It’s about time you met Abe. The Authors Collection.

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(First in a series of articles about the members of The Presidents Club)

Abraham Leroy Region, aged sixty-five, was first introduced to readers in Chapter Thirty-two of The Tourist Killer. Billionaire investor, Julian F. Thibaut, was traveling incognito and had a room at a Holiday Inn Express where Region was employed.

Thibaut noticed the name badge and said, “Well, Ted, please call me Jay.”

My mental image of the character Abe Region.
My mental image of the character Abe Region.

“Ted ain’t my real name. I forgot my name tag this morning and I borrowed this one from a fellow worker — Theodore.” A huge warm smile preceded his introduction, “My name is Abe, Another President.” Then a big laugh. Abe led the way to the employee parking area. As they walked, Thibaut observed his host. Abe Region had not had an easy life. His gait was not smooth and the wrinkles on his face and hands made him appear older than he probably was.  They got into an early seventies model four door sedan that must have been twenty-five feet long — a Lincoln Continental Town car.

Abe’s comment (above) about his name sparked the idea for my second novel, The Presidents Club:

Excerpts from TPC involving Abe follow:

* Abraham Region was the last one who still worked. Abe had taught civics and American History for years in Marietta and had retired young. Bad financial decisions and his late wife’s long battle with cancer had required him to return to work. It was at his job at the Holiday Inn Express where he had met Julian F. Thibaut the previous fall.

“I never was good with names, but it seems like it. When I took him back to the hotel, he told me his name and I remember thinking then how it reminded me of a football player. I should’a wrote it down.  We talked some more about my car and its previous owners and then he asked me some questions about our group and politics. Do you know who all in our group here votes?”

* Abe spoke up next, “I came up on some mean streets. For me, trust is when we’re in a blind alley together and have to fight our way out. If trust is there, I know I can turn my back on you and you won’t run. In other words, ‘you got my back and I got yours.’”

* Blue-collar, menial labor was nothing new for Abe Region. A native of Centerville, Georgia, near Macon, he had grown up in a family of seven. Everyone had to work as soon as they were able. He was sixteen years old when President Kennedy was assassinated. He reported for work after school at the Kress Five and Dime and worked his regular hours.

FCEtier
FCEtier

Abe’s duties at Kress had been maintenance and other cleaning duties. He always wondered why they didn’t just call him a “janitor.”  Wouldn’t have bothered him. He did his best at whatever he was assigned without regard for status. He always liked to tell the story of when he met the store manager for the first time.

“One of the assistant managers had hired me. I guess it must have been about the second day on the job, I was in the men’s room with a mop and other clean up products. I’d finished the urinals, toilets, and sinks and I was about to mop the floor. Someone came in behind me and it was someone I didn’t know. His name tag told me he was the store manager. The first words out of his mouth was, ‘You’re going to be in management one day.’

“I said, ‘How do you know?’

“‘Nobody wants to clean the restrooms except a member of management. I sure cleaned my share of them!’ and we laughed together. We didn’t get around to introducing ourselves for another week or two. He was a nice man, though.”

Abe liked to watch sports but did not participate. A lack of interest along with physical attributes that were not conducive to athletics guaranteed no sports-related scholarship. A grant-in-aid student loan had helped him through Albany State. It also required him to work in the grill at the student union. There, he was a jack-of-all-trades as he mastered the positions of cashier, hamburger cook, and clean-up man for both the grill and the dining area.

Luck smiled upon Abe Region with a job in Marietta as a teacher. He started the fall after graduation from Albany State. Job, wife, and then three kids all got in the way of any further degrees. He never was able to go for a master’s plus thirty hours which would have helped a lot with the pay. His wife worked, too, and they were careful not to spend more than they made.

A life-long love of automobiles turned into an obsession after his wife died.  Except for the time he spent with his friends at the Louisville Tavern, he spent almost all of his spare time restoring his ‘78 Lincoln Continental Town Car.

Abe and the other members of the Presidents Club will return in my fourth novel in 2015. Watch for them and enjoy their adventures.

Please click the book cover image to read more about The Presidents Club. 

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