“Just open up the files, Elizabeth,” I say; “detective Branch will not get the password to our accounts. If he wants any information, he’ll have to come over here and get it. And if he wants the password, he’ll have to go through legal channels.” Again, I act like I know what I’m doing. I stand up, and ask her one more question: “Why didn’t you say something to someone about Clyde Renner’s use of department funds?”
“We needed the money at home, Dr. Marshall. I needed the job. Not lots of places in this town to work. Farming goes up and down, and when you got kids, they need food and clothes.”
“You don’t earn enough to support a family.”
“I earn enough to make the difference between a good year and a bad year on the land.”
With that answer, she reminds me of what I’d learned a long, long, time ago, and had simply become so accustomed to that I’d accepted it as a fact: in central Iowa, everything is tied directly to the land, and I do mean everything—conversation, literature, the clothing you wear, your relationship to banks, the athletic teams you like, how you read the clouds, the combines and tractors that are such a familiar site that after a couple of weeks on campus, and around town, they don’t seen strange to students lying out on the grass studying volcanoes, earthquakes, fossils, and Shakespeare, even if those students are from Zurich or Singapore.
(The complete book--STICKS AND STONES--with its perfect murder and a hint at perfect weapons of mass destruction, is available as an e-book on both kindle and smashwords. The title comes from that old phrase your mother used to say: "Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you." Obviously nothing could be further from the truth!)