by Carl L. Biemiller,
edited by C. J. Carnahan and Eric Biemiller

lightning Copyright © 2005 by Eric C. Biemiller

Please respect the copyrights.
The chapter links are located at the end of each chapter.
Chapter 27

Connie and Ballard Kynwood asked their son Woodie what happened in Washington.

“What happened in Washington, Woodie?” they asked

“Nothing,” said Woodie

Emily Diana Nation’s parents asked her if she’d had a nice time in Washington.

“Did you have a nice time in Washington, dear,” they asked.

“Yes,” said Emily.

Coach Doyle Fisher asked Woodie if he’d seen a lot of big sports stars in Washington.

“Did you see a lot of big sports stars in Washington?” he asked.

“Yes,” said Woodie.

“Take five laps for missing practice yesterday,” said Coach Doyle Fisher.

“My mother called and told you I wouldn’t be here,” said Woodie.

“That’s why you ain’t takin’ ten laps,” said Coach Doyle Fisher.

Tinker Tubbs wanted to know what Woodie ate at Rembrandt Rutherford Roberts’ dinner. Rumpelstiltskin Gomez asked if Woodie had given the President Rumpel’s best wishes.

“No,” said Woodie.

“Puerto Rico be free countree som’ day anyhow,” said Rump.

Marterville had all the news it could stand from Washington without any help from Woodie Kynwood. So did much of the rest of the nation. The New York Times, The Detroit News, The Denver Post, The Atlanta Journal and Time magazine in the first editorial it had published in fifty years, called for the President’s resignation from office.

The President went on television and said that he would not resign. He also began to feed a lot of Congressmen at the taxpayer’s expense. In a series of eight meetings in six days he fed 234 Republicans in the House and the Senate corned beef hash breakfasts and hot hors d’oeuvres and cocktails before dinner. He fed forty-six Democrats as well. While they ate they listened to his pleas for support. After all, the Representatives might vote on his impeachment, and the Senators might decide his guilt or innocence.

The process was called Operation Candor.

It did not work too well.

One Senator, a man named Goldwater who had once ran for the job of president told the President, “The only time you get us down here is when you get your ass in a crack and want us to get it out for you.”

Tinker loved that remark and he repeated it. He said it in the drug store and little Benson Bartlett Beckett who was seven years old repeated it to his mother who was shopping for cavity proof toothpaste. Mrs. Beckett said she would wash little Benson’s mouth out with soap for swearing. She told her husband who said he would kick Tinker right in what the President had caught in the crack. Tinker was not worried as Mr. Beckett was in the real estate business and only weighted 125 pounds anyhow.

The real reason that the President’s Operation Candor did not work was that the White House either would not or could not be candid. Materials of evidence about wrong-doing that the Federal courts ordered from the White House vanished. One important tape had eighteen minutes of key conversations missing. It buzzed but spoke not.

The President’s main secretary who looked exactly like John Rizzo a Marterville plumber, took the blame for the buzz at first or at least, five minutes of the eighteen minutes buzz. She said she must have pushed a wrong button.

Fingers Goldfarb, the high school mechanical and scientific genius, said this could not be. He got laughed at. Later six experts on electronic recording devices told the Federal court that the tape had been deliberately erased, and several times, at that. The little judge did not laugh at them. Fingers Goldfarb went around saying , “See?”

But the best explanation for the vanished evidence came from the Army General the President kept around the White House to assist him. The General said that “some sinister force” had been responsible because only the President, the President’s secretary, and a young White House aide had access to the tape.

Woodie, Dr. Bailiff, and Congressman Otten believed the General. Most of Marterville thought that real men with names were doing the dirty work.

The talk about impeachment was heard in the Marterville beauty shop called Suzanne’s Salon where women over forty years of age went to have their hair made pretty.

“Any talk outta there is talk that you’d better take seriously,” said Congressman Otten who knew his district well.

Dimmy Doubleton, the retired high school janitor who used to let the kids smoke in the boiler room, told Charlton Caravelli, the barber, that Harry Truman, who used to be president, would have told everybody to fly me to Miami or something and to come over to the White House and take whatever they needed without bothering him.

Dimmy was not called Dimmy because he was a big brain, but he certainly agreed with anybody who thought that the Watergate case or cases had gone on too long.

“You count the three years those guys in the White House were doing all that stuff. You add a fourth in the cover-up, and a fifth covering up the cover-up. That’s five years and we’re still boilin’ along.”

So was Marterville High School’s football team.

It won its fifth game against Eastern Regional High School 17 to zilch. It won its sixth against Brunswick 9 to 0. Rumpelstiltskin Gomez kicked three field goals for all the scoring in that one. In fact, what with his extra points and the field goals Rumpel was closing in on the League leaders in scoring. Further, it must be remembered that Rumpel was kicking high school field goals. The goal posts in high school are ten yards back from the goal line so when Rumpel booted one from the forty he was kicking a fifty-yard field goal in distance.

This word gets around.

A few college coaches started to smell around the squad, and even a few scouts from the pro leagues started to sniff. They didn’t care if Rump was so short that he scuffed sand in his shoes with his fanny when he walked. They didn’t care about hair either. He could wear it down to his knees as long as he could stand out there and thump that ball for three points every time three points was needed.

The college coaches and the pro scouts who came to see Rumpel also saw Tinker, and surprisingly enough, Woodie. They saw them, as they were, of course, but also as they would be four years older and pounds heavier.

Woodie wished that he could see himself as clearly four years from now.

“I’ve tried the power,” he admitted to Dr. Bailiff during one of their sessions in Dr. Bailiff’s laboratory. “But all I get is dark pictures without meaning, and beyond a certain point, I get absolutely nothing.

“One thing though, and it bothers me. There is something I know, and I know that I know it, and it’s close enough to touch… but it won’t come. What is it?” asked Woodie.

“Something to do with your parents? With Emily? With me? With Tinker?” asked Dr. Bailiff. “Something to do with the President of the United States?”

“It might be,” said Woodie.

“Do you want me to read you?”

“Try,” said Woodie.

Dr. Bailiff did so.

“I can see what’s there, but not the significance of what’s there. You’ll have to determine that.”

“And that’s what bugs me,” said Woodie

Woodie had his fifteenth birthday. Emily turned fifteen. Tinker aged into sixteen. Rumpel couldn’t remember how old he was. John Tubbs, Tinker’s father, opened up his hotel for one night and gave a birthday party for all the high school kids who had turned fifteen in the past two months.

The party was held on the Saturday night of the day that Marterville High won its seventh football game 21 to 0 from Ronson High School and took the Regional Group III League lead.

The party was a great success because Tinker’s father had a five-piece orchestra, which played wonderfully. Tinker told him that a lot of the kids had discovered a new means of dancing with a girl actually held in the arms so close you could feel her while dancing.

“What a discovery,” said Connie Kynwood.

Coach Doyle Fisher did not think much of it.

“I don’t care what they discover after the season,” he said. “Right now I want ‘em thinking about war and red meat and smelling out a title. You think that Rumpelstiltskin Gomez is thinking about war and red meat and a title while he’s wrapping up whatever he can get his arms around on that big tall girl?”

“Football is not a be-all, end-all thing,” said Emily.

“Shut up, Emily,” said Woodie.

“My chin comes right up under your chin when we dance this way, Woodie,” said Emily.

“And it keeps right on waggling too,” said Woodie.

Woodie moped around the house the following day. He didn’t go out and he didn’t make any phone calls, except one to Emily to tell her to stay home and one to Tinker about an algebra problem he promised to help Tinker solve. He watched some of the pro football game on TV with his father and ate some peanut butter on slices of apple with his mother who was going to have spaghetti for dinner whether it seemed like a Sunday dinner or not.

“What ails you, son?” asked his father.

“Yes, what ails you, Woodie?” asked his mother.

“Nothing,” he said.

He couldn’t tell them that he had this jittery sense of waiting around, just waiting around, waiting for something and he didn’t know what.

“The time grows near a resolution.”

“And many other events hinge upon it for without trust in leadership there can only be the chaos of no leadership.”

The watchers watched and all the elements of their gleaning began to shape into a pattern of action that waited upon one triggering.

Woodie’s father read the Sunday newspaper, which was filled with gasoline rationing and many other horror stories, including the prices of anything and the lack of most things. He started to laugh.

“That’s a switch,” said Connie Kynwood. “How come we are spared the graffiti? And all your usual ranting when you read the Sunday newspaper?”

“Well, I got to thinking about Samuel Pepys and his famous dairy…”

Woodie’s mother motioned for Woodie to be quiet.

“Pepys mentions that he went out to Charing Cross to see Major General Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered…’he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition…’”

“And that made you laugh?” asked Connie.

“Well, the Sunday newspapers sort of led to General Harrison, ‘he looking as cheerful as nay man could do in that condition.’ So, yeah, I laughed.”

“Daddy, you are sort of bent,” said Woodie.

“And how did the fire in the Carlton Hotel start that Dr. Bailiff mentioned?”

“It may not seem like a Sunday dinner, but it’s going to be spaghetti,” said Connie Kynwood.

Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five
Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty One Chapter Twenty Two Chapter Twenty Three Chapter Twenty Four Chapter Twenty Five
Chapter Twenty Six Chapter Twenty Eight Chapter Twenty Nine Chapter Thirty
If you have any comments about this manuscript, please contact me at:
To the Harvest of Memories C.L. Biemiller's Home