Rights offering detail :
"Cadillac Sheriff," from CADILLAC, OKLAHOMA
Aug. 21, 2018
Louise Farmer Smith
Digital: Fiction: Short-form
In “Cadillac Sheriff,” Sheriff Jake Hale faces a hostage crisis at Cadillac, Oklahoma's Juvenile Detention Center, “a holding pen for juvie felons, hard-luck minor offenders and whackos awaiting decisions from psychiatrists.” Jake’s basic humanity has already been established in previous stories, but his self-esteem faltered when his opponent in the last election called him a light-weight. The director of the center reports that a new inmate shot an employee and holds a girl hostage in a windowless pantry off the cafeteria. Because so many employees, now hiding with the other inmates in the gym, have cell phones, word spreads through their relatives to national radio and television: The whole country is watching. Helicopters flap overhead, and a local pastor sends out word on a phone tree to the one thousand members of his mega-church to gather at the detention center for a mass prayer for the hostage.

Jake has a lot on his hands. The mayor wants a prominent role and suggests Jake call out the national guard. A grandmother believes her grandchild is the hostage and offers herself to take her place. A man selling hot dogs shows up. People ask Jake where the bathrooms are. The yellow Caution tapes Jake’s deputies set up around the cafeteria are quickly trampled. Three sharp-shooters arrive and offer Jake their assistance. He insists they leave and take their guns with them, but they stay. And the sheriff’s girlfriend shows up.

Judianne McCall, is the “literacy lady” at the Center. Jake has fallen in love with her and insists that she leave. Without Jake’s knowledge she sneaks into the cafeteria because she knows the offender having recently tested his reading skills. Lo and behold, the offender, Darrell, is a frightened boy who shot the employee by accident using a gun brought onto the center grounds by Raynelle, a manipulative teenage drifter and the presumed hostage. She has convinced Darrell that using a gun is being a man.

The pastor has gone up onto the roof of the cafeteria with a bullhorn to lead his flock in prayer.

While braiding her hair, Judianne persuades Darrell to give her the gun. With the gun in the pocket of her jeans she crawls across the cafeteria floor, then runs out, amazed to see the multitudes gathered there. The Christians believe she is the hostage, the answer to their prayers, and hoist her onto their shoulders to parade her around the flagpole. But in the jostling they give her, the gun goes off just as Jake is trying to reach her.

One of the sharp-shooters sees Darrell at a cafeteria window and with one shot to the head kills him. Jake’s dream of being a better man dies with Judianne. In an alternative ending, not printed in the book, Judianne, while sitting with Darrell and Raynelle, realizes that she might be in the early stages of pregnancy. Jake ties a tourniquet on her leg, and the doctor tells him he saved two lives.

Jake refuses to speak to reporters. Raynelle pretends to be too traumatized to speak, so the reporters interview Alvin Debbs, the sharp shooter who got the hostage-taker.
Rights available:
film, television
Other Information:
"As Sherwood Anderson created Winesburg Ohio, Louise Farmer Smith presents a subtle, deep and generous portrait of the fictional Cadillac, Oklahoma. The voices and visions of its citizens are at turns sweet, cruel, ignorant, and full of yearning, and always they are the real thing. On every page of this smart collection, Smith’s good humor and light touch brighten the dusty landscape."
—Bonnie Jo Campbell, bestselling author of the story collection Mothers, Tell Your Daughters and the National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage
Ann Starr
Upper Hand Press, LLC
phone: 6148862462
P.O.Box 91179, Bexley, OH 43209
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