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From congyoglas@aol.comgentboss Thu Oct 24 23:47:17 EDT 2002
Article: 291370 of soc.history.what-if
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From: congyoglas@aol.comgentboss (President Chester A. Arthur)
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Date: 25 Oct 2002 00:47:23 GMT
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Subject: For All Nails Pt. 138d: Images of the Rainbow
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For All Nails Pt. 138d: Images of the Rainbow

June 3, 1949
Angel Island
The Gulf of California
2100 hours

"All right, Dan. Keep the boys out on the beach and the docks. I'll be in at
eight tomorrow. Well, euh, yeah." Sheriff Walker Bush hung up the telephone,
the click of the reciever coming in time with the ring of his new radarstove;
his Olafson dinner was finally cooked. _Hard to believe these things came out
of the war,_ thought Bush as he removed his meal of beans on beef in bread.
_Not much else that's useful has._

The radarstove was the first of its kind on the island; a surprise flat-warming
gift from a friend from Mexico City. Jim hadn't stayed for more than a few
hours; the publishing heir had been very surprised to find Bush with a
stevedore for an upstairs neighbor and and a civilian shipping clerk below. _
It's all I had._ the sheriff thought as he sat down on his couch; the tattered
green, gold, and black cloth upholstery a legacy of a previous, patriotic
owner. There were better neighborhoods on the island, of course; tourist areas,
vacation haciendas and the large homes of respectable shop and hotel owners. On
a sheriff's salary, though, this was the best he had. 

Bush bit down into the sandwich; the motion making him glance at the small pile
of decade-old books he'd borrowed from the municipal library. The images there
still haunted him; the shark that had overturned a fishing boat off Australia
and devoured three of five men in a matter of minutes, the German troop
transport that had been torpedoed off India and the horrors recorded by a
civilian camera crew, the photograph of a great white tiburon swallowing a
great seal in one gulp...and, of course, The Images. 

A hushed whisper. "If we don't put him off, we'll all go down." "No! No! No!"
The revolver light in his hand, pulling up slightly as it roared again and
again, blood spattering his face. "For valor in combat, I award you..."

"NO!" Bush screamed at the top of his voice, his empty plate flying from his
hand to rebound off the wall, chipping more white paint free. He stood for a
moment, perfectly rigid, swallowing a scream and an eternity of memory.
"Damn...cellulite..." The sheriff forced himself to sit down, forced himself to
pick up the remote control, forced himself to turn on the vitavision. There
was, of course, no war news. 

"Tonight, on MTN, see the hit show everyone's talking about: "I Love Desi!",
starring your favorite comedian, Senor-"

"Justice Minister Ruiz today confimed that the government would continue to
enforce the anti-heroin laws of 1945, and that soldiers convicted of smuggling
would be dealt with harshly by military-"

"The Juarez Exchange dropped another ten points today, bringing it to its
lowest level since the beginning of-" 

"Merida police today announced the capture of the "Merida Maniac", a serial
slayer who has allegedly killed twelve Negroes in and around the Yucatan's
largest city since 1947. The apparant assasin, a veteran of the Manchurian
Front, said-" 

Bush sat up and took notice; he'd been following this particular case, along
with most Mexican lawmen. Racial killings weren't limited to Indian-on-Negro,
after all; in recent years there had been the Anglo Asesino in Arizona, the
serial bomber who'd been targeting Indian churches in Chiapas, the Negro knifer
in explosion of madmen, almost all of them with an ax to grind,
almost all of their killings racially based. And always the mobs, the burnings,
the lynchings, with the local cops powerless to anything about was one
of the many nightmares he'd accumulated in the last few years.

He laughed, a little bitterly. _The tourists and natives here prefer stabbing
each other in the back to stabbing each other in the front...gracias, Dios._
Bush watched the crime news for another twenty minutes or so, until he finally
had more palatable images in his head, and went to sleep. 

His sleep was mostly dreamless, disturbed only by a vision of jagged white and
red, with flat black eyes. 


June 4, 1949
Prescott's Point
Angel Island
1100 hours

Juan Escobar  looked too tall, too wide for a captain in the Shore Patrol, a
German pistol strapped to his waist and a cigar clamped between his shiny white
teeth.  His grey and blue craft was docked at the largest non-military port at
the north end of the island, his five-man crew at work there with an efficiency
Bush could only envy. They had left the dock behind an hour earlier, while Bush
described the exact circumstances of the two attacks his office knew about. 

"Good god-damn, hombres..." Escobar leaned back in the cheap wooden chair and
looked at them both. "You've got yourself a real malo tiburón." He grinned, his
large white teeth rather ominous. "Tomorrow, we hunt, and kill the beast!
Tonight, we rest!" Cobb stuck out a hand to Bush. "Sheriff, I know there's a
fine beer out there with our name on it." His grin broadened. "You wouldn't
turn me down, would you?" 

1400 hours

"I heard about you, you know." 

Bush glanced over the top of his half-empty glass, his first of the afternoon.
He didn't drink much on duty, or off-duty. "Que?" 

"Your family's rich, your dad's got connections with El Presidente, you're a
war hero...and yet you're here, in this one-horse town, busting drunks and
nortams when you could be on the General Staff or sitting on a fat pension."
Escobar shrugged. "In the right circles, you're a celebrity." 

"Yes." The sheriff thought about that. "Well, I don't know about all that."
Bush looked the captain over. "Why bring that up now?" 

"Because the cantina's empty, Walker." Cobb glanced around the room. "I'm a
hunter, Sheriff. I hunt sharks, and I kill sharks. _All_ sharks. But I also
hunt for patriots, men who can-"

The blast ripped through the building across the street, collapsing one wall,
the roof and blowing out every window in the bar.



President Chester A. Arthur

"Do justice, though the heavens fall."