“I mean it, Ken. I’ve never met anyone else like you. I’ve met plenty of men like Reginald, and I’m glad that men like him exist, but they won’t do what you do- not even a measure of it. So hemming and hawing while the bad guys rape, kill, run drugs, terrorize people-“
“-and run government agencies, organize into gangs and families, even set up cults. They do all of that, and so much more- and worse. Big-timers, small-timers, all sorts doing all sorts of bad stuff to all sorts of decent people- but it’s not without remedy.”
Kathy kissed Ken’s cheek.
“Marisol’s taking her life seriously now. She won’t be a victim anymore, and her kids won’t be victims anymore either. Lots of people I’ve helped over the years got the point and started taking care of themselves, much like you and Reggie do. It’s getting better, but it’s not sexy so it doesn’t get on the news.”
“You really think so?”
Ken smiled and nodded.
“You’re still, at heart, an idealist.” Kathy said, “That’s why I want to ensure that there’s more like you to come.”
“I have no problem with that.” Ken said, holding her close, “Others might—not Reggie; he’s so cool that sometimes I think him more than human—but their opinion doesn’t matter. Besides, it’s not like anyone but us needs to know who begat whom.”
Kathy smiled. It wasn’t just the happy smile, but the knowing smile. Ken smiled back, and he also got what Kathy meant.
“I’m glad that you see it my way.” Kathy said, and the two stopped talking for a while.
Ken and Kathy dozed on the front porch when the distant rumble of a car on the road woke Ken up. Ken rubbed his eyes, clearing his vision, and figured from the headlights and the noise that a truck approached the house- and, thankfully, just one truck.
“Get up!” Ken said, whispering, “Get up, Kathy, and get inside.”
Kathy sat up. “What’s going on?”
Ken grabbed her by the arm and pointed out the approaching truck. “That’s going on. Get inside!”
Kathy didn’t move fast enough, so Ken pulled her to her feet and hurried her into the house. He threw on a shirt, grabbed a rifle from the cabinet and loaded it as he went back outside to see who this unexpected visitor was. The truck stopped when the headlights lit up the front porch, but even so Ken stilled noticed the light bar atop the truck’s roof. He recognized now the Sheriff’s Department truck, and relaxed his guard a bit. Here, unlike many other counties, Ken got along well enough with them.
A man got out from the driver’s side. “Just the man I’d been looking for.”
Ken recognized the voice. “I’d like to put the rifle down, Sheriff. I sure hope you’re here to be sociable.”