Lake 33 Killing Relic
Chapter 10.25
Stay out of sight.

This is the First draft, so expect errors and problematic dialogue.

I can fix problems later or delete the chapter or nuke the main characters.

Note on the chapter number: On this temporary site, I have to change chapter numbers as the story is written.

The story is based upon the actual Press conference

Chapter 10.25      Stay out of sight

The Director and I stood inside the museum’s entrance, peering through the doors at the parking lot and the ongoing press conference with the Missouri Senator and the St. Louis radiation awareness groups.The voices outside were carried over the public address system into the building.

With everyone outside the museum watching and clapping, the Director and I had the museum to ourselves.

“There is zero trust,” I said, listening to the demands to extend the RECA radiation act and add parts of Missouri to the compensation fund.

One of the politicians’ voice came over the speaker:

“They placed a uranium processing plant next to our children because they were certain our enemies would never consider we would do such a horrible thing. But our government did it, and we live with the consequences today.”

Director Liu seemed miffed.

“The Department of Energy has ordered me to stay out of sight and not get involved in this conference. It is all politics,” said Director Liu. “I have been ordered to say “No comment,” if asked by the press.”

“Same here,” I said. “The Senator’s people ordered Butch to keep me out of sight, Believe or not, they don’t want to see my funky Atomic janitor shirt on television or the net. It broke Butch's heart, but he did not want to make an enemy with a state senator. It is politics.”

We were outcasts in our own museum, thrust together with orders to hide from every one. 

Outside at the press conference, another person spoke, and her words came over the speakers: 

“The Weldon Spring Interpretive Site, a Department of Energy installation, serves as a disposal cell for radioactive waste, and the Missouri workers who became ill building the containment dome and the people who operated the processing plant before that deserve some compensation.”

“This week, who were the ladies you were with?” asked the Director. “They did not seem to mind your funky shirt.”

“You noticed them?” I asked. "No, they did not mind the shirt. In fact, they actually liked the goofy shirt or so they claimed. Becca? The blonde is an archaeology student. I swept her off her feet with my bullshit stories.”

Director Liu choked back her reaction. “And I thought I was the only one who noticed the BS.”

“I was surprised my car made it back from her trailer in Troy,” Was that too much information?

“The conquest of Troy? Isn’t that a book?” said the Director.

It was my turn to choke back a response. “I think in the book, Troy burned, and the hero was shot in the ankle, so it is a disaster story.”

“A trailer park disaster story?" said Director Liu. "And the other woman? The brunette with the pixie haircut?”

“Oh, you mean Natasha. You are observant, Director. Natasha is a pilot for a major airline. While we were talking, she happened to ask specific questions, and I realized she was one of those people—ghost hunter, out-of-body experience junky, maybe even a witch. Easy target: drop hints about hauntings or spirits, and they will follow you like a puppy." Was that too much information? "Busch Wildlife, if nothing else, has a lot of spirits. Natasha bought me dinner at that expensive fish place in Winghaven.”

Director Liu closed her eyes in contemplation, “Lord help us.”

“Natasha is very fun and freaky, but when you do a deep dive into her personality, she is too weird. Like a bottle of tequila would set her off into a knife attack, if you know what I mean.”

“No,” thank goodness, I do not know what you mean,” said the Director. "Who are these ladies who are attracted to you and where do come up with that shit? Tequila knife attack? Have you psychoanalyzed me after you found me at that gas station?"

"Director Liu, too many margaritas at a social event did not make me psychoanalyze you," I lied while looking out the door. "Anyway, I did not find you to be either the ax or knife murderer type-if that is any consolation."

Director Liu did her best to suppress a smile and finally began laughing, she wiped her eyes and looked at me.

"God damn you are a jerk."

Over the speakers came the Senator’s voice:

“I support extending RECA and adding parts of St. Louis and St. Charles counties to the RECA compensation fund. But I also endorse legislation to have the federal government pay the medical bills of anyone in Eastern Missouri with cancer or genetic disorders because of exposure to radioactive contamination.”

“If you ditched the janitor’s shirt, you might be dangerous in a suit and tie.”

“What you see is what you get,” I said. 

The Senator spoke again after the applause had died down.

“I think the degree to which the federal government has frankly misled, if not lied, about the extent of the contamination is totally reprehensible, and everybody who has lived along Coldwater Creek or in the region or around the Westlake landfill, or Weldon Springs, they deserve to be made right, made whole,”

“What did the Senator just say?” said Director Liu, “The degree to which you misled Natasha is totally reprehensible."

I looked at the Director. “No, I was not misleading. The reality is that she wanted a ghost story, so I gave her one. What comes from the heart—enters the heart.” 

“Really?” said Director Liu. “A fish dinner for a ghost story from the heart?”

I looked at the Director, "In the end, aren't all ghost stories about the heart ache and loneliness?"

Another voice came over the museum's speakers.

2038? Don't forget that number. Back in 1981, the EPA listed Coldwater Creek as one of the worst polluted streams in America. Did they tell anyone? Then, in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned people to stay out of Coldwater Creek and the flood zones. Did they tell anyone to stay out of the parks that were flooded by Coldwater? Did they tell anyone to stay out of the radioactive dust when the flood waters dried up? Now, the Corps of Engineers is saying that the cleanup of the creek will not be completed until 2038.

You are kidding me, right? What year was the Manhattan Project?
The government's own study is warning of childhood brain cancer and, for everyone, higher chances of kidney, bladder, bone, breast, and prostate cancers. Is St. Louis, are we just to be sacrificed for the better good of everyone else? Haven't we paid our fair share in misery? Why do we have to wait for 2038 and more people to die?

Outside the Weldon Springs Interpretive Center, the crowd cheered for the cameras and the guest speakers.

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