The Sins Of The Fathers

Fiction Chapter 1

Billy B. was going to the Theatre for a between Christmas and New Year movie. 1963 had been a difficult year with the assassination of President Kennedy occurring just last month. His mom, Neva J., had still not stopped crying and Christmas seemed hollow after the death of their beloved President. Jane and Chet had been over to participate in the shared opening of their presents. Billy B. had received, from Santa, a Big Swinger, Polaroid Camera…and he had been taking photos of everything that he saw. Chet got a Visible Man and Jane received a Visible Woman. The figures were fascinating in their anatomical accuracy. Jane mentioned that her dad was coughing a lot…and that he could not sleep due to the severe cold that he had. Chet remarked that his mom, Thelma, had been sneezing often and she seemed listless. President Johnson was on television walking around the White House with his Beagle Hounds.

Irma La Douce was the Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemon movie that was playing at the Orpheum. Billy B. settled in for a long enjoyable Sunday of watching Irma La Douce over and over again…until closing time. As Billy B. watched Shirley MacLaine portray Irma La Douce on the silver screen…he decided that he loved her… When Neva J. came to pick Billy B. up…she was coughing uncontrollably. Her eyes were red-rimmed and swollen…and she could barely communicate…Billy B. told her to move over and let him drive the 1957 Chevrolet Convertable…and she did…without complaint. When he arrived home he helped his mom into her bed and then the phone rang. Jane said, ‘Dad is really sick…can you come over and help me with him…I do not know what to do for him.’ Billy B. said that he would be there as soon as he could get his mom settled. Then, there was a knock at Billy B.’s back door. It was Chet and the look on his face was more frightening than any monster mask that they had ever tried on. ‘Billy B…..Mom is dead…’ Billy B. invited Chet inside and said that they would telephone Ferrel Hospital to send an ambulance to Chet’s home in Parrish Addition. Billy B. rang the Hospital and let the ringer sound 20 times or more. Finally, someone answered and said that they were the custodian and there was no one available to take their call as sick and dying people were being brought in every door…and there was no more room…

President Johnson was on CBS and he was saying that they had discovered that there was a virulent flu spreading rapidly across the United States…and that it was incumbent on everyone to wear a face mask and stay away from other people…until the government could find out how to cure the virus.

This is the best Christmas ever…Billy B. thought as he scooped another ladle of dressing onto his plate. Grandma Askew gathered all of the adults and children around her after the gifts were opened and the food was eaten and told them a story. ‘Hard times are coming…Armageddon…and the 7 Last Plagues of the Wrath of God…and the scripture says that the blood will run-up to the horses’ bridle,’ Grandma Askew said. Billy B. was full of Turkey and Ham and Oyster Dressing…and he held his Big Swinger Camera aloft and took her picture as she spoke. ‘Life is precious…but it is not guaranteed,’ said Grandma. ‘All of us should get right with our Maker,’ Grandma Askew intoned. About that time Jane was at Billy B.’s side and wanted to show him her new Barbie Doll and Ken to go with her. Billy B. noticed that her Ken Doll looked very much like his GI Joe…but he was an Action Figure…not a doll…like Neva J. called him.

Barry Goldwater was now on TV and saying that he believed that the flu was not a pandemic like the Democrats were saying and that it would soon disappear like the regular flu does each year. He saw no cause for alarm and suggested that everyone go home and enjoy the peaceful interim between 1963 and 1964. He noted that he had been told that there were only a few cases and that they would soon be healed by modern medicine. Billy B. and Jane and Chet rushed to Chet’s house and verified that Thelma was dead…and no longer needed an ambulance…but rather….and undertaker…

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