Monday, October 5, 2015

Blood Cries Chapter 13


In 1814, Andrew Jackson and an army of 2000 soldiers surrounded 1000 Creek warriors fortified behind a horseshoe-shaped bend of the Tallapoosa River.

After softening the defenses with cannon fire, Jackson ordered a bayonet charge that drove the natives out of their defenses where they were slaughtered along the banks.

The next morning, Jackson’s men counted the bodies of over 550 “Red Sticks” and estimated another 300 dead at the bottom of the river.  Jackson lost 150 men.

Six months later, Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans.  Five years later, Alabama became a state.  Fourteen years later, Andrew Jackson became president of the United States. 

And 166 years later, Louella Harper stayed at a motel named the Horseshoe Bend a short distance from the original battle site, at the edge of a town called Jackson City, named not for Andrew Jackson but for an unrelated confederate general with no connection to the area whatsoever. 

The motel was set up like a baseball diamond, with rooms along the perimeter of a vast, well-manicured courtyard with a swimming pool at its center.  A highway ran along one side while the other three buildings guarded against the encroaching woods.

Louella heard a knock at her door and opened it to find Melvin Little standing with a young man who looked to be in his early twenties.

“Melvin, if you keep showing up at my motel room, people will begin to talk.”

“Yes, yes,” Melvin said.  “Louella, this is an associate of mine, Jimmy Easton.  He covered the Baxter story for the newspaper.”

“Call me Jim.”  Jim smiled and stuck out his hand.  “I’m a big fan of yours, Ms. Harper.”

“Are you?” Louella asked.  Her eyes squinted in appraisal.

“Jimmy was poking around my office, asking me a bunch of questions, and it occurred to me that you might need someone to chauffer you around while you’re completing your research.”

“It was one question,” Jim corrected, “and it was at the courthouse, but it’s true I would be happy to show you around Jackson City.”

“Jimmy here has extensive contacts among the town’s dark underbelly,” Melvin said.

“He means I know a lot of black people,” Jim said.

“Well, your offer of assistance is very kind,” Louella said.  “I might just take you up on it, but before I do, I have a few questions for you, Melvin.”

“You know I’m always happy to help, Louella.”

Louella disappeared into her room, leaving the door open.  Melvin looked at Jim, who shrugged, and they followed her inside.

The bedside lamp was on, but the shades were drawn, and the only natural light shone through the open door.  The room was neatly kept and the bed had been made, but papers and files were strewn across the bedspread and stacked on top of the television.  A rabbit ear antenna rested on the floor.

“I was looking through the files Sheriff Ford gave me,” Louella said as she shuffled through some papers.  “I couldn’t find anything about voodoo in any of the original reports.”

“Oh everyone was always talking about that.  The colored people would cross to the other side of the street when the ‘Voodoo Man’ came around.  Isn’t that right, Jimmy?”

Jim shrugged.  “It’s a small town, Ms. Harper.  The rumors just sort of float around.”

“I suppose all will be revealed in time,” Louella said.

“Well, I best be going,” Melvin said.  “I’ll leave you to it.”

Jim looked at Louella.  “Shall we go?”

A few minutes later, Louella was riding in the passenger seat of Jim’s van.  She clutched her purse in her lap.

“Did you read about the story in the Montgomery papers?” Jim asked.

“This story made national news,” Louella said.  “I read about it everywhere.”

“Did you read any of the local coverage?”

“If you’re asking me if I read any of your stories in the Sentinel, the answer is yes, and the coverage was much better than that which appeared in the Atlanta Journal or the New York Times.”

Jim’s face turned red as he drove, but Louella could tell that he was pleased.  

“Is this to be a novel then?” he asked.

“I’ve written a successful novel already, more successful than I ever could have imagined.  I want to see what else I can do.  This project is to be straight journalism of the old-fashioned kind: just facts.”

“Facts are sometimes hard to come by in this case,” Jim said.

“We shall see.”

Jim steered the van down a short dirt driveway leading to small one-story house.  It was small, but well kept.  The plank wood was painted white with red trim and matching shutters on the windows. 

“This is the house of Evan Waverly, the Reverend’s next door neighbor.”

“Is that the Reverend’s house?”  Louella asked, pointing through hole in the tree branches. 

“That’s it,” Jim said.  “Just a regular little house.  You never would know to look at it.”

“And you think this neighbor will have something useful to say?”

“He’s been telling everyone in town he does.  I thought he’d make a good first stop.”  Jim hopped out of the van.  He ran around the front to open the door for Louella, but she was already standing in the red dirt and gravel, looking up at the front porch where a man sat rocking in a swing.

“Mr. Waverly,” Jim said.  “This is Louella Harper, the writer I was telling you about.”

With her purse hanging from her elbow, Louella ascended the three steps to the porch and held out her hand.  “How do you do, Mr. Waverly?” 

The man made no effort to take her hand.  “Circumstances have changed since the last time we talked, Jim.  I can’t part with this story easily.”

Louella slowly withdrew her hand.

“What are you talking about Evan?  This is Louella Harper, probably the most famous author in the country. If you’ve got something to say, this is the person to talk to.”

“I’m holding out for the TV producer.” Waverly said.

“What TV producer?”

“A man from Hollywood called me two nights ago.  He said I could get seven grand for my story.”  He turned to Louella.  “Can you beat that offer?”

Louella was already walking down the steps.  “I want the truth, Mr. Waverly.  One never has to pay for the truth. Good day to you.”

Jim looked at the man and shook his head.  This trip had not gone the way he had expected.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blood Cries Chapter 12


“Come on, we’re late.”

Two journalists, Jim Easton and Marvin Rosenbush, ascended the steps of the Muskogee County courthouse. 

Marvin, a recent transplant from New York City, wore bell-bottom blue jeans and a yellow t-shirt emblazoned with a photo of the rock group Kiss.  He wore glasses and his long, scraggly red hair draped over the wire rims.  At 24 years old, he had recently been named the youngest senior editor in the history of the local bi-weekly newspaper, The Jackson City Sentinel

“What’s this guy’s name again?” he asked his tour guide.

“William Baxter,” said Jim, “but everyone just calls him the Reverend.”

Jim Easton, 22, was a recent graduate of the University of Alabama’s School of Journalism.  His hair was cut short, and he wore regular blue jeans and a red and white striped collared shirt, untucked.

“Were you at the first trial?” Marvin asked. 

“No,” Jim said.  “I was at school, but I heard about it.”  He opened the main door and held it for his elder.

“What about the last one?” Marvin asked as he slipped into the air conditioned building.

“The second one didn’t go to trial.  It went before a grand jury.  They failed to indict.”

“How could they fail to indict?” Marvin asked. 

“Not enough evidence,” Jim said.

“So, basically the man has gotten away with murder twice?”

“It looks like it.”

They walked down a marble pathway toward the courtroom. 

“And now the insurance company doesn’t want to pay out?” Marvin asked.


“The first wife was murdered and the second wife dies mysteriously under similar circumstances.  I wouldn’t want to pay for that either.”  They paused in front of the door to the main courtroom. “So what are we here for today?” Marvin asked.

 Jim grasped the door handle.  He looked at the armed guard sitting on a bench by the doorway.  “The Reverend is scheduled to testify.” 

The guard gave a motion, and they entered the courtroom.

Several heads turned to see who was coming in, but Marvin focused on the one sitting in the witness chair. 

The Reverend looked to be in his early forties.  He wore a black suit several shades darker than his skin with a white button-up shirt underneath and a black string tie.

Marvin froze under his gaze.  The man seemed to be appraising him, judging him, and Marvin suddenly felt self-conscious for the way he dressed. 

He felt a tap on his shoulder.  He turned to Jim, who was motioning him to an open spot on the bench near the back of the courtroom.

The lawyer standing before the Reverend paused, as if thinking of the right words to ask his next question.  The man was in his mid fifties, balding, and wore large square bifocals.

Marvin looked at Jim.

“The lawyer for the insurance company,” Jim whispered.

Marvin nodded.  “He looks like a lawyer for an insurance company.” 

The lawyer took a few steps toward the jury box, away from the Reverend.  “Mr. Baxter,” he asked without looking at him.  “How did your first wife die?”

Melvin Little stood up like a shot.  “Objection, Your Honor!  That has no bearing on this case.”

“The objection is sustained.”

“I’ll rephrase, Your Honor,” said the attorney for the insurance company.  “Mr. Baxter, you are aware of the similarities…”

“Objection!”  Melvin cried.  “Your Honor, may I speak with you in a side bar?”

“Come on, then,” the judge said. 

The two lawyers huddled before the judge.  Melvin was making a series of chopping motions with his hands, while his counterpart from the insurance company had his palms turned into the air in the universal expression of, “Who me?”

Marvin looked at Jim, who was shaking his head.

The huddle broke.  Melvin wore a smug grin.  He strolled back to his chair like a peacock on display. 

Mr. Barrett, the insurance man, shook his head.  “No further questions for this witness,” he said.

Melvin casually spun toward his client.  “Reverend Baxter…” His expression softened.   “I’m so sorry for your loss,” he said.

The Reverend nodded his head and offered a thin smile of appreciation. 

“I hate to even ask about this,” Melvin said.  “I know this must be difficult for you, but could you please describe the health of your wife in the months before she died?” 

“She appeared to be in good health,” said the Reverend.

“She was never diagnosed with any kind of pulmonary disease or asthma?” Melvin asked.

“She may have had a cold a few days before she died, but she was never diagnosed with anything, no.”

“Thank you, Reverend.  Thank you for taking the time to be with us today.  No further questions, Your Honor.”

The judge excused the Reverend, and a new witness was brought forward and sworn in by the bailiff.  Dr. Henry Poole, the pathologist who performed Calpurnia Baxter’s autopsy, took the low seat beside the judge.

Mr. Barrett’s next round of questions combined dry legalese with medical jargon, so much so that it caused Marvin to sink down in his pew and forced down his eyelids under the weight of their dullness.

The aim of the questions, he gathered, was to establish that Calpurnia Murphy died of natural causes, whereby the insurance company would be under no obligation to pay out on an accidental death policy.

Melvin Little’s turn brought little relief to Marvin’s boredom.

“Now, doctor, I am going to ask you to assume that Mrs. Maxwell showed no symptoms of lung disease, bronchial infections, and so forth, no pneumonia, or respiratory problems or even coughing…”[i]

“Objection to the hypothetical,” Mr. Barrett said without much enthusiasm.

“This follows the evidence, Your Honor,” Melvin said.  “I’m just trying to establish the cause of death here.”

“I’ll allow it,” said the judge.

“And Dr. Poole,” Melvin continued, “let’s further assume that Mrs. Baxter was an educated woman who would recognize whether she was sick or not, and that on the date of her death she went about her normal duties: cooking and cleaning and so forth, and that she then left home by automobile and collided with a tree.  Based on this hypothetical question, can you tell me the cause of death?”[ii]

Marvin looked over at Jim, who mimed the act of smothering someone with a pillow.

“All right,” Dr. Poole said.  Based on that, I’d say the cause of death was traumatic.  That trauma aggravated an underlying condition that might have otherwise remained dormant.”

Melvin’s eyes lit up.  “So, you’re saying Calpurnia Baxter would not have died if not for the accident.”

“I don’t believe so.  No.”

Marvin tilted his head toward the door.  Jim followed him out.

“I feel like I just traveled through the looking glass,” Marvin said.

“I know what you mean,” Jim said.  “Everyone’s pretending it wasn’t a murder.  What the hell is going on?”

“The man is getting paid to commit murder,” Marvin said, “And the justice system is helping him do it.  It’s a great story.  The only problem is we can’t write a story about it.”

“What are you talking about?” Jim asked, anger entering his voice.  “You just said it was a great story.”

 “No one wants to read about the ins and outs of an insurance policy,” Marvin said.
“And if we say he’s a murderer, his lawyer will sue us for everything we’ve got.  The Sentinel doesn’t have the money to take that kind of hit.  We’ll have to lead with something else.  Didn’t you say there was a fair in town?”

Jim lowered his shoulders in defeat.  “Yeah,” he said as he followed his young boss out of the courthouse and into the afternoon sun.  “Let’s go to the fair.”

[i] Paraphrased from the Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company v. Willie J. Maxwell.
[ii] ditto

Go to Chapter 13.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Prosecutor to Write Book about the Reverend

The chapter of Blood Cries originally scheduled to post today has been delayed due to a malfunctioning computer.  Look for it Thursday October 1, 2015.

According to an article by Al Benn in the Montgomery Advertiser, a new book about Will Maxwell, better known as the Reverend, is coming our way.

The book is to be a nonfiction account and will be written by E. Paul Jones.

Jones is a District Attorney for the state of Alabama and a former assistant to legendary DA Tom Young.  Jones assisted Young during the prosecution of Robert Burns, the man who shot Reverend Maxwell.  Before that, Jones interviewed Maxwell while doing investigation work for an insurance company.

The book is a guaranteed must-read for anyone interested in the Maxwell story and will make an excellent compliment to my fictional version, Blood Cries.

To read Benn’s story in the Advertiser, go here.  An interview with Jones conducted by David Granger of the Alexander City Outlook can be found here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Blood Cries Chapter 11


Sheriff Maddox crouched beside the open driver’s side door of a white Chevrolet Caprice.  The suspected victim—female, black, approximately 38 years old, slumped against the steering wheel. Cause of death was not immediately apparent.

Deputy Sheriff Ford crowded in beside him. 

“Same as the last one,” the sheriff noted.

“What we’re dealing with here is a brazen son of a bitch,” Ford said.

“Find me some physical evidence this time,” Sheriff Maddox said.

“We’ll do our best, Sheriff.”

Sheriff Maddox stepped into the empty highway and lit a cigarette.  He glanced at the car parked against a tree, watched Ford snap pictures with his camera.  He’d had the same experience once before.  

The last time it was less than a mile from the spot where he now stood and on the same road.  Ford was right, he thought.  They were dealing with one brazen son of a bitch.

The Sheriff flicked his cigarette into the street.  “Pick him up,” he said.

Ford pointed his camera lens at the ground while he processed the command.  “I’m way ahead of you, Sheriff.  I called Alvin on the CB, told him and Tommy to swing by the Reverend’s house, but he wasn’t there.  You want us to set up a stake-out?”

“I want him off the street,” the Sheriff said.

“I’ll have Alvin and Tommy set up a stake-out then,” Ford said.

“That might be best,” said the Sheriff.
3 AM

Inside Melvin’s bedroom, the telephone rang.  Doris reached across her husband to answer the phone.  She placed the receiver on Melvin’s neck, gave him a shove, and collapsed onto her pillow. 

Melvin felt the long plastic arm connecting the speaker and receiver across his neck and opened his eyes.  He picked it up with thumb and forefinger, held it in the air, and looked at it until it came into focus.  Then, he placed it against his ear and closed his eyes again.

“Hello,” he said.  “Yeah…  Uh huh…  Uh Huh… Okay… I’ll be there.”   He hung up the phone.  His breathing settled into a natural rhythm.  

His eyes snapped open.  He turned his head toward his wife.  She opened her eyes.

“I just had the craziest dream,” Melvin said.  “I dreamed Reverend Baxter called me again and told me his wife had died again and he needed a lawyer.” 

“That was no dream,” Doris said.  She closed her eyes again.  “That just happened.” 

Go to Chapter 12

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blood Cries Chapter 10


The file dropped onto the desk with a heavy thud.  By Louella’s calculation, it was at least three inches thick.  Her hand slid across the desk to pull it toward her, but Melvin kept it covered with his hand.

“Ms. Harper, I hope you don’t mind my asking this, but have you, by chance, decided how you’re going to write this story.”

“The usual way, I suppose,” Louella said.  “With my trusty Olivetti.” 

“I meant,” said Melvin, “have you decided on a hero?”

Louella’s hand slid back toward her lap.  Her eyes traveled around the wood-paneled walls where pictures of various democratic leaders hung alongside those of Melvin’s family.  Sitting beside his desk on a wooden pedestal was a bronze bust of John F. Kennedy. 

“Well, I’m only just beginning the research phase,” she said.

Melvin’s fingers drummed on the file.  “But every story has to have a hero, isn’t that right?” he asked the famous author.

“Most do.  Traditionally, novels have a single protagonist, but not always.”

“Yes, yes,” Melvin said, churning up some excitement.  “You’ll need a protagonist.”

Louella smiled sweetly.  “Do you have one in mind?” she asked.

“May I suggest a genial southern lawyer, one that heroically battles racial prejudice on his quest for…? “

Louella interrupted.  “I was thinking I might use a washed-up old woman writer.”

Melvin just stared.

“Mr. Little,” Louella continued.  “I am aware of your importance to this story.  You are a major link that binds all the other characters.”

“That’s right,” Melvin said, sitting up straight and grabbing his lapels.  “I’m a major link.  I’m like the character in that book you wrote, or Gregory Peck in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’”

Louella studied the pudgy little moon face beaming at her from across the table.  “Well, there is a certain aggressive charm about you.”

Melvin’s face beamed harder. 

“And it’s very generous of you to share your files.” Louella’s eyes pointed like arrows to the stack of papers pinned beneath the lawyer’s hand.

“Yes, yes, of course, the files,” Melvin said.  His hand released the imprisoned folder.  He pushed it across the desk to Louella.

“I was just thinking,” he said, “about this idea I had.  Don’t feel pressured to use it or anything.  I’m willing to defer to your authorial instincts on the matter, but I thought of a good way to begin the story.”

Louella wasn’t already thumbing through the contents of the file.  “Do tell,” she said.

“Picture this.  We open on the bedroom of a mild-mannered attorney and his wife…”

“Mild-mannered, you say?”

“Suddenly, a telephone rings…”

“That is exciting,” Louella said.  Her eyes continued to scan documents.

“On the other end of the phone is the Reverend.  He’s been accused of killing his first wife.  I’m half-asleep.  I mean, the lawyer is half asleep, but he swiftly negotiates an agreement that is fair to both parties.  After that, I thought you might delve into my Scottish heritage.  You know, show the reader some insight into what made me—my character, I mean—into the person I am today.”

Louella closed the file.  “That would certainly be an interesting way to begin the story.”

“I confess I got the idea from reading the opening section of your book.  I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but I was struck by how you started with a compelling action—a childhood injury—and then somehow drifted into the history of the town.”

“I thought I recognized your opening gambit.  Now, I realize it was my own. Well, Mr. Little…” Louella stood.  She tucked the file under her arm and stretched out her hand.  “I thank for your ideas and for your generosity in sharing your files, but if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my hotel and start reading through all this material you’ve given me.”

Melvin took her hand as he would a princess.  He offered a slight bow.  “The honor is all mine,” he said.

Louella's face tightened.  "Let's not go crazy," she said.

Go to Chapter 11

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blood Cries Chapter 9


Calpurnia Murphy strutted into the courtroom in a bright purple dress and matching hat.  After the bailiff swore her in, District Attorney Henry Russell began his examination.

“Would you please state your name for the court record and tell us where you’re from?” he asked.

Calpurnia ignored the prosecutor and spoke directly to the jury.  “My name is Calpurnia Barrett Murphy.  I was born in Hartselle, Alabama, but now I live in Yamacraw County.  Down by the highway.”

“Do you know the defendant, Willie Baxter?” the prosecutor asked.

Calpurnia glanced at the Reverend without expression.  “Reverend Baxter’s been my neighbor for nearly ten years.”  A smile formed on her face as she added, “His wife used to do my hair.”

“And did you see Mr. Baxter on the night of June 28, 1969?” Henry Russell asked.

“I did.”

“Would you please describe what you saw?”

“Well, that evening, Reverend Baxter and I attended a revival meeting in Macon County.  We didn’t get home until after midnight.”

Russell, who had strolled over to the jury box, did a double take.  “What’s that now?” 

Murphy looked as pleased as punch.  “I said that on the evening in question, Reverend Baxter and I attended a revival meeting down in Macon County.  I remember I was very excited to go because my ex-husband was a heathen who would probably get struck by lightning if he ever came within a hundred feet of a church, but Reverend Baxter said he would happy to take me.  I’ve never experienced anything like it.  I had what they call a spiritual awakening.”

“Wait.  You say you were with the Reverend?  That’s not what you told me before,” said Russell.

Melvin stood.  “Objection, Your Honor. He’s trying to impeach his own witness.”

“Sustained,” the judge said.

Henry Russell stared dumbfounded at the witness.  “Ms. Murphy, are you really gonna sit there and tell me and this jury, that you were with the Reverend that night?”

“Objection,” Melvin shouted.  “That question has been asked and answered.”

“Sustained,” said the judge.

Russell pleaded with his witness.  “What about what you told me before?  That you were alone sitting on your porch that night when you saw Reverend Baxter come out of his house carrying... ”

“Your Honor, please,” Melvin said.  “Mr. Russell is testifying.”

“Sustained,” said the judge.  “Mr. Russell, your remarks are limited to questions only.”

“The prosecutor has no case,” Melvin said.  “I move for a directed verdict in favor of the defendant.”

“He’s got you, Henry,” said the judge.  “Motion is granted.”  He banged his gavel. “Next case!”

Henry Russell kept standing there looking shell-shocked.  As Calpurnia came out of the witness box, he noticed something shiny at the end of her finger.  He’d been so focused on his own presentation that he hadn’t noticed the new diamond encrusted wedding band.

“Now wait just a second,” Russell said.  “Calpurnia, where did you get that ring?” 

“The case is over, Henry,” Melvin said.

“Calpurnia,” Russell asked. “Did you get married?”

Calpurnia stretched out her arm to admire her ring.  She could not contain her smile.

“I didn’t even know you were engaged,” the prosecutor said.  “Who did you marry?”

Calpurnia’s excitement exploded out of her in the form of a long squeal.  “I’m Mrs. William Baxter.”

Russell stood thunderstruck as the defendant strolled passed him to greet his new wife.  Calpurnia jumped into his arms.

Henry Russell turned to Melvin.  “Did you know about this?”

“Are you kidding?” Melvin asked.  “I never would have allowed a wife to take the stand against her husband.  I thought we were sunk.”

The Reverend and his wife continued to celebrate with Melvin and the throng family members who rushed forward to congratulate them. 

Henry Russell stomped out of the courtroom.

Go to Chapter 10

Sunday, September 13, 2015

3 Mysteries Surrounding Harper Lee's Lost Crime Novel

For those of you who haven’t heard about this story yet, here is a quick recap:

In 1978, Harper Lee went to Alexander City, AL to research a nonfiction book along the lines of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which, you may remember, she also helped research.  The Alexander City story involved Willie Maxwell, a murderous preacher—with supposed ties to voodoo—, who allegedly killed off members of his family for insurance money.  He was later assassinated at the funeral of one of his suspected victims.  The Reverend’s lawyer then represented the assassin and won a verdict of not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. 

Some of what we do know about Lee’s research into the case makes for a compelling mystery.

     1) The Reverend had an accomplice.  According to a 1987 letter Lee wrote to the late author Madison Jones, she said, “I do believe that the Reverend Maxwell murdered at least five people, that the motive was greed, that he had an accomplice for two of the murders and an accessory to one.”  

    As of yet, no one has publicly named this suspected accomplice or explained his or her part in the story.

     2) Despite widespread belief otherwise, Reverend Maxwell wasn’t a voodoo man.  According to the same letter, Lee found no evidence that the Reverend was involved in voodoo. “I traced nearly every rumor of that sort to its source, and if you do the same, you will have a surprise.” 

    During his lifetime, the Reverend was feared by other citizens.  The connection to voodoo kept people afraid of him even after he died. So, who started the rumors?  And why?

     3) Why did Lee give up on the manuscript?  Different people provide different explanations.  Some of her close friends have suggested that the success of her first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, set too high a standard, and that any other books would suffer in comparison.  One of her friends told me that she feared rumors that Capote had written Mockingbird would “get a life” if a second book wasn’t as good as her first. 

A few pieces of evidence suggest that Lee told different stories to different people.  Her letter to Jones claimed she did not have enough factual information to complete a book.  Attorney Tom Radney, the man who alerted her to the story in the first place and who spoke with her on a regular basis, claimed she was working on the book into the 1990s.  In an article written by a member of the Associated Press, Robert Burns—the man who shot Reverend Maxwell at his adopted niece’s funeral—heard a different story.  “She was telling me she didn’t know if she was going to write the book or not because she would incriminate some people in Alex City.”  

Would this be the Reverend’s accomplice mentioned earlier? Unless her notes or a manuscript turns up, we may never know.

New chapters of Blood Cries, a new novel based on the story of the Reverend, post weekly.  Chapter 1