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The change in altitude mildly shook the fuselage, forcing Ryan Morrison to open his eyes. Hiss ears picked up 2 distinctly different sounds as he regained consciousness. The first was the pitter patter of tiny raindrops hitting the plexiglass windows of the airplane on its descent to the airport. The second, was the soft, almost muted snoring of his sister Thaelor, as her head was nestled on his chest. Her micro braids falling just right, framing her peaceful face and giving it an almost angelic look. Her breathing a steady rhythm under the blanket that covered their bodies. For a split moment in the past 24 hours, Ryan had a reason to smile. He hated to do it, but a slight shrug of his shoulder nudged her awake. The overhead lights came on, right before the voice of the Captain, welcoming his passengers to Atlanta, GA.
“Hey sleepy head, time to wake up. Let’s get in and grab some coffee.” Ryan said lightly.
Thaelor smiled as she stretched. Resembling the cat that swallowed the canary. The descent into Atlanta International Airport was swift and uneventful. Being in First Class, Thaelor and Ryan were some of the first passengers into the airport. Gathering their bags, they made a first stop to “The Grinder,” a Southern coffee chain that sold a great cup of “joe.” The next stop was to the car rental stand. Meredith had already made the arrangement for them to pick up a fully loaded Panthera X450. A smaller SUV version of their cousin Brittney’s truck. While there, they asked the attendants if they had ever heard of the town of “Broke Buck.” Not surprisingly, none of the attendants (most of whom were young, white and African immigrants) had a clue that a place named that even existed. Purchasing a Garber map guide add on, the siblings headed toward the car garage. Before they reached it, Thaelor saw the “Welcome to Georgia” information desk. Walking over, she asked the attendants if they had ever heard of it. Again, neither attendant knew a place like that ever existed.
Just then, a light went off on the face of the female attendant. “Hold on just a second…” Picking up a walkie talkie, she called for a man named Leonard to come to the desk. A short 6 minutes later, a tall, gaunt, older black gentleman dressed in the garb of an airport custodian sauntered up.
“Leonard, I called you here because these people are looking for a place called…”Broke Back was it?”
“No…” said Ryan. “Broke Buck.”
Leonard stopped. Then his face took a weird turn. “What would you want with that place?” he asked.
“Our Dad’s from there and we need to get there and pick up some paperwork. No one else seems to know anything about it and no search engine can tell us anything. It’s not even on any maps.” Thaelor interjected.
“That’s ’cause it’s not there anymore.” Leonard answered. It hasn’t been known by that name since the early ’70s. The place you want is now called Wallaceville.”
“Oh…Wallaceville. Wow…that IS a small town.” The female attendant remarked.
Leonard spoke to the siblings for a few more minutes., even going so far as to have one of his colleagues drive them to their vehicle on a cart. Ryan got the keys and guided the vehicle onto the freeway. While not nearly as hectic as California’s, Atlanta’s traffic was everything they heard it would be. Wall to wall vehicles stuck in slow moving traffic for a few miles. Finally, turning South East, the traffic thinned enough for Ryan to punch the accelerator and get the car moving. After punching in the direction request to the Garber, Thaelor looked up Wallaceville. It took several sites to find it, but finally she came across the information she was looking for.
Wallaceville, was the story of two small towns in the backwoods of Georgia, separated by a river. One was called Lundsford. An offshoot of the Antebellum South of the pre-Civil War, Lundsford had been the home of several Cotton plantations and mills. That was staunchly for Confederation. Home to no less then 3 Confederate Officers. However, it was also a victim of Sherman’s infamous “March to the Sea.” Post-Civil War, the majority of surviving families and veterans wanted to get the black families further away from them. A few who were forced off the land, built a tiny settlement across the Danbury River and called it Belle Town.
The interactions between the two towns was tense, but cordial, as the black farmers were able to make a meager living as workers on the left-over farms of their former slave owners. Unfortunately, once the era of Reconstruction ceased, the local white lawmakers stepped in and changed the name to Broke Ridge. The bottom for the town truly dropped out, when the Dust Bowl hit the South. Most of the farms became almost barren, not able to produce more than sustenance farming. That’s when local land owner Richard A. Brooks, found a large cache of copper on his property. Opening a mine, he quickly became rich enough to bursa escort begin floating Lundsford and some of its residents. However, like most operations, there was more work to be had than white employees alone could handle. He finally began hiring black male employees and paying them pennies on the dollar for their labor. To make issues worse for them, the Labor Union refused to admit any black workers. This worked in Brooks’ favor. When the inevitable strike came from the white workers, Brooks hired almost the entirety of the black male population.
Seeing no other alternative to feed their families, the black men of Broke Ridge, came in droves. Working many times until their backs gave out from the exhausting labor. Thus, with Brooks buying the mayoral ship of the town, he renamed it Broke Buck, and the name stuck. Until, the Fall of 1969. According to local legend, the two towns grew alongside one another in tensioned peace. While few, occasionally interracial relationships and children were born into this cauldron. In 1969, a white girl allegedly was raped by a black mine worker. The girl’s family was so distraught, they sought to avenge the slight of her pregnancy by assaulting the men of Broke Buck looking for the responsible culprit. Eventually coming across a young unnamed man in the dead of night. Whipped, chained, tarred and feathered, they hung his body on the back side of the river as a warning to the remaining residents. Many of the workers of the mine were returning Vietnam War veterans, who began to fight back against the incursion into their home town. The final act came when the Georgia National Guard was called in by the Governor. By this time, the race war resulted in the deaths of: 10 black men, 7 whites and both of the schools in the towns had been burned to the ground. In a secret agreement between Then President Johnson and Governor Wallace, he would take control of both towns, fire all the representatives (mayors, sheriffs, deputies and city council members), and rename Broke Buck again. Seeing a way to cement his rather lackluster administration, Shelly Wallace decided to rename the consolidated township after himself. Thus, Wallaceville came to be.
Two and a half hours after their trip began, Ryan turned the SUV off the main highway onto a two-lane road called Wallace Highway. Following the mostly desolate road, the scenery changed to mostly woodlands interspersed with fenced in farms of corn, cotton and tobacco. The lush scent of wild flowers and wet trees wafted into the cabin of the SUV. Eventually, the sounds of a Marching Band drown out the radio, as the travelers passed a large, red brick complex situated next to a large stadium on a plot of land nearby. The white bold letters announcing that the building was Wallaceville Academy K-12 school. The parking lot was bursting at the seams with all manor of light trucks, SUV’s, and the occasional Confederate flag adorned truck. Passing by the celebration, Ryan came to a river crossable only by an aged concrete bridge. The only thing that stood out to both he and Thaelor was a huge tree sticking awkwardly out of the ground. Pausing only long enough to look at it up close. They marveled at how it leaned precariously close to falling in. But many of the exposed roots had grown well out into the river. No doubt embedded deep into the sediment. Otherwise, it would have fallen ages ago.
The guide led them further up the road. When they arrived at the town center, it was as if they had taken a trip back into time. S they drove further, many of the buildings were still prefab, wooden structures. They passed Barber shops, Beauty salons, a hardware store, post office and a stand-alone grocery store. It wasn’t until they hit the center of the town, they anything changed. Ryan curled the roundabout, that had been festooned with the statue of a man sitting at a desk on a plot of land in the middle of the road. He parked in front of the largest structure in the town, its flags wavy gently in the breeze. This was no doubt the capital building, and according to their mechanical guide, their final destination.
With Ryan in the lead, the siblings walked into the structure. Their breath was taken away as they again traveled in time. In total opposition to the outside, the entrance had been adorned in beautiful, polished black marble. To one side, a trophy case filled with memorabilia and 3 shiny football trophies. The other, a picture wall that showed the faces of the leaders of government. Starting from the President of the United States, all the way down to 4 framed pictures, featuring the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Sheriff, and the Post Master General. As if to accentuate the history of the story of the town, the pictures showed 2 whites and 2 Blacks.
Yet, as they walked further into the Hall, they were shocked that this was the first government administration building they were ever in, where they could hear their very footsteps. bursa escort bayan The sounds of their shoes reverberated off the walls like cannon shot. It was the literal middle of the day and the building was virtually empty. Save for the sight of a lone lit room coming from down the hall on the other end of the circular Reception desk. Cautiously, the duo walked to the door of the Office of the Interior. Sitting behind the receptions desk, a lone young black woman stared at a computer monitor. Her hair in braids, she looked to be no older than 20 or so. Her desk had the name plate that read Paulette Bailey-Skruggs on it. Several quiet moments went by as the siblings observed the young lady in silence. Finally, a tap from Ryan’s fingers upon the desk gained her attention. She almost jumped out of her skin. Quickly she ripped the ear buds from her head and addressed the two people standing in front of her.
“OH, MY GAWD!! I’M SO SORRY!! Y’all scared me!” she said in a deep southern accent.
“I was just catching up on my favorite TV show, I didn’t hear y’all come in. How can I help you?”
“Hi.” Ryan said. “We’ve come all the way from California on a mission to get a copy of our Dad’s birth certificate. We were hoping that might be possible, but it looks as if your offices are closed.”
“Oh no…I can help you with that. I practically run the place anyway. Do you have the paperwork with you?”
“Sure.” Ryan said. “Right here.” Placing the sealed manila envelope on the desk, the young lady began rifling through the contents.
“Where IS everybody?” Thaelor interjected.
“Oh…they’re all at the school at the “Unity Celebration.” She said rolling her eyes. “It’s like one of the biggest things to do around here. It’s the official opening day for the football team before they play their opener. This year it’s against one of our biggest rivals Coulter High. The town will be jumping later, but right now, practically everything is closed for the celebration.”
“So why aren’t you there? You have to “run the store” as it were?”
“Aww heck no. I can’t stand them things. I had enough of them when I was in school. I got nephews and stuff I watch at the games, but once I graduated; I thought “NEVER AGAIN.” So, I came to work. Besides, around here it’s a local Holiday, so I get paid DOUBLE my wages. With everyone being there, there ain’t nothing to do…so why not get paid to be left alone? Right?!”
Looking through the paperwork, Paulette arranged them so she could read them on her computer.
“Oooo…nice looking birth certificate,” she mused. “Let’s see here…Ryan…Henry…Morrison, born Loudes County, CA. Mother’s name: Jean…Marie…Morrison, born Georgia? Hmmm…ok. Father’s name: Robert…James…Morrison…Broke Buck, Georgia…annnnnndddd…enter.”
Suddenly the computer went haywire! Alarm sounds screeched from the speakers as the symbol for Homeland Security flashed on the monitor. Paulette scooted her chair back and held up her hands as if the computer were holding her at gun point.
“What the FUCK!!??” She screamed. “Who the HELL ARE YOU GUYS!!???”
Just then the phone on her desk rang. Paulette jumped almost 20 feet in the air as the infernal machine rang its protest again and again.
Ryan could only hold his head into his hands. “I don’t need this…I really don’t need this.” He muttered to himself.
Thaelor on the other hand, could only smile as she rested her chin in her hand leaning against the desk. The obvious flirting Paulette had been doing to Ryan since they came in wasn’t lost on her. She saw it for what it was. While normally she checked her emotions in such situations, she had held onto them for so long. Just for once, she allowed herself to be a woman in love, catching another suitor checking her prize. For just a second, she enjoyed being what Brittney called: “petty.”
“You might want to answer that.” She remarked. A barely suppressed grin tugging at the corners of her lips. “You realize, they’re just going to keep it up till you answer. So, you might as well see who it is. Homeland Security, Secret Service, or the FBI more than likely.”
Paulette looked at Thaelor frightened. Eyes wide as 24″ rims. Hands trembling, Paulette answered the ringing intruder. Whoever was on the other end made the young woman’s face blanch. Her answers were short and clipped.
“Yes. No. Yes. Yes. That’s correct…Wallaceville township, GA. Yes sir. No sir. No sir…I’ve never seen them before. No. No. Right here sir.”
Hands and lips shaking like the leaves outside, Paulette handed the phone to Ryan. Taking it firmly in his hands, he answered the line with the same irritation that showed on his face.
“Sir, to whom am I speaking!?”
“This is Ryan Henry Morrison, my access # is 0675-AR-00351. I am the son of U.S. Senator Robert J. Morrison, ID tag 7735-AR-16-GOV-2-33978. I’m on a mission escort bursa to retrieve a copy of my father’s birth certificate. To whom am I speaking?!”
“Good afternoon sir, this is Special Agent Ciphrick with the FBI. We got a ping on unauthorized access to Congressional files. Was this for your benefit?”
“Yes. I have Power of Attorney through Judge Ernesto Rodriguez, of the 12th circuit Judicial court of California for the records of my father Senator Morrison.”
“Ok sir, you check out. But you need the authority of at least the 2nd highest ranking town official to retrieve those files. Sorry for any inconvenience sir. Have a good afternoon.”
Ryan could feel the headache coming on strong, even though the hour was still early (it was just after noon). Travel had eaten into a huge chunk of the time they had. Now because of bureaucratic red tape and celebrations he hadn’t known about, there was no telling HOW long they would have to wait.
“Fine.” Ryan said in exhaustion to no one in particular. “I’ll try and wait.”
Handing the phone back to Paulette, Ryan tried using his breathing techniques to slow the migraine that further threatened his mood. Thaelor already knew what to do. Sensing the disaster waiting to happen, she slowly began to massage the base of his neck. As usual, his skin was becoming burning hot to the touch.
Looking at the two siblings, Paulette tried to grasp the situation.
“Ok…wow. That was sho ’nuff intense. So apparently you two need that birth certificate and the Special Agent was VERY specific that I get with the Mayor or his Deputy to help you two. I have their cell phone numbers in case of emergencies. I can’t think of any situation that’s more of an emergency than this…is he OK?!”
“Not really…he suffers from really BAD migraines, they’re usually brought on by stress. I think this situation counts. Our Dad is in a coma and we really need that certificate to handle his affairs. Our backs are against the wall and the clock IS NOT our friend. There’s a ton more stuff, but that’s enough for now. What’s worse, we don’t even have a place to stay right now.” Thaelor explained.
“Oh wow…he’s looking bad. Oooo..wait a minute.” Picking up the phone again, Paulette dialed a number by heart; After waiting a quick second, the one-sided conversation was quick, but chipper and familiar.
“Hey Glenda, this Paulette! Girl I’m good, just sitting here at work. Which reminds me…is the top suite available? I have two people from out of town that need a room…is it ready? Oh yeah girl…all the way from CALIFORNIA!! YEAH!! And they Daddy a SENATOR!! No, I’m NOT kidding!! The guy isn’t feeling too well, can I send them? Great! Ok, they’ll be there shortly. Thanks girl! Bye!!” Hanging up, Paulette’s smile beamed from ear to ear.
“Great news! There’s a B&B up the street, the suite is available and my friend is holding it for you. “It’s obvious you guys are tired. Why don’t you leave me the information and the minute the certificate is ready, I’ll call you. It’s right up the street. Just go back top the roundabout, turn left, and continue to the third stop sign. It’s the last house on the right. If you go past the train tracks, you’ve gone too far. Take care, I’ll talk to you guys later.”
“Thank you.” Ryan said. His eyes were blood red and the skin on his face was 3 times darker than usual. Thaelor escorted Ryan back to the car. Getting behind the wheel, Thaelor nosed the vehicle back around the street. Pulling up to the B&B, Ryan almost stumbled as he spilled out of the SUV. Walking up the steps into the establishment, they were met at the front desk by a young white woman (around late thirties). She immediately handled the paperwork quickly and handed them their room keys.
“Do you have anything to drink? He needs to take some medicine.” Thaelor said.
“We don’t carry any cold drinks here. But I’ll bring some tea to your room if that will do.” Glenda remarked.
“That will do fine.” Thaelor responded. “We’ll be waiting.”
Walking up the stairs, Ryan and Thaelor opened the door and took the room in. Fashioned in the apparel of the Antebellum South, the bed was covered in a floral-patterned comforter and a lacy canopy. Flowers also adorned the walls. While they were taken aback with the common beauty of their accommodations, Ryan was on the verge of throwing up. Thaelor laid him on the bed and ran to the bathroom. Coming back, with a sopping wet, cold washrag, she applied it to her brother’s neck. Two minutes later, a knock at the door gained Thaelor’s attention. Glenda stood there with a tray of matching Tea set. Thanking her, Thaelor reached in her pocket and gave Glenda a $20 tip. Pouring her brother a cup, she handed him two pills and watched as he drank the concoction in a swift gulp. She reapplied the towel to that back of his neck and rubbed his head until he fell asleep. She loved watching Ryan sleep. He always looked so peaceful. But she knew better than to get too comfortable. Just as she thought to herself; What else can possibly go wrong. The phone on the table rand, yet again.
“I hate you.” She said to the phone.
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