From: the Vintage Toyshop Series
by: Barbara Early
Ken Young, here. Chief Ken Young.
I got one of those alumni update requests the other day. You know, the same ones that start just after the final bar of Pomp and Circumstance and always come with a request to make a donation to this or that scholarship fund. One of these days, I might actually send them something. (Don’t expect too much, though. I’m just a small town police chief.)
I’ll bet half my class doesn’t know what happened to me. It was an unusual career move in many respects. Not sure anyone would have predicted that I’d migrate from North Carolina to this far north of the Mason-Dixon, especially to a town which many Buffalonians consider to be well in the snow belt. Nor was the job offer one that comes around every day. Most departments promote from within. And generally, the mayor chooses a candidate he knows well, who has worked for the department for years. Such was the case with my predecessor, who is now serving time for embezzlement of department funds. Nor was it clear, at the time of his sudden departure, whether he worked alone, which is how the opportunity came to my attention. Right when I needed a change.
It can be hard, getting up to speed in a new town, learning who I can trust and who I can’t, who’s helpful, and who’s trying to set me up for a fall. The mayor seems like a good egg, so I try hard to stay in his good graces. His wife seems a little too friendly, if you get my meaning. (THAT did not go in the alumni news.)
There’s still an old police chief around—he served before the embezzlement. He’s retired and owns a toy store. Only he doesn’t like to stay retired. I can’t blame him. This is a hard job to leave, and he does seem sincere about wanting to help. But too much of that and I’ll never earn the respect I need to run this department. Still, I can’t totally shut him out of things. He’s got the support of the town. So for now, I try to keep him at arm’s length. Hard, when he keeps showing up at crime scenes.
And, oh, yes. He has a daughter.
Overall, it’s a nice place to live. Good people, mostly. Some great restaurants. A great creek for fishing and some nice hunting spots. I now own such luxuries as a snow brush, a snow blower, and a good warm pair of boots. I’ve even been pricing snowmobiles of my own, after riding the department’s on a few calls during the worst of a storm when the roads weren’t passable. I can’t say I need one, but for someone who never even went sledding as a kid, the feeling of skimming above the snow—and adding a motor? Yeah, I kind of like it here.
Read more about Ken Young in Death of a Toy Soldier, available now, and Murder on the Toy Town Express, releasing October 2017!