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The Farmer And His Wife

by Earl Staggs

About the Author: Earl Staggs earned all Five Star reviews for his novels MEMORY OF A MURDER and JUSTIFIED ACTION and has twice received a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine, as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars. He invites any comments via email at He also invites you to visit his blog site at to learn more about


She had me from the first teardrop.

Now, I’m not one of those sensitive, softhearted guys who gushes over babies and puppies and flowers. I’m a hardnose. I survived two rough tours in Afghanistan, six years on the Fort Worth PD, and five months of rehab after they amputated the bottom half of my right leg. Once I got the prosthetic and learned how to use it, I chased a purse-snatcher for three blocks. Caught him, too.

But I’m a pushover when a woman cries. Especially, a little old lady like Mrs. Jackson. Well, she was thin and petite but not really that old. Maybe sixty.

She was standing outside my office on the second floor of an old storefront building on the edge of downtown Fort Worth at ten-fifteen that morning. Her hair was gray and short and neatly done. She wore an old-fashioned flowery dress and black, laced sneakers. As soon as I got close enough, she tossed a thumb at the sign on the door. “You this Private Investigator fella, William Meadows?”

I flashed my brilliant smile. “Yes, ma’am.”

“The sign on your door says you open at eight thirty.”

My smile was a bit less brilliant this time. “Sorry. I’m running a little late this morning.”

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