the late 1960’s. The fictional characters in this book are written using
local social color. The country was in civil turmoil as the Vietnam War
raged on and many in our society called for the release of patients
from mental institutions. During this period, the very social fabric of
our country was falling apart as children were increasingly being born
outside of marriage or became the victims of broken marriages.
The main character, Dewey, is mildly retarded and a victim of social
engineering called eugenics, where upon he was denied any hope of
having children. At fifteen, he was thrust upon his widower grandfather,
Al, who was a retired Navy Chief living on a farm.
Dewey befriends a group of children who live in the nearby Robins
Nest Trailer Park. Many adventures take place as Dewey spends his
first summer on the farm with his grandfather. He becomes an unlikely
hero, witness to horrible acts of human destruction, and an unexpected
provider of justice.
Everyone fourteen to one-hundred years old will enjoy this period
classic as it stirs their imagination and old memories.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)|
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THE INNOCENT PIRATE
By B. G. Reed
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2009 Barry Reed
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Pirate Sets Sail
IMMEDIATELY after Al arrived at the hospital, he was told to have a seat in the waiting area, as someone would be with him shortly. Al tried in vain to find a comfortable position on one of the hard wooden chairs that were lined up in a row along one of the walls. Al sat up straight, not only out of habit, but because there was no other position the straight backed chair allowed. His back was beginning to stiffen after such a long day of driving and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed at the hotel the night before. It wasn't long before pain began to creep down the right side of his lower back, through his hip, and down his leg. He knew his sciatica was now beginning to act up on him. Determined to block out the pain, he just sat there waiting as patiently as he could, while occasionally mumbling unkind unflattering things about the person who made the chair and having to wait for so long.
While he waited, he mulled over the notice he'd received in the mail several days earlier. Apprehension and dread were mounting ever greater as he thought about the indignant reason for his visit so far from home.
About the time he'd decided he'd had enough, a nurse, who was all business, came and asked him to follow her down a long hallway. They came to an office with the words'Superintendent' and 'Dr. Douglas Perley' boldly printed in gold upon it. Al couldn't help but notice a fat lump of a human being wearing a red cape with a blank expression sitting in a chair just outside the office. He was looking at a book with bold colorful pictures that was obviously a children's book.
He hesitated before he went into the office when something the boy was wearing caught his eye. On the knot that held the cape together in the front, was an old large woman's brooch. It was a sterling cross with a large fake pearl in the center. The pearl had obviously been chipped and the cross was tarnished. It looked familiar, but he quickly dismissed it as he continued into the office.
"Thank you, Mr. Hewin, for driving all the way out here. I realize it's a long way from home." Dr. Perley came from behind his desk and extended his hand.
Al Hewin shook the superintendent's outstretched hand that resulted in a momentary cringe on the doctor's face.
"May I offer you a cold refreshment or coffee perhaps?" asked Dr. Perley, as he wore a benevolent smile while he waited for an answer.
Al shook his head to show he wasn't interested. The fact that Al was still hurting from the pain in his back and right leg, not to mention the anticipation of his reason for his being summoned, caused him to be in no state of mind or condition for cordialities or pleasantries.
Trying not to be conspicuous as he took in the man before him, Al immediately started 'measuring' the man. He could tell he was a blue nosed Yankee by his proper English, demeanor, and the way he was condescending in his tone. He wore an expensive gold watch on his right wrist and had engraved gold cufflinks on his shirt-sleeves that protruded from his white coat. Al had met and worked for many a naval officer from the north, who were, more or less a carbon copy of the man now standing before him. Once finished, he started looking around the office and realized it was just as he had imagined it would be. All government offices seemed to have been designed and planned to be as bland as all others.
The superintendent's office was large and lined with bookshelves. All of the shelves were overflowing and looked haphazardly stacked with books, boxes and odd sized folders. The older shelves matched the desk, leaving the others to stand out in stark contrast. The once white walls had yellowed over the years. Paint was flaking off the wall near the steam grate, indicating a small leak of steam had escaped during the winter months. Only the large dark stained oak seemed somewhat organized, having multiple stacks of folders and charts piled high in trays marked 'In' and 'Out'. On one corner of the desk was a bowl of unshelled peanuts. Just below it was a wastebasket with pieces of broken peanut shells littered all about it. The superintendent must have just been eating some when Al arrived, because he spotted the man briskly brushing off the front of his white coat with the back of his hands.
The superintendent stood briefly in front of his desk while indicating a chair where Al was to sit. The nurse, who ushered Al to the office, seeing she was no longer needed, gave a quick courtesy smile and departed, closing the office door behind her ever so quietly.
Al couldn't help but notice the little white cap the nurse wore. His mind pondered how it was too small to be practical for shading in sunlight and offered no kind of shelter from foul weather like the hats he wore while working. He'd seen them his whole life and always thought they were more or less a decoration, or even possibly a declaration of authority. They seemed to indicate the only difference between the nurses and the orderlies.
The doctor walked behind his desk. "My name is Dr. Douglas Perley. I'm the superintendent here at the Milledgeville State Hospital."
Al wasn't looking at him as he continued to take in his surroundings. In the corner, he spied a very large bag of peanuts. It was one of those big ones that could be found in any local farmers market. Al mused for a moment over what he could clearly see was this man's self-indulgence before he again turned to look at the doctor.
"That the boy sittin' outside?" Al asked, gesturing with his thumb towards the door. It seemed more an accusation than a question.
"Yes." Dr. Perley took a moment while he stood in front of his chair and studied this hardened individual, noticing his piercing gray-blue eyes, hands the size of baseball gloves, and a grip as strong as a vice; the doctor was still rubbing his hand from Al's crippling handshake. He wasn't sure if Al's directness indicated hostility or just a lack of manners. He realized the man was strong and in surprisingly good shape for a man of his advanced years.
His leathery skin was darkened and weatherworn from many years of working outdoors. His almost white hair was flattened by hair cream, possibly to help tame a cowlick. The tuft of hair stood up in stark contrast and was the beginning of the part in his hair on the left side. He observed a guarded expression on the face of a man that reflected an extremely harsh life and showed little, if any, hint whatsoever of emotion. The man held an air about him that spoke to someone's innermost instinct to 'not dare piss him off'. His clothes, though not dressy or fashionable, were meticulously pressed and well-kept. His shoes, shined to perfection, were worn from years of use and appeared to have had new soles added recently.
Many of the relatives of the institute's patients were just plain folks one would encounter throughout any of the southern states. Most had grown up on farms or in small towns somewhere in the southern part of Georgia. There was a certain code of civility expected from people in the south; to try and be cordial, even in unpleasant circumstances. Al Hewin's demeanor came across as somewhat overly abrasive.
Dr. Perley well understood why some of those who came to see him about this business of discharging their loved ones, arrived with confused emotions bordering on hostility. Most felt helpless and angry at not having the ability or means to care for their mentally disturbed family members. The newly enacted law forced upon Georgia institutions required that as many patients as possible be discharged. How would, or could, the families possibly take care of them, since many of the newly released patients needed 'around-the-clock' attention. The hardships could become, and most likely would be, overwhelming for most.
The doctor remained standing while again indicating for Al to sit in a big green chair in front of his desk. Al finally took the seat offered as his hip pain flared at the effort. When he again looked at the doctor, he said, "What the hell ya feed that boy? Looks like a damn cow."
Dr. Perley, on the verge of annoyance at the impertinence of such a statement replied, "Mr. Hewin, I assure you, Dewey has been well fed. We provide quite nourishing meals to all of our residents here at the sanatorium."
"I can see that, Doc. After looking at some of yer patients, I'm not sure yer in the right business. Maybe ya need ta go into the cow or hog business."
Dr. Perley let out a small sigh as he sat down and laid his fat pudgy hand on the desk. "Mr. Hewin, like I told you in my letter, we believe we have your grandson here with us." He stopped for a moment, looked at his bowl of peanuts, and then nudged it further away towards the end of his desk. "Dewey was left in our care some nine years ago by a young woman who was only referred to as Jenny. In Dr. Howell's notes, he was in charge at that time, she admitted to being from Roosterville, Georgia. And the long and the short of it is, Mr. Hewin, according to the Department of Family and Children's Service's representative in your area, he is more than likely your grandson." The doctor took a moment to give Al a chance to take in what he had just been told.
Al just sat silently, looking right through Dr. Perley as if looking at something far away.
With no response from Al, Dr. Perley cleared his throat, looked back at the folder and continued, "Ah ..., Mrs. Louise Jackson is the local representative in your neck of the woods. Perhaps you've met her?"
Al showed no indication one way or the other as his mind tried in vain to sort through the revelations of the letter and now what he was being told.
"Anyway, records indicate that a Jenny was born to you and Mary Hewin around the time she, this young woman, would have been born. She admitted to being seventeen years old when she gave birth to Dewey. She told Dr. Howell, according to his notes here, that she didn't have any living relatives and was unable to care for a retarded child, who was five years old at the time." He looked up from the notes and waited for some sort of a response.
Al just sat there stolidly. After what seemed far too long a lapse of time normally to respond, he finally answered in halting sentences, "I have a daughter-Jenny Anne Hewin. I haven't seen or heard from her since shortly after her mother died almost sixteen years ago." His muscles became tense, most vividly by his protruding jaw muscles as he clenched his teeth, causing the veins to become more pronounced at his temples. His voice possibly held just a hint of pain as he spoke, but Dr. Perley couldn't be certain.
Al gazed back at the doctor with the expression that showed he really didn't want to talk about that time, much less think about it. He couldn't remember why his daughter had left so soon after his dear wife, Mary's, death. It just seemed to happen without warning. Mary had always taken care of their daughter while he worked from sun up till sun down. He barely spoke to her once she became a teenager. As she became older he saw less of her due to their busy schedules. She was always busy with school, church, piano lessons, or playing with her friends. He rarely asked her for any help around the farm because he believed it was man's work. He gladly gave her money when she asked for it, which was seldom. He had always considered her to be a good child, beautiful, and well mannered. She seemed content and always had a smile on her face.
After Mary died, Al had a hard time accepting his wife's death. He stayed busy working and kept to himself, shutting out everyone and everything except his work. One day Jenny told him she was going to stay at a friend's house for a while. Since little was said on the subject between them, he figured that, like him, she needed a little space to sort it all out. So he let her go. Later he'd heard she had quit school and taken up with a young man who worked in Atlanta. When he went looking for her, she was nowhere to be found and her friends denied knowing where she was or what she was doing. For months he searched to no avail. The Sheriff's Department didn't have any luck either. Eventually, he stopped looking and hoped she would come back once she sorted out whatever was going on.
Al was lonely, yet strangely took some solace at having the house quiet for a while. He never imagined, as it turned out, it would be so many years of living alone. Sometimes when the nighttime came and he was tired from working hard all day, it weighed heavy on him. He would focus his energy towards his hobby of building ship replicas to pass the time. Sometimes, at night, he pined for the time when he was in the Navy, something he rarely thought about while his wife, Mary, was alive. He missed having the camaraderie of fellow crew members, the steady sounds of the ship's engines, and most of all the routine.
"May I inquire as to what happened to your wife?" asked Dr. Perley.
"Huh?" After a few seconds Al came back to the present. He began speaking in a low tone. "During the day, before Mary died that evenin', Jenny was drivin' her mother home from church. While she was drivin' through the parkin' lot, some other car backed out of their parkin' spot 'n she hit it. There wasn't any damage ta our car 'n barely any ta the other. We had a '53' Ford that didn't have no seat belts like taday's cars. Dashboards were made of steel back then 'n Mary hit her head on it. Jenny told me it knocked her mother out for a minute or so. Mary claimed ta be alright once she come to, so they drove on home."
Al took a moment before continuing as if he needed to contemplate something. He couldn't take his mind off the brooch. Slowly it finally came to him. That was a brooch just like Mary used to wear on her dress when she went to church! The reason he remembered it, was because one day Mary had him fix the clasp on the back a long time ago. She'd said it made her feel like God was watching over her when she wore it.
"You were saying, Mr. Hewin, that they went on home after the accident."
Al's concentration broken, he continued on, "Oh yes, Mary cooked lunch 'n supper like usual that day. Later that evenin' she complained of a headache 'n went ta bed early. The next mornin' she was dead. The coroner, whose also one of our local hair dressers, said somethin' about an internal bleed in the brain, most likely from the wreck." As Al finished, he shifted in his chair ever so slightly.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Hewin. That must have been a difficult time.... Did Jenny blame herself?" Dr. Perley inquired.
"Never told me as much. But everybody figures it ta be so."
"Ah." The doctor picked up the record book he had previously laid down. "Mr. Hewin, as you recall from the letter, because of the State's new policy of discharging as many patients as possible, I'm mandated to ask you if you are willing and able to care for your fourteen year old grandson."
"If he's mine, why ya jus' now lettin' me know about 'im? And why ya jus' now tryin' ta git shed of 'im?"
Dr. Perley, ignoring the first question, squirmed in his chair like he always did before answering the second, a question that he had been required to answer too many times of late. "Due to the news media's recent accusations of the state's mental health facilities warehousing people unnecessarily and how inhumane they claim we are, the government has issued a new policy. The newly enacted policy forced upon the Georgia institutions requires that as many patients as possible be discharged."
The doctor began to look a little flustered as he sorted through Dewey's folder that lay before him. He looked up and exclaimed, "We certainly don't believe we have been anything less than caring and good stewards of our responsibilities to our patients and the community. Sometimes certain circumstances require certain measures be taken."
Al looked right at Dr. Perley. His eyes squinted slightly in questioning suspicion. "What's the catch?"
"As you can imagine, it's a difficult job to care for the ones who can't take care of themselves. Dewey is one of those. Are you willing and able to take him home?" Dr. Perley sat back in his chair and waited for a response, but no reaction was forthcoming so he continued, "Mr. Hewin, we believe Dewey will benefit from a loving and caring home environment, so we are asking if you are capable and willing to take him home with you?"
Al gripped the arms of the chair and leaned forward, "Damn it ta hell, what's wrong with the boy? Why is he here instead of a children's home or such?"
Excerpted from THE INNOCENT PIRATE by B. G. Reed Copyright © 2009 by Barry Reed. Excerpted by permission.
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.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 - The Pirate Sets Sail....................1
Chapter 2 - Life on the Farm....................13
Chapter 3 - Dewey Makes Friends....................23
Chapter 4 - Complacency....................33
Chapter 5 - Dewey Becomes a Hero....................42
Chapter 6 - Dewey Loses His Secret....................58
Chapter 7 - Dewey Learns to Tie Knots....................73
Chapter 8 - The Blue Blanket....................87
Chapter 9 - The Hero's Reward....................98
Chapter 10 - The Challenge....................108
Chapter 11 - Broken Sword....................119
Chapter 12 - What is a Bad Person?....................130
Chapter 13 - Hard Birthday....................143
Chapter 14 - Tick....................158
Chapter 15 - Dewey's Justice....................171
Chapter 16 - The Counterpoise....................184
Chapter 17 - Providence....................198
Chapter 18 - Helix....................212
Chapter 19 - Leeway Corrected by Legacy....................226
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Easy read that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire book, even up to the last page. A "can't put down book."
One of the best books I have read! I had trouble putting it down -- in fact, I didn't (couldn't). I hated when I finished the book; I wanted the saga to continue.