Marilyn and Teddy wandered through the town, and eventually were drawn to a big crowd forming around a bandstand. There was a festive mood in the air, and as they approached, they could see that the high school band playing "Hail to the Chief". After a brief introduction from the town's mayor, a tubby bald man with a squeaky voice, the President took the stage and started giving a speech.
As Marilyn listened to the intonation of the President's voice, her thoughts dwelt on the events of the past day and on her seemingly hopeless, purposeless situation, when suddenly Teddy became very excited, barking and scurrying around Marilyn's feet, apparently taking interest in two men. Marilyn watched them as they ducked under the rope cordoning off the stage area. They don't look like press or police, so she wondered what they were doing. She couldn't see the face of one of the men because a baseball cap is pulled low, showing only his scruffy chin. However, the other man turned towards her long enough that she recognized him. Her mind began to spin, and before she could fully grasp the significance of what she saw, she called out, "Ike!" The grocer turned towards her, and when he recognized her, a look of panic filled his face. With a thud he dropped a heavy object on the ground and bolted. The other man turned and stared at her, looking like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. Before he could move, a Secret Service agent grabbed Jimbob Cade.
Marilyn's attention returned to Ike Elsheim as he darted away from the crowd, when his trajectory carried him past a tall, shabby figure who no one had noticed approaching. Don extended one arm in a quick motion and sent Ike tumbling in a graceful arc, landing solidly on his back. Two Secret Service agents were on the scene in moments, dark glasses and black suits exuding authority and a no-nonsense manner which made questioning their commands unthinkable. The crowd broke out into pandemonium, as police and security officers tried to maintain order and a flood of Secret Service men emerged from the shadows, surrounding the President and hustling him away in the waiting limousine.
"On your feet, this way both of you" barked one of the men in black to Ike and Don. They were escorted firmly to the Secret Service command center, a makeshift arrangement unpacked from a large truck, with an assortment of radio gear, surveillance equipment, metal detectors, and rifles, where another officer was searching Jimbob.
Meanwhile, Officer Blunt caught sight of Marilyn in the crowd. She stood out because she stood frozen in place, while most of the crowd surged away from the chaotic scene. Blunt caught Marilyn by the arm and led her to the command center. One Secret Service officer was examining the object Ike had dropped, a chromed .38 special revolver. Another announced "This man is not armed" as he finished frisking Jimbob.
Marilyn, Blunt, Ike, Jimbob, and a half dozen secret service watched in shock as Don pulled a gleaming Secret Service badge from his pocket. "I took this from him earlier today," Don announced, withdrawing an identical revolver from his overcoat pocket, and handing it to the ranking officer on the scene.
"This one is not armed either," reported the officer who was searching Ike. "All he had on him was this," he said, holding up a key ring with a set of car keys and a police insignia. Upon seeing the keys, Officer Blunt turned white, "Men, we need to find a Birmingham squad car. Those keys belong to Hank, my partner. I left Ike in his custody last night." It took just a few minutes to locate the car, parked two blocks away on a side street, Hank's body in the back seat.
As Ike and Jimbob were cuffed and taken away, several Secret Service officers questioned Don about his role. Don explained, "I was sent here by direct order from the Director. We knew that there was a conspiracy to assassinate the President today, but we didn't know the identity of the second shooter. Our intelligence indicated that Marilyn would recognize him, so it was my job to make sure that she was here. Marilyn may not realize it, but she was the hero of the day."
Don offered to drive Marilyn and Teddy home. His car was a model she had never seen before, but she was so exhausted that she couldn't ask about it, but instead fell into a deep sleep as they drove. When he dropped her off at the curb, he handed her a gallon of cold milk. "Take this to your mother. I think she is waiting for it." She looked at the expiration date on the glass bottle beaded with condensation. It read 4/11/2019.
As the reader well knows my imagination runs wild sometimes but also needs a nap afterward and I would like to sincerely thank all parties involved for their inspiration for this abomination of a true story. I would also like to thank Don Dodson who kicked this over the finish line by writing the entire last chapter. Don is a great friend and the smartest person and best writer I know. You can read more of his stuff here: http://dondodson.blogspot.com/ and here: http://obamainc.blogspot.com/.