JFK Book Chapter
Dallas, April 1963
Cheap fans stir the air around a musty house in Fort Worth. Nothing is made cooler, the humid mood just gets slowly pushed around the living room.
Lee Harvey Oswald checks his watch. 11:43 AM.
He should be here now. The former Marine thinks. He should be here now.
The man has reasons to be impatient. Firstly, Marina, the unhappy wife, was out with their new-born baby, Rosie. Out to see Ruth for tea and cakes, so they could be back at any moment. And Lee Oswald could not have them be back at any moment. No. He needed them back after he was finished with today’s task. He stewed on all that the way he does everything else.
Lee looked down at the living room table and what lay on it. A rifle, the rifle that will make history.
Another fidget, another watch check. 11:48 AM. He should be here now. George, where are you…
Lee Oswald waits for his friend George de Mohrenschildt. Met through Marina and that walking gossip rag Ruth Paine, he was, to Oswald, the only sane person in Texas. Oswald didn’t smoke, if he were in that habit, (or if there were any cigarettes or tobacco in the house) then he’d be blanketing the Italian weapon in ash right about now.
“Make use of my time.” He mutters to himself. The bolt-action monster lies disassembled for now. Lee does not look at his watch this time. Instead he takes a quick trip to the locked storage box hidden under the dry marriage bed. From that box, three new items are put on the table.
A 38. Snub nose revolver. Oiled and ready.
A carefully preserved bundle of communist literature (trashy fringe newspapers).
A camera that Oswald has been meaning to give Marina as a goodwill gift. Oswald held the camera in his hand a few moments longer than everything else, before putting it next to the papers. Hopefully, she’ll like it. Of course she’ll like it…maybe a dishwasher can really perk her up…
Lee swims in those kinds of thoughts for a while. Then a fresh noise snaps Oswald back into action.
‘The porch, the fuckin’ porch…’ Oswald scolds himself. How can a great man in history forget to lock the back door?! It took no time to decide what to do next. He grabbed the revolver. A million potential follow-up moves went through his head. But they all went out the window.
“Lee, what the fuck.” George’s voice. Lee relaxes a little. Adrenaline still runs through his veins.
“Lee, are you going to turn round?” A pause, then, “Oswaldavitch!”
His nickname from those awful days in Japan. Oswald puts the 38. back on the table. Slowly. George de Mohrenschildt walks fully into the light of the tiny home. Grey-white hair swept back with grease to hide a bald spot. An expensive, tailored suit jacked folded neatly over one arm, all casual style. Suspenders arch over a smart white shirt.
George de Mohrenschildt is nothing but cool, calm, and collected. Standard for someone with one foot in the grimy world of espionage.
“How’s your task coming along.” George asks Lee, rhetorically. He pulls out the only other chair. It scrapes on the floor while Lee sits with obvious tenseness. George looks at what’s on the table but goes out of his way to make it not obvious.
“My task.” Oswald repeats George’s words back him. Not sure whether he should shoot this red bastard right there and then. “My…task.” The New Orleans accent slips out, and that makes Oswald more pissed off.
Lee makes a fist on the table.
“It’s not that simple.”
“Sure, it is Lee. It all starts with good old-fashioned reinforcement. Now…”
George picks up the bundle of newspapers, running cold grey eyes over their faded words.
“Tell me your mission.”
Lee Harvey Oswald looked up, hands clasped together, arms, elbows, and knees jittering a bit. Just a little bit…
“My mission is to kill General Walker.”
He didn’t speak the next part of the mission. Then kill the President.
Flies hummed lazily around the back porch. George’s sweat had evened out, now the fat man looked like a not-quite-ripe tomato. He wore expensive sunglasses, brows angled down, and arms crossed. He watched his friend Lee. Silent and thoughtful.
Oswald sat on the porch, hunched over, rifle in hand, regretting wearing a blue polo shirt. Behind the thin door, Marina Oswald could be heard busying herself with cooking, cleaning, anything to avoid interaction with her husband.
“Do you regret it?” de Mohrenschildt asks the question, then lets it hang in the air. He makes sure to analyse Lee’s expressions.
Lee Oswald, to his credit, keeps a blank face. “Regret what?”
The mission? The Gun? The plane to Russia? What is this fatso asking about?”
Lee Harvey Oswald did not answer.
Oswald was still just outside his house, With three key differences.
One. A light jacket was zipped up, warming one hand with its side pocket.
Two. He sat in the front garden instead of the back.
Three. George had split for home.
That last difference made the Oswald family home silent. Lee and Marina weren’t talking, Rosie couldn’t talk. So yeah, silence.
Old faithful watch said the time was 11:40pm.
Here you are Lee. Don’t fuck this up. He told himself. The rifle, wrapped in brown paper felt formed to his hand. A cold night in Texas. Far away a dog barked. Lee made his grip loose, stood up, and walked. General Edwin Walker’s house was only a few miles from Oswald’s. So much so that Walker had even been seen at a neighbourhood barbecue. A man of the people someone had said. Not Lee Oswald, his words had been much different.
It was that night that sent the lone tearaway on the path to change history.
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