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Degrees of Relation

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“Dammit, you’re making me crazy, Mike,” she shouted.  “Always the Cubans.  I’m so sick of this Fair Play for Cuba crap, like they’re ready to invade Dallas or something.”

 

“Marcie, think for once. Those guys in Cuba know they can’t do anything.”

 

“I gotta go to the store and get my clothes from the cleaners and then go…do some things.”

 

“Forget it.  Laundry can wait and we got food.  C’mon back to bed.  The world won’t change if you do your things later.

 

His argument was cut off by her banging the front door shut.  She slammed out of the driveway in her Rambler American, irritated at Mike’s bleeding-heart liberal philosophy.  Wasn’t he even worried a tiny bit about his brother stationed at Patrick Air Force base in Florida?  He’d be one of the first to go when the Russkis bombed the U.S.  A sudden bump on the rear wheels made her slam on the breaks.  “What the hell?” she asked rhetorically.

 

Walking around the car she saw a man’s legs sticking out from the wheel, the body was wedged further inside.  That’s when she screamed.

 

The cop arrived in minutes and ordered her to go sit on the curb.  He got into the car, which he pulled forward into Mike’s drive.  She heard another bump as the tires went back over the legs.

 

Stupid cop!  “I didn’t see the guy,” she shouted.  “He was walking in the street, and the trees.…”.  “He came running out of nowhere.”

 

“Easy, lady.  Some other police are coming to sort this out.  Just sit still.”

 

“I didn’t see him.  Is he…?”

 

“I think he’s dead.  You gotta wait for the ambulance.”

 

Another car pulled up and a man in a suit got out.  He flashed a badge at the cop and came over to her, leaning over until his face was just a foot away from hers.  She smelled Listerine.  “Your name?”

 

“Marcia Scoggins.  I didn’t see this guy walk behind my car.”

 

“Easy, I’m not a cop.  I’m with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  I just saw the prowl car and stopped to help.”

 

“Now this is a Federal case?”

 

“No, no, I’m on another detail.  I just wanted to see….  You’re okay?  No injuries?”

 

“I’m fucking shaken up.  I didn’t see the guy.  And he’s dead.”  She paused to blow her nose and wipe her eyes.  “What’s the FBI doing in Dallas?”

 

The man was tall and dark-haired, amiable looking and not at all officious like the cop.  “Another assignment.  President’s coming to town tomorrow and I’m assigned as security.  My name’s Saunders, Special Agent Saunders.”

 

“Kennedy?  President Kennedy?”

 

“Him and his wife, Jackie.  I think they’re making speeches, stuff like that.  It’s great.  My wife once met Jackie.  Said she was really a lovely person.”

 

“No kidding.  You met Jack Kennedy’s wife?”

 

“No, my wife met her.  But maybe not so strange, seeing as there’s probably just five degrees of separation from everyone knowing the president or the Queen of England or anyone.  We all know people who know people who…you know.  Degrees of separation.”

 

“I think you mean degrees of relation.  We’re all related to everyone somehow.

 

The Dallas policeman came up to the pair.  “Poor bastard.  He’s dead.”

 

“You get an ID?”

 

“Name of Oswald.  Lee Harvey Oswald.  That’s all I got.  Just a guy out walking and not looking where he’s going.”

 

“Jesus,” she moaned.  “His whole life gone in a flash.  Think of what he might’ve accomplished.”

 

# # #

 

Walt bounces between writing genres, from mystery to humor, speculative fiction to romance with a little historical non-fiction thrown in for good measure.  His work has appeared in print and online in over two dozen publications, including Short-Story.Me.  Two volumes of short stories, Cruising the Green of Second Avenue, were available until his publisher ceased operations in 2016.  He's also bounced from Fortune 500 firms to university posts, and from homes in eight states and to a couple of Asian countries.  He now lives in New Jersey, a nice place to visit, but he doesn't want to die there.

 

 

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