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Kennedy and Me
by Alun Williams

I was drinking beer in a bar I’d never been to before, on the South side of a small town, the name of which escapes me.
It was early and I was the only customer. I like to drink my beer in silence.
“They think I’m dead, you know.”
I looked up from my drink. The guy who spoke was the barkeep. He stood behind the bar looking furtive while drying a glass so hard he could’ve drilled a hole in it.
“Excuse me?”
“Guess you don’t know who I am, do you?”
I looked at him and shook my head.
“No but I’d hesitate to guess you’re the guy serving drinks.” I said.
He held out a fat hand. I hesitated to take it but relented. It was cold but clammy to the touch. He leaned forward.
“I’m John Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK. Call me Jack. You think I’m dead, don’t you?”
I looked him in the eye.
“I think I saw you shot, Jack,” I remarked, “but your head seems remarkably whole.”
“It’s what they all want you to think.” He looked around the almost empty bar. “Oswald shot out my brain but they gave me another.”
I looked him over.
“You don’t look like Kennedy,” I remarked. “and is that accent Canadian?”
“It was a Canadian’s brain.” He whispered.
I sympathised.
He rubbed another glass with the same intensity as the first.
“They did some plastic surgery.”
“They did a good job.” I said. “I can’t see the scars. Tell me, why didn’t you get the Presidency back? People loved you.”
He shrugged.
“They couldn’t have a Canadian in the White House, could they. It’s unconstitutional. I should know.”
Again, I concurred.
“Assassination’s a damn crime but that would be insane.”
I paid for my drink and thanked the President.
“That was one of my favourites. He said pointing to the book. “French Machiavelli. Darn good read.”
I looked at him.
“What about Jackie?” I asked. “What did she have to say about it? I mean didn’t she marry some Greek guy.”
“Hoover never told her. That was one of the conditions of saving my life. He told me that I had to disappear forever.”
“And Bobby…”
“Bobby’s alive. He’s a fisherman in Portland. There’s a photo.” He pointed to a monochrome photo on the wall of a black guy posing with large fish.
“Never thought you’d get a tan that good in Portland.”
“Hell, I never knew he like fishing that much.”
I stood up.
“You know…Jack, I’m not sure you are the President.” I said. “It sounds…I don’t know, implausible. “
He picked up my empty glass.
“I’ll prove it to you, mister.” He called out back. “Baby, come here!”
He gripped my arm and chuckled. “You ain’t never gonna believe this, mister.”
A small, dark haired Mexican woman came from out back.
“What you want?”
“Marilyn Monroe.” The barkeep said in all seriousness. “Bet you thought she was dead too?”