World on Fire – Excerpt

First excerpt can be found here… World on Fire – Excerpt 1

Whilst it was the aim of every member of Fairbanks to secure their family line, once the procreation was accomplished, the veil of respectability ensured that teenage life was far from enjoyable in the confines of the town. The only escape was a weekend adventure into the bars and clubs of Port Charles, however given the tender age of the members of the raiding party, this occasionally ended with a premature finish and a call to the parents of the ensnared. It was one of these excursions that Kay met Max McAllister.

From humble beginnings, Max had rooted himself in a regime of activity that saw him develop into a physically intimidating teenager. ‘That boy of mine sure knows the meaning of hard work’ his father, Frank, would boast to the fellow members of the Fairbanks Country Club. Living on a farm outside of town, the McAllister’s had a team of workers tending to their land, for the McAllister’s were firmly protected from the vagaries of Port Charles by the money they’d accumulated. With all the farm equipment in reach, Max had an unlimited supply of heavy metals to heave around which he used to obvious advantage.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said with his schooling, as whilst he attempted to match his physical prowess with his academic achievements, it never quite materialised. Max took pride and was boastful at the mental workings that others took for granted. There was no subject he wasn’t an expert, yet when pushed there was no solidity behind his knowledge; yet he was a McAllister, so the highest grades would always be awarded.

Max’s mother, Anna De Luca, was number five out of eleven brothers and sisters; originally from Italy her family had emigrated to the East coast and slowly worked their way through the prairies, just as the dust bowel struck. Grafting and hustling they traversed the stricken land along with millions of others and landed in the San Joaquin Valley. She was a young child when they reached the promised land of oranges and grapes and was shielded by much of the hardships by an enterprising mother. They had little, but what they did have was their imagination and a drive to succeed. They continued to travel and ended up in Washington State, just below the Canadian border.

Her father secured a job in a lumber yard and eventually saved enough to start his own yard. Despite the influx of money, the size of the family meant they were always poor. Scraping together enough money to pay for the brood ended up putting her father into an early grave when she’d barely hit her teens. At school she worked hard and strived for a better life than the one she’d known, managing to be the first in her family to get a scholarship to college, where she met Frank. Ruth knew immediately that she’d marry Frank the moment their eyes met; she could see that drive in him that she recognised in her father. Frank was an economics major but had grander plans than ordinary folks, who wanted a secure life in a secure job. She followed him to the ends of the earth and nearly off them on several occasions. Always being the supportive wife, yet driving him on to succeed, it was a relationship that was of the time and the people.

Frank had a vastly dissimilar experience of the vagaries of life; born into old Southern money, relocated to the north. His grandfather had been a cotton farmer and slave owner, fortunes built on the blood, sweat and tears of slaves tended to give someone a sense of superiority that passed down through the generations. Through a quirk of fate and a conversation with the State’s Prosecutor, the McAllister family left the South in a hurry; their money decimated like a cotton crop ravaged by a particularly pernicious pest. However, unlike the struggling De Luca family, the McAllister’s had enough influence to start afresh and amass another fortune, this time in the whiskey business.

The confidence of money was instilled in Frank from an early age, but unlike the hard working De Luca family, prohibition and the entanglement of lawlessness was entwined in the McAllister’s. The fortune was amassed, and the roots were firmly planted in the community. When Max was born the McAllister’s had secured their respectability by purchasing the farm, and as the only child of the McAllister legacy, Frank and Anna doted on Max. During the day he lapped up all the attention he could from his folks, he had long sprawling conversations with his father as they worked together restoring vintage cars. With his mother he helped her garden, cook, and ran errands for her into town. At night he’d sneak out, drank with his friends and smash stuff up with a baseball bat

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