The Great Society (Timeline 10/27/62 - USA Book 3), страница 1
The Great Society
by James Philip
Copyright © James P. Coldham writing as James Philip 2016. All rights reserved.
Cover Artwork concept by James Philip
Graphic Design by Beastleigh Web Design
‘The Great Society’ is Book 3 of the alternative history series Timeline 10/27/62 – USA.
It is December 1963 and in this alternative timeline of the post-Cuban Missiles War the swinging sixties was not about happen any time soon.
‘The Great Society’ is the third verse of the American story of Armageddon. To its friends and enemies alike the United States seems to have emerged from the October War battered, bruised but invincible. However, thirteen months after the cataclysm terrible wounds remain unhealed and the nation of liberty is riven by conflict. The United States is a country desperately looking to re-find its way; to re-discover its sense of nationhood and purpose. What has happened to the American Dream? Is the destiny of the land of the free still manifest?
In Washington DC there has been an uprising; it is too soon to know if the attack on the Capitol is a coup d’état, a popular uprising or simply a massive terroristic assault on the seat of American democracy and government.
What price unity when the war-ravaged states of the American North West and the Great Lakes already feel like battlegrounds in the next war?
While incumbent Mayors and Governors are asking themselves how they will fend off the deafening clamour of ‘states rights’ movements; the Federal government is struggling to unpick the chaos of a failed coup d’état.
The search is on for the traitors who even now still threaten the Union and the recriminations are just beginning.
What price the Great Society?
Welcome to the third verse of Timeline 10/27/62 – USA Series.
The other books in the series are:-
Book 1: Aftermath
Book 2: California Dreaming
Book 3: The Great Society
Book 4: Ask Not of Your Country (Available 31st December 2016)
Book5: The American Drean (Available 2017)
The Timeline 10/27/62 Main Series is:-
Book 1: Operation Anadyr
Book 2: Love is Strange
Book 3: The Pillars of Hercules
Book 4: Red Dawn
Book 5: The Burning Time
Book 6: Tales of Brave Ulysses
Book 7: A Line in the Sand
Book 8: The Mountains of the Moon
Book 9: All Along the Watchtower (Available 2017)
* * *
To the reader: firstly, thank you for reading this book; and secondly, please remember that this is a work of fiction. I made it all up in my own head. None of the characters in The Great Society’ – Book 3 of the ‘Timeline 10/27/62 - USA Series - are based on real people I know of, or have ever met. Nor do the specific events described in The Great Society – Book 3 of the ‘Timeline 10/27/62 - USA Series - have, to my knowledge, any basis in real events I know to have taken place. Any resemblance to real life people or events is, therefore, unintended and entirely coincidental.
The ‘Timeline 10/27/62 - USA Series’ is an alternative history of the modern world and because of this real historical characters are referenced and in some cases their words and actions form significant parts of the narrative. I have no way of knowing if these real, historical figures, would have spoken thus, or acted in the ways I depict them acting. Any word I place in the mouth of a real historical figure, and any action which I attribute to them on or after 27th October 1962 never actually happened. As I always say in my Author’s Notes to my readers, I made it up in my own head.
Other Books by James Philip
The Great Society
[Book 3 of Timeline 10/27/62 - USA]
‘My kid sister was in Buffalo when the bomb hit. This song is called Tabatha’s Gone...’
On stage at The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles
Tuesday 3rd December 1963
‘General LeMay, you are authorized to use all forces at your disposal to put down the current insurrection and to restore order in this city and its environs. Show no mercy.’
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
President of the United States of America
The White House, Washington DC
Tuesday 10th December 1963
Monday 9th December 1963
Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, California
He sat behind the wheel of his black 1958 Lincoln and smoked a cigarette as he viewed the chaos of flashing blue and red lights three hundred yards away down the road. He knew he ought to have been long gone but something had kept him close; as if he could not move on without seeing with his own eyes the final denouement of his career in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He had picked up Jansen – the psychopathic mob hit man he had paid five thousand dollars to assassinate Rear Admiral Braithwaite and his wife in Sequoyah County – on the way back from delivering Darlene Lefebure to her squalid lodgings in Oakland. The people he worked for would criticise him for wasting time getting the young woman out of the way; but he had not signed up to the cause to murder kids who had just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and besides, after tonight it was not going to matter that she was the only witness who could identify the killer of the Admiral and his wife.
He and Jansen had walked into the safe house.
None of the others had recognized the newcomer whom Christie had ushered before him into the building.
‘Who the fuck is this guy, Christie?’
Jansen had wordlessly pulled the short-barrel Smith and Wesson Model
Special Agent Richter, a forty-three year old twenty-year G-man with a wife and three teenage kids came rushing down the stairs at the sound of gunfire; Christie had shot him twice while his feet were still thudding leadenly along the first floor landing. Christie had always felt happier with the Navy Colt he had got used to during his war service in the Judge Advocate’s Department than the Smith and Wessons most agents were issued. At close range shooting hollow-point ‘hunting rounds’ the gun was every bit as lethal as Jansen’s ‘Magnum’.
‘Easy,” grunted his partner, sneering at the bodies lying on the floor at his feet.
Christie had not hesitated.
The first round from his M1911 blew away most of Jansen’s lower face. As the maimed hit man lay writhing on the ground Christie had stepped over him. A second bulled mashed his head into a scatter of yellow bone and bloody viscera. Careful not to step in the spreading pools of blood he had carefully placed his wallet and ID card in the dead man’s inside left jacket pocket; removed the wedding band off his own ring finger and slid it onto Jansen’s.
The mobster was about his age, height and weight. Co-incidentally, he and Jansen shared the same blood type – ‘O’ Positive – which would probably clinch the deal when his friends from the Bureau, no doubt under intolerable pressure from the top, identified the ‘headless’ man. The world had just gone crazy again today; nobody was going to be lingering overlong over the affair of the four dead special agents in a house thousands of miles away from the uprising on the East Coast.
Although the radio was still only reporting fighting in Washington DC he had been led to believe that there would be ‘major actions’ in New York, Philadelphia, and in Virginia and the Carolinas. The US Atlantic Fleet was going to mutiny; National Guard units from New England to the Gulf of Mexico would march on State Capitols; there would be open season on cops, government officials and buildings. By tomorrow morning America would be ablaze from the Atlantic to the Mississippi!
Christie would believe it when it happened.
All he knew right now was that he had received his orders, carried them out and was now awaiting developments. He was a relatively small cog in a machine that had been under construction for many years before the disaster of the Cuban Missiles War; a machine constantly under attack from the organisation he had worked for, the FBI, since 1946. Or rather, it had been under attack from the FBI until the October War; ever since that night a little over thirteen months ago he had spent most of his ‘work’ time attempting to undermine the activities of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and of other wholly legal and legitimate groups associated or affiliated with the Southern Civil Rights Movement and its charismatic leader, the Reverend Martin Luther King. It was hardly any wonder that the upwelling of the post-October War ‘resistance’ had been, by and large, untroubled by the authorities in the last thirteen months and had succeeded, it seemed, in rising up in arms against a completely unsuspecting Federal government.
His people in California and Oregon had been directed to assassinate FBI and law enforcement officers – mostly at random – and to carry out sabotage ‘actions’ against power and communications targets. The generality and breadth of the commands which had come down from on high four days ago had worried Christie. The whole thing spoke of muddled thinking, of decisions arrived at in haste. The lack of a ‘big plan’ did not auger well for the success of an ‘uprising’. Any fool could see that America was divided, troubled and weakened, and hopelessly adrift on the radically changed tides of the post-war world; any fool ought also to have been able to see that the United States of America had thus far survived and self-evidently, still retained vast untapped reserves of economic, military, emotional and intellectual power. The nation was simply not yet ripe for revolution.
He twirled the tuning dial of the car radio.
“...We can now confirm that the White House and the Pentagon are besieged... The Main State Building and the Department of Justice complex are on fire and large numbers of heavily armed insurgents are roaming apparently unopposed along the axis of Pennsylvania Avenue... There are reports of Rebel flags flying over the Pentagon... The Smithsonian is burning and Capitol Hill has come under sustained mortar and machine gun fire... There has been no word from the President for over an hour...”
Monday 9th December 1963
McKinley Avenue, Oakland, California
Three of Darlene Lefebure’s FBI four minders had not wanted to let her go. She had thought they were just being Feds but it had turned out that they were actually really worried about her safety. She was feeling a little bit guilty about the bad things she had thought about her ‘protectors’ because ever since she had come to California one of her silent, inwardly spoken mantras had been to try ‘not to think the worst of people’.
The World was full of good people; it was just that in her twenty-two years on Earth she had not actually met many of them yet.
A couple of hours ago the head honcho, Special Agent Christie, had taken a long telephone call, gotten very angry and there had been a lot of shouting – she was in her room at the top of the house so she had not been able to make out many of the words, most of which seemed to be uncouth and decidedly un-Christian – and soon afterwards she had been given back her own, freshly laundered and pressed clothes, and asked to ‘get dressed’. Things had calmed down a little by the time she was brought downstairs to the back room in which she had met the Governor’s errand girl Miranda Sullivan and the handsome naval officer, Lieutenant Brenckmann. Darlene still had the other woman’s number but she had not been able to make herself ring it. Part of her reticence was that despite herself – although she was not going to forget that the bitch had stolen her boyfriend on the night of the war – she had trusted her to do what she said she would do and break her out of ‘protective custody’; but a much bigger part of it was that she simply did not want to be beholden to Miranda Sullivan. Even the bitch’s name was prissy!
‘The word is to spring you, young lady,’ Agent Christie, a big crew cut man in his early forties with a Yankee drawl had explained to Darlene. ‘If the Agency wasn’t so all fired keen to keep in with the Governor’s Office in Sacramento we’d have taken you somewhere safe out of state days ago.’
Everybody back in Jackson Alabama – a small town, equally segregated and old-fashioned version of Jackson Mississippi some miles south of Birmingham - always used to remark upon what a polite, never say ‘boo’ to a goose, respectful little thing Mr and Mrs Lefebure’s oldest girl Darlene Rose was, such a meek and mild little thing, just the sort of girl who might one day marry into a ‘respectable’ family...
But that was then and this was now.
‘Spring me?’ She had demanded, stamping her foot.
‘Yep,’ the man snorted irritably.
‘Just like that?’ She did not even know where she was. She had no money – the Oakland PD had lost her handbag – and it was already dark outside by then. She had demanded to make a telephone call but that had gone horribly wrong when the number ‘Miss Miranda’ had given her was picked up by a bored sounding man called Gerry Devers.
‘Miss Sullivan is in San Francisco at present. I can take a message for her...’
Darlene had rounded angrily on Agent Christie, a slow, lugubrious man whom, to her surprise was anything but unsympathetic to her troubles.
‘Look,’ he groaned, ‘let me take you back to your place in Oakland,’ he had hesitated, given her a quizzical look. ‘You’ve got a room on McKinley Avenue, right?’ He checked, clearly not happy with the notion that a young woman should be living alone in that neighbourhood. ‘At least that way I can check over your place and make sure nobody is hanging around. Okay?’
Darlene had nodded sulkily.
‘I owe a week’s rent, maybe
‘We’ll cover that.’
True to his word Agent Christie had mooched around her dingy back yard second floor room, quartered the darkened streets nearby and returned to talk in low tones with her landlord, a one-armed former Marine who drank too much and looked at Darlene like she was a lump of meat. The FBI man had paid off her two weeks arrears of rent and paid a further fortnight in advance, extracting a grubby handwritten receipt from Darlene’s landlord in case he was ‘too drunk in the morning to remember’. He had given her the receipt and the last twenty bucks, mostly in Greenbacks straight out of his own wallet ‘for food and suchlike’.
Agent Christie had viewed Darlene thoughtfully.
‘It’s my business to worry,’ he explained, paternally. ‘You’ll be okay. Just take care like I’m sure you always do. Promise me that?’
Darlene had nodded her agreement.
After mooching around for a few minutes she had had gone to bed and wrapped herself in a cocoon of sheets. Her apartment block was noisy at all hours of the day and night. Her one-armed ex-Marine landlord said it was ‘shift workers coming and going’ but she knew at least two of the other women in the building were ‘working girls’. She might easily have become one herself; she did not pretend to be any kind of beauty but most men preferred homely, plain prettiness to movie star glamour and she had a lot of the former and none at all of the latter, even if she had been ‘that sort of a girl’. Still, it would have been easier money than cleaning house for old folks and rich folks, or waiting tables for people she loathed and despised like the people who could afford to be members of the Sequoyah Country and Golf Club. The Club had probably already have fired her for not turning up for work on the day of the shooting.