Borderline Hero

Overview

Standing up for one's convictions has its consequences - so does doing nothing.

17-year old Curtis Moultrie of Sugarfield, Texas never felt totally comfortable with the cultural traditions and family values he grew up with. He was the independent one in his family of five and liked to hear both sides of all stories.

These feelings intensify when he enrolls at a university in the north and meets some other ...

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Borderline Hero: A NOVEL

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Overview

Standing up for one's convictions has its consequences - so does doing nothing.

17-year old Curtis Moultrie of Sugarfield, Texas never felt totally comfortable with the cultural traditions and family values he grew up with. He was the independent one in his family of five and liked to hear both sides of all stories.

These feelings intensify when he enrolls at a university in the north and meets some other idealistic, like-minded journalism students, including a young woman who begins to take the place of the girl he left behind.

Hostilities break out back home after Texas enacts harsher new abortion and immigration laws following their long sought-after separation from the United States. Curtis finds himself conflicted as he returns home and tries to support his family while attempting to defuse the confrontations at the Mexican border with the help of his new college friends. They are not welcomed with open arms, and war is imminent as journalist-to-be Curtis begins a last-minute investigation into the chain of events that led to this catastrophic showdown.

Borderline Hero tackles the age-old conundrum of doing as your are told vs. doing what feels right. Is it better to obey authority or question authority? Is it more admirable to follow in another's footsteps or follow one's instincts. When the stakes are as high as they are in Borderline Hero, these questions, at the very least, must be asked.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781491855775
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 1/31/2014
  • Pages: 178
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Borderline Hero

A Novel


By KENNETH KONECNIK

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2014 Kenneth Konecnik
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4918-5578-2


CHAPTER 1

The celebration began at sunrise. The town of Sugarfield, Texas was closed for business, school bells were silenced and traffic was re-routed. Instead of car tunes and assorted phone rings, firecrackers sizzled and cracked. Balloons bobbed and weaved. Batons twirled and trumpets blared as marching bands stepped off, luring the beaming crowds from the town square to the Ft. Bend County Fairgrounds for a day of patriotic festivities.

To the surprise of one uneasy observer, the view of the fairgrounds went from pleasant to fascinating to stupendously queasy as the rising Ferris Wheel car came to an abrupt, swaying stop at the top of the giant ride. Curtis Moultrie, making the most of a day without algebra class, grabbed hold of his "steady," Jillian, as she nearly came flying out of her seat. "Easy, my dear. We are alone at last!" intoned an enraptured Curtis, in easily his finest melodramatic performance of the day.

"Relax, big boy," Jillian replied. "One slip, and you'll end up down in the cotton candy booth."

"All the better to present you with the sweetness you deserve, my beauty! Where may I take you next?"

"Ground floor. Now!" answered a sufficiently amused Jillian.

"Alright. Please keep your hands and arms inside the ride," instructed Curtis," and off your fellow passengers!"

"Yeah, right," deadpanned Jillian.

"Next stop," Curtis called out.... "planet earth!"

They spent the rest of the afternoon hand in hand, exploring the grounds as Curtis rang the bell as a strongman, won Jillian a kewpie doll for sharp-shooting and chased her around the Merry-Go-Round on his mighty stag, then joined the rest of his family in final celebration of the day that changed the course of history for each and every one of the happy revelers, forever.


The night sky lit up like a Christmas tree. Brilliant red, green and blue starbursts erupted from out of the blackness, then in slow motion turned into glittering, twinkling teardrops fluttering and falling to the horizon as mini rat-a-tat explosions gave way to one final "ka-boom!" All heads followed the descent in unison, eyes and mouths equally in awe, the "oooos" and "ahhhhs" intermingling.

"Isn't it wonderful," asked Jenny Moultrie of no one in particular, leaning back in her lawn chair, ready for the next salvo.

"The best, Jenny dear," reassured her husband, Jeb, proudly eyeing their three children whose excitement was written all over their faces, with the exception of son, Curtis. "Curt, partner, you don't seem to be enjoying Independence Day."

Curtis Moultrie appeared as though his mind was on his 1973 Mustang or his constant companion, Jillian. He was thinking of neither. "Somehow it doesn't seem right dad," explained Curtis.

"Not right, son? What's not right about celebrating our independence?"

"I mean it just doesn't seem right celebrating our independence on the 11th of May.

"Curtis," as Jeb Moultrie patiently explained, "we've been celebrating this day this way for three years now - since you were a freshman. You know that."

"I know," replied a reluctant Curtis. "I guess I just associate fireworks displays and patriotic celebrations with the Fourth of July. It was different then."

"Curtis, my man, you know those days are over. Texas is a sovereign nation once again!"

"What's the Fourth of July?" little Camilla wanted to know.

"Camilla, honey, that was from a different time," explained dad. "You were only three. We were part of a bigger country then."

"How come we aren't now?" questioned Camilla.

It was Jeb Junior (JJ for short) who clarified recent history. "Because we wanted to be on our own, Squeaky. We got tired of big government running our lives, ignoring our values and making us do things we didn't want to do."

"But you tell me what to do, JJ."

"That's different, Squeaky, that's totally different!"

As the grand finale tore apart the nighttime sky, Jenny Moultrie jumped up in excitement. "I'm as happy as a lark. Let's celebrate! Let's visit the new neighbors tomorrow!"

Curtis was in favor, but apprehensive. "Aren't they from up north? Is that a good idea?"

Jeb Moultrie considered the question, then replied: "Let's find out."

CHAPTER 2

Speaking before the House of Representatives in Austin, President Jefferson McCall of the new Republic of Texas issued a declaration of freedom.

"My fellow conservative Texans, three years ago this May, we took our country back from oppressive rule, immoral legislation and taxation without representation. We gave our great land back to the people to be governed by themselves, for themselves, unto themselves according to our new Constitution and to the Almighty. This historic action has echoed throughout the countryside, cities and communities of this place we call home, which now totals over 26,000,000 God-fearing, hard-charging, straight-shooting Texans!"

The applause was spontaneous, ear-splitting and universal.

"Our peaceful and righteous return to sovereignty has transferred the reins of governance from the elitists and big-government bureaucrats in Washington to the duly elected representatives of the people here assembled. The negotiated terms of our separation allowed for the exchange of goods, services and travel between the Republic of Texas and the United States of America, each country maintaining its own verified borders, laws, currency and standing armies.

The Republic of Texas proudly draws its strength from our people, our culture and from the total and unconditional support of individual liberty, family values and Christian fellowship. As God is our witness, we shall forever defend the right – and the responsibility – to bear arms, bear children and bear the image of no other God before us.

We are a nation of legal citizens who are proud of our land; who are proud to work for a living; who believe in swift justice for aliens; and who firmly believe that abortion is a sin and that marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman, according to the Scriptures."

The joyous, celebratory response reached to the highest rafters.

"We support our militia at all our borders and in any future action which may be deemed necessary to protect the ideals, rights and freedoms of our just cause. Our Declaration of Freedom is undeniable and unwavering."

From high above, the Gadsden flag with coiled serpent and slogan was unfurled. Designed by Gen. Christopher Gadsden in 1775, it has long been a symbol of support for civil liberties. As the brilliant yellow flag slowly descended, President McCall shouted out its emblazoned motto: "Don't Tread on Me!"

The House of Representatives exuberantly rose as one, filling the room with cheers of unbridled fervor, the duration of which had not been experienced since an outdoor celebration of another historic political event took place on the evening of November 12, 2008 in the city of Chicago.

CHAPTER 3

At 6-foot seven and 287 pounds, Frank Kazmarczyk was one of the best collegiate defensive ends in the state. His sheer strength, quick feet and football instincts were surpassed only by his aptitude for aeronautical engineering, which made him eligible for two of America's greatest industries: aerospace and the NFL. Looking at the big picture through realistic glasses, Frank decided he'd be better off in the long run building rockets rather than trying to bulldoze his way through 300-pound linemen on the way to the quarterback. His college sweetheart, and new bride Emma, concurred. Although some say it was the other way around.

Of all the offers Frank received, the best one by far combined a great starting salary with immediate propulsion design opportunities and a warmer climate. One week after their honeymoon, Frank and Emma packed their bags and memories of Ames, Iowa and headed south. Two days later they arrived at the outskirts of their new home as they crossed the United States border into Texas.


Their house was bright and cheery and they were in their second day of unpacking clothes and organizing the kitchen when the doorbell rang. After stepping over boxes and clearing a pathway, Frank opened the front door to the delight of a family of five standing outside, grins and gifts in hand.

"Howdy neighbor," exclaimed the exuberant Texan. "I'm Jeb Moultrie. This here's my wife Jenny, sons JJ, Curtis and little Camilla." Frank was a bit overwhelmed, but managed a simple "Hello, I'm Frank Kazmarczyk."

"Oh my ... Hello," replied Jenny, simultaneously processing Frank's size and lineage with some difficulty.

Frank pressed on. "And this is Emma. We're married. I mean we just got married. I mean we're newlyweds!"

"Of course you are, Frank and Emma," insisted Jeb. "Welcome to the neighborhood!"

Camilla jumped to the front of the line. "We brought you a pecan pie! It's our favorite!"

Emma knelt down to take the proudly offered gift. Well thank you, Camilla. I'm sure we'll like it too!"

Frank invited the Moultries into the living room, which still was strewn with unopened moving boxes, as Emma verified the obvious, "We're not settled in yet." JJ was immediately drawn to one giant cardboard box overflowing with bronze-plated figures and footballs. "Shoot," he blurted out, "look at all them trophies! What position did you play, Frank?"

"Defensive end," answered Frank.

"You must've had a lot of sacks," acknowledged JJ as he examined the temporary trophy case.

"A few," offered Frank.

Emma quickly clarified Frank's reluctant reply while giving him a motivating tap on his backside. "Frank led the league in high school and college!"

"Why didn't you turn pro big guy?" asked an impressed JJ.

"I tore up my knee a little in my senior year, JJ. Plus, I like the game, but I didn't want it to define my life. I had bigger plans."

"And what did those plans turn out to be, if you don't mind my asking?" inquired Jeb.

"My degree is in aeronautical engineering," answered Frank.

"Geez," Jeb reacted, you're a rocket scientist! Jenny, we got a rocket scientist for a neighbor!"

Camilla's eyes got as big as the plate she brought the pecan pie on. "Are you going to the moon, Mr. Kazmarczyk?" Will you take me?"

"I'm not an astronaut, Camilla," explained Frank with an engaging smile. "I'm just going to help build their rocket ships. Besides, I think our next stop is Mars!"

Camilla loved it all the more. "Mars! Wow!"

Jenny had a question of her own. "And how about you, Emma? What are your big plans for the future?"

"I'm an elementary school science teacher. I want to help the next generation catch up with China and Russia and other countries. There's no reason we shouldn't be the leader in scientific knowledge," elucidated Emma.

"I see," Jenny softly replied, resisting the urge to comment on the overemphasis of scientific thought in Texas classrooms.

Jeb abruptly got around to the big question. "So, what made you two decide to do all that good work here in the Republic of Texas? Was it our wide open spaces, our 40-ounce steaks or our good Christian upbringing?"

Frank nodded, "All of those things had something to do with it, Jeb. But mainly I saw opportunity here. The United States may have pulled NASA out of Texas, but the folks down here still know something about aerospace. The companies that remained had some good openings – so we're here!"

"To hell with NASA," snapped Jeb. "Houston doesn't have a problem without NASA, NASA has a problem without Houston, believe you me!" Who needs 'em! Did you know that the Texas economy is so huge we are the equivalent of the eleventh largest country in the world. Did you know that, Frank? Did you?"

"Plus, chimed in JJ, we got the best football anywhere! You should see our Sugarfield boys take the field, Frank!"

"I'd like to," replied Frank.

JJ followed right up with, "How about Friday, big guy?"

"Friday?" repeated Frank, surprised by the urgency.

"Friday Night Lights, Frank. High school football at its best! Where do you think the expression Friday Night Lights came from? Join us. We got a group of good ol' boys who come out every week to watch the game. They'd love to meet a big-time jock like you."

"Did they play football, too?" asked Frank.

"Some of them," answered JJ. "But all of them are part of something even bigger around here. You might want to think about joining it yourself."

"And what would that be, JJ?"

JJ paused for effect, then watched for Frank's reaction as he answered, "McCall's Militia!"


The tailgating started across the street from the Sugarfield High football field in Carl Wiggins' back yard. Alcoholic beverages were not allowed around school property, but Carl was not similarly constrained. Carl's doors were open to anyone who supported Sugarfield High Football, the new Republic of Texas and the Militia from which it sprang. Everyone brought their own refreshment of choice and sat in lawn chairs around a mile-high pile of taco chips, a punch bowl full of salsa and a grill loaded with burgers and brats.

The group consisted of a dozen football-crazed fanatics from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Carl, an electrician, had graduated from Sugarfield ten years earlier. Other alums included Ben, who was a carpenter. "Slippery" Pete was a plumber. The Wilson twins ran a hardware store. There also was a veterinarian, a postman, a waste management collector and several military veterans, including Zeke Hogan, an infantry sergeant from the Iraq war.

Frank Kazmarczyk was greeted with open arms. "Any friend of JJ's is a friend of ours," declared Ben.

"Even if you are a Yankee," nudged "Slippery" Pete.

"Well, I'm here now. Thanks!" Frank responded. "And glad to be here, too. It's a great place to live. Great people, too. Emma and I couldn't be happier."

"We heard you played some football. We're a little partial to the game ourselves," "Slippery" continued.

"So I see," answered Frank. "Yep, I played defensive end."

"We could use you in Cowboys Stadium right now!"

"I'm afraid I'm not what I used to be, guys."

"Hey, who is?" ol' Carl agreed. "But you know, one place we really could use your services is right here in our band of brothers: "McCall's Militia."

Frank paused for a moment, then asked, "What does that involve, Carl?"

"Not a whole lot. Every county has its own regiment, so there are a lot of other men involved. We meet every Sunday evening for a couple of hours. Then every other month we spend a weekend on the road doing border checks. The Texas Rangers are on duty full-time and the National Guard goes out on regularly scheduled patrols. We're kind of like a backup. We keep our eyes and ears open. In an emergency, if the President calls, we go."

Frank considered the pros and cons. On the one hand, he felt some obligation to the place where he was earning a good living, and he wanted his neighbors to feel that he was committed to the cause. On the other hand, he would be giving up some free time, but not that much in the grand scheme of things. A little taste of military life might be an interesting experience, he thought. So he did what military men over the years have always advised against doing: he volunteered.

With militia business out of the way, the conversation returned to the merits of the two opposing quarterbacks, the running backs and most important of all, the defense!

"Defense wins championships, Frank, you know that!" argued Zeke.

"I like to think so," Frank fired back.

"You've got to shut down the enemy and I mean shut him down good! Make him think twice about entering your territory. Take him down and take him out! Period! That's how we did it in Iraq!"

"Okay, Zeke, how about another burger for the road, buddy," interjected their host, trying to tamp down the veteran's mounting rage. "It's time for kickoff!"

Everybody scurried around picking up plates and chairs and shutting down the grill, then headed across the street for some action. Although from Frank's perspective, at least one person appeared to have already seen more than enough.

CHAPTER 4

Curtis Moultrie and Jillian Cline knew each other since the fifth grade. In those days, Curtis didn't see much point in making friends with someone who couldn't swing a baseball bat, catch spiders or shoot BB guns very well, although if he had given her half a chance, he would have found out otherwise.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Borderline Hero by KENNETH KONECNIK. Copyright © 2014 Kenneth Konecnik. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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