I The Vampyres Of New York
- R. E. Prindle
The years add up. It was when my total was approaching eighty that I took stock of my life. All the things I had put off to some distant future now loomed important as I now realized I was in the only future I had left. The future was limited. Any day now in all probability.
I had been dissatisfied with my appearance for some time. Time had passed and I hadn’t kept up with it. I was dressing as I had thirty or forty years ago. It was time to invent a new persona, get a new haircut, buy some new clothes. As improbable as it may seem I fixed on the persona of Cary Grant as he appeared in the old fifties movie To Catch A Thief. Of course my looks were nowhere near Cary Grant’s at that time still I was slender and not totally homely, besides clothes make the man and you can buy clothes. I offed to LA in pursuit of the perfect garb.
While I found the perfect outfit, plaid jacket, a couple pair of pants and a cravat I did take what would turn out to be a short sighted view. I should have selected a wardrobe rather than an outfit. Nevertheless as I returned home I thought I was passable. It would take a while to get comfortable in the new persona but I thought the cat was in the bag and the bag was in the river. I was passable for the old hometown but I had my sights set on New York City.
I had always wanted to spend a year in NYC and environs to enjoy all the cultural attractions. The Sixties in which period I had devised the desire no longer represented The Big Bagel as some people now call it. Then in that impoverished city you could rent a loft of 3000 square feet for fifty dollars a month not only in a deserted building but a whole dilapidated neighborhood. Today in the same areas condominiums are going for tens even hundreds of millions of dollars. Whole neighborhoods have been razed to build enormous buildings. There was that expense I now had to consider. An apartment in a building I considered suitable might go for anything from fifteen to twenty-five thousand dollars a month. While I was not exactly down to my uppers I quailed to think of spending possibly three hundred thousand dollars for a year’s worth of shelter. Call me a piker.
I’d rather abandon that particular item on my bucket list but then I remembered that some people needed house sitters while they were off perhaps on an extended tour of the world. I didn’t think there was much of a chance but I contacted an online agency, filled out the forms and much to my surprise was advised of a situation a month later. Six weeks after that I was on a flight to The Big Apple, as some other people express it. Imagine fortune smiling on me like that.
And believe me fortune was smiling. I had previously emailed a photo of me dressed for the occasion and had received a photo of the guy who would meet me at the airport. A wise precaution as it turned out. Leaving the plane the driver and I quickly spotted each other but also waiting to greet me was a guy holding a sign that said Partly Wright. I don’t know he was but I’ll explain later. Unless I forget.
My driver was a big fellow who looked like he might have had past. He took my carry on which was all I had; at that moment I realized how ill prepared I was for a year’s stay. What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking anything, I had subconscious motives as it turned out. The driver, Ragnar, led me out to one of those white stretch limousines about thirty feet long. I was the sole occupant in this huge room complete with bar and TV both ofwhich I ignored.
Arriving in the Tribeca neighborhood the limo stopped in front of a forty story condominium building. I knew from the pictures I’d received that the apartment was luxurious but the reality of the building was daunting, massive, all marble. Ragnar passed me by the doorman and the elevator carried me to the gold painted door on the thirty-first floor. Long grocery haul I thought.
Squaring myself away as we said in the Navy I pressed the button.
In the old days there would have been a peephole but now three separate cameras scanned the hallway to ensure the way was clear. Need I say the photos did not do justice to the apartment? This was splendor. Obviously done by an interior decorator. The ensemble was spectacular, a large entry and living room in quiet warm earth tones, splendid artworks, abstracts, decorated the walls. Lining the long wall was a magnificent library, floor to ceiling shelves with a little rolling ladder. No kidding. Windows looked out over the bay to the East and the views of the Hudson and the wastes of New Jersey to the South were spectacular.
Dazzled beyond comprehension I was only vaguely aware of answering the usual questions about the flight while as it was now six-thirty in the evening I was politely shown to a bedroom to clean up and relax a bit as dinner was to be served at seven-thirty. This respite was much needed as I was somewhat dazed by my marvelous even unbelievable situation. Freshened and somewhat less dazed I took my assigned seat at table.
The condo itself must have cost the Carmichael’s tens millions of dollars. That I was going to live there a year for free flabbergasted me. The table at which we were sitting was an absolute work of art such as would have satisfied royal tastes throughout the ages. The graceful chairs were a delight to sit in. Contrasting those were a plain white setting made in China that appeared to come from Restoration Hardware or Williams-Sonoma; in fact I know they did because I had an identical set at home. Rather strange I thought.
As I sat staring at the original of Columbus Discovering America I knew I was in the home of intellectual wild men. Perhaps my eyes were open too wide because the mistress of the table, perhaps some reincarnation of the goddess Diana the Huntress in the disguise in which she entombed the father of us all, Merlin, asked: Is something wrong Mr. Wright?
‘Oh, no, no, ‘Mrs. Carmichael, I replied quickly, just a little giddy from the long flight. You know how they pack us in these days. If you like you can call me Perry which is what I’m known by instead of Partly or Mr. Wright. Mother had a sense of humor that used to entertain us all.’
‘I know all about that, Perry. My given name is Lady, which I do go by, Lady Margaret Carmichael in full that leads to some amusing situations, and this is my husband Miles. This gentleman here is our friend Lessing Farquhar. We hope you’ll both be friends.’
‘Oh, I’m sure…’
‘You must be wondering why we chose you to housesit during our absence?’
‘Well, Lady, I was born in the bottom of a wishing well; I just figured my wish was granted. Sometimes the gods do favor us as I’m sure you know. But apart from that what were your and Miles reasons?’
Farquhar let out a little smarting laugh, ‘Perhaps you thought you’d died and entered Valhalla?’
‘Something like that. Was it my charming picture?’
‘That too. But the three of us are historians or amateurs at least. Would it surprise you to know we’ve read your writings on your blog?’
‘Not surprise, but shock. I do have a couple million reads so somebody must have keyed in but one never knows who. It is only occasionally someone lets drop a hint that they may have; very seldom does anyone own up to it.’
‘You have a couple million reads?’ Farquhar asked surprised.
‘Yes, and what is gratifying is that my audience is thoroughly educated as T.E. Wogglebug characterized himself. A metric company, Quantcast, that keeps track of these things places my post-grad readership at between 160-220 percent of normal while grads are about 120-150 of normal. I was somewhat astonished at that. So while shocked or perhaps amazed that you have read something not really surprised. Gratified however.’
‘Judging from your writings you are certainly well read. May I ask what sort of education you have?’
‘Oh sure. I interpret education in the broadest sense. As to formal education, High School in ’56, college at California State College, Hayward- now California State University East Bay- some graduate work at UC Berkeley and the University of Oregon but no advanced degrees. I found college useless although I did learn what I was supposed to do, that is, the method. I know how to progress around the bases.
But my real education, baseball cards, stamp collecting, comic books, sci-fi and all that, took place outside bricks and mortar school. Probably the most influential source was that of comic books although I am unable to say what it is I learned. Some I can, but mostly not. My comic book education took place from after WWII to just after 1950 when I was force weaned.
If you know anything about comics you know William C. Gaines EC comics. Originally EC stood for Educational Comics but after Gaines introduced the horrid Tales From The Crypt genre he changed the initials to mean equally preposterously, Entertaining Comics. They were horrid. They blasted my brain. I could hear and feel the crunch. Those comics were evil. While reading one I said to myself: They shouldn’t let us little kids read this stuff. But I stood in line for the next month’s issue down at the magazine store. I didn’t realize it then but the store was a venue for what passed as pornography at the time. Do gooders were there to tell us we shouldn’t read comics. We knew it but we didn’t care.
Educational bits and pieces. The comics were almost wholly a Jewish operation. Gaines himself was Jewish although he has an Anglo name. All his artists, writers and inkers and whatever were Jewish too although most assumed Anglo names. Not being aware from seven to eleven when I read this stuff I had no idea of how Jewish comics were. I recently reviewed an issue of my favorite, Plastic Man, on the internet and was astonished to see that he was a thoroughly Jewish hero. I had no idea. Still it was somewhat disguised, nowadays, in the new comics like the X-Men the heros flaunt their Jewishness. Superman in retrospect was also very Jewish.
But as I say the horror comics, Tales From The Crypt, Weird Tales and that ilk transfigured my brain. It was only two years ago that I realized the negative influence of Gaines and his filth. I still don’t understand how I reacted.’
Farquhar interjected: ‘That’s interesting. Problems? What sort of problems were you having?’
‘Mostly pressures in the head. Not headaches, from which I have never suffered, but pressures; an awareness of the perimeter of my brain, knots and twists in my brain. For a longtime a big knot over my ear, right side of my brain. Then later it crossed over to the active or left side. I had serious electrical discharges.’
‘And you believe this came from EC Comics?’
‘I don’t believe it, I know it.’
‘Well, Lessing is it?, after a few decades these issues came to a head, after an attack two years ago I unraveled the mystery in a dream so that the cause having been recognized the symptoms disappeared. I am now free of EC, or think I am. I don’t know that I can ever get it out of mind.’
‘That’s rather extraordinary isn’t it?’
‘Not really. Basic Freudian psycho-analysis runs through the version of self- analysis of the much despised Emile Coue. Coue was the ‘I’m getting better every day in every way.’ guy. Much misunderstood. It was just really buried, not so much a fixation as a state of mind. When my brain crunched, which is what I suppose the knots symbolized it just took decades of probing to get at them.’
‘It’s amazing you could do that.’
‘Maybe. But a few decades ago I read The Divine Pymander of Hermes an ancient self help book in which the demon Poimander approaches the scholar just as he is about to enter the dream state. Poimander introduces himself to the near sleeping scholarly inquirer to advise him that he is there to help. He will show the scholar what he wants to know. All the scholar has to do is keep in mind what he wants to know and Poimander will guide him to it.
This is essentially Coue’s process. Access the subconscious so that it is working in the direction you want it to. The power of positive thinking of, I believe, Bishop Sheen in the fifties. For instance I wanted to remember a girl’s name from high school and it was completely blocked. I could look at her picture in the high school year book and not recognize her. Then one morning coming out of the last sleep or dozing, a little bar like from a slot machine dropped in front of eyes with the name Donna Meininger in black and white. Doesn’t always work quickly but it works.’
‘Freud was a very clever man but I still find psycho-analysis distasteful. Freud should never have invented it.’
‘Actually Freud didn’t invent it, he collated it from numerous sources while giving it his peculiar cast. He systematized long known ideas. He was extremely well read in is chosen field. He was of the German culture so he had access to all the Romantic writers in the German language. The Germans were miles ahead of anyone else except for possibly the French. A universal prejudice against the Germans prevents the translation of much of German literature.
But who I consider one of the greatest writers, E.T.A. Hoffmann was a very astute psychologist from whom Freud appropriated wholesale.’
At this point I saw Farquhar’s ears perk up.
‘Freud himself read Hoffmann as he refers to him and I’m sure he read a great deal of his work giving him much food for thought. The West, and here by West I mean the US, France and England, doesn’t appreciate Hoffmann the way it should as we have only translations of a few of his more bizarre tales. A couple things have appeared or have been reprinted recently such as The Devil’s Elixers and the Serapion Brethren that are truly breathtaking, especially The Serapion Brethren. Astonishing grasp of psychology.’
Farquhar: ‘You’re a great admirer of Hoffmann then?’
‘Oh yes, but to continue. Freud was central to understanding the fifties and beyond but the fifties especially. I was not fully aware of that at the time being too young and dumb but since. After comic books as an educational influence came the influence of movies, records and finally TV. The movies of the fifties were obsessed with the hysterical fear of alien attacks from outer space. This was obviously influenced by the nuclear race. All sorts of monsters freed from the Freudian Id arose to confront us. We all knew and loved The Creature From The Black Lagoon, also the giant carrot that came from outer space.
The basic pornography of the comic books, and they were nearly pure porn, became invasive and more influential. Every week was a new challenge. As I had been immersed in comic books I became immersed in science fiction, both movies and print. And sci-fi was great stuff. Bradbury and Heinlein were my big stars in books although I read so much stuff I couldn’t tell you who the authors were. In movies Richard Matheson’s The Incredible Shrinking Man was really astonishing, life changing. I gave up on sci-fi after reading Williams Tenn’s amazing stories. At that point I decided sci-fi was just a waste of time.
Nevertheless the earlier influence of comics was immeasurably strengthened. This whole comics, sci-fi was shatteringly presented and encapsulated by a real lie ‘sci-fi- event in late 1958 that really cracked my brain while causing deep resentment against a society that would do such a thing.
I think you people may be old enough to remember if you haven’t blocked it out. It will come back to you if you did see it. Israel had been established and the ’56 Israeli and Arab war had been fought and won by the Jews. Ever paranoid they undoubtedly feared an adverse reaction or, as they put it, a rise in anti-Semitism. For some reason the Jews found their casualties as the hands of both the Germans and Soviets unjust. Unable to resist the Soviets and under whose control they were they concentrated on the German camps naming it a holocaust.
On a certain Saturday night in November as I remember they commandeered all the TV networks and independent stations countrywide so that no one could escape watching it other than turning off their sets which solution I’m sure occurred to nobody. They then showed scenes from the camps that I’ve never seen since. Totally emaciated nude bodies were piled into a small mountain perhaps thirty feet high and maybe a hundred feet long, I’m working from memory. A Caterpillar was then fired up belching black smoke as the blade moved into this huge pile. What the intent of the driver was I don’t know as it didn’t seem possible the driver could move such a huge mass while the bodies would have tumbled down on the driver’s head. This was truly horrific, exceeding Tales From The Crypt by a factor of at least ten and it made the same impression on me as EC’s tales when I was eight and nine.
In some strange way that viewing closed off my early education and I began the current phase.
Perhaps the generation to which I belonged that was raised on those vile comic books began to come of age in the Sixties so that movies have come to more and more resemble those comic books of William C. Gaines. I suppose in some weird ways those comics were a major influence informing US history since. Unfortunately I haven’t determined the exact effect they had on me since as I think the effects were deeply subliminal.
So, there you have it the basis of my education, everything since is just accumulating knowledge.
Farquhar: ‘My mother wouldn’t let me read comic books so I have no ability to grasp their psychological effect.’
Miles: My mother also. As I remember parents were virtually united in opposing them. I’m surprised your mother let you read them.’
‘She didn’t Miles. I was in the orphanage in my top reading years and beyond her or anyone else’s control. Within very elastic limits I did what I chose. As an orphan I rejected anyone’s authority and that was almost complete. I roamed and investigated. I was completely independent; almost no supervision. I would brook no interference and there was little compulsion although I was feared and hated by the house mothers. I was as free as I’ve ever been except for maybe now.
When my mother remarried she threw away my two foot pile of comic books for which I have never forgiven her.’
All three people were staring at me for some reason. Finally Lady spoke: ‘For all that you don’t seem to show any ill effects. You are certainly well mannered.’
I realized then that I had probably said more than I need have since all I was asked essentially was whether I had a college degree and from where. ‘No matter,’ I said, ‘Be that as it may. Between comics and Freudian psychology I’ve been able to put things in order. Poimander, so to speak, has shown me the way. I expect to enjoy New York immensely.’
It was now fairly late and as I was running on West Coast time I was getting fairly tired while it showed. I was shown to my room and very gratefully dropped off to sleep immediately between very high quality sheets. It was bliss.
Having now climbed part way up the mountain I had set myself from youth at the age of eighty I had reached a plateau. I luxuriated myself in bed until after ten then got up and shaved and showered feeling somewhat like a new man. This year was going to be my year.
Emerging from my room, itself decorated with beautiful pictures I emerged into the glorious light flooded living room with its wonderful, actually, picture gallery. I was luxuriating in this glow when Lady and Miles entered the room.
‘Good morning Perry.’ They said in unison.
I felt so good. I broke into a big smile quite uncharacteristically and gave them as good as I got with a bright cheery hello to both. I did feel good for perhaps only the second time in my life and I’ve forgotten the first, all weights were lifted from my shoulders.
Lady and Miles explained that they too were fulfilling a lifelong dream of spending a year in Europe pointing out the delights they expected to find. Shifting to me they pointed out many features of New York that I might not have found myself but sad to say as my year was to progress differently than I had planned I never visited any of them.
I gave some indication of my intentions most of which I never fulfilled while reassuring them that their apartment was in good hands. I assured them I intended to have no visitors as I wanted as few as possible to know where I lived so that they need have no fears.
After viewing the great library with them both I was taken downstairs to be introduced to Ottmar the doorman. Little did he know that his life was about to enter a new phase. He looked fiercely protective of his domain which pleased me greatly. Nothing like a good bulldog to keep the strays away.
Surprisingly they offered me the services of their chauffeur Ragnar and the accompanying limousine as they wanted to keep him employed so as not to lose him to someone else in their absence. I gratefully accepted. Ragnar too was about to enter the Twilight Zone. Free rent and transportation, there was a lifelong dream realized, was more than could be expected. And so the next morning my benefactors, for what else could they be, left for the delights of Europe such as they might be in this age of foreign invasion and I was left alone in my own little paradise.
I spent the rest of the day at home relaxing, ordering my mind and browsing the wonderful library. As Lady, Miles and I were roughly the same age I had most of the classics they did although their editions were much finer than mine. There was a nice selection of history and picture books, really nice art stuff, so I just put my feet up and loafed and loafed. It really felt good. Lord, what a wonderful feeling. May you have such joy yourself.
On Saturday, that is the next day, I called Ragnar to bring his limo around and had him drive me up to the Met to view some more pictures and objets d’art.
Ragnar along with Ottmar were both Germans which pleased me greatly. Ottmar was older and more regal but with a very fine mind while Ragnar, somewhere, over thirty, was harder looking, seeming to more on the qui vive, perhaps a little shady. We hadn’t much to say at the moment as I was twenty-five feet away in the back and he was behind the wheel. I preferred it that way. It gave me time to think. We would become more familiar but enough for now.
Ragnar pulled up in front of the Met walking back to open the door for me. I could have popped out myself and preferred to but I thought it best to give myself maximum gravitas and maintain appearances. After all, this was New York City. I can tell you I got great respect emerging from a limo especially as I was dressed in my new persona of grey slacks (when was the last time you heard pants referred to as slacks?) green plaid jacket and princely cravat. I smiled around benignly at the gapers and mounted the steps.
The museum while not crowded was busy and I drifted from gallery to gallery in a sort of fugue or dream state. I hadn’t become blasé so soon. I had stopped without thinking before a Claude landscape. My gaze was directed at it but almost in a state of self-hypnosis as my mind was occupied with other thoughts. I wasn’t really seeing anything when a voice as though from a dense fog came to my left ear: ‘Well, Partly Wright unless I’m mistaken.’
Startled at being recognized I turned to see Lessing Farquhar. I stammered, searching for his name as Lessing popped into my mind. ‘Lessing, hello, what a coincidence.’
‘Not really, Perry, I saw Ragnar and the limo on the street. He told me you were here. I’ve been wanting to talk to you so I popped in.’
‘And you found me. I presume you no longer work, then?’
‘No, thank the gods, no. I chucked that a few years ago. I made enough, especially in my thirties and forties and have had a couple nice inheritances since so I have no need for a job and no regrets about it. Lawyering wasn’t that much fun, anyway. I take it you no longer have your shoulder to the wheel?’
‘Not remuneratively and not that wheel but I do my best to help struggling humanity along. Being above the fray gives you a better perspective. I just study and write; keep up the blog.’
‘Seeing the shape the world is in it doesn’t seem you’re having much luck with your endeavors.’
‘I haven’t effected any major changes yet but I may have had some success moving things forward, changing attitudes.’
‘A bold claim. How’s that?’
‘Well, Lessing, you know that a few years back, a decade or so. The savage Liberals were raging unobstructed as very few seemed to realize the true situation what with Ignatiev calling for the extermination of Whites without a dissenting voice. I was if not the first, one of the first, taking him seriously and sounding the alarm. Over the succeeding period I’ve been ahead of the curve in exposing and denouncing the Liberal agenda. Today it seems that a new awareness, consciousness, of what is being propagated has developed and that consciousness seems to reflect the attitude I’ve been trying to foment so I think, I hope, that my voice on the voter has not been without effect.’
‘Just you and your computer, is that it? I’ve found your site interesting myself. Do you have many readers?’
‘I’ve got a couple million reads over the decade I’ve been writing plus a lot of my stuff gets republished on other sites so I have no idea of my true reads. Suffice it to say I seem to see ideas reflected. If you’re a reader Lessing I’d have to consider myself a success.’
‘Actually, Perry, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I was interested to learn that you’re an E.T.A. Hoffman reader, especially The Serapion Brethren. I’ve been enchanted by the book myself, so much so that I’ve been organizing a New Serapion Brethren. I have myself and two others. I thought you might be interested in joining us. Instead of writing stories we’re studying history and trying to trace the back stories, the things that get overlooked behind the printed histories. Do you think you might be interested?’
‘I’d be very interested, Lessing, and flattered by the invitation. I’m in accord. You know how I think as you’ve read my stuff so you know the byways I search. No surprises? So, yes.’
‘Excellent, Perry, excellent. I’ll give you a call for our next meeting that should be a couple weeks from now. I have to go now, have some things to do. Expect a call tonight or tomorrow. ‘Till then.’
And Lessing got up and walked away. Wonderful, there was nothing I wanted more than congenial company to discuss the weighty problems.
After spending a pleasant afternoon touring the Met I went back to my digs, don’t you love calling a thirty million dollar condo, digs? I sure as heck do. Be that as it may I went ‘home’ to plan my next moves.
I spent that Sunday sitting looking out the floor to ceiling windows at the light dancing off the waters and boat traffic drifting around. I sat musing on how to order my miraculous year. Obviously one carry on bag of clothes wasn’t going to do me much good nor would one suit of clothes. Still, I breathed easy, I was content, even happy at the prospect of building a new wardrobe. What the heck, at eighty what did I have to lose, life is short and what was left ahead of me was even shorter. I might not even live out the year. I had enough so I wouldn’t go broke unless I lost all self-control, so what the heck.
From viewing street activity I also realized I would need several wardrobes. Driving around with Ragnar yesterday I realized what a diverse population, what bizarre costumes Manhattan boasted. Of course being well dressed was essential but there were neighborhoods in which it might be perilous. Hell, looking at some areas I saw it might be wise to buy a dress or two and bob my hair. I must have passed through Tranny Central. Anyway, shopping was first on my list. And then I was ravenous to visit New York’s fabulous book stores.
I made the Strand Bookstore my first objective but then when Ragnar pulled up I suddenly decided to go to Harry’s for a haircut and professional shave. I began using Harry’s razors a few years before, I had always wanted to visit the shop so now was the time.
I could have walked up to McDougal Street but I thought it best to use the limo. I’m sure the style of my arrival wasn’t unique in New York, still it placed me in a certain class. Fortunately I was early or I might not have gotten in. I didn’t really need a haircut; two years previously I had devised my hair style and had gotten those Hollywood invisible cuts to maintain the same appearance at all times.
A couple snips and the haircut was finished, a few more moments for a shave and Ragnar whisked me over to the Strand. Billed as having miles of aisles the selection was incredible. You can imagine what New Yorkers could sell as used books. I actually came away with a couple hundred pounds of books including a great five volume set of Bancroft’s record of the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition that I intended to offer as a gift to Miles and Lady. No home is complete without one.
Well, you know, you don’t cover miles of aisles in a minute or two and I was not even thinking lunch amidst all those volumes so it was four before I called Ragnar around and let him load the tonnage. New York, New York, what a wonderful town. Of course I hadn’t gotten to the underside yet.
If you don’t like books you won’t understand the exhilaration I felt the next morning looking at the mound of books sitting on the living room floor the next morning. I never got enough books for Christmas and always the wrong kind as a kid so whammo!- all the disappointments of those Christmases wiped away in one fell swoop. That Columbian Expo set was a real delight. Maybe I’ll keep it and get Lady and Miles something else.
Bedtime found me still flipping pages and fondling covers. But, too much fun…I still had numerous duties and miles to go.
Lessing had called so I was obligated to write something for the meeting of the New Serapion Brethren two weeks hence. I decided to devote the day to wardrobe building. While no expert on New York still back on the Coast I had had my trusty computer with the ability to search. Oh yes, I ordered a new HP for my stay. I had visited New York way back in the seventies, but believe me, that was then and this was now so not exactly a novice I wasn’t much more. The images on the net had given me some idea of what to expect along with reading New York Magazine. It was almost as though I had visited the stores.
The first thing I needed was some shirts, shorts too, but I figured that if I found shirts I would find shorts and perhaps socks too. I selected Charles Tyrwhitt for my shirts. Tyrwhitt was just a block up from James Carter on Madison Avenue. The latter was my choice for suits.
I was familiar with both stores’ merchandise both from the net and catalogs. The world at my doorstep and all that. Picking up a couple dozen shirts from Tyrwhitt didn’t involve any agonizing decisions although there was a moment’s hesitation over a couple ties, I finally settled on five and bounced out of the store. I noticed a couple idlers as I got into the limo but didn’t think too much of it.
Tyrwhitt is modestly priced while James Carter is on the high side, nothing like Brioni, but respectably high priced. They consider themselves expensive but fifteen hundred for a jacket is chicken feed compared to Brioni. If you really want to spend money believe me, you can do it. I wanted to make an impression at Carter so we pulled up in front while I took a long time getting out of the limo. As I sat there I noticed the idlers from Tyrwhitt drifting down to Carter’s.
Could have been the limo but then they weren’t that rare in the Big Bagel, as some people call it.
James Carter was high fashion dress. It was one of these classy stores, maybe three thousand square feet a floor, three floors, lots and lots of what they call negative space. Of course on a good day these guys could probably do a hundred thousand so I guess empty square footage didn’t count against them too much. They’d probably have to have ten mill a year to make it. I was there to help them over the hump.
When it comes to today’s fashions I am no admirer of them either men’s or women’s. It’s not because I have a long memory although I will confess that as I was going to buy bespoke the designs I had in mind were very close to 1956. Check out the jacket Ferlin Husky wears on his record Boulevard Of Broken Dreams. But that involved no nostalgia or fogeyism; I just didn’t like the short jacket too big for your britches look that prevailed.
And that’s all they had on display, these horrid short jackets that look like they’re two sizes too small including the more than tight fitting high water pants that they used to laugh at hillbillies for wearing. I was study a manikin trying to keep the look of disgust off my face when I was approached by a salesman elegantly decked out, obviously gay. But then what would expect in a men’s store? After all, that’s where the boys are. He wasn’t objectionable just that arch attitude they have.
Nice looking fellow about six-three, slim, trim, and a million dollars on the hoof.
‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ He arched.
‘Is this the only style of suit you’re showing?’ I arched back.
‘This is the style of today.’ He replied.
‘Does that mean the only style you show?’
‘This is THE style. It is what with it men are wearing.’
With it? I hadn’t that one for a while.
‘Yes. I’m a very with it guy but I interpret ‘it’ perhaps in a somewhat different manner. Perhaps I should confer with your tailors in the bespoke department.’
‘That would be second floor, to your right.’
‘Many thanks.’ I said drily.
Then someone who might have been the floor manager swept up and said: ‘Here, let me show you up.’
I almost said: Lead on MacDuff but I had gotten that one out of my system decades ago; I don’t quote Shakespeare anymore. To be or not to be is a good workhorse but even that has fallen into desuetude.
I know many of you consider eighty to be a ripe old age but let me say as one who knows, eighty is not as old as it looks. It may be for some people, but for those of us who have either been lucky or taken care of themselves it is not a problem. I can walk for miles, believe me, a flight of steps was no difficulty, I could have taken them two at a time although my knees aren’t what they were.
Because of my early childhood I had always played the goof or clown when under stress. Over the decades using self-analysis and Coue’s auto-suggestion I had cleared out my fixations allowing me to function in a more or less clear state but I had still buckled under pressure.
Apparently there was another kind of conditioning beneath the fixations. I could feel the stirrings in my undermind but was unable to identify the cause although I would soon experience the effect. But not now.
While you may think a fitting trivial it was a profound test for me. It was a question of whether I could avoid being a mark or not. Men have all kinds of ways of marking each other as to how they will be treated; a great part of it in the clothes line is the clothes one is allowed to wear; another, if you break through the clothes taboo as I had several decades ago was to mark the clothes. While chance may allow most men to buy good clothes, markings he might not notice are affixed as it were to the clothes.
Unless you pass judgment for instance in suits you will not be allowed four buttons on the cuff. You will only be allowed three and in some instances two. Tailoring flaws such as bunching behind the neck and others define your station in masculine circles. These markings are always honored by others in the industry so that even if you know the markings it is nearly impossible to correct them.
I had always been in the three button class with a bunched neck in the fabric. I had been successful in my mid-years far exceeding most of my contemporaries thus their anger and resentment at being surpassed by someone they believed their inferior enraged them. And so I was marked. To complain about being marked is to no effect other than to give your tormenters pleasure. You can demand four sleeve buttons or whatever but in no way can you compel the tailors to correct the mark. There is a code.
The amusing thing is that since tailors are most frequently homosexuals their fellows are given top status in their tailoring so that they can pass other tests. Now I would not only have to appear as an A man but probably have to beg or should I say, command, a homosexual. It would be in the stance, the voice, the manner and most importantly in the eyes. My haircut was good; I had seen to that. Barbers are tough ones too because they are very astute analysts and excellent markers. It is hard to get by them. They don’t go to school either they just learn and assimilate thus becoming supreme judges.
The manager was going to interview me first before I was allowed to see the tailor. The various marks he exhibited indicated homosexuality. As I say I had been experiencing subliminal stirring for several weeks indicating deep changes. I had even had an event simulating a heart attack that had been a significant psychological adjustment. Since then I had been more confident and much less diffident so I pulled up my reserves and went to work on the manager who gave his name as Steve.
Our eyes locked. He betrayed the insecurity of the homosexual; I saw and he recognized my recognition giving that appeal for acceptance that I knew so well. I smilingly overrode him as my eyes acknowledged him and subordinated him but the contest was not settled. My stance and mannerisms secured my masculinity over his although I began to feel that I was acting the Macho Man and that would give the wrong signal. Now, if I could control my voice. My undermind gave, wincing, but didn’t erupt just yet. I was in control and meant to stay that way.
‘And what can we do for you, Mr. Wright?’ Michael Ignatiev asked.
‘I’m here to buy some sartorial splendor, Michael.’ A little too florid indicating frivolousness.
‘This is the place isn’t it? That’s a very nice jacket you’ve got on now. May I ask who made it?’
‘I don’t mind. This is a Brioni designed by Eric Ross circa 1975.’
‘Nineteen seventy-five? Really? I know Brioni of course but I haven’t hear of Eric Ross.’
‘He was a little before your time. I don’t remember his last name. Like your James Carter Eric Ross was his son’s two first names just like your founders’ the Osipov’s. He was Jewish, in love with English styling adapted to US traditions also, like your shop. He mixed in everything. He was big on the cowboy look…;
‘Cowboy, eh? You seem knowledgeable about James Carter. You learned about us where?’
Dewey turned around to show his back. ‘See how the seams turn toward the shoulders in the back? Cowboy style. I almost didn’t patronize Eric Ross because of that. Once I got started there was no stopping me. Loved the stuff; I’m so happy are careers coincided. In answer to your question I studied your internet site. It tells you what you what you want your customers to think of you.’
‘Oh yes, our internet site. So what happened with Eric Ross?’
‘I was in a different business but we both epitomized the Sixties, made it through the seventies and expired at the same time.’
‘The Sixties ethic wore out at the end of the seventies. As the saying goes: This too will pass and it did, tragically. The Sixties weren’t what they were supposed to have been but they were still the Sixties. Charles Manson was imprisoned for our sins. Big changes happened too fast while there was no time to adapt. I was in London in late seventy-eight, looked around and all the peacocks were wearing grey and black. I realized the ethic was dead. I rushed back to buy a black straight legged suit from ER and told it him it was over. The Sixties we loved so much were no longer happening.
The record business I was in collapsed in on itself and changed over to CDs at the same time leaving me high and dry while Eric Ross was caught in the midst of a big expansion, Japan actually, quite like yourself. Many parallels that drew me to you. ER had a store full of expensive obsolete goods and a container of Brioni suits sitting on the dock in Italy that he left stranded because he didn’t have the cash and couldn’t get the credit. Boom! Just like a Stuka dive bomber that didn’t pull out of the dive.
I got some memories out of it although I wasn’t laughing at the time, not even for show. As I say Eric Ross was rather slavishly devoted to the English ideal. His son’s initials are ER so he devised his brass buttons after the royal insignia. My wife and I were visiting the Rothschild estate, Waddington, open to the public we weren’t invited, and I was wearing the blazer with the ER buttons, Elizabeth Regina in England not Eric Ross. I kept getting these looks while being gently shunned. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I figured it out.
By the way if you like old seventies movies and TV reruns you will be able to notice ER clothes appearing frequently. They usually give a shot of the cowboy back. He was quite the rage.’ My voice and delivery was perfect.
‘That is humorous. So, you like fine clothes? Nothing downstairs interested you?’
‘Nice work, wrong styles. When the style changed to that American Gigolo look back then, if you know that movie, I stopped buying and haven’t begun again till now but I still reject current styles. They’re offensive. Looks like someone’s telling you you’re too big for your britches; like wearing a baseball cap backwards. So, I want something more along the line of what I’m wearing, longer skirts than currently, hate those short jackets. Of course we can skip the cowboy influence. I’ll want some different fabrics also.’
‘Yes, we can do that. I think it will be a pleasure working with you. How about Tuesday at ten AM for your first fitting?’
‘Of course, that would be fine.’
I should have known about the fitting. Strange me, expecting to be fitted the same day.
I phoned Ragnar then talked to a salesman before Ragnar pulled up a few minutes later.
As I walked out of the store the idlers were still waiting. One approached and said: The Jews gave us monotheism.
I shrugged him off and hopped into the limo.
The limo had just pulled from the curb when Ragnar asked if he could talk to me. I said sure, just park the limo somewhere and I’d come up front. I didn’t want anyone invading my private space in back. Unlike Rosa Parks I had no qualms in the back. Nowadays it is being said that as a Commie she, or they, planned the situation. If so, I wonder, was the guy who told her to move in on it. If it was staged was the media in on it?
Ragnar had his ways and means as he drove the limo under a building containing any number of limos. Money has its prerogatives including private parking lots. I went up front and slid into the passenger’s seat.
Ragnar hesitantly asked me what the guy had said to me. I replied: He said we owed monotheism to the Jews.
‘Why would he say that to you?’
‘I don’t know who he represents, Ragnar, but I assume he was referring to my critical historical essays on the internet in which the Jews are given their true historical roles. I assume that my criticisms have taken effect but in defense of the Jews monotheism is considered preeminent. This happens fairly frequently back home.’
‘But how would he know you? You’re new to New York while being from far away?’
‘This is the internet age, Ragnar. As the saying goes, you can run but you can’t hide. Contrary to propaganda society is full of secret societies while with the internet they are effective anywhere in the world. Did you notice the guy at the airport holding up the card with my name on it? I have no idea what organization sent him. If the Carmichaels and I hadn’t maintained internet contact exchanging pictures of you and I, I might have mistakenly gone with him or them.
I might be floating face down on the East River now or perhaps six fathoms down in cement shoes. When you’re in movement you’re more vulnerable.’
‘You think they would have killed you?’
‘Why not? I can’t imagine they just wanted to talk to me?’
‘Who are you? I noticed other people following the limo or showing up wherever you go. Who are these people?’
‘Ragnar, you’re asking the wrong guy. I don’t know who they are and don’t particularly care. I’m sure there is more than one group involved. Possibly the Feds, possibly Jewish organizations, possibly homosexual groups, some freelance guardians of public morals, Reds of some sort, hard to tell. I write critical historical articles that ‘offend’ the hyper sensitive. For all I know they might be admirers who don’t know how to approach me. I do speak for at least a large minority. That’s the way it is; nothing I can do about it.’
‘And they already know that you’re in New York?’
‘Of course, the internet, Ragnar, the internet. There’s nowhere you can go without them following you around. They all have cell phones and post lookouts to track your movements. Believe it or not they have nothing better to do. The Jews, for instance, on the fiftieth anniversary of Kristalnacht posted guys on the hill outside my house in case, I suppose, I consecrated the day by bombing a synagogue. They’re all nuts, crazy as loons, obsessed by their fantasies, reality is just an impediment to their beliefs. Actually I’m used to them; if they weren’t there I’d be disappointed because they would no longer think I was important.
Sort of like Gloria Vanderbilt who got a lot of press attention when her parents were getting a divorce. Every morning a gaggle of reporters were waiting outside the house. She got used to them, one morning when she and her parents were no longer news the reporters weren’t there. ‘Mommy,’ she said, ‘Where are my reporters?’ I feel the same way. If they weren’t around I’d have to ask what went wrong.’
‘Watching you on Kristalnacht? The Jews really give us Germans a hard time. I’m not so sure us Germans were in the wrong.’
‘Of course you weren’t Ragnar, but Bismarck made a mistake in not occupying and annexing France in eighteen seventy-one. Instead he settled for Alsace-Lorraine and a bundle of cash. You Germans paid a heavy price for that in the World Wars and after. And of course the Jewish war against you continues today and has spread to the United States where the Jews have convinced Americans that they too are Nazis and guilty for their extermination. Scratch a White person they say and you will find a Nazi. It’s crazy.’
‘I don’t understand how Bismarck has anything to do with Hitler.’
‘The Interdependence Of Things as your great writer ETA Hoffmann called it. It’s all connected Ragnar, it’s all connected. You just have to find the connections. If Bismarck had conquered the whole of France, incorporating it into a Greater Germany much as did Charlemagne, then sending tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of settlers into France instead of having them emigrate to the US and Russia he would have created a huge country that would have changed the destiny of Europe.’
‘The French would never have tolerated that.’
‘Sure they would have. When Caesar conquered Gaul Roman settlers flowed in changing the demographics of what was then Celtic Gaul creating Roman Gaul. The Gauls, however reluctantly, accepted a superior civilization eventually getting comfortable with it. There might have been more trouble if the Gauls had been superior but then they weren’t.
Later the German tribes invaded, Franks and what have you, that dominated the Gallo-Romans by force creating the country as France, the land of the Franks. Napoleon wiped out perhaps the majority of Franco-Germans in his wars since he favored the taller Germans over the shorter Gallo-Romans as soldiers. Still in eighteen seventy-one there was a large body of Franco-Germans who would have blended with Bismarck’s new immigrants. Sure it would have been a taut situation for a generation or two but the German civilization was superior to the French so as life would have been better under the Germans it wouldn’t have taken too long for the populations to meld.
The result would have been a reuniting of the two western parts of Charlemagne’s empire creating a European super state that would have drawn all Europe into its orbit. There would have been no WWI and consequently no WWII. England would have been trapped between a Greater Germany and the US. How that would have worked out is anybody’s guess. So as I see it Bismarck not having Napoleon’s vision blew it when he retired back into the newly united German States.
Now, consider the European situation today Ragnar.
The result of WWII that left Europe and Germany prostrated was that the Jews undeservedly scored a huge moral victory. Having mounted the dais as victorious victims they unleashed a propaganda campaign against not only Germany but the West as a whole that totally morally disarmed both Europeans and Americans leaving the Jews to call the shots. I think it was one of your German generals who said that peace is war by other means. Perceptive fellow he.
The West has been bled white of more billions than you can count supporting the failed State of Israel. Indoctrinaires such as France’s Sarkozy and the dumbest woman on the planet, Angela Merkel, of Germany have worked in combination with the Jews to destroy Europe. As in Spanish days when the Jews opened the doors to Moslem invaders the three have conspired to flood Europe with Negro and Moslem hordes.
Sarkozy who was unable to pass a law compelling White women to marry Negroes has instead opted to flood France with Africans who will eventually mongrelize Europe. Merkel has welcomed, indeed, invited millions of Moslems into Germany and hence Europe that has overstrained social, economic and political matters while stressing water and food supplies to the point of exhaustion. The whole structure has actually been broken down. The whole of Europe will be impoverished except the Jews.
Unlike the Roman and German invasions of Gaul and France in which a higher civilization did or would have replaced an inferior one the millions of Moslems and Africans now colonizing Europe represent either primitive or medieval inferior peoples. Africans and Moslems have no hope of maintaining any semblance of European civilization. Nor can they be taught. There lies the great tragedy.
All this is the result of Bismarck’s not following through and annexing France into a Greater Germany. Had he had vision all of this could have been avoided. Europe would have been a happier place. The Bolsheviks would never have been able to appropriate Russia. The Jewish people would have of course continued their activities to destroy Europe with what result we can’t see. As peace is war by other means peace may have favored their plans as much as war. Perhaps today Europe would have been a Jewish empire anyway. So, Ragnar.’
The story continues in Clip 2.