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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Sample: Blue 52


Welcome to Saturday Sample. I'm continuing today where I left off last week in Blue 52. If you'd like to read last week's post to refresh your memory, you can find it hereBasically, we've learned that the senator's son Richard was the President of the US. He and his wife are dead, and their bodies will have to be relocated because a high tech train line needs to go through the cemetery. We also learned that the senator has arthritis. Here we go with that excerpt. At the end we finally get to meet our hero Hank, the president's son.

What did Grant know? He’d complain if he wanted to.

He sat down behind his desk and stared at a conspicuously displayed photo of his son, Richard. The photo had been taken on inauguration day. Richard’s wife Elizabeth stood at his side, looking so beautiful that even now it made his heart ache to see her.

Her face glowed with pride and happiness. How could anyone believe that two years later she would kill Richard and take her own life? “They’re all wrong,” he muttered as he made a gesture of repugnance. “I don’t care what anyone says; she did not shoot him.”

He removed a well-worn scrapbook from its place in the bottom drawer, caressing its smooth, cool surface. When he opened the scrapbook, Richard’s face laughed up at him. The photo had been taken right after his grandson, Hank, was born. This was exactly the way he remembered Richard, laughing and happy, his eyes alight with life and promise.

The whole family had celebrated Hank’s birth. Richard and Elizabeth had tried for years to have a baby. They had seen a lot of fertility specialists, but they’d almost given up hope when Elizabeth found out she was pregnant with Hank. Oh, yeah, he’d never forget those days. “The king of the world,” he muttered. “I felt like the king of the world.”

He turned the pages one by one as he had done so many times before. No matter how often he looked at the scrapbook, he never grew tired of it. Pausing on page five, he studied one of his favorite pictures. It had been taken on Richard and Elizabeth’s wedding day. I’m ninety-eight years old now, and I’ve never seen two people as much in love as they were.

The little half smile on his face faded as his old eyes glazed. It can’t be too much longer before I see Richard again; I can’t wait to find out what really happened that night. He supposed his faith required him to forgive whoever had murdered his son and daughter-in-law, but he daily prayed the perpetrator would burn in hell forever.

He flipped to the back of the scrapbook. God, I hate this part! He had thought of destroying the offensive newspaper articles, but without them, the record would be incomplete. President Lovinggood Murdered!the first headline screamed. First Lady Kills the Presidenttrumpeted another in huge, black letters.

Unwilling to read any more, he turned back to the front of the scrapbook. Look, there was a good picture of Richard and Joan taken in their Halloween costumes. Richard must have been five or six at the time. They looked so much alike some people had thought they were twins, but Richard was two years older than Joan. He remembered that Richard hadn’t wanted his little sister to

“Put that damned thing away!” a strident, furious voice demanded from the door.
Elaine Lovinggood, the senator’s wife, had gone red- faced with anger. “Why are you torturing yourself, Henry? I told you not to look at it anymore.”

 “Elaine...”

“I don’t want to hear it.”

“Elaine...”


“Be quiet, Henry!” She slapped the door with the flat of 
her hand and made the senator jump. “I loved Richard as much as you did, but he’s dead, and no amount of mourning in the world can bring him back. You’ve wasted the last thirty years grieving for our dead son, and I can’t take it anymore.” Her voice rose again. “For the love of God, don’t ruin the last days of our lives!”

The senator tossed the scrapbook into the drawer and slammed it shut. Elaine’s high blood pressure constantly worried him, and her doctor described her heart as a ticking time bomb. It wouldn’t do to upset her.

“I didn’t mean to worry you,” he apologized. “I started thinking about Richard after Morton Williams called.”

“What did he want? He’s a slimy, slithery slug if you ask me.”

Elaine had always loved words. She had a huge vocabulary and especially enjoyed using alliteration. In fact, she and Richard had had some kind of word game they used to play. The last time they all dined together, she and Richard had tried to play the game using the letter x, but both of them had to admit defeat.

“Williams was calling to tell me that Richard and Elizabeth will be disinterred on November twenty-third. We’ll have to make arrangements for them."

The fire died in Elaine’s eyes as she sank down on the sofa in front of the fireplace, her mouth a drooping, thin line in her wrinkled face. “Why couldn’t I have just died myself and gotten it over with? I’d rather die than see those coffins come out of the ground.” She glared at the senator. “You’d
better not get all worked up.”

The senator flushed, feeling like a schoolboy caught in some kind of mischief. She always made him feel this way when she criticized him. “I...”

Elaine turned toward the hallway when she heard the front door slam. “Hank’s home.” 

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