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Updated on December 19, 2015

Never woke up on November 23 or 24

Never wakes up on November 23
Never wakes up on November 23
Never wakes up on November 24
Never wakes up on November 24
It all evaporates, conveniently evaporates
It all evaporates, conveniently evaporates
He kept drifting away
He kept drifting away
They had implanted something in his brain
They had implanted something in his brain
He would simply kill himself
He would simply kill himself
Life began showing up each day with a clarity
Life began showing up each day with a clarity

The Final Resting Place

She tossed very expensive bottles of scotch, sometimes daily, sometimes breaking them in the kitchen sink to protest her loss of the man she loved. He had convinced himself that his behavior dramatically changed only as November approached each year. I mean it made sense in a way, except for the reality everyone else was forced to live with. He woke up every day of his life on November 22. Never woke up on November 23 or 24, let alone some other year than 1963.

He could not remember when it was exactly that he also convinced himself that they had implanted something in his brain that would alert them immediately if he even thought about spilling the beans. And then they would inject him with cancer cells, and he would be dead in very short order. So he had chosen the only way out he knew. He would simply kill himself, slowly but surely.

He was quite aware that there was something miraculous about his liver still functioning, and he credited that miracle to going to daily Mass and communion. Oh yes, everyone knew when he walked into the small chapel at the rear of the church. Within seconds, the lingering scent of beeswax and incense was quickly overpowered and shot through by the eighty proof odor that seemed to exude, maybe even explode, from every pore in his body.

Unfortunately, there was no one in his life he could trust, not even Sara, and certainly not the people at morning Mass with whom he went to breakfast almost daily, the breakfast club. They seemed to admire and love him. The women, well, the widows were constantly hitting on him and the men, constantly seeking his advice on the stock market. He never did understand how that came about. He was hardly an expert, but it somehow happened like so many other things in his life. They just happen. Everything always just happens. There is never a rhyme or reason just like his fateful involvement some fifty years ago. He had no warning, no idea what he was getting himself into. He thought he was being loyal to his country.

So he lived a very measured life. Mass and communion in the morning and then the daily ritual with Glenlivet which began promptly at four o’clock with the first hour of the evening news. His hands shook so badly that he could barely peel off the foil around the cork top of the scotch bottle.

As each year kept drifting by, he kept drifting away. It had become a daily drift now, for a very long time, a daily drift now into oblivion. Here, he doesn’t have to figure out if any of it is true. The guilt from being a part of something so outrageous, so unbelievable, so inexplicable, so not suppose to happen in our country also drifts into that same oblivion. There is no internal or external judge to face, no bench to approach, no evidence to present, no witnesses. Yes, there are the agonizing hours that begin ticking as soon as he wakes up, the nausea in his gut, the constant paranoia of who knows what he is thinking, but it all evaporates, conveniently evaporates. And if they ever do come looking for him, he just hopes they do it after the four o’clock news begins. He will simply invite them in for a drink and will ask that they kindly shoot him with a silencer at the exact moment he is taking his last shot.

He remembers well moving next door to Oswald and befriending him. That was his part of the job, whatever the job was. They didn’t tell you the game plan, the goal, just your small part of it. He knew of Oswald‘s defection to the Soviet Union, and he knew he was a man of interest, well a man of great interest, to his employer. He was instructed to show Oswald any number of high powered rifles, and in his own mind, he had concocted the story that the CIA was preparing Oswald to return to Russia to take out top Soviet Officials.

He sat in horror on that fateful day, watching the news of the assassination unfold, and he saw the rifle which he had arranged for Oswald to purchase through a mail order company. A 6.5 mm Carcano rifle. He even remembered the model number, 91/38–the entire transaction ultimately arranged by his bosses who were important people, somewhere way up the intelligence food chain.

About ten years ago, he attempted to tell the entire story to Sara. He was certain that he would be dead within days. She insisted that he meet with a psychiatrist, but she had watched enough television to convince herself that such a move might cost both of them. They never spoke again of the matter. She had threatened to leave any number of times, but could never bring herself to actually leave. They have slept in separate bedrooms and basically have had no life together for the past twenty years.

Last week, a new priest arrived. When he asked him how a priest in this day and age can be celibate, Raul quipped, “Name one priest who is celibate.” He was stunned by his response. He kept thinking he wasn’t hearing correctly through Raul’s heavy accent, and he proceeded to repeat the question three times. Each time, Raul, smiling, gave him the same answer, “Name one priest who is celibate.” He began to get it, that Raul’s loyalty was to a higher power than even the Pope, that there was an honesty and an integrity here that was rare, and he began to wonder if this priest, well, this man, might be his salvation. Besides his medium height and his buff body, there was something about Raul that told him he was a seasoned man, that there were many more interesting pieces to his heart and soul than just being a priest. Although quite youthful in his appearance, his overall demeanor spoke of age and wisdom. He was definitely all “growed-up” and probably in his late forties or early fifties.

Sitting across from Raul in the reconciliation room and unfolding his own story piece by piece, he began to sob. Raul scooted his chair so their knees were touching. He then reeled him in and just held him.

Raul finally broke his silence. “You know, Hombre, before we can sort through this, we gotta get you sober. And together, right now, we’re going to go some place to get you sober.” He was so surprised, so caught off guard, and so relieved that he did not resist, not even a little.

November and December were like a fog, and to make it even more confusing, it was foggy every day in real time. By mid-January, life began showing up each day with a clarity he was not used to, and was not sure was even real. It had been a long long time since his life and the world around him was this clear, this sharp even on a foggy morning.

His hands continued to shake even though he was as sober as he had ever been. The doctor told him that he had saturated his cerebellum one too many times, and it would probably be like this for the rest of his life. The doctor also told him that everything else in his body was good to go, maybe even for a long time.

It was January 22 that he woke himself up screaming. The nausea and nightmares had found their way back home. The nightmare was always the same. He is sitting watching television, watching the motorcade. The camera sweeps upward to the window in the book depository where he sees the rifle. The loud cracking sound echos through Dealey Plaza, and a heavy gavel reverberates against the gunshots. He cannot see the judge but only hears the voice that also echos through the Plaza. GUILTY OF ASSASSINATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. TAKE HIM AWAY.

He stood there like cement waiting for Raul to come out of the sacristy door. “It’s all back, Father. You gotta help me.”

The two walked over to the rectory where Raul fixed breakfast. At one point, Raul looked straight through his eyes into his soul. “Hombre, I believe you. You played a tragic role in the assassination of our president. No one will ever believe you, but together we will write it all down, and when you die, we will distribute it to the major news organizations. It will be up to them. They will have to decide what part they want to play in this assassination even after all these years.” And so for the next several months, they worked together on the story.

As they were reviewing the final draft, Raul could feel Hombre's eyes desperately wanting something from him. “You know, Father, for years, I have settled on the belief that life just happens. I mean how can I ever take responsibility for this or for how I got myself into this whatever it is. I mean, I’m not an assassin, or am I?”

“Well, Hombre, I think it is like this. That moment any of us decide that another person’s life is up for grabs, that is the moment we become an assassin. It was okay with you to prepare Oswald to take out Soviet Officials, right? So when we stand before God, what is the difference? We make choices, my friend, we make decisions. We can never take any of them lightly. We are responsible for them all.”

He shook his head and smiled. "Yeah, I can do that, Father. I can do that. You know it’s kind of a relief actually. Maybe I can forgive myself now too.”

He continued his daily trek to Mass and Communion. He ate breakfast each morning with the breakfast club, but now Sara sat next to him in the booth. They were sleeping together again, and she devilishly smiled each morning at the widows in the breakfast club. The big news was the trip they were planning, more like a pilgrimage.

On November 22, 2012, they will board a plane carrying with them twelve copies of a precious book detailing the story of that fateful day from the eyes of an eighty five year old former CIA agent. Upon landing, they will drive eighteen miles to a final resting place, where the twelve books will await their resurrection.

I think the books somehow know. When I look at them, they first of all are impressive, simple in appearance, but impressive, the cover, the colors on the cover. They seem to give off something, some kind of energy, as if they know what they are all about. They say words are alive, right? I think the books are alive.

So there they will rest, awaiting Hombre’s death and their resurrection, waiting peacefully in a safe deposit box in the Bank of America which towers above the city of Dallas and Dealey Plaza.


Well, I will keep it short! A couple of things. I am still sort of appalled that, as a country, we seem complacent about what happened on that fateful day. I mean it defies "intelligence" to buy the conclusion that Oswald acted alone especially when Martin and Bobby are systematically assassinated in turn. So from time to time, I do my part to resurrect the questions. Especially since there may still be people out there alive who know something and hopefully will not die without giving us what they know.

The main character was never named except by Raul who called him Hombre, which, you probably know, means MAN. So Hombre represents all of us, and as Raul says, We make choices, my friend, we make decisions. We can never take any of them lightly. We are responsible for them all.

There are so many people in our country who still adhere to "I was just following orders....doing my job." It does not require anarchy for each of us to be willing to be aware of the choices we are asked to make by our country and government, by our employer, by our family, by our churches, synagogues, and mosques, and then hold ourselves accountable in our choices, and to have the courage to say NO when we are asked to make choices that do not fit our moral sensibilities.

It was "fun" for me to write this story. It did not take long. It just flowed. The assassination was a stunning moment in my life and the next two assassinations were equally stunning. Knock you on your ass kind of stunning! Take you to the brink of complete disillusionment kind of stunning. Never wanting to trust in your country or what your country tells you again kind of stunning. And yet going in those directions in not helpful either, and I am glad I did not go there. So instead, I keep writing about it. Hope you enjoyed the story.


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    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hi Storyteller

      Thanks for stopping by and reading the story. And thanks for the feedback on the power hubs. Glad they are impactful for you. In fact, I am thrilled! I enjoy writing stories but also enjoy writing about our relationships with people we serve or train or parent or teach. I am on someone else's computer, so I will come back here tomorrow when I get back home and make another comment!!

      Thanks again


    • Storytellersrus profile image


      7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Thanks for the heads up. This was passionate. For my purposes your power hubs are more impactful because of where I am at. But I see in this that we are all Columbine on many levels!

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Now I could do the novel on Hombre and Raul writing the book. That sounds pretty exciting actually. Thanks for reading and commenting and thanks for your excellent videography and production and direction. Love you and see you soon.


      Good Job on your room!!!

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 

      7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Sorry it took so long to read this, I was busy cleaning my room... I loved this story and would like to second the motion for a full on novel.... I'd love to read about Hombre and Raul writing the book. Thank you for telling this story.

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hi Alastar

      Thanks for reading and commenting. A little out there perhaps, but I think it will end when we want it to end badly enough. I was amazed that the Berlin wall just came crashing down one day. There's a notion about critical mass events in terms of radical social change, and I think the critical mass moments are there for the taking.

      A little simplistic perhaps, but everything else is so complicated, why not keep it simple!! I do my little piece toward the critical mass event with this story.



    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Liked this creative piece very much vrbmft. JFK, MLK, RFK, Jonesville, Lennon, on and on and up until this very day- when will it ever end.

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hi Sandy

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. There are obviously parts of me in Hombre, but he is bigger than me and I think he is really out there some place, perhaps already dead. Yes, my life has been interesting in recent times.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting. I appreciate the support


    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hi Zooloot

      Well, I am glad you enjoyed the story. It was one of those stories that came rolling out of my fingers. I thought very little about the story, the characters, the story line, they just appeared, and all of them have some reality base to them, but they take on their own fictional flavor, so to speak, in this story.

      Thank you for the challenge. Not sure where I would begin. I wrote a short story called "Grandfather's Arsenal" and maybe I can post it here or send you a pdf copy. From time to time, I write a fictional story, something about my guesses about what goes on behind the scenes, and I keep waiting for a knock on my door which would be great--I think. I mean I am just a fictional writer and know nothing. I suppose they would do more than knock!! Anywho I don't think it requires rocket science to recognize there's a lot going on behind the scenes to keep things in "order." Not sure whose order, but....

      And I think you are right about stepping out of line. A price to pay.

      So, thanks again for reading and for your compliments. I appreciate them. I love to write.

      Also looking forward to checking out some of your hubs. The titles interest me a great deal.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Vern

      I kept thinking the Hombre in the story was you. I think you should write a book about the last year and 1/2 of your life. You are probably one of the few who would have the courage to do so. Good job, as usual.

    • profile image 

      7 years ago from Europe

      There are very few writers who grab my attention, especially with a subject that makes me yawn every time it comes up.

      You are indeed a captivating writer!!

      I look forwarded to more!

      Regarding the subject...

      'John' who became known as JFK, (which for me dehumanises him as he was so much more than just a president,) was a target for so many groups as he stood for so much. It is hard to say which group masterminded the plot that took his life, but we must assume that they were intelligent enough to create such an elaborate plan in the first place, and had enough power to brush it under the table after the fact. Governments are not run by presidents they are run by military organisations with a mandate to 'protect the security of 'America',' which can be redefined as required from the head down. If we are to find a culprit we must start there. The president can NOT step out of line, which comes as quite a shock for many, and if they 'pose a threat to national security' they are as much a target as any other person! And are then redefined as a 'threat or terrorist' and we all know what the US military define as a solution to those problems ;)

      I would love you to write a book that traced the 'character' players of the day in your compelling style.

      I for one would buy it ;))

      Look forward to more of yours!!

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hi Marianne

      Maybe you should post a picture here of the back room!!! So there was an upper room where Jesus celebrated the last supper and now the back room where we somehow survived those years of imprisonment!! Just kiddin! Got to watch the testing of the atom bomb from those windows! That should make folks wonder!! A great old house and I loved the breakfast nook and all the crepe paper we decorated with and the Christmas trees and the barbecues. Well, my first four years away from home were, in a figure of speech, the "best" times of my life, not that I did not also miss all of you terribly and always felt alone on visiting Sunday. But at the time of JFK's assassination, I had begun to experience the attempts to assassinate my soul, my spirit, my self, and thanks to God and the year away from San Luis Rey, "they"" did not achieve what they thought would make me into a good priest. So there is the rest of that story! Maybe we can talk about why I say "best" times of my life when we get together this week. I love you and looking forward to a blog about the backroom. It can be a follow up to the Christmas tree story!!

      Love you

      Your big ol' brother

    • Marianne Byers profile image

      Marianne Byers 

      7 years ago from Central California

      Vern I was 9 years old. In the back room on Clark St. The T.v. was on, The bunkbeds over near the cooler, the built ins to my left as the T.v was in front of the two windows that looked out on to the patio. Boy, wasn't that a great room? Especially great when you were home for a visit. Did you come home for Thanksgiving? I don't think so. Christmas and summer but I don't think anything inbetween. I have so often looked on in sadness at our separation until this last year you said those were happy times for you so.... can't argue with that. For us there was always a missing, a needing our big brother but i am glad to know one of us was happy. I always thought we were all miserable with the arrangement! Glad to know those were happy times for you. Anyway, imagine me in the room, at 9 1/2 getting ready for Mass, probably the 10:30 and watching T.v. all at the same time. I will never forget it!

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California


      Hi, Bro. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading and part of, I guess you got that!, the "truth" of my story is just that, in some way or another, we are all guilty. I know what it is, in fact every day I know, what it is to be "busy" living, so double appreciation for you stopping by, reading and commenting. Hope all is well with you and your son.


      Thanks so much for reading and commenting and I am glad you were struck by Raul's words. Those words sum up a way of life I have been super consciously trying to live by for many years now, but especially in the last year and a half during which time I finally wised up and got sober and am enjoying my own clarity. Thanks again for reading and commenting.



    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Brilliant, Vern. The words of your character, Raul, struck me as so relevant with the recent revelation of Penn State University and the complicity or worse in the malevolent acts that ultimately allowed, gave permission through omission, to ongoing sexual abuse. Like the Catholic Church, the guilty felt it more important to protect the institution rather than those its purpose is to protect. Thank you for a brilliant story with a very relevant message for every one of us.

    • justom profile image


      7 years ago from 41042

      Vern, how goes it bro? This was a great read. You have a knack for writing stuff that keeps folks interested and just makes them finish what they're reading. Those were crazy times (in some ways now might even be worse)I remember in 1978 on a trip to your coast I stopped in Dallas just so I could drive through Dealey Plaza and it was a very strange feeling but it's weird all I could think was this place seems so small compared to my idea of it. I remember Mick Jagger singing "Sympathy for the Devil" where he said, "I shouted out who killed the Kennedy's, well after all it was you and me". I think there's a bit of truth to that. Sorry I've missed a few of you hubs, I've just been busy living :-P Nice work brother, love ya'! Peace!! Tom

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California


      Thanks for reading and commenting. The "unfolding" of the story in my mind and onto the page was an interesting and exciting and almost unbelievable experience. I cry every time I read the final lines. AND when will we blessed with another hub from you? Looking forward to seeing you soon.



      And you too are a GREAT writer and looking forward to seeing an email from hubpages telling me that there is a new post from you. I am trying to think right now just how old you were and imagining you there at Clark Street? I have had the opportunity to visiting Dealey Plaza the last several days via the internet and I just added to this hub a link to a webcam looking out the book depository window. Anywho, thanks for reading and commenting and supporting my writing.


      Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting. It was a HUGE event. I just saw the movie about J Egdar Hoover, and of course, movies are movies. But it sure made me wonder a LOT. Thanks for the encouragement.



    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Excellent hub. Keep up the excellent work! I am still affected by the assassination of President Kennedy. He was such a brilliant president!

    • Marianne Byers profile image

      Marianne Byers 

      7 years ago from Central California

      loved it and now that I have spent so much time in Dallas and gone to the Daley Plaza and to the Depository walked the streets, stood on the spot, it had even more meaning. I will never forget the day or the morning Oswald was killed. Getting ready for Sunday Mass and watching T.V.- saw it happen. Life has never been the same since Kennedy was shot- True? or an illusion on our part? Great story written by a great writer! Love you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great story, Vern. Not at all what I was expecting from the opening paragraphs, it was good to be surprised. Though, much younger, I think this event did have a huge impact on my life. We lived near Dallas at the time. I believe Oswald lived very near us. I was very close in age to Caroline and sometimes imagined myself in her shoes.

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Thanks Kim. You look old enough in your profile picture to remember!! I know that will earn a couple of votes down!! Seriously, it is one of those "pieces" that just flowed from beginning to end in a short period of time. I enjoyed so much being the fingers. In fact, I rarely write long hand anymore, but this morning I wrote the last several paragraphs long hand while drinking coffee. Thanks again.


    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      7 years ago

      I did. I enjoyed it very much. Very impressive writing and a very compelling story from beginning to end. What a pleasurable read. Thanks, Vern:)

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Thank you Jean.

      Yes it was quite an "event" and it got worse with the subsequent assassinations. It is just hard to believe and it all got mixed together with Viet Nam. I don't know that we have learned all the lessons of those years. Anywho I am glad you were blown away. I was blown away when the muse first suggested the story. Interesting how that works. Thanks again


    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      I was completely blown away by the story, even though I lived through it and will never forget what was for my generation, the first "saturation" TV event. I recall being afraid. And naive. I truly never realized people just killed each other like that. And then Ruby just walking in the hallway, bringing out the gun, and shooting Oswald. I thought Jackie wrote a biography that was to be released 10 yrs after her death, which would have been 2005, I think. I know Caroline is a privacy lawyer, and probably blocked it, but I would love to read what Jackie had to say about the whole thing. You are very talented, my friend.


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