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The Strong Arm of the Law

You can run, you can hide...

Until the law turns up at your side. 

The Strong Arm of the Law by Russell Johnson

It looked like a Satanic cavalry charge invading her little town. Sheriff Mary Beth Cain watched them cut through the fog, winding down the mountainside on steel horses, dressed in black leather with emblems of skulls and serpents and flames. She counted them as they passed by--40 in total, everyone armed--pulling up to a roadside bar called Lucky’s.

“I really think we just need to leave this alone, Sheriff.” Her chief deputy, Izzy, was still trying to talk her out of this but she’d worked too hard busting up the local meth dens to let this hoard of interlopers move in now.

“It’s like a whole army battalion of bikers over there,” Izzy continued. “How are we supposed to handle this with just six deputies?”

“You just stick to the plan,” Mary Beth said. “I’ve got a secret weapon.”

That weapon was her cousin Raelyn. More specifically, her ample cleavage, which she had on full display at Lucky’s, while balancing a tray of beers and walking with a switch so pronounced it’d make a street-corner hooker blush.

She’d been told to look for the alpha dog and he hadn’t been hard to spot: 6’ 3”, with tree-trunk arms and a long black beard twisted into braids. Raelynn zeroed in on Blackbeard and flirted shamelessly until provoking him into belting her across the cheek.

That’s when Mary Beth and her deputies went in, ratcheting their scatter guns. “Freeze! Anybody moves, shoot ‘em,” Mary Beth said. She shoved Blackbeard out the front door with the nose of her rifle.

Raelynn followed behind while the deputies kept the other bikers at bay.

There was a bench outside where Mary Beth told the man to sit. “Cuff yourself,” she said, tossing him the silver rings.

“What the hell is this?”

“It’s for your safety and mine, while we have a discussion. Do it!” Mary Beth
raised her shotgun.

“This is fucking bullshit,” the man said as he cuffed his wrists to the back of
the bench. Mary Beth patted him down and found a nine- millimeter Beretta.

“I got a permit for that.”

“I don’t really care.” Mary Beth unloaded the pistol and chucked it on
the ground.

“Listen, this bitch assaulted me. You should be arresting her.”

Mary Beth looked to her cousin. “That the way you remember it, Rae?”

“Nope,” she said. Mary Beth used her phone to take a picture of Raelynn’s cheek that was swelling up nicely.

“Fucking entrapment is what this is. You sent her in there to  provoke me.”

Mary Beth adjusted her Stetson like she was really thinking it over. “Entrapment,” she said. “That’s a big word.”

Blackbeard was shaking his head in disbelief, looking at Mary Beth like she was crazy, wondering what kind of two-bit backwoods operation he was dealing with.

“You know what, lady, go ahead and take me in. Little assault charge; my guys will have me bailed out by the end of the day.”

Mary Beth looked at him like a kid who just ate a booger. “Oh, Sweetie, you just don’t get what’s going on do ya? You see, this here is Raelynn Logan.”


“So, her father is James Edward Logan.”


“My Uncle Jimmy.”

Blackbeard shrugged.

Mary Beth pulled up a Wikipedia page on her smart phone and showed it to him as she read:

Gunnery Sergeant James “Jimmy” Edward Logan, U.S. Marines, Retired.
One of the most prolific snipers in American history, with 75 confirmed kills during the Vietnam conflict and a suspected 50 more officially listed as unconfirmed. In addition, because much of Logan’s service was highly classified, it has often been asserted that his true kill tally was well over 200, which, if true, would make him, by far, the deadliest American sniper of all time.

“Listen here,” Mary Beth said. “You’ll like this part.” 

Since returning to civilian life, Logan has also been accused of multiple assassinations over personal disputes but has never been formally charged.

“This is crazy,” Neko said, tugging at the cuffs.

“Crazy. You could say that about my Uncle Jimmy. Especially when it comes to his girls. Last one who laid a hand on Rae was a fella named Buck Davis. When Uncle Jimmy found out about it, he exploded Buck’s head like a fucking watermelon, using a Remington seven hundred bolt-action from over a thousand yards away.” 

Blackbeard squirmed, desperate to get away from this wiry strawberry blonde sheriff who he outweighed by a hundred pounds. “Look, if you’re going to arrest me, let’s go ahead and get this over with,” he said.

Beads of sweat had popped up on his forehead. Mary Beth wiped them gingerly with a handkerchief. “Honey, I’m not arresting you. I’m just gonna email a  picture of you to my Uncle Jimmy. Along with a picture of what you and your friends did to his baby girl.” Mary Beth snapped a photo of Blackbeard and a few of their bikes, then made a show of sending it off to a yahoo address. The whole time, Blackbeard struggling with the cuffs, telling her she was fucking nuts.

“How many guys you got in there?” Mary Beth asked. “Forty? Fity? That ain’t nothing to Uncle Jimmy. So many places to hide in these hills, so many good vantage points. You know he’s been really cranky since that American Sniper movie came out about that guy from Texas. Jimmy’s really been wanting to increase his numbers.”

As the last of the bikers roared off into the distance on their way out of town, Mary Beth gave them a little wave goodbye. Izzy laughed at how Blackbeard fell for the bogus Wikipedia page she cooked up.

“I guess that’s really your secret weapon, huh?” he said. “Your ability to bullshit.”

Mary Beth smiled. “You know what they say: it’s mightier than the sword.”

Russell W. Johnson is a North Carolina attorney who got so sick of billable hours he started writing crime fiction. His debut story, "Chung Ling Soo's Greatest Trick," won the Edgar Award's Robert L. Fish Memorial prize for best short story by a new author. Since then he’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was recently a finalist for the Claymore Award. More information at