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Footprints: Epilogue 1

President Kennedy receives a package containing vital phtographs from members of the universe-hopping Hermes crew.

Brian William Neal's mighty sci-fi adventure moves towards a satisfying conclusion.

GOTCHA!


Washington D.C.
Reality 1106

Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy sat at his desk in the Capitol Building, working on a bill he had been attempting to introduce in the Senate for some time. If introduced into law, the bill would guarantee the civil rights of black Americans, and would allow them to vote. He tried to concentrate on the bill, to get the wording exactly right so that none of his opponents could find a reason to veto it, or to send it back for re-working, but his attention kept wandering.

He was thinking of the people who had come into his life, miraculously saved it, then left just as suddenly as they had arrived. The Englishman whom he knew only as Dennis, he had offered the position of head of his personal security detail should he become President. Not surprisingly, the man had politely and regretfully turned him down. Kennedy had never expected him to accept, since the man had his life waiting for him in another universe.

He thought of the things the man and his companions, especially the older man, Arnold, had told him. About Bobby, and himself; about the elections, the Presidency and the way it had gone in his world. It was too late for Bobby, and Jack knew he would miss his young brother until the day he died. But the forces of darkness had made their attempt on his own life, and they had failed. They would pay dearly for that. The surviving security guard had sung like a canary, and, as a result, indictments were being prepared on a number of government and SFPD officials, including District Commander MacAllan. President Johnson had promised Jack that every stone would be overturned, and Kennedy knew that, whatever else people said about Lyndon, he was an honest man. The plotters’ days were numbered.

Well, most of them, Jack thought, as he gave up on the bill and took a bottle of Jack Daniels from the lower right hand drawer of his huge oak desk. Pouring a shot, Jack stood and went to the window. Massaging his lower back, he gazed out at the city, made misty by a persistent drizzle that just refused to quit for three days.

Still can’t be sure I’ve got enough to nab Hoover, he thought, returning to his desk and topping up his drink and stowing the bottle back in the drawer. Bastard’s as slippery as a greased pig on a mudslide. If only… His thoughts were interrupted by the intercom on his desk. He reached over and touched the switch.

“Yes?”

“Sorry to bother you, Senator,” said his secretary. “You’ve had a package dropped off by a couple of men a few minutes ago.”

“What men?” he asked. It was standard procedure for all packages to be scanned for explosives. Ever since the episode with Senator Gimbal, who had lost a hand when a letter bomb had exploded after being sent to his office, Senate security had insisted that all mail receive the same scrutiny, regardless of where it came from.

His secretary’s voice came through the speaker. “A youngish man, and another slightly older, sir. They just said to tell you that it was the evidence they said they’d get to you, and they apologized for its lateness. They also apologized for being unable to stay. They said they had a door to catch. I’m afraid I have no idea what they meant by that.”

Kennedy froze, his senses alert. “Describe them.”

“Well sir, one was…well, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but one was the spitting image of that English guy in The Beatles, John Lennon. I think he was English, too. The other man was older, but still had black hair and a large nose. I’ll get the package down to security and…”

“No, don’t bother. Bring it in,” Kennedy said, a small smile beginning to crease his Irish features.

“But sir, the security protocol says…”

“Never mind, Sally, I know the men concerned. Bring it in.”

“Yes, sir.”

A moment later, the woman, plump and dressed in a severe black dress, entered and put a large envelope on the desk. Kennedy looked at her in mild amusement. “The Beatles, Sally? I’ll have you know I’m definitely a fan, but I didn’t think you would be.”

Sally Evans blushed. “Oh no, Senator. It’s just that my daughter has their posters all over her bedroom walls. Plays their music night and day.”

Kennedy nodded. “I’ve got the same problem, but with me, it’s Jackie.”

Sally smiled. “I didn’t hear that, Senator,” she said, as she left the room and closed the door behind her.

Kennedy sat at the desk and pulled the envelope towards him. He hefted it in his hands, then slit the end and tipped the contents onto the desk. A dozen or so glossy color photographs lay before him; slowly, he picked one of them up and stared at it for a full minute. Then he put it down and picked up another, and a smile began to tug at the corner of his mouth.

More rapidly, he sorted through the remaining photos; they were all of the same man, in a variety of poses that could only be described as, at best, candidly indiscreet, and at worst, in flagrante delecto. Kennedy opened the desk drawer and removed the bottle of Tennessee’s finest, broke his own rule and poured himself another whiskey. This was a special occasion, he thought, as he started to laugh quietly and downed the bourbon in one gulp.

He put the chunky glass on the desk and looked at the photographs spread out before him.

Gotcha! he thought with satisfaction. This was red-letter day for sure, he thought, as he sent a silent thank-you to the two men from another universe who had now saved his life a second time. Then he picked up the photos again and began to go through them again, more slowly this time.

After all, it wasn’t every day you saw the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation wearing a tutu and administering sexual satisfaction to a muscular young man sitting on the edge of the Director’s swimming pool.

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