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“I am afraid the Governor won’t be able to see you today,” the receptionist said politely.

“This is unacceptable,” the man said. “Promises were made. I helped the governor get elected, you know. He is a friend of mine,” the man said, positive the one time he actually met the governor made them friends.

“As I recall, you were given a state job.”

“It’s in a warehouse,” said the man indignantly. “A job in a warehouse is not what I expected when I helped get him elected. I insist on seeing the governor.”

“As I said before,” the receptionist said, straining to maintain her Texas politeness, “that’s not possible. He’s not even in the capitol. Actually, he’s in your neck of the woods today.” She handed him a newspaper which explained the governor’s absence.

“This is not over,” he said. “Not by a long shot.” On the drive from Austin back to Dallas, his mind was in turmoil, planning his next step. It is about a three hour drive from Austin to Dallas, and before he got to Waco he made up his mind to take some drastic action. He stopped and made a telephone call. “They can’t do me this way,” he said out loud, though no one else could hear him. “I’ll take care of this the Texas way.”

When he got to downtown Dallas, some of the streets were blocked off, but he found a parking place near Dealey Plaza. He went into the building where he worked. As he was walking up the stairs, he ran into his co-worker coming down. “I got that thing you wanted,” he said. “It’s on the sixth floor in your hiding spot.”

“Thanks, Lee,” the man said.

He continued up the stairs to the sixth floor to a spot near a window hidden by stacks of boxed textbooks. He often came up here to hide from his supervisors. He found the item Lee had brought for him. He recognized it as a bolt action Carcano with a scope. For Christ’s Sake, why would anyone buy an Italian sniper rifle. This is Texas. You could get a better weapon at any hardware or sporting goods store. That Lee is such a dumb ass. He put on a pair of white cotton gloves and waited.

He heard the crowd react before he saw the cars turn off of Houston Street onto Elm Street. There was a big Lincoln Continental convertible with the top down. He quickly got the governor lined up in the scope. He fired and was pretty sure he hit the governor, but the other man in the car was in the way. He fired off two more rounds as fast as he could with the awkward Italian bolt action. He could see the governor slumped over in the lap of one of the women in the car. The other woman in the car, the one dressed in pink, climbed out on the back of the car. One of the bodyguards jumped on the car and brought her back to the seats. Then Lincoln took off quickly. He laid the rifle down carefully, and headed for the stairs.

“What happened? What’s going on?” It was Lee again.

“There’s been a shooting,” the man said. “You better get out of here.”

“Why? I ain’t done nothing.”

“Y’all better get on away from here. Something big is going on out there and the cops will be looking to arrest some Commies.”

“I ain’t a communist,” Lee said.

“Hell, you’ve been to Russia and you married a Russian girl. Here in Texas that pretty much makes you a communist.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Lee said. “Maybe I’ll just go on home till everything calms down.”

“Good idea,” the man said. “Here, take this in case there’s any trouble.” The man handed Lee a pistol.

“What’s this for?” Lee asked.

“Just in case,” the man said. “Now go on, get out of here.” He watched Lee leave the building. “What a twit,” he said to no one.

The man waited for a few minutes then walked out of the Book Depository Building. Houston and Elm Streets were empty of cars. There were policemen and civilians milling about, some pointing up and the various buildings, most just looking lost and confused. He walked to his car and drove to the Carousel Club, a place where he had spent many a pleasant evening. Now, however, there were no strippers on the stage. They were huddled around a radio with some customers, the bartender and Jack, the owner.

A few drinks later and the man was still at the bar. The radio was still on, giving updates on the situation. He tried to pay for his drinks, but Jack, the owner, said that they were in the house, this time. “Jack,” the man said, “I think I know who did this.”

“Really?” Jack answered, “Who was it?”

The man told Jack a long story about his co-worker, Lee: his politics, his travels to Russia and Cuba, his Russian wife. Jack listened attentively, asking an occasional question. When the man finished his story, Jack said he had to go do something, and told one of the girls to take care of “his friend,” meaning the man.

She poured him another Bourbon and asked, “Are you all right, honey,” in an East Texas accent sweeter than actual honey.

“Yes,” he said, trying to sound brave. “It’s just that I am kinda close to the Governor. He’s a friend of mine. I helped him get elected, you know?”

“Really,” she drawled. “This might not be the right time, but do you think you could help my little brother to get a job with the state?”

The man paused, then said, “You know, there may be a position opening up at the Book Depository.”

“Really?” she said, “You could do that?”

“Sure,” the man said, “that’s the Texas way.”



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