Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #178

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #178

…I would rather be a beat walking cop on the streets of New York, enforcing the truth, than to be the sheriff in a corrupt county…

Officer Dibble

Top Cat Beat Cop (Officer Dibble)

“You don’t have that Clete punk in custody and some hotshot lawyer is calling the shots. Not in my lifetime.” Hank Blount has been blinded by his usurped power and his racial predisposition.

“I wouldn’t underestimate them.”

“Them?”

“They are employees of Herbert Love. Did you really expect him to stay out of it?” Straight talk usually doesn’t work with Blount, because he always has a way around trouble. “But that’s not the worst of it. The lawyer wants to talk to Charlie’s girl, Hank.”

“You know she is on her way to Panama City. She ain’t pregnant anymore and she won’t be around to tell her story. I am not in the mood to hand over the nigger and that little tramp is history. We’ll have the only witness, the guy who saw them trying to leave the scene of an accident.”

“They saved the girl’s life by prying open Charlie’s roadster and you know how fast he drives.”

“Do you like having a job, sheriff? I butter your bread, so you best decide which side you are on.”

Upon further review, weighing conscience and justice, the Calhoun County Sheriff removes his badge. “You’re on your own, Hank. No way am I goin’ to be part of this big a lie.”

Company Town-001   Blount turns to fraud. “Be out of your house in 48 hours. The Bank of Blountstown is calling in your loan. You should have made last month’s payment on time.”

“I told you why we couldn’t, the new baby and all…”

“You better be more loyal in your next job, if you get one,” Blount supposes.

“I may not get a job, but I am sure the district judge will listen to what I have to say.” The sheriff turns the tables. “And it won’t stop with this case.”

For as long as anyone can remember, Hank Blount is without slick retort. His unopposed power seems to be eroding, because of a previously least threatening source: a black man, in a hopelessly incriminating position.

He never calls “his” sheriffs by their names, not wanting to get to know them or their families, in full realization that he may discard them, for the slightest insubordination, at any given moment. “Perhaps I have spoken in haste, sheriff. I know what they teach you in police training, but sometimes you have to skirt the law to achieve justice.”

“Justice? Upholding the law is why I became a peace officer and I have come the conclusion that there is little of that in Blountstown. I would rather be a beat walking cop on the streets of New York, enforcing the truth, than to be the sheriff in a corrupt county.” There are times when morals trump money. “I don’t know where I’ll be sleeping two days from now, but I can assure you that it will be with a clear conscience.”

“They are going to ask why you resigned.”

“I will tell the truth. You will make up something.”

The sandy soil of Calhoun County is shifting as fast as did the bedrock in San Francisco; one is already being reconstructed, the other may not see that day in a Blount’s lifetime.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Welcone to-001

Episode #178


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 177

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #177

…Gadsden County Sheriff, Cyril Odz, a Polish immigrant whose surname has been shortened from Odezicinski, walks up to 12 men carrying a railroad tie to ram Herbert Love’s front door…

Here-Comes-the-Sheriff

Here Comes the Sheriff by Shirley James

James Ferrell has the good sense to roust the Gadsden County Sheriff out of bed for support. He will precede James arrival, some 60 minutes hence, hoping to keep the situation from accelerating into inter-county war; with the knowledge that no matter who occupies the office of sheriff in Calhoun County, it is what Hank Blount says that goes. What is on the mind of Liberty County, God only knows. Perhaps Bristol’s close proximity to the Kingdom of Blount intimidates them.

  Gadsden Sheriff, Cyril Odz, a Polish immigrant whose surname has been shortened from Odezicinski, walks up to 12 men carrying, of all things, a railroad tie, prepared to ram Love’s front door in the quest for their man.

“Put that down, gentlemen, this is my territory.”

“We think there is a fugitive hiding in this house,” the one of the human mob who is tethering the animal hoard claims.

Cyril saunters up to the threshold saying, “Let me in, Herb.” He gives the 12 angry men a sideward glance, smacking of one-upmanship, as he enters.

12 Angry MenAfter a five minute cursory “search”, he tells those outside that there is no fugitive inside. He really isn’t lying, having heard Clete tell him that they just let him go back in Blountstown.

“What about that stolen truck down the road?” quizzes the Liberty lawman. “It was involved in a fatal accident three days ago.”

Calhoun County Florida2    “Mr. Love is pleased to get it back.” Cyril Odz is infuriating them.

James Ferrell will thwart them. “Do you have a man named Willy Campbell in custody?”

“No, he is in the Calhoun County Jail.”

“Where did the alleged accident take place?” James asks pointedly.

“Outside Rock Bluff,” Hansen replies.

“Accident in Liberty County charged and incarcerated in Blountstown, hummm. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the victim, would it? I suggest you tell Mr. Blount to transfer the accused to Bristol. And we look like to speak to the deceased’s girl friend. She is a witness to the accident.”

“You can expect us to be right behind you.” Herb Love nods his approval Ferrell’s way, confident that he will see justice done.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Gadsden County Sheriff-001

Episode #177


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #176

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #176

…what may have happened to his most valued employee, his new truck and the man now pounding on his front door…

The Seminoles by James F. Hutchinson

The sound of barking blue-tick hounds spurs well-meaning fugitive Clete Wilsup on. They have trailed him all the way from the central time zone, though not entirely onEscape2-001 foot, showing no signs of giving up, regardless of jurisdiction.

Seminole Ridge is an interesting topographical feature. The ridge is a part of a 30 mile formation extending well into Georgia and is reminiscent of escarpments carved into the earth by the glaciers. Florida and glaciers are far from synonymous, but so are freedom and Blountstown.

Clete is not a spiritual man, yet he feels like he being led to the Love homestead by some unseen force, The ancient sounds of Seminole Indian drums getting louder the closer he gets. At the peak of the crescendo, the two warrior ponies greet him; he will sprint the final mile up the drive, sapping what is left of his dwindling strength.

   “Herb, do you hear a knock?” wonders Phoebe Love, making sure it is not part of a lifelike dream. Before he can answer, they hear it for sure, with an accompanying, “Mr. Love, let me in! The police is after me!”

“That sounds like, Clete. Where are my pants?” A thousand scenarios have been playing in his brain, in an impossible attempt to guess what may have happened to his most valued employee, his new truck and the man now pounding on his front door.

A chorus of whooping barks spill in with Clete. The door is latched and questions follow.

“Willy’s in the Blountstown jail. A fancy car drove into us, while I was driving, killed a Blount and they be blaming Willy. They wouldn’t listen to me, I tried tellin’ them, but this guy Blount owns the town and the law.”

Love does not hesitate in picking up the receiver on his telephone.

Leah-001“Who is the party you wish to call?” begs the graveyard shift operator.

“James Ferrell in Tallahassee.”

After a dozen or so rings, lawyer Ferrell picks up his end, completing the circuit. “I…uh…. can I call you in the morning?”

“Meet me at the homestead.”

“Herbert, is that you?”

“It is and we have a serious situation to deal with. I made a huge mistake and we have to correct it. Willy is in jail and his apprentice his being chased by dogs.”

Company Town-001 “In Quincy?”

“No, Willy is in Blountstown. Cletus is here.” Herb is beside himself. “I cannot believe I thought we could do business with that man. It sounded like he had changed.”

“Oh my. I’ll be right over.” In the short time he has been e back home, James is very aware of Blountstown justice. And the day he turns down a client who literally supports his entire practice (on permanent retainer by the Pearson-Eastman Journal) is the day he commits professional suicide.

“That was Herb, Abbey. Where are my pants?”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Pants-001

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #174

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #174

…Says here two men and a truck have not returned to Quincy. Sounds like you planned to hijack that truck… Rock Bluff is on the way to Georgia…

Edward Lamson-Henry

Art by Edward Lamson-Henry

The soft-top-cop Ford arrives at the jail, which is next to the law offices of Blount Blount & Jones, Willy his herded away from Clete. He has talked him out of trying to Justice2-001set the record straight. Folks in these parts are not very good listeners anyway.

  Instead of a cell, Willy Campbell is locked in a damp, rancid cellar. He will not see the light of day for two days. Neither will he see Clete, his best chance at exoneration. It is a taste of Southern justice at its worst.

On the third day, the door swings open, casting light on the windowless cellar. Without a word, he is pushed up the stairs by the sheriff himself, plopped into a chair in a small room. The door is shut behind him, only to be opened straight away by an all too familiar face.

“So what do you have to say for yourself, boy? Did you know that it was my son you killed?” He had buried Charlie hence. “He lives twenty-two years only to be run over by a truck, driven by a damned nigger.”

“Where’s Clete? He’ll tell you ‘bout what happened.”Old Road sign-001

“We sent him packing, but maybe we shouldn’t have, seeing that we got this missing persons report. Says here two men and a truck have not returned to Quincy. Sounds like you planned to hijack that truck… Rock Bluff is on the way to Georgia.

“We, I mean Clete tooka wrong turn. We was turning around when a speeding car plowed into us. Mr. Love knows we wouldn’t steal his truck, he’ll tell ya so!”

“Whether you were stealin’ the truck or not, my son is dead and you are going to pay.”

“What ‘bout the girl? The one wit dat baby in her. She knows they was goin’ too fast, not lookin’ out fo trouble.” It turns out that they were rushing to an appointment for an abortion. She ends up getting one, but she will not be admitting it any time soon. “We saved her life, we did.”

railroadedcover

“Trouble is what you are in.” Period, end of story. “Put him in the darky cell, give him bread and water… don’t want to be accused of mistreating a prisoner.” It’s his town and obviously his influence goes across county lines. “We better go after the other guy Sheriff, can’t have him talking. And let Hansen (Liberty County Sheriff who was out on a cattle rustling call that fateful afternoon) know we are handling the situation.” He is ignoring jurisdiction, for his own self interest. Not a good idea.

“Shouldn’t we let Gadsden County know what’s goin’ on?” asks the Calhoun County lackey.

“Tell them the truck they were looking for was involved in a fatal accident. They will find out the rest later,” Blount plots it out. “Now go get that Clete idiot, before I elect another sheriff!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

jail

by Billy Dee

Episode #174


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #172

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #172

…The once speedy roadster goes no further. Its top is cut off like a can of vacuum packed food and there is no chance that whoever is under the rear deck of the Mack could have survived…

The sign had read “ROCK BLUFF 3 miles”. Had it not been for the narrowing of theOld Road sign-001 roadbed, he may not have noticed their wayward path.

“I’m sorry, Willy, I weren’t doin’ good though, eh?”

“You was, Clete.” Willy scouts for solid enough ground to make a Y-turn. If they put the truck on sand, they would be soon be on foot. “There! Puller in befo’ the bend……and give that horn a good pull.”

If there were a cemetery nearby, the occupants would think the gates of heaven were being opened, so loud the report.

Pulling off the road is easy, but Clete has yet to configure the gears to reverse and gropes unsuccessfully for the R slot in the H shift pattern. Willy has to help.

Driver School-001“It’s right… there!” One gets a “feel” for gears, which comes with repetition.

Flush with success, Clete causes the truck to lurch backward, without the recommended pull on the air horn and before Willy can confirm a previously empty roadway. It had been… ten seconds before.

From out of the roar of the 100 horsepower comes the screeching crunch of metal, the same novel chorus of sounds being repeated throughout the country. The only difference is that the Mack is an immovable object.

     The once speedy roadster goes no further. Its top is cut off like a can of vacuum packed food and there is no chance that whoever is under the rear deck of the Mack could have survived. There is equally little chance that they can pull forward, but they try anyway, with Willy at the wheel. The truck will not loosen its grip; they can only drag the Chadwick Six along and under.

Clete waves off any further attempts to free the shiny white auto, when a Model T headed for Rock Bluff stops to help.

“My God, is anyone alive in there?” asks what appears to be a traveling salesman, peering into a slight opening spewing smoke and steam.

“Ain’t heard nothin’ since they run into us, goin’ faster than Casey Jones’ train.” Clete describes what he did not see.

 “When did this happen?”

  “Ain’t been ten minutes – we’re tryin’ to get away from the car.” (fearing an explosion)

  “You were going to cut and run?” accuses the confused man.

   “Oh, nosir, nosir, we hada see ifin anybody is livin,” pleads Willy, already flustered and distraught.

   “Well, I am going back to Bristol to locate the proper authorities. I believe it is the Liberty County seat. So I recommend you wait here for us to return.” It is a stern warning by a concerned citizen, just a little bit suspicious of a Negro driving a new truck. For better or worse, he is mistaken.

Episode-001


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #171

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #171

… Willy Campbell no sooner wants to revisit those days at Fort Sumter South than modern-day Israelites have interest in building pyramids in Egypt…

Willy and Clete have a good two hours work unloading Love material and loading Blount goods, with Clete having to shoulder much of the work. It seems that because of Willy’s parentage, he is not allowed inside any building, except the outhouse. Come to think about it, they have not seen a single dark skinned person since they got here, unheard of in the South.

Welcone to-001

“Let’s get out of this place, Willy, it gives me the creeps.” Not only is Clete exhausted, he is perplexed. In Quincy, Willy is a respected member of the community. Hank Blount makes it clear that he or any other Negro would not be welcome in the future.

Fort Sumter-001The best sight for Willy, in the past three hours, is Blountstown in the rear view mirrors. Memories from his days at Fort Sumter South had been confined to unpleasant late night dreams… until he meets Hank Blount. The icy stare that pretends Willy is not there, speaking to a third party to communicate, being refereed to as “those people”, are reminiscent of the management skills of Jefferson Smythwick.

  He no sooner wants to revisit those days than modern-day Israelites have interest in building pyramids in Egypt.

He is so disturbed, in fact, those five miles out of Hell Town, he pulls over to give Clete his big chance at navigating the Mack. It’s his lack of concentration, not confidence in Clete that prompts him to do so. No matter why, Clete is like a kid in at a candy jar. If he can drive his brother’s Peerless (auto), this should be easy.

But there is a difference between the manual driving of the machine and knowing where you are going. Willy is so busy watching Clete’s shifting mechanics that he doesn’t see him veer to the left (north) at the first fork in the road. The sign had read “ROCK BLUFF 3 miles”. Had it not been for the narrowing of the roadbed, he may not have noticed their wayward path.

“We ain’t headed fo Quincy, Clete, musta zigged when we shoulda zagged. We’ll hafta git this beast turned ‘round.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Barn at the Fork in the Road by Betty Sue

Barn at the Fork in the Road by Betty Sue

Episode #171


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #170

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #170

… The Blountstown General Store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah Cigar tobacco products…

Driver School-001

Willy can tell the difference in power and handling from the 1906 model that he drives, mostly on hills where, even fully loaded, they do not bog down.

“I be puttin’ her in a lower gear, Clete, like this,” he pumps his left leg twice on the left peddle, while shifting a stick back towards him. The sound of the engine becomes more earnest, but their speed of 15 miles per hour is maintained.

“That looks easy ‘nough, Willy. When are you goin’ to let me take the wheel?”

“Somewhere on the way back, likely on that open stretch we passed a ways ago.” He would rather do all the driving, but that defeats the purpose of training.

Welcone to-001This day they have Road 12 to themselves. The route begins to wind close to Blountstown, calling for caution, especially on the inside of corners. On roads designed for wagons and autos, there is not room for anything but the Mack truck. Whenever Willy cannot see around a corner, he pulls on the air horn cord. That usually keeps the way clear.

Once safely within the Blountstown village limits, they locate the new center for directions in towns across the country; the gas/service station replaces the local diner. There is usually one per town, as is the case in this one on the Apalachicola River. With a grunt and a mumble, a grease smeared hand points to Blountstown General Store, which is next to the Blountstown Barber Shop on one side and the Blountstown Saloon on the other. One wonders who either founded or owns the town. You are right.

The general store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah Cigars-001Savannah Cigar tobacco products. Both are important staples to this typical mill town, but mill owner, Hank (you guessed it) Blount, wishes this fair priced and prompt company could supply a third staple Love Dairies2-001for his workers: whiskey.

If it were not for the profitable backhaul, which is the avoidance of running an empty truck back to warehouse, bartered quantities of lumber and flour; produced in Blountstown with the aid of rushing river water, channeled through paddle wheel and electric generator (Blountstown Power & Light), dealing with Hank Blount would have been out of the question. Herb Love has heard disturbing rumblings from the city, 25 mile southwest of Quincy, but images of a thousand families in need of nourishment tilts his better judgment.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Company Town-001

Episode #170


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