Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #179

Leave a comment

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…

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.”

Sheriff Hansen has already had enough of this case, especially after what he knows goes on across Southern Justicethe 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 166

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #175

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #175

 …By the time anyone notices it missing, Clete is thundering up Route 12 and the safety of Quincy, Florida…

“Now go get that Clete idiot, before I elect another sheriff!”

Clete Wilsup is no fool, a little slow maybe, but not dumb enough to think he his in the clear. After he was let go, he made a bee-line across the bridge connecting Blountstown to Bristol, each are seats for their respective county, prepared to put as much distance between him and trouble. He does make one important stop: at the Liberty County Highway Department where he sees the Mack truck parked inside a fenced area, next to the smashed Chadwick. The one thing authorities had not counted on was the spare key in the bottom of his right shoe.

Under the cover of darkness, in a town whose wooden walks are rolled up at ten o’clock, the mesh fence is no match for the Mack truck. By the time anyone notices it missing, Clete is thundering up Route 12 and the safety of Quincy, Florida. He is fearing for Willy with every piston stroke. “I gotta get to Mr. Love. I’m ain’t stoppin’ for nothin’,” is his anthem.

At the Gadsden side of the Liberty County line there is a line of cars blocking the road, two or more private cars being checked inside and out. That tells Clete that they are probably looking for him, but don’t know he has the Mack.

“I ain’t stoppin’ for nothin’, so you best scatter boys,” he advises without letting up on the throttle.

In the range of his headlamps, is a frantically waving constable. The look of terror on his face is priceless, with five tons of 10 gauge steel bearing down on him at full speed. Clete sends him flying, as well as two police cruisers. A hail of bullets bounces off without effect.

Quincy 8 Mi    Just 8 more miles to Quincy.

          At mile seven the engine sputters, bringing the truck to a stop. “You can stop truck, but I ain’t.” It runs on a finite amount of fuel, he is running on adrenaline. In the voiding black of this moonless night, across a long flat expanse, he sees the bobbing headlamps of five cars. It is after midnight and he must assume to be the object of their haste.

Time to test his cross-country skills. He has never been there, but he he knows that Herbert Love lives somewhere to the west of Quincy, north of Route 12; on one of the oldest farms in all of Florida, with two huge equine statues at the head of a mile long driveway. Willy told him that it was a twenty minute walk from the ice plant, just after Seminole Ridge.

Poor Willy. Will he ever work for Love again? Clete cannot fathom the possibility.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Escape2-001

Episode #175


page 162

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #66

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #66

…We’re almost at the Ferrells and alls we got left is couple bottles of milk, a block of ice and one lonely box of cigars…

Love Dairies-001

For those along the delivery route to Tally and back, they see what looks like lifelong business partners, pursuing the same goal. Together, the unlikely pair comprises one of the greatest natural hedges against prejudice that exists in the post-Civil War Florida, let alone the remaining rebel states.

Willy Campbell, for all his many travails, is younger than he may seem. The life of a slave is an arduous one, the hard work and sun taking a preemptive toll on his physical appearance. There is a 15 year difference in age of the two men, but you wouldn’t know it or even guess who is older, although he has never been more content. If nothing else, he feels younger.

 “Ain’t that sumpin’, Mr. Love? We’re almost at the Ferrells and alls we got left is couple bottles of milk, a block of ice and one lonely box of cigars,” Willy counts as their wagon rocks forth and back down the dusty road.

“Which is what we had to save back for samples,”Love Dairies2-001 Love reminds, thinking about all the potentiality of this trip. “Heck, if we had brought a gross of cigars and the milk from ten cows we could have sold them. In fact, I am going to make this a weekly trip. I hope we can figure out a back-haul.”

“Maybe Mr. Ferrell will have sumpin’ to take back with us,” Willy speculates.

“So right good fellow.” Herbert is so comfortable in the company of this responsible and reliable man. “Would you be willing to make this run every week? It would be a good way to end the week and we would be well stocked to meet possible increases in demand.”

    “Make sense to me, good way to see the country,” concludes a man who had seen precious little beside Fort Sumter South for much of his life.

“We are an hour late for our appointment, Willy,” Love worries. “I hope John Ferrell will not be put off.”

Their initial entrepreneurial venture to Tallahassee takes more time than they had guessed. Even though they started before the break of dawn, it is already 1:00 P.M. and they have but pre-winter daylight with which to operate; only six hours to make it back to Quincy.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Map-001

Episode #66


page 61

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #53

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #53

…My God, Herbert, this girl is has been orphaned…

Even though she had suspected a cruel end to this most fundamental of revolts, the girl is not at all prepared for this end. She falls faintly, directly to the sandy soil. Herbert Love wraps her in a blanket and cradles her in his compassionate arms, all the while praying for their departed souls. This horrifying moment will forever be etched in his long term memory.

Upon seeing Love’s ice wagon standing idle, seemingly midstream in the drive, John Ferrell, who has the Campbell family with him, stops to check on things. He jogs down the winding lane, passing the grazing team, looking for any signs of life, as did the mayor of Quincy before him. There behind the smoldering barn, he spies four silhouettes: two huddled figures and two swinging.

Abigail Smythwick

Abigail Smythwick

He knows one to be Love.

“Abigail!” He recognizes the other.

Love puts his index finger to his mouth, “Ssshhhhhh,” it implies.

“What on earth happened here?” he asks.

“This is what happens when a concept like freedom festers. Left unattended the infection will kill… and it has.” He has pondered this concept long before adulthood, hence his calling to lifelong dedication to thoughts thereof.

My God, Herbert, this girl is an orphan!” it occurs to Ferrell. That spawns another. “It appears the need for secrecy has expired.”

“Yes, I see the direction you are headed. The Campbells may as well come with me to Quincy. I can get them settled in, stabilize, acclimate and the like. There is no need to hide them away in Tallahassee now.”

Road 1900“And I believe that Martha would have insisted that Miss Smythwick should come to our house. James should be some comfort to her as well.” 

“Yes, that will be good. There is much adjusting to be done.”

  Back at State Road 268, all are in agreement, as to the changes in the master plan. The family Campbell disembarks the grocery truck but there is not enough room on the ice wagon. They will take their final step to freedom on foot, unaware of the fate of their former rulers. Grandma Lettie will ride shotgun, next to Herbert Love, giving him unsolicited advice about his teamster-ing, the way most females are led to do.

Abigail Smythwick wakens to the Ferrell bookends of John and Martha and a bumpy ride on yet another unpaved Panhandle road.


Alpha Omega M.D.

“Bend in the Road” Cezanne

Episode #53


page 50

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #40

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #40

…Willy looks at the hands of the school teacher and concludes, “Get yo hands dirty for the morrow, least you’ll look like you worked a day in yo life…

Who is waiting for Willy at the gates of Fort Sumter South? It is the head overseer himself. Affectionately nicknamed, Pigface by his workers, this man is as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside. If his resemblance to a swine weren’t bad enough, he is a nitpicking all the day long.

His beef this day is tardiness. “Campbell Nigger! You were supposed to be back before sundown! I have a mind to throw you into the Hole!” The Hole is just that. Not a good thing.

“The horses needed water, Pig–uh, Master.” A name earned but never used near his presence.

“What about the pigs…? They ain’t got nothin’ to do with you bein’ a half hour late!” he grouses. “And I don’t see that barrel of molasses I asked you to get from the mill!”

Oops, there is an untimely oversight.

“I swear you ain’t worth the dirt you sleep on these days, heckfire, most of a month now.”

“I can go back for it, probably still on the dock, Master,” Campbell cowers. “I was thinkin’ you said meal, conemeal… got 2 sacks.” More correctly one sack meal and one sack of trembling bones.

“Put those poor horses away, before I kick your dumb ass from here to Quincy! Their day has been long enuff. Molasses, meal, how ignorant can one nigger be!” The pompous people pusher himself embodies ignorance, however unaware he is of his own condition.

It’s best if he gets to the stable and don’t spare the horses. All is nearly lost before it can get started. He has a special guest to care for.

“You best stay in the hay loft ‘til the mornin’. I’ll sneak you some supper later, when things settle down—you like grits and gravy?”

Jacob Haley, freedman, is no position to turn away Campbell hospitality, even though gravy and his bowels are not close friends, but then again, how can they be any looser than they already are.

“You gonna need yo strenth to pick you a bale of cotton.” Willy looks at the hands of the school teacher and concludes, “Get yo hands dirty for the morrow, least you’ll look like you worked a day in yo life.”

No insult intended, none taken.


Alpha Omega M.D.

The Overseer

Episode #40


page 38

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #29

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #29

…The action we are contemplating could go a long way to eliminating the need for vigilante raids, in the name of freedom…

Rescue-001

Pres. Jacob Haley of the GCASS group ends the social section of their meeting, gavel-less style.

“However, the Pensacola & East Railroad cuts through the backside of the plantation. It also crosses State Road 268 and there will be a full moon the night of 5 October. These are real positives.

          “And negatives? One of us must infiltrate Sumter the day before, the 4th, to prepare the old lady and the children, for the five mile escape route.

 “And there will be one of us stationed at each of the three mile of track, until road 268, where a LOVE  ICE truck will take it from there, for the final leg to Quincy. We figure no one will suspect an ice truck.” Smythwick has been known to line the pockets of certain unnamed constabulary, enabling to keep his “employees” on the property.

But the early hours of the daily ice run should mask its surreptitious companion purpose.

So far, Haley has dominated the meeting, doing much of the research on their possible mission, mainly because he is the lone black in the raid contingent. He is the most likely candidate to take on the highest risk.

Every mission seems to spotlight a different leader. Herbert Love planted the seed this time, the inspirational forerunner. In the past, other ventures have been precipitated by those most greatly been affected by witnessed injustices. There are many of these in the course of living in a segregated environment.

“Jacob has done a great job with the plan, even to the point of volunteering to go undercover. So I would like to propose that we accept it as presented. A show of hands please… unanimous? Good. We have 45 days to hand out assignments. There is a sign-up sheet at the end of the table for those who want to be part of the action.

“And remember, as always, we are not to discuss this or any other rescue with anyone, period.” Love exhorts the room.

Jacob Haley has one closing thought, “The action we are contemplating could go a long way to eliminating the need for vigilante raids, in the name of freedom. We are acting above the law, but Jefferson Smythwick’s influence will be severely damaged if he loses his best people.”

Quincy Reporter-001The publisher of The Quincy Reporter, Harv Pearson will see to it that Smythwick will not become a sympathetic figure, only pathetic. “You can be sure that my paper will make the Campbell escape the headline story. And every paper in the Panhandle and north will get the story as well. We will refresh the slave issue, make it the topic of the day from Texas to Maryland, the Texas Rangers to Grover Cleveland.

“Let’s put an end to neo-slavery for good!”

‘Yes!’, ‘Amen!’, ‘You bet!’, ‘Slavers be damned!’, are among the shouts of acclamation, robust reaction to Pearson’s inspiring impromptu speech.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #29


page 28