Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #182

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #182

…“This town deserves better! Blount is still fuming over swallowing his pride about the circumstances surrounding the death of his Charlie, “The Man Who Would Be King”...

P-E J is on the job, endeavoring to avoid detection. So for the rest of November, Harv has does his best imitation of a millwright, looking like he knows what he is doing with a heavy wooden tray of tools, weighing 60 pounds. Fortunately no major breakdowns occur on his watch, the machines likely fearing for their gears, so as a result, the most notable outcome of this month is a right arm two inches longer from carrying the tools. Today he is tired and hungry, but it is a day with yet another case of injustice.

Vertical-001      Vertical-001   “I heard one of the men telling another that the bank would not let him withdraw his savings,” Harv tells his Judith, who is tending a steaming pot of soup, the contents of which are literally indescribable. “He has a relative, somewhere near Jacksonville, who has lined up a better job for him and he needs the money to put a down payment on a house. I guess he signed some sort of contract with the bank stating he must give two months notice before withdrawing more than one-half the balance.”

“Two months? I wonder if the Banking Commission knows about that practice.” She shakes her head, causing some strands of hair to fall on her face. Greasy hands preclude her from replacing them; she blows them off instead. “I was taking pictures of all the signs with “Blount” in their name, when a woman came out of the General Store crying her eyes out. I asked her what was wrong and she said that she can’t buy food on credit. Her husband was injured on the job and he had not been paid for two months.”

“Oh yes, I think he fell from a ladder while cleaning the grain elevator. The guys didn’t know if he’d walk again, both legs were shattered.”

“Well, if he was injured on the job, isn’t he entitled to replacement income? Aren’t there labor laws that cover that possibility?”

Pearson Eastman Journal-001       “I’ll tell you, Jude, if James Ferrell wanted, he could represent the entire town against Blount, for one thing or another.”

“This town deserves better! Blount is still fuming over swallowing his pride about the circumstances surrounding the death of his Charlie, “The Man Who Would Be King”.

“I don’t know about you, but I for one have enough material to fill the entire issue.” He dips a spoon into his wife’s mottled mixture. “And I miss the food at home.”

dayjob        “You know, honey, with a month’s worth of meals under my belt, we could do without our cook. I am really getting the hang of this.”

          “I wouldn’t quit your day job, Judith.” This brush with honesty inspires a wooden spoon into flight, missing Harv, but hitting the front door, just as their pseudo-children open it.

          “What’s wrong?” they ask in unison, having never seen their “parents” quarrel.

          “Oh nothing kids, but I have cooked my last meal for this family!”

          In a tender moment, the room erupts with adolescent cries of joy.

          “I am sending for your parents tonight,” promises Harv. “They should be here first thing tomorrow.

          “Hooray!” shouts the boy. “I can taste Mom’s blueberry pancakes now.”


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

WomanCooking

“Oh nothing kids, but I have cooked my last meal for this family!”

 

Episode #182


page 170

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #181

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #181

…somewhere between Willy being freed and the present, the whole Charlie Blount incident seems to have been forgotten or maybe just ignored…

Cinderella and the Birds by English School

Cinderella and the Birds by English School

In order to pull this impersonation off, Harv needs to let loose his grip on the English language, as well as his prized goatee. Judith, on the other hand, needed a great deal of dressing down, like pre-castle Cinderella. Sort of like painting gold, black; going as far as having to go corset-less to look less attractive, in clothes that would make a queen look like a pauper.

Company Town-001

Anything for a good story is a good motto. So is everything for a story such as this. The P-EJ (as Pearson-Eastman Journal will be known from this point forward) goes so far as planting an operative in the Calhoun County Sheriff’s office, though there is no longer a real sheriff’s office; just Hank Blount and a band of marginally qualified vigilantes. That, by itself, would have been reason for the federal government to shut down the machine, but if one is going to properly expose the depth of malignant social behavior, extra effort is in order.

          This will prove to be the best move they could have made. In the revolving door modus operandi of Blount-dominated Calhoun County, there is room for an imposter to get, not only a good look at the level of corruption, but a bulging eyeful. This unnamed member of Cyril Odz’ Gadsden Co. force, blends in and soaks in an amazing amount of graft; that which relates to the Willy Campbell incident and beyond.

It goes so deep that even the public schools teach what Blount wants them to know. Young minds are tilted toward the twisted leanings of a misguided superintendent – yes of course, Blount.

      And somewhere between Willy being freed and the present, the whole incident seems to have been forgotten or maybe just ignored, in order to head off just such an investigation that is covertly continuing. Hannah Fielding shows up out of nowhere, without child and telling Judge Grant that Charlie had indeed been going too fast. The traveling salesman makes a curious stop at the Liberty County Courthouse, saying he did not know who was driving the truck and that they (Willy and Clete) were trying their best to help Charlie and Hannah. They have a funny way of treating heroes out this way.

But there are other Willy and Cletes out there, who unwittingly fall into the cracks in this world unto itself; where rights are few and wrongs are many. Most people have learned to go around this river crossing, using the one up Rosedale way. Those who insist on using Route 20, do so at their own risk. People disappear, either never to be found or found later in a 4 x 4 cell.


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #181


page 169

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #180

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #180

…Harv and Judith Pearson have changed places with a Blountstown family man, a worker in the Blountstown Granary with a wife and two children…

Company Town-001

TaftWH

William Howard Taft

The fall of 1908 contains a Presidential election, which would likely mean that Teddy Roosevelt would be re-elected, despite a country awakening from depression, but true to his word, he does not run for a third term. That speaks volumes for the man, going out while you are still on top.

The nation dips back into the state of Ohio for their president, an assassin’s bullet inserting a New Yorker in between. William Howard Taft will end a twelve year pipeline connection between Washington and Tallahassee. Even though Taft had been “Rough and Ready Teddy’s” Secretary of War and staunch tactical executor, he shares none of the friendships, only policies.

  But, a big but at that, Roosevelt will not leave office until March 9, 1909, four months and three days away. Until then, he will support his supporters, up to and past what is considered usual and customary.

Just like a million other Americans, he reads the Pearson-Eastman Journal faithfully and its December feature, sure enough, “Bigotry and Corruption/Beyond Emancipation and Above the Law”, has caught his eye.

Told in a way that can only come from an insider, having to live their lives in harmony with the rest of the community, Harv Pearson has changed places with a Blountstown family man, a worker in the Blountstown Granary with a wife and two children. Before you jump to conclusions, Judith plays the part of the wife and mother, who just happens to contract an extreme interest in photography. The middle-teen-aged children are the sole reality, looking at this charade as a change of pace, time away from parents who keep very much to themselves. Real Mom and Dad are treated to a honeymoon in New York, once considered an unnecessary luxury, before life got “Blountified”.

As in most undercover stories, these fifty-ish journalists need a physical transformation. Harv and Judith look young for their age, the former having more ground to make up, but becoming a lower class working couple proves to be most difficult.


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

Pearson Eastman Journal-001

Episode #180


page 168

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #179

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #179

Chapter Ten

ALLIES

… James Ferrell and Herbert Love come to Bristol not knowing what to expect, harboring hope that everyone would come to their senses…

Pearson-Eastman Journal-001

Just because there are chinks in Blountstown armor and the Quincy cavalry is on the way, the battle of the border wars is just being joined. Blount has given over his prisoner… to his counterpart across the river in Bristol, but his son’s girlfriend is not about to be retrieved from her retreat to the Gulf Coast.

Old Road sign-001 Herbert Love and James Ferrell have given the antagonists an hour to correct their wrongs and also draft a summons, approved by the district judge, for Hannah Fielding, the comely 17 year old daughter of a wealthy businessman from Bainbridge, Georgia; explaining why they were heading south into the panhandle, to a clinic that secretly performs abortions for women like her, whose family dare not find out. They were taking a shortcut in life, while taking the vaguely familiar Rock Bluff cutoff. But the time it saves, it takes the life of the driver, an unborn child and threatens to turn the young women’s upside-down.

James and Herbert come to Bristol not knowing what to expect, harboring hope that everyone would come to their senses. Of course that is too much to ask of Hank Blount, however legal or reasonable the occasion. The person, who is responsible for this mess is nowhere to be found, but Willy is, looking like a shiny new Indian Head penny and awfully happy to see his boss and likely his lawyer.

For a moment, just sitting in the jail cell with Willy, getting his side of the story is appeasing, though what they hear is even more disturbing than they had feared. It makes them wonder what would have happened if the victim had not been Charlie Blount. Regrettably, Willy may have ended up in the same jail, awaiting a similar fate, because of the color of his skin.

Summons        More importantly, the one witness to the accident is curiously absent and the witness to the acts of rescue, by the accused, is mute.

    “If you are going to continue holding my client, you will have to produce Miss Fielding and the two men who executed the arrest,” Ferrell demands, sporting a legal document. “This is a summons from Judge Grant, 12th District Circuit Court of Florida. If you do not produce these witnesses posthaste, Willy Campbell is to be set free, pending a trial in the 12th District.”

Southern Justice       Sheriff Hansen has already had enough of this case, especially after what he knows goes on across the river and the firing of that county’s sheriff. If he could, all charges would be dropped, but he can just picture a Bristol building mysteriously blowing up. “I have been informed by Calhoun County authorities that Hannah Fielding is out of town, the traveling salesman has moved on and the sheriff has been fired for insubordination.”

“That being the case, we are authorized to take possession of prisoner, Willy Campbell.” The iron barred door swings open. “You may expect a great deal of attention concerning this matter, by officers of the court and the newspapers. Have a good day.”

“Bigotry and Corruption in the Old South Blountstown/Bristol Florida will make a good feature for the Pearson-Eastman Journal, of which I am a part owner.” Love will see to it.

  “I’ll be looking forward to it.” The tone of his voice does not match the upbeat words.


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

shortcut-home glenn-porter

Shortcut Home by Glenn Porter

Episode #179


page 167

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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 on 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.

Escape2-001

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

Episode #176


page 164

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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 set the record straight. Folks in these parts are not very good listeners anyway.

Justice2-001       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.”

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

“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


page 162

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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-001

This 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.

Love Dairies2-001

Savannah Cigars-001 The general store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah 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 for 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


page 158

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