Once Upon a Time in Oxbow Parish (IC; OPEN)

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Once Upon a Time in Oxbow Parish (IC; OPEN)

Postby Cylarn » Sun May 24, 2020 5:45 am


Robert Bedard
Chateau Laforge, Robert's House
South Palmyra, Louisiana
4 June 1980

Pain. It was the second sensation that Robert would feel, next to the patterned beeping of his alarm clock. With an outstretched arm, Robert slammed his hand upon the snooze button. He writhed on the leather couch, attempting to stretch out his body in an attempt to wrestle away the full pain of his war wounds. His eyes focused on the ceiling fan, spinning ever rhythmically. The pain would never go away, not in the mornings. There was still lead in his body, and it served to remind him that he was no longer the man of his youth.

Robert yawned, and sat upright on the couch. It was another night on the couch for him. Robert was a thrasher; his body moved constantly in his sleep, and his arms and legs served to unwittingly torment Francine in the night. When the second hour of the day had rolled around, the dutiful wife forced her husband into exile in the living room. Through the glass windoors that led to the patio deck, the orange tint of the morning sun poured through, bathing the entire room in the morning gold. Robert squinted his eyes, and reached down to the coffee table to grab the remote.

The screen of the RCA 25 flashed to life, with the image of an American flag waving in the wind as the Star-Spangled Banner accompanied. A slight desire to snap to attention entered Robert's mind while he rose to his feet, but the impact of his knee to the edge of the glass coffee table served to bring him back into reality. Pain shot through his knee, he gritted his teeth, and let out a loud "FUCK," to be heard by everyone within the three-bedroom house. He quickly realized his mistake, and walked away from the living room as if nothing ever happened. A newscaster, unconcerned and unaware of the incident before him, stared on before launching into his program.

"Vietnamese officials report the repulsion of a Chinese special forces incursion in Cao Bang Province," the reporter stated, while Robert stood in the kitchen, preparing a pot of coffee with his new coffee-maker. Vietnam. Robert had spent the better part of four years living in Vietnam. He seldom discussed his time with most folks, with the exception of his siblings and wife. Francine and Lily Anne had fundamental disagreements with the conflict; Roland had not fought the same war as Robert, and both men knew that. Robert was a Marine, beholden to orders and his unit. Roland was a Spook.

As the coffee machine began to fill the pot, Robert decided to get himself cleaned up for the day. Standing near a set of overhead cabinets, Robert opened one up to reveal a plethora of medication. Time for the vitamins. Without much thinking necessary, Robert took hold of a small white pill bottle from the collection and quickly opened it. He popped four diminutive white tablets into the palm of his hand. Uppers. Not much thought or contemplation was necessary; he quickly downed the pills, and as a low rush began to jolt his body awake, he moved on with his morning routine.

Through the hallway of his house, Robert walked in search of his bedroom. His steps were quiet, ears listening for any sign that the children had been awoken by his outburst. As he passed their door on the right, Robert stepped against the wall, right before the doorway. A feeling hit his mind; deja vu that made him half-expect to see a VC holding an SKS in the room, waiting to blast him. Slowly, he nudged the door open and peered into the light blue room that held the twins. Nestled in their cribs, the toddlers dozed on and on, oblivious to their father watching. A smile grew on his face, watching Michael and Marcela. They brought out the good in him. Even Ma, for all of her prejudices against "race-mixing," found herself doting upon the children often.

Robert pulled away from the door, and moved to the last doorway on his left. He pushed open the door, and stepped into the bedroom. Francine had obscured herself with the silk sheets as morning light poured into the room from the windows.

"The kids?" she asked from beneath her silken grave atop the bed.

"Asleep," Robert replied as he stepped into the walk-in closet to fetch his uniform. After a short moment of shifting around various suits and shirts and pants, Robert exited the closet, holding a light-blue, short-sleeved uniform shirt and a pair of navy-blue slacks. "Did you sleep good?"

Francine poked her head from the blankets, her normally-stylized back hair now a mess of strands and crazy hairs that danced atop her shoulders and down her back. The Haitian gave a playful frown to her husband. "Until you yelled."

Robert chuckled, and sat the uniform on the bed. Francine sat upright against the large oaken wall of the bedframe, wrapping the sheets around her chest as her husband approached, sitting down on the edge of the bed. The couple smiled at each other, sharing in the mutual silence. Francine made his world all the better; she was there for Robert on the best and worst of days. Beautiful in mind, body, and spirit. Do I deserve her? She crossed her arms, casting an inquisitive look at her husband. "Are you going to speak with Roland about my proposal?"

Robert gave an affirmative nod. From the turn of the century onward, rumors had floated about of wealth underneath the marshes and swamps of the Parish. Deposits of untapped crude oil and natural gas, buried beneath the silt and mud and skeletons. Timber was dying; at one time, more than a dozen different logging outfits sought to exploit the pines. The Bedards and Fauberts, for their eternal struggle over the balance of power in the Parish, had utilized the timber industry to the fullest extent. Jules Faubert and Maurice Bedard, back in the twenties and thirties, succeeded in either dismantling or incorporating all of the other timber outfits, leaving the two competitors an open field to fight upon. Over time, the "open field" was spreading to the once-dominant forests and wilderness of the region. Lily Anne expected the accomplishment of their present quotas to dwindle to nothing by the beginning of the next decade. The declining resource led to additional feuding over land rights, with both families utilizing banks in order to secure rights over existing timber lands in the Parish. Some members were beginning to steal timber from their rival family, which in turn brought more violence.

Francine reached her left hand over to the nightstand, taking hold of a notebook and passing it off to her husband. "First twenty pages should encompass everything. Like I said, I have friends in the geological department at Tulane. Assembling an expedition is nothing, Robert."

Robert nodded, and sat the notebook on top of his uniform. His eyes narrowed in on the clock. "I believe, if the kids are still asleep, it would be a good time for a shower." Francine gave a devious chuckle in response to her husband's suggestion.

Approaching the Southside Gameroom

The clouds had swept in to partially wipe away the morning glow, leaving much of the two towns dimmed in their light. Streetlamps still glowed and the illumination of light through glass could be seen in the buildings. It was calm, peaceful. Few cars were rumbling through the roads; indeed, not every resident of either town had a car, or the ability to drive. Robert cruised along in his black and white Bronco, decked out in the lights and decals of the South Palmyra Police Department. His windows was rolled down, left arm hanging out of the vehicle while he passed briskly over the asphalt at forty miles an hour. The few created a hanging mist throughout the town, seeping out from the Bayou. The radio was off; all Robert could hear was the roar of the engine, and the never-ending croaking symphony of frogs. It was peaceful enough.

The Bronco pulled up to a stoplight at the first intersection into South Palmyra, surrounded by the figures of connected brick buildings that housed the various stores and businesses of the town. Some windows, notably those of venues not adorned with "For Sale" signs, in these places were decorated with banners and flags denoting their loyalty to the South Palmyra Loggers, the home high school football team of the town. It was Friday Game Night; the big one where the Loggers took on the North Palmyra Chevaliers in their big pre school year football match, at home nonetheless. For the Chief of Police of South Palmyra, the game represented a potential for violence. The people of the two Palmyras shared a common dislike for one another, and thus trash-talking and fight-picking were to be expected. Moving parts and gears complicated the affair; Robert favored the old-school post-game bridge fight between the townies. Halftime fights happened frequently, and Robert recalled many a game in which neither team left with a victory because a fight had taken the place of the game.

Robert considered the option of reaching out to North Palmyra, particularly to Sergeant Switzer, for their officers to keep their people in line until after the Fourth Quarter. The actual Chief of Police in North Palmyra was not at all fond of Robert Bedard, and Robert reciprocated the same sentiment. Out of the entire department, Switzer was the only one "irrational" enough to speak in a civil manner with the South Palmyra cops. Perhaps the former MP would be willing to hear Robert out, and perhaps the night could end with a definitive winner of the year's biggest game.

Passing under the stoplight, Robert took sight of a black and white Gran Fury sitting up ahead on the curb. The horizontal light bar, and the word "POLICE" on the trunk gave it off as a South Palmyra cruiser. The numbers on the lower right side of the rear bumper read "SP-3;" the radio code for Officer Cole Baden. Just like the rest of the South Palmyra PD, Officer Baden had less than three years with the department, and had been personally recruited by Robert.

The two vehicles were now side-by-side; Robert flipped on his hazard lights and reached over to roll down his side window. The shape of Baden, and his bald head, could be seen doing the same. Let's see how Night Shift went.

"Mornin' Chief," the officer said with a hint of tiredness in his voice. Robert also heard the melodies of Jolene lightly emanating from Braden's cruiser. An interesting proclivity was present; neither man made eye contact, and instead kept their eyes trained forward, at the mirrors and windshields before them.

"Hey, how was your shift?" Robert asked in response.

"I shot a gator last night over by the Tyndall's trailer. Fuckin' six-footer ate one of those mutts they got. Then Clayborn and I got called to the Russy house and had to stop Bernard from beating Joan blue again. Pretty much just ten hours of nothing.

Service calls. The bread and butter of South Palmyra's legitimate police work. If their "dutiful" service to his family was to be discounted, the South Palmyra Police Department spent less time enforcing ordnances and more time solving problems concerning the local folk in order to keep the peace. Animal control calls and domestic violence were the most prevalent calls, followed up by the need to break up disorderly conduct. Robert nodded in response.

"Good to hear. Go ahead and clock out. Get yourself some rest for tonight. I want you at the office by five."

"Will do, Chief."

With a brief farewell, Robert rolled up the window and made his way down the road. Though the most, he could see the ugly rectangular shape of the Southside Gameroom, a two-story building made of brick and stone. The parking lot sat empty, save for a single beige '62 Valiant. Morris is here already. Robert prepared himself for the inevitable barrage of bleach up his nose, as he climbed out of the Bronco. Roland had yet to show up; their morning briefing was Robert's first stop before heading off to the office, or alternatively just starting his own patrol. Before fully exiting the vehicle, Robert made sure to grab Francine's proposal on the natural gas venture.

The Gameroom sat dormant, its billiard tables and slot machines and other games sat idle in the glow of the overhead lights. Robert took notice of the shiny floor, and grew mindful not to smudge the work as he walked over to the staircase. It was a long, dark, narrow passage that led to a single door. On the other side was the "exclusive" portion of the Southside Gameroom. As opposed to the concrete grey interior and "local" decoration on the first floor, the second floor was not a place for the average drunk townie.

The walls were all made of waiscotted plane panels that encapsulated the entirety of the room. Boiserie work ornated the four windows of the room, which were kept shuttered by mahogany curtains. A bar, fully stocked with bottles and overhead-hanging glasses and taps, sat on the other side of the room from the entrance. Circular tables, chairs stacked neatly on top, were set up around the room, which was notable for having a stage with a single pole set up at the center of the farthest end of the room, flanked by doors leading to a back area that housed an office as well as a changing area for the women. Oil paintings of Bayou landscapes adorned the walls, joined by a few old firearms and hollow resurrections of hunted game.

An old man with a balding head of white hair and a pronounced limp drug a mop across the wooden floor, looking up momentarily as a bell signaled that someone was coming through the door. The old man, clad in a simple ensemble of a short-sleeve green button-down and black slacks along with his spectacles, took a glimpse of Robert and returned to his labor. The police chief ambled his way in the direction of the bar, and grabbed a stool from atop the counter. He looked back over towards the old man.

"Hey Morris, has Roland called?" he asked. "Half-expected him to be here before me."

Morris simply shook his head, and continued mopping the floor. "Not yet."

"What about Tim?"


Robert nodded, eyes moving to the clock sitting over the bar. Will family meetings not eat up so much time? He sat the notebook on the counter, and unbuttoned the left breast pocket of his shirt, just below the badge, to pull out a soft pack of Marlboro Reds. Robert took one into his mouth and set the pack on top of his notebook. Drawing a stainless steel Zippo from his pocket, Robert fired up the cigarette, and waited.
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The VAKTOVIAn empire
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The VAKTOVIAn empire » Sun May 24, 2020 9:38 pm

Thomas Switzer
Coventry Commune, Thomas' House
North Palmyra, Southern Louisiana
Oxbow Parish
4 June 1980

*thunk* "Beep" *whack* "Beep" *smack* "Huff" Thomas sprung up from his sleep and his senses came to life, instinctively turning to the nightstand to the left of him and slowly striking the snooze button, after being "viciously assaulted" as he recalled it to their friends on nights out, by his dear beloved to his right. His wife, or fiancee as he had been reminded countless times was the proper term, could sleep through a literal hurricane. Betsy had come in 65' when had been just around fifteen or so years old. Camille had come in 69' whilst he was at LSU, and he could remember Camille in a way better circumstance than that of Betsy, assuming Camille had him rushing about as Campus Security, providing aid to those who had flooded dormitories, handling domestic calls with students who had been kept over the end of the semester for fear of traveling at some of the rough parts of the storm, among other things.

Thomas could remember his fiancee back then too. She had slept calmly while he had tossed and turned. That was all before the war too. He didn't like to think he suffered from PTSD. He hadn't seen as much as some of the less fortunate had seen over in 'Nam. That was for certain. Still, before he had gone off to war in 1970, his wife had always been, and now continued to be a heavy sleeper. Fiancee he reminded himself, fiancee. He sat upright from the bed, moving the sheets ever so lightly off of him as he did so. Even with Becca being able to sleep so soundly, he always took the extra precaution. She generally wouldn't awaken on the weekdays, when it was time for Thomas to be up early. On the weekends, when traditionally he would be off, and afforded the liberty of sleeping in, that's when she would always be up bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to go and do something.

He looked at the clock, 5:45. He had done a good job of getting up on time, if not earlier than he normally allowed himself to sleep past his alarm, if nothing else than some badly needed help from Becca this morning. She had to have nudged him at least six or seven times. Maybe half of those had been part of his dream as he had been chased right out of REM sleep, and instinctively been forced immediately to come to from her impacts via elbow. He grabbed the pill bottle and took the vitamins, along with his allergy supplement. June was a bit late for blooming in Palmyra, but the pollen had been especially out in full force these early summer months.

He rose from the bed, slowly pushing each foot one-by-one into some wool and sheep skin slippers. Gifts from Christmas of 78' from his dear beloved wife. Not wanting to overstay his welcome, especially if she did in fact wake up, he fumbled through the closet in what was still mostly darkness in the room; his wife, as heavy a sleeper as she was, had bought dark curtains for the two windows opposite to that side of the room which had the closet built into the wall. After a little more commotion, which to no surprise, didn't wake his wife, he grabbed his uniform from the reach-in closet the small bedroom had to offer; a navy blue set of pants with a light, azure-blue stripe down the sides, and a white short sleeved uniform shirt, with three bars to the yellow upward pointing chevron insignia sown into the sides of the sleeves. He grabbed a pair of linen socks from one of the smaller drawers of the burrow which sat directly in front of the bed, closer to the windows, and then sauntered out of the room, closing the door behind him.

Walking across the way, to the bathroom on the corner of the upstairs, he flipped the light switch on, examining himself in the mirror. North Palmyra's Police Department had no sort of grooming standards, save for the fact he wished the third shift Patrolman who had worked longer than Thomas had, would shave that atrocious looking catipualr off his face. Still, Thomas examined the level his facial hair had gotten to, despite just shaving the morning before. Stubble It added some character maybe. Turning the old fashioned, cross-shaped handle to the hot water, he gave himself an icey surprise on the first splash that traveled palms to forehead, as he reminded himself how old the water heater was in the cellar. He waited a moment for the temperature to return to somewhat of his liking before finishing his daily skin cleanse, and picking the last remnants of eye goo that remained in the corners nearest his nose, smack-dab between the eyelids.

After pinching a loaf, he carefully tip-toed down the stairs. It wasn't his wife he was now worried about. Fiancee for that matter. It was the neighbor's wife. She was older than he was, and she would bitch to him a storm if she got startled and awoken too early. After all She hadn't worked forty some odd years every morning just to be woken up by some young hotshot cop He could hear her words being echoed by her husband now. He turned the corner to the stairs, while gripping the handle, spinning to the left and right into what his living room; A 195 square foot room or so with four windows, two to the front porch which sat directly adjacent to the stairs and the front door, and two to the side of the house, where the small driveway led up alongside. Paperwork scattered across the solid-oak coffee table next to the sofa. Bills... bills, bills bills

Thomas turned on the single light sitting in a thin blue enclosure over the kitchen, and opened the refrigerator and instinctively pulled out the orange juice, stored in a milk style container. Fresh squeezed by his beloved herself. Being pregnant had given her reduced hours at the doctor's office, hence the fact she currently had the ability to make about a gallon of it every week. He pulled a simple-designed glass out from the cabinets above the stove, while also turning the right front burner up to high, and lighting the burner itself with the lighter in the drawer directly to the right of the stove. Again, he opened the fridge, this time pulling out a carton of fresh eggs. These came from the coops Thomas' mother had on their little "garden" or "farm" one could call it. Simultaneously, he drew the pan from underneath the stove top, being stored in the oven, and cracked one of the remaining seven eggs into the pan, followed by two more. The sun was coming up.

With the eggs cooked to an over-medium, yokes still runny on the inside, he salted and peppered them to his liking, pushed down two slices of whole wheat toast from the plastic bag he had pulled out of the fridge while cooking them, and poured himself a second glass of Orange Juice. Too early for coffee Thomas was no stranger to doubles. Hell, every time he needed that extra paycheck, Chief always turned a blind eye to how much OT he was putting in. But Thomas would never take money from a scene, never pocket it, never embezzle, never launder, and never get bribed. He didn't see it as right, even if pop had probably seen more than a handful of dirty money cross his desk while working at North Palmyra First Savings & Loan. No stranger to doubles, but today would be stressful, no question about it. It was Friday Game Night, and North Palmyra's Chevaliers would be crossing the Gossett Bridge over the waterway, to face the South Palmyra Loggers. Mind you, the school year wouldn't start till the end of the summer, it was the biggest game of the year because of its relevance while being a completely offseason game, meaning likewise that penalties, suspensions, and the like, were all nullenvoid save from a couple of referees hired just for the occasion. Trash-talking and fight-picking were commonplace because of each of the two Palmyra's general dislike for one another, not just for having rival football teams. It would be an event, that much was for certain. Thomas had covered the game as a Supervisor the past two summers in June, and before that, had done the event as an extra man on the detail for every year aside from one, since returning to serve as Patrolman in North Palmyra. He failed to remember in recent memory if last year's game had actually concluded with an established victor or not. He was a big fan of the old pig-skin, and he hoped that this year the two teams could actually stick to playing ball, and the fans could actually stick to keeping their hands to themselves, if at least not until the end of the game itself.

Thomas finished his breakfast as he thought more about tonight's future proceedings. Chief would probably hardly favor any established plan in any sort of crowd-control, or rule enforcement for the North's side of things. Hell, the game being in South Palmyra, Thomas had little to no jurisdiction. They were but guests on Chief Bedard's turf. Thomas hoped that both departments could somehow work together to make the night less violent and more tolerable for both sides of townies. Despite the fact there was a deep hatred between both populations of civilians generally, Thomas knew there were many who actually wanted to watch the game on both sides, and many of the players themselves actually wanted to compete. He threw the plates in the sink, knowing Becca would be fine with doing them for him, threw on some shorts and a t-shirt, and headed out to the door after grabbing his H&K PSP, which was his off duty weapon. He tried to keep things black and white, even whilst being in the middle of a corrupt department. As he stepped out onto the porch, to his right, where the second unit to the condo lay wall-to-wall to his, sat old man Roberts, a grizzly WWII and Korea Veteran maybe in his late 60s early 70s by now. His wife was the chief complainant of which Thomas had heard in his mind earlier. "Top of the morning, Mr. Roberts" Thomas nodded as the older gentleman waved to him but remained quiet, rocking back and forth in his rocking chair. Coventry Commune probably had about eight to ten of these units total, some built around a cul-de-sac at the end of the property, but the majority of which sat alongside the short dead-end road, which connected to a side street just off the main drag in North Palmyra. He threw his uniform and off duty weapon in his patrol vehicle, which he was the sole officer allowed to take their vehicle home with them, and started off on his morning routine, approximately four to five laps around the entirety of the condo complex.

When he finished, he gave old man Roberts another wave, which was returned by now another silent wave twenty or so minutes after the first, and quietly shut the door to his vehicle, started the engine, and threw it into reverse. He took a moment to appreciate his life and all he had to live for. Baby on the way, faithful and loving wife, and a condo of which wasn't the greatest, but certainly wasn't the worst compared to a few other populated neighborhoods he could think of in town.

North Palmyra Police Department

The sun had finely come up as Thomas had finished his morning run, and made his way into downtown. An overcast atmosphere had engulfed Oxbow Parish, as the clouds had come out just as the sun continued its ascendance into the sky. Thomas pulled the 1975 Gran Fury into the small easement and past the seven-space lot for public traffic that sat directly in front of the North Palmyra Police Department. He saw the Chief had yet to come in, as he pulled into the side-lot which sat to the right of the brick building. His secretary, in comparison, seemed to be present, parking her 68' Buick LeSabre in the back corner of the lot. Alongside it, was a 1973 Chevrolet Impala to which belonged to the records clerk, as well as the Department's dispatcher. The other 1975 Plymouth Gran Fury the Department operated, of which had two blue rotating warning lights spread two feet apart on the roof in comparison to Thomas' new horizontal style light bar, sat in the spot closest to the side entrance to the PD; a large brown/black steel door, which required one of the master keys the staff of the Department had to enter. It was also where those who were under arrest were transported into and out of the lone holding cell the station offered. As Thomas exited the vehicle, strapping the PSP to his underbelt, he gathered his uniform and proceeded towards the door. About two thirds of the way there, out came a man whose uniform was already unbuttoned, and who had a sinister smirk come about his face the moment he saw Thomas.

"Tommy boy," the middle-aged man proclaimed, smirk still crossing his face. He sported a short crew-style cut, with that disgusting handle bar mustache Tom had thought of when examining his stubble earlier that morning.

"Drew, how many times have I gosh darn told you about pulling the vehicle into an actual spot instead of sitting it in the stripes?" Tom said, turning behind him, hand out as he motioned to where the officer had pulled the other 75' Gran Fury not only into the nearest parking spot, but into the white striped off area directly in front of the walkway that led up to the side entrance, which was marked off to allow for ambulances and paddy wagons to park in as well as officers when dropping off a suspect.

"Tommy boy, relax," said the ginger-haired man, grabbing Tom around the shoulders with his outstretched arm, and patting his chest with his other hand. "Listen, rough night, had too much free time on my hands, now I'm gonna go sleep like a baby till 2300 tonight, hopefully Maddox can handle me coming in a hour late," he said, his smirk only getting larger on his face.

Tom was un-phased by his peculiar and unprofessional grabbing, especially since his senses weren't ready for Drew's typical banter and rhetoric despite waking himself up rather well with the run and balanced breakfast in mind. "Andrew, you're on patrol tonight at 1700 latest," he said, with as stern a voice he could muster this early. He really wasn't in the mood.

The other man's facial expression now totally changed to a surprised, taken aback gaze over Tom's face, still in close proximity to himself. "Wha, what, what are you talking about five o'clock?" he exlaimed.

"Did you forget what tonight is? Friday? First Friday of the month of June in fact?" Tom retorted, one eyebrow now raised in a curious look of bewilderment towards Drew. He was playing him right back with his satire and comical prowess.

"Aww c'mon you've got to be fucking SHITTIN me. I was gonna go home, take a nice old nap. Maybe find me a couple of women who want a piece of me tonight, and you put me on an early patrol time? What so the three of you day clowns can go and watch a bunch of juveniles beat the shit out of eachother and some Southern townies?" he said, anger, trepidation, and annoyance coming about his voice.

Tom shrugged in shoulders in response. "Chief already authorized me two additional bodies," he said, starting to turn towards the door as Drew started off in a rage towards his 76' Cherokee. "That is," he said, now turning towards Drew as he continued to walk backwards towards the door, now facing the older veteran officer.

"That is what? That is what?" He said, now clearly even more frustrated, and being tempted with whatever makeshift bargain Tom was about to make with him.

"Unless you want to swap with Maddox, I have him come in at 1100 as always, and he works till regular time here, taking calls, and you come with us and then go home when the game is over."

"So I still have to work regular hours after that, what sense does that make, I'd rather just come in at 1700 if that was the case." Drew bickered back. In Thomas' eyes, it seemed he wasn't getting the sense of what he was proposing.

"Drew, you come in and cover the game on detail with me and the boot, I'll send you home after and you can have the rest of the night off till tomorrow at 2200, when I expect you to not be more than a minute late, and believe me, I'll offer Maddox a cold one just to rat your ass out too!" He said, playful banter now coming back across his voice as he threw up an authoritative finger in Drew's direction.

"And what, no one covers the night shift? Latest that game and all the bullshit that follows it every year is gonna run is ten, maybe eleven p.m"

"Right, so I have the boot go home at noon after Maddox comes in, he'll sleep a few hours, come back in for 1700 just like you will, and then he'll work right into the a.m tomorrow." Tom finished on the proposal, right as the rookie pulled up in his 65' Vista Cruiser.

"The boot on a midnight, oh how I am going to love that for him." said Drew with a chuckle. "Alright Tee, you got yourself a deal on this one!" said the veteran ginger man, as he smiled in response, the smirk returned full volume to his face, and he started to jog backwards towards his Jeep once more. Then came Germaine Edwards out of his Vista Cruiser, and the taunting was on again. "Hey boot, looks like you're working with me tonight. Don't get caught figuring out who and who can't buy ice cream with mommy and daddy's cash at the concession stand, those are the worst," He said, sticking his tongue out at the mixed African American youthful officer as he hopped into his Jeep, turned the ignition, and was out of the parking lot in a matter of seconds. The uniformed officer hadn't even made it to where Tom was still standing with a surreal and surprised look on his face at the door, when the Jeep pulled off headed southbound on the main drag.

"What was that all about?" exclaimed the officer; Germaine "JJ" Edwards. "Nothing Edwards, Tinkerton is working with us tonight, so save some of your humor for later right?" said Tom, as he unlocked the steel door and motioned an 'after you' movement of his right arm to the officer, who, already in full navy blue uniform, entered the Department first.

Their walk into PD started from the entrance, to ice white brick walls on the right and left. When you entered, directly to the right was "the cage" which was the remnants of what used to be an open ceiling and interior garage bay, but with a mechanized door that could fit no larger than maybe a Model T or 1940s paddy wagon in width. To better augment the space it had been converted; it became a messy area of metal shelving, stacked with spare vehicle parts, old radio equipment, traffic cones, bins of old and dated uniforms of previous design, barricades, fire extinguishers, and other equipment, to go along with anything that had been discarded and not held as evidence to be a part of some type of investigation. All that stood separated from the corridor which sat ajar to it, with what would have been a large open entrance to enter in and out had it not been covered up with a chain link fence up to the ceiling and a single fence doorway in-and-out with an associating padlock to match. Hence the name "the cage". Past that area the corridor continued straight, where the first area on your right was a single, old and worn holding cell, with a small cot, toilet and barely-working sink. Next was the first actual room with a door on the right, where a locker room and bathroom combined sat on the first right off the corridor. The department had yet to have any female officers in its ranks and thus didn't have a need to have converted to the proper gender correct separation of locker rooms. The next door on your right was the armory, which also had a large, metal door separating it from the hallway. At that segment of the corridor windows allowed light to flow in from the left, which on the outside, was the very front of the station. The last door on the right was the "breakroom" a small ten foot by ten foot hole in the wall with a single table, and a small kitchenette and fridge. The TV hadn't worked in there for a few months now. The corridor ended at another metal door, not as thick as that of the armory.

Tom pulled the handle on the door, and again ushered JJ into the next segment of the station first. As you came out from the doorway, the lobby sat, with three single chairs in a very small ten by ten foot space once again, the main doors to the left, and the records clerk booth to the right. Separated by a sheet of scratched bullet proof glass was the lobby from the records clerks' work area, which also functioned as the clerk's dispatch area from their desk back a ways from the window. Inside the records area was simultaneously large book shelves with all the townies' criminal records and their multipurpose desk which functioned as a place of records and a place of talking on the radio. An old switchboard controlled the phone which would receive a dial-in 911 number, the radio transmitter itself connected to the large antenna that sat atop the old brick building, and a single microphone with a talk button sat attached to the speaker to the transmitter itself. Directly across the doorway they had just exited, sat a single toilet men's, and a single toilet women's bathroom, not more than five-feet by five-feet in total area each.

Behind the desk currently sat Susanne Cortes, a mutt herself like Tom, J.J and Tom's father before him, she was of mixed cajun background, as well as Spanish speaking on her mother's side. She was just around the age of Tom's older sister, and she had had a crush on Tom since grade school. It made working together a little irrational at times, and often Tom had to simultaneously remind himself his days of being a young teen in secondary school were over, regardless of how many little flings they had been involved in during the younger years. Good morning, boys Walking from the deeper parts of the room, where the radio and her desk lie, hidden, she came to the glass pane, also dimly lit, where a single hole was cute out to allow people outside the walls of the rest of the station to speak with the records person. "Morning, Susanne," his stomach turned, and he could feel a sense of guilt swallow up inside him. His wife or fiancee rather, as he reminded himself once more, hadn't been from Palmyra. He had brought her back to this hellhole after school and the war. He had failed to disclose to her a former partner was one of his main coworkers, and that guilt stood ready to eat at him even this early today. "Chief won't be in today, apparently he's decided to take it upon himself to hunt with some friends at one of their lodges out of town for the weekend. His wife phoned me when I first got in at six fifty this morning, guess he forgot to tell Gladys as well. She smiled, almost seductively, at Tom, and he felt an invisible, imaginary, trickle of water come down his back. It was pure torture to look at her sometimes, assuming they had a history, again, to say the least. "With that in mind I prepared you both fresh coffee in the breakroom, two pots should last till Bradley gets in." Now, the smile turned to a grin, and Tom imagined her simultaneously biting her lip. Not good, keep yourself in line dammit He wasn't anywhere close to the womanizer Drew Tinkerton fashioned himself to be, or so he thought himself to be. Even with that in mind, Drew knew better than to make a play on Susanne. She had downplayed his innuendos multiple times.

"Thank you Sue," said Tom, himself and J.J made their way to the only other lone door in the lobby area, a door to the left of the sizable sheet of bulletproof glass, and to the right of the bathrooms, the last heavy metal black door, right in the corner. As you entered that black door, the last big black metal door in the department, you came to another open room, one which had a sizable table and some chairs around it with a chalkboard drawn up in front of it on the rear wall of the station, directly in front of you, and to your left, was a desk out of view from a divider, and behind it sat Gladys Scandling, the Chief's personal secretary and a woman well into her early 40s. Directly behind her, in the far corner of the station, was the Chief's office, behind a large oak door.

"Chief not coming in today huh Gladys?" Tom poked. She looked up from her desk, gave him an almost it's Friday and I don't want to be here type of look, took a long drag of her cigarette, tapping it into the glass ash tray on the corner of her desk, and stared up at him. JJ remained behind Tom, rather observant, and ready to take in the potential banter to follow such a jab by Tom. Overall, despite the fact Tom was the most dutiful of anyone in the North Palmyra PD, everyone got along, and additionally enjoyed some satire and humor in their work. If you didn't laugh you didn't live, and living was what everybody in the PD wanted, corrupt or not. At the end of the day, the patrolmen still had families to go home too, whether their parents or their own. The women who worked the station, kept with every one of their little wise crack remarks as well. The Chief was an even-keel guy, although a strong gust of wind from Jules Faubert's mouth would blow him right over, and he bent like a broken thumb at the mention of anything that could be considered "less than ideal" for an upstanding Law Enforcement Agency. Nevertheless, Gladys just continued to eye Tom for a second before she decided to rip into him. "Now Thomas. Thomas my dear," she started, in a humorous undertone in her voice. Susanne poked her head around from her desk, to which she could see into the open meeting room area, and subsequently Gladys' desk from the door-less entryway to the records/dispatch room that sat across from Gladys' direction of view. A smile crossed her face, as she eyed Tom as well. "You should know better than to bark up the wrong tree, of an old decrepit, sleep in on weekends type like me." she said with a laugh. No shit the big boss didn't come in today. Had I known that I would've taken John and gone out of town for the weekend. It doesn't have to be Mardi Gras for an old gal to enjoy the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street," she said, the smirk and smile continuing as she got up from her chair and did a little twirl and curtsy. Gladys played a hand in everything immoral and disgraceful that crossed the Chief's desk in its entirety, but she was a fun, easygoing woman from what Tom had made out the past several years. "Well ain't that a shame," Tom said, chuckling at Gladys dancing as he retorted "Guess you'll just have to come with me, Drew and JJ here tonight to the ole Friday Night Game huh Gladys?" She looked at him like he had really barked up the wrong tree now. Yeah right, if I wanted to watch a bunch of townies from both sides of the bridge beat eachother senseless, I'd just go out on any day of the week when you're in 'Big Enforcer Tom' mode and watch you and officer Edwards here kick the crap out of a couple of drunken Southern townies who crossed the bridge, and then ended up being better fighters than both of you." JJ stepped in at that point and spoke up. Is she talking about that one time with the Gregor twins? Because I swear to God that wasn't even a fai-" He got cut off as Tom put a finger up to him. Please don't get her started now Jay, she's dying for an excuse to remind me of all the times I've bit off more than I could chew on a busy day and ended up signing off on a medical coverage form for the General Practice." He held the finger up firm to JJ, grin on his face, turned back to Gladys and finished before she could really make him regret poking fun at the fact she'd come in on a day her boss wasn't even at work. Gladys love what you've done with your hair by the way, looks, darker!" He grabbed JJ and hustled back out the door just as fast as he had come through it as she humorously flipped him the bird on his and his partner's way out. Oh how I love this job.

North Palmyra Police Department
Locker Room

Tom had showered from his morning run earlier, put on a clean undershirt and set of boxers upon finishing, and was putting the finishing touches on his uniform for the day. He had thrown the pants on first, then the uniform shirt, white with the golden chevrons on either sleeve, and the seal of the North Palmyra Police Department above on either side as well. He had tucked his shirt into his pants, avoiding the wrinkles and bunch up of fabric as best as possible as he slid the ends of the uniform between his slacks and boxers. Next had been the underbelt, which he kept tight but just one notch down from what would've been an extremely tight fit. He had learned rather well from one of his FTOs that if the perp wanted your belt bad enough or was using it as leverage, it would be better to have it a little loose rather than too snug, and it'd be less of a means of creating a hazard to yourself unintentionally in a close proximity scrap.

Next, came the duty belt. Tom had a black leather finish on his, almost looked like a Trooper out on the Louisiana Freeways. From front to back, his cuff pouch sat directly to the right of the center mid line where he fastened the belt with the buckle to a proper fit. Next came a belt holder for the oleo-resin capsicum, or mace, which had been heavily used by many of the Southern Police Departments in dealing with both Civil Rights and Vietnam War protests which broke out from starting and peaceful and turned violent. The holder and mace itself had been easy to find, but Tom had, like for most of the typical equipment for a Department you'd find in New Orleans or its surrounding parishes which he had, been forced to buy it for himself and any of his guys who had some of the nicer equipment. The Chief loved getting money illegally, but he never cared to put it back into the Department's budget to actually commit itself to policing. And this is why I still live in a Condo even at a higher pay grade. Next on the belt came his duty weapon; a Smith & Wesson Model 539 with a 14 round magazine utilizing 9 mm ammunition, the corresponding holster being a single piece of leather which enclosed the weapon from all but the top, and curved around the top of the back of the slide in order to avoid others from disarming it from the wearer. Directly behind that, he had a holder for one of the turn-of-the decade types of equipment; an expandable baton. It had cost him a pretty penny to purchase, assuming they were fresh off the market and in limited supply. He had ordered thru one of the friends he had made back in the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Department before getting laid off, and they had shipped him three. One for each of his day shift guys and one for himself. Drew never asked and never took any of Tom's gifts. He was set in his old ways of policing, and his old ways of not caring what equipment he took out on patrol at night with him. After all, the man still carried a revolver when any law enforcement officer with a brain in their head that read into anything knew that nationwide it was recommended to go to the semi automatic pistol wave. Hell, they didn't use revolvers for handguns in the military, why would you in your own country domestically? Nonetheless, these batons were from Armament Systems and Procedures Inc. a company which in 1976 had founded the expandable baton by way of Dr. Kevin Parsons, credited with its design. The psychological adavantage to the baton was achieved when it was drawn from the belt and flicked with a snap through the air to extend it. Directly center in the rear of the belt was a glove holder, which stored two pairs of latex gloves, of which he used when searching suspects and handling medical emergencies before firemen or ambulance workers could get to a scene. On the left rear side of his belt, opposite where the baton sat directly behind his duty weapon, sat a holder for a Motorola MT500 handheld radio, one of the oldest and out-of-date models of the current times, but one which worked well within the small vicinity which was North Palmyra. An associating speaker microphone was connected to the radio and typically would be manufactured with it already included. The radio featured three channels, only one of which was operated by the department, on the same frequency of the stationary transmitter that Susanne and their night attendant would operate, along with the in-car radios which were present in all three of the patrol vehicles. Three extra magazines were the only other thing that made up the rest of Tom's belt, which all sat to his left, of the center midline of his belt. He had already attached the duty belt to the under belt by way of a single "keeper", which snapped into place after holding tight against both belts vertically.

Now, he was putting the finishing touches on the uniform for the day, which included fastening his badge to its designated spot, over the left breast pocket, adjusting the name badge manufactured of solid nickel and engraved with hard black enamel T. "Switzer" on the first line, followed by "Sergeant" on the line below, and "SINCE" and "1973" around both sides of the word Sergeant, respectively. To finish, he pinned and fastened both of the 1/2 inch by 3/8 inch collar pins which were mini golden Sergeant chevron badges on both sides of his collar.

He looked himself up and down in the mirror that he had mounted on the rear wall of the odor-induced locker room. I'm in my element. There's no place I'd rather be. Right here, right now. Another great day to be had, let's do some good work today. He laced up his freshly polished boots from the night before, double tied them, and tucked the laces into the top of them as he allowed the bottom of the slacks to come down over the top of the boots, covering just the top quarter of them for a masterful symmetry with just the top two or three rows of laces.

He heard the door to the locker room squeak on its hinges as it opened, and then shut. Edwards is already off, beat me to it today Depending on how many officers would start the day shift, and at what time, Tom additionally tried to be as professional as possible by holding a briefing before the start of the shift. Lately, however, their midday had been coming in at eleven. He had bitched and cried to the Chief enough to not have to work a longer shift, sometimes split by a two to three hour break, like he had originally signed on for a few years back. Maddox does really grind my gears sometimes.

Tom clicked the radio on as he grabbed his cap; the North at least used a rounded cap design rather than an eight point cap for those that chose to wear them. Tom wished all his guys would regard him 100% of the time. He didn't have any sort of superiority complex about him, he just wished that being the ranking veteran on the job aside from the Chief, and Tinkerton despite the fact he overshadowed the man in both general and policing IQ, both his day shift men; Edwards and Maddox, would follow him no matter what it was he said, because he had their best interests, and most moral and ethical standards, at heart and in mind. He knew each of them didn't see it that way in some respects. Maddox for sure didn't in many more respects than he was sure Edwards did. Edwards was just a kid, fresh out of the academy, fresh out of being a teenager. He had no idea what the real world could throw at you. He had never been to Nam. Maddox was a different breed. Marine with four years under his belt, since the age of eighteen. The guy had seen short of every major combat incursion in Nam from 71' to the tail end in 75'. Tom wouldn't have been surprised if he had been one of the last guys out of the whole thing. He acted like it, to say the least.

Skinner Road
North Palmyra
Requesting Backup Call

Ten minutes prior
Patrolman Germaine "JJ" Edwards was out in his 1972 AMC Matador squad, and had just cracked a hour since technically starting shift at 0700. He thought of the excitement that would come from tonight's game. It'd be his first real true test as a patrolman on a detail. He had studied crowd control in college as part of his degree in criminal justice. As the Chief had well known ahead of time, Edwards had never been to a police academy. His "refresher" training on both gun safety among other standard procedural tasks undertaken by a patrolman of which Sergeant Switzer had done with him, had been more of a first time, if anything.

He swung the car right off the main drag, down a long straight-ahead road which led to a collection of a few farms and other rural properties in a very Northern part of town away from the Gossett Bridge. A vehicle lay directly in front of him, swerving in and out of the two lane road. A double yellow ran down the center of it, not another car in sight for miles, and Edwards could see what looked like a head in each seat of the vehicle, as it weaved in and out of what would be oncoming traffic. He lit it up. Right then and there. Not a moment of hesitation. Sure, Edwards used the cop job as a means to get back at some of those who would've cast him aside if for not being on the force; what for a being of mixed race and all that. He used it for that and didn't mind taking advantage of the corrupt system, especially when it meant he could inflict harm who had done so to him back in school for the same reasons, as well as he felt he was entitled in a way, for all he'd been thru up to this point, to getting the better end of any of the shadier part of the stick. He called it in. Susanne acknowledged she had heard him on the other end of the in-car radio.

He opened the door, took one step out, and stood tall and firm in his position directly adjacent to his vehicle, as he took a good look of the vehicle in front of him. A 1971 AMC Hornet, they were newer cars to say the least, but this thing was a beat up piece of shit. It hadn't been well taken care of, and Edwards could see that. He walked between the front of his car and the rear of the Hornet's watching the two men eye him from behind their headrests. He came up to the passenger side window, standing tall and authoritative all the same.

"Officer Edwards, North Palmyra Police Department, you know why I'm stopping you today?" He said, leaning his head down while remaining with his back as stiff as a rod, in order to come into complete eye contact with the driver. Not a shred of a smile or smirk came across his face as he did so.

"I don't know what in the hell you stoppin' me for, nor do I need to. What I know is that you're wasting my time. Say, aren't you porch monkeys 'posed to be darker than that or something?" the driver exclaimed, motioning to his passenger to look at Edwards as well as they shared a laugh.

Edwards day had done phenomenal, right up to this point. Couple of older hicks thought they were gonna pull their old southern segretation bullshit on him. Not today, not here. His mood, demeanor, and attitude had all been taken aback in an instant, and his fuse, as short as he hadn't subconsciously realized, had come to an abrupt end.

"Yeah, say Boy, shouldn't you be out doing some tilling in that field over yonder," the passenger added, as the men continued to chuckle, "be better 'stead of doing white mens' work."

That was it, that was the fuse.

Edwards looked at both of them eyes narrowing, as his emotionless expression turned to a more angry one, his cheeks clenched up, his eyebrows raised, and his gaze turned to a death stare. "Really funny, step out of the vehicle, NOW."

Both men looked vividly surprised. They turned their attention back to him again, unfazed by this attempt to startle them, or command any sense of authority. In their minds, Edwards was lesser than them and despite the badge, they were one of the few who didn't see the blue and the badge above that of the color of Edwards' skin. They started continuing to laugh, as the passenger grabbed Edwards by the collar, as the young officer was now even level with the man sitting, buckling down on his knees to try to continue to adjust his gaze on them. "I ain't afraid of no porch monkey policeman in my fucking life, Boy," he yelled, letting go of Edwards as he opened the passenger side door suddenly, striking Edwards and taking him off his feet. The young inexperienced officer was startled, but quickly came to his feet as the passenger began to exit, looking as though he might charge the young lad.

Edwards put both hands up. He had conditioned himself well during and after high school. Poppa had taught him how to handle himself all the same. He was ready for another fight, this one was no different.


Present time

Tom pulled up, swinging the car with the front wheels aimed off the road, throwing the transmission into park as he simultaneously opened his door and rushed to step out. officer needs help, last called out being on Skinner Road, repeat, officer requesting help at last known location He could hear Susanne's voice now, which had come over his in-car. He typically turned his speaker mic clipped to his shoulder lapel down so he didn't get a double dose of the blaring, sometimes static radio chatter. Climbing out of the car and rushing over to the front of what looked to be a beat up, tan AMC Hornet, Edwards was holding his own against two men who had him pinned between themselves and the declining bank of the edge of the road, where the tree line was which separated Skinner Road from the farms that lay right next to it on both sides.

Tom didn't hesitate, and he didn't wait. One of the men had their back to Tom. They were both sizable men, the difference was Tom had learned hand-to-hand fighting and takedown styles on perpetrators in the academy. The man with his back to him he grabbed by the back of the collar, and used the man's weight against him, pulling him back and down. The sheer surprise from the move caused the man's weight to counteract his position, he also probably suffered from poor body balance in general, and he fell back first onto the combination of rough asphalt, surrounding gravel, and dirt on the side of the road. The other man got a hold of himself, albeit too late, as he originally had all of his attention focused on Edwards. He turned towards Tom, only to be met with a right hook, which knocked him back and caused him to reevaluate. By the time he got a hold of himself from such a powerful blow from Tom, he was coming in with a weak left in response, hitting the Sergeant in the ribs, but with barely any power in comparison to Switzer's solid strike.

Edwards grabbed the same arm the driver had failed to strike vindictively with, and swung the wrist into one side of his handcuffs which he ripped in a fluent motion from his pouch, as Tom delivered a solid kick to his midsection. The man fell back, like his friend, onto his back, and before he could recover, Switzer and Edwards had him with his back to the sky, secured in both sides of the handcuffs, one on each wrist. The first man Tom had dealt with, who had been slightly heavier than his friend, was still laying on the ground from the impact of being tossed backwards against both Tom's force and that of his own bodyweight.

Tom got the second man in cuffs, and asked Edwards to explain what had happened. It was surprisingly that of a familiar story as Edwards recounted. These two weren't the first, and certainly not the last, to see thru the person and dutiful officer Edwards tried to hold himself as, at least, sometimes, and in some respects. Civil rights had been achieved in the South, yet it didn't mean the attempts at keeping the fire lit on both segregation and racism hadn't been somewhat successful for traditionalists like these two middle-aged scumbags.

Apparently, it just so happened that they weren't Bedard, they weren't Faubert, and they weren't even Palmyra townies, of either variety. They were two hicks trying to get to New Orleans, from whatever backwater town they had come from, which like Palmyra was hardly close to an interstate. Instead of taking the state roads, they had avoided the traffic and the hassle to obey signals and proper driving procedures by taking straight backroads all the way through, which subsequently took them to Skinner Road. If you followed Skinner far enough you'd be clear out of the Palmyras, and Oxbox all the same. It was one of those town roads that at a certain point, turned into a mix or dirt, gravel, and then asphalt again, depending on the windy turn you decided to make once you got six or ten miles outside of the proximity to North Palmyra's main drag. One of the two, the driver, was clearly under the influence of something, which could explain his lackluster impression of one of Toei Company's 1974 "Streetfighter" characters, as well as his abysmal driving performance of which Edwards had witnessed.

They had a couple of options ahead of them. They could book em and cite them for DUI, which meant a lengthy amount of paperwork, having to have both of them occupy the holding cell and then having to have some part of the Sheriff's Office sentence them, and those sentencing hearings could get backed up, assuming outside of anyone opposing the Fauberts or Bedards, not many were actually tried and sentenced to any real jail time at the nearby penitentiaries, or the Parish jail the Sheriffs' operated. They could cut them loose and make nothing more of it. Or, they could meet in the middle.

Tom had thought it over in his car, leaving Edwards to proudly stand and impose himself over the two men, now sitting slouched against the passenger side of their beaten up AMC Hornet.

"Well, way I see it, you boys got a couple of options. You certainly didn't make any friends of the North Palmyra Police Department by harping and striking one of my newest prodigies, he said, giving a grinning nod to Edwards as he exchanged a glance back at Tom. "However, you certainly didn't make friends with anyone in North or South Palmyra, assuming either of you know where in God's fucking green earth you are right now," He chuckled, laughing with Edwards as he stared at both of the men, whose joking and bullying manner with Edwards had turned to pure fear.

There was something about the authoritative, calm, cool and collected way Tom spoke, the chill in his voice, so serious yet so certain, and yet so peaceful, that could intimidate and implore most men to stay at attention and listen to what he had to say, and take it quite seriously. First Lieutenant in the Military Police had done him well.

"With that being said, I see no choice but to, in light of the fact we have no intention of wasting our time and our mostly free Friday dealing with you too, send you on your way." he said, which got a clear reaction of bewilderment out of the two men, and Edwards, who Tom saw was just about to object until he brought his right arm and hand, which had been behind him the entire time while speaking, to the front of his person. He held the old-fashioned black wooden billy club in his hand, in comparison to his collapsible ASP which remained on his belt.

"I don't condone police brutality, but I certainly don't condone racism in my town, a town in a state where us good people as Louisianians should've gotten over the race war and the name calling years ago." he said, continuing to be cool and cold in his remarks.

"As such, despite being the devout Catholic I am, and firmly believing Jesus Christ holds no love for those that purposefully do danger or violence to those who yield no resistance. I see no more fair recourse, than to see Officer Edwards here get his licks in on your two and your vehicle, before we send you on your way." Both men gulped at the thought of what was about to transpire.

Some time, no more than a few minutes later, both men, battered and bruised, with potentially broken bones in their extremities, got back in their now twice-as-trashed AMC, and made their way Eastward on Skinner Road, out of town.

Tom debated what he had just allowed to transpire. On the one hand, he tried his hardest never to conform to the corruption and immoral and unjust policies and practices the Chief and the Fauberts above him tried to employ. At the same time, he morally objected to anything which was racial or stereotypical in nature, and as well as that he personally believed God saw it the same way. There was no place for racism on any human being, to be treated unfairly compared to another, and more than that, he needed to keep his men happy and pleased as well. Loyalty to your superiors came from your superiors' understanding and ability to be sympathetic to your needs and desires. Although Tom would deal with the sea saw of emotions that were to come psychologically with this decision, he had responded to many a call that involved Edwards being scrutinized based solely on the color of his skin, and had always tried to play peacemaker. Of course all of those involved townies and people who sometimes were either directly or indirectly related to prominent Fauberts. This time was different. This was the one opportunity Tom had been given, maybe by God himself, to allow Edwards to have some sort of vengeance against all those who had tarnished him solely based on the color of his skin due to who his parents happened to be. Tom hoped it wouldn't eat away at him for long. But it will. These are the kinds of things I could never tell Becca, but then again, she'd never understand It was more than just the fact Edwards was his partner and someone he also regarded in a little-brother style role as also his friend. They were both police officers. Edwards was the closest thing Tom believed he had to a fellow officer in the ranks of North Palmyra's Department who he could limit the hand of corruption in, other than himself. Only time would tell if that would be the case.

He put his arm around Edwards as the two walked back towards their cars as they had watched the two men continue to speed away down the road. "Way I see it, State Police will pick them up for that pitiful driving somehow, someway. They'll never make it to New Orleans and they'll get even more of what's coming to em," Tom said, with a firm smile as he looked at Edwards, and they came to the front of the AMC Matador.

"Sarge, I don't know what to say. You're not like that. Never have been. What caused you to-"

"You're right Jay, I'm not like that." Tom said, a glimmer coming to his eyes as his smile faded into a look of sheer respect and love all at the same time. "But sometimes, we do things we don't personally like or agree with, because if we don't it'll be at the expense of others' downfalls. And that right there, despite everything I stand for, everything we've talked about in terms of what I personally hold as the dos and don'ts, even with the baggage and corruption we both know is accustomed to all here in the Parish right now, that, was the right thing to do, based on the fact this continued line of disrespect would lead to YOUR downfall." said Tom.

"Now come on, it's the least I could do. Slowly but surely, we're gonna eradicate the remnants of what's left of racism and segregation here in Oxbow, as best as I can till I die," said Tom. "Don't mention it, and keep your head up. Hell, you're going home at noon today. I need you bright eyed and bushy tailed for the big game tonight. You're covering for Tinkerton after it's over. First overnight patrol. You've earned it. I think you're ready for a taste of something out of your comfort zone. Even if those guys had you on the ropes." Tom chuckled.

"Come on, did you see the size of that one guy?"

"Alright, alright, he was bigger than some of the smaller calfs my mommas got at our little farm," Tom admitted.

"Hey Sarge?"


"Thanks again," Tom eyed Edwards and saw what an emotional milestone this had been for him through the responding glimmer in his eye. He'd had to have dealt with all of this baggage since the day he was born and Tom couldn't even begin to comprehend what he had seen and gone thru. That, was what single-handedly justified it in Tom's eyes, though he'd continue to question why he allowed Edwards to take the extra step. The kid had never even killed anyone though, not like Tom had done over in Nam. He needed to break open a little, even if it meant hurting those who at that point couldn't put up a real fight. Little blood on his hands. He needed the feeling, especially with the course things were taking so rapidly in the Palmyras to date. Tom knew he'd need all hands ready for some shit to pop off, for better or for worse.

He waved it off with a smile to Edwards as he strolled back to his Gran Fury, flipped the lights off, and pulled a u-turn back towards the main drag.

The right thing to do. Now when will I ever truly figure out what that is?

User avatar
Of the Quendi
Post Marshal
Posts: 15158
Founded: Mar 18, 2010
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Of the Quendi » Thu May 28, 2020 2:58 am

2:51 a.m.
Coraline Josette Faubert
Maison de Bellevue, Mr. and Mrs. Lucien Faubert's home
North Palmyra, Oxbow Parish, Southern Louisiana
4 June 1980

"Yes. Yes. Yes I understand." Joe slowly nodded her head ponderously, blinking her eyes to clear them of sleep as she tried to awaken. "A ..." She said, drawing out her sentence as she pondered how exactly to phrase her next words. "Working girl?" She asked rhetorically, settling upon the most euphemistically of terms she could think of in her tired state. "I see. I see." Joe sat down upon a chaiselongue in as she suppressed a yawn, idly toying with the phone wire.

She continued nodding alone as the speaker on the other end of the phone informed her of the situation. Her sleep deprived mind gradually caught up to the seriousness of the situation, resulting in a visible expression of displeasure on her face. Lips pursed, eyes narrowed. When she interrupted her interlocutor with a question, the soft and soothing tone of the voice of the once upon a time queen of cajun country had gained a sharp edge that would have surprised her fans. "Well is she one of Theirs? ... Or ... Ours?" Joe asked, gripped by a terrible suspicion of betrayal.

She nodded at the answer, her grim expression growing grimmer as she did not receive a pleasing answer. "What about the pimp?" She cut of the answer with a crude word no longer searching for euphemisms. "Or the ... John for that matter. What do we know about them?" She commanded. Another round of nodding in response to a reply ensued as a light blush of frustrated anger appeared on Joe's face. She sighed cutting of another disappointing answer. Alright, alright. Let me just think for a moment." She said, standing up from her chaiselongue. She paced as far as the phone wire would permit in the foyer of her mother's home gathering her thoughts.

"Alright." She began. "Find out what you can, I need to know whether this is just an unfortunate incident caused by some dubious people or if I am dealing with something more sinister. I want you to find out everything you can about the girls and her ... procurer, understood? ... Good ... Good ... Yes I understand." Joe instructed. She nodded, this time with some gusto as decisions was reached.

"Alright, what about the tribe? How are they taking this?" Joe then asked. As the response came she sighed once more. As expected. "Alright. Well I guess I will have to come down there and mend some fences. Yes ... Yes today, or tomorrow. What day is it even. I can be their midday, I have some things to see to on my end before I meet with Burgess. Alright. Talk to you soon, goodnight." Joe hang up the phone.

She yawned and stretched her body, thinking through the situation. At only the second day of the opening of the game room in the hotel a working girl and her ... Well her pimp, had snuck into the Chitimacha tribal hotel to ply their unseemly trade. They, and their John, had been apprehended by tribal police, thank god for tribal sovereignty and been detained for interrogation after which they would be expelled from tribal lands. Now the opening of the tribal casino was threatened by the seedy association with prostitution and Joe's financial relationship with the Chitimacha was on thin ice. Not without annoyance Joe thought of how eager the tribe was to take her money and enjoy her expertise on gambling and how quick they where to blame her for every error or setback. Now she could look forward to spending months rebuilding trust with the tribal council and chairman Burgess Darden over a situation she had nothing to do with.

If, that was, she had nothing to do with it. Once again the chilling suspicion that Oxbow criminal politics might have followed her to the Chitimacha reservation crept up on Joe. The Bedard's no doubt knew about her involvement with the tribe. After all it was hardly secret. Perhaps they thought, correctly, that the tribal casino would launder Faubert money and had decided to discredit the casino before it even officially opened. Or perhaps Joe needed to look closer to home. Not everyone in the Family, the family with capital "F", had been happy when she had insisted that the tribal business be kept clean. Perhaps uncle Jules was sending her a message, expressing disapproval of her independence and attempt at keeping the family at arms length from her ostensibly legal business enterprise. Perhaps.

Joe heard the soft sound of the creaking of the seventh step of the staircase. For a moment she was reminded of all the times as a child she had jumped that step when seeking to evade parental authority for some delightful sojourn with friends and inappropriate menfolk at strange hours of the day, or rather night. The thought almost cheered her up and when she turned towards her elderly mother coming down the stair she managed a warm smile. "Mama, what are you doing up at this hour?" Joe mildly scolded her mother. "I heard you on the phone ma petite." The old woman replied. "Are you in trouble?"

Joe shook her head, mildly offended that somehow her mother always seemed to think that. Then again she had never given her mother much reason to think otherwise. All those sojourns at strange hours of the night had after all not gone as unnoticed as she would have liked. "Just some trouble with the casino mama. Nothing for you to worry about." Joe replied. The older woman nodded softly. "If you are in trouble you should call on your uncle Jules. He will know what to do Cora." The old woman declared, her voice filled with an absolute confidence in the near divine power of "uncle Jules" to deal with trouble.

Joe, less convinced, nevertheless nodded at her mother's word. "Yes, bien sûr mama." Joe replied with a determined look on her face. "I will have to call on uncle Jules the very first thing tomorrow. I have things to discuss with him." She declared.
Nation RP name
Arda i Eruhíni (short form)
Alcarinqua ar Meneldëa Arda i Eruhíni i sé Amanaranyë ar Aramanaranyë (long form)

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Founded: Mar 10, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Recon » Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:37 pm

Eugene Hebert
Herbert’s Discount Center
South Palmyra, Louisiana
4th June 1980

He was close; Gene checked the watch. The hour hand was below the small black IX and the minute hand was just past the IX marker. He was halfway down Main Street, still glancing at the watch, as he turned onto the store’s lot. Pulling into his space – a spot well sheltered from the early summer sun by the store’s giant sign. The cracked and faded structure still bore the store’s name in massive red letters, Herbert’s Discount Center, but with the peeling paint, rust and layers upon layers of dirt, the motto beneath it- also in red, ”Herbert’s has that”, was becoming difficult to make out.

Gene didn’t like that, the giant crumbling sign wasn’t the best impression for any prospective customer, but his father didn’t want to hear it.

He won’t ever change it.

He slowed down the radio, enjoying the last of Ed Volker’s Louisiana drawl, before switching off the ignition.

"I got determination, I got my pride,
But so easily I let it slide,
I'm over-"

He got out, closed the door and stopped well before the store’s entrance. He wanted to examine the watch one last time. He held it up in the sunlight, turning it to check the glass for scratches. Relieved he couldn’t find any; It’s perfect, he pulled back the sleeve of his jacket and placed it on his wrist.

The store was dark and cool. Stifling a yawn he stepped inside, the store doorbell rang. His father glanced up from the counter disapprovingly.

“Comment ca va?” his father asked, already looking back down at what he was working on.

“Comme ci, comme ca”, Eugene replied quietly, judging it was too early for any serious conversation. Fortunately his father agreed.

Looking up, he saw the store’s security system, a basic CCTV setup, with cameras facing the door and the counter, both of which were hooked up to VHS’ whose cassettes had to be regularly swapped out. For anything more immediate, his father kept a 12 gauge beneath the counter. But in all the years, Gene had worked at the store; he had never seen it fired. He knew it was there, all the staff did, but thanks to the police in town, there had never been any cause to use it.

He busied himself, sweeping up the store and avoiding his father until the clock struck nine. Gene was propping open the front doors, when the phone began to ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

His father always waited for the fourth ring before picking up, Gene came as close as he dared, cleaning a display of Curtis Mathes television sets, as he listened in.

“Qui ci parlez?”

He could see his father getting more and more agitated as the call went on. He was shifting from foot to foot and absentmindedly twisting the pen in his hands. Gene could only listen into one half of the conversation, but it quickly became apparent something had been stolen and the store – being a seller of such goods- had a minor side line in reuniting owners and their items for a small fee.

After the call had ended, his father looked over and called him to the counter. An old friend he knew from his days on the Chamber of Commerce had been out on the other side of town. The man had been a fool going over there, it was a dangerous place. They knew that.

His father handed him a white sheet of carbonless paper, with the item’s information written upon it, Gene paused over one word, Cartier. It was the watch. Instinctively he pulled down his sleeve to cover it before quickly scouring the rest of the sheet.

Nicolas Richard. 18k Silver Cartier Tank Watch. Serial number BW6494. Stolen from his car in North Palmyra last night.

His father was already telling him to take the sheet to the suppliers that afternoon and ask around. Someone would know about it. Oxbow Parish was a small, small place after all. But Gene wasn’t really listening; he just nodded his understanding and ducked out at the first opportunity.

He went into the back and found a safe spot between the masses of boxes containing various electrical appliances. After checking he couldn’t be seen, he slipped off the watch, turned it over and compared the serial numbers. BW6494. Obviously it would match, there weren’t Cartier watches being stolen every night in little old Palmyra. He held it tightly in his hands, all the while wishing his tired mind would come up with a solution.

He had been out the night before – thus the tiredness – over the bridge in North Palmyra at the Tiger Club. The idea had been to simply go over, find a car, hide in the back seat and play the familiar prank. Popping up, giving someone a good scare and then running for your life. But as he waited for closing time, Gene decided to take a risk. He chose the car parked directly underneath the street lights, why not? There was a better chance of someone catching him and getting a chase that way. Disappointingly, no one saw as he picked the lock and slid into the driver’s seat. He was going to work on the ignition, take the car back across the bridge and drive it around, until either the gas ran out or he had wrecked it as some form of consolation. But he’d checked the glove compartment first, just in case there had been something of value, and there it was just sitting there. The watch. He imagined, it had been left in the car, to stop it being used as collateral for one last desperate hand. Many of the regulars at the Tiger Club were probably addicts, going there night after night and losing it all.

While he was far from a watch expert, you didn’t need to be one to know Cartier, they all did, it was French. It was worth something and while the store did sell watches, it sold them at deep discounts, but they did keep manufacturers catalogues, with guide prices in them and Gene knew, something like this could be worth not hundreds, but thousands of dollars. Delighted with his score, he had forgotten all about his prank or taking the car. Instead as quickly as he could, he'd made his way through the dark and quiet streets of North Palmyra and back across the bridge, looking over his shoulder the entire time. Finding the watch had been exciting, but knowing that he had ripped off one of the Faubert ‘s, who else was rich enough to wear such an expensive watch? that was the real thrill. That had carried him through dragging himself up this morning and coming in, waiting to show Diane. He doubted even she had ever found a watch this nice.

He looked for her now, she would know what to do, how to fix this. She wasn’t in yet. So he weighed his options, he could just throw it away, drop it down a storm drain and never think of it again. Or he could find this Richard’s address and leave it in his mailbox. But what if he was seen? As a Bedard and through working at the store, he was known by everyone in town. So if he was seen, word would get back quickly to his father and Gene didn’t have any good reason for having the watch. He could hear his father on the phone, speaking to a watch appraiser, getting an up-to-date value for the piece. The store would usually take a commission of about 10% or so, for the watch’s safe return.

Even at a tenth of its worth, it would be a lot, a few hundred bucks at least. He looked around for Diane again, but he was still alone in the backroom with the watch, it felt hot and dangerous in his hands. He thought about simply turning up with it this afternoon and saying he got it off the supplier. But that wouldn’t work, not for long anyway. His father spoke with the suppliers every day, so he would probably bring it up. A Cartier watch, an old friend and North Palmyra? His father would certainly bring it up. Gene rubbed the watch in his hand as he waited. Hoping something would come to him. Nothing did. Frustrated and cursing his bad luck, he jammed the watch into his pocket, making sure it was snug against the leather, before getting up and going back out into the store.

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Khasinkonia » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:14 pm

Judith Anne Faubert
Circa 7:00, 4th June, 1980

Even though it was the summer, I didn’t get to sleep in. My oldest three were content to sleep in, but Margie was a creature of status quo as much in her stomach as she was in her head. She woke up to pee at 6:30 on the dot, and wanted breakfast by 7:00, per her school year schedule. I, being bound by no such inclination, did not set an alarm, but rather laid in bed until I absolutely couldn’t any longer. I’d woken up a few minutes prior, although with my eyes closed in the morning haze, it was hard to tell if it really had been a few minutes. However long it had been, Margie cracked open the door with the same creaky that it’d had for the last decade or so, and tiptoed towards my side of the bed. She tugged at the cover for a moment, and then started nudging my shoulder.

“Mama,” she whispered, “It’s breakfast-time.”

She wouldn’t stop the nudging until I got out and fixed breakfast, as we’d learned years ago. I was the one who woke up because everybody in the house knew that Alexandre got home late, and waking him up this early was a recipe for a cranky father. With a capitulatory sigh, I mumbled, “Guh mornin’, Margie,” and peeked at the alarm clock. Sure enough, it was 7:00 in the morning, just as always. I rolled over in bed, cracked my joints, and sat on the side of the bed for a moment before Margie piped up again.

“Everybody wants pancakes for breakfast,” she said.

“Everybody?” I asked, “Or just you?”

“Um…” Margie responded, holding her hands out, “Me, Alex, Lonnie, Will, Edna, and...Mary Jane.”

She had counted them out on her hands, and held up the number.

“That’s six Margie; not ten. But it’s a majority. Do you know what the others want?”

“Julie and Ed just want bacon and Randy wants an egg.”

“What does Ray want?” I asked, “Is he awake?”

“He wants...uhh...I think he wants coffee,” Margie replied with a slightly irritated look that I knew all too well, “I told him no but he wanted me to ask.”

“Well, no coffee for kids. That’s the rule, right. But if he asks again, let me handle it. You don’t have to be the enforcer, remember,” I said as I stood up, “Now, let’s see if anyone wants to help make breakfast.”

I shuffled down the hall, and rubbed my eyes. Mornings were always slow in our house, at least in the beginning. Whether or not Margie’s report was accurate didn’t really matter, as pancakes were fairly easy to make, and were cheap enough. Julie and Ed did love bacon, but it was rare that either of them were up this early, and rarer that Avalon much cared what we were eating.

We ran through about two boxes of the bisquick pancake mix every morning, but it was cheaper than the nearly two dozen eggs we needed to fill everyone’s stomachs. And, it saved on fridge space, which was a particularly precious commodity. I put on an apron over my nightgown and then walked upstairs as I tied it. The closest room to the stairs was the playroom, but right across from it was the room of the triplets. That wasn’t the one I was looking for, as the triplets were only good for chores that were outside and okay for messes, such as weed-pulling.

No, I went to Julie and Ed’s room, and knocked gently on the door. Neither of them were early birds, just like their mother, so when I expectedly received no response, I went back to Margie.

“Now, I know you did the dishes yesterday morning, Margie, but since you want breakfast this early, I need you to help and unload the dishwasher. I’ll make sure someone else loads. Okay?” I said as I knelt down slightly to speak with her. Margie huffed, nodded, and then grabbed the step stool as she went to the dishwasher. I pulled out two boxes of the pancake mix, and took a mixing bowl from the open washer. I took the egg carton and then the milk and buttermilk out of the fridge. Marge placed a whisk by the bowl as I reached back into the fridge to pull out a pound of bacon and then into the freezer for the Jimmy Dean sausage patties. A package and one pound of bacon was enough for one morning, as long as the kids shared well enough.

I poured two bags of bisquick in the bowl, then cracked our last four eggs, and poured in some buttermilk. I whisked the batter together, and then added milk to make it look right. We’d learned that they tasted better with some buttermilk in place of some of the milk, after some experimentation. About a half-hour on, and I had the continental breakfast ready. Margie had alerted all the kids. They were all sat around the table, some yawning, others bright and ready.

“Alright, who’s first, kiddos?” I asked with a tired smile.

“Margie was first last night,” stated a half-awake Ed.

Avalon, knowing her place in the rotation, slid back her chair, but not before Junior chimed in, and said, “No, I was first yesterday morning, so it’s Will.”

Julie shook her head, and put her finger on the table, “No yeah, it’s Lonnie. You were first for lunch because I know Ed was supposed to be first last morning. You got to go before him because he was asleep.”

Junior looked at her suspiciously, but at that point Avalon already had her plate in hand and so I shrugged, served her two pancakes, and let her take her choice of bacon or sausage patty. I always set aside two patties and a piece of bacon for myself, as having two pancakes always got me tired, so there was some artificial sausage scarcity. I served William next, who chose only bacon, then the triplets, who each took a patty, then Mary Jane, who only wanted pancakes, then the twins, who took as much bacon as they could get away with and split a patty. Junior did the same, but instead divided his efforts to get a patty and some bacon. Margie was last, and chose a sausage patty.

The older ones buttered their pancakes and put syrup on them. Julie helped William and Edna, while Ed helped Randy and Ray. I buttered Mary Jane’s pancakes, and then rationed syrup to the younger ones to avoid them making a mess. As they started eating, I took drink orders. Chocolate milk was a unanimous order, save for Julie, who decided she wanted iced tea this morning. Junior also wanted a glass of water, which I happily obliged, although we ran out of milk, so it ended up that he got only a glass of water. Luckily, there was no complaint, for he’d already started eating when I gave him his cup.

Finally, we were all seated around the table. The younger kids had just enough syrup to soak into their pancakes, as I made clear that if I had to bathe them in the morning, they’d be sat inside doing puzzles quietly and were not to wake up their father before 10 in the morning. So it was well-understood that I didn’t wanna see a drop of syrup on anyone’s clothes. We’d learned our lesson after the incident where the entire house was late to school one day because Ray decided to toss his pancakes into William’s lap. The twins and Junior especially were not amused, nor was I. After an assortment of other such learning moments, I’d managed to train my children to have some semblance of table manners. I had to institute a no-seconds rule while others were eating to secure the behaviour, but for the most part, we had the privilege of civil eating. Thank the Lord.

After we finished our first round, the twins both polished off the bacon, while Junior and Avalon each opted for an extra pancake. Once every last bit was polished off, the kids cleared the table. Ed took the table clearing shift this time, it seemed. He and his twin sister took turns taking one another’s things up so the other could secure their father’s recliner and the remote. They didn’t love the arrangement—especially the part that involved them splitting the winnings—but whenever they didn’t do it, it seemed Avalon had a way of weaseling her dishes in first, and then sliding into the chair and snagging the remote. If it wasn’t Avalon, then Junior would nearly fling his dishes in the wash to snag the spot. Any of those results, of course, was wholly unsatisfactory to the twins, and so this simbiosis had developed. Once a week or so, usually on Friday evening, I’d take the remote and raffle it off to the highest chore bidder for cartoons the next morning. This kept things done during the week, as the prospect of being in control for that sacred ritual was invaluable to the kids.

Once the kitchen was cleared, I started on the grocery list. We needed about three dozen more eggs, at least three milk cartons of milk, maybe a few extra pounds of bacon and a bit more Jimmy Dean’s. We also needed more crackers, lots more peanut butter, more jam, more bread...more of just about everything, really. Oh hell...heck...whatever, it’s my own damn train of thought. God can hear me; he knows I’m frustrated. I’ll stop cursing in my mind when God starts shipping food straight to my doorstep. How about that Lord? Is that a deal?

No response. I ought to start asking the Virgin Mary these things…

In any case, a trip to go shopping meant that I needed some assistants. The best place to go for bulk food was Herbert’s Discount Centre, which meant the oldest kids were up to bat.

“Julie, Ed, and Avalon,” I announced, “I need you three to get dressed in twenty minutes; we’re going to the grocery store.”

Julie huffed, having just sat down, but she knew that if she and her siblings collaborated, they could probably weasel a bit of candy out of the voyage. Meanwhile, still at the table, Mary Jane exclaimed, “Me too!”

“Alright ducky, you too,” I nodded as I pointed upstairs and started back to the master bedroom, “Go upstairs with your siblings. Ed or Julie, once one of you’s dressed, get Mary Jane some pants to put over her jumper. I’ll deal with her shoes.”

In the master bathroom, I took a passing look in the mirror as I brushed my teeth and used the toilet. I was only in my thirties, and did my best to stay healthy, but there was something of a tragedy to the fact that I’d stopped doing makeup a few years back. Thinking about it made me slump on my porcelain throne as I grabbed a piece of toilet paper to wipe the stray drop of toothpaste foam that was trying to sneak out the side of my mouth. Yes, even five kids in, I tried to keep up, but eventually it got to be that it saved money and time for me to shrug and just fool with my eyebrows for a moment, tap the tiniest bit of blusher onto my cheeks—not even other parts of my face like I’d used to—sigh, and then call it good once I’d brushed my hair and used a dab of Alex’s hair gel to help it keep its shape. That was all I really could do these days on average. I loved all my children, but isn’t one entitled to a bit of vanity now and again?

I chucked my nightgown into the bin and got my clothes. Bra, pants, then shirt. It was getting to be hot, so as much as I disliked wearing plain t-shirts, I wanted minimal sweat and minimal effort. So I wore cargo capris with the red and white striped tee tucked in. That was it for getting dressed, and it took about eight minutes flat if I rushed it. I made sure the toilet was flushed, washed my hands one more time, flicked the light off as I wiped my hands on my shorts, and then grabbed my keys, Alex’s wallet, and my driver’s license off the nightstand. Oh, and can’t forget the notepad to write—nevermind, not necessary. I can remember just fine. And the kids will surely have thoughts too.

Out in the living room, Junior, Margie, and Randy sat watching the opening credits of Disney’s Robin Hood. Julie, Ed, Avalon, and Mary Jane all stood ready. Julie had on a yellow gingham dress. It was one of her favourites for looking better than her twin, although the collar was a bit wrinkled. Ed had evidently responded by opting for khaki shorts and a plaid short sleeve oxford. Both of them had the same short haircut, not as nice as mine, as neither of them wanted to keep up with it, but to the local barber’s credit, Julie at least didn’t look like a boy with it. That was partially helped by the fact that she tried to imitate my swoop, while Ed often brushed his into a plain part. Avalon, meanwhile, was wearing jean overall shorts with a red shirt underneath, and had evidently gotten Julie or Ed to help her put her shoulder-length blackish hair—which she’d gotten from either her father or my native blood—back behind a matching red headband. Mary Jane had on khaki shorts that Ed had probably chosen because they were the most recently washed, and her night onesie was a solid blue with a few ruffles, so it looked intentional, which was good enough for me. Her auburn hair was easy to deal with, as I had a rule that you were stuck with the bowl cut with straight bangs cut out, or something even easier, until you could groom it yourself. Avalon had only recently started growing hers out, while Julie had, back when it was her first time picking her hairdo, decided to imitate me.

After we all did shoes, out of which, only Avalon opted for sneakers rather than sandals, we were in the car. The rule was, if we were taking Mary Jane and Alex wasn’t with us, then whoever wanted to sit with Mary Jane could call shotgun. Julie and Ed both called shotgun, so they did rock-paper-scissors, and Ed won, so he and Mary Jane sat together in the front seat, and Avalon and Julie took the second row. It was far more comfortable when we weren’t all packed in, so I tried to ration out children, although who I picked to go with me for things like this was usually who I was looking at. We scrolled through a few radio stations, but nothing was on, so Avalon piped up and asked me to sing. Ed suggested something from Newfoundland, and Julie declared “Placentia Bay!”

By this, she meant that she wanted me to sing my own rendition of the traditional Irish song, the Shores of Botany Bay, where I’d replaced some of the Australian references with Newfoundland ones.

“Only if you two whistle along,” I responded as I pulled out the driveway. And so they did. We drove through Palmyra, and I sung a song I’d made to be about my very own life, in a way. The sentiment, at least, was there.

“I'm on me way down to the quay
Where the ship at anchor lays
To command a gang of navvies there
They told me to engage
I thought I'd drop in for a drink
Before I sailed away
For to take a trip on a home-bound ship
To the shores o’ Placentia Bay

Farewell to your bricks and mortar
Farewell to your dirty slime
Farewell to your gangway and your gangplank
And to H with your overtime
For the good ship Ragamuffin
She's lying at the quay
For to take old Pat
With a shovel on ‘is back
To the shores o’ Placentia Bay

The best years of our lives we spent
Workin' on the docks
Buildin' mighty wharves and piers
From Earth and ballast rocks
Our pensions keep our jobs secure
But I won't rue the day
When I'll take a trip on a home-bound ship
To the shores o’ Placentia Bay

Farewell to your bricks and mortar
Farewell to your dirty slime
Farewell to your gangway and your gangplank
And to H with your overtime
For the good ship Ragamuffin
She's lying at the quay
For to take old Pat
With a shovel on ‘is back
To the shores o’ Placentia Bay

The boss came up this mornin'
And ‘e says "Well, Pat, you know
That if you don't mix that mortar quick
I'm afraid you'll have to go"
Well, of course, he did insult me
So I demanded all my pay
And I told him off; now I’m gonna set off
To the shores o’ Placenta Bay

Farewell to your bricks and mortar
Farewell to your dirty slime
Farewell to your gangway and your gangplank
And to H with your overtime
For the good ship Ragamuffin
She's lying at the quay
For to take old Pat
With a shovel on ‘is back
To the shores o’ Placentia Bay,”

At this point, Avalon started singing along while the twins whistled. At an intersection, as we sung and whistled, I could close my eyes for just a moment in the cold breeze of the car’s air conditioning, and feel a few tears well into my eyes as I burst into the next verse. It was something that I felt with my heart. It was like I could touch those cold rocky shores with my soul through these words...

“And when I reach New-found-land
We’ll go see my folks, now old
There's plenty there for talkin’ out
Or so I have been told
And with you I've got my fortune
There'll be no more bricks to lay
When I'll take me ease doing what I please
On the shores o’ Placentia Bay

Farewell to your bricks and mortar
Farewell to your dirty slime
Farewell to your gangway and your gangplank
And to H with your overtime
For the good ship Ragamuffin
She's lying at the quay
For to take old Pat
With a shovel on ‘is back
To the shores o’ Placentia Bay

Farewell to your bricks and mortar
Farewell to your dirty slime
Farewell to your gangway and your gangplank
And to H with your overtime
For the good ship Ragamuffin
She's lying at the quay
For to take old Pat
With a shovel on ‘is back
To the shores o’ Placentia Bay…”

We sang once more over, and arrived at Herbert’s Discount Centre near the end of the second singing. I blinked out a tear, and rubbed my eye to get rid of it before the kids saw. I half-coughed, half-cleared my throat, and turned the key to shut the car off. Before we stepped out, I kept the car doors locked, and repeated something I always said some version of whenever we were on this side of town.

“Remember kids, this is South Palmyra. Be on your best behaviour,” I sternly reminded them, “Now, Mary Jane and Avalon, you stay with me. I’m getting cold things. Ed and Julie, you two need to fetch cereal, pancake mix, peanut butter, crackers, and bread. And jam, you both can pick out a flavour of jam. Get an arm basket to help carry it, while I get a shopping cart.

Juliette and Edward Faubert
~9:10, 4th June, 1980

The twins had their marching orders, and set off away from the cold section to select cereal, pancake mix, and so on. Peanut butter, crackers, and bread were easy, and they found them quickly. But the cereal was more difficult, as someone was stocking it at the moment. The twins knew what their mother had said, but Ed threw caution to the wind, and walked up the man.

“Hey, can you please hand us two boxes of cheerios?” he asked.

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