“That’s $10, Sylvia. That’s a big cookbook. It’s in good condition.”
“It has all sorts of yummy recipes, Karen. Thanks so much.”
Sylvia Kronenberger supported the local charities as much as she could on a teacher’s salary. The cookbook was a real find. Someone had collected monthly, laminated, recipe pages which were placed in the lovely, custom binder.
There were mostly practical, home style recipes, rather than the fancy ones she would never make. Sitting at her kitchen table, sipping her tea, she was leafing through the pages and discovered a folded, rather yellow piece of paper. Sylvia unfolded it, glanced at it and nearly dropped her cup of tea. She sat there, struggling to understand how such a note could be in a cookbook. Sylvia read through the note more than once, taking in the enormity of the find.
Sylvia wasn’t sure if she should tell anyone about the note. She was thinking of burning it. She couldn’t imagine anyone culpable still alive to care about it. Sylvia decided to put it back in the same place in the cookbook and do a little investigating before she made any move. First, she would have to find out what she could about that November day in Dallas, fifty years ago.
Sylvia spent quite a bit of time online, fishing for information that wasn’t in the history books. She checked out websites concerned with conspiracy theories, only to end up laughing out loud at many of them. What she did find was that the Warren Report was a pitiful attempt to cover up what was obviously a conspiracy of power and influence. Just glancing at J. Edgar Hoover’s infractions, illegal activities and misuse of power was enough to prove to Sylvia that those were suspicious times back then. Nixon and his dirty tricks, Johnson and his cowboy tactics; Hoover collecting dirt on everyone; Bobby Kennedy toe to toe with the Mafia, to name just some of the drama in Washington.
Sylvia concluded that everything had been decided long before any of it happened. Decided by Joseph Kennedy, and his dynastic ego. Sylvia could not imagine with whom Joseph went to bed to get his shot at the presidency through his sons. He outlived all of his sons except for Ted Kennedy whose chances for the presidency were ruined with the Chappaquiddick incident.
Sylvia wasn’t around during the chaotic events of the 60’s and early 70’s: Cuban missile crisis; assassinations, sit-ins, demonstrations, marches, riots, protests; Viet Nam War, My Lai massacre, Six day war, Berlin Wall, Manson Family; Oil Crisis, USS Pueblo, Mandela, Hoffa, Marilyn Monroe; NYC Blackout, Mao’s Cultural Revolution; Arafat, LBJ, Hoover, Tricky Dick, Watergate, Warren Report, Chicago Police Riot; Chappaquiddick….
In 1978, the House committee (HSCA) determined that President Kennedy’s assassination was the result of a conspiracy. Sylvia recognized that they never had any intention of pursuing the conspirators. Oswald remained the lone gunman. She decided to burn the note, after all. History had already been written.
Flash Fiction Challenge #21 – Thain in Vain
Word Count: 500
Prompt: A woman purchases a cookbook at a charity book sale and discovers a note tucked in the pages.
Thanks to Thain in Vain for hosting Flash Fiction Challenge