Guy Gillette rubbed his eyes. He had been sitting in Senate chambers for hours now, listening to the hearing on the French Industries case. Every sordid detail that had unfolded had set the room ablaze with shocked murmurs. How he hated these hearings.
They were briefings, really. Briefings that were meant to allow Congress to hear what the Department of Justice was getting ready to do. Especially in cases as important as this one. This case threatened to strike at the very core of the country.
Congress really didn’t have to say yea or nay. There was no need to give permission. The hearing had been set up by the President to show them, Congress, that the Department of Justice had not been wasting tax payer money. Not that Guy ever suspected that. Even Bourke Hickenlooper, or ‘Hick’ as others tended to call him, had never allowed the thought of waste cross his mind.
But there were those in Congress who had accused the Department of Justice of doing just that. And Truman saw a need to silence them. And possibly silence McCarran and McCarthy, and their allies, for a while.They could only hope.
Both Bourke and Guy had faith in the Attorney General and Director of the IRS. If anyone could bring down the corrupt business and its owner, they could. Both men nodded in approval. The reputation of Iowa and its representatives needed to be salvaged. What better way than to allow the two men before them to do their jobs?
A silence followed the briefing. A very brief silence. One that was suddenly broken by McCarthy. “This is the very reason we need to weed out the Communists from our government and country. These people think they can walk all over our way of life and–”
Dunlap’s gaze leveled at the mad Senator. “You haven’t listened to a single word either McGrath or I have said, have you?”
McCarthy remained adamant. “I heard every bit of it. I was agreeing with you.”
McGrath looked at McCarthy. “Actually, Mr. McCarthy, he was an admirer of you. He was going to use your views to shut down all those who opposed him. those he couldn’t tarnish, he was willing to kill. He was going to use McCarran’s Act to bring about his own vision of a cleansing in the city of Des Moines. Do you and Senator McCarran want innocent blood on your hands?”
McCarthy frowned. “There is no such thing as innocent blood.”
McGrath shook his head. “No, I suppose not. At least in your point of view. If this were the Middle Ages, you would be riding the Inquisition with Torquemada. You have become worse than those you hunt. You’re nothing more than a radical monstrosity that believes its own illusions.”
McCarthy glared at him. “You commie! I will see you hung for what you said!”
McGrath smiled. “I’ll be looking forward to it.” He closed his file and rose. “But right now, I have a murderer to take down.”
Beardsley had also called a special session of the Iowa Assembly. Now, the congressmen were sitting through much the same briefing as those senators on the ‘Hill’. All thought of the McCarran Act and hunting down communists had taken a backseat to outrage and demands that French Industries be shut down and its owner sent to prison for his heinous crimes. Des Moines and the reputation of the state had been tarnished. Retribution was needed to cleanse the stain.
Unlike Washington, no one broke the silence with mad ravings. But, then, there wasn’t a silence to be broken. Where silence would have been, railings against Toffer French and French Industries filled the air. Insults, though well deserved, were being heaped upon the man. Calls for lynching or instant incarceration, without the benefit of trial, were being made. Irrational decisions filled the room.
Robert Larson raised his hand in an attempt to silence the unruly mob. “Here, Here! Let’s be reasonable! Our intent is to try the man and convict him. then he is to be tried by the federal government!”
Thomas Daily stood and banged the Speaker’s gavel. “My fellow Senators! Let’s settle down! Let justice take its course!”
Alexander Bloedel rose. “I agree with Daily! Quiet!”
The room grew silent. Daily looked at Bloedel. “Thanks, Alex.” He turned back to the rest. “We need to let our state attorney do his job. He’ll do everything in his power to prosecute and convict this man on all counts. And Washington will also do their best to see that this man is put away for life if he isn’t given the death penalty.”
Elmer Bass nodded. “I agree. We’ll have no talk of lynching or killing. Two wrongs do not make a right.”
Michael Morrow sat on his front porch. Tomorrow was Saturday. The weekend. That meant no business. No politics. No interruptions.
It would be good to spend time with his family. Right now, though, he was spending some alone time. He sat back and closed his eyes.
“Want some company?” His eyes opened at the sound of his wife’s sweet voice.
He smiled. “Kiddos in bed?”
She kissed him. “Yes. And asleep.”
He kissed her back. “Then the answer is yes. Most definitely.”
She sat down beside him. “It’s always nice to have some time alone together, isn’t it?”
He pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her. “It sure is. And it is always good to have a couple days to spend with my beloved wife and children. It’s never good to work all the time.”
She laid her head on his chest as they leaned back in the swing. “I agree. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
They sat back, together, and looked at the stars. Soon, they would go to bed. But not right now. right now was their time. And they would enjoy this moment together for a few hours. It was just nice to be able to spend time together like this.