1635: THE DREESON INCIDENT – Snippet 64:



Chapter 32




            "So that’s what we did, Daddy," Denise said.


            Buster looked at her, twisting his thin reddish beard around in his fingers.


            "Keenan Murphy, you said?"


            "He was one of them. Egging the rest of them on, for the first part of it."


            "I thought ol’ Keenan had been playing the hero lately. Chasing down Francis when he shot at Dennis Stull. Chasing after Noelle when those guys grabbed her."


            "He’s not a hero, Daddy. He’s not a villain, either. Mostly he’s just dumb. He chased down Francis because his grandma told him to and chased after Noelle because they have the same mother. But he’s dumb. Most of his friends are even dumber."


            "Who else was with him? Names?"


            "Mitchell Kovacs. Bubba."


            "Not a surprise." Buster looked at his daughter. "Out with the rest of it."


            "And Jermaine."


            "Not a kids’ fight, then."


            "There were a couple of kids with them, I guess. Not kids the same age as Gerry and Minnie and me, though. Not fifteen or sixteen. More like eighteen or nineteen."


            "Names." Buster was starting through his checklist.


            "Bill Sanabria. Dustin Acton. I saw those two, at least. I didn’t see Nino. He used to run with Bill, but he seems to have straightened out a lot since their mom married Ronnie Bawiec. So has Olivia."


            "She’s Pat’s cousin," her mother Christin inserted into the conversation. "Bill’s mom, that is. She’s a cousin of Keenan and Noelle’s mother. Fitzgeralds, both of them. That’s how Bill connects to Keenan."


            Buster let that pass, still focusing on Denise. "Arguments?"


            "When we came out of Marcantonio’s, the usual sort of thing," Denise said. "Gerry’s home for a couple of weeks, for the holidays. Gerry Stone. Because he’s going to school in Rudolstadt, they said he’s ‘going native.’ Bill and Justin started to hassle him. Were hassling us, I should say, calling Minnie names too. Gordy Fritz and Dane Stevenson, Dane Junior, were with them to start with, but backed off right after it started, so they don’t really count. We got out of it clean and wouldn’t have bothered anyone else about it, except that Justin said something about ‘another job at the fairgrounds’ that Jermaine was doing. So we followed them."




            "They never knew we were there."


            "You’re a pip."


            "Jermaine and the others tried to corner Jarvis and Hedy when they were walking home from the laundry. While they were crossing the fairgrounds, by the community center, going over to the bridge, Jermaine came up to Jarvis and said something about Hedy."


            "Tried to?"


            "Jarvis had heard about the plan. He still has some friends who hang out at the 250 Club, even though Uncle Ken won’t have him there any more since he married Hedy. So he had friends shadowing them, too. Enough to persuade the guys with Jermaine to stay out of it, so just the two of them fought. And that’s why Jermaine and Jarvis had a fight last night."


            "Who won?"


            "A draw, more or less. Jarvis was pretty mad and gave Jermaine as good as he got. Except that in a way, Jarvis won, because Hedy got home okay. That was what they planned to do. Take Jarvis down and then take Hedy away and beat her up good. Try to make her lose the baby. Then they were going to take her back to where she came from, so she could be prosecuted for being a bigamist for marrying Jarvis. And in the election campaign, say that when Mayor Dreeson married the two of them, he knew she was a bigamist."


            "So then you went to see your Uncle Ken?"


            "Yeah. I thought it was a bit much. After all, Jarvis and Hedy’s kid is going to be his grandchild."


            "And that’s what he said?"


            "Ummhmmh. That he wished that they had beat her up. That he’d rather see her and the kid dead than have a half-Kraut grandchild."


            "You know," Buster said, "I think Ken is going overboard. I’m going to have to cogitate on all this for a while."


            "Okay. Then, after that, we went over to Benny’s and wrote up a story about it all and we sent copies to all of the papers. That’s what we did. Minnie and me. English and German, both. Naming names. Remains to be seen if they’ll publish it. The Freie Presse probably won’t, they’re so righteous, but the Daily News probably will. And maybe Rodger Rude’s column in the Times. I sure hope the National Inquisitor doesn’t. That would ruin everything. Nobody else would believe a word of it." She picked up her jacket.


            "Where are you going?"


            "Over to see Eddie Junker. See how his arm’s doing. With Minnie and Gerry. Then we’re going to a play at the church – St.Martin’s in the Fields." She zipped out the door of the trailer.


            Buster looked after her blankly. "Church?"




            "Gosh, Mom, sorry I’m late. Let me get a quick shower." Missy headed for the stairs.


            "Where have you been?"


            "Out at Lothlorien. Christmas Eve. Children’s presents. Well, we also sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Ron. Do you know that he’s never actually had a birthday party in his life?"


            The bathroom door slammed behind her.


            It opened again. "Uh, he and Gerry are coming to dinner tomorrow, if I forgot to tell you before. I didn’t even invite them for tonight. I was afraid that Christmas Eve at Gran’s would be a bit much for them. Considering Thanksgiving. Anyway Gerry is going to a children’s play out at St. Martin‘s. With Minnie Hugelmair and Denise Beasley. And Eddie Junker."


            Another slam and the sound of rushing water.


            Chad put his arm around Debbie. "Experience teaches us that she really can shower and dress in fifteen minutes."


            She made it in thirteen, pulling a ski cap over her wet hair as she ran down the stairs. The three of them headed toward the family party.


            "Is Ron going with Gerry?" Debbie asked.


            "No. He’s working evening shift in the lab so that a couple of other people who have kids in the play can go to it."


            Then, apparently out of a clear blue sky, Missy added, "Ron looked up his birth certificate out at the high school. His mother’s name was Mary Beth Shaw. Otherwise known as Dreamcatcher. It says that she was born in Illinois, for what it’s worth."


            Just before they got to Gran’s, she added, "He says that’s going to be it in the way of a family tree. Fairly shallow roots."


            "Oh, well," Debbie said. "I’m sure that he actually has as many ancestors as anyone else. Everybody does, after all. It’s unavoidable. He may not know who they were, but that’s a different question."