Tuesday, September 12, 2006

JFK Story

What were you doing when you heard the news? JFK. Everyone asks that question. Everyone's been asked that question. Lee isn't it? Lee Oswald? What were you doing when you heard the news? English speaking dyslexics the world over still maintain that Oswald was a pasty. To the rest of us he was simply done up like a kipper.

So if it wasn't Oswald who fired the fatal shot then who did? Someone, somewhere knew it was them. What did they say when they were asked the same question? They lied. They had too. They were making an omelette, walking the dog, or trimming their nose hairs. Whatever they were doing it definitely wasn't in Dallas and, even if it was, they were nowhere near the grassy knoll.

This is the story of three other liars. Three people who, when asked what they were doing when they heard the news, had to lie.


When I say that in the sixties some people dropped a lot of acid I'm not talking about a lot of clumsy people who worked in the chemical industry. Coke was no longer just a fizzy drink, free base wasn't just a phrase you might hear during a baseball game, and smoking grass ceased to be uniquely associated with crop rotation.


I've thought of this story. It's a story about three people who are conspiring to kill the president at the same time as they hear he has been assassinated.

It could work.

The problem is that I don't really know anything about the sixties. I wasn't alive. I get them confused with the seventies - and I was alive then. If the sixties were swinging what were the seventies? When did flower power start? What's a hippy? Or a hippie? When did all the promiscuity start? Hasn't it always been going on?

My story is a shambles: a start without a middle, never mind an end.

I've got the start of roughly a million stories in my head. One about mass hypnotic suggestion, one about the lottery, three about a herd of scrapie infected sheep. A million starts and no ends.

"Write about something you know." My Mum said.
"Make sure it's got plenty of sympathy." My Mum's friend said.
"Why not start at the end?" This bloke I met on the bus the other day said.


Three people died and one was born that day. One was a millionaire, one gutted fish for a living, and the other two were the South-West's Cribbage Mixed Pairs Champions. Two of them knew each other. One had never met two of them. One of them would never meet any of them ever. It wasn't anyone's fault. It was the purest of accidents. How it all happened is the story and it started in the ninetieth minute of a football match between Yeovil and Stalybridge. Typical.

In the ninetieth minute of a football match between Yeovil and Stalybridge, Yeovil equalised to make the score one all. At their home in Taunton, Barry and Maureen Love leapt. The late equaliser meant that they had won the football pools. Maureen's leap caused her to go into a premature labour - she was eight and a half months pregnant. Barry, who had been prosecuted for drink driving the week before, after celebrating the couple's win in the South-West Cribbage Mixed Pairs Championship Final, phoned for a taxi. The taxi driver, John Wild, had been forced to take up part-time mini cabbing after injuring his hand gutting fish - his qualified profession.

John didn't see the skip at the side of the road.

Only baby Alice survived.

The richest orphan in the world.

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