For some reason the authorities in Boston seemed very interested when he mentioned the name of the company that owned the van. In a few minutes the General was talking with a traffic sergeant who was leading five cars towards the tunnel entrance. He listened as they spotted the quarry, took up pursuit, surrounded it, and stopped it just outside the tunnel's entrance. They turned the vehicle around and began to move it from the area. When the driver again pulled it off to the side of the road and bailed out, running back to the police cars, screaming "There's a thermal reaction! There's a thermal reaction! Get us out of there!" the police cars quickly sped away. Moments later the van exploded with incredible force, taking out windows in many of the surrounding buildings. The General oculd not believe, upon viewing the devastation later, that there had not even been any serious injuries!
Just before he hung up the phone the traffic sergeant commented "Sir, I don't know how you got this information, but if you ever come into any more, inform us, immediately!"
"I will!" the General assured, "I will!"
They drove bak to his office and began to sort out the mess that such a situation creates. It was some time before the General could get home. He found a great deal of activity there. There were several people in the livingroom and his wife was speaking to them quite strongly.
"I don't or I didn't particularly appprove of my daughter's decision, but by God, no insane sons of bitches that think they're The Glory Of God and the masters of the world, are going to threaten the safety of my children! If these morons want to believe that because of the color of their skin they're better than other people, I don't give a damn! They can run around, wear their white sheets, and be as obnoxious as they want to be, but God help them if they EVER threaten one of my children again, because only divine intervention will save them from MY wrath! Grow up, children! It's a new age, a new time! Your day has passed, it's over, it's done with. The people of Virginia aren't going to tolerate your stupidity any longer!"
One of the reporters saw the General and cried out "General, do you have anything to add to your wife's comments?"
The General thought for a moment then answered, "Only ditto!"
Everyone laughed. The kitchen door opened and several children came charging in. A colored woman seemed to appear out of nowhere. "There are guests in the house, children!" she snapped, "Proper decorum is required."
A young girl of color spoke up. "We always practice proper decorum, mother! We're members of the Jefferson household!"
There was a flurry of giggles from the livingroom, and the colored woman seemed quite preturbed. She saw the General and came over. "Jeff," she remarked, "I know how close you and my husband were, and I appreciate everything you have done for us. But there is a great deal of talk, and I really think my daughter and I should be finding other accomodations."
The General turned and looked at her. "I would not consider," he answered, "asking you to do anything that you might think is improper. I do not worry about any talk, neither does my wife. You are a part of this house. I believe you should remain part of this house. But the decision is entirely yours!" The colored woman smiled. "Anyway," the General continued, "it might be quite inappropriate to separate our children. In time they may find they have relationships that can't be broken."
The colored woman looked to where the General was staring and muttered "Do you really think so, sir?"
The General only returned her smile.
The General's eldest son came up. "Father," he remarked, "there was a problem at the school today. One of the boys said if sis was going to marry a man of color was I going to marry a colored girl. I told him that would be my business and nobody else's."
The General ruffed the young man's hair. "Absolutely!" he answered, "No doubt of it. Run along! I've got a lot to do. But we'll have a game of hunt and destroy after supper."
"Right on!" the younger man snapped.
A colored girl came over and asked "Can I play too?"
"Not at the same time," the General answered, pointing a finger at her. "I'd like at least a fighting chance! Oh!" he told the maid, "there'll be two guests for supper, an Ambassador O'Donnell and his secretary. Nothing too fancy, but I would like peach pie."
"Yes sir!" the maid answered.
The General went into his study, shut the door, opened his case, took out the letter and read through it one more time.
"Things are a changin'!" he muttered, "Things are a changin'!"
In Boston a t.v. producer who had been behind a van the police had pulled over just before he entered the tunnel sat down at his desk, frustrated. "How can a show we have planned for six months suddenly fall apart?" he moaned. "How could something disintigrate like this? We've only got days to put something else together."
His secretary looked at him. "What about that project Robert's been working on in his spare time," she asked, "those psychics out west that he thinks are God's True Messengers? I heard him saying one of them is sick but he still thinks we could put something together using all their web sites. It might not be a big blockbuster, but it ought to keep the viewers interested."