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Robert A. Mills

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Well !

8/28/2007 10:15:00 AM

by Robert A. Mills

LOG LINE: In 1927 Charles. A. Lindbergh flew alone across the Atlantic in a rickety monoplane with five sandwiches, a canteen of water, and no radio—an adventure that inadvertently marked the beginning of an era: The Great Depression. Many who were adopted back then began to fantasize being the kidnapped ‘Lindbergh baby,’ only to have their dreams evaporate amidst harsh reality. Ronnie Coalman clung to the supposition throughout years of heavy drama, zany comedy, and overblown special effects until finally the defiance hurlers appeared once again in the cockpit as they had fifty years before—but this time it was when Coalman attempts to duplicate the flight to prove his rather absurd assertion.
Ronnie Coalman was a product of the Great Depression. His story, however, is timeless; he emanates from an evolution of American technological marvels in show business and entertainment that has made it possible for practically anyone with a modicum of talent to rise from the most humble of beginnings to the top of his profession by displaying little more than what William James called “the recipe for positive results”: Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity; successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.
The Great Depression has spawned many unique American stories, but none so gripping and transcendent as the saga of Ronnie Coalman.

From a childhood in a family scraping by with a small restaurant in half their home, to a career as the top TV anchor and personality in network broadcasting, Ronnie rides an emotional whirlwind through marriage to a leading fashion model, father of an incredible debutante, an affair with a vivacious director — and an unquenchable obsession that he is Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., the kidnapped and ostensibly murdered son of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and the famous aviator.
Aware he is but one of dozens who have seriously approached this supposition over four decades, Ronnie Coalman goes on a crusade to prove his claim, an enterprise that has repercussions throughout the entertainment world. At the pinnacle of success on national TV as the news anchor and chief correspondent of a leading network, his position will be compromised if his insistence on pursuing the Lindbergh connection continues -- even as it grows more evident there might just be genuine substance to his assertion of kinship.

This remarkable story culminates with a twist that leaves the reader gasping in a state of shock. The impact of the ending is so traumatic, the author has inserted a preface requesting his readers do not divulge the story’s climax to the detriment of others.

The infant was dead, but its eyes remained procaciously open. The man, on his knees and using his right thumb and index finger, pushed the lids shut, withdrew his hand and was startled when the lids flew open again. Once more, with his thumb and index finger, he closed the eyelids, pressing them tighter and holding them longer. “Vun . . . two . . . tree . . . vore . . . vife,” he counted quietly, as though he might awaken the baby, his heavy accent more breath than audible and distinct words. At seven he let go. The eyes popped open with a dry clicking sound. The man reached to his side and groped for a small flashlight on the ground beside the duffle bag. Then, rummaging inside the bag, he came upon an old and brittle roll of gray adhesive tape. Holding the flashlight in his mouth, he took out the roll and tore off a piece about four inches long; he closed the right eye and secured the lid with the tape, running it from the child’s forehead to its cheek. In the weakening orbicular glow of the yellowish beam, the man thought there was grotesque comedy in the appearance of the baby staring up at him with one eye taped shut and the other open wide, a sort of macabre wink from the other side; and the man, in spite of himself, giggled silently. He picked up the roll to tear off another chunk when the tape holding the right eye lost what little was left of its adhesiveness, allowing the lid to reopen, the bottom half of the tape fluttering momentarily, a window blind gone awry. Seeing both eyes again staring up in recriminating defiance was more than the man could stand. Before extinguishing the flashlight, he reached on the ground for the old, rusted shovel beneath the duffle bag. He held it in both hands as one, about to chop wood, would hold an axe. Then, as a rooster crowed somewhere in the distance, the man raised the shovel and bashed the face and head of the dead child, striking it again and again until there was little left but the torso beneath the flattened blot of blood, bone, and brains of the unfortunate baby.  





More News by Robert A. Mills

· Circles ! - 6/15/2005 1:16:00 PM
· 'Mate ! - 1/1/2003 8:13:00 AM

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