This is a book I started for Middle School readers.  Let me know what you think of it.

The story is based on the Cuban Missile Crisis and the location is Key West, Florida.

Chapter one

“Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.”
Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again


There was a trace of fog early in the morning as Barry drove to Key West.  It was a ride of sorrow.  Barry’s wife had passed away and he was in a deep funk, but his main concern was not himself but the two children who were sitting in the back of the car.

Philip and Missy were the product of the union and now they felt like ships lost on the sea.  No words can describe the loss.  Abandonment was felt but that was not the mothers fault.  She had died of a brain tumor.  Her death was not swift but a long travel down the road of losing ability after ability.  Finally, at the end with no escape the inevitable occurred.  She drew her last breath early in the morning.  The sun was just coming up and that seemed fitting.  Surely, she would be ascending to heaven.  But now the void was there, and it drown all who knew her.

Barry needed relieve.   A change of pace.  The house now was a mausoleum.  He needed to take the children and escape to somewhere.  He called his brother in Key West and asked if he could stay there for a while.  With a yes, he loaded the car, took the children out of school and headed south.

Mile after mile passed with no conversation.  In the back of his mind, Barry figured he would get mental health in Key West.  He wondered if Pastor David was still there. He had forgot to ask his brother that question.  He remembered Pastor David.  A good listener and seemed to have some answers.

Philip, now approaching his thirteenth birthday finally spoke up.  “Dad, I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Glad you told me now, for we will soon be on the Seven Mile Bridge and to my knowledge there are no rest rooms on it.  We will stop at a convenience store on Knight’s Key.”




During the stop at 7-11 they all got out of the car to stretch their legs.  Philip and Missy went to the bathroom and he picked up some chips and drinks for the next phase of the trip.  His wife would be pissed if she saw this.  She was a vegetarian and avoided such crap food.  But he let that guilt feeling pass.  He was in a hurry and healthy procedures were put on hold.  After the children came out he directed them to stand by the counter in view of the clerk while he relieved himself.

In the car he passed Doritos and cans of Coke to his children.  At first, they gave him that look of guilt.  But neither said what was on their minds.  Instead they ripped open the bag and started to eat the prohibited chips.  The cans were opened, and the hiss of gas escaping could be heard in the car.  For some reason this act seemed to break the tension.

Philip took a swig of the soda and then asked, “How long before we get there?”

“I would say at least five more hours depending on traffic. If there is a tie up on one of these bridges we could be in a mess for a long time.”

“We are heading to Uncle Ed.  I do not remember you talking a lot about him.”

“Actually, that is because I have lost contact with my brother.  Time changes things.  We saw things that we never could understand, and the time was filled with strange things.”

“What things.?”  Philip was intrigued.

Because of the situation and to break the silence Barry decided it was time to tell the story of his early days.  “I guess I can tell you the story of what happened when we moved to Key West.”

The two children seemed interested and he started the story with, “This story is real or at least what I remembered of that time.  It has a few disturbing points to it.  Are you game to hear it?”

Philip said, “I sure would like to hear it.”  Missy just nodded.  She was tired and started to nod off.  Her interest faded with fatigue and the sugar of the soda did not revive her but made her tired.  Barry noted this and put in the back of his mind that he needed to have a doctor investigate this.

“Philip why do you not move to the passenger seat and let your sister lay down and take a nap?  Barry waved to the seat next to him. In the back of his mind was the fact that the story he was going to relate might be too complex for his young daughter.

Philip complied, and Missy lay down her head and within moments was in a light sleep.


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