Yes, it's a crossover between the live-action television version of The Incredible Hulk and The Andy Griffith Show. No, I don't know why.
Set four years after the events of Return to Mayberry
* * *
North Carolina, 1990
WELCOME TO MAYBERRY, NC
The last of David’s money, save for five dollars, had paid for the bus trip from Raleigh to this little town. He knew he should have walked or hitchhiked to avoid paying a fare, but the urge to get as far away from the city had been too much to ignore. Too close that time, he thought to himself. And while little towns had their own share of difficulties for him, at least it was a shorter distance to reach the road again.
The Greyhound bus sighed to a halt and the doors slid open. No station here, just a bench with a green painted corrugated awning over it, next a large shady oak tree at the edge of the town square. A young woman stepped out, waving to an older couple that waited by the tree , obviously her parents. David slipped out behind her, shouldering his knapsack, the only luggage he carried, with his spare clothes, shaving kit, and an extra pair of cheap sneakers. If there was a Goodwill store in this town he’d have to get another pair as soon as he could afford it.
David looked up and down the street. A man with thinning red hair was approaching from down the street, pulling a wagon filled with stacked newspapers, a cheerful looking red haired boy of maybe four years age walking beside him and chattering happily. David smiled slightly at the sight and turned away, only to bump straight into the police officer.
“Hey there!” the officer shouted. He was short, skinny man, barely over 5 and a half feet in height, a high peaked hat sitting on his balding head, with protuberant eyes and a prominent Adam’s apple. Recovering quickly he stood up straight, hooking his thumbs in his gun belt, looking over David suspiciously. “New in town, eh?” he asked, his voice too high pitched to manage a growl.
“Er, yes officer,” David said, backing up a step as he silently cursed his luck. He hadn’t even been in town for five minutes before bumping into the Law. And these little towns, especially in the South, always had something ugly underneath them, usually starting with a corrupt sheriff that had been in place since before the Voting Rights Act.
“Wellllll you be careful,” the officer drawled. “I’m Deputy Fife, and I keep an eye on new folks who come into town.” He tugged on his gun belt with his thumbs, then kept tugging, looking down in dismay as the right one got stuck in his belt loop.
“You okay, Barney?” the red headed man asked, coming up beside them.
“Oh, hey Opie, hey Junior. Yep, just greetin’ this stranger here,” Deputy Fife replied amiably, still tugging futility at his belt. The little boy giggled, while his father reached over and disentangled the older man from his predicament. “Thanks, Ope.” He turned back to David, waggling his finger. “I’ll be watching you,” he stated, before turning away and walking off with a Bantam strut.
“Uncle Barney’s silly!” the boy stated.
His father grinned. “He sure is.” Turned back to David, he stuck out his hand. “Opie Taylor. Welcome to Mayberry.”
“Oh, hello. I’m David. Er, Belsen, David Belsen,” David shook hands briefly, Opie looking at him with considerably more friendliness than the deputy.
Opie grinned. “Good to meet you, David. Don’t mind, Barney. He always hangs around when the bus comes in. I think he gets bored sometimes.” He spoke to his son. “Hey, Junior. Want to give David a paper?”
“Sure!” Junior took the top newspaper off the pile in the wagon, handing it to David. “The Mayberry Gazette,” the boy announced proudly. “The best paper this side of Mount Pilot!”
“Thank you,” David told him, fishing in his pocket for a quarter.
“Naw, the first issue’s free,” Opie said, waving him down. “$1.50 a week, $2.00 if you want the Sunday edition.”
“I’ll think about it,” David carefully. “Though I do thank you, I was going to get a copy anyway and check the want ads.”
“Looking for work?” Obie asked.
“Yes,” he admitted.
“Can you drive? I always need somebody to deliver papers.”
“I, uh, don’t have a license right now,” he admitted. At least not in David Belsen’s name.
“Know anything about computers, like WordPerfect?”
David nodded. “A bit, yes.” Most home computers were pretty easy to use in comparison to, say, a hospital CAT scanner, he’d found.
“Terrific,” Opie said eagerly. “I bought this fancy new system to do all the page layouts and I can’t make heads nor tails of it. Tell you what, you find yourself a place to stay and then come over to my office. It's right down on the corner. By the time you get settled I should be done delivering the afternoon edition and we can talk.”
“Thank you,” David said sincerely. “Do you know a good place to stay?”
“Well there’s the YMCA three blocks down, or Mrs. Mendelbright's boarding house on Elm St.”
“Thank you. I’ll check out the Y. Good to meet you, Mr. Taylor.”
Taylor laughed. “Just Opie. My pa’s Mr. Taylor. Well, Sheriff Taylor.”
“Sheriff Taylor?” David asked cautiously.
“Yep.” Opie waved cheerfully and started pulling his wagon again. “See you around, David. Welcome to Mayberry!”
“Thanks,” David said, nonplussed, still wondering if coming to this sleepy looking town was a good idea or not.