History records many stories.  These stories end up in our history books and archives.  Some are told exactly the way they happened.  Some are embellished.  Then some leave out small parts for various reasons.  These omissions can range from security concerns to embarrassment by the parties involved.

This story is one of those where parts were added.  But most of it is real.  You decide which is real and which is not. 

This is not my typical genre of story.  But when it came to me, I liked it.  It is a combination of history and fiction.  Please enjoy Part 1 of It Is Bad.        


It was January 10, 2020. 

Jay Moore held an old notepad in his hand.  The notes in the pad were almost forty years old.  He had re-read the notes every January since 1983.  And they still left him unsure of what to make of them.   

Jay stared out his window in the family room of his house.  Snow covered the ground and was still falling.  It was two feet or more.  Not unusual in New Jersey.  People who grew up in the area expected it.  But the pure white snow bothered him that day.  It laid a heavy burden on his mind. 

He enjoyed the white landscape.  It reminded him of the earth, cleansing its soul.  But this year he saw it differently. 

A blanket of snow also hides things beneath it.  Some of those things are pleasant.  Others are downright mean.  And sometimes it lets the environment and people start anew.  It covers up what is real and what is fake.  It is hard to know the difference when we look at deep snow.  We cannot tell what is under the surface. 

It summed up what happened to Jay in July of 1983.  He would never forget it.



Joann Stilts sat alone at a table.  A piece of apple pie was in front of her.  She was figuring out how to eat it.  Her gums hurt from her new teeth.

Jay was in a hurry to eat and get back to work.  He had a story to cover down at city hall.  It was not a story that would bring him fame.  But as a young reporter, it was his job.  And his job paid the bills. 

Jay stood up from his table next to Joann.  He reached over her plate and took the sugar bowl off her table.

Joann Stilts grabbed his wrist.  She looked up at him.  “In another place in another time, you’d die for that,” she said. 

She stunned Jay.  He stood there.  He was not sure what to do for a moment.  Then he snatched his hand away from her.  “Who the hell do you think you are threatening me?” he asked.

“Who the hell do you think you are reaching over my food on my table?” she asked.

Jay realized he was in the wrong.  He should have asked.  “I’m sorry about that,” he said.  “Here’s your sugar back.”

“Keep it,” she said.  “I have no use for it.”

“Sorry again and thank you,” he said.  “By the way, my name is Jay.”  He put his hand out.

She looked at it before shaking it.  “You can tell a lot by man’s handshake,” she said.  “My name is Joann Stilts.  What do you do, Jay?  You have that paper and pencil in your pocket.”

“I’m a reporter,” he said.

She gave him a closed-mouth smile.

“What?” he said.  She did not say anything.  “I take it I’m supposed to either know you, or you have a story.” 

Jay had no idea why he asked her that question.  He was always looking for the elusive big story.  The one that would make him famous or at least make him notable.      

“Do you want to know my name?” Joann asked.  “I mean my real name.  Because if I give it to you, you have to help me.”

I hope you enjoyed Part 1.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

If you like the story, please follow me on my blog.

Take care.

Stephen Wallace

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