I wanted to forward to the readers of the site a bit of two chapters from my novel, Virtue’s Fool. The novel takes place during the Democratic Convention, notorious for its police violence.
The action takes place in the early hours of the morning. There are two characters, Harvey Stone, a man in his sixties, theSenio Deputy Managing Editor of Epoch, the Great American Magazine, and Peter fielding, a young reporter who has been with there only seven months. Peter has already gotten two national exclusives about the illegal bombing of North Vietnam, and the building of the U.S. spy plane, the SR-71, which was built “off the books,” its cost disguised as “engine overhauls” at the Wright-Patterson air base.
The Midwestern editor, Adrian Hall, has appointed Peter to head four teams of reporters and photographers to cover the street violence. When these chapters begin, Pater has been out late. He has been attacked, chased, tear-gassed and is entirely worn out. Harvey Stone is trying to mentor Peter, a shy ambitious man who remains very uncertain of his footing there.
I implored the readers to remember this is a conversation, not a term paper.
Harvey was looking commiseratingly at Cheryl, who was gathering up her tings, about to leave. He looked up and saw the figures in the doorway. They came in slowly, like old men.
“Well, well,” he said to them. “The wanderers.”
It was almost two in the morning. Their faces were white as chalk, but Harvey instantly saw that something was wrong with their eyes. He got to his feet, and waited for them. Howard came first; his body bulging with equipment, Peter just behind, and behind him came Duane, a bundle of nerves. They moved feebly, utterly worn out. Peter and Howard were bareheaded. Duane was holding a helmet.
“You look like shit,” Harvey observed.
“You know, a simple ‘good evening’ or a ‘how the hell are you, would probably suffice,” Howard said.
“Not to guys who look the way you look,” Harvey said. And he realized then that their eyes were swollen from tear gas.
“What are you doing here?” Peter asked. His face was utterly worn out. “You should be in bed,” he told Harvey.
“Waiting for you guys. Christ, I was beginning to think you’d been sent to jail.”
“We went to check out the streets of Old Town. After they cleared the Park the cops forced a lot of kids into Clark Street,” Howard said. His eyes were swollen small.
“Clark Street, I heard. So what happened?”
“Everything. We saw all kinds of stuff,” Peter said, blinking. His blue eyes were swollen.
“Like what stuff?”
“Oh, I don’t know. They had cops piling out of unmarked cars and beating people. They hit residents, forced some out of their houses...” Peter said. “...we saw some guy trying to drive his car, and the cops stopped him and, leaning in his window, he said, ‘Listen, you goddamn mother fucker, get this fucking car out of here’. And then...” Howard was saying. “He was a guy just trying to get home,”