheriff and he never stopped smiling. “It’s a wonderful commentary on the state of humanity, don’t you think?”

“Who are you? Where am I?”

“Well, the where is easier than the who,” the boy said. “You’re between.”

“Between?”

“Yes! Between. Between right and wrong, good and bad, up and down, black and white. You know. Between.”

“Okay.” Sheriff Roy took stock mentally of what he’d been told. None of it made sense. He still attempted to maintain his composure as best possible. “And I never got your name.”

“Names are funny things, Sheriff Roy,” the boy said. The smile faded from his face. “I wish I knew how funny. I don’t have one.”

“Where are your mother and father?”

“I wish I knew. I don’t think I was made with those.”

“What are you talking about? ‘Between?’ You don’t have a name or parents? What in the Sam Hill is all of this mess?”

The boy rolled his eyes as if the answer were painfully obvious. “Your creator’s having a storyline crisis.”

“My…Creator? God?”

“No. A lawyer from Tennessee in his forties.”

“What? Tennessee?”

“Yes. And unfortunately for you, he lives in Knoxville.”

“Now I know this is some kind of weird dream,” the Sheriff said with a smile. “If this was God’s doing he wouldn’t live in the same town as the University of Tennessee.”

“As I said, Sheriff Roy Templeton of Mud Lick, Alabama, husband to Arlene, father to Roy Junior, employer of Deputy Ernesto Miranda, you are not dealing with God here. Rather, you’re dealing with a very tired creative person who’s written himself into a corner with your most recent caper.”

Sheriff Roy couldn’t even remember the last case he’d worked. As far as he knew it had something to do with a cow.

“You can’t remember what happened because your creator got it in his head after a night of ‘True Detective’ and a bottle of cabernet he could write a better story with a far more ridiculous premise and make it worthwhile to readers. He didn’t exactly start with a good ending in mind, so at some point the plot fizzled and you fell into the Between.”

“So how do I get out of the Between?” Sheriff Roy asked.

“That’s a good question, Sheriff. In a moment you’re going to experience a Reset. You’ll wake up in your bed next to your wife. The sun will be shining, the birds will be singing, and you’ll feel refreshed and invigorated. Then you’ll go on about your life and you’ll never remember any of this.

Eventually you’ll have another adventure. One that will make sense. One with humor, actual story, plot points, and compelling characters. And it won’t involve anal probes.”

This sounded fine by Sheriff Roy. He was unsure what anal probes had to do with anything, however.

“So what do I do? Click my heels and say ‘There’s no place like home?’”

The boy laughed. “No sir. That’s ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ That would be gimmick infringement. Your creator can’t stand that. No, this is a bit more juvenile.”

“Do tell.”

The boy extended a finger. “Pull it.”

“You want me to pull your finger?”

A nod.

“Okay, that’s not going to happen.”

“You’re going to not do the one thing that will advance the story and get you out of limbo?”

“What can I say? I’m a man with standards.”

The boy sighed. “Very well.” He looked off to the side behind Sheriff Roy. “Hey, what’s that?”

Sheriff Roy laughed out loud. “Oh seriously? You really don’t expect an adult to fall for that do you?”

“Fine. You asked for it. BAZINGA!”

The last thing Sheriff Roy remembered before waking up was staring down the business end of a cartoonishly large mallet that read “BAZINGA.”

Sheriff Roy did wake up that morning feeling like a million bucks. He kissed Arlene before heading to work. He dropped Roy Junior off at Bear Bryant Elementary and even bought the whole office donuts.

And somewhere far away from the sleepy town limits of Mud Lick, a very exhausted Vols fan resolved never to start a story from “Anal Probe” because it sounded funny at the time.

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