In the 1970s, when investigators for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA)—notably Edwin Lopez, Dan Hardway and Gaeton Fonzi—tried to figure out what happened during Lee Harvey Oswald’s trip to Mexico City in late September/early October of 1963, they walked into a house of secrets and shadows. A house of smoke.
Was Oswald impersonated? If yes, why? Or did Oswald go to Mexico City at all? The narrative is that he traveled there to obtain a visa to go to Cuba, with the ultimate aim of returning to the Soviet Union.
“Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City,” which is the thirteenth appendix to the HSCA Report on the JFK Assassination, sometimes referred to as “The Lopez Report,” grapples with those and other issues pertaining to Oswald’s mysterious trip. “The Lopez Report” is a good place to start for writers who want to imagine their way in to this enigmatic episode.
In fact, the HSCA investigators laid a solid foundation for researchers to build on after the “JFK Records Act” was signed into law in 1992. It might be said that the remaining relevant research (see Jefferson Morley’s journalism and books, for instance) developed from the HSCA.
The noted investigators and journalists have participated in podcasts and interviews, or given excellent presentations that can be found online.
David Talbot’s book, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, is a valuable resource since it focuses on JFK’s presidency with Cold War forces to the fore. The book is packed with delicious anecdotes https://vautrin.pub/2023/03/because-rfk-and-hoffa-dug-going-to-hockey-games-together/ and investigative threads.
Gaeton Fonzi’s book, The Last Investigation, is another exemplary place to go to get oriented in the milieu.
And Vautrin will continue to flesh out topics applicable to “The Oswald in Mexico City Dossier” https://vautrin.pub/2023/03/hey-oswald-take-the-car-keys/.
Now, about this short story writing project, submissions for which will open on May 15, 2023. It’s called “The Oswald in Mexico City Dossier” because the infamous trip is prime for exploration in a crime fiction/espionage/mystery environment. Along with that, the chapter symbolizes the murky business surrounding the assassination, overall.
But the JFK assassination narrative can be approached from other vantage points. What really happened in the Book Depository sniper’s nest, and why? Or Jack Ruby’s claim that he shot Oswald to spare Mrs. Kennedy (cough, cough). Or Oswald in New Orleans, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee/clandestinely funded anti-Castro DRE dustup (and implications). Or Georgetown JFK friend and confidante, Mary Pinchot Meyer. And more of such.
This is fiction, entertainment. Make it trippy, make it good.
Short stories should be from 2,000 to 5,000 words, with this caveat: “Oswald in Mexico City,” and any number of other narratives are potentially bigger landscape projects. Writers may query about longer works before submitting the manuscript. Provide a synopsis, describe the narrative angle.
Submissions will open on May 15, 2023, and close on July 15, 2023.
This project will pay $35.00 per short story, if accepted for publication. The accepted stories will be featured on the Vautrin site, available to read for free. (This is less than what it pays to get a short story in a Vautrin print issue, but we sell the paperbacks for $11.99.)
Let’s head up the steps to the Cuban Consulate, then, open the door, and see who walks into the room.