“Where is Sheriff Pecks?” Molly asked.

“Out at Lake Blissful,” the desk deputy replied.

Molly’s brow furrowed. “Did someone get eaten by a crocodile?” (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include Winter Storm Snicker and The UFO Experiment. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….

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The deputy studied Molly’s face for a moment before replying. “Umm, there are no crocodiles up here. Some college kids had a party at the campground up there and left a bunch of trash. Ben Gilmore was pretty upset.”

Molly nodded. Ben ran the state campground at Lake Blissful. She once tried to interview him for a story about massive, rampaging bears. Ben denied having seen or heard of any such beasts, and Molly’s editor canceled the story.

“Okay, I’ll find him at the lake, then,” Molly said.

She turned to leave and met Deputy Jim Cingel on his way in. Molly flashed Jim a so-beautiful-it-must-be-filmed-in-soft-focus smile as she left. Jim grinned and backed through the door as he watched Molly walk to her car.

“Watch it!” the duty deputy called out, too late.

Jim tripped on the rug bearing the sheriff’s seal and tumbled into the duty deputy’s desk with a yelp of pain.

“Are you okay, Jim?” the duty deputy asked, leaning over her desk.

“I think I sprained my wrist,” Jim said.

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“Hi Ben!” Molly said as she climbed out of her car at the Lake Blissful camp office. “Is Sheriff Pecks around?”

Ben shook his head. “Left about ten minutes ago. Headed over to the college.”

“Hrmm,” Molly said. “Did he hear about a secret research project, like breeding a shark with an octopus or something?”

“Uhh, no,” Ben said. “Bunch of kids left some trash a their party last night. Found a receipt with a name on it, so the sheriff’s going to cite them for littering.”

“He didn’t say anything about secret research projects?” Molly asked.

Ben gave her a long look. “Why would you think there was anything like that going on at our local community college?”

Molly laughed. “Because I watch every SyFy movie. I’ll go find him at the college and get to the bottom of this, before we have a disaster on our hands.”

“I’m sure he’ll be thrilled,” Ben muttered as Molly sped away with a spray of gravel that nicked Ben’s shin.

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Sheriff Pecks had come and gone at the college biology lab, having cited Bobby Bowlder for littering. Bobby scrambled to corral the flatworms crawling out of the jar that a local reporter, asking absurd questions about breeding piranha with anacondas, as if a local community college might let a freshman do anything that interesting, had left open on her way out.

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“Ahh, there you are, Sheriff!” Molly said as she walked into the college weather center. “Here to investigate their research on ice tornadoes?”

“Err … huh?” Sheriff Brad Pecks asked. “No. I just stopped by to see if this is a good weekend to hit the links.”

“And I was just telling him it won’t be,” Professor Willow Reid said, pointing to her satellite data readout.

Molly’s eyes narrowed. “What are we looking at? A Category Six Hurricane? A solar ion storm?”

“Just light rain all weekend,” the professor replied with a laugh as she reached for the pot of coffee on her desktop hotplate.

“Look out!” Molly and the sheriff said in unison.

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Have fun!