Sarah Lee didn't much like feds, even the ones who did cooperate. The new sense of cooperation after the massacre in New York was still pretty much an upward trail. Local PDs all over the country gathered grass roots information, then tossed it into the Federal maw. The feds chewed it over, digested it and now and then vomited some back.
If they were as quick to distribute information, as they were to rush in and make an arrest, which the local cops tipped them to in the first place, street cops might have thought more of them. A local cop, withholding information in a terror investigation, was as good as in jail with the people he put there. So nobody did it. Besides even if they didn't get the credit they all wanted to the same thing.
However a shooting at a civil war re enactment wasn't likely to be a terrorist plot. She doubted seriously that there were radical Muslim re enactors on the battlefield. She smiled as she wondered it there were crusader re enactments. She giggled like a school girl at the thought. She knew how much organization went into one of those re enactments. She doubted that the Christians and Muslims could work together that well. The reenactment might start with real battles over lunch at the Jerusalem holiday inn.
She was almost back at her wagon when the black suv pulled up along side her, took a good look then passed quickly. It was filled with men in suit pants, white shirts, ties, and wind breakers with FBI on the back. Sarah Lee grunted. She was really going to hate to leave with the first act of the circus still in progress. However, she just wasn't that curious about why somebody with so little imagination as her spook friend would be so quickly onto a shooting at a federal park.
Sarah was almost the only one in the encampment area. The others were either involved in or out rubber necking the battle. She quickly hid away her two exposures made just before the incident. No she wasn't withholding evidence. If there were anything of interest on them, she would turn them in to the Atlanta Pd to forward to the Fibbies. After the way the boy G-man had handled her blank film, she doubted that any would survive. Yes, the holders she turned over to the Fibbies had not been exposed at that time. Sarah carried eight film holders but seldom used more than two.
Even though she thought she should be doing something constructive, she set up her camera for the re enactor's portrait shoot. They would be rushing in all filled with adrenaline and ready to beat their chest. None of them knew of the shooting on the hill. She intended to let the Fibbies or the newspaper inform them.
Sarah Lee had fudged again. She had driven her old land cruiser to the mini mart outside the park before breakfast to fill her cooler with ice. So while the others were sweating in their wool uniforms, Sarah was sitting in her cotton period style, but not authentic, summer dress drinking powdered lemonade, with ice no less. She was mulling over the what ifs, when the out of place black pickup truck arrived. The park pickups were allowed to go anywhere and everywhere.
"Hi there, you are that Atlanta Police Detective aren't you?"
"Yes that's me," Sarah replied. "Is there something I can do for you?"
"Not really, I'm just shook up a little and wanted to talk to someone. The word is not to discuss what happened with anyone, but I don't think that means you. I mean you do know what's happening." It was at that moment that Sarah caught the vibe. The park ranger was trying hard to be what she thought lesbians were like. She had obviously pegged Sarah as a lesbian and hoped to buddy up to her. Sarah almost told her that she was barking up the wrong tree, but decided not to do that just yet. When people tried to pry information from a cop, they always gave up some to start the ball rolling.
Sarah had spotted the ruse because she was used to it. People were always mistaking her for a lesbian. She was first of all not all that attractive, and she had a commanding presence. Put those to together and it just scream lesbian to some people. Hell Sarah didn't even like golf. she chuckled at the last. It was so obvious that the park ranger looked at her curiously.
"I was just thinking how you boss would react if he knew?"
"Knew what?" Just then it hit Sarah that Peter was her boss. There was something terribly wrong here, she thought.
She tried desperately to piece together what she knew. She did that before she began to even think about the ranger girl.
Peter got him self shot. The FBI and some shadow guy show up much too fast. They try to limit the involvement of the local cops. Then ranger girl shows up trying to be her 'friend'.
It smelled of conspiracies up and down the line. More than one going on at the same time.
Ranger girl put her hand on Sarah's arm as she spoke. Sarah resisted the urge to slap hell out of her. Sarah had done that before and gotten away with it. She had no idea if she could with a park ranger at that particular moment. Besides she wanted information not to defend her sexual preferences.
"So detective what happened?" Bold little hussy, Sarah thought.
"You boss is dead, that's about all I know. The super cops aren't talking to us peons." She let that sink in then asked, "So what kind of man was Peter."
"Well I really shouldn't say." The little ranger tried to stand. Sarah took her arm and forced her back onto the campstool.
"Sweetie, you come here looking for information, now the super cops are going to find that noteworthy. I got no interest in doing their job, but now you started this so tell me about Peter. Hell you can lie if you want, but you damn sure better start talking.
“Lt Poole, is it? I’m special Agent Johnson of the FBI and I’m in charge of this investigation*.
“Yeah, I’m Lt Poole – APD.”
“Well Poole, thanks I heard you secured the scene for us but we’ll take it from here.”
“If you say so.”
“I insist on it. The FBI is more than capable of handling a matter such as this.”
“I’d hope so considering the number of people you’ve got out here. You must have twenty-five agents running around trampling everywhere. How many people you got out here? Twenty-five or so.”
“Detective Poole let me assure the FBI will use as many people as it takes to resolve this incident.”
Sarah was beginning to doubt that agent Johnson was really in charge. His answers were just a little too canned as lf already scripted. Her doubts were confirmed moments later when another man walked up. Sarah could tell agent Johnson was a little nervous in this man’s company.
“”Are you detective Poole?”
“Yes, I’m detective Poole, Atlanta PD”
“Ms Poole, I heard there might be a photograph of the shooting. Do you have it?”
Sarah’s mind was churning. Ok, who is this new prick? He had purposely addresses as Ms Poole there by cutting her rank and stature from her.
“You’ve been misinformed then, Mr. Ah…” Sarah had decided to push back some. The man saw this but didn’t give an inch. Bingo! It clicked in Sarah’s mind. The dress, lack of manners, this guy was a Spook for somebody CIA, NSI or some other Washington anachronism.
“Well Ms Poole, you can call me Virgil.”
“Then as I was saying Virgil, what I said originally was that someone was about to take a photo of the ridgeline charge and saw the park ranger fall in his viewfinder”
Sarah didn’t like this Virgil but she hadn’t directly lied. There was no photograph, at least not yet. It was still just an image on Berg’s compact flash card and he did see Peter fall. She just omitted the fact they both knew Peter and the more important fact about the laser sight dot on Peter’s forehead.
“Who is this person and where is this person?”
Agent Johnson was quick to supply Virgil with the who.
“The guy’s name is John Sandberg”
Sarah helped out. “Last I saw of him, he was down there being interviewed by another one of the FBI jocks.”
“Thank you Ms Poole, you’ve been a great help. By the way, I’m having Agent Johnson here collect all the film you’ve shot today. It’ll be returned to you as soon as possible.”
Without time to protest Virgil was down the hill in the direction Sarah had pointed out although it would do him no good. Sarah knew berg wasn’t there.
The ever-dutiful Agent Johnson followed an expletive fuming Sarah back down the hill to her set-up.
Sarah reached down and handed Johnson a large duffle bag.
“What’s this? Where are the photographs? This is just a bag o some kind of cases.”
“You’re looking at them Mr. FBI.”
Johnson began fumbling with one of the film holders.
“NO! Those are film holders and there loaded with undeveloped 4x5 film. Your were about to expose it.”
Agent Johnson’s face reddened over his lack of knowledge and his almost destroying of evidence. “Thanks detective” With that he scurried off towards one of the FBI vans.
Sarah turned her attention to her camera and saw she had remembered to place the lens cap no the camera even with all the excitement. There was still film inside too. She packed her wagon and glanced around to see if she saw Berg but he wasn’t in sight.
Miss Kitty took her last dose of antibiotics today and she seems to be back to her old self. She is very playful and once again a food vacuum. She's got one more trip to the vet to check her blood work.
Female Northern Cardinal
Sue is here all this week. No travel but, lots of meetings and people coming here. So for her it's late nights and several dinners out with her people. At least she'll be sleeping at home.
For me it's a doctor's appointment Monday then dialysis on Monday. I'm still working on test for Emory. I'm also filling forms to get on the transplant for UAB. That's where I had my first transplant 16 years ago. They're really good there. Maybe not as much BS to go through as with Emory. Male Northern Cardinal
The bird photos are for my cousin. I've been told she likes the bird images. I thought a few I took yesterday would be nice for her. The ugly red bird is a Northern Cardinal. It looks bad because an infestation of mites has caused them to molt early this year in our area.
These are some photos of parts of south Arkansas I made on my commute from Stuttgart to Little Rock. They were all made about 13 years ago with my Minolta X-700 and scanned from the printed photos. These are for my friends from Little Rock.
Miss Kitty is still improving and doing well. She still has one more visit to the vet for blood work to check kidney function. She seems to back to her playful old self.
Sue is away in Minnesota for a couple of days again this week. Had to leave about four hours early to get through the baggage check-in and added security at the airport.
The thought that these nuts would blow up 10 -12 airliners over the Atlantic is chilling. The world needs to get rid of these people at any cost. They will keep trying until they are successful or all dead, I hope for the latter.
Me, I feel like I'm stuck in an endless cycle. It's get up, eat and get ready for dialysis. Go to dialysis and come home, eat dinner then go to bed. Wake up around 2 am because I can't sleep. Sit up until about 5 in the morning and then try for a couple of hours of sleep. Then the cycle starts all over again. To go with it there's the avalanche of doctor, hospital bills and EOB's from the insurance company.
We did manage a short ride this morning where I found a few barns and other things to photograph. These are a couple of them.
"Okay guys, I'm detective Lt. Poole Atlanta PD and you are all going to help me secure this crime scene. I want you to stand around in a circle looking out. Nobody comes into this area unless they are a cop or I clear them in. So spread out an stick together," Sarah said it in a loud commanding voice.
It took a little more doing but she got the scene surrounded after just a couple of minutes. What she did was to secure the scene from being trampled over, also kept all of the people who arrived early to remain so that they could be interviewed. Sarah was a good cop, there was no doubt about it. Even Sandberg had to admit that she took command and knew just what to do.
"Now you," she said to Mary, who had recovered a bit. "Get your wits about you the, cops are going to be asking you a lot of questions." She turned to John Sandberg again. "Try to shoot pictures of everyone you see around here till the cops arrive."
A woman dressed in the park ranger green uniform arrived soon after the scene had been secured. The man who was blocking her way seemed to be having strong words with the ranger.
"I'm Detective Lt Poole. I am here on vacation and to make some pictures of the reenactment. This is a crime scene, unless you are going to be investigating the shooting of the park manager you need to stay back."
"Sally, stay back,” the voice came from over Sarah's shoulder. It belonged to Mary the asst park manager. "Go to the office and call the park police main number in DC. Tell them the superintendent has been killed. Have them notify the proper authorities.
The uniformed ranger gave Sarah Lee a very nasty look, but she turned and left the area. Before Sarah could do much of anything the medical team arrived. They couldn't do much of anything until the police came. The local police called the FBI field office. The response from the duty office was that agents were on their way. He demanded that nothing be done until the agents arrived. The officer simply said of course, then began asking people questions.
As a courtesy since Sarah had secured their crime scene they allowed her to listen in on the initial interviews. There would be more in depth ones to follow. As an act of good faith she informed the officer of Berg's photograph. Since Berg had disappeared, Sarah didn't have to listen to the cop’s demands, and Berg's refusal to turn over the camera and card. Yes she knew that he would refuse.
Sarah listened while Mary tried to explain to the local cops where she and Peter had stood in that final second. The best Sarah could tell, Mary had Peter turned about 35 degrees from the direction he had been facing. The only thing of any importance was that she was putting the shooter in a far different place.
"Detective Rush, I think you should check that little rise over there. The best I could tell the shot came from that direction." Sarah said looking directly into Mary's suddenly dry eyes.
"That isn't what this lady says," Rush informed her.
"Well, I think she is a little excited, but why not check both places."
"That makes sense," the detective said looking almost lost.
A couple of the local cops were gone about ten minutes when the FBI showed up. They arrived like a Mafia hit squad. Cars full of agents just descended from all directions. It was very dramatic but totally unnecessary.
"I told you not to do anything until we got here," the agent in charge reminded the local police detective.
"Frankly, we had no idea how long it was going to take you. We did the initial interviews just in case someone got lost. You can have the notes."
"No thanks we will just do then again." The 'do them right' was there, just not said openly.
The FBI agent in charge gave us a look that dismissed us all. "I hate those ass holes," the local detective said. "This is government land and a government employee. This case will be solved only if the government wants it solved."
"Yeah can you say, Vince Foster?" Sarah asked it smiling.
"Yeah that kind of thing. Say Poole you wanna' get a drink?"
"I got some camera things to do, but can I get a rain check for the drink"
"Sure anytime you want. By the way where do I find that man with the camera."
"Try the Pakistan west motel in town,” Sarah suggested. Sarah was not a bigot nor a Clinton hater but she could read people, and the cop standing beside her was both. Ultra right-winger. Some cops were actually moderately liberal, some were moderately conservative, and some stood right of Attila the Hun. Sarah was anti political period. She had stopped voting shortly after her first time.
The only vote she had cast in years was at the point of a gun, not quite but almost. Sarah's father had gone to the old rundown garage in the rear of his small semi rural piece of land. He had spent two days getting his old pickup truck running, and then he drove to the Satellite police station. There he parked his truck and himself until she finished her shift.
It wasn't a vote cast for anyone, he explained. It was a vote cast against a presidential candidate. "You just don't paint all those men, who are dying to keep you free, as baby killers. At least not so you can have a career as a politician. At that point her dad spit in the parking lot. He made sure people heard him and saw just who he was.
One of the things her dad taught her was that if you make a decision, you should have the conviction to stand up to it. If you can't defend how you feel, you better take a second look at why you feel as you do. "A man who will step on his brothers for political gain, is a man ain't fit to be president." It was his only argument period.
No she hadn't seen some of her dad in the bigot cop, what she had seen wasn't even the flip side of her dad's coin. But it had reminded her that there were politicians, like it or not, and that they come at all levels and can be more dangerous than any kid with a Saturday night special.
“Well, look who’s back. I thought you might have called it quits by now.”
“If you really did, then you have way underestimated me Sarah. I don’t quit on any job till it’s finished.”
“Berg you do tend to amaze at times, not always for the better though.”
“Sarah, how hard do you work at this or does being a bitch just come naturally to you.” Sarah bristled at Berg’s remark but eased back a bit. She knew she had it coming.
“Sarah Lee, you really should think of putting away that wooden box and come into the modern world.”
“John, look out there. What you’re seeing isn’t the modern world. It’s the mid 19th century and to accurately capture that you need the tools of that time. I’ll stick with my old wooden box.”
Berg and Sarah were both setting up for the final engagement of the day before the cookout and nighttime fireworks. There would be a lot of action as the Union troops rallied to route the outnumbered Confederate defenders. If it were the real deal, many of the soldiers who began the day in fear, would die in agony and terror.
Berg was set up to the left and just down hill of Sarah giving her a slightly higher position to compensate for her lack of mobility.
Within half an hour it began. The Union had brought into place a couple of six pounders and were firing grape shot rounds onto the Confederate lines forcing them to break and run up the hill towards the ridge The air was filled with a thick gun-smoke fog as the Union troops began to form a skirmish in the wooded creek bed at the bottom of the hill.
Berg looked at the crowd watching the last battle. Peter had been right. This, the cookout and fireworks that would follow had really brought out the crowd. There were at least 7500 people and more would show up, as the time for the fireworks grew closer.
Berg saw Peter atop the ridge with his assistant near by watching the reenactment’s final charge. Berg heard the sounds escalate as the Union infantry emerged from the woods. He changed to his Canon Rebel to get a shot of Peter on the ridge for old times sake. As he focused on Peter he froze, his blood turned cold with what he saw.
“P-E-T-E-R-!” Berg was moving forward up the hill knocking Sarah down in the process.
“Sonovabitch! Berg, What the hell are you doing?”
Berg didn’t hear her. He knew it was already too late. The red dot had disappeared and all he saw was Peter’s body crumple to the ground. Suddenly everything was in slow motion, The Union line moving up the hill, Mary’s blood and brain splattered ranger’s uniform and her gaping mouth’s silent scream as she looked at Peter’s body on the ground. Very few others even noticed. One or two, who were near, had come to see what had happened.
Berg reached his friend and saw the devastation to his body. There was an almost perfect half-inch hole just above his left eye but the entire upper left backside of Peter’s head was gone. Mary was wearing a good bit of Peter’s missing brain.
Sarah followed Berg up the hill cursing him all the way. She wasn’t as close behind as she might have been. She had stopped to make her two shots before she climbed the hill.
“Oh shit! Peter. Some idiot must have left his gun loaded from the live fire demonstration from this afternoon but Berg how did you know?”
“Sarah, he was assassinated! Here look at this.”
Berg handed over the Canon Rebel and Sarah look at the LCD display. It was the frame Berg was taking when he charged over her. Berg had zoomed in on his friend. She saw the tale-tale crimson dot of a laser sight just like she had used on the police SWAT team and knew Berg was right on the money but, why Peter?
The reenactment was winding down. One of the spectators had already used his cell phone to call 911. Emergency medical services would respond even though Peter was beyond help, they might do something for Mary. It’s not every day your boss’s head explodes in front of you.
‘The police will be here soon”
”I know Sarah and then the FBI”
Sarah thought, that’s right. It’s Federal land, so the FBI will lead.
We took Miss Kitty in today for a follow-up visit at the vet. She is much improved and back to her normal routine, much to our and the carpet's hopes. She will go back in two weeks to make sure her kidney function is back to normal too.
Disappointment for me. The motorhome van (Roadtrek 170P) I wanted to get is too tall to fit through our garage door opening, The header is too low. I had hoped to get it so I could take some longer than a few hour trips. Not going to happen. Sue refuses to let it be parked it in the driveway.
I have almost finished a new web site. I consider you my friends and would like your honest opinions and suggestions on it. Its www.northgeorgiaimages.4t.com please take a look if you can. Thanks
"Tell me honestly do you mean that or is it just a story you tell in bars to get laid."
"What do you mean?" Sandberg asked angrily.
"You really believe all that Hollywood crap you just told me?" Sarah Lee looked amazed.
"Every f'n word was the truth," Sandberg replied.
"I'm sure it is. Never mind no sense picking a fight with you. You are what you are, and will be until you figure it out."
"Figure what out?" Sandberg was livid. He didn't like being questioned. As a matter of fact it happened so seldom that it was almost unheard of. Not being questioned like the cops and all those army CID types. It was Poole, she made it sound like he was a little boy somehow. "I want to know what the hell you are talking about and I want to know now."
"And if I don't tell you, exactly what do you plan to do. Are you planning to shoot me or are we going to start swinging cameras. If we are, then you are way under armed."
"No, I'm going to just leave here and forget all about you."
"Well Sandberg, I can't say it was fun but it was an experience."
Sandberg turned and stormed from the room. With a little luck I won't have to see that jerk again, Sarah thought to herself. She looked at the negative laying on the head ranger's desk. It wasn't just good like Sandberg thought, it was THE battle shot. All the rest of the shots that Sandberg and the other people with camera's made were just circular file fodder.
You couldn't explain it to people with 35mm cameras; you couldn't even hope to get a digital camera person to even listen. When they just shot and shot and shot hoping to get the right moment, they almost always missed it. Why? They were working a millisecond behind. They couldn't recognize the defining moment, because they were shooting the moment before and the moment after. Even worse, when they shot it, they didn't know it. They had so many pictures the defining moment got lost in all the mediocrity. Sandberg would learn or not, but she certainly wouldn't be the one to teach him about the art of photography. Somebody already had taught him just enough of the science to get him into trouble. He had no business being at the reenactment, he had no feel for it at all. Photo Journalist, she thought it while looking for a place to spit the bad taste from her mouth.
Even more than to learn about photography the right way, John Sandberg needed to learn how to live. What he didn't get, and she would never explain, was that at the waffle house, he didn't have the other patron's permission to put their lives in danger. Not just so that he could be a hero again. Even a rookie cop knows to let the man go, then get him outside. A confrontation inside a bank, restaurant, or convenience store, just puts everyone in danger. Sandberg didn't think because he hadn't learned to be a civilian yet. Sandberg was still playing soldier and before long it would cause him a ton of grief.
Someone needed to teach him about himself, but it wouldn't be Sarah Lee Poole. No by God it would not be Sarah who explained that he was a control freak. If it hadn't been for the Army, he would most likely have been a serial killer. He missed the killing, it was written all over him. For some people killing is like crack cocaine. Sarah wondered where he kept his trophies. They all took them.
Her dad had a picture of himself wearing a necklace of human ears. The difference between her Dad and Sandberg? She wasn't quite sure, but there surely were differences. Her dad wouldn't have bothered with the kid in the restaurant. It wasn't his money, and he didn't know any of the people.
"Now if the idiot had tried to take his money, then god only knows what would have happened." Sarah mumbled that to herself as she started down the path to her wagon. Sarah's father lost himself in photography after he got home. He wouldn't even own a gun after the war.
In her little town there were about a dozen really bad men. Men who would go into a biker bar and lock the door so nobody could run away. The cops feared them, but fought them anyway. When Sarah was a rookie, she and her trainer went into one of the biker bars just to show the badge, as it was called.
"Hey we got ourselves a split tail cop," one of the younger men, said. Sarah and her partner turned to the sound. She was terrified of course and her partner didn't look all that much better.
"Y'all just go one about your business officers. I'll take care of this." The voice came from one of those truly bad men. Sarah nodded because she understood. Her partner didn't of course.
"What was that all about?" he asked once they were safely outside.
"Nuthin', Uncle Melvin is gonna' have a talk with the young man."
"You mean Melvin Roberts is your uncle?" The partner was shocked. Melvin had done a little time for assault with intent to kill.
"Gun Jammed." was all Melvin ever said about the incident.
"No not really, we just called him that. He and my dad used to drink together now and then. I'm surprised he even remembers me."
I finally got an answer from Emory about my test! their answer (I should have guessed) was to call the surgeon's secretary to make an appointment to discuss the results and decide what further retesting may need to be done.
I'm beginning to really not like these #@*%#!@ people. They're either going to such all my money, time or both away. At this point I'm hardly any further along than I was Two years ago! Elder's Mill Bridge
Miss Kitty seems to be doing better. She got an injection and oral antibotics for a sever bladder infection. There's also a question about her kidney function due to the infection or her advanced age. We're hoping, due to the infection.
We took a ride saturday and found these two sites. the bridge is just south of Watkinsville, GA.
The fort, more of a block house was built in the 1820's as protection from the Creek and Cherokee indians. It's about 15 miles east of Watkinsville. Both are about an hour from our house.
I am a 47 year old male that is now on dialysis awaiting a kidney/pancreas transplant. This blog follows my everyday thoughts and feelings about this.
Before all this, I was a very active person who liked to hike, fish, take photographs even scuba and sky dive. My cameras include four digital Panasonic DMC's FZ20 & FZ30,
Minolta D5, Nikon D80 and 2 film models a Minolta X-700 & Pentex K-1000. I've recently added a Crown Graphic 4x5 large format for black & white.
I have been married to my wife, Sue,for twenty years this May. She has been my savior throughout this ordel.
Others have been of great support to me also. My parents, relatives and friends have all worked to keep my spirits up. I want to thank them all for their efforts.
Please see my previous post for bachground on my illness.
Thanks - Mark