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Big doings in outlaw county

Outlaw County

I’m afraid that I might have a bad influence on Hyde County. A crime wave seems to have accompanied me on my return to Hyde County. Mind you, being a bad influence on Hyde County is not an easy thing to do.

When I was a young’un I figured out that South Dakota exists in a time warp. When I was growing up Hyde County existed somewhere in the early twentieth century or maybe in the late nineteenth century. For example, when I was a lad I went to a one room country school with textbooks that had 1890 copyrights. We didn’t have electricity, running water, or an indoor toilet. There is nothing quite like an outhouse in twenty below weather. There is also nothing quite like an outhouse in one hundred degree plus weather. Trust me on that.

What I’m saying is that there is a lot of the old west going on in these parts. Now I’m not talking about movie western old west, saloons and whorehouses and cowboys raising hell after having spent the last month riding the range. Well, maybe some of that cowboys raising hell stuff still goes on. Quite a bit of it, now that I think on it.

A lot of folks in these parts (I bought a case lot of “in these parts” at Walmart – it was the only thing I could find there that wasn’t made in China) are rather independent minded and don’t have much use for government and the law. Law enforcement tends to be just the way the local citizenry would like it to be, which tends to run on the minimal and non-confrontational side. The upside of this is that we don’t have a lot of pettifogging governmental regulation going on. The downside is that things like drug use, abuse, and bar fights tend to be just a part of life for those that go in for that sort of thing.

Mind you, most folks in these parts are good, hard working folks, who try to put together a decent life under adverse circumstances. However sometimes some folks get a little off track.

I came back to Hyde County sometime in 1999. Not long after I got back a local farmer named David Aesoph killed his wife by throwing her down a flight of stairs. He claims that he was innocent of all wrong doing; the evidence claimed otherwise. He now resides in a Graybar Hotel. The case made quite a sensation (among the locals) because it was the first homicide in the County since 1925 when another farmer shot a sheriff who was trying to serve a notice of foreclosure.

In no particular order there followed a vehicular homicide. One Scotty Pekarek, a youthful consumer of adult beverages, overturned a SUV on a gravel road in an accident that killed a young woman. A local judge saw fit to send to the Graybar Hotel for 90 days.

Then there was a young man named Dusty Kusser who nearly beat his girlfriend to death. He and his girlfriend are from Highmore; however they were residing elsewhere in the state at the time, which explains why he is now in extended residence in a state Graybar Hotel.

You will notice a slight difference in the treatment of these two cases. Here in Outlaw County we don’t take these little peccadillos very seriously. However in really major cases the state DCI (Department of Criminal Investigation) steps in and takes over – they have a full measure of local law enforcement.

This year (2007) we have had yet another homicidal scandal, one of quite lurid proportions. It should be understood that the details that follow are alleged and not a matter of court record.

For ten years Highmore a chap named Ken Huber was the chief of police. I am not quite certain what the duties of the chief of police in Highmore might be. I know they include delivering notices from the city council to householders to clean up the trash littering their premises. The purpose of these notices is not quite clear to me, since they are regularly ignored. I think they come under the category of “doing something about the problem”. The chief of police (the title does not imply the existence of any other policeman or indeed any law enforcement at all) also writes an occasional ticket to out of towners and drives the police vehicle around town.

But I digress. Mr. Huber performed his duties about as well as can be expected considering the peculiarities of Outlaw County. It is his other activities that should have been a matter of concern. It has transpired that he is not a nice man. On one hand he is a wife beater. Domestic abuse is an old and all too common a story. Why was nothing done about it? The usual – the wife won’t press charges, and MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) is standard policy in Outlaw County.

It seems that he also was somewhat of a tomcat, having had a quite surprising number of affairs, some with married women, some with single women. One of these affairs was with the young woman who held the office of states attorney. (As I understand it, the states attorney is hired by the county to be the county prosecutor – I don’t understand it either.) Apparently it wasn’t the only affair that he had going on, but it according to local gossip it was hot and heavy.

During the balmy days of this summer Mr. Huber took on the job of being the chief of police of the nearby (slightly larger) town of Miller. He only lasted there for a couple of weeks for various scandalous reasons. He sought to get his old job back but Highmore decided to hire someone else as chief of police. I opine Mr. Huber was depressed by these events.

One evening in late October he had a long, loud argument with his wife. At eleven PM he stormed out and went over to his mistresses house. At midnight he returned to his house. There he found his wife in bed with her daughter (apparently she didn’t feel like sleeping in the marital bed.) Then, for reasons unknown, he shot his wife in the head. Sources say that her daughter was awakened by the sound of the shot and saw her mother bleeding and her father standing there with a gun in his hand. Not nice.

What happened next is a little murky, but apparently Mr. Huber first called his mistress and then 911. Either that or she was in the car outside, since she arrived on the scene before the EMT people. Pam Huber was taken to a hospital in Sioux Falls where she died a few days later.

Mr. Huber and the erstwhile states attorney are playing least in sight. The DCI has taken over the investigation and the state has taken over prosecution because of a “conflict of interest”. Rumor has it that Mr. Huber has checked himself into a mental hospital. According to news report the states attorney (I don’t know if she still has that office) has retained the legal services of former governor Janklow, who has experience with defending killers, having served time for wiping out a motorcyclist. It’s not just Outlaw County in these parts.

I suppose it will all settle down and people will go back to being normal. I hope so; we could use a spot of dull in these here parts.

Reasonable numbers

In the usenet newsgroup, comp.lang.c, Richard Heathfield argued that there are only four reasonable numbers, 0, 1, infinity, and 4. Clearly 0 is a reasonable number because it reflects the concept of non existence. 1 is a reasonable number because it reflects the concept of uniqueness. Infinity is a reasonable number because it reflects the concept of unbounded multitude. And 4? Well, 4 is a reasonable number because it would be unreasonable for the number of reasonable numbers to be unreasonable.

Such a reasonable man.

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I guess we know which wolf Mr. Huber fed.

Where were the Rockies?

They did the world series recently. At least I think they did; there was something going on in October that resembled baseball. Now I lived in the Boston area for many years so naturally I am a Red Sox fan and have been one for many years. There used to be something special about being a Red Sox fan. You knew how the world worked. Your team would make a run at the title and then somewhere along the way they would fold. Sometimes it happened in August, sometimes in September, and sometimes there would be a magic moment in late October when they would blow it. That’s the way things should be. Being a Red Sox fan meant that you danced the masochism tango. That was part of the nature of reality.

Then they went and won a world series. That was okay. The manner and style of their victory was so improbable that it verged on the ridiculous. Clearly it wasn’t baseball – it was some form of supernatural intervention. My theory is that someone took “Damn Yankees” seriously and paid the ultimate price. My take is that it wasn’t a real Red Sox fan – a real fan knows in the very core of their being that the Red Sox will blow it.

So I knew that 2004 was a miracle and had nothing to do with baseball. And then came 2007. The Red Sox made the playoffs. They went behind Cleveland three games to one. Was this the magic moment when they blew it? No, they pulled another miracle out of their nether regions, won three games straight, and went on to the world series.

Experienced Red Sox fans knew what to expect. The sweetest agony comes when your team destroys itself in some monumental moment of misery. The only question was when and in what way they would blow it. Would they fall on their bellies and lose four straight? Would they win a game or two and tease us with possibilities? Or would they go for the jugular and lose it in the seventh game with a boneheaded error in the bottom of the ninth?

Comes the series with Boston playing the role of Goliath and the Rockies playing the role of David. David comes in having won 21 of the last 22 games. Oops. In the first game David falls all over himself and hands out runs as door prizes. Explanations are made. The Rockies had an eight day layoff and the game was in Fenway park. These things happen; the cognoscenti shook their heads and wisely pointed out that the number of runs didn’t matter – it was only one game. Game two was a little disturbing – the Rockies stopped giving runs away but they forgot to score them.

Off they go to Denver for the moment of truth. The Denver park is not a cozy little home run fiesta bowl like Fenway park. Now was the time for David to make good use of his sling shot and take out a lumbering Goliath. David did his best but Goliath didn’t get the message. All of a sudden it was three games to zip. Clearly we were being set up for the ultimate indignity – losing four straight games after being up 3-0. It’s never been done before, not in the world series. Only the Red Sox could do it, ever would do it.

David, David, where were you? We counted on you; we had faith that you would restore the world to what it has been and what it should be, and what did you do? You lost the fourth game 4-3.

Reality is not what it used to be. Time is warped. “Wait until next year” has turned into “this year”. The Red Sox have betrayed their fans and have forgotten their heritage.

It’s all very sad. I am a Red Sox fan – I am too old and too fixed in my ways to change. If I had but known I would have moved to Chicago when I was a young man and became a Cubs fan. They haven’t betrayed their heritage; they have gone on to become the Biggest Loser. It’s too late to change though; I shall remain a Red Sox fan, even though there is an empty place in my soul, a place where the moral certainty of Red Sox defeat and indignity once dwelt.

How sweet it is.

Nose report

There’s not much to say. I went to see the plastic surgeon. The path report said that it looked like there were a few cells left. The good doctor (a nice young chap – everybody seems to be a nice young chap these days) said that there was about a 20% chance that it would go into remission. Since this is a non-invasive, very slow growing cancer (definitely the kind to get if you must get cancer) I concluded it is worth waiting a couple of months to see if comes back. If it does, and I suppose it will, they will cut another hole in my nose, remove the bad stuff, and then fold a flap of skin from my cheek over the hole. As these things go it doesn’t sound too bad – the plastic surgeon reassured me that in six months to a year my face will look almost normal.

That’s good. I’ve always wanted to look almost normal.

Chez Harter

Progress continues on the remodeling, albeit slowly. I am building a closet in the bedroom, a rather nice closet with lots of shelving space and lots of clothes hanging space. At the moment I am staining some rather nice half louvered bi-fold doors.

In the year I was born

I just learned that they invented lobotomy in the same year that I was born. I prefer to think that this was a coincidence and not an example of divine foresight.

This page was last updated November 6, 2007.

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