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    sojourn
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Change of Heart - 42. Chapter 42

There were no kittens harmed in making of this chapter. I made up that part after a late night writing session and too much coffee. Your just lucky I had to stop to "Pee.

It was now a couple of weeks into the new year. The investigation instigated by the video of the now dead sheriff, planting evidence, had led to a massive investigation to determine the extent of his unethical and illegal activities. That investigation had pretty much wrapped up. Most of the senior investigative staff had cleared out.

The Attorney General’s office had released a statement that there was a team, now headquartered in Austin, focused solely on the “still, ongoing investigation”. Raymond and Daniel, collectively, interpreted the statement to mean that the investigation had failed to uncover any threat to anyone or a crime involving anyone else of political or social significance. The statement went on to say that any further judicial actions would most likely result from the litigation brought about by private individuals. In other words, any remaining victims of the old Sheriff’s malfeasance were essentially and effectively marginalized. There had been indications that a few convictions would likely be overturned almost immediately and some set for retrial. The resultant news coverage was such that it appeared all elected officials were doing their jobs more than adequately. Given just the cases already under judicial review, the local DA’s nightmare would not be over anytime soon.

For the Sheriff’s Department, it was already business as usual. The entire brouhaha surrounding Bumpkis, the City’s former Fire Chief, AKA, the Grinch, the preacher, Reverend Fishback, and the Mayor, his honor, John Claven, had resulted in each of the three receiving prison terms, ranging from three to seven years. Daniel was pretty much amazed that the whole mess involving all three was resolved so quickly. He was used to criminal prosecutions sometimes taking a year or more from arrest to sentencing. In spite of several loud protests, led by the preacher's wife, and strong declarations of innocence from all parties accused, all three accepted plea bargains. The videos, unexplained bank account balances, along with Bumpkis’ confession and incriminating statements, offered them little hope of acquittal. Since the charges were numerous and involved multiple counts, they got off very lightly. Given that bail had been denied, a long, drawn out, trial offered no chance of interim freedom which might have provided an opportunity to slip away into the night. The local community was eager to move on and add this event to the many other bits of well-gnawed gossip.

The murdered teacher’s family had already filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the County and the City citing possible collusion between the two offices to hide or destroy evidence critical to the investigation. Raymond had seen to it their legal team was up to the task and already well compensated. Daniel regretted that there was not enough evidence to bring anyone to trial.

He had reminded the DA, in the presence of the three suspects and their attorney, that each of them faced possible charges of being an accomplice to murder or at the least an accomplice after the fact. He was well aware, as was the DA, that there was only the remotest possibility that any of the three would actually face such charges. Their lawyer appeared incensed at the mere mention of such “ludicrous and unfounded charges”. Still, Daniel just smiled at the attorney’s feigned outrage. He was convinced that it made the three more amenable to plea bargain. Once a weed of doubt takes root, it can prove difficult to eradicate it completely.

The DA was only too happy to accept the guilty pleas. He shared with Daniel that his office was suddenly “busier than a cement booted, one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest”.

On a less humorous note, Daniel had decided that the time had come to tell his cadre and staff of his sexual orientation. It was not something he looked forward to. He decided to address the group as a whole. Getting all eight deputies, the admin staff, jail staff, and the volunteers in the same room, at the same time, would not be easy. It had not been done, at least, since before he had come to work at the department. Daniel made a mental note to schedule a group meeting at least monthly. It was a good way to ensure proper and consistent training and to foster camaraderie. Two things Johnson had never even tried to do.

Gram Manowski, Daniel’s professional campaign manager, had advised against his coming out at all. He got Daniel to at least do it on a Friday afternoon. Gram explained that a lot of major negative news items were released by politicians and major corporations on Fridays hoping to evade fallout by burying bad news ahead of the weekend. At best, it just delayed the impact by a couple of days. Gram explained that in Daniel's case it was to preclude the breakroom bull sessions which would allow for negative attitudes and stereotypes to be bandied about and quite possibly reinforced. Although he couldn't guarantee that individuals would be more receptive if allowed to mull over Daniel's coming out alone or with their families over the weekend, it was a given that group dynamics tended to veer collectively more toward the negative on any given issue. In any given group, louder, more negative voices tended to hold sway. It’s much easier to hate than to love. Daniel couldn't fault the reasoning, so here he was on a Friday dreading this afternoon’s meeting. The time and day of the week didn't really matter to him, the delay between reaching his decision and actually announcing his homosexuality felt like he was a death row inmate awaiting his day of execution.

In spite of heeding his professional advice, Daniel did not like Gram Manowski, at all. He didn’t “hate” the man. That would have required Gram to act in a noticeably and pointedly offensive manner. That kind of act Daniel could point to and say, “That’s why I don’t like that man.” Gram was too slick for that, he preferred inferences and innuendo. That was why Daniel didn’t like him, he was just too slick.

Raymond and Joe had reassured him that his opinion was shared. Joe suggested that Gram was more like a viper that was kept for his anti-venom potential than for his companionship. Raymond opined that Gram was the best man for the job but, if Daniel couldn’t work with the man, it was best to let him go now and get someone else. This was a good time to pick and choose from the available experts. It would definitely be better to let him go now than in the middle of the campaign.

Gram Manowski had honed his skills working on several of Lupe Valdez’s campaigns and he came highly recommended. Getting the Lesbian, Latina elected and re-elected as the Sheriff of Dallas County was no mean feat. Daniel never learned to what extent Gram worked with or directed Sheriff Valdez. He didn’t want to know.

In his initial meeting with the family, except Maria, Gram admitted, getting an openly gay man elected Sheriff in this conservative, basically rural county would be a markedly greater challenge. He observed that straight men found gay men more threatening than gay women. Daniel had groaned silently and made a mental, “Duh” sound. Gram insisted they could win if Daniel kept his cool and did as Gram instructed. Daniel’s job was to be Sheriff. It was Gram’s job to put Daniel to work. Daniel would have to commit to following Gram’s advice, strategy and schedule if they were to work together and get Daniel elected. Gram asked Daniel, “Have you ever arrested a loud, obnoxious, resistant, verbally abusive, drunk? One that called you names, questioned your manhood, your parentage and your right to wear a badge, and sporadically threw a punch at you”?

Daniel had snorted and looked around the conference table to see if anyone else knew what a firm grasp of the obvious this “political genius” possessed. “Of course I have, every cop has. It happens almost every weekend.”

Gram with a steady gaze, said, “Good. Then you know what to expect. Except you’ll be arresting the same drunk all day, every day from the day you come out until election day. If you can’t handle that, then save everyone here a lot of wasted time and effort and we’ll call this a consultation and quit before we start.”

Daniel had refused to quit.

Gram had nodded grudging approval.

It was on their third straight day of meeting at Joe’s place, that Daniel’s opinion of Gram solidified to just bearable dislike. The family was present at these meetings including Joe’s campaign manager, Sarah Brannon. Joe had just closed the meeting when Gram approached Daniel. “You and I need to have a totally private conversation,” Daniel spoke quietly with Joe and Raymond and then lead Gram to Joe’s private office.

Once the door was closed and they were seated, Gram began, ” I’m only going to say this once, off the record, and for your ears only. I won’t ask you to keep this confidential because I’m prepared to swear on a bible, under oath, in front of my mother, and to your face, that I have never said anything near like what you are about to hear. You got that, Sheriff”?

Daniel frowned but nodded his understanding, if not his approval.

Gram continued, “Good. For the next few minutes, you’re going to listen to what I tell you until I finish telling you everything I have to tell you. Do you understand”?

Daniel’s body, unconsciously, aggressively shifted. “I think I understand. I did get beyond toilet training and kindergarten. Say what you intend to say. I've got a sudden urge to go wash my hands.”

No surprise to Daniel, Gram Manowski didn’t respond to the obvious slur against his character. The man wasn’t easy to read. He seemed to know exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. He came across as pleasant, smooth, and charming. But, Maria intuitively and intentionally avoided the man and that spoke volumes to Daniel.

He was obviously intelligent, well educated, and articulate. If you accept everyone at face value Gram could easily earn your respect. Daniel was certain he could and would just as easily cut your throat. Ok, maybe just metaphorically, maybe. To Daniel, the man lacked any discernible warmth. A fact that Daniel attributed to his profession. Daniel had a gut feeling that he possessed an innate character flaw. It was like the man was always… “ON”.

For Gram’s tone to suddenly become forceful, didactic and simplistic came as a bit of a surprise to Daniel. Somehow he felt the less he said the less dirty he was going to feel after this conversation ended.

“Good. From now on, you will greet everyone you meet with a smile and a firm handshake. I don’t care if you’ve known them all your life or you just saw them for the first time across a crowded room. They might even be friends or family members of someone you just had arrested. I know you’re normally nice to people. That’s not gonna get you the starring role of your dreams, or whatever metaphor you use to describe winning this election.

“From now on, you have to. Have to! Have to!” With each utterance, Gram slapped his hand on the arm of his leather chair. Daniel had no doubt, given the force of each blow, Gram might easily have damaged a lesser piece of furniture or maybe his own hand. “You Have to be in the spotlight and center stage at all times. No more, “Aw shucks folks” bullshit. No more refusing to take due credit.

“From now on, you’re to take more than a few steps out of your way to smile at everyone and shake their hand. You now live in a place where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. If you can’t be as approachable, engaging, and entertaining as Garrison Keillor then by-god be a fucking suck up like Mr. Rogers and beg everybody to be your neighbor. Either will work. Just so no one ever sees you as a flamer like Richard Simmons or as an obnoxious, unconcerned, asshole like Howard Stern.

“You will at all times appear to be more confident and macho than Arnold Swartzencocker at his terminator best. I want every man you meet, inwardly at least, to believe that you could easily arrest him on his most manly of days. And I want every woman to believe that, given the proper circumstances, she could, just maybe, screw you straight and just as important, I want her to imagine it would be well worth the effort. You’re a handsome, powerfully built, man, of authority. Projecting either of those images won’t be a real challenge to you.”

After a slight pause, he continued, “Your opponent is a semi-retarded piece of shit who performs on command. He has some real professional handlers behind him. I actually envy them. The man is not bright enough to challenge anything they tell him to say or do. He would kiss your ass on Main street and give you thirty minutes to draw a crowd if they told him it would win him the election. The guys behind him have no idea who is going to pull the strings if he actually wins. But, they’re certain someone is just waiting to take over the behind the scenes work.

“This is a play. You are an actor. Your opponent is an actor. You are going to be the better actor. For the duration of this campaign, you are not Daniel Lovan, professional law enforcement officer, you are a two-bit actor trying desperately to win the lead in a major motion picture. You’ve got to remember that. You can become Daniel Lovan after this election or at any point, at which you decide to concede.

Gram relaxed noticeably and almost purred, “Just remember, relax and be yourself.” Then, just as cold and didactic as before he added, “On your own fucking time or wait until after the election. Either way, it’s your choice.”

As if in confidence, Gram said, “My income, my career, and my personal safety are all intimately and completely intertwined with your becoming the next duly elected County Sheriff. To that end, I’m not looking to be your friend. You don’t like me now and I promise we won’t be any closer, after the election. I rent my friends.

“If I do my job right, you’ll win and have no reason to see me as anything other than a highly competent, if somewhat distant, professional. If you fuck up, you lose the election and wind up spending your husband’s billions on who knows what. I lose my bonus and the hopes of using this election as my launch vehicle for working in the stratospheric realm of national politics.

“If, however, I fuck up, you may or may not lose the election. I will, not only lose the aforementioned perks but stand a good chance of… Well, let's just say there are worse things than losing what I have already mentioned.”

Gram waited as if allowing all that to sink in. After a moment, with yet another shift in tone, he asked, “Tell me, Sheriff, have you ever played good cop, bad cop”?

Daniel nodded.

“Good. Now, imagine our working relationship is just like a police partnership. We’re going to be together a lot, just like that for the foreseeable future. You’re always going to be the good cop and I’m always going to be the bad cop. Trust me, it works best that way.

“Now, imagine we have a close working relationship. But, you worry that your partner might not be totally on the up and up. You think he’s maybe a little rough when you leave him alone with a suspect during an interrogation. Or, maybe he’s a little less friendly to gays, women and or minorities when you two are out amongst the citizenry. Maybe you think he has some friends that are more likely to show up in mugshots than in the phonebook. Maybe you think he’s doing a few minor favors for those friends. You think that some of your partner’s, recently purchased, more expensive, personal acquisitions are coming from those friends of his with less than stellar character. Even with all this, you have no proof, only suspicions. Your partner is a well-respected professional. You have no doubt the man has your back. If you ask for a new partner, questions will be asked and you have nothing but unfounded suspicions. If you can’t provide any proof, you’ll end up as embarrassed as a thirteen-year-old whose mother caught him in the kitchen with his pants down, around his ankles, his dick in his hand, and a suspicious looking hole in the still warm apple pie that was to be dinner's dessert.

So, instead of voicing your unfounded concerns, you go to work every day, keep your mouth shut and do your job. And that, my dear Sheriff, will win you this election. If we both do our jobs right, you’ll be calling me to run your campaign for the next regular election cycle. You just better hope y’all can afford me after this win.

“To sum it all up, I may not be what you want. Trust me there is no such thing as the perfect candidate. But, I am what you need. I know my job and do it very well. You can ask me anything. I may or may not answer. But, don’t ever accuse me without proof. Until, if, and when you have some concrete proof of any questionable, immoral or possible criminal activity on my part. Well, just let your conscience be your guide.”

Without waiting to take a breath or to hear any response, Gram simply got up and walked out the door.

Daniel understood Gram’s point. As much as he didn’t like the man, he was very good at his job. He had Daniel working with a speechwriter, a public speaking/voice coach and an acting coach. According to Runt, even his new wardrobe was scrutinized by someone. He wasn’t sure who and that just plained creeped him out.

One evening as they waited for Daniel’s speech coach to arrive, Raymond joked that Daniel might wind up being an actual actor if Sheriffin’ didn’t pan out. Daniel smacked his partner in the back of his head for making such an absurd suggestion. He accused his lover of not giving Hollywood a try only because Tom Selleck had got their first.

Daniel assured his lover that all this voice training was not unlike what he had gone through in speech and drama class in high school. Except that the guys in high school didn’t dare give him shit if he practiced articulation exercises during football practice.

Once the speech coach showed up Raymond was fine just listening as his partner was directed to read several cute and challenging passages from flashcards. Each was to be repeated five times, very fast. Such as….

“Unique New York, New York Unique”

Then…

“Red leather, yellow leather”

Then…

“She says she shall sew a sheet”

That last one was almost too much for Raymond to bear, as his partner “Shit” all over it. Raymond, biting his lip, moved to the bar and poured himself a drink, mostly as a distraction. The drink turned out not a distraction but a disaster as Daniel attempted to read from the last card.

“Pretty pussies purred, pushed, prodded and pounced perfectly on perpendicularly placed peaches.”

Raymond later confessed he wasn’t sure if Daniel had even messed it up at all. He, in fact, heard nothing after, “Pretty pussies purred…” It was definitely right after “Pretty pussies purred...” that Raymond practically pissed, and in that same moment precisely, proceeded to plaster his partner’s pusillanimous professor of perfect pronunciation with perfectly peated punch. In other words, Raymond spit-sprayed the very timid speech coach.

The reason Raymond was so sure of the exact point in the exercise at which he lost it, was because no matter how he tried, the entire rest of the night, he couldn’t get passed, “Pretty pussies purred…” Without peals of laughter and, again, nearly pissing his pants. The speech coach was almost pathetic in his eagerness to absolve Raymond of any blame. Shortly after dabbing away the expelled whisky, the man made some weak excuse and left almost immediately. As he exited he charged Daniel with “Perfect practice perfectly performed produces perfect pronunciation.” That was the last time Daniel allowed Raymond to be in the same room with the speech coach. Raymond was also forbidden from ever mentioning elocution exercises. Nor was he allowed, in Daniel's presence, to put more than two words starting with the same letter in the same sentence. Ever again.

His election campaign was well underway. His days were busy, but his nights and weekends had become almost frantic. “Time off” was simply unheard of. Time alone with Raymond was still fantastic even if it was sometimes just a late dinner fixed by Runt and a quick roll in the hay before falling asleep and then the next day was “rinse and repeat.” Raymond was being totally supportive and encouraging.

Now, as Daniel sat in his office contemplating the variety of possible reactions to his coming out for the 100th time that day, he considered his Chief Deputy. Daniel had not been surprised that Chief Deputy Benjamin Brannon had continued with his plans to retire. In his time with the department, Daniel had seen the man absorb a tremendous amount of abuse from the old Sheriff. He had also seen him take flak from citizens that should have been dealt with by the Sheriff. Daniel wasn’t sure if Brannon’s acquiescence and almost blind support were due to wanting to protect his retirement or if Sheriff Johnson was blackmailing him. He didn’t really want to know. He respected the senior lawman he had worked with and wanted to hold onto that respect. He had yet to even think about Ben’s replacement.

A few days ago, Daniel had begun to interview candidates to replace the two Deputies that had left, the old Sheriff’s “boy toy” and Deputy Jones, the man who had refused to arrest Raymond’s mother. Jones was now his registered rival in the upcoming special election, scheduled for April 10th. So far, only two of the several qualified candidates for Deputy he had interviewed showed any real potential to both fit-in and adequately perform the duties required of a Sheriff’s Deputy. Only one of those two really stood out as someone Daniel was eager to hire. Already the background checks were being conducted on both candidates. He held onto a couple of the “also ran” applications, just in case.

Shortly after he arrived this morning, he got a call from Raymond. They had, again this morning, discussed his coming out speech. Both were more than a little anxious. Raymond began with, “Daniel, I know you can take care of yourself. That’s not an issue. I completely support your decision to come out. It’s just that, I’m worried that someone on your staff might react badly. You've told me some of the homophobic remarks and crude jokes that went around just after that bastard was killed and those videos were sent out. Apparently, none of the staff, except for his boy toy, had known or even suspected that he was gay. It sounded to me like they were more incensed and offended at his having been gay than his having been a bad cop. I’m just worried that when you come out this afternoon there may be some outrage.”

Raymond paused, then said, "Believe me, I didn’t mean to make a pun just now. I’m just worried. I talked to Joe and Ilya, who just got back into town this morning, and to Tink. We have a plan. I’m asking you to allow two of Ilya’s men to attend the meeting. If people ask, you can say they’re potential employees who you felt should attend the meeting. If you let me do this, maybe my heart'll stop pounding and I can catch a normal breath. I feel like I’ve had too much coffee and I’ve only had that one cup with you before you left the house. Right now, I’m about as antsy as a fifteen-year-old holding a pregnancy test stick. Please. Do this, as a favor to me”?

Daniel intentionally smoothed his voice out and used his most reassuring tone. The one he used to comfort the families of accident victims. He wanted to comfort his lover without coming across as patronizing. “Raymond, you know I’ve thought about nothing else since making this decision. Trust me, I know these guys. These are all good people. They might be upset but they’re not the kind to react violently without justification. I think one Deputy might actually up and quit on the spot but he’s just as likely to come back tomorrow having changed his mind. He's always been a loud-mouthed, bigoted, redneck anyway. But, most of that is just his bullshit bigoted Daddy and Uncles. Some others might give me a wide berth for a while but I really don’t foresee a major problem. But, if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll host Ilya’s men. Just make sure neither one of them comes in here with a Russian accent.”

Daniel smirked to himself as he decided to take Raymond’s mind off the meeting. He moved the timbre of his voice into a smokey, sexy, almost whisper, Daniel practically oozed pheromones through his phone, “Now, tell me, sexy man, what’re you wearing right now, are you still going commando like you were at breakfast? You know those sweatpants of yours should be criminalized. They make you look like you're packing some kind of oversized burglary tool in your pocket. And those clingy sweatpants don’t even have pockets. Maybe next time I'll frisk you to make sure that’s not some kind of bludgeon between your legs. Maybe a strip search followed by a thorough probing of all your cavities. Do you like those ideas Big Boy? Huh" Now tell me, my hot'nhorney, handsome, hunk of man meat..."

Daniel was surprised that his dirty, sexy talk had turned him on. He wondered if it would work as well when he masturbated? In the instant he had asked himself that question, he shifted gears. Now, it was like he had never mentioned anything sexual at all. In a distinctly "normal", unconcerned tone, Danel asked, “So, uh, are we still on for lunch”?

It caught Raymond completely off guard. Once he recovered, he all but shouted, “Damn you, Lawman. What're you trying to do, drive me crazy? You're fucking trying to placate me one minute, then you're filling my head full of fantasies and now it's like none of that shit even happened. Are you going schizoid on me, Lawman? It's like you were all warm and fuzzy and suddenly threw ice cold water in my face. I’ve got people to meet this morning and here you have to go and give me a full-blown hard-on. I know you were trying to distract me and it worked... a little. So thanks for that, I guess.

“And yes, of course, we’re on for lunch. Miss Julie would send out an APB and have us arrested by your own Deputies if we didn’t eat lunch at her place. She might even decide to feed us bad leftovers the next time we showed up. Just like Jeff told me she served him and Paul when they were having a little tiff. Just text me when you’re ready and we’ll meet at my car." A slight pause and then Raymond continued, "You know, come to think of it, you’re coming out might not be as much of a shock as we think it will be. I mean, we’ve had lunch together every day for several weeks now and now you live out at the ranch. Someone has got to be onto us by now.

“Oh, one more thing, Tink came up with a monitoring program. I’ve sent it in an email. When you open it, it'll allow me to see and hear everything that goes on in your office in real time no matter what else is going on with your computer. Just turn the screen around like you’re about to use it to give a powerpoint presentation. You can delete the program after today, or…”

This time it was Raymond who shifted into a soft, smoky, sexy, voice, If you want, Big boy, I can get Tink to make it a two way live video connection that's more secure than almost anything the NSA has. Trust me, Tink knows. Then, I could actually show you that I really am going commando instead of just telling you, Big Boy. You’ll never have to sneak off to the men’s room to jack off again.” Even as their conversation continued in this lighter, er, uh, stimulating vein, Daniel opened the email.

Almost as soon as they said their goodbyes, Daniel considered the other unpleasant thing he had to do today. He had one last prospective hire to interview and that was this morning with Nathaniel Greene, the gay, local policeman who introduced himself to Daniel in a men’s room at a gay nightclub in Dallas. Daniel would have liked to have just shit-canned Greene’s application. The man himself had suggested that might be an option Daniel could use. Sometimes a man just had to 'cowboy up' and deal with shit head on, if he wanted to live with his conscience. The final nail in the coffin on this internal debate was that on paper at least, the man’s record was exemplary. No matter who the next Sheriff was going to be, Daniel had to choose the best people to serve as the Sheriff and the people of this County.

Copyright © 2017 sojourn; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

1 hour ago, Wesley8890 said:

Omg I understood all those references! Damn I'm getting old.... He may be a greasy slimeball, but I like Gram.

He's slimy. But, you gotta give him credit, he knows it and doesn't care if you know it too.

Thanks for commenting.

Jim

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6 minutes ago, soundaddict_nz said:

Nah,,,its a plumper,,,,,or fluffer hehe

I can see a lot of grief until I post next chapter which is already written and was all one 12000 word chapter that I butchered.

I get it posted soon.

 

Jim

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it introduced Gram and set the stage for the coming out,,,,it plumped the story,,,,adding Gram was adding a new thread in the tapestry, thus enriching it and helps us understand the man further on when he is referred to. it was a great character build i thought,,,interesting fellow. looking foward to seeing how his presence effects the outcome of the election and what other things he may contribute,,,the possibilities are endless and exciting,,,looking foward to more,,loving it !

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Much like Raymond in the story, I could not get past the elocution lessons, just too funny.  But you seem to understand what it takes to run a campaign, even in a small rural county in Texas.  Gram is annoying but a necessary evil.  Can't wait for the coming out party, so to speak.  Keep up the great work.

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13 hours ago, soundaddict_nz said:

it introduced Gram and set the stage for the coming out,,,,it plumped the story,,,,adding Gram was adding a new thread in the tapestry, thus enriching it and helps us understand the man further on when he is referred to. it was a great character build i thought,,,interesting fellow. looking foward to seeing how his presence effects the outcome of the election and what other things he may contribute,,,the possibilities are endless and exciting,,,looking foward to more,,loving it !

By George! I think you've got it!

Thanks for posting a most insightful comment.

Jim

PS,

I have already sent the edit link to Nathan.

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4 minutes ago, sojourn said:

By George! I think you've got it!

Thanks for posting a most insightful comment.

Jim

PS,

I have already sent the edit link to Nathan.

WOOHOO ! Comeon Nathan,,,the energy drinks are on me ! lol

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Interesting addition with Gram -- he reminds me of Bruno Gianelli from the West Wing, if you aren't familiar search for some clips on youtube. He could seem ruthless and distant, but he was always one of the smartest minds in the room

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3 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Much like Raymond in the story, I could not get past the elocution lessons, just too funny.  But you seem to understand what it takes to run a campaign, even in a small rural county in Texas.  Gram is annoying but a necessary evil.  Can't wait for the coming out party, so to speak.  Keep up the great work.

Like some of your previous comments, you've hit the nail on the head. Gram can accomplish things that the Adams family might actually refuse to do or "allow" him to do out of a sense of decency. While Ilya is dedicated and capable of using deadly force in defense of and maybe even in preemptive defense of the family, Gram is just as subtle and whose involvement is just as difficult to detect, but with less physical violence.

The "good" Adams family needs a sophisticated, election-savvy, unscrupulous "bad" guy that compliments but not conflicts with the not so, "ugly" Ilya. Adding Gram gives us our own version of a spaghetti western. 

Thanks for posting your comments.

Jim

Jim

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13 minutes ago, phoenix_0826 said:

Interesting addition with Gram -- he reminds me of Bruno Gianelli from the West Wing, if you aren't familiar search for some clips on youtube. He could seem ruthless and distant, but he was always one of the smartest minds in the room

1

I will accept "ruthless and distant, but he was always one of the smartest minds in the room" as a very accurate summation of Gram. The Adams family is smart enough to realize Gram's true loyalties, at every level, are only to Gram. I wonder if such a character can attach himself to anyone or anything for other than self-serving motivations?

Thanks for posting an excellent summation of Gram.

Jim

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41 minutes ago, Sweetlion said:

Damn, what an end... Really curious about the talk now.

Sorry about that. Like I said the final version of the next chapter is already in the hands of Nathan, my editor. I am really pleased with how it turned out, even with the butchering of dividing the chapter. The original had over 12,000 words. I never intended to post this chapter as it was. But, apparently, if you save a chapter, even with deselecting "Post immediately, " it still posts immediately. I had 10 viewers before I could turn around. It was too late then.

I hope the next chapter makes up for it.

Thanks for your comments.

Jim

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Damn, Daniel is a busy man but still has time for Lunch and fun times with his man.   This election could be a doozy, but coming out now does rob his opponents of any rumors that could be spread.  Looking forward to the rest of the meeting.  Thanks!!

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4 hours ago, glennish said:

Damn, Daniel is a busy man but still has time for Lunch and fun times with his man.   This election could be a doozy, but coming out now does rob his opponents of any rumors that could be spread.  Looking forward to the rest of the meeting.  Thanks!!

Thanks, by now you have read the next chapter. But, even then the meeting is not ended. Someone is eventually going to tell me I milk every scene to the very last drop of entertainment and I should just gloss things over a bit more and move on faster.

Thanks for commenting.

Jim

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Gram is a very smart man. If you think back to Lee Atwater. He was probably one of the smartest campaign strategist that ever was. And probably one of the most controversial to both groups Republican and Democrat. Some of both hated him. He was ruthless, but someone that most people even his enemies would be proud to set down and have a beer with or listen to him play guitar. Not to mention he was cute as hell too!

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Sometimes we choose not to separate the professional from the personal.  I wonder if having a beer could again be done in today's polarized political environment. Even to nod across the aisle is tantamount to political suicide. Professional politicians also err in wanting to be liked instead of respected and wind up being neither.   Are there any Statesmen left, or have we seen to often The Emperor's Clothes? 

Machiavelli said "It is better to be feared than loved , if you can't be both." Today,, that seems an anthem instead of a sly remark regarding two sides of different coins. Every Dom strives for both as a mark of excellence.

Thanks for posting your comments.

Jim

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Gram is a fascinating character. He doesn't BS or spout a bunch of philosophic meanderings, he just tells it like it is in plain and simple terms.  While doing so he honestly admits that he isn't in the mood to make friends with Daniel, just to successfully get Daniel elected.  He is truly a professional campaign manager whether we like him or not.  This was a very realistic and well written chapter!  Job well done, Jim.

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On 3/11/2022 at 3:21 AM, raven1 said:

Gram is a fascinating character. He doesn't BS or spout a bunch of philosophic meanderings, he just tells it like it is in plain and simple terms.  While doing so he honestly admits that he isn't in the mood to make friends with Daniel, just to successfully get Daniel elected.  He is truly a professional campaign manager whether we like him or not.  This was a very realistic and well written chapter!  Job well done, Jim.

Thanks

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