Sunday, May 17, 2009

USG4 2014

Monday, September 8th

I was surprised to see my Dad waiting in the school parking lot when school let out. Usually I take the bus.

"Want a ride home?" he asked.

"How'd you get off work so early?"

"I went in early and got my paperwork done. I wanted to go see that house of yours if you're willing to show me."

"Because of that bullet?" I whispered.

Dad glanced around furtively. He led me to where he had parked the car without saying a word. After we were inside he started the engine. It was only then that he started to speak. "It might be best to keep that bullet a secret."

"It's not just a bullet from a hunting rifle, is it?"

Dad shook his head. "That bullet was government issue, I know that much. And it was made before the terror outbreaks started."

"How do you know that?" I asked.

"That marking on it. I had an uncle who served in the military. I saw his bullets once and he explained how they were labeled. 2014 was the year that bullet was made."
"So the woman was shot by someone in the military?" I knew my eyes were wide. "Does that mean Mom was right and she was a terrorist? Because that doesn't make sense, not if you read the journal."

"I'm not sure what it means. All I know is it's made me damn curious to see the house and read this journal you found."

I could hardly believe it. I thought about what they taught in history class about the years leading up to the terrorist outbreak and the time just after. Sure, the government had rounded up a lot of people and questioned them, but they wouldn't have gone out and shot a woman who was just trying to survive, would they? Or mother's voice nagged at me...maybe she really was a terrorist and the journal was just some story she made up, just fiction. "What if..." I started to ask Dad if he thought the military would do that...just shoot an innocent woman, but then thought maybe I didn't want to know.

Dad seemed to know what I was thinking because he changed the subject and asked me how school was going. I told him a few funny stories about my classes and by that time, we were home.

"Let's just peek in and tell your mother we're here," he said.

"She'll wonder where we're going."

"I'll take care of that," he said. "She'll worry if she thinks you didn't come home from school."

I knew he was right. Any little thing sets Mom to worrying these days.

We went inside and found Mom watching the television, knitting needles working up and down through soft light turquoise yarn. Dad walked over and kissed her cheek. She held up the blanket she was working on. "I finally figured out what I'm doing. Do you like it?"

"It looks great, Julie." Dad said.

"Yeah, Mom. Is it fun to do?"

Mom giggled a little. "I guess it is, in a way. Well, not at first. Your father's lucky he wasn't around the first three or four times I tried to make it work. I would have jabbed one of these needles in his side just for suggesting I make a blanket for the baby."

"Good thing I was at work," Dad said. "Speaking of which, I got off a little early and thought I'd take Mandy out and show her how to fish. Want to come along?"

"I'll pass. You don't expect me to cook what you catch, do you?"

"We'll be back before dinner," Dad said. "And IF we catch anything, which I doubt, I'll fry it up myself."

Dad kissed Mom on the cheek and we left the house.

"The fishing rods and tackle box are in the car," he said, as he walked to the car. "We'd best take them just to keep our story straight." He took out too long poles and a box. He handed one of the poles to me. "Which way?"

"Down that path there. The house is just a bit past the pond."

"Good. That makes our alibi even better."

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