Friday, September 28, 2007

Character Study: Sam Johnston

This is the ninth in a series of character introductions associated with my book, My New-Found Land.

The son of survivalists, Sam grew up on an isolated family farm with a cellar stocked to the rafters with ammunition and MREs. He learned at an early age how to shoot game, tan hides, repair simple machinery and keep an eye out for strangers.

But the hard-edged Christianity his parents believed in didn't mesh with what he read about Jesus in his leather-bound Bible, and his natural gregariousness found no outlet in deep forest isolation. So when he met a pretty girl gathering forest plants while he was hunting game, his rebellion was a certainty. Phoebe and her large network of friends and family were open and welcoming, ready to share what they had with anyone in need. In thier eyes, everyone was equally worthy of the fruits of the earth, no matter who they were or what they believed. Hoarding was a sin. Sam was enchanted by their philosophy and by Phoebe.

Sam and Phoebe's happy life together was cut short by her death in childbirth. Needing time to sort things out, Sam struck out on his own, wandering the countryside and hiding from recruiters before meeting up with a group of rebels working to depose the United States government and restore the original Constitution.

He spent many years with this group, eventually becoming a communications expert. When a new United States government was instated and pulled the nation out of the resource wars, Sam came out of hiding and decided to try city life for awhile. He settled in Lexington, Kentucky, where he opened shop as a radio operator.

But Sam's ambitions ran to something a little bigger than just being a ham. He had always liked meeting new people and helping them, and was fascinated by the old technologies. Building computers was impossible with no way to acquire the necessary components. Television was unrealistic, too.

But telephones... Well, those weren't so hard. People had been running phone lines two hundred years ago. All he needed was backers, and who in town wouldn't want to have phone service after all these years?

But phone companies, like Rome, aren't built in a day. He needs money, copper, tools, workers, and money. Lots of money. His little business of sending messages for people just barely keeps him fed, with not much left over to finance grander dreams. And it doesn't help that he's a soft touch when people come to him in need. People like the pretty young lady who is out of food, out of patience, and down to her last coins.

REMINDER: My New-Found Land is available in print or download at my Lulu Storefront. If you buy in September, let me know so I can enter you in a drawing for promotional giveaways!

1 comment:

Alice Audrey said...

I always felt like you could have done more with Sam's schemes. I wanted to actually see them blossom into something impressive.