24 April 2015

U is for Uriah

... as in Uriah Heep. You're probably familiar with the character from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

Or you might remember the 1970s band of the same name.

Now meet one of my newest novel characters, Sheriff Uriah Heep. (Pictures in this previous blog post.) Here's an excerpt from the book that tells more about him:
Uriah Heep never meant to come back to Morristown, Colorado. He certainly never planned to become county sheriff. His grand escape came straight out of high school and into a big city college on a ROTC scholarship.

 Not that he was much into the military coming from a long line of ranchers. He certainly wasn't interested in flying an airplane or maneuvering a tank. That was way too much like ranch work. Somehow, without really knowing how it happened except without a lot of thought, he ended up as an officer heading up a military police patrol unit.

It seemed like an okay job until he shipped out to the Middle East and ended up on checkpoints that saw way too many explosions. And shattered body parts. And death. Three tours of desert duty were enough for any man. His time was up right about the time his father died. They called him home for the funeral.
After that, it was an easy jump to take a part-time position with the county sheriff’s office. He’d needed more time to settle his dad’s estate, a considerable one that included a cattle spread. Ranching wasn't how he wanted to spend his time, so the job as deputy sheriff gave him a good excuse to avoid 10,000 acres of wide open range land that was now all his. He didn't have a damned clue what he should do with it.

Then the old sheriff died, and he’d inherited that position too. A couple of years passed, most days in relative peace and quiet. Before very long, the job and the ranch fit him like a pair of comfortable shoes, though he couldn't figure out how that had happened.

Planning for his reelection next year had already started. The Denver firm he’d hired to handle his campaign had come up with a great slogan: Stay on the right side of the law or you’ll be in a Heep of trouble. He figured his 5,000 county neighbors would get a chuckle out of that, and a little humor along with a real, planned promotion couldn't hurt. Not that he thought he’d have a tough time winning an election.

Everything in his life seemed to be going well enough. But Uriah Heep wasn't one to take anything for granted. Ever.
Do you think names like this are a little unkind? I sometime wonder what parents are thinking when they give their children "clever" monikers that might mean something to the parent... but not necessarily to the name-bearing child who has to live with it all their life.


Stepheny Houghtlin said...

Happy that I have found your blog to follow during the #Challenge. Another interesting post.

Dani said...

Thanks, Stepheny! Happy to make a new friend!

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