‘About Our Lives’ A Poem

pauld2leo.wordpress.com Writers Write
‘About Our Lives’ By Paul Di Tullio
‘Not all your thoughts should always count,
If so – your troubles might sorely mount;
Really – do you know what is vital today?
Quality of life – in life – in every way!
Some of us never quite able to understand this,
Others so much luckier – how can they miss?

For it’s not all the things you can do,
Rather – Quality of Life – rings here, too;
Helping that friend to get where he’s going,
This is what I mean – Quality of Life – by doing.
Perhaps someone giving you that helping hand,
When you are ready to make your stand;

Really, an art – in giving – which leads,
To your happiness – and mine -this it seeds;
Better to be happy and not know fear;
For it’s not important how long you’ll be here;
Live each day as all of your lifetime,
To CENTER STAGE – get out of the sublime;

Feel yourself always coming out of your shoes –
Forget seeming troubles – get out of those blues;
Live life fully – reach out to your fellow man,
This quality of life – for every man and woman;
Also, never forget all our loving children –
Teach them – each, every one – this simple creed,
The quality of life ‘first class…’ for our posterity!

Something from my sounding board about…Life!…Paul

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Chapter 12 – ‘I Love San Diego’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 12 ‘I Love San Diego’

‘Patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet!’ Jean Jacques Rousseau

“I always wondered how I’d feel running, side by side, with you, Drummond…
“In a big race,” Sandy Madigan did some complimenting while Drummond’s countenance revealed a slight embarrassment.
“At least, for a mile or so,” Sandy blushed, “then you got to…go!”
Drummond remained humble.
*****************
“Thanks, Sandy,” he said, “all the best to you, too…”
Sandy trilled like a happy sparrow playing with a wiggling worm soon headed where it belonged. Madigan dallied now with her man of the moment as Drummond wondered what to do next about this charming companion.
The long limbed Drummond smiled uneasily at her recognizance of his fast rising and gleaming star status.
‘Sandy, call me a hot dog, but no mustard, please?’ he hoped she wasn’t going to lay it on too thick. However, Madigan feigned a validating air as she huffed.
*****************

“May I have two or three of your autographed pictures, sir?
“Just, in case!” Madigan’s pretty smile did him in. “I do believe you are the man to beat, don’t you?” Sandy decided to lay on the mustard anyway whether he liked it or not.
“Sandy, sweet!
“Thanks for the compliment, but aren’t you overdoing more than a little?” Drummond threw the hot potato with all the sour cream and chives back to Madigan’s serving table.
Sassy Sandy, not be outdone, readied for yet another sweet tipped arrow.
“Maybe, I do like you just a little…and I do hope you win today, Mister Paul Drummond…”:
Her winsome smile reminded Drummond of his favorite strawberry jam. He fantasized for a moment how sweet it would be to suck face with Sandy Madigan like the hero and heroine had in ‘Golden Pond’ when he saw the play at the Costa Mesa Women’s Club two weekends ago.
*************
“Well, I’ll settle for a little sunshine, Sandy…
“That’s how I feel when you show up, anytime, even after dark,” he shared in the nice and easy parrying going on.
“I remember you said to me how you like my pretty parts,” she blushed a little.
“Which part or parts of me did you mean, Mister Drummond?”
Sandy Madigan’s face reddened more as she lightly stomped her sneakered feet as he wondered what to do with this ray of sunshine that refused to go away.
“See you, in a mile or so…” quipped Drummond.
“Well, I hope…” he winked.
Sandy suddenly felt like a fly hung on a piece of flypaper as she glanced into his romantic eyes.
*****************

“Rascal…you!
“Catch you, later!” Sandy smiled devilishly while soaking in the golden after glow of the moment. So this is how it might be with this new man she felt so drawn to like a moth to light. Inspired by the repartee, Sandy felt ready to give her very all in the San Diego run.
****************
“Maybe, I am fickle!” Sandy Madigan chided herself. She flashed back about how loving she once exclusively felt about Tom, her rooster of the walk, now reigning without her in Massachusetts.
“I am not sure just what I should do!’ she scolded herself. Sandy Madigan didn’t know just what to do about this conflict of a choice between wayward Tom a very present Paul Drummond.
“Drummond’s a neat guy!’ she convinced herself once more approving what she saw inside her looking glass. Drummond seemed a mix between devil and a prince and available prey.
*****************

“Anyway,” she couldn’t get this man out of her hair, “I know that he likes me…
“It’s so obvious…
“And yet…I feel…so…mixed up!”

*********************
It was much later at the halfway point of the San Diego Marathon as early front runners faded while Drummond forged into the lead battling in a top notch international field.
Dr. Tom Nussbaum was running his best race in awhile as Italy’s Angelo Bertoli formed an unholy alliance with Drummond. Ruben Martinez, of Mexicali, ran a surprising fourth as Brooklyn’s Hymie Rosenberg began to show his true mettle now moving toward front of the pack.
*****************

Drummond knew all about unknowns. Hadn’t he himself been one of the world’s best kept secrets? Hadn’t death itself nearly deposited him in an early grave?
Didn’t his own notoriety only start after he dedicated himself then ran every race as if his very life depended on it?
*****************

Especially, after thanking God for sparing his life after virulent melanoma cancer stuck in his chest like a TNT charged ready to detonate any second?
Drummond proved time and again up to the challenge. Now here he was deep into this San Diego trial. He felt so obsessed every time he laced his running shoes to run in a grateful attitude to God who had indeed heard his soul stirring cries.
*****************

As the marathoners skirmished now for the lead with each passing mile, Drummond focused on what he had to do to seize yet another victory. It wouldn’t be easy, but with God by his side Drummond believed all things were possible, especially, by and through His ever present Grace.
Purposefully, Drummond studied the remaining field of intense competitors at the 25 mile marker. He accepted a proferred paper cup, drinking some and spilling most of the chilly water, as he breezed past a happy and helping fan.
*************

The $10,000 prize money popped into his mind, again.
Second place would be good enough for 5,000 while the winning femme collected a $10,000 prize for the very first time in the running of the San Diego Marathon.
Drummond wondered for a moment how Sandy Madigan, the fiery strawberry blonde, was faring, especially, amid that forthcoming challenge posed by a relentless Glory Day. The two ladies just didn’t see eye to eye. Or so it always seemed, whenever Drummond saw them, side by side.
*****************

The circuitous course would end in Balboa Park, a palm tree studded mecca where it was said San Diego’s heart and soul lived on through the ages along with the accompanying sun as it rose at dawn then set in another magnificent dusk at twilight.
*****************

A myriad of palms acted now like so many uncounted yet stately sentinels ensuring safe passage and true sanctuary to a host of marathoners in one of the civilized world’s most euphoric settings. San Diego had it all, imbued with a one of a kind raisin sun favoring a stout hearted band of determined challengers.
*****************

Only the fierce and competitive and discordant mood of the sundry marathoners rent the air with a vibrancy, a high expectancy of climax, a bitter sweet anticipation of both heartbreak and unparalleled joy. A select few, spearheaded by Drummond, an iron willed Italian named Bertoli and now Jamie Chance, a Las Vegas flash, nipping at the heels of Drummond. The challengers bunched, together, running in San Diego for that elusive top dollar.
*****************

Drummond passed a tiring Mexican athlete with Martinez’s legs acting like a sailor on land with spaghetti strands to stand on. It wasn’t working at all for the top of the class rival.
Now Nussbaum and Timmy Keefe, a surprising Irishman, ran side by side with Drummond, less that a mile to go. A tumult of fanatical cheers followed the leaders, caught up in a step by step tunnel of clamorous sound, as spectators and fans cheered on personal favorites.
*****************

An inspired Drummond, glancing heanvenward now, kicked in his patented after burner. And it made him suddenly appear inhuman, such as a free spirit dropped out of the sky, by God Himself.
Nussbaum and Keefe watched helplessly as Drummond raced five yards ahead as a red ribboned fluttered in beckoning invitation at the oncoming finish line.
Drummond persisted in remaining ahead of Keefe and Bertoli zipping by Doc Nussbaum. However, the West German expatriate refused to quit and ran neck and neck with Bertoli.
**********
Clearly, it was Drummond first to the finish line. Keefe spurted past Nussbaum. Bertoli, visibly puffing, shook his head back and forth in utter despair and bitter disappointment over his fadeaway he believed never should have happened.
Drummond’s high stepping, quick pumping legs had been too much to overcome for the courageous Keefe.
*****************

Drummond raised his right fist in a victory salute as the boisterous crowd roared in approval for the man they heard had dedicated each marathon victory with all honor and praise and glory to God.
Nussbaum ran now to Drummond’s side congratulating his southern California friend and foe. Drummond gave Nussbaum a share of kudos over his stirring comeback in the San Diego Marathon after incurring a questionable leg injury earlier in the race.
***********

Looks good…for you, Nuss!
“You’ll be doing well I hope, all this year!” Drummond stroked the ego of the European who had moved to Los Angeles five years ago.
“Well, I do ok, Drummond…” he said with respect.
“For the first time?
“Next time I win…” Nussbaum smiled.
*****************

Keefe lauded Drummond as he shook his hand then ambled to a refreshment table looking for a can of light beer and trying to forget post mortem blues.
Other long distance runners completed the Marathon including Kenji Ozawa, of Tokyo, Sammy Woo, out of Taipeh, Ivan Popov, a dedicated Russian refuge living in New York and fellow Americans such as Nick Rossi, of New York City and Vinny Sullivan, from San Francisco.
Drummond reveled in a fantastic timing and personal best 2:11:15.
***********
Little did Drummond realize at that particular moment in time, Sandy Madigan and Glory Day battled their hearts out not only for a victory in the San Diego Marathon, but for bragging rights when they saw the man they both desired in a rivalry neither had bargained for in the beginning.
The die had been cast…It portended a battle royal like none other in the days and nights to come…
Finis

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Chapter 1 – ‘Long Live the Sierra King’ (Book 60 Fiction ‘High Sierra Mystery’) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 60 ‘A High Sierra Mystery’ Fiction) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 1 – ‘Long Live the Sierra King’

‘I used to wonder about living and dying – I think the difference lies between tears and crying. I used to wonder about here and there – I think the distance is nowhere…’ ‘Boys of Summer’ Roger Kahn
*****************
The king of the Sierra Nevada was dead… There always had been that remote possibility a conspiratorial anti-environmentalist combine or psychopathic terrorist might one day do violence and end Carl Fields’ zealous mission.
However, the shocking reality now of what had happened traumatized the world corps of the renowned Sierra Club, as no calamity, ever, since founding of the do gooders around turn of the century…
****************************
Fields” assassination boomed across TV screens like the shot heard around the world reminiscent of a day when President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered on a Crystal crossed day in Texas, decades ago..
Only this time, the killer had used deadly and excessive force, by explosion, as Fields’ body unceremoniously launched into an early grave.
******************
Factions of the environmentalist world, enthusiasts for special causes, convened now for Fields’s wake in idyllic southern California. Anti factionist groups, representing air pollution and acid rain other water contaminant soldiers in ceaseless battles to free, suddenly were present and accounted for at the funeral service in Irvine.
It was time to honor posthumously the memory of a Hall of Famer. Their celebrated leader was gone, cut down by an unknown assassin or cadre of killers.
***************************
“Hon, I will call when I get to San Francisco,” the dynamic crusader in the world of ecosystems, had promised Crystal, his youngest daughter, in the last seconds of his life.
******************

“Ok, daddy!” Fields’ darling teenager, smiled as she waved to bid him adieu. She was going to miss him for Crystal loved him so much, especially, since the untimely death of mother Nell Fields in a tragic mountain road accident years ago. It was so easy for Crystal whenever she was around daddy.
******************
Crystal knew how much her daddy doted and how he loved her whenever she wrapped her arms tightly around him, especially, when he returned from another Sierra adventure. And when Fields wasn’t around, he loved to buy his daughters special gifts from wherever he happened to be over the years. Sky and Brook , Crystal’s sisters, had said their good-byes, earlier that afternoon, before driving to a movie in Woodbridge. Crystal, of the trio, basked in daddy’s charm.
She kissed him lightly on the cheek and, to her delight, dad gave Crystal one extra squeeze and hug.
******************
She watched him walk briskly to the curb in front of their huge Woodbridge home in Irvine California toward his bluish gray Mercedes. Fields had to be a very special man in his daughters’ lives. Crystal loved how he championed underdogs, even in a losing cause, how her dad never gave up in his Sierra Club wars.
**********************
“We’ll get ’em next time, honey.” Fields, a stocky man in his mid forties, had playfully chucked Crystal under her chin last time the Sierra Club lost a battle. Fields had a fiery glint in his amber brown eyes, a lantern jaw set in resolutely, willing to take on all comers.
Crystal,, like the other daughters, knew daddy was a pushover, whenever they wished extra money. Or to go to a movie as Sky and Brook got permission to do, hours before he was scheduled to fly into San Francisco. That was the way daddy was, devoted and supportive, in his unique role as sole survivor in the girls’ parental corps.
*********************
Nellie, his beautiful bride of two decades, had been fatally injured in a Sierra Nevada mountain range accident two years ago. His daughters suddenly became Fields’ only light at the end of his grief tunnel. He had wanted to be the best dad he could be before Nell’s death and now with his wife dead the Sierra Club chief decided he would do his best to fill in for Nell, too.
Now as Crystal waved goodbye in her dad’s direction, he turned to smile and wave back. Crystal remained in front of the ivory double front door at the rambling two story manor.
“See you, dumpling…” Crystal’s father inserted key into ignition before pulling away from the curb with three brief toots of the brassy sounding horn.
****************************
It was then all hell broke loose and nothing would ever be the same again for Crystal, her two sisters and the Sierra Club movement. Aghast, Crystal’s bluish green eyes, looked on, disbelievingly. There had been such a violent explosion. It was a moment of infamy, indelibly marked, into the 15-year-old’s horrified psyche.
**********************
“Oh, no! “Daddy! Oh…daddy!” Crystal rubbed her eyes, hoping against hope, not wanting to open them again. Perhaps this was a nightmare. However, it was no nightmare for the Irvine teenager. She had just witnessed a violent explosion as she cried in anguish glancing toward what used to be Fields’ car, .her disoriented mind reeled now, whirling as a dervish of windmills.
******************
She tried to close her eyes and keep them closed, but reality refused to be blocked out. In that instant, Crystal had suddenly remembered last summer when she toured Europe with a cheerful band of teenage naturalists. How they had crossed one day into the lowlands of Holland. But reality, the reality of the present moment, reared it’s head again.
***************************
Only this was no tilting windmill in her path, near Amsterdam or Rotterdam, that preoccupied Crystal in Irvine now. The instantaneous chamber of horrors had returned. Crystal remembered the violent explosion at the edge of her lawn and she began to cry uncontrollably at what had happened to her father. She gazed at a smoldering metal hulk, what once had been her daddy’s pride and joy Mercedes.
******************
Only, this misshapen metal outrageously reminded her of how too many times in the kitchen when a faulty toaster did not pop like it was supposed to and sourdough toast blackened She looked skyward, in feverish prayer, directly asking God for a miracle.

Inwardly, in her heart and soul, Crystal despaired. “Daddy’s dead!” her troubled mind told her what she did not want to accept. Crystal tried hard not to remember immortal lines oft remembered from Charles Dickens, about being ‘deader than a doornail.’ Somehow, nothing was working for her. She was paralyzed by the explosion into outright inertia. She could not move her arms or legs and her eyes wanted to shut and stay shut.
*************************
Again, Crystal cried out, wringing her hands, desperately, praying again for a sign of life, a miracle, that her daddy was okay, that everything was going to be okay, as always. Perhaps her daddy, Crystal, in sheer desperation, had played a weird trick on her. Maybe, he would suddenly emerge from in back of the mammoth oak tree by the sidewalk..
******************
She pushed some strands of soiled hair, out of her tired eyes, waiting for her daddy to run up the sidewalk so she could once more hug him close to her. Her daddy would sweep Crystal into his arms and console her, please dear God, please, let daddy hold me close to him, again. She remembered how her father used to like playing hide and seek with her when she was not yet nine years old.
***********************
Daddy would bound from behind that huge tree towering so high above their magnificent, love filled house.
******************

“Oh, dear God…Please…please…let this be just a nightmare! Oh, God! Please…help me…wake up! Let this be, only, a bad dream..!!” Crystal pleaded, feeling utter confusion, on this ugliest day in her life.
******************
She remembered how her father oft times visited with Jim Feathers, a prime time player, with the local birdwatchers’ Society. Feathers espoused causes for the protection of aviaries for the past decade and had been a frequent visitor at the Fields manse. Feathers and Fields bothered to care, dared to travel, volunteered countless hours, not caring while pressing on for victory in popular, even, sometimes, unpopular causes.
********************
The two men had waged titanic battles siding against relentless commercial developers, unorthodox corporations, even the federal government’s sprawling octopii.
She stood in the framed doorway of the Fields’ home, unable to move a finger, her tender mind traumatized in a semi-coma. She refused to believe what had happened to her father or his devastated car.
******************
Crystal accepted her chaotic denial, knowing no other choice in her fragile mind, paralyzed by the sheer agony of what transpired, a searing pain that would not go away. Her head felt like it was splitting now in two or three pieces yet she didn’t know what she could do about anything.
*********************
Momentarily, Fields’ youngest daughter, returned to a trembling state of reality. Yes, she did remember her father, indeed, turned the Mercedes ignition. She did wave a spirited goodbye. There had been a frightening explosion, then a mushrooming orange red fire ball, amid baby streamers, eerily, reminding her of a favorite Fourth of July celebration. However, this was no firework display in Woodbridge in the city of Irvine even at not too far away Disneyland.
******************
Crystal felt so suspended in time, not able to move forward nor back up either. Fire ball tails scorched too close now, by her lithe body, amid that ear deafening blast. Crystal felt so very helpless, frozen in her worst nightmare. There she was, all alone, trapped, no way out, in a labyrinth of despair, praying and praying, but with no apparent relief, nobody to help her.

Fields had flown home for a special weekend with his three daughters. It was, always, a renewal of best of times in the family, especially. since the miraculous return of his prodigal son Wolf’. His given Christian name had been Jack. However, he insisted on being called Wolf, after
his difficult adolescence into a troubled manhood induced by years of deprivation and daily survival, day by night, in the hard times and sordid conditions of depravity in an unbelievable dog eat dog Mexico odyssey. Fields had been so happy to return home.
******************

A few days and nights with his brood at the manor he loved always did wonders. Than he would fly to San Francisco to a strategic convention and plot the ‘good fight’, as he fierily called it, at the Hyatt Regency. But San Francisco would never come for Fields. He never knew what hit him as his torn body ghoulishly scattered, in bits and pieces, across the Irvine terrain.
**************************
The detonative device, rigged by a terrorist, had not chanced nor brooked a possible survival for the chieftain. “Whomever planted it,” Lt. John Searcy, one of a host of investigators, “obviously, knew what he was doing. Fields had no chance, none, at all,” he concluded. “Apparently, the bomb was rigged late Thursday night,” Searcy tried to fix a time for the act of terror, “after Fields parked his Mercedes.”
**************************
As for his daughter, the bomb knocked Crystal, as if she was a rag doll, helplessly, to the lawn, about 30 yards away. Metallic fragments of her father’s auto hurtled through the air like shrapnel, straight from one of her unfavorite war movies.
******************
She had never liked war movies, especially, this frightening horror staged in the theater of her perplexed mind. The twisted metal, roughly torn away from Field’s vintage car, had almost decapitated her. Miraculously, Crystal escaped critical injuries. Carl’s daughter had been thrown to the lawn by sheer force of the blast. That, as much as anything, had led her out of harm’s way.
******************************
“Oh, daddy! Daddy! I love you so, daddy…” Crystal mumbled, over and over, realizing there was so much pain. It wasn’t so much what had happened to her, but suddenly she had no father and there was no bigger hurt in the world since her mother’s tragic passing. Crystal’s eyes, reddened now, to a near crimson.
******************
She couldn’t help but lovingly treasure all the love her daddy had given her, Sky and Brook, Crystal reminisced in her deep grief. She remembered how her daddy picked her up when she was a tiny girl.
She loved the way father hurled her in midair, as if she was a unique baton, only daddy knew exactly how to safely twirl. How she had missed father all those lonely nights and days, too, when the Evergreen Society leader, was out of town on important business that took him around the world.
***********************
Fields loved to defend and organize environmentalists in worthy causes, passionately championing every underdog, or so it seemed, especially, to his three daughters and new found son Wolf.. It never mattered, Crystal reminisced. Her daddy fought for animal causes, sheltering dependent and injured aviaries, guaranteeing safeguards against extinction of any endangered species while major developers aggressively intruded into virginal lands, formerly protected under the federal constitution.
******************
Fields stood for whatever was intrinsically good. Crystal couldn’t think of one enemy her daddy had, albeit, she had not traveled extensively nor seen the angry eruptions by powerful land icons and vested interests.
Her dad was not loved, by all, she was to later learn during the extensive inquiry into his murder. Crystal learned how land barons worshiped almighty green instead of God.
**************************
She, also, had not known that her dad had been threatened with bodily harm along with other members of her family in recent years. Carl Fields had tried to shelter his youngest daughter. He had succeeded, until his death. Crystal refused to believe daddy was gone, forever. She was horrified, being the only one to know . If only Sky or Brook were there, her disorientation persisted. Crystal wished she was withthem, far away, laughing, not crying. They liked to joke with each other while munching buttered popcorn. However, the youngster had not wanted to see ‘Soylent Green’ or ‘West World’.
***********************
She had preferred to be home with daddy, instead of at a cinema by Woodbridge Lake. “Oh, someone…please, please…help me!!” she wailed, but so far still no sign of neighborhood life in a community that liked to leave Irvine on weekends for destinations unknown.
******************
“Daddy, daddy! “Please…come back…to me!” for the first time, she was out of denial, admitting tearfully daddy was dead. she rubbed her eyes again than stood haplessly near the front door of her afraid like no other time in her life. She gazed toward her daddy’s demolished car. “It’s so unreal!” she said, aloud. Fields’ Mercedes was grotesquely twisted.
******************
There were loose metal strips, contorted scraps, everywhere. It looked like a pick your part junkyard, an auto graveyard, Crystal used to visit on infrequent occasions with her dad when Fields scavenged for needed equipment to fix Nell’s family car when she was still alive.
Fields had been not only Crystal’s father, but the young teen’s mentor and prime confidant, especially, since Nell’s untimely death during a family outing. Fields had been all he possibly could, as a father and friend, to the girls, especially, to impressionable Crystal, than on the threshold in leaving an awkward stage of pubescence.
******************
She was beginning to blossom into another Fields’ masterpiece, like her two striking sisters, so much like their beautiful mother Nell.
“Daddy! Daddy!” She was still mystified. What had happened to daddy? Moments ago, her dad had been laughing and saying ‘Goodbye.’ Now, she realized, her daddy was forever gone.
******************

She hated to give in, to believe, what her eyes and grieving mind unmistakably told her. However, bits of flesh, shattered bone fragments, strewn every direction, dictated, otherwise. The massacre of Fields had immediately desecrated the day of infamy, bathed in sparkling afternoon sunshine, filtered in apricot orange tincture amid a powder blue and serene marshmallow Irvine sky.
***********************
The Sierra Club leader had taken that fatal and final decisive step. Fields had so many fights to battle in the name of a world renowned environmentalist membership he faithfully championed, but he was gone, forever.. Fields had vowed early in his presidency never to be intimidated by identifiable and foreseeable forces.
******************
There had been predictable threats, accusatory fingers aimed at him like invisible poison darts. Or a gun, some chambers, deadly loaded. Yet Fields understood it was part of the game. “It comes with the territory!” Fields said. Carl had accepted the fear factor, grudgingly, as a price one had to pay, to risk, in a never ending battle with vested money interests, such as unscrupulous business center profit makers, worshiping only the almighty dollar, as if a dollar and the pursuit of that dollar was the true God in their perverse universe.
**************************
In the beginning, Fields had been strongly supported and heaped with praise by scores of well intentioned followers. They backed popular campaigns of Fields’ beloved Society. In the midst of early tumultuous years,
Fields had been threatened as he persisted in turning down bribe attempts from out of line political officials, misguided state lobbies, assorted anti-environmentalists. There had never been a doubt as to Fields’ integrity. He had reigned as
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undisputed champ, especially, to the legions of eager Society members. As to Fields, he always had been a quite generous man. He ranked as a hero that environmentalists felt good about with empathy for any worthwhile cause. The circle of life, all the birds and animals inhabiting it, indeed, had lost a true champion.
*************************
Fields was a man of character who put up, didn’t shut up, who fought a ceaseless battle for improved wildlife refuges. It didn’t matter the odds. What Club could not do with firearms, it did, ruggedly, in the world of public relations. The Sierra Club had been blessed with an active membership, one that did, as requested by Fields, signing petitions and writing to congressmen.
*************************
Crystal Fields now groped for some way out, but with no apparent answers. She screamed, hoping this time someone would hear and come to her aid. But there was no one there to help her. Her mind wandered, again.
******************
She remembered hearing from classmates at Woodbridge High along the campus grapevine Fields had enemies. Stubbornly, she had refused to believe anybody.
Instead, Crystal delighted in seeing her daddy as the charming and caring daddy she loved so much. Crystal’s fingers felt something wet, oozing across her mint green silk blouse. She shuddered at the ghoulish thought intruding her already confused brain center that it had to be either Crystal’s blood or her daddy’s.
************************
Her left hand plunged into a crimson dampness, as , in a trauma, followed the wisp of warm red streaming across the shirring under a dovish bosom. There seemed no way out of her grim dilemma. She looked around again for help. Then she suddenly remembered how this was the weekend of Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Many of her neighbors and friends had flown to watch Irvine clash for a world championship against defending champion Taiwan.
******************
She glanced at her wristwatch then realized it would be perhaps another hour before the cinema let out as tears streamed anew when she grieved about how Brook and Sky would be so mortified to learn her shocking news. She tried to break the unshakeable disaster by thinking , exclusively, about her sisters.
***************************
Crystal had waged an inner battle not to follow Sky and Brook’s example, however, not always successfully. Sister Brook scored high as a people lover. She was unafraid to take a stand or speak her outrageous mind, even if it meant lively discussions with her daddy.
Brook prided in taking anybody on when it came to matters of public speaking. Brook Fields was like a piece of flint that everyone knew had a sharp cutting edge, and she was, oft times, abrasive, too.
There were times even Sky stayed out of Brook’s way as the former champion of the debating class at Woodbridge who now was attending USC. Brook followed Sky’s lead, in deference, to Sky being her older sister.
*********************
But even with Sky, it was look out, as Brook took on all comers, even daddy, at times, with her penetrating and incisive logic. Brook had a fiery manner taken on the best in the state of academia while earning prizes as top debater and, also, carrying her school to team honors with scintillating performances, courtesy of her silver tipped tongue.
Brook seldom picked on sister Crystal Fields.

The youngest sister got along with everybody. She stood out like a shining light, a candle in the wind whose flame flickered at times, but never died. It was Brook, who was boy crazy, Crystal suddenly felt some little comfort in thinking about her missing sisters. It was just that Brook had a hard time discriminating against any boy who tumbled for her good looks. There were plenty of would be swains who rallied for her charms, if Brook permitted, but so far she hadn’t given in. Brook’s always apparent problem was how to get rid of too many boys who liked her.
That’s where Sky, a tad more experienced in a world of teenage hearts, served as guardian in Brooksie’s world. To Sky , it was obvious, most of Brook’s boy friends were not interested, specifically, in her debating abilities. They preferred Brook in some secluded corner.
***********************
“Brook, you’re so…pretty!” Brook listened to another admirer. It seemed whatever the boys had to say, it never failed to turn her head in the direction of the boy with a compliment. Brook, two inches shorter than willowy Sky, decided at the last moment to go to the movie theater.

“It’s great, Brook…” Sky said, “I saw both movies off campus in Westwood…”
“Why do you want to see them again, Sky? “Why don’t we go and see ‘Shoot To Kill’… “I hear it’s a smash. My friends saw it last week. It’s about this psychopath…he kills eight hikers, up in the mountains. Then he gets ready to kill this girl who he forces to lead him with a bag full of money into Canada…”
**************************
“No, Brook…we’ll see it next week, ok!!” Sky insisted. “The one called ‘West World,’ Yul Brynner, the macho man with the bald head, is in it… “It’s about this weird amusement park, not..like Disneyland…”
“People go to West World to live out fantasies. Robots take over. It’s strange, Brook, like you,” Sky laughed, “Bet you like it…
****************************
“The other movie is something called ‘Soylent Green.'” Sky promoted her choices. “It’s about too many people, not enough food! It’s strange, too, Brook…
“What the people do, how they have to feed the hungry. “I’d like to tell you the ending, but that would spoil the movie, Brook, wouldn’t it?”
******************
“That’s ok, Sky ! Spoil it, for me…then we can go to my movie…instead,” Brook tried to influence Sky’s decision making. “No, you don’t, sis! It’s my turn, remember?” Sky claimed rank has it’s privilege status again.
“Don’t worry! We’ll see your picture next time, Brook!” Sky reiterated as Brook relented. Brook really didn’t mind. She wanted, most of all, some time to whisper about some of the dumb boys she recently met, what to do with fumbling fingers, groping hands.
*******************
Whether she should have a dress, Brook smiled, designed with hidden zippers so she didn’t find herself spilling out again of her mode of the day garb while another opportunistic boy searched for more of Brook than she permitted.
Sky was experienced in ways and means of over eager boys. Brook knew that much about Sky. She would know what to do with guys who came on too strong. Brook and Sky had said goodbye to dad before noon. Meanwhile, there was this hollow shell of a bright eyed sister, too alone, at the scene of a crime.
*************************
Meanwhile, Crystal stood watch in a time warp she didn’t want to be stuck in, not knowing how to cope or what to do, a basket-case in the violent game of life. Her salty tears spilled once more as Crystal suddenly kneeled and prayed, directly, to God.
**********************
“Please, help me! Please, God…wake me…out of this bad dream,” the young beauty implored as her wistful eyes turned heavenward, ” God…please…let daddy be alive…for me…Sky, Brook…Wolf, too…
The only real life around Crystal Fields loomed now amid the greenery around her. There was, also, a scent of mown grass the gardener had cropped ever so close to the ground. Crystal placed open palms across her face like, as a temporary mask, to protect her from a too black, white and grey world reality. Where once there had been a technicolor movie, a family tapestry, in an unparalleled rainbow of unity and purpose, now there was a befuddled girl.
**********************
She blocked out any sunlight trying to filter through her slender fingers. She needed some way, immediately, to forget and leave this so hideous nightmare, but Crystal didn’t know how to find a door out of her misery, even if there was a way out now.
There was no one else at home in the spacious colonial house. Crystal Fields struggled to unsteady feet, suddenly realizing she had somehow fallen asleep. It still looked like the same day, however, she couldn’t be sure.
***************************
She heard the melodic sparrows, sundry meadow larks and robins even chattering of a scolding blue jay. Crystal Fields glanced to her right then saw a tipsy cardinal fluttering toward a towering eucalyptus, near the battered hulk of what once was her dad’s sleek Mercedes.
Perhaps it had been someone else in the car, maybe, it wasn’t her handsome daddy, Crystal hoped against hope! However, the wreck scattered in their Woodbridge expansive street gave Crystal evidence daddy was dead.
Yet she persisted in utter denial, refusing to believe what had transpired in broad daylight in security minded Irvine California.
*********************
Fields had always been so kind to his youngest daughter, all his daughters, so patient and caring. It never mattered how busy his life had been as one of the leaders and policy makers in the Sierra Club.
Daddy had always been there for Crystal, Sky and Brook. The environmentalist scion had experienced a very happy family life rather late. He had been too busy.
*********************
Carl Fields, however, decided he had to settle down if he was going to raise a family despite his never ending struggle for noble causes.
His iron willed campaigns took him far and wide, from California to New York, conferences in Chicago and New Orleans, to world capitols such as Amsterdam, London, Paris and Rome, meeting every challenge, fighting a never ending good fight…

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Chapter 11 – ‘Dueling in San Diego Sun’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 11 – Dueling in San Diego Sun’

“Running is in my blood—the adrenaline flows before the races, the love/hate of butterflies in your stomach.”    —Marcus O’Sullivan, Irish middle-distance runner

The grandeur of San Diego’s Balboa Park offered a picturesque yet quite challenging invitation for a streaming assemblage of battle tested long distance runners.
Paul Drummond, the Orange Countian who God had cured of chest cancer before it killed him, promised as gratitude a devoted life to his Savior  as he now readied for the San Diego Marathon…
Nodding his head self assuredly in greeting to a covey of identifiable runners, Drummond became absorbed with sights and sounds of appealing Balboa Park. Drummond’s mixed thoughts turned also to romance, not with one special lady, but with two attractive femmes.
Now…which one could it be?”
Indeed, pepper-pot Sandy Madigan, a perky strawberry blonde; a lady he knew carried some level of an escalating and oft times declining torch. Then he remembered willowy, raven tressed ingénue Glory Day, a fair lady out of Huntington Beach, California.
**********
“I better stick to my race!” Drummond reiterated his prayers of thanks to the deity for saving his life, but he didn’t know how his partner could help him with this new fangled romance business. He glowed, with an inner pride, enjoying his flcijering heart throb center staging.
******************
The San Diego marathon distance alone promised a grueling day. However, Drummond, a man now imbued by his Savior with immense humility since God’s miracle blessed and made him feel reborn, drew rave reviews with the running fraternity.
The budding new man in Drummond intuitively knew, heart, soul and mind, he owed it all to God. His Father in Heaven, indeed, had heard then answered his here and now cries and feverish pleas for tender mercies through all the months that followed.
******************

Drummond illumined with a happiness and joy he had never experienced before the cancer news nightmare initiated by a no nonsense San Francisco doctor who laid it on the line.
“Maybe, six months to a year, your life expectancy,” Doctor Gallico ruled. Drummond’s predictable denial had led to months of uncertainty, that is, until Drummond decided to take his life or death sentence to the only judge who ever mattered his Savior and Creator Almighty God.
C. S. Lewis, his favorite Christian writer, summed it up best in those troubled days. Lewis borrowed the German word ‘sehnsucht’ and Drummond unconditionally accepted it when he lay his heavy burden, life or death, entirely into God’s merciful hand. And his life soon miraculously spared!
Sehsucht, a noun with a meaning which suggests a combination of ‘longing’, ‘pining’ or ‘yearning’, the idea of Sehnsucht is something which can’t be summed up in one word in English. Sehnsucht is the feeling of that constant searching for an unknown goal, or possibly for a meaning or purpose in one’s life. The word has been present in both German literature and culture and English language literature for many years. For that characterized Drummond’s once upon a time life or death sentence, a surprised by joy, when he realized God had not only heard his soul stirring cries, but agreed to heal Drummond…
A noun with a meaning which is a combination of ‘longing’, ‘pining’ or ‘yearning’, the idea of Sehnsucht is something which can’t be summed up in one word in English. Sehnsucht is the feeling of constant searching for an unknown goal, or possibly for a meaning or purpose in one’s life. The word has been present in both German literature and culture and English language literature for many years.
****************
Now Drummond listened to Madigan’s melodic voice bursting forth like another endless warming sunshine in a San Diego midmorning.
“Hello…Paul!
“My, my…aren’t we up…a trifle early?”
Sandy Madigan loved to tease her men and Drummond wasn’t going to be any exception as she toyed with his heart strings as she glided nearer.
“The race starts ninish, Sandy…
****************

“So I’m ready…how about you?” Drummond steeled his mind like a winning trap resuming a seeming ceaseless arm and leg windmilling while smiling Sandy’s way.
Hundreds of spectators forged a crescent of an arc tucking in the milling runners assembled in Balboa Park, charming San Diego’s heart and soul.
****************

Suddenly, bursts and shouts of encouragement resounded, last minute liquid sips of refreshments, mainly, H2o. Good luck reminders, the sight and sound of San Diego’s finest in citizenry perched and massed along the 26.2 mile route to cheer and cry out eager support and even carry it through for favorite marathoners to a distant finish line.
*************
Drummond primed for the crack of the starter’s gun. His patented auspicious starts made more than a few marathon elitists take note since he began making a revered and serious name for himself around racing world inner circles.
****************

Dr. Tom Nussbaum, a West German refuge living in LA, showed no apparent evidence of his recent right leg problem as a pistol shot signaled a startled deer burst to the immediate front by Drummond’s medical friend .
Drummond smiled at Nussbaum’s surprising jackrabbit start. He never would concede anything to a fierce competitor like Nussbaum. And Drummond wasn’t about to begin a new trend today.
He theorized that the good doctor needed to find out right away about the bothersome leg. So Drummond kept his own pace while Nussbaum’s flashing style earned him near out of sight perception as Nussbaum disappeared around a San Diego street corner.
**********
Brave memories echoed in the windmill of Drummond’s disciplined mind as he visualized himself as champion already. The intrepid runner learned self visualization from Maxwell Maltz, a renowned plastic surgery man in the medical world of psycho-cybernetics, famous in the art of self imagery success.
****************

Nussbaum, coming off a major setback, threatened to make the San Diego run a shambles. His infamous leg injury cost him dearly when he was reluctantly forced out 22 miles into the last Los Angeles Marathon before disappointed partisan fans.
Nussbaum had fallen heavily to the concrete, enroute to the LA Memorial Coliseum, as if struck by a stray bullet fired out of nowhere.
Drummond had witnessed his friend’s miserable fortune unhappy about Nussbaum’s freakish injury. One of his closest friends in the racing fraternity, Nussbaum possessed a lot of the same qualities, moral convictions and iron will that Drummond possessed.
****************

The German dared to do whatever it took to win any race and appeared a clear cut victor in the LA Marathon over Drummond when the flukiest incident flared. The German knew his performance in San Diego might tear away the mending not totally healed leg muscle.
His doctors had warned Nussbaum not to run for another month. However, Nussbaum, in his typical top gun role, nixed his cloak of protective wraps. Fierce competitor that he was, Nussbaum exhibited a devil may care attitude challenging anyone to beat him whenever he strode to that starting line, win, lose or draw. There was just something about his cock of the walk gait, amid deep mischief in darkish brown eyes as Nussbaum sized up the challenging field in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
**************
“I promise to stay out of your way,” tempestuous Glory Day didn’t light the match to torch Sandy Madigan until she uttered, “Not to worry…I’ll wait for you…
“At the finish line…” Madigan fumed inwardly as she turned away from her bitter foe at race start.
****************

Meanwhile, Drummond ran a steadier race allowing Nussbaum to take permissive and initial liberties in his strong comeback. Britisher Tom Johnson sidled past Drummond while Nussbaum seemed to slow his leader’s pace. Drummond and Johnson had chipped away and cut his sizable lead down.
Drummond saw a determined Keefe making a go of it as he challenged then drew a bead on Nussbaum.
****************
Nussbaum, determined not to relinquish a slim lead, hurried his pace. His legs pumped in mute and stark evidence his leg injury had been exaggerated in the prerace hoopdela.
A relentless Johnson made up lost ground as he bore down on the Irishman who attempted to ignore him as he pursued Drummond. Drummond was in his world, per usual, on a mission of search and destroy in a personal quest to overtake Nussbaum.
****************

Johnson, Keefe and Nussbaum qualified as fearsome and formidable rivals, but Drummond believed it was up to him in his plan to pass this freshest running test.
The trio of fierce rivals, along with Drummond now tailing, emerged as frontrunners wherever they entered marathons, but this was the first time this year all were bidding in a same race for top money.
*************
“She scares me, Drummond!” Sandy Madigan fired up, nodding in Glory Day’s direction, trying to cross a mental bridge which wasn’t even there yet. Her words of gloom came just before start of the marathon.
“Glory is so unreal!
The way…she runs…”
Madigan was angry, again. It was as if Glory Day arrived suddenly from a hostile planet attacking her, even trying to assault her.
****************

“Calm yourself, Sandy girl!
“Just…run your best race!
“Everything else falls into place…trust me!” Drummond soothed Madigan’s frayed nerves, at least, for the moment.
“Anyway, Sandy,” he rallied her sagging spirit, “I have a hunch…today…will be your day!”
“And you Mister Drummond?
“How do you feel?
“Everything…okay?” smiled Madigan, moments before the start, “Win it, Paul…you go…and win it!”
“It’s a deal, Sandy!” it was good that Glory Day reigned outside of earshot as the mutual admiration and marching chowder society convened to Sandy Madigan’s delight.
****************

Drummond reached over and hugged Madigan for a split second as his fingertips ignited her better than an Independence Day exploding firecracker might.
It was in this unforgettable moment Madigan and Drummond discovered some chemistry going on…
****************

Hands on hips, a painted smile across her disbelieving countenance, Glory Day witnessed it all, unbeknownst to at least temporary smitten runners.
Drummond suddenly felt ill at ease. In a fit of jealousy, Glory stared in utter disgust then turned away from Madigan. Glory would vent her frustration and anger in this upcoming San Diego marathon, if she had her avowed way….
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Chapter 10 – ‘Splashdown’…Boston’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Pauld2leo,wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Boston Marathon
Chapter 10 ‘Splashdown’…Boston’

“Racing is the fun part; it’s the reward of all the hard work.”
—Kara Goucher, American long-distance runner

Geoff Smith, a never say die English long distance runner hailing from Liverpool seemed to trot into Newton, Massachusetts. He appeared a lone man on a good to go mission. It appeared only way any runner could beat him this year at the Boston Marathon would be if he hailed a passing Yellow Cab. And there were none in sight…

It was that decisive of an edge as Smith for now as the marathon runner glanced at his here I am on time 1:26:07. Geoff Smith cruised through Woodland Hills, a sector of storied Newtown as Roe, the New Zealander hope, led the women runners checking into Newton proper in 1:39:48
*******************
However, Roe wasn’t alone as countrywoman Moller was at her heels after a slow start in Hopkinton.
Madigan waged her own war with Glory Day, her West Coast albatross. She managed to hang onto a 30-yard lead. You somehow knew that the former New Jersey marathoner knew it was still early enough in the Boston classic.
She save the best for later in this grueling competition so bided her time before showing Madigan she knew exactly how to show her up and beat still her.
*******************
Drummond made it into Newton a minute behind Smith, but remained iron willed with an undaunted feeling of self satisfaction that his race was unfolding. He decided to use the race favorite as his private pacer for the time being. He was glad Smith couldn’t savvy his up and coming strategies.
Tenaciously, Moller dogged Roe realizing she could beat her if Roe faltered down the back stretch. Moller, so self assured, knew Roe’s predilections and characteristic running patterns from dozens of former trials between the dynamic long-distance duo
*******************

Finally, Moller’s tenacity began to pay dividends. The 27-year-old from Putarura, New Zealand, ventured into the Boston classic with a spectacular run of nine victories in her last 11 marathon trials.
Moller decided to pass a faltering Roe at about the same place Greg Moyer made his bid on Benji Durden last year. Moller now moved into an impressive edge over Roe with Madigan and Day about 30 yards behind, now side by side, at the 19-mile Boston Marathon marker while a steady drizzle of rain drenched the runners.
*******************

Moller’s time 1:48:23 held up for now as Madigan and Day persisted in following Moller, 15 yards behind Roe. The runner-up trailed Moller by five yards as the formidable quartet of leaders braced for breaking through the mythical 20-mile barrier.

***********
It was Geoff Smith fighting off a ferocious bid by Drummond as the dedicated California marathoner kicked into a revved-up charge as the two runners headed toward Commonwealth Avenue and Hereford Street along Ring Road in downtown Boston.
*******************

Smith determined not to let his latest Marathon bid go for naught, dueled head to head with Drummond as a stubborn and unyielding wind amid chilly and foul rains knifed through even the warmest attired and cheering spectators lining the triumvirate of Boston arteries.
Drummond briefly forged into the lead for a first time, but a singular minded Smith concentrated on retaking the bitterly contested advantage on overcrowded Boston streets.
************
TV cameras rolled as dozens of mass media specialists hovered near the finishing line already formulating questions and hooks for victory and also ran interviews as predictable as the weather bureau rains and winds forecasted for the running of the Boston Marathon .
*******************

Now Smith made a fresh surge to battle nip and tuck with Drummond who would not quit as the two runners fought for supremacy. The beckoning celebration ribbon fluttered along with a myriad of racing dignitaries and an enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers awaiting the outcome.
Smith was first to the finish line driving hard to nudge Drummond with 2:10:36 the winner’s time in a photo finish thriller as swirling whirlpool winds whipped into his jubilant body.
*******************

A disappointed Drummond made his way over to congratulate the victorious Englishman. Drummond, even with God, by his side, had not won. However, he had done all possible in a personal best test as he now warmly offered homage due to an ecstatic Smith from across the pond. All England would be celebrating Smith’s victory.
Drummond’s congratulatory hand pumped in Smith’s tight grasp as winner and narrow runner-up raised right hands amid cheering fans. The brutal and dreadful weather had failed to sag the spirit or enthusiasm rampant at the victory stand.
************

A Connecticut Yankee, young Gerry Vanasse of New Milford, secured third place prize money with a time of 2:14:49. Domingo Tibaduiza of Colombia, a track coach at the University of Nevada at Reno, cinched fourth place in 2:15:40 while running alongside his younger brother Miguel and pacing him to what they had hoped would be a coveted berth on the Colombian marathon team.
*******************

As Geoff Smith pressed on with his post race conference, Moller emerged as first place woman finisher just in front of Roe, Day and a disappointed Sandy Madigan with a winning time of 2:29:28.
************
Madigan had battled gamely down the backstretch as she neared the finish line. Day ran by her side with both Californians in an all-out effort to take home at least bragging rights in this freshest renewal of a bitter feud festering then reopening wounds each time they tangled whether the Boston Marathon, a 10-kilometer trial or a half marathon.
*******************

At the finish line, Madigan found herself out lunged by a determined not to lose Glory Day. Glory did manage to force her way to the ceremonial tape and a second-place finish at 2:31:10 while Madigan stormed to a third spot as the nagging New England rains pelted down. Madigan finished in an ultra respectable 2:31:15.
***********
“I never believed…you…
“Could beat me…!” a heavily breathing Madigan admitted as she extended a congratulatory hand to Glory Day in a gesture of good sportsmanship.
“But you did, fair and square!”
“Yeah, I barely had enough, Sandy!
“It was nip and tuck all the way, wasn’t it?
*******************

“I got lucky to beat you today…and…I really mean it!”
Now the New Jersey favorite daughter looked forward to a family reunion at Pompton Lakes before returning to California.
Drummond trotted over to celebrate with Madigan and Glory Day while they smiled and congratulated him for a second-place finish.
**********
“The crowd…so amazing!” winner Lorrain Moller told an all eyes and ears gathered press corps.
“Coming off Heartbreak Hill, I did find myself picking up energy from this excited crowd…
“I may have run faster even than I intended,” Glory Day confessed while doing race post mortems.
*******************

Sweden’s Midde Hamrin, an early leader before fading then vaulting back into contention, impressed her Olympic selection committee despite finishing two minutes behind Moller.
Sissel Grottenburg finished next in the women’s field with a 2:36:07 while Anny Hird completed her Boston trial in 2:37:11.
*******************
Perhaps the front-page headline and major story across the Boston Herald declared it best for a race that was so very many things to so many rivals.
***************
“Splashdown!”
Geoff Smith’s coach got credited with a dubious plus soon after Smith’s victory when interviewed by the marathon mania press.
“I never really wanted to coach a marathoner,” Smith’s coach Lou Tenney said in the post race ceremonies and hoopdela, “but I got so impressed by Geoff Smith’s courage…”
Curiously, that expressed it best for the brave and hardy 6,800 runners from across the globe that came to Boston enduring rampant rains and an infamous New England unscheduled storm. The city of Boston had been home for a day and now a lifetime for many in this once in a lite-time memory windmill for so very many runners.
*******************

Drummond strived with all his God given resources to whip Smith at the finish line. But now, he accepted God’s plan for his life by graciously accepting the runner-up role in his initial Boston Marathon trial and thanking His Savior for the gift of life.
Yes, Drummond had come all the way back from the foot of his own grave to a born again and daily miracle celebration with an God so overflowing in agape love..
*******************

He had prayed, even pleaded, down on knees…
Drummond never had forgotten nor would he the life restored in him. God not only heard all his prayers, but God freed him from cancer. And all his prayers, well, all, had been answered, despite his narrow defeat at the Boston Marathon.
*******************

God blessed Drummond with a fulfilling patience, abundant love and tender mercies. As to Drummond, he accepted each lesson, even with that stinging setback at the Beantown finish line off picturesque Charles River.
***********
Indeed, Drummond had battled all the way back from incurable cancer, only by God’s grace and love for him.
Dozens of seeing eyes suddenly blurred as eyes reddened as Drummond decided to rededicate his life and times to God once more. He kneeled in the wet Boston street and silently prayed oblivious to all around him, except, his Almighty God. **********
As for Day and Madigan, both had done so very well, too. However, these fierce competitors were disappointed they had not beaten out Moller. It was the New Zealander’s day in the rain and unforgettable New England storm.
*******************

Madigan and Day resumed their date with destiny to win and lose other days. It was the year of the foreigner in the freshest running of the Boston Marathon as the rest of the best staggered, some even crawling to the finish line hours later.

And there were some of the biggest hearted runners who did not finish their personal best at this Boston Marathon until the very next day…

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Chapter 9 – ‘Remembering…’Boston Strong’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 9 ‘Remembering…’Boston Strong’

‘So this is Heaven he thought, and he had to smile at himself. It was hardly respectful to analyze Heaven in that very moment that one flies up to enter it…’Jonathan Livingston Seagull Bach
The California quartet of marathoners, one more in number due to Glory Day’s new beau Jeff Chantry, remained on pins and needles as hours dwindled to a precious few before a much heralded renewal of the Boston Marathon.
Up the New York Turnpike, the multi wheel night crawler, rolled to the Bay State from the ‘Big Apple’ in a more than four hour caravan to New England and Beantown…

***************
“Some way to get to Boston…
“I never like any Greyhound ride…
“Maybe, we should have flown!” popped indefatigable Sandy Madigan, in one of her oft times sweet and sour moods. With no other choice, the others in the Madigan party fitfully tuned in. They sat in the middle of a passenger filled Greyhound while three very uncomfortable standees tried to settle in for the long journey ahead.
“We had enough money for plane fare, didn’t we?” petulant Madigan’s center of attention star sparkled like some gaily decorated ornament hanging from her very own Christmas tree.
***************

“Oh, well…we’re together, aren’t we?” Madigan questioned the integrity of her own assessment after a glance at attentive Glory Day in what she hoped was not a preview of coming attractions.
“Let’s all…just relax, enjoy ourselves on this bus, okay?
“Why should we complain?
“Really, we’re, together…and I am still sky high about our successes in New York City…” Drummond turned the tide while attempting to chip the ice before Madigan felt alone left out in the cold.
***************
“It gives us a chance, Sandy…
“To see some of the this East Coast you haven’t seen…
“So sit back…relax…
“It’s nice not to have to worry about driving either,” Drummond saw a silver lining he hoped Madigan discovered soon. Now he glanced at an admixture of young and old passengers on the overcrowded transport.
“We go through Connecticut in about an hour then Rhode Island before we get to our hotel in Boston,” Drummond reviewed the upcoming itinerary.
**********
“Maybe, I could get out here…
“Just run to Boston,” quipped Glory Day while her beau Jeb Chantry sat closer by her side enjoying all this give and take repartee. The burly and middle aged bus driver with a lantern jaw started his run past Harlem then Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough while heading north toward the Connecticut Turnpike toll road.
Autumnal hues, resplendent in New York and throughout New England, splashed in cardinal and paint pot reds, burnt orange, a dusky apricot even lemonish and lime orange and yellow hues.
***************

There were scattered enclaves and frequent glimpses of copses marked by earthy rust brown and vibrant greens in three and four splotched leaves fluttering in accompanying winds as the bus headed to New England’s Boston hub.
**********
“Can’t wait until we run Boston!” Sandy’s bittersweet temperament switched 180 degrees threatening to perhaps go full circle now judging by her countenance. What went down with Sandy Madigan always came back up. Her acquaintances had discovered this relevant factor during Madigan’s many mood swings from ecstasy to adulation then joy to abject despair.
“Well, I am going to enjoy each and very moment…” Sandy surprised everybody, including herself, in an ebullient promise to be good.
***************

“This Boston deal,” Madigan burst, “why…it’s really the most important race in the world…isn’t it?
“That’s what runners, like us, say when anyone dares to talk…Boston!
“Glory, you and I were so, so lucky, weren’t we? Or was it luck! We both wanted to win so bad in New York…we could taste it!”
************
“Way you talk, Madigan,” Glory was flustered, “you make it sound like a freak accident at the finish line made us winners…”
They alluded to a mishap suffered by a dominating Helga Schmidt of West Germany. Schmidt looked like a sure winner, but an out of the blue and unpredictable mishap had cost her dearly. Glory started to poke more holes in Sandy’s recapitulation of the prestigious ‘Big Apple’ trial.
***************

“I feel like I could have whipped Helga…whatever happened…” Glory rationalized that she had won prize money and the West German lady did not.
“Well, Sandy, I’m not too sure…
“That I didn’t beat you…” Glory fanned the flames of mutual derision as she remembered the controversial tale of the tape. At the last possible moment, Madigan clipped Glory Day in a photo finish.
Drummond, sensing the start of something he didn’t want to finish, turned the chat to the storied Boston run commencing in Hopkinton then threading through New England towns leading past monumental Prudential and John Hancock commercial skyscrapers in downtown Boston then to a coveted finish line.
************
“Let’s all go to the Marriot at the Long Wharf…
“It’s a new hotel, Sandy… you and Glory, will love it!” Drummond wished for a quick seconding of his motion where the California version of what a Boston tea party could be like with this Golden State influx.
***************

Now amid a unanimous show of hands, it was settled. Once and for all, fair and square, the consensus showed all in favor.
The Marriott Long Wharf rated as an’ in’ place for celebration after the race with early evening dinner followed by dancing until wee hours of the next morn then a planned departure and quick return to Southern California.
The jubilant marathoners decided to check in at the opulent hostelry with Drummond and Chantry opting for trial runs on the streets of Beantown down by a beckoning Charles River. The two runners snaked past Harvard University in their day before conditioning run.
***************

Glory Day hit the streets next, half an hour later, deciding on a solo run while Madigan chose a repetitive series of calisthenics in her hotel room watching breaking news of the day before gliding out of the hotel to a 10 mile trial as Drummond returned from his jaunt.
***********
Dawn broke next day in Hopkinton. The town had been plagued by weather likely written right out of one of Stephen King’s horror novels. It was a nasty northeaster with penetrating and swirling winds.
The persistent ill boding wind rearranged in a discordant fashion what once was a picturesque New England landscape while runners’ legs, arms and bodies suffered as many a prayer got said that God would quell Mother Nature in time for the race.
Harried race officials and frenzied runners cowered in the chill and dampness amid pervading gloom at the Patriot Day spectacle hoping for a sudden break in the despicable elements. However, a gray and foreboding day turned even darker resulting in the dreariest day in race history.
The paralyzing storm, amid incessant rain, already had stabbed and slashed and psychologically wounded some of the lesser known, albeit, brave runners.
***************

Dozens of frustrated and saddened entrants made last minute decisions to withdraw opting instead for creature comfort of accessible and nearby motel and hotel rooms.
The bravest of the remaining runners were faced with striking 15 and 20 mile gust per hour periodic elements with inclement weather pushing then shoving at times past 30 and 40 miles per hour.
The Patriots’ Day dawn washed in out of a choppy and puzzling Atlantic Ocean, off the nub of the cringing city, picking up treacherous rain swells then dropping it in sheet after sheet in irregular shifts over the grey amid tortured skies of New England.
The pesky winds lashed from the east and near paralyzed runners ready to compete amid criss crossing and relentless attack by Mother Nature.
***************

This particular Nor’easter, unwelcome to so many New Englanders, persisted as it blackened both eyes of the New England Chamber of Commerce. The beleaguered city of Boston’s race officialdom wasn’t able to do anything about these fateful elements.
***************

It was a certainty the winning Boston Marathon time would not be record busting unless one counted then allowed as for it being the best time recorded for worse weather endured.
**************
Perhaps it was the curse of a leap year and the onset of world Olympic fever. Maybe, it served as a harbinger that this race would rank as that unwanted and undesirable odd fellow of the lot since the Boston Marathon’s historic initial running.
The leprechauns had not been kind to marathon officials as top flight runners oft times found in a roster of greats and near greats were not present, for one reason or another, even prior to the sudden storm.
***************

Olympic hopefuls pointed instead to the approach of upcoming summer months and sundry time trials by taking a rain check.
This, in turn, undermined one of the country’s traditional exercises over the legendary decades in marathon mania. The Boston Athletic Association had been wary for lots of good reasons in the leap year that served as center stage drama for hopefuls in America.
Now only a handful of elitists were in the numbers’ game lined up for the morning after the ‘down easter.’ The turbulent and unforgiving storm had struck the gizzard of New England the very night before then threatened to hold over even several more days.
***************
“Worse weather I ever saw!” Drummond buoyed for predictable pits in runner world priorities as there appeared no end to a fresh issue of Murphy’s Law.
“But…
“No way am I dropping out of this confounding mess…
“Just…no way!” Drummond rallied now for whatever inevitability. He glanced right then left in a search for his running acquaintances from Southern California.
***************
“Hi Jeb! Where’s Glory and Sandy?” Chantry was first of the Marriott Long Wharf revelers close enough to identify in the milling crowd of prepping runners.
***************

“Somewhere around in this bloody mess!” Jeb, a lithe 5’10” cowering study, admitted, his countenance framed by a sudden Jekyll and Hyde transfiguration. He had changed over night from avid party goer to a dedicated marathoner dreading then facing the morning after in a world of starkest realities.
No question about it, even Drummond had to admit, the Boston Marathon was a lethal dose of chaotic reality this unforgettable time in his life.
Moments later, Sandy Madigan, in a red hoodie, made a dramatic entrance. She greeted Drummond then Chantry. To her, it appeared Jeb, the San Diegan, nursed a hangover from all the partying the night before.
Without guilt in her soul, Madigan enjoyed perhaps even gloated on the possibility hoping rival Glory Day looked at least half as bad as Jeb Chantry did.
**********
“Do you believe what we’re seeing?
“I never thought…” Madigan left the rest unsaid as her puckered face told a story without benefit of words or sentences. However, Sandy persisted and had to have a say.
“I come all this way from California…
“And I’m going to run today…come what may…
“Even if I get knocked down by a falling tree…” Madigan broke the ice of solemnity with her gutsy edict. Chantry and Drummond drew closer to Madigan’s bobbing figure looking for more body heat as Sandy waved her arms akimbo in a sort of broken down windmill fashion.
“Glory won’t miss this one, either!
“What an unforgettable classic…this one..will be!
“Just think…someday…
***************

“I’ll be able to tell my children about Sandy Madigan’s first run in Boston.
“And what a dreadful nightmare it, really, was…” Madigan persisted in releasing her pent up emotions before the race commenced within the half hour in Hopkinton.
Simply, it remained both foul and rank in Hopkinton. The weather forecaster dared not venture a premature passing of the Nor’easter plaguing the seaboard.
Even topnotch runners like Bill Rodgers, New England’s favorite son and home bred champ, also, Geoff Smith, a pre race odds-on-choice from Liverpool, England waxed more than a tad apprehensive.
“Never saw anything quite like it before…for any marathon, especially, this magnitude…
“Nothing is going to stop me…” a determined British Isles’ champion declared himself in for the duration. Or at least until the finish line in center city Boston, off the Charles River.
***************

Nearly 7,000 registered runners clambered in readiness to the starting line with perhaps an estimated hundred more or so die hards at last count withdrawing for personal reasons.
The courageous majority of runners temporarily found shelter in warmish confines of a nearby Hopkinton mammoth gym pressed to capacity by a perplexed mass of cardio vascular maniacals.
Other long distance observers of this traditional race fidgeted on rickety steps and porches of wood framed, paint peeling, red bricked homes in the worse possible setting for any Boston Marathon that ever preceded it, according to in the know officials.
Still others circled and wandered near the starting line as they braved harsh wintry elements then cowered under plastic black and white garbage bag coverings begged, borrowed even paid for in a seller’s market supplied by profit maddened local gentry.
***************
A helicopter, utilized by three local TV stations for mile by mile footage in the storm ridden renewal of the revered marathon, suddenly found itself forced to return to the ground for safety reasons.
***************

It was the captain’s decision. He maintained the helicopters would be in the sky and resume flight if weather permitted. The decision came once the pilot found his air borne craft buffeted then bullied by errant east to west winds pocketing then wreaking havoc on this Patriot Day spectacle.
***************

Tom Fleming, a local favored son, ranked along with Liverpudian Smith as one of the co favorites as a diminishing crowd of hardiest watchers commenced rooting for ‘people’s choice’ candidates.
As a result, foreign runners making the fatherland or motherland’s team now could run a first class tune up with a chance to win coveted honors in the a thinned out world wide field.
It was a plum for aspiring entrants, like Geoff Smith. He felt possessed amid a passion that wouldn’t die in having his moniker duly inscribed.
***************
What a distinctive honor to be remembered as one of the elitists on a cherished piece of hardware commemorating the world’s oldest and best by test endurance… the prestigious Boston Marathon.
It little mattered at this juncture about the horrid weather conditions throughout New England. Geoff Smith believed he had seen worse in his native England, notwithstanding, the rampant and unforgiving foul winds and chilling rains now terrorizing the field.
***************

Smith remained confident and hopeful his best time would guarantee him the Boston prize despite the horrendous weather stabbing Beantown then destroying some of the courageous competitors even before they got to the heavily soaked starting line at Hopkinton.
Smith desired to do what his fellow Liverpudians had done two decades ago when the English invasion of America by rock singers began then changed the face of progressive music as never before.
Drummond, a man of conviction, iron will, God fearing principles, rated as one of the prime time challengers in Smith’s way. Smith knew the Marathon in Boston boasted the best of the long distance runners around the world. He believed they would be gunning for him as a race favorite.
***************
***************

Though Smith was from dreary and foul weather plagued Liverpool, he did not favor running on a gloomy day like the dreaded one he faced as one of the stiffest challenges in his career.
Smith fidgeted in uncharacteristic style in a first row of fired up candidates primed to start the race at the crack of the starting official’s gun. His hands idly played with each other, as if going steady with one glove refusing to come off his hand.
A stoic Fleming, close by Smith’s side, peered at a foreboding and perilous grey horizon. A vale of fresh water from swollen and moisture pregnant skies threatened to spill again and inundate what was left of the plucky army of runners while the rain spattered starter lifted his right arm.
As for Fleming, he had gotten to bed about eight o’clock the night before. Early to bed, well, that was part of Fleming’s personal ritual in any important race and the Boston Marathon, indeed, qualified.
Fleming planned to stun Smith should the Englishman falter badly along a sure to be challenging and treacherous route into Boston Commons.
********
As for the women marathoners, Sandy Madigan and Glory Day ran amid an international coterie of elitist power runners including Greta Waitz of Denmark and Allison Roe of New Zealand.
***************

Fleming, a home town people’s choice, picked no bones about a personal and avowed goal to win the crown of laurel with the Boston king’s throne his number one achievement in a never say die quest.
A serious minded competitor, Fleming met briefly with Drummond. He came away impressed with the Southern Californian’s solid resolve and determination to succeed, at all costs, step by step, just as Fleming vowed.
***************

Also, Fleming had read about Drummond’s inspirational battle beating melanoma chest cancer prior to making his first ever run in the Boston Marathon. And he knew Drummond had no quit in him, whatsoever, no matter how horrific this inclement weather facing them, with the best, the running fraternity had to offer.
***************

Fleming lined up next to Smith in the scattered celebrity field. He had entered his first marathon twelve years ago and lost time after time. Always a fierce competitor, Fleming never had succeeded in winning a top prize.
However, this would be a new year. Fleming was full of hope and back either for more punishment or to seize first place honors away from Smith and Drummond.
***************

His repeated attempts at winning the Boston Marathon had even made the 32-year-old Fleming a cause celebre.
With a monumental heart, the citizenry throughout New England adopted the veteran Fleming and California newcomer Drummond. Both of the rivals had started life in New Jersey before pulling up roots then moving elsewhere.
***************

Fleming, a Patterson State freshman in northern New Jersey, admitted his obsession about winning the Boston classic.
“Who wouldn’t want to win it?
“I’ll keep trying, until I…die…
“Or win it, at least…once,” Fleming conceded, “even if it takes…rest of my life.”
***************
“Go get Mister Smith, Drummond,” cried out Fleming as they neared the start line, “he can be…had.
“If, for some quirk, I can’t make it,” he foreshadowed, “maybe, it’ll be your day to win it all, Drummond?
“Thanks, Tom Fleming!
“And may the best man win!” challenged Drummond as the runners readied for the storm ravaged start in Hopkinton as a miserable streak of foulest weather persisted. There were now sporadic gusts then sheets of heavy turning to middling and eventual rain drizzles with fluctuating east to west headwinds.
Lean and mean, Fleming pawed at the starting line with his restless feet already in motion showing he was more than ready. At first, Fleming had skulked into Beantown, mad, yet confident, so voracious in hunger his bid for ultimate vindication, despite Smith’s ‘bad man’ reputation.
It didn’t matter as Fleming zoned in self assured that this was his year to take on and whip all comers including Smith and Drummond. Meanwhile, the preposterous storm rained down more torrents of rain after an anxiety ridden start of the race. It was still early in the race when the initial cadre of top flight marathoners neared the old railroad station in Framingham.
**************
The boarded up antiquarian landmark possessed a reluctant fencing around it this year for a first agonizing time. The vintage depot had served as a conversational piece in New England marathon lore for many decades with each Boston Marathon renewal.
The historic site had been earmarked for the pulverizing crash of a demolition ball. For the time being, it served as a much revered sentinel for the initial checkpoint at the 6.75 mile marker.
At this juncture of the race, a near quarter of the Boston Marathon became signed, sealed and delivered to any runner passing by the centuries old landmark in Framingham.
Now it became time for all good runners and marathoners to form a runners’ posse and trot like good guys without white hats into Wellesley, the next notable stop, enroute to a half finished marathon psychological way station.
***************

Lead cars and pick up trucks, replete with functional TV cameras, tailed the leaders including six elitist runners headed dead aim toward Wellesley with Smith in a precarious six yard lead.
**************
Domingo Tibaudiza, out of Africa, persisted in a long shot bid for top spot as he dogged Smith’s hurrying footsteps. Due to prevailing conditions, Smith felt justifiably respectable even though mired by adverse weather elements facing all competitors as waves of rain persisted in falling on the stubborn running field.
Drummond ran now 12 yards behind Tibaudiza as unwary front runners served as mere pacers for a self assured Drummond, however, involuntarily. Drummond had made up his mind to stay as close as he could to Smith, Fleming and Tibaudiza after passing the Framingham check point.
***************

Close to Drummond ran a determined Tom Fleming. Calm and poised, Fleming ran the type of race he always had wanted, but somehow never quite succeeded in finishing. He felt so good after the precipitation laden start in Hopkinton despite changing winds biting and stabbing into his yielding flesh.
The unforgiving rains still persisted as Drummond and the rest of the leader pack targeted a much welcome half way point in the treacherous running. Then drizzling rains fluctuated from a smattering of drops to a repetitious and non stopping pitter and patter.
*************
Sandy Madigan and Glory Day found the pace for the women hectic as Allison Roe, bidding for a second consecutive victory at Boston, spiritedly charged into the lead. Roe marched through Framingham check point ‘Charley’ less than 3 minutes behind the heralded world class men rivals.
Roe, a fierce competitor, coveted with all her heart and soul a spot on the New Zealand Olympic team. Midde Hanarin of Sweden, Tulja Zulvonen of Finland, Annie Hird of Rhode Island and Lorraine Moller, attacked now as they clipped at Roe’s heels while Madigan and Day did their best to keep up with the stout hearted leaders.
***************

Most pollsters had picked Smith as odds on favorite to finish first this year. Smith had nearly won the New York Marathon last October in his debut as a world class marathoner. Smith lamented losing the New York Marathon as a frenetic Rod Dixon burst past him to the finish line as TV cameras rolled in Manhattan.
Both Dixon and Smith made people in the news in both Time and Newsweek magazines as eager subscribers found out what really had happened as the two marathon standouts dueled to the wire in Gotham City.
***************

With a dearth of seasoned and proven performers in the weather plagued Boston Marathon, Smith appeared a solid choice as he maintained his pace and remained in front of attacking marathoners led by Drummond and Fleming.
As for the British Olympic marathon selection committee, they envisioned Smith as a dubious quality runner. Here in Boston, the Olympic committee desired an affirmation, a convincing proof that Smith could follow up his disaster in New York with a rousing victory.
Smith tried not to let anyone down, especially, the British Olympic Committee. He decided to play it all by the book and win in story book fashion in Boston as recompense for blowing his lead to Dixon in New York City.
Smith had been a star soccer player and eager to serve the public as a fireman in Liverpool for 10 years. That was all prior to bringing his 30-year-old athletic hard body to Boston for current running of the Marathon.
During a traditional press conference before the noon starting of the Marathon, Smith conceded his Spartan training went well.
“I’ve only raced sparingly to conserve my strength for here in Boston…
“Before New York, I had been wearing shorts and a vest,” he admitted, “now I’m wearing not one, but two sweat suits…”
Smith had put forth an interesting concept about his body weight that stunned the racing world hungry for pre race pub.
“I go out and run 24 miles and get on the scales at the end of the week,” Smith explained, “and I’m still right at 134 or 135 pounds.
“It means all is going… jolly well…
“Really, I wouldn’t want to see a weight loss because with the kind of running I’ve been doing here, weight is strength.
“If you lose too much weight before a race,” Smith added, “you will lose strength…
“My body is functioning, perfectly,” he insisted, “I’m ready to rock and roll…”
Indeed, Smith’s regimen and race strategies appeared to be paying big dividends so far at Boston. The Englishman persisted in his less than record pace while leaving Framingham and heading straight for Wellesley and Newton.
************
Eddie Scones, his coach from England had been brought to America at the last minute to provide a spark of inspiration, if possible, for Smith.
Scones persisted in prodding his reluctant student in merciless precision.
“You really do talk too much, Geoff!
“Save some of your best wind for the big race,” the graying campaigner, in his sixties, urged his racing protégé as Smith attempted to listen with due diligence then practice what Scones preached.

***********
Madigan and Day suddenly were joined by a surprising Cindy Dalrymple, a 42-year-old running machine and the pride of women’s racing sorority.
The inspirational old timer had already qualified for the Olympic trials, but loved to run. Madigan and Day felt rain pelting not only on their heads, but hopes, too, as Dalrymple forged past them now into a first place lead in the competitive femme ‘who’s who’ field.
While American women runners decided to stay away in droves from the Boston Marathon this year, flocks of foreign runners accepted the prime invitation to run Boston.
***************

Three New Zealanders, Roe, Lorraine Moller and Barb Moore, challenged for top prize money. The battle tested Zealanders lived and trained together in America.
Also, dark horse favorite Midde Hamrin, a 26-year-old Swede and resident of Beaumont, Texas, arrived in Boston with a 2:35:06 mark achieved just two years ago.
Hamrin had placed second behind world renowned Greta Waitz in a recent half marathon in Miami then finished first on St. Patrick’s Day in Jacksonville, Florida in yet another half marathon trial.
The drenched runners closed in on historic Wellesley, half way point of the Boston Marathon. Encouraging and excited femme onlookers from prestigious Wellesley College lined jam packed streets along Route 135 as Geoff Smith sped to a quarter mile lead over rest of the male challengers.
Fleming disappointed all his fans when he suddenly dropped out of contention as Smith zoomed into Wellesley. The fleet footed Fleming was nowhere in sight.
***************

Rain showers recommenced as a rampant and frustrating wind calmed now as Smith’s pumping arms surged through a half way point of the race in 1:04:14 confirming what experts predicted long before the race.
If Geoff Smith held on to win, the finishing time would be way over his personal 2:10:10 best as Newton Hills loomed as next milestone for frontrunners trying to overtake a determined Geoff Smith.
Drummond settled in for the moment 30 yards behind Smith in second place while Drummond’s friend Fleming drifted still further back.
***************

As for the women, Roe battled neck and neck with Dalrymple as Moller closed in on the leaders followed by Sisel Grottenburg. Hamrin followed next with Day and Madigan parrying in physical and psychological warfare.
The crowds cheered now as the runners neared the half way juncture despite these nagging precipitous elements as pesky rains refused to go away or even show signs of letting up while the runners did their best to finish what they started…
                                                                     30

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Chapter 8 – ‘New York, New York’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 8 – ‘New York, New York’’

“My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: ‘Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you’ll win.'” —Carl Lewis, 9 time Olympic gold champion
“I really came here to the East,” Paul Drummond enthused one afternoon as Glory Day and Sandy Madigan listened at Mama Leone’s famous Italian cuisine in New York City.
“To run Boston…
“Yes, New York…no argument here…

****************************
“Certainly, New York is one of the glamor marathons, too…
“What with it being here in the heart of the ‘Big Apple…
“But,” Drummond paused, “if I only had one choice to make in running…
****************
“It still is and, always, will be…Boston, for me!”

“That’s every runner’s party line, isn’t it?” tempestuous Sandy Madigan seconded Drummond’s top of the chart billing as she added her two cents vanilla.

As for Glory Day, the California thorn in Madigan’s side, well, she already had attracted a male running suitor by the name of Jed Chantry, out of San Diego. He sat around the red and white checkered round table as if he were part of Glory’s persona. Chantry, a tall drink of water, had been born and raised in the Texas panhandle before migrating to the Golden State.
*************
“I wouldn’t miss this race for the world,” Glory remonstrated at the swank dining restaurant frequented by the high and mighty. Yet there were those who were not of the upper strata and in the ‘who’s who’ of America.
“Yeah, count me in, too,” Glory enthused in a sudden smile, “I’ll be there in Boston…I am ready!
“Yes, I hear Boston is prestigious, but,” Glory suddenly showed an air of braggadocio.
“I believe, in my heart,” Glory said, “that I can win there, too.
“What really makes it so different than any other marathon?” it was very clear that Glory Day, of Huntington Beach, California, claimed no readership of the marathoners’ bible or she would not have said what she said.
****************

The much revered and hallowed Boston Marathon invades the mind of any long distance runner worth his salt and keep when he or she dreams one day of scaling that impossible mountain.
To say, you’ve actually run the complete 26.2 mile course from Hopkinton to the old railroad station in Framingham, straight through historic Wellesley then into neighboring Newton and past the Prudential and John Hancock skyscrapers in ‘Beantown’, well, that is the supreme high for a marathoner. It ranks as the penultimate in most every dedicated runner’s diary of unrealized dreams and loftiest aspirations.
To a runner, who dreams of finishing the Boston, it is like the unique flight of an American eagle soaring in a one of a kind majesty. The Boston Marathon is an elitist run like none other for the long distance enthusiasts, whether low or high in standing. It is a dream, a Mecca, really, a pilgrimage that must be done one time, oft times, during a marathoner’s life.
****************

Even those who qualify more as ne’er do wells and also rans, whatever else life deals them, somehow act like a band of princes until time runs out due to poor conditioning, bodily injury, or whatever else a dour Dame Fortune dispenses.
Even for these Johnny come latelies who neither dare lofty or aim too high from ground high ruts, it is a heady dose of what life can truly be once you enter the Boston Marathon, win, lose, or, simply, win by struggling somehow and getting courageously to that elusive finish line before an accepting and exulting crowd of well wishers with a majority of onlookers vicariously experiencing a natural high…just being there with you.
****************
“You’re something else, Glory!” Drummond complimented Glory’s state of individuality, “That’s just what I like about you…
“Yes, you do…you’ve got as much chance as anybody else…”
************
“Well, Drummond,” Sandy Madigan put her dukes up now.
“So…do I!” Madigan was on cue in her battle royal with Glory Day.
“We shall see…who wins the Boston Marathon…this year…
“It beats running in the Texas…Panhandle,” Glory advised one of her girl friends who runs in the Lone Star State.
“I’m proud to run in Texas and over in Oklahoma,” Chantry chimed, “but running here on the east coast…
“Here, at least, won’t be any tumbleweeds or tornadoes getting in the way…
“Or fierce winds blowing you down…either,” Chantry poked some fun at his native state while Glory sipped blush rose from a long stemmed glass. She always had favored the red blush from Napa and Sonoma vineyards around St. Helena in northern California.
****************

The celebrating runners at Mama Leone seemed to metamorphosis now into a flock of aspiring sea gulls such as in Bach’s ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull.’ All these band of runners somehow figuring to enter the Boston Marathon then finish with a personal best.
Jeb Chantry was an instant hit. As a newcomer, he listened well while pining for Glory’s natural and so apparent charms. There was just something about Glory Day as if she was dipped head to toe in special catnip that brought the tomcat out of most men in her life.
Chantry was no exception to the rule as Glory flirted then poured more wine into Jeb’s quarter filled goblet.
***************
“Wind me up, too!
“Point me to that start line…where this Boston thingee is…
“I’m a raring to go,” Jeb declared in jocular style as they all laughed and devoured the Italian inspired cuisine featuring regional dishes from sunny Italy.
****************

As Sandy listened, her thoughts suddenly changed into romantic memories as she experienced the still hurting feelings about her ex lover Tom who flew like an eagle to Boston about a year ago without Madigan by his side.
She didn’t like it then and she liked it even less now. As if to compound Tom’s penchant for mucking up their once torrid love affair, he even failed to write Madigan as he said he would once he got settled.
Madigan had been so heartbroken and now Sandy deliberated about calling Tom in Boston from New York to find out if he wanted to see her ever again.
****************

She had heard from Tom once by phone and only once by letter in all that time since his job promotion sent him to the east coast without her. She was both livid and mortified about his lack of interest in rekindling her flame of passion.
Tom had been such an ideal lover for Madigan. The last note Sandy got from him had been about six months ago. Now Madigan was hopelessly mired in her emotional mix-up over what to do with this estranged lover who lived not so very far away as she dined with friends in New York.
Soon she would be traveling by bus to Boston. And the temptation was to forgive then forget and be with Tom once more as her mind drifted.
Meanwhile, the gathered runners finished dinner at Mama Leone as talk turned to Boston, the marathon grand daddy of them all, much like the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day each year no matter how many other bowl games were played.
**********
“Well, I do have a friend in Boston I wonder if I should see,” Sandy Madigan had to talk about it and take her own informal poll over what she should or should not do unable to control her emotions.
“Who is it, Sandy?” Glory teased, “You really know some guy in Boston?
“Maybe, a millionaire who happens to know somebody who happens to know the Kennedy family or Henry Cabot Lodge even old Tip O’Neill?” Glory Day chided her rival without mercy.
**************
“Yes, I do know someone special who was once even more important to me than all those silly big shots you named, Glory,” Sandy Madigan played the game and hand she was dealt.
“Anyway, it’s for me to know,” Sandy said, “and you to find out…” she flipped off Glory as she attempted to socially extricate herself from any further questions.
Drummond was first to assess and guide the conversation in other directions.
****************

“Quite a place here, isn’t it?
“How do you ladies like the violinists?
“Beautiful music, I believe what they are playing is called ‘Sorrento.’
“Maybe, you have a special request, Sandy or Glory, when they come to our table?” Drummond inquired as the violinists strolled toward them as they settled on playing for an elderly couple an anniversary waltz.
“Oh, how we danced…on the night we were wed…” it commenced steeped in nostalgia as the musicians suddenly brought tears to the man and his wife who had been married they found later for 45 years.
****************

Two 12 inch high contoured dark green wine bottles placed on each side of a Florentine vase brimming with red and white carnations decorated gaily the red and white checkered oil cloth table top covering.
“So very romantic at Mama Leone’s, isn’t it?
“I do love it here! It’s been so many years since I visited for dinner the first time,” Glory remembered.
****************

“I came here when I was only 12 years old…
“I remember it like it was just yesterday,” Glory commanded the conversation as she glanced toward the strolling troubadours.
“My mom and daddy brought me here. That was when I lived in New Jersey in Pompton Lakes,” Glory Day found a light hearted but very special moment to share with the group of fun seekers.
****************

“We really had this giant family reunion at Mama Leone…
“There must have been about 100 of us that day in New York…
“Well, about 75 of us, anyway,” Glory amended her estimate.
“I never ever knew until that day I came from such a large family,” she did her Roseanneroseannadana impression clicking her chewing gum as she spoke with a wry smile and it had the fun lovers in stitches now.
“Your parents, Glory, I’m sure are very proud of you, especially, after New York!” Drummond offered as the quartet of runners celebrated a grand night on the town in Manhattan with a round of complimentary champagne.
**************
Word quickly passed through the convivial establishment that the marathoners were indeed honored guests of the restaurant. The runners were aghast someone in the famous eatery had blown their cover as Drummond indicated the group preferred anonymity instead of notoriety.
The cavernous room swelled with a crescendo of applause that welled from the top of the ceiling and circulated freely to the floor making a reverberating return back to the top of the huge room as well wishers applauded loud and long for their showing in the New York Marathon.
****************
Waiters at Mama Leone had been instructed as with the scores of celebrities and other visiting dignitaries to dissuade onlookers from the entourage, but a few dared to cross the imaginary line stepping up to the challenge and succeeded in getting autographs at the table by tipping opportunistic waiters.
The waiters asked for souvenir programs and other memorabilia to be autographed for a price then returned the sought after bounty to eager patrons for stipulated tips.
One enterprising waiter alone pocketed more than 100 dollars in tip monies from willing patrons for a personal signature form the California winners of the prestigious New York City Marathon that had taken place that weekend.
*****************
Drummond enjoyed a sumptuous portion of Oso Buco amid a bed of saffron rice and freshly baked Italian bread as he sipped a favored Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sandy Madigan opted for Veal Marsala cooked in white wine with antipasto as an appetizer. Jeb, the transplanted Californian, ordered the same as Glory Day who selected chicken parmegianna and anti pasto with spumoni for dessert. Neither elected wine as each preferred hot tea with their meal.
It was the strangest toast perhaps in the world or at least New York City that particular and special moment as they wished each other well in the running of an upcoming Boston Marathon.
****************

Reverberations and echoes of a distant past symbolize the nostalgia of Boston and revered marathon races since that unforgettable day in Greece centuries ago when a runner named Pheidippides ran the initial marathon.
************
Pheidippides ran from the Plains of Marathon in Greece to Athens, a distance of 22 miles to trumpet news of a very inspiring Athenian army’s victory over invading Persians.
The story is retold about how Pheidippides arrived in ancient Athens only to fall flat on his face after gasping, ‘Rejoice…we conquer…’ then dying on that same spot.
Centuries later, the marathon race took its name from the site of that famous long ago battle in Marathon Greece leading to Pheidippide’s tragic death after running into the city a bearer of great tidings for an enthused and welcoming populace.
Successive runnings of marathons symbolize that inaugural running of only 22 miles from Marathon into Athens versus a current day standard of 26.2 official miles.
****************

Perhaps, some historians note, Pheidippides should not be formally credited with all the credit for the marathon athletic achievement. Indeed, the name of the first true marathoner is forever lost in unrecorded history much like the name of the Unknown Soldier entombed at Arlington National Cemetery, one of our national shrines, celebrating America’s greatness.
However, this Battle of the Plains of Marathon did take place in 490 B. C. Persians did outnumber the Athenians and Greeks did not expect to halt the ravagers of fortune with a rapacious quest for sought after bounties.
However, the Athenian commander Miltiades surprised everybody including himself with a winning tactic that pushed the Athenian army to defeat the dreaded and hated Persians.
****************

Herodotus, a Greek historian, did not note Pheidippide’s 22 mile victory announcement run as any kind of timeless milestone either symbolizing the day or posterity, but he did talk about the fallen heart attack victim in an unrelated context.
So it seems if Pheidippides had made the run as many say that he did, then Herodotus might have duly recorded it. He did not; some historians dispute his fabled deed.
****************

Meanwhile, another Greek historian Plutarch wrote more than 500 years after the battle at Marathon of a soldier running to Athens in full battle armor also carrying an unmistakable message of imminent victory.
However, he was identified as a runner called Thersippus perhaps even Eucles as even that questionable historian wasn’t altogether sure about the runner’s identity in the name game crisis.
****************

Not until the second century A. D. was the Marathon run first attributed to Pheidippides in the works of Lucian, a Roman historian. So the story of Pheidippides and the Battle of the Plains of Marathon appear to develop in more recent writings closer to our modern times and not in the archives of historians nearer to that historic time of war.
Runners around the globe, however, need not cast out Pheidippides from the Hall of Fame then relegate Pheidippides into any sort of Hall of Shame.
Perhaps the immortal Pheidippides should be placed in a different place in time as a professional messenger. It was duly recorded that Pheidippides was dispatched before the Battle of Marathon by Athenian generals to Sparta to beg more much needed help for their embattled troops.
****************

The Spartans, due to religious preferences, did not make any move to aid their beleaguered comrades and brothers until the very next full moon.
So Pheidippides came back to Athens with the bad news of that day. That run to Sparta, by Pheidippides, did take all of two days, historians duly note, as he rested while the Spartans debated about what to do.
****************

Then Pheidippides rushed back to Marathon. So although he may not officially and indisputably be the original marathoner in this world, Pheidippides did qualify as a truly outstanding ultra marathoner.
****************

In summary, Greek historians tell us even today that Pheidippides did run a total of 280 miles in less than five days.
Any present day marathoners ready, now, set and go for a crack at Pheidippides’ old and disputed record?
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Chapter 7 – ‘Never, Ever, Give Up’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 7 – ‘Never, Ever, Give Up’

‘Bottom – you’ve got ‘bottom!’ Mike Morgan said to Kate Sheridan, “and don’t think for one moment if I hadn’t got to you that you would have just lain there and given up. No, Kate, you would have got up and finished…’ Flanagan’s Run’
It was a climactic day as three runners bitterly challenged each other in Manhattan during the freshest renewal of the NYC Marathon.
“Helga Schmidt believes she’s unbeatable…
“But I did hear Gerda Weiss actually beat Helga last year in Hamburg,” Sandy Madigan was doing the assessing.
“Gerda runs like a robot…
********************
“Just like the prototype of a futuristic runner I saw in a sci-fi movie,” Madigan explained.
“It was about how we’ll all compete one day…
“It was scary…if you ask me,” Madigan offered.
Sandy Madigan searched for a trace of rival Glory Day’s whereabouts, but Day was yet nowhere in sight. Madigan had been dueling with Schmidt, the clear cut favorite from Europe and felt she had an unmistakable opportunity to kill any hope Glory Day had, too.
Schmidt, a blonde superwoman, was busy churning both of the Californians under as she persisted in a title run. She ran like a John Deere harvester combing through ripened wheat fields while guaranteeing the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the running rainbow belonged to Helga Schmidt.
********************
Patches of iron grey and billowing smoke spiraled then evaporating as it rose even higher from grimy stacks, threatened in an ominous rage overhead.
Not only was Madigan’s arch foe Glory Day nowhere to be found, but Schmidt already had sped away to a sizeable lead to Madigan’s shock and surprise.
*************
“God, what energy does Schmidt put in her tank? I’d like some of fuel to burn.
“I thought only humans were allowed in this Marathon,” Madigan scowled, attempting to mellow, but failing. She watched in vain as Schmidt proceeded to build up an even more pronounced early lead…
********************
“Helga’s like a goddess. She should have remained on Mt. Olympus…
“I should pray for some kind of miracle just to get back in this race.
“I’ll need a miracle at this pace…
“I’ve got to keep close to Helga…
“God, please, help me!” she invoked the deity with a shouted out prayer, an outright plea for divine guidance.
“I hope I can outfox Schmidt, somewhere up the line,” the southern Californian assessed her best strategy for overcoming Schmidt’s apparent invincible quest.
Sandy tried not to watch Helga Schmidt’s disappearing dark blue with white piping clad figure, nearly out of sight in the early going. Packs of runners pursued an odd series of turns on New York streets. Aroused well wisher shouts made Madigan feel more inspired in her bid to find Schmidt somewhere up the route before the turn into Central Park.
********************
The twilight zone, induced by Schmidt, appeared to open into a wider chasm as if to envelop any formidable competition daring enough to try and run with her in a fourth dimension.
Madigan’s nightmarish thoughts were haunting her now at this state of her first New York Marathon as she soothed her mind now with a victory over Day rather than hoping to overtake the dauntless Schmidt.
Sandy gulped down some Orange Gatorade offered by a volunteer worker at the 20 mile barrier. It was here when she started up the grade that she glimpsed the apricot gold and orange piping suit of Glory Day.
“That’s her alright!
“I haven’t seen any one else wearing anything like that,” Sandy quipped.
********************
“No one else has the nerve to even wear it,” Madigan reveled as she revived once sagging spirits amid a renewed dislike for Glory Day.
Madigan was happy. She had found Glory Day, the competitor she most wanted to beat. “Helga is just too much!” Sandy compromised. Madigan now ran alongside Day, stride for stride.
“Glory is not going to beat me!” Madigan rallied then vowed as she put on a sudden burst of energy
“I know how bad she wants to beat me,” Madigan built another fire inside her, “but she is not going to do it, not in New York City.”
Sandy fumed then stepped up her pace thinking ahead about her strategy for a finishing leg of the marathon while passing two road weary male warriors.
********************
Tom Johnson, a former Great British champ, had stopped with a vacuous look on his tired and frustrated countenance while Billy Bones, out of Atlanta, struggled in a living hell whether to go on or bow out of his sixth straight unsuccessful marathon in New York City.
Madigan saw that Johnson, the Brit, favored a twisted or sprained left ankle while Bones apparently ran out of petrol, whatever that mysterious element had to be.
The runners appeared utterly spent as Sandy Madigan glanced away not wanting to lose her in compassion. The despondent duo, reaching deep down for something extra, trudged along as Madigan raced past. Their glazed eyes seemed not to recognize Madigan’s passing as they plodded heads down in a dejected state of mind.
Shuffling feet, along the asphalt, drummed within Sandy Madigan’s ear shot as she refocused on her mission to outlast first Glory Day. Perhaps, by some fluke, Madigan could challenge Schmidt down the backstretch. She didn’t know, but Madigan rallied hopes then quelled fears.
*******************
Glory appeared to be running effortlessly as she approached Sandy Madigan once more surging to her right while holding to her position for the time being.
“I just knew I’d be seeing you,” Madigan boasted as Glory suddenly lengthened her resolute long strides. Madigan picked up her pace, too, as she eyed the dark haired Glory Day warily.
“Well, I did expect you…
********************

“Can’t lie about that,” Madigan countered, “now I can keep you in sight…” Madigan shouted as she glanced at the silent New Jersey expatriate.
Glory allowed Madigan a 15 yard lead as she appeared content to let her bitter companion perhaps burn out. Now she focused in trying to catch Schmidt before the emerging ribbon for top prize.
Day wanted to beat Madigan’s hide like a tattered drum.
***************
.Undeniably, the New York Marathon ranked as a top plum in elitist competitions. The race itself emerged over the intervening years as truly international in scope as the numbers of competitors mushroomed into literally thousands in a record field of entries.
Meanwhile, Sandy Madigan and Glory Day neared a 22nd mile as Glory suddenly forced a change in tactics while forging into a 20 yard lead.
Madigan got caught up amid apprehension over whether she had enough left to overtake and whip Glory Day.
***************
“Why that…
“I should have figured…
“As unpredictable, as ever, Glory!” Madigan shook her head in disbelief.
“Every time I get her figured out about what she is going to do…
“Then she goes and does something else,” Sandy Madigan loved to vent and now was that special time as she experienced exasperation.
It appeared Madigan was giving her the bird feeling she could take over and dominate anytime she wished. And that notion angered then embittered the Huntington Beach competitor.
Since passing the 20 mile barrier, Schmidt’s lead, upwards of one full minute, had been sliced by Madigan and Day to a mere 30 seconds.
**************
“I know Sandy’s up to no good!
“I’ve got to stay in front of her…all the way,” Day desired to thwart the emotional bid of Madigan in the final reckoning on a chilly autumnal day.
A swell of well wishers cheered the leaders on into final stages of the heralded trial. It had all started, in frightening fashion, at the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge.
Network TV cameras whirred, radio microphones tuned up for immediate and continuing coverage of the extravaganza. Noisy helicopters chopped overhead.
********************
Slightly overcast and pearly grey skies fit in a frameless masterpiece of a panoramic sky like an unfinished masterpiece hung over the metropolis. In most respects, it resembled a majority of New York’s best and worse.
The inimitable scene had marked a coming of an estimated 10,000 runners in a precarious start to the marathon pitting New York City’s police halting traffic at all major designated routes, streets and avenues throughout five lucky or unlucky boroughs, depending on one’s point of view.
***********
“I’ve got my starter gun,” the crowd cheered when it heard the squeaky voice of Clem Bokamper, a long time volunteer, who wondered what might happen if someone forgot to either load the cannon or some misfortune struck to delay start of the NYC Marathon.
“We’re going to be okay Fred!’ Steinfeld doggy paddled now as word got around to the marathoners and huge crowd that the official start of the race only would be delayed five minutes at most.
**************
“Poof! Poof!” the pinging duet of sound filled the air as blue wispy smoke suddenly emerged as if a man with a giant cigarette exhaled while frenzied runners bounded as hares, some as tortoises across a two mile Narrows bridge span.
Glory Day saw sentinels of skyscrapers, an imposing yet breathtaking view of Manhattan in unparalleled steel, concrete and glass dressing and finery. A hodge podge of corporate edifices stood as stanchions while a host of smoke stacks and limitless spires infiltrated the ozone corridor framing one of the world’s most irreverent cities.
********************
The race commenced as it had been drawn up in front of bridge toll booths. The marathoners, together perhaps for a first and last time, jockeyed for position.
As each runner still believed somehow he or she could and would win as they traversed the borough of Brooklyn, still known by natives, simply, as ‘Flatbush.’
Throngs of runners swept up Fourth Avenue; they passed population melting pockets of ethnics, hardy Scandinavians, feisty Irishers. The marathoners barged through sunny and cheerier Italian neighborhoods before entering Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York’s largest black community, surpassing even Harlem in census figures.
The acclaimed international class of runners plus a trailing army of also rans began coursing a route through Brooklyn’s Williamsburg pocketful of Hassidic Jews.
********************
Thousands of marathoners made a way through the borough of Queens viewing sundry sights in lower Manhattan. A huge crowd of onlookers, four and five deep, tried to see as much as they could see as the latest wave of marathoners stormed New York.
Fans cheered even international chosen sons of destiny. Onrushing marathoners got a glimpse of quaint Pulaski Bridge as the mass of humanity raced across an apropos red carpeted Queensboro Bridge, an early checkpoint.
**********
Once upon a time, the NYC Marathon had a comedic inception as an initial corps invading New York numbered just 127 runners for a maddened chase through four corners of Central Park.
In that inaugural race, organizers requested that competitors endure four laps around hilly Central Park. That was a time when a runner seeking fame and fortune in the ‘Big Apple’ was eligible to be mugged or worse.
********************
Since that maligned and inglorious beginning in 1972, Lebow and Steinfeld forged a crowd pleaser in the world of marathons. The NYC Marathon gained in prestige, leaps and bounds, until one day connoisseurs fancied it as a worthy rival to the celebrated Boston Marathon on Patriots’ Day morning.
Critics carped when Lebow declared what he had in mind as most of the Gotham City citizenry laughed in local taverns and pubs. New York newspapers lampooned then gave Lebow his grieving heart, back on a silver platter.
**********
“Are you crazy, Mister Lebow?
“Running through all five boroughs…
“And the mean streets of New York?
“You gotta be out of your mind!’’one of Lebow and Steinfeld’s freedom of press challengers in literary circles didn’t even bother with a tongue in cheek ambush.
********************
Max Parker, that acid tongued journalist preferred instead to vilify and skewer Lebow’s proposed NYC Marathon in an ink bath that plagued harried officials and key promoters.
In 1976, an estimated 10,000 long distance runners showed up for Lebow’s brain child. He had a success and all those turbulent years when he took on the Fourth Estate and an assortment of unyielding critics paid off.
Adventurous runners faced up to Lebow’s bare knuckle challenge as Lebow refused to toss in the sponge or quit. A self assured Fred Lebow claimed his race was a unique marathon that had to be run in New York.
Lebow gloated and original marathoners felt like charter members in what was truly destined to be something really big in the running fraternity and sorority of an international racing world.
***********
New Yorkers jeered then stomped feet pounding palms in steady applause even building it up for never do wells with a field of elitist runners. Lebow’s dream for a NYC Marathon had become a reality
Conspicuously, the Bronx rated as a New York eye sore.
To the city’s proud and pretentious, that minority with alleged clout, would have preferred if the Bronx was bypassed instead of made a focal point. To critics, there were too many problem sectors along the route amid all the boarded up buildings and rat infested pockets the New York mayor never boasted about and preferred unseen.
After the Bronx run, Manhattan was more appealing. Lebow waited with select officials, ready to bestow any and all honors at the finish line.
**********
Glory Day glimpsed at the irregular skyscraper formations, some towering more than 50 stories high, other cowering levels in the 20 and 30 elevator floor categories. She looked across a starboard side at that dominating New York City skyline for the first time, but resumed the hard fought race planning late moment tactics…
“There is a way,” Glory rallied, “to intimidate Sandy!
“But I haven’t found it,” she despaired only for a moment as Glory flashed to last springtime when she ran against Madigan in Long Beach.
“Glory’s no…pigeon!” Sandy stewed as she harpooned Day in her outrageous and competitive mind, “not with that mean streak…in her…
“And how she hates me!” Madigan admitted once more in grudging admiration. It was true that Glory Day resembled and even mirrored her own enduring spirit and capacity to battle back, no matter what odds.
To triumph over Miss Glory Day, any way Sandy Madigan could, preferable legally, of course, at her own game. Temporarily, Madigan forgot about the main competitor in the flying form of Helga Schmidt.
********************
Schmidt remained in front of Madigan since the marathon started while Day followed in the German runner’s immediate wake. Schmidt ran 20 seconds ahead of Madigan as the Californian tried to cut more seconds off Schmidt’s victory edge.
She glanced straight ahead to Madigan’s back as the raucous crowed shouted encouragement sounding like a cacophonic distortion of a latter day Zubin Mehta led LA Philharmonic.
Abounding on the sidewalks of New York were almost out of control spectators, hemmed in by sheer numbers of pressing flesh, even the sight of city men in blue sworn to preserve the peace as they manned strategic corners and selected check points.
An impassioned Glory Day passed Ten Lee, a runner from China. Miss Ten Lee, appeared uneasy and in apparent discomfiture. Somehow, Lee had sprained a ligament in her right leg as she hopped then limped along in a show of true mettle as she persisted in resuming the race as best she could hoping for a miracle.
********************
In empathy, Glory’s eyes teared at the heart breaking sight of one of her marathon sisters so close to being out of the running. Except, by the grace of God, it could have been Glory as she offered a prayer of aid for Ten Lee.
Ten Lee’s chestnut eyes glanced skyward. It was as if she truly did await an imminent miracle. In reality, Ten Lee knew her realistic chance of finishing this race was nil now as she trudged toward a hushed crowd of sympathetic onlookers
*********
Then it happened!
Suddenly, Miss Ten Lee staggered to the middle of the New York street from whence she came as she dodged passing runners and got a rousing hand from the empathetic crowd. Ten Lee grinded her way while gritting her teeth back into the race in a startling demonstration of mind versus physical propensities.
********************
Ten Lee hobbled at first so unsteady. However, she refused to accept help from heart broken rescuers. She hopped some more then skipped.
It was not now a question of whether a courageous Ten Lee possessed the inner fire and gut to finish the NYC Marathon. It was more a problem of getting Ten Lee’s pain wracked body to achieve what her peaceful spirit and congruous mind deeded a stricken anatomy.
********************
Ten Lee struggled in a series of even deeper breaths, filling her willing yet ailing body with much needed oxygen. Her will pervaded Ten Lee’s presence, but another pain stabbed now in her pelvic zone. You couldn’t get the odds makers in Vegas to give a snowball’s chance in equatorial heat despite her iron will and resolve to somehow finish what she had started.
***********
Meanwhile, Sandy Madigan tried her best to bear down on Glory Day then to bolt past Helga Schmidt despite slim hopes winning the marathon. Madigan accelerated and targeted Glory first.
Day had taken an impressive 20 yard lead a mile ago over the undaunted Orange County runner. Perhaps as important to Glory and Sandy was the bragging rights which went with success in their duel.
Madigan used her patented long strides while Day kicked in with whatever she had left. There was no reason now to hold anything back as the trio of marathoners, still led by Helga Schmidt fixated on a finish line looming ahead.
“I’ve just got to beat Glory!” Madigan cried out.
“And…I am going to do it, come hell or high water…”Madigan’s sudden affirmation reverberated through her euphoric mind. She drew closer to Glory and cut her waning lead even more.
Glory refused to concede. Perspiring in her quest to dominate and outclass Madigan, Day pushed even harder.
That was always her style, ever more Glory Day’s predictable finish.
********************
The top of Glory’s orange and yellow piping shirt no longer flapped. It had been weighted down with Day’s rivulets of unstoppable perspiration. Now she was soaked even at her lithe waist. She propelled her thin buttocks for the remaining yards ready for the staunch challenge facing her.
How best to overtake Schmidt now while forgetting Madigan for a moment: that was the question. Glory pounded untiring feet closer to a nearing finish. However, Madigan met her challenger with a version of how to win a race when you still have an outside chance, even a long shot.
Glory Day’s pace accelerated, but Helga Schmidt ran side by side. Day tried to pass Helga, threatening to explode past the race favorite.
********************
Schmidt busied with waging her private war trying not to lose to an American upstart she had never heard of let alone seen any notable press clippings about when she scanned a class of favorites that didn’t include Glory Day.
As for Glory, she fought a fierce fight with a two headed monster. She had almost forgotten about that remote possibility to run down Schmidt during a dramatic struggle with Sandy Madigan.
The California duo, simply, had it in for each other, no ifs ands or buts. It had happened so far, whenever, wherever they met. Competition wise, even in social circles, that was just the way that it jelled. Some critics offered, if either Day or Madigan learn to control emotions, one could then dominate and from that juncture be a champion.
So far, that had not happened!
*************
As Lady Luck would have it, Helga Schmidt poured it on. So did a trailing Glory and Sandy as dignitaries and emotional fandom waited with eagerness at the finish. Who would win out?
First place winner received $10,000 with the runner-up earning a check for $5,000. It was the same this year, as in the men’s trials. , It all had happened at the NYC Marathon since the clamor and furor over women rights’ as the ongoing ERA movement fostered financial remuneration over mutual equality.
Cognizant of the women rights’ leaders, Lebow and upstanding NYC Marathon officials appeased the liberation movement and other champions of civil liberties. Emphasis was on an equalitarian basis for the first time.
*********
The German’s stock, her rising star, suddenly plummeted. Madigan then Day threatened to pass Schmidt. Helga’s hopes and fears appeared on the verge of being dashed.
Or did Helga Schmidt have enough grit and gut left now to pull out all stops and win despite a pain splitting then short circuiting through her Olympian body.
Schmidt’s lead lagged to a mere five yards as the Southern California girls ran now, side by side. Schmidt was now there for the taking, but could either Madigan or Day pull it off?
********************
A desperate Schmidt prayed she could hurtle her tiring body across the fluttering cardinal red ribbon.
Glory’s iron will dictated a last chance surge.
“I need that money!
********************
“My mom needs surgery so…bad,” Glory tried to block out and not see her mother hospital ridden plagued by recurring pain. She needed at this critical moment to focus on the task at hand in out kicking Schmidt.
Day’s mother had no medical plan. Father had not provided. Mrs. Day required major surgery to remove a malignancy on the left side of her head, but Glory’s maternal parent had refused, on the ground, that she would die then put her family deeper in debt.
************
“Mom never asks me to do anything for her!
“Yet she’s always done so very much for us,” Day resumed her late bid to whip Schmidt. She tried to hold back an inundation of tears.
Day had a chance now at this moment to pass the vaunted foreign runner. “Mom…this one’s…for you!”
Day’s tears burst forth again. She ran then cried some more. Her determined stride suddenly brought her neck and neck with Schmidt. Madigan closely followed Day and Schmidt as she refused to surrender while the crowd noise trebled in sheer and raw excitement.
Sandy’s mind locked on her version of a victory game. Madigan nipped at Glory’s precarious lead. For the very first time, perhaps Sandy Madigan could win it by upstaging Helga Schmidt.
Acutely conscious of her personal vendetta, Madigan burned with a passionate desire to whip Glory Day. Her cloud of indecision glided away now as the three competitors waged a spirited duel to the finish.
********************
Not even an excited and emotional crowed, in a wildest dream, dared conjure such a stirring climax. Now it could either of three ways…
**************
Madigan brimmed in boundless energy as she went all out for it. Madigan’s avowed determination to prove her personal mettle and to achieve a private best, to boot, spurred her freshest efforts.
“It’s my time!” oozed the confidence of the bearing down southern Californian. A worried Schmidt, slowing due to a siege of recurring pain, saw her dwindling lead skitter to two yards.
Schmidt now ran in apparent distress. It turned out later, much later, an irregular and tiny pebble somehow lodged in the front of her right sneaker. Helga, torn by pain each time that pebble shifted, lived to rue her ill famed day in the sun as the miscreant pebble pierced through the under skin of Helga’s affected foot.
********************
She refused to concede, however, knowing it was impossible to stop now and yet stubborn enough not to yield the race. But the ragged cutting edge of the pebble did the damage and tormented her psyche.
“Um Himmel’s villen!” without grace, Helga Schmidt invoked the Deutschland deity figure. Unfortunately, Schmidt’s supreme source didn’t show up to alleviate her emotional and physical distress. Glory Day and Sandy Madigan threatened to end Schmidt’s valiant New York Marathon title hopes.
************
“Of all times, such a crazy thing,” courageous Helga shouted again in pain.
“My God, why are you so unfair to Helga Schmidt?” she cried in clear frustration. Tears streamed as the fast finishing Americans finally caught up.
It was a photo finish.
***************
Officially, it turned out to be a lucky day for the Californians.
First, it had been Paul Drummond, from the West Coast, winning the men’s competition in near record shattering time.
Then a photo finish with a very controversial result. Depending on which frame they viewed then reviewed, stressed race officials it appeared the race had finished in a flatfooted tie with not only two, but three victors.
A majority of the perused evidential frames, though there mounted evidence supporting Schmidt, disclosed Glory Day as the ultimate winner.
********************
Sandy Madigan, red faced and indomitable, refused to concede. Seven minutes later after the initial disputed decision, there was an official recall by race officials. The controversy revealed disputable results.
Officially, Miss Glory Day was declared winner with Madigan’s pain filled countenance overwrought with consternation at the judges’ verdict.
********************
Day’s soaked orange and yellow garbed body had toppled into the beribboned victory line a mere fraction ahead of Madigan. Yet another photo frame revealed Sandy’s left foot had crossed over the finish line before Day arrived and the last gasp lunge by Helga Schmidt.
The embattled judges reigned uneasily in a state of confusion as what decision to render in a stirring climax to the NYC Marathon. Schmidt runner-up slot behind Day and Madigan, but which of the two Californian arch rivals had won this Marathon?
*************
“Can’t tell from these photos…
“Still not dead sure! Anyway, how can you tell, anyway!
“Totally inconclusive!
“As to prize money, I recommend that we take the $10,000 for first prize money and the $5,000 for runner-up…
“Then, simply, divide it up the middle, ok, ladies?” Lebow, Steinfeld, high and mighty powers of the classic event, tried to hammer out a grand compromise while an emotionally exhausted Schmidt desired no part of the latest brouhaha on what to do.
****** *************
“That sound fair and square, ladies? “Is that okay with you?” Steinfeld waited for a nodding assent of unanimity yet somehow knew it would not be forthcoming. Schmidt’s coach Max Reinstein threatened to create a world scandal over the disputed race order finish with an unhappy Helga, in heavy tears, cowering by his left side.
**************
There was a deafening roar now in the pro American crowd.
Soon there was another frenzied huddle by the confused judges as the frazzled runners, wrung out crowd and a tragic Schmidt experienced waves of mixed emotions.
********************
Twenty minutes passed. Then what was now represented as a final judges’ decision, still a split and controversial decision, led to Schmidt’s vow never again to set foot on American soil for a New York City Marathon.
********************
Glory Day raised her arms as she proclaimed to one and all, indeed, she should be number one.
“I won this race!” she paraded in a semi circle, back and forth, in front of the victory stand. “I won it for you, mom!”
Fans acclaiming Sandy Madigan, meanwhile, congratulated her. Endowed with ‘I love a winner’ mentality, these well-wishers loved climbing aboard a here and now bandwagon amid a pressing sea of humanity. Madigan had worked overtime to make enough money to go to Boston then New York.
************
“I don’t believe it!
“I just don’t believe it!
“I did beat Glory Day…
“What in the world’s wrong with these darned judges?” Madigan’s spitfire style rebounded in her obsessive passion to whip Glory.
********************
“Calm down!” Glory admonished Madigan waving an accusatory finger, point blank, in her distressed countenance. A battle royal threatened to erupt at the victory stand over still disputed results engulfing a seething chorus line of would be winners including Helga Schmidt.
Schmidt registered angry enough now to throw haymakers. However, it was rivals Madigan and Day at each other’s throats after a quest for victory ended in a stirring and too close to call finish.
**************
“I believe judges do goof,” Glory Day admitted, in grudge mode.
“Maybe, even this time?”
“But you know what?
“The judges really don’t care which one of us wins…
********************
“Even if Helga Schmidt wins…They want it, fair and square, don’t they?”
“Yes, Glory, come down off your high horse!” Madigan fumed, “but I believe in my heart I won…just as you believe you won…
“Certainly, Helga feels that way, too,” Madigan persisted.
“Maybe, Sandy, we’re both right!” Glory pitched in.
“These judges perhaps know best.
“After all, it’s their job…to…get it right…in the end!” Glory Day acted like a mediator for the first time since Madigan had known her.
********************
“Despite how we feel about each other, Sandy…
“It is a hard one to call, isn’t it?”
“Just look at these photos!” quipped Glory Day to Madigan as Schmidt turned silent while some color returned in her perplexed countenance. ‘
Madigan turned toward that photo finish exhibit again before a slight smile coursed her face. Madigan walked over to Glory’s left side then wrapped both arms around her.
“Whatever…can’t we be friends, for once! ‘ Glory said. “Before the next race, let’s work on being friends, okay?
“But do remember this,” Glory fussed, “Then when we race, I’m not your friend…! “Anytime, we race against each other!
“Deal or not?” Glory compromised her furies.
********************
“Yes, okay! Let’s at least…go for it…and try! Maybe, it’ll work,” Sandy Madigan reiterated as Drummond made his way to victory circle.
Day and Madigan seemed to see him at the same instant. Cheerfully, Drummond greeted each lady, in what seemed an eternity to the other
****************
“Only problem ever with these big time marathons,” reflected Glory Day.
“You men always get to finish…first!”
“I’d like to see you win, how you did it!” Glory enthused.
“Well, I wish you and Sandy could have seen me, too,” Drummond said, “It was something so very special…
“I believe they got it on cam for TV tonight…
“Maybe, we’ll get a chance to see it, together,” the triumphant marathoner informed, with an apparent degree of decorum and humility in his body lingo.
“Yes…what a party it is going to be!” beamed Sandy Madigan.
“Who’d ever have thought we’d all be winners in this impossible city of New York…especially, when we left California?”
********************
“Well, I’d have bet on it!
“And it’s such a picture book story ending, too…
“I’m happy for each of us,” said an unflappable Paul Drummond as the Southern Californians took time out to celebrate a once in a lifetime experience like none other…
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Chapter 6 – ‘Start Spreading the News’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 6 – ‘Start Spreading the News’

“I also realize that winning doesn’t always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself.” —Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist

Only three miles remained for frontrunners such as Paoli
Rossi, the stubborn Italian, Alberto Clemente, a surprising Puerto
Rican long distance specialist and a popular Latino peoples’
choice New Yorker Jose Rijo, from neighboring Yonkers…
There was no doubt about whom Rijo’s followers prayed
and rooted for in this classic New York City marathon. Rijo drew
hordes of fans like a giant horse shoe magnet with come hither
privilege in the pulsating excitement and glamour of the classic.
****************
However, Paul Drummond persisted in his freshest run to
fame charging to the lead as Hal Peck, a determined Englishman
and Jim Snell, a well regarded runner from Las Vegas, hung in
there.
New York City Windup
2
Drummond edged about a sixteenth of a mile behind the
dedicated Rossi as Clemente decided to go for it favoring a
sprinter stride for the moment rather than his predictable and
persistent bear down style.
Drummond dug deeper than before since his comeback from
a dreaded melanoma cancer and his apparent stirring victory in a
life and death off and on drama.
****************

He prayed to God now that something special, that tad extra,
would be there. Drummond, since the miracle from God restoring
his life, seemed to possess the equivalent of an intangible fifth
gear.
It was a New York Marathon sure to be remembered with
infamy due to a near assassination of Nikita Gregor, the quick
stepping Russian strider, who lay recovering in a Manhattan
hospital emergency ward.
*********
New York City Windup
3
Then there had been a four runner pileup in which even
Drummond fell to the street along with Philly’s greyhound runner
Tommy Eastwood. Drummond succeeded in fighting out of a
groggy state of mind, but Eastwood remained down then forced
out of the marathon through no fault of his own in a disastrous
tripping incident.
The bizarre mishap shocked the crowd as runners regained
footing while cheering fans maintained an uneasy vigil in wake of
this unforeseeable incident.
****************

Miraculously, Paul Drummond got up unhurt, but a star
crossed Eastwood in the unfortunate accident fractured his right
leg and now was being carted away in an ambulance to a center
city hospital.
Drummond remembered recent yesteryear haunts and other
near tragedies as he blessed himself with a sign of the cross sorry
New York City Windup
4
praying God’s tender mercy for Eastwood and yet thankful to
God for sparing him further grief.
****************

Whether an ill fated cancer sentence by Doc Gallico in San
Francisco or an unavoidable accident induced by a clumsy
marathon runner who meant no harm, Drummond had survived to
persist in his run for heralded NYC Marathon honors.
Yet others, like unlucky Tommy Eastwood fell down
around him like bowling pins or prime candidates for an
ambulance ride they never wanted.
*************
“I’ve got to make up lost ground…get myself in high gear!
“Only about two minutes left to make my time up,”
Drummond blessed himself one more time managing to see the
silver lining.
****************
“I can do this…through God’s saving grace…
New York City Windup
5
“He loves me!” Drummond rallied.
He passed two more tiring runners. Drummond’s timing and
mental push buttons locked into ‘on’ status.
**********
Snell, the Las Vegas flash, appearing tired from his wan
appearance, tried to dig down deeper not wanting to quit and
determined now to make a run for the winner’s crown at the
beckoning victory stand.
Rijo, the borough of Yonker’s favorite son, bobbed his head
as if in a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ ambivalence. Rijo had never before
finished a marathon, but he vowed today would be that special
day in his life as a cheering crowd of Puerto Rican faithful let him
know they were indeed so passionate behind him.
****************

The affable Rijo sensed the dedicated Drummond was a
man also on a mission. He had heard even read the stories
New York City Windup
6
originating out of California about Drummond’s miraculous
comeback from melanoma chestcancer.
And now Rijo spied Japan’s Sejii Okawa, and China’s Ten
Lee making determined bids to catch Drummond. With only one
and a half miles to go, Drummond heard the swell of cacophony
in sound rolling inward like so many welcome and incoming
ocean waves from everywhere around him.
****************

Onlookers stood four and five deep curbside cheering on
daring runners audacious enough to go for a coveted first place
diadem and prize monies that accompanied the NYC Marathon
winner as icing on an indescribable celebration cake.
****************

The inspired Drummond’s mind flashbacked to ancient
Greece. How it must have been so many centuries ago when the
New York City Windup
7
initial Marathon originated. The historic first had been part and
parcel of victory festival in that ancient country.
The transplanted New Jersey native suddenly felt a
compelling surge of God given synergy as he seemed to draw
even some of it in a mystic manner from the men he raced
against.
****************

Now Drummond was only 15 yards away from a dedicated
Rossi as the macho Italian marathoner persisted in keeping a 10
yard lead over dark horse Alberto Clemente while a majority of
the huge crowd cried out in an unbroken unison:
Clemente…Clemente…Clemente…!”
Drummond startled a bewildered Italian champion as he
bolted into the lead then matched stride for stride with the high
spirited Clemente. Coming on fast, Drummond ran neck and neck
with Clemente as mixed shouts of encouragement goaded both
runners to supreme last and best efforts in a blistering pace.
New York City Windup
8
*************
Okawa, running at the heels of Drummond, kicked in his
afterburner making a concerted bid to the overwhelm the
Californian and also to track down the Puerto Rican fan favorite.
The Japanese champion proved his mettle with quick
pumping yet medium strides in a determined bid to catch
Drummond while a perspiring Clemente, bore down hard on the
finish line.
****************

A tumultuous crowd’s noise decibel level screamed even
higher for what appeared now as a possible photo finish with how
the marathoners bunched like a stalk of Chiquita bananas.
Drummond, Clemente and Okawa nearly fused running side
by side in an unforeseeable triple dead heat. Meanwhile,
Drummond summoned a higher power as the Californian called
on his God, again, in a prayer for victory as he neared the
fluttering ribbon.
New York City Windup
9
“God, I love you so…
“Please, please…guide me, my Savior!
“With Your Help,” Drummond persisted, ‘all things are
possible, I shall not…I will not fail, all praises and honor and
glory…to You!!
“O God…please!”
Somehow, in a mystical way, Okawa had an apparent inside
line to Buddha while Clemente did his own thing as neither
runner capitulated. None of the trio permitted so much as a foot
leeway.
***********
“Please, Lord!
“I beg You!” Paul Drummond visualized that he suddenly
had been transformed into a winged human, an out of body
experience he had never known.
It was as if paused while watching his own image as
Drummond rushed past a shocked Clemente, also, the fleet
New York City Windup
10
footed Okawa. Drummond burst across the finish line in first
place with a personal best 2:10:12.
Clemente clocked in at 2:10:30 while Okawa timed 2:10:40
in the most thrilling climax to a marathon thousands of New
York City fans had ever witnessed with long shots in the first
three prize money placements.
*********
“Oh, thank You, thank You, Lord,’ Drummond intoned.
“I do love You so very much…
“All praise and honor to Your glory, dearest God!”
Now he was surrounded as Paul Drummond accepted
congratulations and accolades accruing to his biggest win ever
and a ranking, if only for one day only, as numero uno in the
international racing world.
****************

Clemente strode over to the victor with a big smile smeared
across his countenance, ear to ear, maintaining that the better man
New York City Windup
11
had won. Okawa stood about 10 yards away surrounded by his
entourage of well wishers as a majority of the crowd cheered on
the rest of the best as runners continued to arrive to a
marathoner’s Promised Land while vying for personal bests.
****************

Others running in the marathon, even hours later, did their
level best just to say they had finished what they had begun
earlier that very special day in New York, New York.

For all of the marathoners, it would rank as an
unforgettable day that would last for a lifetime…
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Chapter 5 – ‘Crossing the Finish Line in New York’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 5 – ‘Crossing the Finish Line in New York’

“Every runner, whatever his abilities, was making a personal statement, every time he or she ran…“Here I am…this is what I do! I run! This is what makes me different!” “ Flanagan’s Run” A Novel About Marathoners

Valery Borzov, a Russian expatriate forgot all about the hammer
and sickle of his motherland while enjoying life as a New York City dweller …
Instead, he praised a Statue of Liberty symbolizing his bittersweet new life in America. Meanwhile, Paul Drummond ran at his envisioned pace after commencement of a heated and bitterly contested race that began at Ft. Wadsworth over in Staten Island at toll booths in front of the Narrow-Verazzano Bridge.
The runners’ first two miles in the bicentennial of America’s
birthday traversed the New York span giving an unparalleled view to the
hybrid roster of marathoners eclipsing 10,000 New York strong.
*****************
At least, that many runners started, according to the official count.
However, many never would finish, some already had pulled up lame,
others soon becoming utterly fatigued or burned out, minions washed
out before they had glimpsed the whites in the eyes of favorites who at
this early point were positioned and making a beeline for the finish. A
chronic army of also rans, ne’er do wells who tried and yet never
finished anything, again ,stood up to be counted in this ever merry then
bittersweet chase through NYC streets.
*****************

Too soon, a trip back to a cheap hotel room, perhaps one more
over night stay, then out of town, by hook or crook, headed for a world
outside New York, somewhere in the heartland of America. Others
found lodging with families, if one knew somebody or perhaps talked to
anyone with connections, in the metropolis called the “Big Apple”.

The Staten Island commencement point at Ft. Wadsworth on a
Sunday morning for many of the runners, unquestionably ranked as the
most important event in a lifetime, for an admitted few, rivaling even the
very day of their birth.
There were more than 10,000 pairs of itchy feet raring raring to go
all the way with a majority destined to tire and collapse long before
reaching the coveted finish line, which would lead to unparalleled fame
and fortune for just a select few.
*****************

Elitist runners, like Bill Rodgers, of Boston, rated as a pre-race
choice along with Paul Drummond, an up and rising standout from Southern California.
Drummond literally had come back from the dead to make his
appearance. The Californian had thrown away his one way trip to a
local cemetery of his or a friend’s choice in favor of a life as a divinely
inspired marathon runner.
*****************
He was hoping to make a name for himself and earn a world
reputation by taking on and whipping the elitists led by New England’s
Rodgers.

The NYC marathon psyching team had helped a majority of the
runners to allay before race jitters for the past four hours. Many in the
army of runners struggled with apprehensions and stresses too numerous
to cite and deal with one by one. Most of the early arrivals battled
“heebie-jeebies”, for better or for worse, as many realized even before
they started they could not and would not even finish.
*****************
That was the most frustrating and frightening experience for
hundreds of marathoners in the midst of an identity crisis at the bridge
entrance. Fatigue, accidental mishaps, even some runners suffered
strokes or heart attacks in the early line prediction roster of casualties
confronting the New York psych team members.
*****************
The Marathon psych experts, simply, did the best they could to get
runners psychologically ready as they uneasily prepped for the race.
Hundreds of marathoners had arrived as early as eight a.m. for the
predicted noonish start.
Snaking through disoriented masses of sole runners podded together with few knowing anyone else, the crack group of elitist volunteers did a yeoman job in an acknowledged humanitarian effort.
Mainly, they went nameless and thankless by the public, but the social workers got dues and pay, simply, knowing each did what he or she could to help a runner along the way in the New York Marathon.
*********************
“Hey, if we help just one runner keep his legs in a race of this
magnitude…then we’ve really done something, haven’t we?” one self
aggrandizing volunteer as the voi8ce of the New York Marathon
psyching team.
Amateur counselors tacked almost 600 cases of pre-race neurosis
from the mundane to the philosophical objector. “Gee, I hope my knee doesn’t bother me!” one distraught runner complained. Another said, “Any time, I come to a bridge, I can’t seem to budge…”
There were resident medical directors apparent on the scene
administering the afflicted runners.
*****************

The crack medical corps included a psychiatrist, physiologists and a band of medical school students anxious to volunteer help in any way that it could in reducing tension levels and chronic anxiety.
Fears materialized that many of the sick runners coming to the medical tent, mainly suffered from acute anxiety brought on by personal neurosis.
There was a husband and wife heading the marathon psyche team
as more than 100 volunteers aided the marathoners get ready for the
mammoth race, through New York City’s five boroughs.
*****************

Marathoner’s trotted in place; others did calisthenics while prepping ,
hoping not to panic before the true trial began.
As midmorning settled in with less than an hour to the start of the
race, Dr Maryellen Dunne assessed the disoriented masses. “This high
pressure environment incites a lot of anxiety disorders…”
*****************

One runner, a 30 year old challenger, who had run last year, ranked a
typical head case. He was Dave Massey, from Philadelphia. He had
attempted to run the New York Marathon, but had to drop out after only
15 miles. At the time, Massey had confessed to a volunteer of his
nightmarish fear of the Fifty-ninth street bridge, which is at the 16 mile
mark of the marathon.
*****************

The volunteer medic advised Massey to “Imagine the river as a
bridge and as a way to cross over to hundreds of people just waiting to
applaud you. It is the promised land, David!”
That advice seemed to work for Mr. Massey this year. As he ran the
race, crossed the river and got his applause.
Psyche team members acted as miracle workers to cancel out the
jitters. Even Californians, Sandy Madigan, Glory Day and Paul
Drummond, all first time entrants, felt the buzz.
*****************

“I’d like to be running now,” Drummond broke the heavy air layer
permeating the ozone everywhere as the expectant road racers bided
time in the final hour before the start.
“Yes, I wish I was out there already too!”, the charged up strawberry blonde Sandy Madigan, exploded like a Fourth of July
firecracker.
Glory Day, for once, agreed with her rival’s emotional outburst, while Jeb Chantry, Glory’s friend, poked at the dirt and cinders at his feet.
*****************

“Yeah”, Chantry said, “Let’s get this show on the road…” the usually happy go lucky guy anticipated his personal best. Chantry had never run a marathon before, but he was optimistic by nature, and thought he could break the 20 mile mythical barrier. He had once run eight miles in San Diego, California, but failed as he tripped over his own shoe laces and sprained his right ankle.
All waited for the sound of the starter’s gun as the appointed time
neared. The Marathon, modestly began with four laps through Central
Park when it originated, but now was up to five boroughs.
*****************

However, Manhattan clearly dominated as the focal point for the
throngs of marathoners clustered like platoons poised for action.
The inaugural New York Marathon through Central Park had a roll
call of 127 coursing hills and dales of feared environ. The year was
1972. In 1976, it was expanded to five boroughs, just in time for the
country’s bicentennial.
Also in that first year, women who entered the marathon, were
informed they would commence their portion of the race either 10
minutes before or 10 minutes after the men did.
Protesting women decided to force their will by sitting, then camping on
the starting line of the marathon in mass protest. They insisted they
would not budge unless they could start when the men started.
*****************

Back in the early seventies, few women entered, let alone, finished
marathons. Sentiment had steeped then dominated in favor of men when
it came to action in running a marathon such as New York’s popular
version.
In the mid eighties, women dictated their way in London when
they raced 15 minutes before the men, but not at the same time.
However, a majority of women still desired to run at the same time the
men began.
*****************

The British women requested a head start at the London Marathon
that race officials duly granted. In the NYC Marathon, women runners
were allowed to start the race 10 minutes before the men’s trials commenced.
After that, it was everybody on their own, as men and women jockeyed for best positions and personal best times, with most simply hoping to finish anyway they could.
***************
Rodgers, a three time NYC marathon winner, bolted into an early
lead. Most observers, in the huge crowd, believed Rodgers would win it
easily again, in a record shattering and unprecedented fourth straight
year, while dark horse Drummond dated to dream he was the man of the
hour in his personal quest for world fame and racing immortality.
*****************

Borzov, the Russian, clearly made a bid now to overtake Rodgers
as he sidled by the Bostoner’s right side. They ran in tandem as
successful marathoners sometimes do, in getting off to rousing starts,
then holding on as Drummond used the two runners as his personal
pacers.
Suddenly, Borzov zipped to a 15 yard lead over Rodgers as he seemed content to bide his time and let the European champion play his running game.
Incredulous fans and onlookers openly ooh’d and ahh’d as Berzov
ran alone, representing the land of the Soviet Socialists garbed in
traditional red and white nylon running clothes.
*****************

As the race headed to the backstretch with only two miles left,
disbelieving crowd watched Borzov keep his lead while Rodgers
determinedly dogged him.
Dr. Tom Nussbaum, the West German physician now living in Los
Angeles, suddenly vaulted to the front of the pack. He raced with the
leaders, only 15 tenuous yards from Borzov, as Drummond ran one yard
off the doctor’s grueling pace.
***************
Suddenly, it happened!

As Nussbaum ran like a well oiled machine, the West German tripped and fell to the asphalt He lay prostrate, and instantly the emergency medical help team ministered to the fallen runner.
The incident happened just as the leaders raced back into Central Park as members of the watching crowd wondered what could have happened to wipe Nussbaum out of the race.
***************
“Did you see his eyes?”, one observer asked his sideline companion. “They looked so bleary, like they were going to explode out of his head.”
“No, I didn’t see anything like that, Bill. He was running just fine,
it looked like to me. Then all of a sudden, I see the German guy
struggling as if a demon jumped him.”
*****************

“I’m wondering what gives? What do you suppose is the problem?”, his concerned friend inquired. All eyes turned to the stricken Nussbaum now laying silent and unconscious.
No one yet knew what happened to Doc Nussbaum. The paramedic whispered something in the ear of his female co-worker. Nussbaum was out of the race and his labored breathing was of concern to the medics who attended him like predator vultures, rather than angels of mercy.
Nussbaum was moved to curbside as room was made for his athletic frame by sympathetic onlookers. As witnesses to Nussbaum’s sudden fall watched with concern, the human drama unfolded.
*****************
“Maybe, the guy over-dosed!” You know, doctors have access to
lots and lots of drugs, don’t they? Look at his eyes, kind of red? Look –
see there!” said one less than sympathetic observer as Nussbaum lay
motionless.
“No wonder he took off and ran away from everybody, for awhile,”
another character of New York’s fabled streets took his potshot at the
fallen runner.
“I don’t know what he’s trying to prove. Imagine…pulling a stunt
like that on a day like this?”, another unhappy marathon watcher
observed in a city of speculators looking for still another loser in the silent form of Dr. Nussbaum.
Sounds of a police siren punctuated the early autumn afternoon and
an accompanying and discordant blare of the New York City ambulance
pierced the sky.
*****************

It was obvious why Nussbaum had seemed a step ahead of everyone now or so it appeared to a few more in the crowd of ready made doubting Thomas’s.
The unconscious, Nussbaum was lifted gently off the sidewalk and immediately placed on a canvas cloth stretcher then placed into the ambulance.
Now it was an out and out duel between Drummond, Paddy Murphy, the genial giant and Toby Clark out of London. Each of the gifted runners appeared strong as they ran not daring to over pace saving for the last two miles of the Marathon.
Kenji Sato, the vaunted Japanese and lithe champion, suddenly made his bold move to join the band of leaders as the convention of top flight runners exercised strategies aiming at personal bests while also waging the big war to win the race. “Let’s go Drummond!” it seemed an echo from the past; a voice mystically appearing from long ago, that Drummond heard. It sounded like someone very special to him from his childhood.
*****************

“You’re not going to win anything today at that pace!” the voice
taunted, “are you Drummond?” Paul Drummond inherited shivers and
shakes as his mind flashed back to another place and another time.
It was when he was a boy of seven years. He had been helping his
dad out in the tool shed at the family home in Camden, New Jersey.

He permitted the scene to unravel in the theater of his mind, but
concentrated on a running feud that began looking as if it had the
makings of an athletic tug of war.
*****************

.“Every time I ask you to do something for me, you screw it up,
don’t you? Why is it? Why is that? Can you explain that to me,
someday, someway, Paul?”

Paul Drummond never did explain that to Dad as the family rift widened and caused a material breach in domestic ties in the years that quickly followed. All Drummond carried with him from those monumental days of feeling hurt and sometimes personal despair as he lay gloomy in his
room late at night struggling through wee morning hours in howling wintry winds whistling through cracks and crannies of the of the old red brick townhome on Atlantic Avenue across from West Jersey Hospital in center city Camden’s Whitman Park district.
*****************

The more he thought about those unforgiving times when neither son nor father could explain what was going on, then the more challenged he was in his mind.
Right now, it clearly was time to commence his celebration as he went for a personal best and hoped it also would be outstanding enough to win his biggest marathon in a dedicated bid to thank God for sparing his life and to inspire his legions of friends and well-wishers from around the world.
*****************

As he prepared to revisit New York City’s Central Park battle zone. Drummond began to orchestrate his patented winning moves and
tactics.
As Paddy Murphy and the Englishman battled it out, Drummond cruised into the huge park while the Japanese runner forged his way into the leading runner frat pack.
Drummond vaulted into a surprising three yard lead as Toby Clark,
the intrepid Englishman, followed a close second while the Irishman
ran only two yards ahead of the Oriental runner as Borzov proceeded to
make a last gasp hid to overtake runners in front of him.

By now, the huge crowd was in a near state of pandemonium.
International observers of the Marathon shouted out in glee when more country runners’ flag bearers, for example, in the case of Borzov pounded the unyielding asphalt streets of NYC. Wildly gesticulating fans lined the sidewalks of the city, some in preferential vantage points in hastily erected stands near the finish line.
*****************

Drummond chose to bear down. Both the Englishman and Paddy Murphy, seriously vied for runner-up honors while, mysteriously, Rodgers had suddenly faded into the surprising category of an also ran for the first time since he had started running in the celebrated New Yorker autumnal classic.
*****************

Sato, the man from Japan, came on very strong as Drummond lunged across the finish line. He had succeeded beyond his wildest anticipation. His dream to win a major marathon culminated as he happily waved to well wishers gathered near the victory stand.
*****************

Next came Paddy Murphy, the honey bear of an Irishman. Murphy had struggled and managed edge the Brit for second place honors behind Drummond’s personal best of 2:10:11 with the man from Eire at :12:13. Rodgers, the former champion, disappointingly finished 2:17:15 as his unparalleled string of four consecutive victories in “the Big Apple” was broken.
The elated Sato, giving his all, crumpled unexpectedly in front of a hysteric partisan Asian contingent that ministered to him and helped
him to his feet only 100 yards from the finish line. However, Sato’s fall cancelled his determined bid as he lost out in the feverish last second pace blisteringly set by the leaders in the pack on that telling, gray day in New York City before the excited masses cheering these marathoners home.
*****************

Glory Day, the heralded Californian, and Helga Schmidt, from West Germany, battled neck and neck for first place honors. Day wondered where Madigan loomed ahead, “I’ll see her soon, but when?
Has she given up? What’s she up to?” as she reflected Madigan’s mysterious non appearance.
“If Sandy had a problem, it must have come at the start with all those runners bunched. This race is too darned big,” Glory said righteously as if she could do something about next year’s marathon, all on her own.
*****************

Meanwhile, Madigan, in frustration, fumed. She had run earlier so ill at ease, but now her vitality and focus and strength merged in an accelerated congruity signaling all was well as she rapidly approached the entrance to Central Park.
“There’s Glory and Helga up ahead…I’ve got a chance…I know I
can catch her,” she rallied, motivated by her heart and soul craving to
trip the other femme from southern California now in hot pursuit of the
finish line.
Buoyed with self confidence and propelled by a passionate anticipation in the fiercely contested competition with Glory Day. Madigan felt she had crashed through her own emotional block, as she neared the finish line. Her light blue sheath of a jersey flapped ceaselessly in the mid afternoon New York air as Madigan vaulted ahead of another half dozen male “also rans” in her serious bid to overtake unsuspecting Glory Day.
*****************

Madigan made up more than the two minutes loss in time with her superior conditioning now paying handsome dividends as the lady from
Orange County California headed toward the finish line and a climatic meeting with her arch rival.
“If it weren’t for that bad start, I’d be in front. I know I would!” Sandy boasted as her lifting spirits spiraled higher in the waning moments amid a new wave of optimism as she ran only four yards from Glory’s figure.
*****************

Madigan pulled out all the stops, proud of her cardio vascular condition. Day sensed Madigan was on her tail, but refused to look behind now not wanting to concede Schmidt or anyone else even a half step while running strategic final legs of the 26.2 mile challenge.
Madigan passed another tiring male marathoner. It was Angelo Bertoli, of Rome. He would finish, but he was out of the money. Juanita Perez, a lithe and long limbed Puerto Rican girl now ran by Madigan’s side. Juanita ran like a swift deer seeking to destroy anyone in her arathoner’s swath as she battled gamely with the fiery Madigan for honors in the last mile of the New York women’s marathon.
*****************
Meanwhile, Glory did not seem to be able to put away the German girl
who ran almost as if she had just started the race.
“Helga won’t go away! What a competitor!” Glory complimented the
Intrepid German, “Uh…Uh, lady! Better not start thinking how good Helga is…not now!” Glory reproached herself as the two leaders refused to concede a precarious lead.
*****************

Schmidt now glanced toward Glory as the runners streamed through the heart of Central Park. Meanwhile, Sandy Madigan made up for lots of lost time as she suddenly bore down on Day and Schmidt as they prepared for the final one quarter mile to the fluttering red ribboned victory line.
Sandy Madigan ran like a precision machine out of Detroit. Her dogged passion making up for her early lost time. She was aroused and determined to give her all, win, lose or draw, in her bid for a personal best as the trio of runners, pursued by Puerto Rico’s grand hope, Perez, thundered toward the finish line.
*****************

Madigan ran to two yards of the co leaders. “God, it feels good to let it all hang out there!” she rallied inner resources. Madigan believed she could catch her rival from California and perhaps even best Schmidt.
Glory Day cast a momentary backward glance, suddenly aware
that Madigan was on her tail like some kind of jungle animal in fresh
pursuit.

Day’s dark hair flying carelessly in the wind, Day reached for whatever she had left to get to the finish line before Sandy Madigan. However, the East German girl dominated now as she neared the upcoming ribbon. The classy European clung tenaciously to her hard earned edge, now a yard in front of Day while Madigan, despite a “never say die” rally, trailed Schmidt.
*****************

It appeared the Californian’s were in a battle royal in a head to
head duel for second place. However, it was at that point in time that Schmidt glanced behind her one last time as she throttled to a dynamic and impressive victory by at least four yards as her long strides sealed her victory.
Glory Day took second as Madigan finished a full second behind to stay in the prize money by cinching third place laurels as the crowd went wild.
*****************

Luckily even blessedly, Drummond had won impressively in somewhat of a surprise shock in the men’s New York Marathon when New England’s Rodgers, inexplicably faded around the three quarter mark of the 26.2 mile course.
No one knew yet why or what had happened to the near invincible winner of previous New York Marathoning. One school of thought laid to perhaps less than proper training regimen, but those who knew Rodgers didn’t bite on that purported theory clear out of the blue.
*****************

Schmidt, dripping wet in perspiration and ecstatic, now celebrated her international crowning in New York while Glory Day and Madigan congratulated everyone else around them for finishing the Marathon, except themselves, as they refused to look each other in the eye in the latest unfolding of their own uncelebrated feuding classic…

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Chapter 5 – ‘If You Want to Be the Best’ (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

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Pauld2leo.wordpress.com (Book 59 Fiction ‘Death Strikes Out’…Vol 1) By C. Paul Di Tullio

Chapter 5 – ‘If You Want to Be the Best’

“Good health, peace of mind, being outdoors, camaraderie: those are all wonderful things that come to you when running. But for me, the real pull of running—the proverbial icing on the cake—has always been racing…”
—Bill Rodgers, winner of four Boston Marathons

Philadelphian Tommy Eastwood ran like a frightened deer crossing a busy road amid flashing lights. Paul Drummond knew all about the top gun from press reviews…
The bluish black skinned Nigerian, racing experts claimed, emerged in a class of his own. Eastwood achieved a niche as a bonafide favorite along with Boston’s Bill Rodgers in a cream of the crop New York Marathon field.
********************
As Eastwood hurried past another cluster of vet marathoners, he neared the front of the leaders’ ring of fire. Like a greyhound running late, Eastwood was a man bent on a mission to search out then annihilate the world class best.
Propelled by his pantherish moves and cunning guile, Eastwood targeted Rodgers and Drummond at the top of his current ‘hit’ list. Eastwood passed Drummond like the Southern Californian stood still. The title aspirants battled then jockeyed for an edge at the 15 mile mark of the New York City clambake.
Paul Drummond prayed. He also decided on an adjustment in strategy to utilize an unwilling Eastwood as his pacer for the next five miles at least.
He knew that Rodgers must be dealt with and any late comers in the final vestiges of the marathon, but that was in the near future, and not now. Drummond all his prayer and planning might lead to an ultimate upset victory over much heralded Rodgers, a four time Boston Marathon champion.
**************
Drummond turned it on now.
First, he passed Brian Winters, out of Sussex, England, then Paddy Murphy, the hard headed scrapper from Killarney, Ireland. Then Drummond settled down into a more rhythmic run almost daring arch rivals to spurt ahead of him. He persisted in running with a machine like precision.
It made him appear, if only temporarily, as if Drummond emerged as the man to beat and not Rodgers nor a fleet footed Eastwood making a strong showing now past the midway point of the New York Marathon concourse
*****************
.
Meanwhile, crusty Sandy Madigan’s revved up run chipped away vanishing lost ground between Glory Day. At any moment, Madigan expected to see Day perhaps in the next band of stouthearted runners as she passed another tiring marathoner.
She marveled at Glory’s buoyancy, Day’s arrogant style. Perhaps that dictated to Madigan the only ray of hope the Orange California flash needed to spark her passion and all out efforts to beat her hated rival.
Glory Day flaunted an air of invincibility air about her. That was no surprise to those who knew her best over the years. First, she would get hopping mad then more than a tad over reacting before all said and done. Now, as she came out of a self imposed mental fog, Madigan bore down on Glory Day, wherever she was up ahead.
Madigan surged with seeming boundless energy that even she didn’t know she possessed. First, she scooted by four more runners and found Helga Schmidt, a West German rival struggling with an apparent leg cramp. Schmidt persisted in gaming it out, but who knew for how long. Maybe, Schmidt would still be a factor in the later going if she survived what currently bothered her.
******************
“Maybe, Schmidt won’t finish!” Sandy empathized for she had been there before with intensive and sporadic cramping. Once, Madigan had been forced to withdraw from a prestigious half marathon in northern California.
A fast fading Schmidt battled in vain as Madigan watched her grimace in agony while darting past the stricken contender. A pained look on Schmidt’s lantern jawed countenance more than hinted Helga was in big trouble.
“Stay with it Helga?” Sandy Madigan sympathized, “hang in there!” Schmidt half smiled as she slowed noticeably in a moment of crisis.
“Yes, I’ll try! Thank you…good luck!” Helga Schmidt said.
“It’s…it’s a slight sprain…
“I pray and hope…it is…only…that!
“I’ll try to finish this what I started,” Schmidt bit her lower lip.
**********************
“Good luck, Helga!
“See you later!” Madigan now sped past the brave competitor as a struggling Schmidt resumed her painful odyssey up the race matrix.
Madigan felt confident.
She was going to be a factor. Sandy Madigan pushed herself to the limit amid a reality she ran by most of her chief competitors, especially, one hurting Helga Schmidt.
************
“Right on sked,” Madigan smiled.
“I’m doing it…my way!” Madigan staged an impromptu pep rally while jetting past two fatigued women runners and three male competitors in her bid for victory.
Again, a nagging, $64,000 question plagued her.
“Where is Glory Day?”

That was her battle cry as Madigan blazed toward front runners vying for honors in the NYC Marathon with five crucial miles left. Madigan’s mad run carried her closer to missing in action Glory Day, somewhere, ahead. Madigan crashed through the psychological myth of the historical twenty mile barrier.
***************
“Is that Glory?”
Sandy Madigan peered into a faraway distance spotting someone appearing to answer Glory’s description from this distance. Madigan couldn’t know for a certainty. She followed a curved street route with bunched up runners preventing any further sleuthing at this juncture.
What appeared to be Miss Glory Day’s celery stick figure, piston like legs pumping, rounded a bend then popped once more out of Madigan’s view.
****************
“No way that girl stays ahead of me!” Sandy took several deep breaths then accelerated.
“If I have any say about it!” Madigan demanded a pursuit of excellence. She was like an enraged pit bull determined to catch then bite Glory Day wherever she had to so as not to let her speed away from her ever again.
Sandy Madigan tried to sort out mixed emotions gyrating deep within her as she persisted in a blistering pace to cut down Glory Day. She desired to place herself in a favorable spot she would need to fashion in edging to victory.
*****************
What was Sandy Madigan to do after the marathon about Drummond?
What was there about him? Could there be a future with him? Possibly, marriage then settling down in a house with a white picket fence and raising children?
**************
She tried not to think of and to trivialize the Drummond issue, but it wasn’t working. Madigan berated herself for such idling thoughts in the back stretch of a fierce struggle during a New York City Marathon. Then there was the collateral issue in trying to pull revenge on Glory Day.
Even her skin betrayed Sandy Madigan that summer day as she developed a sudden strawberry rash, especially, whenever Drummond was near her.
The more a perplexed Madigan attempted not to think about Drummond, she found it a near impossible assignment. She had failed to wipe him out of her troubled mind.
**************
Sandy Madigan bore down in earnest to catch Glory as she intensified her leg speed and whipping stride to pass Jenny March, a New Yorker.
March made a strong showing based on relative obscurity in long distance running. Yet here she was doing very well, thank you, running with the hounds of the running world.
The crisp New York ozone, a slight head wind, stabbed at the grand assemblage of hopeful runners still left standing. Countless hundreds already had run up a white flag unable to finish due to extreme fatigue and an assortment of injuries.
******************
Drummond stopped for a moment to grab a 10 ounce container in the popular red and white coloring of a famous soft drink. He guzzled more than half of it down then the rest of it before he resumed serious running.
“Well, I’m on sched…
“I’m where I should be…” he felt reassured. Drummond steadied for the final stages of the New York Marathon, in his avowed bid to challenge then beat Rodgers and the best of the rest in the dwindling marathon field.
****************
Genial Paddy Murphy ran a determined race remaining nearly15 yards ahead as the leaders moved to the 24 mile mark. Murphy ran strong in a staunch bid to go for it all as Drummond lagged behind the Killarney competitor.
Though the temperature in New York City dipped to the low 50’s on a crisp day, it was comfortable for remaining legion of runners as the classic race neared the 25 mile marker.
It was easy for Paul Drummond to overtake Murphy. The Irishman suddenly was emitting deeper breaths. He sounded like a beached whale with all the air whooshing out of his crab like body amid flailing arms and legs.
Drummond visualized himself playing the flying Scot in a New York City Marathon updated ‘Chariot of Fire.’
******************

He rededicated himself and thanked God for his current position in the race. He knew, without God, he would be somewhere in California a dying man or perhaps a corpse in a Southern California cemetery plot.
God had given the privilege and fortitude to do what he was doing. All praise and glory goes to my Lord, Drummond glanced skyward for a moment with gratitude.
Here Paul Drummond ran in a strong finish with Rodgers, Murphy, all the leaders, through the streets of Manhattan toward a Central Park finish.

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