I’ll admit it. I’d run for the job because I thought it would be easy. I figured being the Sheriff of Ellis County, Texas would mean a lot more time on the putting greens and at the house. God knows I needed it. Just ask my wife. Plus, I liked the brass lettering on my door. “Office of the Sheriff. Luke Ballard.” It gleamed when the sun hit it.
All those long nights and grimy days of being a Dallas Police Department homicide detective took their toll. There are only so many bodies you can see before you start to smell that familiar odor of decomposition everywhere you go. In your clothes, your hair, your car. You’re never even sure if it’s really there or just your memory playing tricks. After a while, everyone and no one seems guilty. There’s only so much you can take before you need a change of scenery.
For the most part, I’d been right. Life was easier. I sat at my desk and looked important. I glad-handed local politicians when they stopped by the office. I doled out assignments to my deputies and patrol officers and let them do the hard work. I went home at 5.
I’m not saying this place is a utopia. Far from it. There are robberies, sexual predators, domestic squabbles, drug offenses, and even the occasional murder or arson. The sludge and filth of Dallas was slowly migrating this way. But there was less of it. And I didn’t have to answer to anyone except every four years at the ballot box.