Blood of My Blood, Flesh of My Flesh, A.L. III 18

“What’s not safe? It’s just an old box. What do I do with it?”

Papa Links eyes opened wide and focused directly on the son in front of him and shook his head from side to side.

“Far more,” he said, “and this belongs to you and only you. You’ll find the key is the adjustment bracket on the observatory telescope at Hildene. Get that key and open this case. You will know what to do after you open it.”

Papa Link, smiled down at the man he had raised and loved for so long and left this earth one happy man.

When the doctor took the pulse of his patient, it was only to verify the time of death and to comfort the young man clinging to the shell that once was his father.

The funeral held at The Hildene Estate was grand to say the least. Through the years Papa Link had made many friends, but non so close as those who worked with and for him. Their tribute to him was all sixteen Hildene workers dressed in period attire.  The men wore simple black clothes with stove pipe hats and the women wore full bustled dresses. They conducted the eulogy in the beautiful estate garden. The height of the sermon was a reading by Papa Link’s son. He read from a purple covered bible loaned to the estate.

Psalm sixteen ended with “Keep me safe, my God.”

Papa Link had been given the right to be buried on the Hildene estate. He was put to rest next to the grave of his father and mother that had been granted in the will of Robert Todd Lincoln himself.

The former Hildene worker and Manchester lawyer laid flowers on the fresh grave of his father. Later under cover of darkness he went to the observatory and took only ten minutes to find and take off the adjustment bracket. The shape was the most unusual he had ever seen but so was the lock on the box.telescope1

He tucked the key in his pocket and strapped the box securely to his scooter.  Then he drove to his apartment next to the town tavern and rolled thoughts over and over in his head; what could be so important that it was his father’s last wish? Was it money? It couldn’t be that much, not on Papa Links salary. He was always lending money and not in a hurry to get it back. Maybe it was his unfinished will. So many times he had asked if he could make one up for his father. Just as many times he was told it could wait. Now it was too late. It didn’t matter though, he was a capable lawyer and knew all the documents that were needed to complete anything that could be in the box. He set it down on the folding card table used for his law practice.

“Christmas comes early,” he said to himself and put the key in the box lock and opened it. What he took out was the original deed of ownership to the Hildene Estate. Included in the box were documents giving all properties and holdings to his heir and son Joshua Robert Lincoln. The next paperwork he took out were the original birth certificates of his grandfather, his father and him. They all had the right dates and times of birth. He read them over several times as his legal training made him do with all legal certificates. All the last names ended with Lincoln. The last birth certificate was his and the name on it was Abraham Lincoln III.

“What!” he said out loud, “What?”

He sat there on the edge of his folding chair and wondered why this happened? Why was he  raised to believe he was a Jackson?  Why was his grandfather, father and him not told they were Lincolns? For every question he had no answer until he looked in the bottom of the box. He found a very old letter in a red wax sealed envelop. The seal bore the initials R.T.L. He broke the seal and read the letter written by Robert Todd Lincoln.

The top of the letter had the date July 26, 1926, and began; If you are reading this letter written in my hand then you are the blood of my blood and the flesh of my flesh.

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The King Solomon Effect 17 1/2

Of the very, very, very few sets of eyes that pass over these letters on the pages before you, I beg forgiveness for my intrusion. I only wished to aid you.

In my opinion, at this point I feel compelled to interact with the reader.  What I have written so far has taken minor turns and twists that can be quickly followed with a few bread crumbs along an easily walk-able path. But the reason for the intrusion contains enough merit to bend if not break that unspeakable law between writer and reader communication.  What I speak of now is to be clearly understood as fiction pure and simple. It has been created from the mind as entertainment and should be taken in that value.

Of course there are those who say there is no such thing as fiction. They claim all things from the mind eventually come to be, (just read Jules Verne)  and in that sense there is no such thing as fiction, only the timing of events.

Yet, we live in an age of psudo-blended reality, an age of thought, creation, and then application before the next guy makes it obsolete; very little if any is given to impact. Did I say impact? Yes, but impact to what? Is it impact to the idea, the principal, or that great greedy god of cash in hand?

No, the impact I speak of is none of these. The impact I speak of is that of humanity. Everything in the world can be deduced down to one simple and primary fact, and that fact is the person typing these words and the person reading them. I did say person. When you get cut, or bruised or suffer a fever or anything that is discomforting, you tell someone. Do they really feel your pain?  Do they experience the torn tissue, or the ache when it truly hurts? Mom or dad or sis or big brother or the neighbour or anyone even standing next to you does not feel it. They say they feel your pain, but at that time they really do not.

So, by now I am sure the reader is thinking okay, yeah I get it. When it hurts me it hurts me, I get it–so what’s the point here?

The point is what hurts you does hurt your son or daughter or grandson and every mothers-son or daughter that will walk the face of this earth . Eventually given enough time and circumstance anything that happens to one happens to all.

Remember the baby splitting incident in the Bible? You know the two women laying claim on one child? When King Solomon said cut the baby in two, the real mother gave up the child rather than hurt it; because it would hurt her if that happened. Just the same if the child belonged to the other woman she would do the same. When it hurts anyone directly then it’s not funny any more, right? In all cases the “King Solomon Effect” trumps all.

With that single piece of information firmly in mind, the writer graciously bows out of the readers way.

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Ring, Ring, Wrong 17

The phone and not the alarm woke young Jackson from a sound sleep at two am in the morning.  Who could it be? Hopefully not another client with a question that could wait until he got to the office.

“Yes, this better be good,” he said yawning and rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

The voice on the other end was slow but very clear. “It’s your father, I’m afraid he needs to see you immediately. He’s in Grace hospital. Do you know where it is at?”

“I grew up here. I know where it is at,” he said into the receiver and dropped it on the floor.

He didn’t waste time and got to the Hospital on his scooter in less than twenty five minutes time.

“It’s me Papa Link, I’m here,” he said walking into hospital room three seventeen.

He took the large rough hands of the man lying in the hospital bed. They were the hands of a man who worked the soil and all that grows from it. His own hands though softened from being away from the soil, were long and tried to wrap around Papa links hands. He looked at the scars and weathered cuts on them. The seventy-five year old Head Caretaker of Hildene opened his eyes and smiled. His boy was here and that was all that mattered.

“Glad you could come. I know you are a busy man.”

“Not too busy for family Papa Link. How do you feel?”

“Never better,” Papa Link answered and coughed into the pillow beside him.

“Okay, then we are going to get you well, wait and see.”

Just then doctor Guntar Lendus came into the room and saw the situation. He motioned that he would wait outside. In another ten minutes he was standing on the other side of the door talking to the doctor in charge. His barrage of questions were answered by the facts. Papa Link had contracted a blood borne disease and the white blood cells were attacking the red cells at an ever increasing rate. They were doing everything but the disease seemed to have a mind of it’s own and was rapidly destroying his body.

“You know he’s seventy-five years old,” the doctor said looking up from the chart in his hands.

“I am well aware of that Doctor. He’s my father. But he’s always been so healthy. I don’t think he’s been sick more that two times in his life. He got sick just after my mother died and once just after I was born.  He’s had a hard man to stop. How bad is it doctor?”

“The aggressive treatments for a man of his years and state are out of the question. We could eventually stop the disease but he wouldn’t survive the cure.”

The look of helplessness on the young lawyers face begged for more than this explanation.

“If it’s money, I will get it, somehow. I just want him better. He’s the only family I have.”

Doctor Lendus looked up at the ceiling and sighed. He had done this so many times before almost hoping the answer would fall like rain. He wanted to say it was all right and the man in the bed would be better in a few days. Instead he said, “We can make him very comfortable for this short period of time.” He put his hand on the young man’s shoulder in front of him and gave the best medical advice for the moment.”  I think he needs you now.”

The doctor turned and walked away to see a patient he could help. This left the young lawyer to try  and lift that big smile of his, the one that tipped the balance of favour in a courtroom full of doubt. It was the kind of smile that gave people hope, only now it refused to lift this one time when he needed it most.

“So Papa Link, are you going to grow more of that summer squash this year? I have some time, I can help with the cheese making too. You know we make a good team.”  That was all he could get out before he buried his head on the big shoulder of his father and cried. The big man laying down lifted his arm and comforted his son. He remembered how he did that once before when his mother died in the horrific rail car accident so long ago. The loss of his mother brought them very close. Papa Link knew he had a good boy with a good heart and a will as strong as his own. That same will took him off of Hildene and the land and started him on a law career. He wanted to help people more than he wanted to work the land. Papa Link saw this and had no objection to him living in the east to get his law degree. He had no objection to the young man who left everything to follow his calling.  What made Papa Link much happier is when he came back and opened his law practice in the town of Manchester Vermont.

Papa Link picked up the sobbing head of the young man he was so proud of and said, ” I have something for you.”

“I only need you Papa.”

“No. You need this.” He pointed to the clothes closet on the other side of the room. “Bring me the case from the bottom drawer.”Box22c

The dutiful grandson brought back an old leather bound box that had been badly singed by fire. The very light metal underneath was not fazed. It had a sturdy built in lock.

“I don’t have the key,” Papa Link whispered into the ear of his grandson, “It’s not safe here.”

 

 

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Hildene, home, home on the Range 16

“Okay, so Mrs. Mendoza can you tell me everthing that happened that day?”

“Si, I mean, what?”

“Yes, Mrs. Mendoza if I’m to help you in court and properly represent you then I have to know all the facts.”

The old and deeply sun tanned woman named Mrs. Mendoza had been distracted looking around the room. So when she brought her tired head up to the man sitting across the desk from her, she felt shy and intimidated. Why not, he was tall even sitting down and his full head of coarse dark hair needed to be trimmed. He was lean but not skinny and had the kind of completion that made it hard to guess where his ancestors came from. Yet all of that did not matter to her as long as she could look into this man’s eyes, the window to the soul. She looked into the green eyes of this one and it made her nod her head. He was special, she just knew it.
Now she looked at him as a señorita would; no ring or ghost of a ring meant he wasn’t married. She also knew he was not the kind of man who would bow down his head to anyone. But, what was most interesting to her was the big smile that seemed to wrap itself around his face and shine down on her.

“Mrs. Mendoza, are you with me?”

“Si”, the woman answered, “I am.”

According to your statement, you worked for two weeks at the Meyer Farm and Mr. Meyer said you destroyed property. That is the reason why he didn’t pay you for your work.”

“No, it is not true. All I did was step between the flower beds. That is all. How was I going to plant the flowers? I am small, but not that small.”

“Well, I’m going to talk to Mr. Meyer first before we take him to court. Sometimes the honey method works with the right persuasion behind it. I’ll see what I have to do first.”

“Okay, she answered and went back to looking at the framed diplomas on the wall. “What is this one for?”

He looked up from his notebook, drew in a sigh and said, “It says I graduated from a school not too far from here. It’s called Burr and Burton, my high school.”

“And this one?”Diploma 2xaa

“It’s my one and only first you could say. I had a convincing way of debating that took first place. It seems that is my strong suit.”

“What of this one?”

“It’s just my law degree.”

She nodded her head and looked for more wall paper.

“Is this suit a strong one too?” She pointed to a framed certificate next to the door.

“Let’s just say I wasn’t at the top of my class,” he looked the framed degree over, “that piece of paper reminds me, I didn’t give up.”

When she pointed to two men shaking hands, one still a boy and the other seemed to be looking rather sadly down at him. Behind them was a large house with beautifully manicured grounds and a rolling hill side.

He answered before she asked, “Well, the boy on the left is my grandfather, his  name is Joshua Robert Jackson. He was born, lived and worked on the Hildene Estate.”

Who is the other man, he has sadness in his eyes. Maybe he has seen too much, no?”

“I don’t really know about that. The photo is very old.  I never met the man, but he is Robert Todd Lincoln. My grandfather eventually became the head caretaker at his estate.”

“And you?

“Yeah, me too. I worked and lived there until I went to law school.”

“Okay,” Mrs. Mendoza said, nodded her head got up and turned to leave the room.

“You mean you’re not going to ask me about this one?” He pointed to a green and yellow ribbon with a small copper medal hanging from it. The emblem on it was a winged shoe. “This is my second in a running event.”BandB medal1

“Oh I am so sorry Senior.”

“It’s okay. That medal reminds me everyday that if I don’t believe in what I’m doing then I will always be in second place.”

She left the tiny one room law office with her head held high and a smile on her face.  She truly felt her problems were in the hands of a man who could change the world if he wanted.  She just knew it.

The thirty-three year old lawyer with the big smile finished the last of his notes and closed the door of his law practice. He looked at the hand painted shingle on the door and wondered why his father had given him his name? The playground taunts and snickering that went with it hurt, but he grew a tough hide and refused to show it all through his school years. If that were not enough, the higher expectations from his law professors at college were always a sore spot with him. Yet all this disappeared when he came home. It dropped off at the door when he saw his “Papa Link”. Papa Link was never to tired to listen to him, never too tired to help him with school work or how to deal with bullies. Even the other workers there felt like his family and that made him strong. But, friendships at school seemed to be made by breeding, stature, and the money that made it happen. All of this came down to one thing, he was just another hand working on a rich man’s estate.

He read the sign aloud,” A. Jackson attorney at law”.

He stepped off the porch and fired up his trusty scooter. It wasn’t much but got great gas mileage and was fair enough payment from a client who couldn’t afford to pay in cash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Big Wheel Keep On Turnin 15 1/2

Of the very, very, very few who are following this story I would like to not apologize for the direction this story is moving into; it has not been an abrupt change from my point of view.  Rather, it is following the prescribed path pencilled long (look at the first post year) before this blog writing.  Let’s say I am interluding  here to maybe coax the reader to have faith in the direction of this story, to hang in there if not for the sake of the author, then for the sake of the time taken from your life to read what comes out of someone’s heart and head, and yes keyboard.  For the reader at this point may feel they are involving themselves in a slow moving train wreck a few miles just ahead on the track. But the Engine Driver, the man at the “brake,” the man with the power to grind that moving mass of steel, gears, and unbelievably powerful steam boiler to a catastrophic conclusion is well aware.  He knows it is his decision to make every day, every hour and even every second with his hand on that total chaos.  For he know it will not stop on the proverbial “dime,” everyone looking out the windows, checking their watches, and shaking their head as to why the train has to be so late.  He knows it is his choice alone. It is his decision to keep moving ahead when there is debris on the track, or when an animal strays across those two ribbons of steel and the passengers feel that surge of power as the train lurches ahead even faster. All the while the Engine Driver does not want to hit anything.  But the simple law of physics to lock up those wheels and essentially float thousands of tons of steel off the track and on to gravel along with the lives of every mother’s son or daughter aboard are not going to happen.  The Engine Driver’s decisions are final, and carried with him every day of his hopefully long life.train hat1

And so too an author, whether European, the Americas, Far Eastern or maybe even hieroglyphics writer long ago is well aware of the responsibility to his or her readers. To see with “Blinding Eyes,” that which has been laid out before them and to have the safest and best experience. Who knows, they may ride once more with the author.

 

Mentioned earlier in the “Story,” I said this tale of America had to be told with all the pieces laid out. I promise you that will happen as the pages or blog unfolds.

I do not wish to appear modest or fake or an over ego bloated writer (If you write anything you can call yourself a writer) but I would like to say here this story could have the impact of rippling across the continent, sea and yes the very, very, very, troubled world of humankind.

Thank you for your time

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Life, Death, and Rebirth Revisited 15

Using the stairway she stood at least one level floor down now and looked to the left and through a dimly lit hall.  When she looked the other way and saw the same but was littered with wooden crates, boxes of all sizes it was pretty obvious this basement was created long before the one above it.

Now it was time to rely on that instinctual judgement, that no question instant response that happened the day she stepped on the cold floor and walked down the corridor, turned left and climbed over wooden wheelchairs and crutches and not once objected to her choices until she was standing in front of the elevator door that she first left on. Down the hallway and three rooms later she was where it all began for her.

The old style neon light gave the room a blue white tinge to everything, including the starch white sheets on the single bed in the room. Machines monitored silently and efficiently a patient that no longer lay in the the bed.  When she opened the clothes closet, hanging on a single hanger was a navy blue pantsuit in the same style as the black one, the only difference was the cuff and sleeves did not have dried blood soaked into the material.  It didn’t take a neuro scientist to figure out what was next for her.

The dirty blonde woman with no name no future and no past that would allow her to remember removed the stained and dirty clothes, then left them in a pile and stepped into the shower. She turned the hot handle and an ice cold stream of water came out over her body and for an instant she felt her whole body react internally to the shock, then the water warmed and little by little the sensation seemed to retreat within her calming her as the warm water poured over her body. She began to drift in her mind slowly going over what she had gone though just a few hours ago. Danny not listening to her and the men with shaved heads pounding and stomping her body, yet strangely enough it only hurt for a few moments, as if some internal force within her body willed itself to cushion the blows, to soften the effect. Not even when she knew her cheek bones were crushed by the thick leather boot, or when the metal spikes that the short man kept attacking her spine over and over with did she really know why she let it happen.  She just let it happen, just went with it as if she were a willing participant.  She just let the warm pulsating jets of water washed over her reformed face. Her spine even felt stronger than before. And what about Danny’s dying words of amazement? The question for her was not who was she, but what was she?Knck1

The question along with so many others seemed to wash away with the soap that disappeared down the drain. As she dried off with the towel she looked at herself in the mirror, trying to find any sign of what had happened to her; not so much as a bruise or even a broken finger nail. What she saw in the reflection was a woman of approximately five foot ten inches and weighing again approximately one hundred seventy five pounds with clean blonde hair and an unblemished complexion, as that of a porcelain doll. All of this fit perfectly into the navy blue pants suit that lay on the bed. Her inspection lasted long enough to hear the voice from the doorway. She didn’t turn but used the reflection to see the man leaning against the doorway. He was old, but she couldn’t tell how old, because when he entered the room slowly yet deliberately away from her, he seemed light on his feet.

“Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable,” Alabastar Von Slyke said, as he moved to the machines that worked next to the bed. He didn’t wear coveralls but a starched white coat with dark stitching above the pocket that said loosely translated in Swedish, Department Head Director.

“You know Swedish? he said to her.

“Yes, but I don’t know why,” she answered back in Stockholm Swedish.

All the while Alabaster Von Slyke dressed in a white coat talked as he moved to the night stand. He reached in his pocket then took a clipboard off the bed and began checking the readings against the machines.

He was back to English and said, “To say you are the miracle of miracles would be an understatement young woman. You know they all thought I was crazy when I told them I had found the genetic sequence code that was perfect for the transformation in the shell of a comatose woman. But they could not afford to be wrong, so I spent the last five years testing and monitoring your progress and it was worth it. They had to entrusted me with the elixir of the gods and it was worth all the trouble. Tomorrow I will go back to Sweden with my head held high and you by my side as the proof.

“What? I’m not going anywhere with you. I don’t know why, but I won’t.” The blonde woman said.

“May I see you hand?” Alabastar said.

He took her hand slowly and examined it, as she looked away he took a syringe from under the clipboard and stuck it into the vein in her hand. Her reaction was instantaneous but still late as she lifted the hand and flung the three quarter empty syringe into the air. It landed on the bed pillow. Her next reaction was just as swift and she collapsed the Doctors hands in front of him then dropped low and pushed against his stomach. He lifted quite easily into the air and landed on the bed. He started to sit up and then sunk back on the pillow, a dazed look of amazement clung to his lifeless face.
Almost clinically she moved his head to the side and examined the syringe that was lodged into the back of his skull. Even the tiny amount of drug in the syringe was enough to stop the heart and all vitals of the former head of Stockholm Hospital,  Alabaster Von Slyke. No prize, no ticker tape parade or medical recognition for the man that brought an entirely new kind of person on this planet. Someone so unique that there could never be one after her. And to top it all, she still didn’t even know her own name.

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How Not To Meet Old Friends 14

“I know you’re dead Danny,” she said to his blank expression as she put her hand over his eyes and closed them. Then as an after thought she looked over her shoulder at the twitching and writhing of the man laying an arms distance from her, every nerve in his entire body screamed to just die. Relief would not come for another hour.

She turned back to the dead Danny and said, “No more. No more am I going to say I don’t know. No more.”

The woman with no name got up and brushed off most of the dirt from the alley and stepped over the soon to be dead whispering man and took assessment. She looked at the Panzer Messer O.T.F. knife and an underground map to who-knows-where and calmly walked to the nearest street intersection and watched the hustle and bustle of New York Life. They all have names she thought and I too should have a name, every person born should have a name. This thought only held long enough to get easily bumped out by, what was the reason why she didn’t know her name? She had to find out. Maybe she was kidnapped? Just maybe she was a runaway and bumped her head and some family was terribly worried about her? Yeah, and maybe she didn’t just kill a man in the most horrible way and not care how long it took him to die. And why was it every time she tried to think beyond the cold tile floor, before the bed and the warm shower, the necklace, it would loop back on itself, change direction. What she needed to do was go back, go all the way back to that cold tile floor and bed and room. It was the only way her mind would be clear. For once she was going to do something on her own and not an automatic response. She was going to find out who she was even if it killed her.

This time when she asked directions she looked the person directly in the eyes and she could tell when it was the truth by the subtle way they looked away or to the side let her know fact from fiction. With this newly discovered knowledge she made it to East Seventy-Seventh street and in front of the glass doors of Lenox Hill Hospital. Through these doors she moved almost as if in a dream that opened her eyes and senses to a world of sights and sounds strangely familiar, yet remote, cold, and filled with liars, thieves, temporary friends and even murders and killers. Which one was she, or was she a composite of all of them? And maybe this reason to find out who she really is, is just another involuntary reaction? How could she tell? With that large load of confusion she moved through the long hallway of Lenox Hill Hospital. The clear tap, tap, tap of her shoes on tile over concrete was steady enough to attract the attention of the security guard. He watched the seemingly confident blonde New Yorker move toward him next to the elevators. Little did he know she was scanning the residents names and assessing departments as she moved along. She was taking in information, filing and storing it for instant access.

“Can I help you miss? Miss?”

“Yes, I’m with Otis,” she answered matter of factually as she looked down on the kick plate edging of the elevator.

“Otis?” the guard repeated, “Otis who? What floor is he on?”

“Otis is on every floor, and Otis is not a he, it is a what. That what carries you, the staff and all the good people who work here safely to work seven days a week. Otis is your elevator. I’m here for a routine inspection. I need to do this under actual conditions, and that means not drawing attention to myself. Is that clear security guard?”

He looked at her, then her dirty clothes.

“It’s an occupational hazard. I have to make sure you and your staff are safe. Sometimes it takes getting a little dirty.” She looked to see his reaction, but didn’t wait, “Your name is?”

“Uh, yes mam, Mathius, I’m Joe Mathius. I’m kinda new here and I don’t need any trouble. It’s my first job.” said the six foot four young man in a uniform that was made for a six foot man. His charming look faded at the confidence of the blonde woman standing before him.

“Are we clear?” she said as she pushed the down button on the elevator.

“Yes, mam,” he answered with the respect he felt due to this working V.I.P.

She stepped into the elevator and at the last moment an old woman got on with a little boy. She held the boy close, as if she didn’t want anyone touching him.

“Push five, honey” she said and waited. Together they rode in silence to floor five, then she let Otis take her down to the basement floor, only this floor was not the basement she came from.

TunReWork2

The basement she stepped onto was not the basement she left from, as a matter of fact it was at least one level floor down. She waited for the elevator doors to close and then looked at the door that led to a descending stairway. It had a key lock. The woman determined to go from no name to any name looked at the basement door as an opportunity and not a dead end. She looked around at the stacked boxes of supplies, the cleaning equipment and even broken medical monitors and noticed one that had a thin toothed bracket along its edge, about three inches long. Also she spotted bailing wire that held an old crate together. It didn’t take long to use field expedience and fashion picks to defeat the pin tumbler lock in 8.5 seconds flat.Lock4b copy

With the door open she stood on the first stone step and noticed every lower step down was far older than the rest of the hospital steps, almost as if everything were built on the foundation of the past.

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