And now for something completely different.
A little while back, I asked previous Jericho guest bloggers Jane and Beth to make a return engagement to blog on Casus Belli (which, by the by, is Latin for “Cause for War”). They accepted and then behind my back conspired to do something totally creative and different and fun for this week’s guest blog.
I had no idea back in June, when I asked for guest bloggers in a total experiment for this blog, that we’d get such well-written and creative entries.
So, you’re only getting one this week, but it’s really fun. Enjoy and let us know what you think:
<blockquote><h3>Events as seen through the eyes of Edna and Margie, two of JerichoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s oldest residents</h3>
Intro: Life in a small town is a funny thing, even under the best of circumstances. There is the benefit of a strong sense of community, and a certain comfort in the fact that you and your neighbors have known each other since birth. Some people chafe under the restrictions of such intimacy, and flee for larger cities and the anonymity that they provide. Others revel in this inter-connectedness, and even thrive on it. Edna and Margie are two of the latter. Elderly sisters, they have lived in Jericho all of their lives. They have seen it boom, and they have seen it bust. They know all, they see all, and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not afraid to talk about it.
Recent events in the town of Jericho have given them much to discuss. After the bombs fell, they witnessed the best and worst of the citizens of Jericho. They have managed to survive these hard times as they always do: through sheer force of will and a nose for gossip.
<h4>Gracie’s Market 10 a.m.</h4>
Margie: Edna, did you hear about those New Bern people coming back to town with those windmills? There’s something strange going on here.
Edna: There you go again, Margie, looking for trouble where there isn’t any. At least weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll get the power back on! And that Constantino is such a nice young man Ã¢â‚¬â€ although, his pointy beard makes him seem a little … well … shady, don’t you think?
Margie: He’s shady for sure. Did you know that Eric Green and Heather Lisinski didn’t come back with the others?
Edna: Oh no, not that sweet Heather! I wonder why she didn’t come back? Eric, they can keep.
Margie: Sometimes I can’t believe you’re my sister. Eric could be in danger. He’s been missing for three days and that Russell from New Bern told Jake he should be worried about Eric.
Edna: Well fine, let Jake worry about Eric then. Honestly Margie, you were just telling me a few weeks ago how scandalous you thought he was being with that Mary Bailey. Don’t tell me you’ve changed your tune just because of what happened with poor April.
Margie: You know, I heard that Johnston Green is going soft on that home wrecker Mary Bailey. He’s been at that bar helping her make antiseptic. I think I’ll tell his wife and see how much longer he acts like that. This didn’t go on in my day.
Edna: You old fool, you know you don’t want to be the one to tell Gail Green that her husband’s hanging around Bailey’s Tavern. She’s got a mouth like a sailor, and she won’t thank you for sticking your nose in her business. And what do you mean, your day? I seem to remember you spending quite a bit of time in the hay loft with Stanley Richmond’s father (God rest his soul), so don’t tell me about how that kind of thing didn’t happen in your day.
Margie: Well, I never! What about you Miss High-and-Mighty? You and Skylar’s grandpa were quite the pair weren’t you? I’ve had enough of this! I’m going to Bailey’s.
<h4>Bailey’s Tavern 11:45 a.m.</h4>
Edna: I sure hope Mary Bailey’s got something better around here than that bathtub gin she’s been passing out lately. There are some days, I swear, that homegrown hooch she serves makes me wish I were a teetotaler. Look Margie, there’s Johnston! No, don’t look, he’ll see you looking.
Margie: You? A teetotaler? You’d drink that antiseptic if you could get your hands on it. I guess you heard what that rich kid, Skylar, did with her little boyfriend Dale.
Edna: You know what Margie, I’ve had just about enough of you! If a nuclear bomb hadn’t taken out Denver, that’s where I’d be headed right now, just to get away from your vicious lies. Where was I Ã¢â‚¬â€ oh, yes, Skylar and Dale. You mean, did I hear about what they did with the salt? I did. Those two, trying to run Gracie Leigh’s market; why, I heard they swindled that nice farmer Mr. Simmons out of goods to sell in their store. Teenagers turning to hooliganism; it will come to no good, I tell you.
Margie: You should know all about hooligans. That spoiled Skylar had papers drawn up saying her parents are dead so she could get half of the salt mine. Dale went along with her because he’s in love. What do kids know about love?
Edna: More than you do, I’d wager. I just don’t like what’s happening to the kids of Jericho these days. I don’t care if a nuclear bomb did go off, that’s no excuse for bad manners.
Margie: Kids. Skylar and Dale went to the Mayor but he didn’t accept their little plan. I heard that Russell was trying to make a deal with them. They better stay away from him, that wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t end well.
Narrative: Characteristic of most small-town gossips, Edna and Margie think they know everything that goes on in their little community. But they have no way of knowing that at this particular moment, Jake Green is enlisting the help of Robert Hawkins to go to New Bern and retrieve his brother, Eric. A dangerous mission, yes, but a necessary one. And Jake has picked the perfect man for the job.
Meanwhile, Edna and Margie are still sitting in BaileyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tavern, soaking up the local gossip and enjoying a few drinks. Their chitchat soon turned to some of the other citizens of Jericho.
<h4>Bailey’s Tavern, 1 p.m.</h4>
Margie: Well, I’ve heard of the pot calling the kettle black but Stanley Richmond takes the prize.
Edna: What are you talking about now?
Margie: You know I never did cotton to that IRS woman moving in there with Stanley.
Edna: Well, why not? She seemed perfectly sweet to me. Of course, I’m not the one who owes the government money… And after all, she is stuck here, far from her home. It was the neighborly thing for him to do.
Margie: That’s what I mean. Neighborly? Letting a woman you’re not married to move in with you in front of your innocent sister??
Edna: Innocent? Ha! Didn’t you hear about that Sean Henthorn moving in there with her? IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m telling you, these kids today don’t know anything about morals, not like back in our day.
Margie: Morals? Go wash your mouth! You don’t know what morals are.
Edna: Well, that Stanley Richmond is sure going to get a surprise when he heads back to his farm, isn’t he? When the cat’s away…
Margie: Surprise? He’ll throw that boy out!
Edna: Well, that’s what he should do. But that sister of his has him wrapped around her little finger. You know she’s all he has, he wouldn’t want to disappoint her.
Margie: Oh no, he’s got that mistress. That’s why Bonnie thought it was okay to move that boy in.
Edna: You hush your mouth, that IRS woman is no mistress. Haven’t you seen the way they look at each other? Besides, what does it matter if Bonnie has that boy living there? They’re not hurting anyone.
Narrative: Stanley did come home, and learned that the household structure had changed a little in his absence. Although he wasn’t happy with the new living arrangements, and he was not Sean’s biggest fan, Mimi helped him realize that it was best for him to let Bonnie make her own choices. For now.
In the meantime, events in New Bern were unfolding. Edna and Margie would have given anything to be flies on the wall during these eventsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Jake and Hawkins arrive in New Bern to see buildings destroyed and damaged by heavy artillery. They were told that this was what Ravenwood did.
Sheriff Constantino tells Jake he doesn’t know where Eric is, but Jake and Hawkins go to the factory where all the Jericho men were working to see Ted Lewis, who says that both Heather and Eric just left a while back. But when Ted shakes Jake’s hand good-bye, he slips Jake a note with his address on it, and a message that he should come alone.
Jake and Hawkins go to Ted’s house trailer, and spot Sheriff Constantino’s second-in-command staking out the place. The cop says he doesn’t know where Heather or Eric are, but they are not safe because the sheriff has ordered them to be shot on sight because they tried to blow up New Bern’s factory.
Suspicious, Jake and Hawkins break into the factory and find a chalkboard with an entire inventory of Jericho and a map of Jericho, but the territory around the town is divided into areas–each one with the name of the New Bern Sheriff and his men. They also discover that New Bern is making ammunition and getting ready for a war with Jericho. Jake decides to stop factory production, but is caught by the sheriff and thrown in jail. Hawkins escapes.
Jake is in prison in New Bern when Eric is thrown into the cell across from him. Besides being starved in a prison cell for three days, he also looks very sad and depressed about something else. Eric says that they discovered New Bern’s plan to make war, and he and Heather made one last brave stand, an attempt to destroy the machines used in the factory. They got rid of one machine, and then they were caught. New Bern authorities threw Eric in jail.
“So where is she?” Jake asks anxiously. “Where’s Heather?”
After a long silence, Eric says, “…She’s dead, Jake.”
Guards come and take both the brothers outside. Here, Constantino is telling lies about Jericho to all the citizens of New Bern. He says Jericho tipped off Ravenwood about them, that they weren’t holding up their deals, and so on. Then the sheriff brings out Jake and Eric and says to the people, “See these two? They are the sons of Johnston Green, sent here to wreak havoc on New Bern!” He then promises everybody that New Bern would never fall and that they were going to teach Jericho a lesson.
Hawkins watches unnoticed in the back of the crowdÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Narrative: Had Margie and Edna been flies on the wall, in reality, they would have seen how trivial the concerns in their own lives were in comparison to events in New Bern. But because of their relative sense of security in the town of Jericho, they spend the bulk of their time gossiping, and sniping at each other. To them, the day-to-day lives of the citizens of Jericho are the focus of their world. As a result of their false sense of security, the biggest obstacles they face are within their sisterly relationship. Were they in New Bern, like Jake, Eric, and Hawkins, they’d feel much differently about the scope of their problemsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Margie: Do you think Jake and Eric will be home soon?
Edna: I sure hope so, you know how Gail Green frets when her boys arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t home safe. In the end, familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all you have.
Margie: You know, I didn’t mean those ugly things I said to you, Edna.
Edna: I know you didn’t, Margie.
Margie: But I sure thought them.</blockquote>