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Authors: Jacqueline Druga

Joe

 

JOE

Beginnings Book 25

by

Jacqueline Druga

Joe

Beginnings Book 25

By Jacqueline Druga

Copyright 2016 by Jacqueline Druga

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Thank you so very much to Kira for all your help with this book

A Momentary Pause…

Once in a great while the characters of a novel speak to you. They speak to you as if they were real people. In the eyes of Beginnings they are.

I often say that my Beginnings Novels write themselves. This isn’t exactly true. My characters will dictate a lot of the time where the story will go.

I mean, do you really think I wanted Robbie to lose an arm? Joe to die? Henry to be gay … ok, maybe I didn’t want Henry to be gay and though he’d argue that he wasn’t gay, I did do that to him. He’s not gay he’s confused. Or do you think I decided outright that Frank would run fifty miles an hour, read minds and be the ultimate hero.

Not to that extend. You bet.

So now, before this entire Novel begins I am going to do a character survey. Like I did once before in Faulted Lines.

I am going to ask each of my characters a question. And they will answer it. Hopefully their answers will guide me to what they want me to write.

Not that I’ll listen.

 

The Question is: What do you expect or hope from your role in Beginnings?

 

Some of the characters answers

Jimmy Slagel

I want to be a part of the family again. Remembered and written into the storyline like I mean something. I mean, come on, I am a Slagel, yet, yet mind you I haven’t had a storyline. Sure, when she brought me back, but since then, for two books I have been hidden in the basement working on something.

Jenny Matoose

Jimmy Slagel and total happiness. I would like to see Jimmy get a storyline. Maybe a really good romantic one with me. We need to be the Bo and Hope. We need that Rhett and Scarlet spark that only we can bring to the pages. Women respect me. I should be out front.

Henry Kusikari

To not be gay. Oh, sure, I’m not really gay. But she has made the readers believe I’m gay with her confusion stuff and making me live a husband wife lifestyle with another man. I want not to be a gay character. Maybe make someone else gay. Like Hal. Or Robbie. Yeah, Robbie, he had that gay kiss.

George Hadley

To be in a few spats. Have an enemy. Not to the extent that I had enemies before but I fight a good verbal fight. I remember all those people that annoyed Joe and myself. I’ve been a pretty predominant character so, unlike Henry I have no complaints. He should be happy he wasn’t killed off.

Mike Manis

If she would have asked me, I would have told her (the writer) to stay the course. I was good character, but now I’m an emotional maniac who will always play second fiddle to Frank. I’d like to be written out if she goes where I think she’s going and that is a love story with Bertha.

Jess Boyens

First, everyone always plays second fiddle to Frank. That’s the way it is. What do I want? I want back in the story line. I think she should make me gay again, and make a love triangle between two men and a woman. Maybe hook me and Jimmy Slagel together.

Danny Hoi

Actually, I’m pretty happy with my role in Beginnings. I was supposed to be a secondary character and I just shine. Thank you. Oh, yeah, for those of you who aren’t sure, I’m the Asian man who is not gay.

Andrea Winters-Slagel

I am an intelligent woman and once again I will air my complaint on being made into a menopausal mess. Also, more Jesus. Other than that, I’m good.

Ellen Slagel

I want to be menopausal like Andrea. She is so fun. One moment she is flighty, the next serious. It’s a great role. I do think we need more Henry. How many readers actually remember the name of our baby?

Roy

To stay in Beginnings, get a wife like Marian and stop the Great War. I also would like to eat Oodles of Dan noodles every day. Bill. The name of Ellen and Henry’s child is Bill.

Elliott Ryder

Correction, his name is Luke. The baby’s name is Luke. Although I like not dying I was a much better person when I was. I had a better story line and was much more eloquent. I think I would like to go back to that humble Elliott.

Dean Hayes

Wow, he didn’t mention Ellen. Wait he did. To give the wrong name of her child. It’s Phil. The baby’s name is Phil. And finally, I’m good. I’m getting some interesting stories without looking like an idiot who constantly screws up. But how long will that last?

Hal Slagel

About 30 seconds. You already screwed up. The name of the child is Mike, like the other character. Good God people. I am quite content with my storyline, and since I am on good terms with the author, I know where she is taking it. I do think she erred though in making Frank president. But that still remains to be seen. I foresee a short bus run on Frank’s new found intelligence.

 

And why would Henry want me gay. Do I look gay? Do I act gay?

(Frank interjects) Well, if you want to know …

No, Frank we do not. Henry just is jealous because he doesn’t have a storyline.

(Henry Interjects) I don’t have a story line because you and Elliott Ryder ate up all the room.

 

I believe when Danny Hoi came to town you were replaced, and that was a brilliant move. Thank God.

Robbie Slagel

I couldn’t agree more, Hal. Henry is a bitch. I didn’t have a gay kiss that was just wishful thinking on his part.

 

(At this time, I the writer had to separate a potential fight. Even though Frank kept on agitating and egging it on, I did manage to get everything back to normal and Robbie continued)

Thanks. You guys are funny. I don’t think I ever knew Ellen and Henry’s baby’s name. I didn’t think it was Mike, though.

Joe Slagel

It’s not. You’re all morons. Christ Almighty his name is Nick. Nick. Not Mike, Phil, Bill. They should have left me dead. But then again, me not being around means an intelligent Frank and where is the entertainment in that? If we’re gonna read this series for Christ knows how long, it might as well be entertaining, and Frank, being Frank is the only way to go. Make Hal President, I’ll be King. Ha, when I’m alive, again, that is.

Frank

Remember the days when I rushed in to save the day? When someone’s life was hanging on a thread and I would come in at the last second and stop the death from happening. Man, those were the days. I miss that. Now, I do administrative work. I have to add.

 

(Hal interjects) Good God, Frank, if the fate of the world truly hung on your math skills we’d all be in trouble.

I can add.

(Hal interjects) Badly.

 

Still. Anyhow, being the president isn’t bad. It has its perks. I pick on Hal so he doesn’t pick on me anymore. But if I could pick one thing. One thing I’d like to see in Beginnings I’d have to say I would like to see a Taco Bell.

CHAPTER ONE
Detroit Michigan
Joe Louis Arena
1980

The tiny piece of confetti was something Dean Hayes had felt before in his life, but not in a long time. He allowed it to fall into the palm of his hand and he enjoyed it like a kid with his first snowflake.

Dean grinned.

“What a mess this is going to be for the cleanup crew,” Jason Godrichson stated, walking alongside Dean on the way to the arena.

“But we won’t be around to see that.”

“True. God!” Jason gasped out. “Can you feel it? The energy. The …”

“Republicans.”

Jason’s smile matched Dean’s. “The convention center is just ahead. Oh, look vendors.”

Dean stopped abruptly. “I have to get a shirt.”

Jason nodded but didn’t say much. Dean figured it was because Jason already had the cool, ‘I love Ronald Reagan’ tee shirt. The phrase with a huge picture of Ronald Reagan smiling and giving a thumbs up. People stopped him in route to the center to say they loved it. To ask where to get one.

One time Jason even responded. “Oh, they don’t make them yet.”

“Well,” the one lady said. “When can I get one?”

“1984.”

Jason did that laugh. Closed mouth, silent, smug laugh and moved along with Dean.

Just before the vendor booths positioned outside the convention center, Dean raised the camera and snapped a picture.

“Careful with people seeing you with that,” Jason stated. “Digital Cameras aren’t public for another 15 years.”

“Yikes, you’re right.” Dean put it in the bag. I’m just so … Wow, oh, wow.” Dean lifted a tee shirt. “How much?” he asked the vendor.

“Seven bucks.”

Dean laughed. “Seven? Wow, so great.” He gave him a ten. “Keep the change.”

“Aren’t you the generous guy?”

“I forgot it was 1980. I have 250 bucks in my pocket. That goes a long way. Here hold this.” Dean handed him the camera bag, then proceeded to put the tee shirt on over his tie and shirt. “How’s it look.”

“You look like a true Reagan supporter.”

“I am.”

“We’re here.” Jason pointed.

“Wait.” Dean stopped him. “How are we getting in there?”

“My friend, this is pre 911. Pre Reagan being shot. Low security. Watch.” Jason winked and walked them to the gate. After a flash of some ID, they went thorough.

“How did you do that?” Dean asked.

“Simple.” Jason flashed the ID. “My father’s driver’s license. I recalled he was on the list and had the flu. Never made it. So, of course, I pass for my father.”

“Sir!” The security guard called out. “Sir, wait.”

“Great. Busted. “Dean stated. “What now?”

“We have the time machine to zap away.” From facing Dean, Jason turned with a pleasant smile. “Yes.”

The security guard caught his breath. “You forgot your passes to get back stage.” He handed them to Jason. “Gov. Reagan will be upset if he doesn’t meet you.”

“Thank you.” Jason nodded, then once the guard walked away, he spun to Dean. “We’re going backstage.”

Like two teenage girls they reached for each other, Jumped with a shriek of excitement, then regained their composure.

Both cleared their throats and straightened their clothes.

Jason smiled and nodded to passersby who looked. “Let’s go,” he said to Dean. “I can’t wait.”

“Back stage passes.” Dean grinned. “Ronald Reagan. Does it get any better than this?”

 

Indeed

Jason thought for sure meeting Ronald Reagan would be the highlight of his night, until he met the legendary Jimmy Stewart beforehand. They had great seats, next to Pat Boone, and Donny and Marie off to the side of the stage.

Jason actually got chills and teary eyed when Reagan spoke and gave his speech. Not like he hadn’t heard it or read it a million times.

Reagan was amazing.

But before that, the chills began. Ginger Rogers took a spin with Jason. Of course, when Dean saw who he was seated next to, he immediately asked for an autograph for his wife.

Not that Ellen was actually still his wife, but what did Marie know.

Jason was pretty impressed at her innocence and sweetness. Then again, she was only something like twenty-one at the time.

“Take our picture,” Dean requested and pulled the camera from the bag. “Donny. Marie. Please.”

They both happily agreed and Dean, who was old enough to be their father, stood in the middle grinning.

Jason saw it. Donny wasn’t as dumb as everyone made him out to be.

He crinkled a brow at the camera.

“Jeepers,” Donny said. “What the heck is that?”

Thinking ‘fuck’, Jason snapped the picture, then another, and mentally prepared how to explain this miniature deal in his hand.

But he didn’t need to.

Marie did. “You are such a goober, Donny. Gees.” She shook her head. “Dr. Godrichson is an inventor.”

Jason smiled.

“Sorry. Dr. Godrichson.”

Jason waved his hand in a no problem manner and handed the camera back to Dean.

“Thank you so much,” Dean said.

“Hey Dr. Hayes.” Donny snapped his finger. “Do you watch Family?”

“With Kristy McNichol. I did.” Dean’s face lit up. I owned the complete. . Complete …”

Did he want to say DVD collection? Jason wondered. Clearing his throat, Jason spoke. “My embarrassed friend was going to admit to owning the complete Family Trading Card set of 1979.”

Donny blinked. “They had trading cards. Wow, we missed them. Anyhow, did you see the one episode with this new actor? Marie,” he turned to Marie. “What was his name? He was in the TV movie.”

“Michael Fox.”

Dean laughed. “Michael J. Fox. Yeah, he’s huge.”

“No.” Donny said. “He’s actually small like you.”

Marie hit him.

“Sorry. I meant short. I was gonna say you look like you could be his dad. Are you related?”

“No. But I hear that a lot,” Dean said.

“You do?” Donny asked.

“Sure, I mean, how many other little famous guys with dark blonde hair do you know.” Dean chuckled.

“He’s not famous,” Donny said.

“He is where I come from.”

Jason rolled his eyes.

“Dr. Hayes, can I ask you something,” Marie spoke up.

“Sure.”

“Don’t get mad.”

“Absolutely not.”

“Were you in the Army?”

“Wow. Yeah, I was. How did you know?”

“The scars on your face. You must have gotten them in the war, right?”

Dean appeared awkward. “Yeah. I did.”

“Marie you dufus. What the heck?” Donny snapped. “That was so not nice.”

“Children.” Jason held up his hand. “No need. Dr. Hayes is proud of his service. And he got those scars from saving hundreds of children from being executed when they were mistaken as spies and turned over to the Vietcong by Jane Fonda.”

Marie released an ‘Ahh’ and hugged Dean.

Donny crinkled his face. “I dislike her.”

“We all do,” Jason said. “We all do.”

****

The backstage area was loud, and busy, senators, everyone was there, and Jason worried that perhaps he wouldn’t get a chance to meet the great one face to face.

Until he and Dean were pulled into a back room.

Ronald Reagan stood up from the chair and extended his hand. “Well, Dr. Godrichson. I have to say you look much nobler in person.”

Jason smirked. “Thank you, Mr. President.”

Dean extended his hand. “Mr. President it is an honor.”

“Ah, no, not yet.” Ron bashfully shook his head. His rosy cheeks blushing.

“Soon,” Jason said. “Landslide victory. In fact I predict you’ll get a whopping 389 electoral votes. 525 in the 84 elections.”

“Jason.” Dean whispered.

“Won’t hurt anything by saying that.” Jason retorted.

“You’re right,” Ronald said. “You know me. I’m a man who keeps secrets. Is that your prediction?”

“Sure you were … I mean will be a great president,” Jason winked. “You can bank on it. In fact …” Jason reached into his pocket. “This is the address of a bank in Montana. I have a safety deposit box there. I’ll be out of the country for some time, years. Doing inventing. You know.”

“Sure,” Ronald said.

“If I am correct in those predictions, when you publish a memoir, which you will, can you sign me a copy and get it into that safety deposit box. You of all people will have the means to do so.”

Ronald Reagan laughed. “Absolutely.” He folded the paper and put it in his pocket.

Jason thought ahead. He knew should he ever need an address during his time travel ventures, a post office box wouldn’t work. But purchasing a lifelong safety deposit box would. He saw the glee in Reagan’s eye. Would he remember to do so, remained to be seen.

But Nancy …

She stood in the doorway barely, noticed. Gentle and dignified.

“Did you hear that Nancy?” Ronald asked.

“Yes. I’ll take that for you.” Nancy held out her hand. “I’ll handle that request. You know how forgetful you can be.”

Dean mumbled. “And will get.”

Jason spun to him. “That was wrong.”

Dean hunched.

“Ronnie,” Nancy spoke gently. “I know you designated a half hour for Dr. Godrichson before the party. But I really want to introduce him to a few people who can’t stay. Do you mind? Five minutes.”

“Be my guest,” Ronald held out his hand. “I’ll chat with Dr. Hayes.”

“Wonderful,” She held out her hand. “Dr. Godrichson?”

“Delighted.” Jason looped his arm and Nancy locked a grip. He leaned into Dean. “Watch what you say.”

“I’m good.” Dean said. “I’m good.”

Jason, unsure about leaving Dean alone with Ronald Reagan, didn’t want to disappoint Nancy, so he left with her. Things would be fine. After all, how much damage could Dean do in five minutes?

 

Ronald Reagan leaned against the table, hands folded in front of him, as he did that famous exhaling, ‘Well.’

“Well.” Dean responded. His heart was pounding. Beating strongly. He was so nervous, there he was with the icon, the greatest president, at least in Dean’s mind, there ever was.

“So you and Dr. Godrichson agree on that prediction.”

“Without a doubt. You kill … kill in the elections. Landslide should be your theme song.”

Ronnie laughed. “You speak in present tense.”

“We’re like psychic, you can say. I am.”

“I love psychics. Tell me more predictions.”

Was that a direct order? Dean believed it was. How could he refuse? “If I tell you anything you can’t tell a soul.”

“Promise.”

“Ok, like when you die. A very, very old age death. You stop the world. The world stops to mourn you.”

“You don’t say...” He folded his arms and pulled out a chair. “Who will I choose as a running mate?”

“Well, you say running mate.” Dean sat down, too. “Vice president, but Ford, he wants to be co-president.”

“How did you know that?”

Dean pointed to his temple. “Don’t go for it. Go for George Bush. Great Vice president material, he’ll also be president one day. And so will his son of the same name.”

“Now, see,” Reagan shook his finger. “Georgie the son, president?” he laughed. “Can he stay off the booze long enough?”

“Nah. But he is.”

“What else can you tell me Dr. Hayes?”

Dean looked back at the door, then leaned closer to Reagan.

****

Arms full with memorabilia, Jason and Dean found a nice secluded place to zap themselves back. They had stayed longer than they wanted. Going to the party was fun, even though they remained unseen.

“This was great,” Jason pulled out the time machine.

“You should see these shots.” Dean reviewed the pictures in the camera. “Everyone can believe us when we let this secret out.”

“It’ll be amazing,” Jason prepped the HG Wells.

“This I swear has been the greatest day of my life.”

“A Republican’s dream come true.”

“Now if I could have met John Wayne.”

“Frank’s version of God.”

Dean laughed. “I forgot about that.”

“It’s possible.”

“Yeah, yeah it is.” Dean gushed.

“We should make a list of what we need to do or want to do. Places to visit, people to meet.”

“I agree.”

Jason held his finger on the green button. “Well my friend, this ends here. Take a breath.”

Dean did.

Jason inhaled. “Reagan.”

“Reagan.”

“Back to reality.”

“It’s time.”

Visually, Jason agreed, and then he pressed the button.

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