A Glibertarians Exclusive: Sweetheart, Part III

by | Jul 17, 2023 | Fiction | 61 comments

A Glibertarians Exclusive:  Sweetheart, Part III

Grundy County, Iowa, July 1933

The day ended up being a little cluttery.  A few rain showers had blown through on the drive from Marshalltown to Grundy County, but by the time they arrived at the little roadside meadow Paul had described the sky was clear and blue, with only a few high, scattered clouds.  Paul and Maggie had spent the drive talking; Paul, about his youth in Marshall County and his decision to join the Marines.  Maggie told anecdotes about her job at the billiard parlor, and some about the local characters she dealt with.  Paul noticed she didn’t talk much about her life before that.  Ain’t my place to pry, he thought to himself.

They arrived just after noon.  Paul spread an old wool Army blanket for them to sit on and insisted on carrying the picnic basket from the back of his old Hudson.

“Oof,” he said, dragging the basket out of the car’s back seat.  “Did you cook an elephant?”

“Maybe.”  Maggie smiled prettily and stuck her tongue out at him.  Paul carried the basket over to the blanket, leaning heavily on his cane.  Fried chicken, potato salad, a Mason jar full of pickles and a big jug of lemonade, wrapped in a wet towel to keep it cool – all made for a fine meal.

When they finished, Maggie packed the dishes back into her basket, and then they lay back on the blanket and watched the clouds.  The day was growing hot and humid.  Paul loosened his tie and unbuttoned his collar.  Ought to let my belt out a notch, he thought.  Haven’t eaten that well in a while.  He was used to his own cooking, which wasn’t about to win any awards.

“Paul,” Maggie said at last, “I haven’t been fair to you.”

Paul propped himself up on an elbow.  Maggie was laying back, one hand shading her eyes from the sun.  “How’s that?  I don’t see how you haven’t been fair.”

“You told me some things about your past,” Maggie said.  “Not about the war, mind, but I can see why you wouldn’t talk about that.  But I haven’t told you about where I came from.  And Paul – if this is going to go like it might, and I would like for it to, you need to know some things about me.”

“I already like everything I know about you, Maggie,” Paul said softly.

“Well, this might be different.”

“Different how?”

“It’s about my family.  You’re in the news business.  Have you heard of Peter Gilliard?  The one they called “Red Pete?”

“The bootlegger?  The one serving twenty years in the Federal penitentiary at Leavenworth?”

“That’s him.”  She hesitated, then plunged ahead.  “He’s my father.  My real name is Gilliard.  I dropped it for my Mom’s maiden name when I came to Marshalltown.”

“Maggie, none of that has anything to do with you, though, does it?”

She shook her head.  “Not directly, no.  But there’s more to it than that.”

Paul sat up.  “Go on.”

“My father was the ‘face man,’ as they call it, for a bigger operation.  My grandfather, John Gilliard, is the one who really runs things.  He has a big house up on Prospect Avenue in Waterloo.  Most everything he coordinates right out of there:  Booze, girls, loans, the works.  He has people all over eastern Iowa, western Illinois, I think maybe even Missouri.”

“So, your father was the fall guy, and your grandfather’s the one who’s really in charge.  And you’re trying to keep away from him,” Paul guessed.  “What would he do if he found out where you are?”

“Force me to come back,” Maggie said.  “I snuck away from him once.  But Grandfather has this idea that his family should be kept under his thumb.  He let my Pa get sent to prison without blinking once.  He’d marry me off to some other crime boss just as easy, if he saw an advantage in it for him.”  She frowned, turned her head to look at Paul.  “He has very definite ideas about what a woman’s place is in the family.”

“He can’t force you…”  Paul began.

Maggie laid a finger on his lips.  “He can, Paul.  He’ll send four or five leg-breakers down after me, and that’s that.  He has half the cops in eastern Iowa on his payroll.  Probably half of the judges, too.”

“Maybe you should have gone farther than Marshalltown.  You’re still in his range.”  Paul snapped his fingers.  “That’s why you were spooked about going to Waterloo.”

“Yes.  Even money someone would have recognized me.”

Paul looked at Maggie.  “You don’t have anything to do with his… business, though.  Maggie, you don’t deserve to suffer through anything because of what your father and grandfather have done.  You deserve better, Maggie.  Someone like you…  You should have your own home.  Someone who cares for you.  Someone who will take care of you.  Someone you can care for in return.  You’re too sweet a gal to be dealing with… all this.”

“That’s funny,” Maggie replied.  She sat up and faced Paul.  She put a finger on his nose.  “I was just thinking the same thing.  I even had someone in mind.”

“That’s funny,” Paul smiled.  Maggie’s green eyes were sparkling.  “I think I may have someone in mind too.”

Maggie kissed him.  The kiss went on for some time.

“Maggie,” Paul said at last.  “It doesn’t bother you?  The leg?”

“No,” she said.  “It’s part of who you are.  I like all of who you are.  If it wasn’t for all that – all that, the war, all the rest – you wouldn’t be you.”

The sun was growing low in the sky before they finally packed their picnic back in Paul’s ancient Hudson for the return trip.  On the ride back to Marshalltown Maggie sat in the middle of the Hudson’s sagging front seat, as close to Paul as she could be and still allow him to work the auto’s controls.  She held his hand when he wasn’t shifting gears.

It was dark when Paul pulled the Hudson up in front of Maggie’s rented house.  “Walk you to the door?” he asked.

“You don’t have to,” Maggie said.  “Your leg.”

“It’s fine.  I walk to work every day.  I think I can walk you to your door.”

So he did.  They kissed again at the doorway.  Then Maggie smiled and went inside.

Paul walked back to the car, his rolling gait more ebullient than usual, a wide grin plastered all over his face.  He climbed in the Hudson, still grinning, started the auto up and headed for downtown, where his cheap upstairs room awaited him.

A block up the street, a black Packard’s engine started.  The big car pulled out of its curbside parking spot, rolled slowly past the rented bungalow, then accelerated, turned right towards the highway, and faded into the night.


You know a woman like you should be at home.

That’s where you belong.

Taking care for somebody nice,

Who don’t know how to do you wrong.

Just how much abuse will you be able to take?

Well, there’s no way to tell by that first kiss.

What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

About The Author



Semi-notorious local political gadfly and general pain in the ass. I’m firmly convinced that the Earth and all its inhabitants were placed here for my personal amusement and entertainment, and I comport myself accordingly. Vote Animal/STEVE SMITH 2024!


  1. Tundra

    There’s some killin’ comin’.

    Thanks, Animal! Another terrific chapter!

    • Fourscore

      Oh-oh. Look out Maggie/Paul!

      It’s always something, isn’t it? Thanks, Animal, waiting, waiting now, another week…

      Between you and Moj my week gets divided.

      Glibs are the best!

  2. MikeS

    Dark clouds on the horizon.

    • Tundra

      Bad moon rising.

      • CPRM

        There’s a bathroom on the right?

  3. R.J.

    Isn’t it always a black Packard? Personification of menace until the new Lincolns came out in the 60’s.

    • Fourscore

      Could have been a Marmon. Same era

      • Tundra

        Nice choice. I love those.

    • R.J.

      “A block up the street, a black Austin Bantam engine struggled to start. The minuscule car drove off into the shadows, since it was unable to get on the highway…”

  4. CPRM

    Got the lawn mowed before noon! Makes me feel all productive and shit, since I don’t usually get showered and ready for work until noon.

    • juris imprudent

      Just finished mowing myself. Now for some lunch.

      • Nerfherder (Non-Non-Man)

        A freshly shorn scrotum does wonders for the appetite, doesn’t it?

      • Tundra


      • CPRM

        Sounds like you’re the target audience for Manscaped products.

    • Rebel Scum

      I need to do mine. But I didn’t get the chance this weekend, work regular business hours and I am not doing it in the evening in 90 degree heat and humidity. Maybe I’ll just be late for work tomorrow.

    • Semi-Spartan Dad

      You guys don’t shitlord right at all. My wife mowed the lawn this morning. And then fixed me a sandwich for lunch.

      • Ownbestenemy

        Better than mowing her lawn while she is making a sandwich I suppose.

  5. Grumbletarian

    Were there even highways in 1933?

    • Animal

      There were state highways. The famous Route 66, for example. But there was no Interstate highway system.

      • Bobarian LMD

        The state hwy system was established in 1925/26, coordinated at federal level but they were all state maintained roads.

        Ike brought in the Interstate system in ’56.

  6. Animal

    I should caution everyone that this five-parter is the first half of the story, so don’t be alarmed at any plot threads left dangling. Working on the second half now. There will be a different story in between.

    • Tundra

      I was told there would be no math.

      • Nerfherder (Non-Non-Man)

        Math is racist, anyway.

    • Drake

      That really ought to be the default for any place in the world without a very compelling argument.

    • R.J.


      • R.J.

        Well, the new smoking jacket pic looks terrible. Back to the old photo in my business suit.

      • Ted S.

        Better than your birthday suit.

      • R.J.

        Nobody wants to see that. All green and baggy.

  7. Necron 99

    OT, I won a Stevens 555 over/under shotgun last weekend. Our club had a year long clay tournament where skeet and trap competitions add up to tickets in a giveaway. Say 10 people compete, first place gets 10 entries, second place gets 9, etc. Plus there are “bonus birds” that will throw in another ticket. I had the second most tickets in the drawing and my name was pulled from the hat.

    Anyone have any experience with this gun? Pros and cons?

    I have a Mossberg 930 Sporting and a Beretta A400 Xcel, both great guns but auto loaders, never owned an over/under before.

    • R.J.

      Pro: It’s a free gun.

      • Necron 99

        Hard pro to beat.

      • Fourscore

        Skeet barrels? 20 or 12?

        Check shows a mighty purdy gun, congrats, P99. Happy shooting

      • Necron 99

        I believe it’s 28″ barrels, 12 gauge. Comes with C, IC, M, IM, and F chokes. Chokes seem a little, um, unrefined, but I am used to Beretta and Briley.

    • The Other Kevin

      Con: I didn’t win it.

    • Mojeaux

      Congrats! You’re not quite Lazlo level, but keep entering contests!

    • Bobarian LMD

      Wasn’t aware they still made Stevens.

      Google says it’s actually a Turkish gun sold by Savage.

      Sounds like a good mid-range o/u and the price was very right.

      • Necron 99

        That’s kind of where I was at with it, I’ll just shoot it and see how it goes. Maybe I’ll give a range report when I get a couple hundred shells through it.

      • Bobarian LMD

        I used to have a Stevens o/u when I was kid that I liked pretty well, but it was a .22 over a .410 that made a great rabbit gun.

      • Animal

        I’ve got a Stevens .22/20 gauge over/under. It’s great for bumming around in the brush after snowshoe hares and grouse.

    • Sean


    • Animal

      No experience with that exact gun, but I like doubles. Center of gravity is a little farther back (should be right at the hinge) and you can get about 2″ more barrel with same overall length.

      That should be a good trap/skeet gun.

      • Necron 99

        I started with no gun at all many years ago, the guy putting on the competitions asked if I’d help so I said sure. Every event someone put a gun in my hands and told me to shoot it, so I went a year without a gun but shooting all kinds of them. I found the doubles a bit unwieldy, I preferred singles, so I bought a Mossberg 500 for cheap. Several years later my 500 fore end broke so I put plastic furniture on it but did not enjoy shooting it after that, it bit my cheek and made my teeth hurt. I upgraded to my Mossberg 930 Sporting and I love that gun, easy pointing and fun to shoot. About two years ago I got the Beretta A400 Xcel, even nicer than the Mossberg, got a couple 24s on the skeet field with it, still chasing a straight. This double is light weight, and with no action to absorb recoil so it promises to be a kicker, but I will give it it’s due and see how it shoots, I’m not too recoil sensitive. On the plus side I won’t have to pick up shells off the ground after a round, extractors, not ejectors.

      • Bobarian LMD

        It’s not like bird or skeet load kicks all that bad anyway,

        My Mossy 500 I can shoot a couple boxes of skeet shells and not even feel it. I go out and zero my slug barrel and I’m ready to go home and cry after I’ve confirmed with my 4th shot.

        I have bought a Phoenix recoil stock that I haven’t tried out yet, but I think will help a lot.

      • Necron 99

        You are correct, target loads do not kick much, and I have recently tried some Herter’s 1 oz. target loads and like them well enough. Plan is to try the Herter’s as well as some Winchester and Federal 1 1/8 oz. Walmart loads and see how it shoots. The gun also has an adjustable stock like a trap gun, so I may set it up to shoot trap exclusively. I never considered a dedicated trap gun, this may be fun.

        When I put the plastic furniture on my Mossberg 500 it became unbearable to shoot more than 25 shells, it slapped my face and hurt my teeth. I tried a leather cheek pad and even put some cushioning under that and it still hurt my face. Prior to that I had no issues with the wood stock. I found myself suddenly hating that gun, and was sad.

    • Rebel Scum

      Clearly the motive is white-supremacy.

  8. The Late P Brooks

    Reuters: “Ford slashes prices of F-150 Lightning trucks as EV wars heat up”

    Yeah, right. There was an article a few days ago which said Ford is sitting on a huge pile of EV “Mustangs” nobody wants.

    • The Last American Hero

      Tax credits matter. Not sure if Mach e qualifies. There are plenty of buyers for mustangs and lightning’s but not at $60k.

  9. The Late P Brooks

    War on Freedom

    Westchester PD’s license plate surveillance system was built by Rekor, a $125 million market cap AI company trading on the NASDAQ. Local reporting and public government data reviewed by Forbes show Rekor has sold its ALPR tech to at least 23 police departments and local governments across America, from Lauderhill, Florida to San Diego, California. That’s not including more than 40 police departments across New York state who can avail themselves of Westchester County PD’s system, which runs out of its Real-Time Crime Center.

    Rekor’s big sell is that its software doesn’t require new cameras; it can be installed in already deployed ones, whether owned by the government, a business or a consumer. It also runs the Rekor Public Safety Network, an opt-in project that has been aggregating vehicle location data from customers for the last three years, since it launched with information from 30 states that, at the time, were reading 150 million plates per month. That kind of centralized database with cross-state data sharing, has troubled civil rights activists, especially in light of recent revelations that Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office was sharing license plate reader data with states that have banned abortion.

    “The scale of this kind of surveillance is just incredibly massive,” Brett Max Kaufman, senior staff attorney at the ACLU, told Forbes. Pointing to both Rekor and Flock, a rival that runs a similar pan-American surveillance network of license plate readers, he described warrantless monitoring of citizens en masse like this as “quite horrifying.”

    Nice work getting that abortion reference in there, Forbes writer.

    Big Brother is watching. Have a nice day.

    • JaimeRoberto (carnitas/spicy salsa)

      Rekor? I guess calling the company Wrecker was just too obvious. Though they could have gone hip and called it WRKR, but then that would sound like a radio station.

  10. Ownbestenemy

    From the AM talk about college. Yes, even community college for Teen#2 is forcing him to fill out a FAFSA application even though he has a State scholarship and a couple grants and rest he is paying on his own.

    It hard to tell him to handle it knowing there is the great temptation to say yes to that sweet sweet cash especially after book buying.

    • Name's BEAM. James BEAM

      I was in Dublin’s Trinity College a few weeks ago and had an interesting chat with a couple of the students there.

      They mentioned that, by and large, they don’t have textbooks anymore — it’s all on-line now. Everything. While I applaud the saving of money for the students, I think that might turn out to be a huge mistake over the longer run.

    • Ownbestenemy

      So headline is “look you have more money” then the article points out it was the government trough that fattened their accounts and then admits its dwindling fast cause of rising costs. All that to support why the government should open the door to the treasury to the people so they can run articles on why the economy is shitty but people have more money.

      • Bob Boberson

        “Look this is so much less complicated when the government just rations you what you need. think of the convenience!”

        Same writer within a year, probably

    • Rebel Scum

      But the money is worth less.


  1. Animal’s Lightning News | Animal Magnetism - […] we get into this hot topic (hah) check out the latest chapter of Sweetheart over at […]