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The Sheppard

By S.E.Linn

By S. E. LinnPublished 9 months ago 6 min read

Kamloops, British Columbia

July 1998

S unday night I was scheduled for a graveyard serving shift at the truck stop up on the hill. College classes took up most of my time, so I only worked a few nights a week to get some beer and clothes money. I hadn't been working there for very long and whenever you were new on any job there was always one coworker who wanted to make your life a living Hell.

This time my nemesis was named Julie, about five feet tall, twig thin, and her entire head had been shaved for breast cancer research. To make matters worse, she was over 40 and destined to work at that truck stop forever, so smart assed college kids were not exactly Julie’s cup of tea.

I would come out on the floor just as she was finishing her shift, so I had to deal directly with her on a regular basis. Truth be told, I felt kind of sorry for her. I probably wouldn’t be pleasant either if I had to waitress in an all-night truck stop for the rest of my days and looked that weird bald.

I tiptoed around Julie whenever possible, but tonight she was headed straight for me. Lips pursed. Eyes narrowed.

“What's the matter with you?” she sneered, looking me up and down.

“Nothing,” I said, heading for the serving station in the back.

I deliberately avoided making eye contact with her. You never know, she could suddenly charge. As with any impending potential animal attack I felt it was best to back slowly out of her way and hope something else would distract her.

Nothing,” she mimicked, high and whiny like Beaker from the Muppets. “Hmm, well you look like crap on a cracker.”

“That good, hey? Excellent,” I said, tying on my apron.

“When I get on shift tomorrow everything better be done,” she said getting right up in my face, “I'm sick of picking up your slack.”

Now she was starting to piss me off. I did my job. Julie didn't have anything to do in the mornings because my shift spent four hours stocking for her at night, so that was uncalled for. Plus, she was talking loudly and people were starting to stare.

“Right-e-oh,” I said indifferently and shrugged.

“If it's not done and done right,” she whispered menacingly, “I'm gonna take you DOWN!”

I turned to face her, surprised. Now this was amusing. Julie weighed about a buck soaking wet, and she was publicly threatening me. One of my legs doesn't even weigh that. I could probably snap her into kindling.

“It'll be all done, don't you worry, Julie,” I said coolly.

The serving station was not the place to get into it with her, and my section was filling up. I was steaming mad as I grabbed the coffee pot and headed for the floor. I hated getting reemed out in public. I also hated Julie.

One of the advantages to working at The Hillside was that we always had policemen going in and out. We were open all night and had fresh coffee with free refills and a wide selection of donuts. You could say it was Cop Heaven. As far as anyone in the Loops was concerned, this wasn’t news. And, for a college kid on graveyard shift, it was probably the safest place to work in Kamloops.

I was in lust with a particular cop named Mick. He was tall, dark and I used to fantasize about what it would be like to be his gun. Mick didn’t seem to mind that a tall, blonde, curvy, twenty-year-old was into him. Filling his coffee cup was my idea of foreplay. Don’t even get me started on the sandwich.

“Hi Mick!” I gushed, trying to be cool. “The usual?”

This meant his coffee came with milk not Creamo.

“Yep. Thanks kiddo,” he'd say with a sexy, even-toothed grin.

“So, um Mick?” I'd innocently ask while I filled his cup.

“Yes, Jesse?”

“You still married?” Flirty grin.

“Yes, Jesse,” he'd say while the other guys at the table laughed.

“Uh, happily?”

“Yes, Jesse.” And then he'd laugh, pleased.

Then I'd reluctantly shift attention to my other tables as though I didn’t have great faith in the increasing divorce rate.

About an hour and six cups of coffee later, the cops would leave and do whatever they do in a one-horse town. Possibly take a run down to Tim Horton's to break up the monotony. Kamloops wasn't the most exciting town for a police officer. There weren’t a lot of murders or gang-related stabbings going on. The occasional mugging, or a college kid thrown in the drunk tank for the night is about as exciting as it got, so the fact that someone tried to mug The Hillside -while the cops were inside- came as quite a surprise.

To attempt a stunt like that would set the Stupid Bar unusually high, but I guess someone decided to give it a go, showed up that night and had actually managed to mug the gas station which was attached to the restaurant. He had reportedly pulled out a pocketknife, threatened the gas attendant, and then taken off, top speed, across the empty parking lot with the money. All the attendant really had to do was run into the restaurant and flag down a cop.

Which is exactly what he did.

The four officers at the table ‘rock/paper/scissored’ over who was up for the job. Taking his time, Mick finished the last of his coffee, stood up, strolled nonchalantly through the restaurant out to the gas station and went out the door.

He walked over to his patrol car, which was in plain view, and opened the passenger door. Out jumped a full-grown German shepherd named Lucy, which did not appear to what to be what you would call a ‘nice’ doggy. On Mick’s command the shepherd's hackles began to bristle and with a deep throated bark the dog took off running across the parking lot in hot pursuit of the fleeing thief.

The hillside was the last stop for big rigs before they went over the Coquihalla highway on route to Vancouver, so you can imagine the size of the parking lot.

It was vast.

It’s great if you are a trucker. Not so good if you are a thief with a German Shepherd after you.

From our vantage point in the restaurant, we could clearly see the whole thing unfold. The thief was speed-walking towards a vehicle parked at the farthest point of the lot near the big garbage dumpsters. Lucy was in full attack mode at a full run and was snapping and snarling like Cujo on the third day. She was gaining fast, when suddenly the thief turned and noticed his pursuer.

With a shout of terror, he broke into a sprint resembling Ben Johnson's 100-meter dash. He reached a garbage dumpster about four seconds before the vicious animal, threw open the lid in an act of superhuman strength and vaulted over the edge with the lid slamming shut, closing him in.

Reaching the dumpster, Officer Lucy circled it twice and seemed satisfied that her assailant was safely contained. And there she sat, tongue lolling without a care in the world. Having witnessed the entire scene we all went back to pouring coffee, and I noticed that Mick was back at the cops’ table casually perusing the menu.

“Aren't you going to go and arrest that guy, Mick?” I asked him.

“Well, Lucy has him covered,” Mick shrugged. “I don't think he's going anywhere fast.”

And with that he ordered a BLT on rye and another refill. A little while later, when the cops were ready to go, I looked out the restaurant window and could make out Mick driving the cruiser, red and blues flashing, over to the dumpster where the shepherd was still keeping guard.

Over the loudspeaker we heard Mick say, “Hey, you have two options. You have 5 seconds to comply. Either come on out or the dog will go in.”

The dumpster lid began to open, and a bald head covered in plate scrapings peaked out and shrieked,

“Keep that mutt away from me!”

And when I saw who was slowly emerging from the dumpster, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

It was Julie.

A gasp of shock went up from the restaurant staff and its patrons.

“Good thing it wasn't a customer,” I shrugged and went back to serving.

Now that would have been bad.


About the Creator

S. E. Linn

Hi! I'm the owner of YAASSS! a copywriter, reviewer, editor, blogger, ghostwriter, poet, international teacher, published author, dog lover, sheet wadder, and proud mom of 2 amazing humans.

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    S. E. LinnWritten by S. E. Linn

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