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Chapter 5: More Trouble

I’m proud to say that I went to work on time this morning. I was fresh and bright and in my desk at 8 AM, correcting the copy from previous transcripts and ready to make new ones.

Inside, of course, I was dying. I really really didn’t want to face Commissioner Torres after yesterday. Turns out I didn’t have to, at least not for quite a while. Instead of beating everybody else to the office, or at least being on time, he came dragging in after lunch!

I have my own suspicions as to where he was and her initials are Jane Early.

Everybody else, as they came in, asked me where he was. I thought that was kind of appropriate and I was proud of it. Without even trying, I have become a central person in this project: “the one who knows where everybody else is.” But I didn’t know where the Commissioner was, and I surely wasn’t going to speculate.

The worst of the bunch this morning was the preacher I had seen haranguing the drug addicts on the day before. He was right there at 8 AM and sat right by the Commissioner’s desk until he came in.

Up close, he’s a lot uglier than I had thought yesterday when I first saw him. His skin is ruddy and warty. He wears an oppressive amount of perfume, probably because his black suit and tie keeps him sweating. The odor surrounds him in a definable way. My eyes began to hurt every time he approached me. His eyes are just little. Worst of all, he affects some kind of a blank stare that he probably thinks shows some kind of innocence. He looks like someone pretending to be forgiven for all his sins while he’s still piling them up. Turns out his name is Bishop Gormley, but I don’t think he’s really a bishop.

What he really is, or what he was today, is a nuisance. He wanted to talk to everybody who came in or out. Since I’m the only one who actually stays at her desk, I’m the one who had to bear the most of his prying and poking.

“How long have you been working here?” “Where are you from?” “What’s your role in the project?” “How old are you?” “Do your parents approve of your working here?” “How does this thing work?” “What do you think of the Commissioner, the department heads, anybody else, etc?” And, of course, you guessed it, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your own personal savior?”

I was trapped, so I actually tried to answer each of his questions as honestly as I could, except for the last one. After he began working on saving my soul, I just told him, over and over, “You’ll just have to wait for the Commissioner.” It didn’t stop him from asking more questions, but at least I had found a standard answer to everything. Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of work done while Mr Smelly did his work on me.

He jumped on Commissioner Torres as soon as he came in the office. I was relieved, because I’d been dreading being in the office alone with the Commissioner.

Torres has already figured out how to deal with every complaint, he dumps them on me. As soon as he could, he brought Mr Smelly right over to me and said that he wanted their conversation “on the record.” I switched on the machines and fumbled for a hanky because my eyes were watering up.

“This is Leo Torres. I’m here with Bishop T.E. Gormley to discuss the Amarillo Project. Go ahead Bishop.”

“I have taken time out of my busy schedule to come over here and find out just what is going on. The people that I represent, citizenry of the Texas Panhandle, see construction crews coming in and deliveries being made, but we were not consulted and have not given any permission for any new development. Yesterday, I witnessed men distributing suspicious materials to some of the kind of people that have been brought in – people that no decent community invite. I suspect that it was illegal drugs, and the fact that they were distributing it from a box car and that there were other box cars around, makes me wonder just how much illegal material is coming into our area. Now I ask you straight out: are you distributing drugs to neer-do-wells?”


“Yes, strictly speaking, we are. We’re setting up a rehabilitation center in accordance with decisions made by the legitimate government that covers this area and all of the old United States.

‘As for what you saw, there will be experienced clinicians taking care of these unfortunate people as soon as we get set up, but some of them arrived early. Those are the ones you saw and, as you noticed, they are desperate people. I would ask you to give us a few weeks to get up and running and then you will see that no one is going to be threatened by our operation.”


“I will ask you – no, I will tell you right now to cease and desist. We are decent people here. Mister Torres, we raise our children in our communities. We work hard to keep bad influences away from them. We are not going to stand by while you bring in the very element that we’ve fought all our lives and all of our parents and ancestors lives to keep away!


“I’m sorry, you won’t find any authority to shut the project down. I can assure you that there is no threat to the community now and in the future. Your appeal, of course, is through your government representatives, or you can appeal directly to the Central Committee through their web site.”


“What you are telling me is that you refuse the honest demands of the most decent elements of this area. What I am telling you, and I want this little secretary of yours to get every word of it, is that if you won’t shut it down, we will!”


“Ms Eason will send in a transcription, word for word. If you have more to add, she will record and transcribe it. Meanwhile, I’m going back to work.” He got up and walked out, as if he had important work to do away from his desk, but I’ll just bet he was escaping and leaving me with the problem. The problem went on:


“Can I trust you to pass on everything I said?”

I said certainly, that’s my job. He looked around the empty office, probably looking for someone else to harass, but there was no one but me and he’d already done everything he could think of to me, so he stormed out with one final threat cast over his shoulder, “The next time you see me, I won’t be coming alone!”

If he does return, and if he brings others, I hope they smell better.


--July Eason, Project Archivist


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