Excerpt for Bureacratic Inferno by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Published by Lucille Harmon at Smashwords

Copyright 2017 Lucille Harmon

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In memory of the love of my life


my parents,

all of who inspired me

to tell our story

Chapter 1 The Fire

Chapter 2 History

Chapter 3 The Fire Marshall

Chapter 4 Mom and Dad

Chapter 5 The Prosecutor

Chapter 6 Getting a Lawyer

Chapter 7 Arson?

Chapter 8 Hiring the Expert

Chapter 9 Tony’s Adoption

Chapter 10 Expert Opinion

Chapter 11 Backyard Trailer

Chapter 12 The Summons

Chapter 13 Getting a Court Date

Chapter 14 Three-week Trial

Chapter 15 Pregnancy Scare

Chapter 16 The Verdict

Chapter 17 Our Princess Arrives!

Chapter18 We’re Being Stalked!

Chapter 19 The Move

Chapter 1

The Fire

“Lu”. He said softly. Sound asleep, I didn't hear.

“Lu, wake up. The house is on fire.”

This time I heard! Flying out of bed, I grabbed my robe and told him “Get Tony, I'll get the baby”.

Throwing on my robe as he hustled towards our son’s room, I ran to grab my seven-month-old son Shane. Snatching him from his crib, I met my husband and seven-year-old Tony in the hallway. Together we ran down the hall, flames licking the walls, smoke alarms screaming.

I had glanced in the bathroom as we ran down the hall. Seeing flames on the wall behind the sink, I continued running and saw flames in the kitchen. Turning to go out the front door, there were flames along the wall next to the door! The entire house seems to be burning!

Running across the rocks on the front yard, I became vaguely aware my poor son had nothing on his feet, as he screamed in pain. My husband picked him up, tucked him under his arm and we ran across the street to our neighbor’s house.

A second marriage for both of us, we were very happy together. I got pregnant with my baby boy right after our small but elaborate wedding. Tony was my son from my disastrous first marriage. Deserted by my ex, my son and I were on our own until I met Sammy, my new husband. He had no children and took to my son immediately. He was already in the process of adopting Tony when the fire happened.

Banging on my neighbor’s door and leaning on the bell, her adult daughter answered. By this time, the flames were licking the sky. She saw that behind us before we could say a word. Ushering us in from the 9* weather, she called 911. Then she got the boys blankets to warm them. It was 2:30 am, Friday December 10.

Suddenly my husband remembered both cars had been filled with gas earlier that night. Rushing from our neighbor’s house, he bolted across the street and into the burning house. Grabbing my purse and car keys from the kitchen table, he ran outside and moved both cars from the driveway to the road. He was afraid the fire would spread into the garage. The cars had been parked in the driveway, mine up against the garage door so both would fit.

At this time, a police car pulled into the driveway. Running up to the garage door windows, he peered inside. My husband called to him just as the gas company and fire trucks arrived. Advised to return to my neighbor’s house, he did as was told. The officer followed. I was hysterical. Trying to calm me down, the officer asked both of us what happened.

“ I woke up needing to use the bathroom. I heard a hissing sound coming from the kitchen area and went to investigate. I saw a bright light coming through the slats of the door leading to the Florida room. When I opened the door, flames made a whoosh sound and traveled down the outside wall. As I turned around I saw the pantry area, where the water heater is, all in flames.

That's when I ran back to the bedrooms to get my family out.” My husband was very detailed as he explained this.

Then the officer asked me. In between tears and trying to calm the baby, I told him what I knew; how my husband woke me, we grabbed the kids and ran to our neighbors. I was useless. Not realizing it, my neighbor’s daughter had run to an all-night pharmacy and got diapers, formula and a bottle for the baby. As she returned, her mother took and fed my son. I was still a mess, crying. At least Shane calmed down. Tony sat there wide eyed and frightened.

The officer advised we should take the kids to the hospital and have them looked at. He was concerned they may have inhaled the toxic smoke. Doing as we were told, we went to the ER.

After examining the boys and getting the all clear, we returned to what was left of our home.

The sun was rising over the horizon as dawn came. At this time, the Fire Marshall was there in his vehicle. Asking us to leave the children with my neighbor, we climbed into his van to answer more questions. Little did we know it would be the beginning of the end.

Chapter 2


Sammy was born in Savannah, Georgia, at Hunter Air Force base. His mother, Mary, was young; she had been Miss Georgia a few years back. His father, Leon, being infatuated with her, and married her with the stipulation they would not have children. Mary lived and grew up on a farm where it wasn't unusual for kids to play with pigs in the mud. Leon didn't want his children to grow up that way.

After a few months of marriage, Mary started taking a bus trip once a month to Atlanta, an hour or so away. She claimed it was to visit a relative. At about seven months along Leon found out it was because she was pregnant and she was seeing the doctor out of town. He flipped out.

“I told you not to get pregnant and when you did you hid it from me!” He screamed at his wife.

“I am not the only one responsible here! And I want to keep this baby, that's why I kept my pregnancy from you!” Fuming, Leon went for a drink.

Shortly thereafter Mary gave birth to a beautiful baby boy she named Sammy. She loved that child and doted on him! Life went on as Sammy grew up on the farm.

When Sammy was about eighteen months old, Leon's tour with the army ended. One morning shortly after, Mary woke to find Leon, Sammy and their things gone. He had disappeared with his son, sometime through the night.

Being only two years old or so, Sammy remembers living on an island with his aunt and uncle. His Uncle Max, being a doctor, left a lot by boat to the mainland. His Aunt Rena was stayed at home with him.

Around a little more than two years old, he was suddenly in New York with his father and a new “mother”. Over the years, he forgot about his birth mother as his new one took over. When Leon was around he was good to Sammy. His new mother, however, treated him terribly. Especially after she had a daughter and a son. She doted on them and ignored Sammy. As the children grew, his mother took to doing such awful things as throwing a knife at him across the table.

Sammy had loved baseball since he was five years old, when his father presented him with a ball and glove. It became his life through adulthood. At thirteen years old, while playing ball in the park, he sustained a head injury which caused him to be in a coma for six months until doctors figured out what was wrong. He was one of the first people in the United States to have a Cat Scan.

They found he had “fluid on the brain” and performed surgery. Although he regained his life and continued, his head injury caused him to suffer from seizures. Medication helped most of the time, except when he ran fevers over 100* or got headaches! Stress caused seizures, too.

When he was seventeen, Leon had no choice but to give Sammy his birth certificate so he could obtain a driver’s license. This is when he discovered he had a birth mother.

“I need to tell you something. On your birth certificate, you'll see another woman's name. She was your birth mother and couldn't take care of you. That's why you and I left and you've had a new mother.” Leon said.

“Oh. Ok.” Sammy acknowledged this information but then quickly stored it to the back of his mind. All he thought about and lived for was baseball.

After graduation, he tried out for the New York Yankees and made the team! Unfortunately, he failed the medical exam and was cast from the team. After playing five years for a farm team, he joined the New York Chiefs Roller Derby and got married. He spent the next five years skating with them.

This is when his marriage to Patsy went downhill. She moved across the country, and even though he regularly flew out to see her, they were never able to patch things up.

During this time, we met. I worked at the hairdresser next door to the supermarket he worked at. He had worked his way up to deli manager of a popular local grocery store chain. He was dating a woman I worked with. Shortly after I started at The Hair Salon, he came to see his woman, bearing a birthday cake for her. When he appeared, our eyes met and it was instant attraction! This woman noticed and displayed her disapproval. He got friendly with the one man who worked in the salon, conning him into asking me out. He broke it off with this woman and once we started dating we knew it was forever. Marriage came about a year later, and our Shane arrived ten months later. Then we bought the house, the one that caught fire four months after we moved in.

My childhood was nothing like Sammy’s. I grew up with strict, loving parents in a large Italian Roman Catholic family. My mother was ‘right off the boat’, so to speak. I spoke only Italian until I ready for kindergarten; my aunt came over daily to teach me English so I could go to school. We lived in the same one house since I was nine years old, across the street from a large, fabulous park that I literally lived in. I married at eighteen and had my son Tony just before turning nineteen. After five years of marriage, and my husband’s cheating, we divorced. My ex came around once every couple of weeks, on Sunday's, to pick up Tony, only to impress his latest squeeze. Once they broke up he just disappeared.

Chapter 3

The Fire Marshall

Bringing us back to the fire marshals van, he ushered us in as he introduced himself.

“Mr. And Mrs. Harmon, my name is Bill Edwin. I am the county's Fire Marshall. I have a few questions for you.” Exhausted from the event of the night, we sat down.

“Tell me what happened tonight, starting from the beginning” he instructed us. My husband went first, explaining the same thing he told the police earlier. Then he turned to me.

“Mrs. Harmon, what happened”. I had to repeat the same information also.

“Do either of you have any enemies?” He glanced at both of us. Frowning, we responded no. I wondered why he asked that but was too tired to give it more thought.

He asked a few more questions then asked where we would now go. Giving it a quick thought, I immediately said “My mother’s house".

He asked for her address and phone number, then said we could leave. He mentioned he would be in touch. Again, I wondered what he meant by that, but instead just got up and leftm. Many of fireman and two fire trucks were gathering up their gear. We went to speak to them.

“Do you know what started the fire?” My husband asked one who appeared to be the fire chief.

“ No, we don't. Sorry” as he walked away.

Grabbing our kids from our neighbor, we thanked them for everything. I called my parents to tell them what happened.

My mother’s voice became high pitched as she started to panic and become a little hysterical.

“Is everyone alright?” She asked. I answered her and asked if we could come stay there.

“Of course!” she exclaimed.

We parked my car in the backyard driveway and climbed into my husband’s car. The drive to their house took two hours of which we really didn't say much. I don't know if it was the shock of what happened or because we were so tired…or both.

Once we arrived, both my parents were home. My mother was unemployed at the time, and my dad stayed home that day. They ushered us inside. On my mother’s instructions, my father had run to the store and purchased formula, bottle, and diapers for Shane, and some toys for Tony. They had a pack and play available for when we visited. That was already set up. Then we put the kids to bed, as they had been up all night.

Sitting down to coffee, we told them all that had happened. My father was mostly concerned about boarding up the house since our “stuff” was still in it. We hadn't been able to go inside so we had no idea what “stuff” we had left! I had been Christmas shopping for the boys that day.

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