*** PLEASE NOTE: This is a story about a man's abuse of his power, authority and influence. Clara is physically more powerful than her adversary, but feels powerless due to the way she has been raised and how Sheriff Ethan uses that against her. We often have more power than we realize and can better protect ourselves from abuse IF we are prepared to do so and refuse to think of ourselves as powerless victims. The story is rated R due to a criminal, sexual situation involving a minor. ***
Clara was walking on the fence rails around the perimeter of the
The Sheriff said, "What?"
She said, "My underpants. You keep staring at them. Are they dirty or something?"
The Sheriff said, "Yes, they are. Come over here and I'll brush them off for you."
She said, "No thank you. I can brush them off myself." She started walking away from him down the top rail. She looked back and said, "I told you I'll brush them off. Why are you still looking at them?"
The Sheriff said, "I have to. I can't help it."
She asked, "Why?"
The Sheriff said, "Because I'm a man. I have to watch it when a cute little bottom like yours moves and wiggles. You have been putting on a show for me that I just CAN'T ignore."
Clara asked, "Why can't you just turn their head and look at something else?"
The Sheriff asked, "Have you ever seen a cat chase a string that someone is pulling along the ground?"
Clara said, "Yes."
The Sheriff said, "The cat HAS to follow the string. It's the way God made cats to be. When you move like you were doing, you are pulling MY string and I HAVE to watch. That's the way God made me."
Clara said, "No offense, but it makes me feel creepy."
The Sheriff said, "I'm sure you don't feel creepy at all … and I intend to find out for myself. I've been watching you since the first time I saw you peek out at me from behind your mother."
Clara asked, "Why?"
The Sheriff said, "Because I HAVE to. You FORCE me to look at you. And if you keep doing it, I'll have to do more than just look."
Clara said, "I don't mean to make you look at me. I don't want you to. I don't like it."
The Sheriff said, "Oh YES, you do! The way you dress. The way you walk. You want me to notice you and do things to you. Any woman who behaves like you do wants a man to give her his undivided attention."
Clara said, "But I'm NOT a woman; I'm a little girl! If this is something about a boyfriend girlfriend thing, I'm not ready for that stuff."
The Sheriff said, "Yes you are. You just don't know it. But I can prove it to you."
Clara said, "No thank you. Goodbye." Clara turned again and headed down the fence rail towards her house.
The Sheriff said, "Wait a minute! Did I say you could go? I'm here on official business. You have to stay right here and do I tell you until I say you can go."
Clara turned around and said, "I'm sorry. I didn't know."
The Sheriff said, "Being ignorant of the law is no excuse for breaking the law."
Clara said, "But I didn't break any law, did I?"
The Sheriff said, "Yes, you did!"
Clara said, "I did? I'm sorry. Really I am. I didn't know. I don't have to go to prison, do I? I don't like being in tiny spaces!"
The Sheriff said, "That's funny. I LOVE being in tiny spaces. It's my favorite thing of all."
Clara asked, "What did I do wrong?"
The Sheriff said, "You're too beautiful. You’ve exceed the legal limits."
Clara said, "No I'm not! This is a joke, right? That's funny! I thought you were serious!"
With a very stern expression on his face, the Sheriff said, "I'm DEADLY serious!"
Clara said, "But lots of people are prettier than me … Lana, Emily, my Mommy! Almost everyone I know is prettier than me!"
The Sheriff said, "Well, some of the people you mentioned have been punished for their crimes already … and they aren't as beautiful as they once were. Currently, they are within the legal beauty limits, but you are way off the scale!"
Clara was trembling in fear and shame. She said, "I'm sorry. I won't do it again. Tell me what to do."
The Sheriff said, "It's a little late for that. Get down here!" Clara climbed down from the fence and cautiously walked up to him. He said, "I'll have to handcuff you, put you in the back of my car and take you someplace."
Clara screamed, "NO! PLEASE! A car is TOO SMALL. Tell me where I have to meet you and I'll be there, but I can't get into a car!"
The Sheriff said, "Well, your Dad is a close personal friend of mine, so maybe we don't have to do this in the car."
Clara said, "Thank you, Sir!"
The Sheriff said, "Let's go into the field where the wheat is tall enough so you won't be embarrassed if anyone comes by."
Clara said, "Thank you!"
The Sheriff took Clara's hand and held it tight. Together they walked into the field.
The Sheriff said, "This is a good spot. I need to start by checking to make sure that you don't have any weapons on you.”
Clara said, "I don't. I promise. I don't!"
The Sheriff said, "I believe you, Honey. Honestly, I do. But I'm sorry, I have to check. It's standard operating procedure." Sheriff Ethan got on his knees in front of Clara and methodically touched her from head to foot. Tears started running down Clara's face, but the Sheriff ignored her tears and continued to grope her for quite awhile. The Sheriff said, "Now I am required by law to test how guilty you are before determining the extent to which I have to punish you. This test will verify whether or not you're actually beyond the legal limits of beauty. This is a serious, scientific test that you are required to take." Sheriff stood up, unzipped his pants and exposed himself to Clara. Clara stood frozen in fear in front of him. He said, "I need you to hold this in your hand. If it gets bigger or harder or both, you are too beautiful."
Clara said, "I can't touch that!"
The Sheriff said, "Okay, I'll put you in my patrol car, and we'll go someplace. But you'll have to touch it eventually. That's the law."
Clara put out her arm and stepped forward. She turned her head away and couldn't bring herself to touch the Sheriff. He stepped forward and placed her hand where he wanted it to be. He closed his hand around hers, pushing her fingers so that she gripped him. The Sheriff said, "We'll have to do the test over and over again until you do it right."
Clara became more and more frightened as she felt what was in her hand get bigger and warmer and harder. The way it was growing told her that she was in serious trouble. Finally, the Sheriff said, "That proves it beyond a shadow of doubt – you’re guilty!"
Clara shouted, "OH NO! I’m sorry! I’m SO SORRY! I won’t be pretty anymore. I PROMISE!”
He said, "It's too late for that now. You have to be punished."
Clara asked, "Do I have to go to prison?"
He said, "No, the punishment for the first offense is a spanking. But I will be watching you. The next time, I won't get off so easy." The Sheriff laughed, "I mean, YOU won't get off so easy." The Sheriff put his testing device away and zipped up his pants.
Clara asked, "Do my Mommy and Daddy have to know that I was bad?"
He said, "As a minor, they are responsible for your actions. They are as guilty in this as you are. If you continue to be this beautiful, I will have to administer more and more severe punishments. As long as you cooperate and submit to the punishments, your parents don't need to know anything. But if you EVER refuse punishment for your crimes, they will be thrown in prison for a very long time."
Clara said, "OH NO! That’s not fair! It’s my fault. Don’t put them in jail. I’ll do whatever I have to!”
Sheriff Ethan said, "That's what I like to hear!" The Sheriff sat on the ground and motioned for Clara to come to him. When she did, he laid her across his lap. He lifted her tiny skirt. She jerked in surprise when he pulled down her underpants. Then he began spanking her. After what seemed like forever, he pulled her pants back up and stroked her legs, thighs and the area in between. Clara somehow managed not to scream. The Sheriff said, "That's all for today. But remember, I'll be watching you … and next time … NEXT time, your punishment will make this seem like nothing."
Clara walked out of the field and the Sheriff followed her. He said, "You never will learn, will you?! You're prettier now than when we went into the field. Maybe I should put you in my car right now."
Clara said, "Oh, NO! PLEASE!"
The Sheriff said, "Stay right here. If you leave, I'll go and tell your parents about you, and then arrest them. I have to radio the station and decide what to do with you." The Sheriff walked across a road and reached into his squad car for the handset of his radio. He pushed the button on the handset and said, "This is Sheriff Ethan. Copy?"
The voice on the radio said, "Go ahead, Sheriff."
The Sheriff said, "I have personal business to attend to for an hour or two … maybe three. I'll contact you when I'm available to take calls. Over."
The voice said, "I copy that Sheriff. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
The Sheriff put the microphone back in the cruiser and looked around inside until he found a couple pairs of handcuffs. He turned and looked back across the road to make sure Clara was waiting for him. He smiled at her from across the road and started towards her.
Clara saw a semi truck rushing down the road towards the Sheriff. In a blur of motion, she headed towards him, but she stopped suddenly 10 feet before reaching him. She looked into his eyes until the truck struck the Sheriff and send his body flying. The truck never slow down or stopped. Clara walked up to the Sheriff's bloody body and looked down at him. He turned his head slightly to get a better view up Clara's skirt. He smiled a brief and final smile then died.
Clara stared at him for a moment or two before letting out a wail. Despite crying convulsively, she managed to turn and run home. In an instant, she was in the bedroom in the Kent farmhouse where her clothes were kept. She stood in front of her closet, pulled out any of her clothes that were in any way flattering and piled them on the floor. In a burst of heat vision, the clothes turned to ash. Martha ran in and saw Clara crying in front of the pile of ruined clothes. Martha said, "Oh, Honey! I'm sure it was an accident. We can get you some pretty new clothes. Don't worry about it."
Clara said, "Mom, am I old enough to pick out my own clothes now? I want to dress differently from now on."
Martha said, "Okay, Honey, just as long as you don't pick out anything too provocative or revealing. You don't want to get the wrong kind of attention, after all."
Clara said, "You don't have to worry about that, Mom. I won't be pulling any more strings."
Martha Kent answered the front door. A woman in uniform stood there. Martha asked, "Can I help you?"
The woman said, "My name is Nancy Adams. I'm acting Sheriff for the time being. I don't know if you can help me or not. You probably know what happened to Sheriff Ethan, don't you?"
Martha said, "Yes. It was a terrible shame. He was a close friend of my husband, Jon. They went to school together. He was over here all the time. Oh, I'm Martha Kent by the way."
Sheriff Adams asked, "And who's that peeking out from the kitchen?"
Martha said, "Oh, that's my daughter Clara. She's a little shy, but I'm sure her curiosity will get her out here in a moment."
The Sheriff asked, "Are there any other members of your family or any farm hands that might've been around a day that Sheriff Ethan died?
Martha said, "No, there is only us three."
The Sheriff said, "It's a mighty big place for only two adults to manage."
Martha said, "Oh, we manage to get by somehow. Clara is a lot more help than you might think."
The Sheriff said, "I'll bet she is. ... Sheriff Ethan was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the road adjoining the west end of your property. I was hoping that maybe one of you saw the incident and could help us identify the vehicle … possibly the driver."
Jonathan came downstairs and said, "What is it Martha?"
Martha said, "This is Sheriff Adams."
Jon reached out his hand in greeting and Sheriff Adams took it. He said, "I'm glad to meet you, Sheriff. It's good to see that the county wasted no time in seeing that we have someone to watch over us."
The Sheriff said, "I think I'm going to like it here. Folks have been very friendly."
Martha said, "Sheriff Adams wants to know if anyone here saw the hit and run driver that killed Sheriff Ethan. I was about to tell her that we hadn't. Sheriff, had any of us seen anything, we would have talked with each other about it and reported anything that could help you find the driver."
The Sheriff asked, "Do you know of any reason why Sheriff Ethan might have pulled off the road near your property on that day?"
Jon said, "None whatsoever. My best guess would be that he pulled over a speeder or something."
The Sheriff said, "Logical guess, but he would've radioed in to say that he pulled someone over ... and would have given the dispatcher the license plate number of the vehicle. All he said was that he was going to stretch his legs for a few minutes. Then he called in and reported that he would be unavailable for a few hours due to personal business. I was hoping that maybe the personal business was with you. But, if that was the case, why did he park so far away from the house?"
Jon said, "He may have been headed this way, but he never got here. Maybe he stopped to have a cigarette before coming to pay us a visit. Martha has a low tolerance for cigarette smoke."
The Sheriff said, "Well, I've taken up enough of you folks’ valuable time. Thanks for your trouble."
Jon said, "No trouble at all. I wish we could help. I'm very big on people stepping up and taking responsibility for their actions … and for being held accountable when they don't."
Martha said, "Where are my manners?! Why don't you come in for some coffee? I just made some banana nut muffins. They're still warm, and, hopefully, Clara hasn't gobbled them all up yet."
Sheriff Adams said, "I couldn't possibly impose. I’d better be on my way."
Martha said, "No imposition." Turning towards the kitchen, Martha said, "Clara, bring Sheriff Adams a couple muffins."
Clara ran up to the Sheriff and handed her the muffins. Sheriff Adams said, "Why, aren't you the prettiest little thing?!"
Clara looked terrified. She shouted, "OH NO! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be!" Clara looked like she was going to cry.
Sheriff Adams asked, "What?"
Clara said, "I didn't mean to be pretty."
Sheriff Adams laughed and said, "Well, Darlin', it ain't no crime!"
Clara said, "Yes it is! Sheriff Ethan said it is!"
Sheriff Adams said, "Well, I'm Sheriff now. And I wouldn't allow a law like that. Heck, I’d have to arrest myself every time I looked in the mirror!" Sheriff Adams laughed at her own joke. Martha and Jon smiled, but Clara didn't."
Clara pointed at Sheriff Adams and said, "I have to talk to you!"
Jon said, "Okay, if you have something to say to the Sheriff, we can all go into the kitchen and …”
Clara said, "No, Daddy, please! It's personal. I want to talk to her alone."
Martha said, "Honey, anything you have to tell her, you can tell us."
Clara said, "No, I can't. She'll tell you after!"
Martha said, "Honey, what is it?"
Clara said, "NO! I want to tell HER!"
The Sheriff said, "If it's okay with you folks, I'll take a little walk with your daughter … Clara … right? I think she really wants to tell me something that's bothering her."
Jon said, "I don't know what's gotten into her the last few days. She hasn't been quite her self. You can talk to her alone, but … Clara does have a vivid imagination, so ….”
The Sheriff said, "I'll take that into account. I believe I have a grain of salt in my utility belt. And I still remember was it was like to be a little girl, even though that was a long, long time ago."
Jon said, "Okay. Clara, we love you Honey." Martha forced a smile as Clara walked out the front door and headed down the sidewalk with the Sheriff.
The Sheriff enjoyed eating the banana nut muffins as she walked silently down the driveway with Clara. Clara waited until they were a far away from the house before she said, "I'm going to have to explain to you how to do it because the electric chair won't work on me."
The Sheriff said, "You are a very puzzling child. Why would I put you in an electric chair?"
Clara said, "Because I … because I killed him!"
The Sheriff said, "Who did you kill?"
Clara said, "I killed the Sheriff."
Sheriff Adams said, "Do you drive? You look a little young for it."
Clara said, "I can drive a tractor. I could probably drive a car or truck, but I'm too scared to get inside anything that small."
Sheriff Adams asked, "Well then, how did you kill Sheriff Ethan? He was killed by a hit-and-run vehicle."
Clara said, "I saw it. I saw the truck coming. He didn't see it. He could only see me. He was coming across the road to punish me again. I could've gotten to him in time. I could've pushed them out of the way. I could've yelled to him to tell him the truck was coming. But I didn't. I DIDN'T" The tears started rolling down Clara's cheeks. She did her best to continue to talk as she gasped for air. She said, "I let the truck kill him. Then I ... then I watched him die … and left him there. I didn't want to kill him … but I couldn't help myself. And part of me … is GLAD I killed him … is glad he's dead. I know, I deserved what he did to me, but I'd never wanted that to happen again … and he said it would be worse next time. I was so afraid of what it was going to do to me when he crossed the street again. I was so angry that he had punished me that way … that he had touched me that way … when nobody had ever warned me that what I was doing was wrong. He told me ignorance of the law is no excuse. So it WAS my fault … but I didn’t like what he did to me. I wanted to save his life … but it kind of felt like that truck … saved MY life. Now, I'm not so much angry anymore, but now it's too late for me to help him. I COULD have done something. I SHOULD have done something. It's ALL my fault!" Clara opened her mouth to say more, but she could only gasp for air. She hung her head forward, and her whole body trembled and shook as she sobbed uncontrollably.
The Sheriff looked at her for a moment, then reached out a hand, grabbed Clara by the back of the neck and pulled her into an embrace. She said, "It's the driver of the truck's fault. AND it was the Sheriff's fault for not looking before he crossed the road."
When Clara could finally speak again, she said, "It was my fault! I was too pretty, so he couldn’t look away … like a cat and a string … I could've stopped it … and he wouldn't have been coming across the street if I wasn't so bad.”
The Sheriff said, "What were you doing that was so bad?"
Clara said, "I told you. I was too pretty. I wore a short dress … and he saw my underpants … and he had to watch me. He told me that God made men so that they have to watch me like that. He had to watch me, just like a cat has to chase a string. I forced him to watch. It was his duty to punish me. He searched me for weapons, tested me to see if I was too pretty, decided I was guilty and punished me. But I was so bad that he had to punish me more. So he went back to his car and told some man on the radio that he needed two or three hours. Then he got some handcuffs and looked at me all spooky-like. Then he started back across the street to punish me some more. That's when I let the truck hit him."
The Sheriff asked, "What kind of test did he give you?"
Clara said, "He took the part that men have that women don't out of his pants and made me hold on to it. It got bigger and harder and warmer. You know what that meant!"
The Sheriff stared off into space. Her face tensed, hardened and became noticeably redder. She gritted her teeth for a few moments before saying, "Tell me what that meant."
Clara said, "You know. It meant that I was beyond the legal limit -- that I was too pretty. That I was a very bad girl and had to be punished for it.”
The Sheriff asked, "And how … how did he punish you for it?"
Clara said, "He spanked my bare bottom."
Sheriff asked, "Any thing else?"
Clara said, "Then, I think he was trying to be nice and comfort me. He stroked my legs and other parts to try to make me feel better … but it made me feel worse than being spanked."
Sheriff asked, "Any thing else?"
Clara said, "He was going to do more. I don't know what he was going to do … because before he could cross the road to do it, he died."
The Sheriff said, "I'm going to ask you a few more questions now, just to make sure I understand everything. Please, be honest with me."
Clara said, "I'll try."
The Sheriff asked, "Has any man ever asked you to touch him the way Sheriff Ethan made you touch him?"
Clara said, "No."
The Sheriff asked, "Has anyone else ever punished you like that?"
Clara said, "Yes, I got spanked once."
The Sheriff asked, "With your pants down?"
Clara said, "No."
The Sheriff asked, "By your Daddy?"
Clara said, "No. A neighbor lady spanked me because I pulled her daughter out of the river."
Sheriff Adams said, "That sounds like a story for a different day. So, your parents never spank you at all?"
Clara said, "No. I try my best to be good. But once, Mommy was upset because I wouldn't eat and she said she would spank me if I didn't. I still wouldn't eat, so she laid me across her lap – but she started crying and had me stand in the corner instead."
The Sheriff said, "If the rest of your Mother's cooking is as good as her muffins, I can’t imagine her having to punish you to make you eat! But all that's important here and now is that your parents don't spank you. If they don't spank you at all, then they're not spanking you too hard or too often. Does your Daddy ever touch you?"
Clara said, "Yes, all the time. Big hugs and kisses."
Sheriff Adams asked, "Anything else?
Clara asked, "What else is there?"
Sheriff Adams asked, "Do you ever sleep in your Daddy's bed with him?"
Clara said, "NO! His bedroom is too small. I can't stay in small rooms very long."
Sheriff Adams asked, "Does he sleep in your bed?"
Clara said, "No. But sometimes, he sleeps in the chair in front of the TV and snores. A couple times, I had Mommy sleep with me when Daddy was out of town. I told her that I was lonely because Daddy was gone … but it was really because I knew Mommy was lonely and can't sleep when she’s missing Daddy.”
Sheriff Adams asked, "So you saw Sheriff Ethan die."
Clara said, "Yes, Ma'am."
The Sheriff asked, "Did you ever see anyone die before?"
Clara said, "Yes."
Sheriff Adams asked, "Who?"
Clara said, "My parents."
Sheriff Adams asked, "Aren’t Jon and Martha your parents?"
Clara answered, "Yes, they are now. I'm adopted."
Sheriff Adams asked, "Can you tell me anything about the truck that hit Sheriff Ethan?"
Clara said, "It was an 18 wheeler with a flatbed. It was hauling fabricated metal components with Luther Corp. logos on them. It was probably heading to the fertilizer plant. The cab was yellow and red, and it had the name Miller Trucking painted on the door in blue letters. I didn't see the license plate. The truck couldn't have stopped in time. The Sheriff stepped right into it. The driver probably didn't know that the Sheriff was going to try to cross the road before the truck passed."
Sheriff Adams said, "Then how do you think that you could've pushed him back in time?”
Clara said, "I'm very fast."
Sheriff Adams said, "No one's that fast."
Clara said, "I am … and I could've saved him if I wanted to."
Sheriff Adams said, "Well, I'm glad you didn't try. You could've gotten hurt, and you’ve gotten hurt enough. I'm of a mind to hunt down that truck driver just to pin a medal on him. I only wish Sheriff Ethan were alive so I could kick him all the way across the state.”
Clara said, "But he had to do what he did. I was beyond the legal limit. I pulled his string."
The Sheriff said, "HE was the one who went beyond his legal limits! There is NO law against being pretty … and it's not a woman's fault if a man decides to pay more attention to her that she wants him to. NEVER let a man touch you like that, unless you want him to."
Clara asked, "Why would I want a man to touch me like that?"
Sheriff Adams said, "Well, that is another story too."
Clara asked, "But if a police officer tells you to do something, don't you have to do it?"
Sheriff Adams said, "You have to submit to being lightly frisked down and go with him. But don't disrobe for a male officer. A female officer of the court should be present if that is necessary. An officer is sometimes forced to make judgments in an emergency situation and look for suspicious people, but it is not the officer's job to judge the legal guilt or innocence of a person or determine their punishment. Sheriff Ethan was NOT acting as a law-enforcement officer. If what you told me is true, and I don't doubt for one minute that it is, he was abusing his position and was guilty of criminal behavior."
Clara said, "I don't want to be pretty anymore, even if it isn't against law."
The Sheriff said, "I understand that completely. I made a similar choice years ago. Men can reward you for being pretty … and they can punish you. I only let my light shine for men I can trust -- men that deserve me."
Clara said, "Could I ask you a question?"
The Sheriff said, "That would only be fair, since I asked you so many. Go ahead."
Clara asked, "Where do you get pants that fit like that? I want some."
Sheriff Adams said, "I buy men's pants. The cut isn't as flattering, but they are comfortable. Let me get you back the house. I'm sure your parents are worried."
Clara said, "You won't tell them what he did, will you?"
Sheriff Adams said, "Only a little. They’re good people. I'm sure you could tell them anything."
Clara said, "It would be too embarrassing … and it would get them all upset."
Sheriff Adams said, "Getting upset is part of being a parent. But don't worry, I’ll let you tell them what you want to, when you want to."
Clara asked, "Am I under arrest?”
Sheriff Adams said, "No, Darlin'. You didn't kill him. Even if you did, I wouldn't arrest you for it. There's no law against a farm girl killin' a pig."
Martha and Jon met the Sheriff at the door. Martha asked, "Where did Clara go? Is everything okay?"
Sheriff Adams said, "She said something about going to tell her dog that everything was okay. But dogs are pretty smart. I'm bettin’ that hers will know better than to believe her. I think Clara is strong and will get better, but it will take time. She may look okay now, but she's been pretty traumatized. Your daughter saw Sheriff Ethan die right in front of her. She feels guilty because she didn't help them. I don't think she could've helped him -- but she THINKS she could have. She was actually blaming herself for his death. I think Clara also felt guilty because she didn't like Sheriff Ethan very much. It seems he had a disproportionate interest in pretty little girls, and Clara was frightened of him. She thinks she would have saved his life if she had liked him. She also felt guilty because he was so busy looking at her that he didn't see the truck coming. You might find that her new fashion tastes will tend towards styles designed to make men look the other way."
Jon said, "Are you saying that Ethan ... did something to MY Clara?"
Sheriff Adams said, "What I'm telling you is, this case is CLOSED. It sounds like you're doing a great job with your daughter, but just try to be especially patient with her in the near future. She gave me some good information on the truck. The driver may not have even known that he hit Sheriff Ethan. I hope not. I'd hate to think that the driver is living in guilt for something that seems to have been the Sheriff's fault. You've got a good little girl there, Mr. and Mrs. Kent … but she does have an over exaggerated sense of responsibility for the world. I'll keep a special eye out for her in the future. Oh, by the way Mrs. Kent, the muffins were excellent. I'd ask for the recipe, but I imagine I'd eat too many of them … and I'll bet there won't be too many opportunities to burn off calories in a sleepy little town like this one.