In my book “View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale” I speculated what might have happened if Lee Harvey Oswald had survived his assassination in Dallas, Texas on November 24th, 1963. Would the accused assassin have been able to prove his innocence or would his guilt be incontrovertibly proved? In this short story, (which may become the beginning of a new book), I wonder what our anti-hero might make of today’s political situations? I am in no way suggesting anyone assassinate anyone. This is strictly a fictional look at a character I created based on history.
“Bill Horton eyed the young man seated across from him. Other than the sound of birds conversing outside the windows, the room had grown silent. Bill shifted his eyes to the young woman who stood behind the couch, hands resting lightly on her obviously pregnant belly.
“Was I ever that young and idealistic?” Bill thought.
“I think I need a glass of wine,” Bill’s wife Olivia struggled to keep her voice from shaking. What her son was proposing was criminal. It wasn’t “sort of” illegal. It was murder. Justified or not, based on facts or not, Jesse was suggesting assassinating the president of the United States.
Olivia closed her eyes as she poured the soft pink wine. Inhaling deeply she allowed the fragrance of wild strawberries, raspberries, flowers, and the hint of citrus to soothe her troubled mind. The past few years in Aix-en-Provence had been magical. She and Bill had settled in to a quiet life. She’d learned to make lavender sachets, decorated their small, unobtrusive cottage with huge sunflowers, had begun to appreciate the bizarre cries of the Mistral winds, and shared Bill’s love and interest in making their own small batches of wine. Taking a slow sip of the wine she opened her eyes and savored the flavors that exploded in her mouth.
The intrusion of a cold nose nuzzling her hand drew her attention to the mastiff that stood at her side. Grinning at the dog, she scratched his head lovingly. “Rififi, are we about to live up to your name?”
The Bordeaux Mastiff made a low grumble and his huge tongue lovingly licked her hand as if to assure her he would protect them from any dangers that might come their way.
“Livvy, could I have a glass also?” Bill stood directly behind her and she turned slowly into his welcoming embrace.
Resting her head on his chest she listened to the steady beat of his heart seeking comfort. “Of course. Let’s all have some refreshments. I’ll get something together.” Managing an uncertain smile she kissed him quickly on the mouth. Her smile widened as he licked his lips appreciatively.
“We do make a fine wine.” His bright blue eyes twinkled.
Jesse and his wife Shelli joined them at the kitchen counter. “Mom, I don’t mean to upset you. You have no idea what it’s like back home.”
Momentarily Olivia’s eyes flashed. “This is my home. Here, in this house, in this country. America has gone mad. It no longer exists the way it was when I was growing up. It isn’t the country you’re father and I bore you in.”
Shelli’s gently laid her hand on Olivia’s arm. “Livvy, I know how you feel.” Casting a hesitant glance at Jesse, she continued. “I’ve begged Jesse to move here, to be near you and Bill.”
Jesse’s jaw set in the familiar locked position his father had worn when he was determined. “I’m not prepared to give up on my country. And I believe if the United States falls, other civilized countries won’t be far behind.”
Mother and son stared at one another for a long moment before she broke eye contact. “Go sit outside while the afternoon is warm and I’ll prepare some cheese and bread to go with the wine.” Offering a small smile to Shelli she added, “And some fresh juice for Mama-to-be.”
For the moment arguments were set aside. Shelli opted to help her mother-in-law set a tray with fresh fruit, homemade cheese and home baked bread. They worked in silence with only the murmur of the men’s voices, the buzzing of lazy insects, and the chirping of happy little birds to fill the air.”
“This romantic thriller takes a fictional “what if” look at the JFK assassination. Suppose accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had lived to defend himself. Imagine if 50 years after the assassination someone stepped forward to reveal the truth of what happened that day. What if the assassination was a conspiracy and the impact of those revelations reached into the 21st century? This is the story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. You’ll never look at your neighbors the same way.”