The Big Rack

                It was a warm, windy morning.  My window was open and the breeze had cooled things off somewhat.  The door to my office slammed open.

            A man stood there.  I was glad, because the last time it was a monkey holding a football and I still hadn’t gotten all the bananas out of the carpet.

            “I’m looking for a big rack for next deer season,” the man said and casually leaned against the frame. 

“Don’t you know better than to lean against frames?” I asked.  “Straighten it up and sit down over there.”  I walked to the closet without taking my eyes off him, opened the door and selected a wooden coat rack.  I handed it to him.  He examined it.  “Now that’s a nice rack.”

            “Thanks,” I said, smiling slightly and gratefully wove my way around and between his feet.  I’m an Outdoor Detective.  We perfected slight smiles.

            “But what I had in mind was a nice set of antlers,” he clarified.  “I want something for my wall.”

             “For your wall,” I repeated, thinking.


            “How about a diploma?”

            “That would be nice.”

            “But you’re really looking for a trophy.”

            “Now you understand.”

            “How about this one!” I shouted suddenly and slid a gold trophy across my desk.

            “Bowling,” he read off the engraved plaque.  “Highest Attendance In A Season.”

            “Whadda ya think of that?”

            “I’ve seen better.”

             “Oh, a hardcase, huh?”

            He looked down beside him.  “No, this one is Cordura.”

            We eyed each other across the desk.  Mine dried out first and I had to blink.  I blinked the right one first.  Then the left.

            He winked, slowly.  I was worried, wondering just what kind of man I had in my office.

            “You want me to find you a rack,” I repeated, clarifying my position.

            “At least ten points.”

            “What kind of spread?”


“You could get better odds on the next Aggie game from that bookie down the street.”

“I know.  But I heard you produced the best racks in town.”

“You want a deer under that?”

            “Of course.”

            “Oh, attitude huh?  You think you’re a tough nut to crack?”

            “Don’t try to hammer me, you stinkin’ gumshoe.”

            I opened the lower right hand drawer of my desk with my left hand, then moved the rocket launcher out of the way.  I keep it there for emergencies.  I tried to find a hammer but it was still in the way.  Reluctantly, I took the weapon out and placed it on the desk.


            “Sure,” I handed him a piece of gum.

            “No, I mean the weapon.  Is that a bazooka?”

            I examined it.  It looked vaguely familiar.  “Yes.”

            “Why do you have it in your drawer?”

            “Because a tank wouldn’t fit.”

            He chewed thoughtfully, looking at the ceiling. “It’s been such a nice day,” he said.

            “Yep, there’s been twelve inches of snow in the last couple of hours.  So how can I help you?”

            “Shovel my front walk, or find me a lease.”

            I slid one across the desk.  It came to rest beside the bowling trophy.  “Sign that lease and you can drive the car for three years, or for three thousand miles, whichever comes first.”

            “You can’t trick me,” he sneered.  “No one keeps a car for three years these days.”

            “All right.  Here, I have a lease for you in west Texas.  Big racks that can hold up to a 52 Tall.”

            “Now we’re talking,” he said.

            “We’ve been talking all along,” I argued.


            He paid me with a wad of cash big enough to choke a horse, I know because I woke up the next morning and a horse was lying in bed beside me, dead as a mackerel.  I resisted the urge to beat him, because there was no use.  Everyone says you can’t beat a dead horse.

            I went back to the office to start another day as an Outdoor Detective.




About reaviszwortham

Reavis Z. Wortham is the author of The Red River Mysteries from Poisoned Pen Press, and the Sonny Hawke thrillers from Kensington Publishing. Book 7 in the Red River series, Gold Dust releases September 4, 2018. Book 2 in the Hawke series, Hawke's War, releases May 29, 2018. The Humor Editor for Texas Fish and Game magazine, he's also a columnist for a number of newspapers and is a frequent contributor for magazines. For more fun, visit his web page at for photos, appearances, reviews, and a little look back into history with a glossary of east Texas words used in both books. Happy Perusing.
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