Lori Ryan

Rachel Thompson

Aicha Zoubair

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saving Jackie K by LDC Fitzgerald



9:15 PM – EDT

Sitting in a booth at the antiquated Logan Inn bar, Jay slurped a beer, willing the tension in his body to subside. Thank goodness his plan had succeeded. Granted, the excursion had proven more taxing and time-consuming than anticipated, but at least Iggy and Sera were safe. After navigating the border checkpoint on the bridge, he had proceeded to this tavern and lodge located on Main Street, a road running parallel to the Delaware River in New Hope. Fortunate to reserve two of the scant sixteen guest rooms, Jay had enjoyed an education on local lore from the proprietor.

The oldest inn in town, the Logan was named after a Lenni-Lenape Indian chief regarded for his unusual camaraderie with Caucasian settlers. During his lifetime, the benevolent Native American developed a close kinship with James Logan, secretary to William Penn. The Quaker convert Penn had, of course, founded the Pennsylvania colony as a haven for those seeking religious freedom. According to legend, Chief Wingohocking abandoned his tribal name and adopted Secretary Logan’s as a sign of admiration and respect. To pay him homage, the townspeople commissioned a metal cutout sculpture in his likeness. The ten-foot, painted sheet iron figure depicted a man in feathered headdress, nobly aiming an arrow. Displayed on a pole outside of the inn, the masterpiece had been a landmark and guardian of the township since 1828. Jay made a mental note to point it out to his companions when they arrived.

He gazed around the dim interior—the authentic original structure of the dinky saloon—wondering about its appearance in its heyday. Suddenly, Iggy and Sera materialized through the smoky haze. They slid their disheveled forms into the booth.

“How’d it go?” Jay avoided direct eye contact, feeling guilty about their ordeal.

Sera glowered at him. “We’re here, aren’t we?”

He declined comment and instead shoved a couple of menus at them.

After a server took their order, Iggy cast about the room, seeking a diversion from the stilted silence. She indicated a grainy television behind Jay. “Look. They’re reporting on the summit.”

Jay followed her line of sight behind him to the set he hadn’t noticed previously. A perky blonde newscaster with a vapid smile spoke animatedly while gesturing to an inset map of the Russian capital. However, the volume was muted. He appealed to the barkeep, “Sir, can you please turn that up?” The scene switched to footage from earlier in the day showing the premier of the Soviet Union greeting Republican Vice President Jeb Bush for their historic summit in Minsk. The anchor gaily announced that the meeting had been planned for months as a first step in working towards an end to the Stale War between the dominant world powers.

Iggy’s mouth dropped in amazement. Did the young woman think it would actually happen?

“They’re talking about striking a peace accord while manufacturing Anti-Matter weapons back in Secaucus?” Sera shook her head. “The whole charade is ludicrous.”

“Every fledgling administration makes these same overtures. They do it as a public relations campaign to convince the voters that they aren’t warmongers. But nothing ever changes.” Iggy sighed. “Ever since the ’64 Nuke War.”

Their meals were plunked down in front of them, and Jay wolfed down a few bites of his burger. “Well, I suppose it’s really hard to get along with a country after they wipe out your major cities. Kind of makes you not want to play with them. I mean, where’s the incentive?”

“Yeah, well it’s mutual. We destroyed their cities, too. And they never would have hit DC if we hadn’t taken out Moscow first.” Sera shrugged as she dug into her meal.

“I was lucky enough to visit Washington DC as a child.” Iggy’s voice turned somber. “Before it was leveled. I remember a bustling metropolis with gleaming monuments and classic architecture. I stood on the Lincoln Memorial, looking up at the massive statue and marveling at how they carved it. Incredible.” She focused on the far wall, reliving a scene from the distant past. “We toured all the important sites—the huge spike of the Washington Monument and its reflecting pool, the Capitol Building with its majestic dome and a million steps, the White House’s towering columns and lush gardens. Even the Smithsonian museum resembled a fairytale castle. Now, it’s just a wasteland of radioactive rubble. Tragic.” Her vision alighted on her associates. “WB has none of the same character or charm. Frankly, it’s seedy.”

“Well, that’s precisely the point, isn’t it?” Jay hit his stride on familiar ground. When the government had rebuilt the capital in Wilkes-Barre, they disallowed a viable target. Bunkers of steel-reinforced concrete were constructed and situated a distance apart. “The buildings are virtually indestructible. And why bother with memorials and monuments? You may as well paint a bulls-eye on them. Like the White House. The presidential residence is purported to be far underground, but it could be in another state entirely. Who knows?”

The thought jarred him back to more tactical concerns. The military protected WB like a fortress within Pennsylvania. The perimeter had anti-ballistic missile defense systems programmed to blast anything in the no-fly zone. And the border checkpoints were heavily guarded. “What I do know is this. When we get to WB, we won’t encounter any easy crossings like here in New Hope.”

“Easy?” Sera bridled and nearly choked on her food. “Sure it was easy for you. You drove across.”

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Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with LDC Fitzgerald on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.savingjackiek.com/


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