Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: May 2007

Disco Donn Demands Deliverance

by

R.E. Prindle

Part II-3

     Turkish spies amongst the Jews learned of their Messianic hopes, one hesitates to call them intentions as there was little hope of success.  Sabbatai was called to Adrianople where the Sultan resided and there he apostasized to Mohammedanism.   He put on the white turban of the Moslems.  Thus redemption of Israel was once again placed in the indefinite future.  God wasn’t willing to forgive the transgressions of his people just yet.

     The future began to take shape in the wake of the great reorganization of society known as the French or Great Revolution.  In that great attempt to strike down all racial, national and class barriers the social disabilities  of the Jews, at least, were struck down.  The Jews were incorporated into the various states as full citizens.  This is known by the Jews as the emancipation of the Jews.  The difference being a matter of loyalties.  The states expected that the Jews would give their undivided loyalty to the appropriate State, much as the Catholics and Protestants did.  But the highest loyalty of the Jews remained Israel.

     The failure of Zevi had taught the Jews a lesson.  They saw the futility of relying on one man as a redeemer.  Henceforth the redemption would depend on the whole people.  The notion of Redeemer was transferred to the that of the Revolution.  Thus the Jews began working toward redemption through a revolution.  The Euroamericans gave this new millennial urge the name of the International Jewish Conspiracy.

     As the idea took shape in the mind of Israel, the Messiah of the Revolution would come in the years 1913-28.   Their plan was revealed time and time again.  There were intelligent sociologists in every State that recognized the plan.  They were apparently unable to explain the process satisfactorily in the face of Jewish obfuscation.  The Jews were able to denounce them as diseased, unbalanced, wacko anti-Semites.

page 101

     Thus the Jews made great progress during the nineteenth century ending in the seizure of the Russian State and the nearly successful takeover or all central and eastern Europe.  Every action creates a reaction which explains the intense reaction throughout the world toward the Jews during the years 1920-46.

     Lacking a territorial base or an army the Jews had to work by devious means.  The method was early exposed but on the surface is so risible as to appear ridiculous.  European sociologists said they were trying to get all the money through Capitalism while seizing control of the labor force by socialism or unionization.  No adequate explanation was offered so the sociologists became the butt of jokes.

     Several decades later the process is clear.  In fact Howard Sachar, a Jewish historian, explains it.  Here are two examples.  These are pertinent to the story because Norm and Art Barsky attempted the ruse against Dewey Trueman.

     IN 1859 the Italians wished to drive the Austrians from Italy.  At the time the Rothschilds and other Jewish financiers were at the apex of their success.  If they didn’t control the money markets they didn’t miss much.  Modern financial methods for raising money by the States did not yet exist so they were dependent on loans from the Jewish financiers.  Austria was especially dependent on the Rothschilds for loans.

     Thus while dissension was fomented in Italy, the Rothschilds refused to loan money to Austria.  With no money above the line the Austrians were unable to deal with dissension below the line.  Thus Jews controlled the politics of the situation through finances.  The Austrians were forced to retire from Italy.  The Jews were able to direct the course of European history to their own advantage unobtrusively from behind the scenes.

    The second instance involves the First Russian Revolution.  A war between the Jews and the Russian State had been going on for decades.  Industrialism had created a proletariat in Russia.  Russia was engaged in a contest for Manchuria with the Japanese.  The Japanese were unable to pursue their goals for lack of money.  A man called Jacob Schiff in the United States raised hundreds of millions of dollars of American money for the Japanese.  His efforts were abetted by the Jewish consortium of Europe.

     At the same time Schiff and others prevented loans being made to Russia.

     With the economic situation under control the Jews fomented strikes and rebellion on the labor front.  The result was that the enemy of the Jews, Russia, lost the war with Japan and had to change the structure of the government to placate the Jewish rebels.

     This procedure is known as getting the victim between the upper and nether jaws of the vice.  Once pinioned the victim can be filed into any shape at leisure. 

     The Jews of course denied everything and still do.  But just as the sociologists saw what was happening so did certain politicians.  Jewish history had been well studied by both the Germans and the Russians.  They were quite aware that a slaughter of the peoples would follow a Jewish victory as indeed did happen in Russia in the years following 1917.  Once again denied although as obvious as the Nazi death camps to anyone who wants to study the period.

page 103.

     Nineteen-seventeen to nineteen-twenty-four or so was the high tide of the redemption period.  Success seemed imminent.  The reaction however created two very strong personalities  in Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

     There were many signs that were to proclaim the Redemption.  Among them was the notion of Gog and Magog, great cataclysmic armageddons.  This prophecy was fulfilled by the two great wars bracketing the twenties and thirties.  Hitler’s contention was always that the Jews caused the wars.  He was probably correct.

     At any rate the Jews believed that they had isolated and surrounded the last great anti-Semite.  Stalin’s activities in Russia had not sunk in yet.

     In the United States the redemption was in full swing.  In 1899 the the founder of Reform Judaism in the United States, Isaac Meyer Wise, had predicted that the redemption would occur within twenty-five years.  The massive immigrationof Jews from the Pale gave the Jews an ample power base in the United States.  From 1913 to 1945 in a line of politicians from Woodrow Wilson through Al Smith to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Jews created the coalition they hoped to direct.  They did attain a position of great influence.

     Thus while Hitler and Stalin were tightening the screws on the Jews in Europe, in the United States the Jews were isolating all American nationalists and devout Christians under the names of Facscists and ‘anti-Semites.’  The only serious opposition to their program came from Henry Ford in the twenties.  He, in his American naivete, thought he could persuade the Jews to end their historical confrontation with Euroamerican society.  He was mistaken.  He was isolated and ostracized by his fellow Americans.

page 104

     There was not much active opposition to the Jews in the United States; after all Americans had always considered themselves neo-Hebrews.

     Nevertheless all dissident religious or nationalist voices were identified and isolated in an aggressive program of vilification.  In 1943 as Hitler and Stalin were destroying the Jews, those in America were calling for concentration camps to isolate the ‘anti-Semites.’  This is true.  In a country that had always prided itself on the separation of church and State the Jews were calling for laws outlawing dissenters from their religious views, or as they called them, anti-Semites.

     No one could have foreseen the extermination of Eastern and Central European Jewry.  Thus the Revolution as Redeemer failed as disastrously as Bar Kochba in Roman times and Sabbatai Zevi at the end of Medieval times.

     In the twenties and thirties the Jews believed that they were to come into their own in ‘America, my home sweet home.’  In the land of plenty, the plenty was to be at their disposal.  Everyone else would be their servant or slave.  A life of indolence and ease analogous to that enjoyed by the post-war Kuwaitis would be theirs.

page 105.

     Louis Barsky, Art’s father, exulted in the hope.  He implanted the expectation in Art who had been born in 1923.  Art grew up filled with the hope.  He was aquiver with hope as the war against the Axis began.  He really believed he would begin that life on V.E. day.  The stage was certainly prepared in the United States.

     In 1948 the ancient Jewish hope would be realized when the head and tail of Ouroboros were put in place as Israel became a Jewish State.

     One can only imagine the horror of the realization that the main body of the Ouroboros was crushed in Germany and the East.  Redemption had failed yet again.  The Revolution as Messiah was a bust.

     Art Barsky looked out on the world through tears of bitterness.  There was no life of ease for him.  He would have to work for a living unable to enjoy the plenty that he thought was rightfully his.  He had to work.  Oh, he did well enough.  He made a lot of money selling women’s nylon stockings.  But every year his bitterness and rage mounted.  He had his son Norman, the young lord.  Norm had graduated from college, married and fathered his own son in one fell swoop.

     Art had communicated his and Louis’ attitude to Norm.  But there seemed no way for Norm to realize his heritage.  Thus when Harry Grabstein called Art with his proposition concerning Dewey Trueman it was a godsend.

     Norm was briefed and sent West with his shiksa and child to claim his inheritance.  As Trueman didn’t realize that his business rightfully belonged to Norm some deception was required.

page 106.

     Getting hired was no problem.  Retail sales is an entry level position for high school dropouts and malcontents who can’t hold a job elsewhere.  Record stores in general draw the dreamy types, separated and withdrawn from objective reality.  As the term then was- spaced out.

     The recorded word has a tremendous appeal to them.  It is as though the voice of god speaks from the groove.  A standard story was of the guy who dropped a couple hits of acid, turned Black Sabbath’s album ‘Paranoid’ up to ten and saw god.

     The bands and singers were certainly thought of as oracles or prophets, super prescient people who understood the whole of the entire.  Thus singers told them truth directly.  Spoke to them through their stereos.   Ras le bol was one of the primary messages- screw it all.  Consequently these people didn’t stay on the job too long while they did as little work as possible while there.  Getting to work on time?  Who would buy that load of bullshit?

     Thus Norm, wearing the same outfit as in the mountains except that he had the de rigeur leather jacket of the times instead of the flowering vest and shirt, presented himself for employment.  He literally burst noisily into the store.  He asked for a job letting it be known that he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  If Trueman hadn’t had an opening at the time he soon would have.  Norm Barsky presented a bizarre persona but it was a time of bizarre personas.  Trueman was curious as to his story.

page 107.

     Norm had more ambition than the listless drifting types Trueman normally saw.  He wasn’t creative but told what to do and how to do it he was capable of not only doing it one time but being able to repeat the action without repeated istruction.

     He quickly acquired greater responsibility, soon becoming Dewey Trueman’s manager.  This was all done within two months.  Things move fast in the the record business.  Tomorrow will soon be yesterday.  Sell them hits while they’re hot.

     Norm had began to organize the employees around himself and against Dewey as soon as he had been hired.  In fact he had the floor functioning smoothly for nearly the first time in the store’s history.  Trueman himself handled the buying and all the other chores but was unable to supervise the floor full time.  He was pleased with Norm’s performance.

     At the same time he noticed the alienation of the personnel from himself as Norm sought their loyalty.  When he became manager he could speak with the authority of ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it with Dewey.’  Thus as the store was actually his in his own mind he began to give liberties to the crew.  He allowed them to take records home gratis.  He gave Rolfe Kusinen money from the till to buy, or rather, upgrade, as it was known, his new stereo system.  Then, as Rolfe’s old records were scratched he allowed him to bring them back and exhange them for new records.  Norm backed his car up to the back door and loaded a few boxes in to pick up some pocket ‘change.’  Nor did he think he was stealing.  In his mind he already owned the store, Trueman was working for him.  Stealth was necessary because Trueman was not yet aware of the new arrangement.

pate 108.

     Norm quietly nudged aside Trueman’s influence with the sales reps.  He represented his assumption of power as an accomplished fact but urged them to keep it quiet as Trueman was sensitive to the fact.

     By early November he believed he was in the position for a takeover or, as he expressed it, ‘a palace revolution.’

     He told Dewey that his father was coming to town and that as, next to his father, he admired Dewey most of all he would like Dewey to meet his father.

     Thus as the nether jaw of the vice was prepared the upper jaw would hopefully soon be screwed down.  Dewey, by this time, was aware that Norm’s facade concealed some misdoings.  Intimations of difficultes were coming from both the floor and from the sales reps.  While nothing was said, different attitudes were projected.  He was beginning to have real difficulties adapting himself to the role of ‘Norm’s ’employee’ which role Norm unconsciously assumed.

     Out of consideration to Norm he agreed to meet his father.  They met over lunch at the Willametter River Inn.  Norm and Art arranged a late lunch so as to be undisturbed by other diners.  They sat in the far corner looking out over the river.  Dewey had his back to the restaurant.  Harry Grabstein drifted in to watch from an obscure position.

     Art Barsky now fifty was an embittered man.  Being a salesman is one of the toughest jobs in America.  One’s manhood and dignity are constantly being insulted.  There is no attitude except complete servility that will protect you from the slings and arrows.  If you’re completely servile you’re a failure as a salesman.

page 109.

     Art Barsky had taken refuge in a carney’s attitude.  He viewed his customers as stupid suckers while he was a wise manipulator.  The attitude meshed neatly with his disappointment in the failure of the Redemption.  His attitude was beginning to interfere with his salesmanship.  His best years were behind him.

     The face he presented to Trueman was quite similar to Lee J. Cobb in ‘Death Of A Salesman.’  Trueman had an intuitive dislike of the man.  He also now understood Norm Barsky better.

     Art began by talking down to Dewey.  Trueman responded coolly and laughingly showing his contempt for Art.  Barsky was not subtle enough to pick up on it.  Besides the script was already written.  All Trueman had to do was act his part.  Thus Art very nearly waived aside any civilities getting straight to the point. 

     ‘I’ve got to have my boy here established.’  He said bluntly.

     ‘Well, if has to quit…’  Dewey began.

     ‘No, not quit.’  Art sort of bellowed.  ‘But I can’t have him just working for you.’

     ‘Well, if has to quit…’  Dewey began again.

     ‘No.  Not quit.’  Barsky interrupted again.  ‘The way I see it is he’s indispensable; you can’t get along without him.  He needs something of a permanent nature.’

page 110.

     ‘Well, if he has to quit…’  Trueman began a third time.

     ‘No! Not quit, damn you.’  Barsky blundered on oblivious to objective reality.  ‘If he’s going to make your business for you he should have an interest.  Say, one half…’

     Dewey stared in disbelief.  Norm, who had been watching him intently took the look for one of fear and acquiescence.  Dewey wasn’t an actor in their movie but they didn’t realize it.  Norm kicked his father under the table to indicate they were on the right track.

     Trueman took Barsky for a fool.  His expression turned to a sardonic smile as he tittered a little laugh.

    ‘Oh yeah?  What kind of deal do you have in mind?’  He asked curiously.

     ‘Well we figure the business is worth ten thou but we also figure we’ll really make it boom with our expertise.  We’re Jews you know.  We don’t want you to be unhappy so we’ll give you a bonus making the business worth twenty-five thou but you’re going to have to take a salary cut.  Maybe half.’

     Dewey couldn’t believe his ears.  He valued the business highly perhaps exaggerating its worth but he wouldn’t have taken less than two hundred thousand and would have balked at that.  He had his own expansion plans based on his own expertise which up to this point had been considerable.

     His eyebrow shot up.  ‘Twenty-five thousand?  Cash or check?’  He said derisively.

     Norm’s face lit up.  He thought he was in.  He reached over and patted Dewey’s arm.

     ‘We’ll give you a note.’  the Old Con Man barked authoritatively.

page 111

     Dewey involuntarily blew air through his compressed lips giving the mistaken impression he was giving a bronx cheer.  A little spittle got on Art’s face.

     ‘Well, buddy,’ Dewey began derisively, ‘why don’t I just give you an interest?  You’re going to give me a note.  All that means is that you’ll pay me out of my own profits.  Since I’ve already got a hundred per cent of them do you really think I’ll settle for half and lose my salary by half at the same time?’

     Art stared at him viciously.  The audacity of this goi to balk a Prince of this Earthly Realm.  How long will we have to suffer these indignities he thought bitterly projecting every nuance of his thought into his facial expression.

     ‘I gotta go now.  See you back at the store, Norm.’

     The upper jaw of the vice was not to descend.  As in the macrocosm so in the microcosm the Redemption was balked.

     Norm looked questioningly at his father.  His father was stunned.  It wasn’t so much that they thought so little of their quarry, Trueman, it was just that like all con men they thought that they were so damned clever.

     ‘That guy’s a real prick.’  Art exclaimed defensively.

     ‘I told you so.’  Norm nodded.

     Prick or not they had lost the initiative.  All they could do was attempt to intimidate Trueman on the labor front; he couldn’t use their ‘captital.’

     Once in, of course, they would have used law suits and legal means to harass Trueman.  As Grabstein could control the judges, the town fathers wanted Trueman gone anyway, all decisions would have gone against Trueman.  Within a year he would have been locked out while the business accrued to Norm and Art for essentially nothing.

page 112

     The two were victims of their own fantasies.  They really believed that Norm was indispensable.  They really believed that the success of Trueman’s business was due to Norm.  The fact that the business had been a success before Norm got there was disregarded.  Such inscrutable obtuseness is scarcely to be believed, yet it is a normal state of affairs.

    Art and Norm devised a plan where the entire staff would quit on New Year’s Day.  Faced with the loss of the indispensable Norm and his crack crew Trueman would have to capitulate.  The palace revolution would be a success.  Trueman would have to deal with them on their own terms.  In order to get the Indispensable One back he would have to actually give them ownership.

     Norm’s ease in manipulating the crew reassured them of his abilities.  The Christmas season was begun.  This is the worst time for labor troubles in retail.  Dewey wanted to fire Norm or, at least get rid of him, but it was the wrong time.  He thought that the season might produce a gross of fifty thousand dollars.  He decided to tolerate Norm.  Norm and the crew, who thought the profit margin was much higher than it was, in the record business of the time the margin was only twenty to twenty-five percent, Dewey was at thirty, thought that Dewey would make ninety thousand or God only knows how much.

     Norm encouraged them to think that they were the reason for the store’s success.  He pressed Trueman hard for large bonuses.

page 113.

     Trueman, cursed with the orphan’s need to be loved, wanted to do what was right.  Like most nouveaux riches he felt guilty about his success.  The times were propitious to augment that feeling.

     It would appear from the narrative that Trueman was rolling in money but this wasn’t true.  He was being driven by a load of debt.  He had started with no money at all.  He had received no bank loans.  The growth had been very rapid.  The rate of expansion had him financially against the wall.  He was perpetually behind in his bills.  He really couldn’t spare the money but he allowed himself to be coerced into giving large bonuses.

     Norm took full credit with the crew which, indeed, was his right in this instance.  Now convinced that there were millions to be had he guaranteed the crew that he would double their wages if they followed him.  They readily consented.

     At closing on December 31 Norm delivered his ultimatum; either all wages were to be doubled, his tripled, or they would quite en masse none showing up for work on January second.

     The season was behind him.  January and February were slow months.  Trueman just said goodbye and had the locks changed.  he had a new crew by week’s end.

    Norm was incredulous.  Unbelieving.  Actually stunned as though running full tilt into a goal post.  But he thought that as he was indispensable Trueman would capitulate and call him back.  The fantasies that corrupt one’s mind.

     Norm’s failure destroyed his relationship with his shiksa wife.  She had been won mainly by by Norm’s tall talk of his abilities and future success.  She had been led to believe that she would be moving into Dewey’s mansion on the hill.  Now she lost faith in Norm completely.  When, two months later, it became apparent that Norm was not going to be called back; she packed her bags and took their son and moved back to LA where she had come from.

page114.

     Forced to accept reality, Norm’s sense of grandeur prevented him from accepting just a job.  Electric vehicles were a big topic then so Norm obtained a loan and opened a lot selling electric motor scooters.  Well, an idea whose time had come or not, no one bought them.

     The bank called Norm to discuss his lack of payments on the loan.  Norm always heeded fantastic solutions to any problem.  He had read an article about some guy who had been called in to make good a loan.  This guy, so the story went, stared coolly back into the banker’s eye and said:  Either you give me time to make the loan good which I will do, or you can have the business and you can’t run it.’  In the story the bank capitulated, the guy made good and everyone laughed about it later.  Real chutzpah.  I mean, wouldn’t you?

     Incredibly Norm tried this act.  The banker laughed, foreclosed and threw Norm out into the street.  Norm thought he had obtained the loan himself but naturally unbeknownst to him his father had co-signed for it through the good offices of Harry Grabstein.  The banker thought he was secure but he was never able to collect from either Art Barsky or Harry Grabstein.  So much for high finance in Norm’s life.  And for Art the Revolution as Redeemer sank into the sands like the Rhine before the ocean.  For him the third great messianic attempt became a sour, bitter, excoriating experience.  Goddamn everybody and everything, he thought.

page 115.

     Norm was still the unabashed hero of his own movie.  He had not only read ‘On The Road’ but most of Kerouac’s novels.  In a college town like Eugene they were especially popular.  If he couldn’t succeed in the business world, Norm could succeed as a bum.  There is no success like failure and failure is no success at all.  Norm could be part of the ‘rucksack revolution.’  He embraced the notion behind Kerouac’s novel:  The Dharma Bums.  Don’t you just love Kerouac.  Norm became Dharma Bum.

     Somehow Donn sensed the real story behind Bum’s story of woe in capitalist society.  There was that about Bum that bespoke delusional fantasy.

     Having finished his beans, Bum rolled himself what he called a splif from what he said was Thai-stick tea.  A splif is a Jamaican marijuana joint as big as a cigar; Bum’s spliff was slight larger than a pencil lead.  As with the beans he didn’t offer Donn any.  As he talked and smoked he unbuttoned his fly.  As he had no underwear on his dong flopped right out.

     Finishing one ‘spliff’ he rolled himself another.

     ‘This Thai shit is really potent.’  He said.

     ‘Let’s see.’  Donn said reaching out his hand.

     ‘Uh uh.’  Bum said pulling the joint back.  ‘I’ve got a different number for you to suck on.’  He said, indicating his penis in his best John Wayneish movie tough guy talk.

page 116.

     Donn just sat there looking at him in wonder.  Who does this guy think he is?  He thought.

     Dharma Bum, in fact, thought he was faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, hold back freight trains by main force.  But since he couldn’t find a job as a brain surgeon or bank president because of the stupidity of capitalism he had chosen the life of the wandering mystic.  The Holy Bum who though he appeared to be beneath society was actually superior to it.

     ‘Assume the position.’ He commanded with quiet authority, taking a long toke on his ‘splif.’

     Donn looked steadily back and shook his head no.

     ‘Assume the position, damn it! Bum bellowed.

     Donn didn’t move.

     ‘Don’t try to balk me son-of-a-bitch.  Assume the position.’  Bum half commanded, half whined.  At the same time he grabbed a stick and began to belabor the sitting Contrales.

     Donn leaped to his feet beneath the stinging blows to land a stiff right on Bum’s outhrust chin.  Dharma Bum fell to the ground unconscious.  He flew over backwards striking his head on an outcrop.  He was dead as he settled to the ground.

     Donn in his agitation bent over with his hands on his knees to collect his senses.  As he did he noticed that Bum didn’t seem to be breathing.  Yes, Donn ascertained, Bum was dead.  Donn had killed two men in one week.  Serial killer.  Once again it was self defense, but who would believe him.  All of the circumstantial ‘evidence’ would be against him.  There would be no one to believe his story.  He felt a rising sense of panic, of fear and loathing, as he looked down on the dead body of Dharma Bum.

page 117

     The outcropping was a ledge between which and the ground, between the upper and nether jaws of the vice as it were, there was a gap almost big enough to admit a man’s body.  In frustration and anger Donn grabbed Bum’s body, backing up a couple steps he ran forward thrusting the head and torso into the opening.   The body jammed at the chest.  Try as he might he could force Bum’s body in no further.  Totally frustrated he delivered three sharp kicks to Bum’s dead ass.

     ‘Back under the rock you crawled out from you goddamned bum.’

     Then, as the first light of dawn illuminated the mountain tops Donn dusted himself off as best he could to catch another ride to take him a little further down the road.

     In what must have been a reenactment of Cain and Abel, this time when Abel’s blood called out there was no answering voice from heaven.  Bum just lay there and rotted until his skeleton was shrouded in flowery rags.

     Donn became depressed at the thought of the two killings which he now thought of as murders.  He presented a wild disheveled appearance beside the road.  Still he got rides but they were short and the duration between them was long.  Three days later found him in a gas station on the east side of Graig, Colorado lonely, forlorn and despondent.  It wasn’t so much that his head ached or that his body throbbed in pain.  Donn was hurting mentally even more. 

page 118.

     Donn walked across the lot of the gas station to use the toilet.  He entered, washed and shaved.  As he was drying off the door opened and a smashing older gent entered.  He was tall, lean, athletic looking.  He had hair half grey amidst the dark blonde strands.  He had one of those long headed chisel faces that represented manly beauty to Donn.

     Rather than despising him he gave him a warm smile.  Then some small gesture conveyed the message the gent was in the mood.   Donn didn’t prefer the catamite role but in his lonely desolation any affirmation of worthiness was enough.  He entered the stall followed by the gent.

     Wordlessly they went about their business.  For some reason, perhaps an unconscious need to be discovered the gent hadn’t latched the door.  Suddenly the latrine door burst open as three men, two with cameras and tape recorders rushed in.  Donn’s heart stopped.

     The latrine doors were forced open as cameras whirred and clicked. 

     ‘Well, Senator, what do we have here?’  The first man sneered.

     Donn who believed he was the target was puzzled by being called Senator, then the truth dawned on him.

     ‘Senator Richard Walker, is this the kind of secret life you lead?’

page 119.

     Donn saw that they were paying him scant attention so scooting across the floor while trying to get his pants up he fled the scene.

     He picked up a copy of the Coloradan next afternoon to discover a picture of State Senator Walker pulling up his pants in the toilet of the gas station.  Donn was clearly recognizable.  Apparently Dick Walker, unable to bear the pressures and humiliations of public life had been relieving his stress in this manner over the past several months.  His enemies had finally caught up to him.  Not unrelieved, he quietly disappeared from public life.

     Donn finally found himself in Denver after the most adventurous trip.  He’d had too much adventure.  He wanted to be in St. Louis safe as a TV anchorman.  Considering that he believed himself a wanted man it hadn’t occurred to him that a major city TV screen was not the best of hiding places.

     As bad as Donn was he was no worse than his fellows so that there is no reason not to extend him a little sympathy.   Within the context of his society he was suffering grievously for a minor peccadillo.  His state of mind was severely darkened by the sequence of events since leaving Portland.  He was struggling to keep his mental equilibrium.  At odd moments he had to struggle to keep back the tears.  His physiognomy increasingly showed the strain he was under.  Stress lines appeared where none had been before.

     By the time he reached Denver despair of the present and the hope of the TV job in St. Louis, which had now become a fixation in his mind, drove him from the road.  He couldn’t take it anymore.  The bus or the train would have been cheaper but Donn wanted to get above it all while recapturing for a blissful moment his past glory.  He decided to fly.

page 120

     He spent the night in a motel to rest and cleanup before he went into the airport to buy a ticket.  He expected to just walk on.  He was somewhat stunned when he was told the price was four hundred dollars.  As he stood open mouthed blinking in astonishment the clerk said:  But if you wait two days I can sell you a ticket for sixty-eight dollars or a non-refundable ticket for forty-two..

    Donn’s motel room was only eighteen dollars.  He could stay two days, eat frugally and save a lot.  He decided to do that.  He foolishly gave the clerk his real name.

     He left the airport in a confused state of mind.  ‘For a twenty dollar discount they lay claim to the whole fare.   What kind of Ever Ever Land dealing is that?  How does anybody get away with claiming they get paid for nothing if you don’t show because they gave a discount on nothing?

     Something had happened in American thinking; Donn was right about that, but he didn’t know the half of it.  He was too troubled in mind to wonder why a walkon ticket should cost four hundred dollars whan an advance reservation dropped down to sixty dollars.  How had the airline’s costs been reduced by a two day delay on boarding?  Obviously the authorities wished to limit free and unrestricted travel.  Most people pay by credit card giving advance notice of who will be on what plane.  Although Donn had paid cash he he had given his right name.

     Due to the wonders of computerization his name was flagged in a nationwide memory bank.  Even though he had done nothing wrong- the charges against his name had been shelved- there were those who wished to know his doings.  Thus Maggie, who was watching the flags carefully, picked up Donn’s movement the same afternoon.  Donn’s flight originated in Portland.  Maggie put a man on board in the seat next to Donn’s.  A little spoonful of his excrement was given to the flight attendant to put in Donn’s food along with instructions to be out of whatever his first selection was,  whatever he requested they were to give him something else.  These games get incredibly petty.  Twenty-two years of schooling and you’re still a psychotic moron.

page 121.

     Donn did little the two days but lay around his motel room, rolling about trying to fight his way out of the despondency which was saturating his mind like black ink diffusing through clear water.  Everything showed on his face but even looking in the mirror Donn was unable to discern it.

     He was too preoccupied to notice the glow of anticipation in Maggie’s man, Wally Reid’s eyes.  Reid was there to fid out Donn’s plans and torment him.

     Donn didn’t want to talk but Reid amiably persisted.  Beyond the fact that he was bound for St. Louis Reid got nowhere.  As Donn despised airline food he declined his tray foiling Maggie’s plan of special nutrition.  Maggie correctly thought that Donn thought he was a fugitive from justice so he had Reid tell stories of fugitives being betrayed by some inconsequential quirk and caught.  He even explained the flagging system to Donn.

     By the time the plane landed Donn was aquiver with anxiety.  He expected to be arrested when he disembarked.  When he wasn’t he half dismissed Reid’s chatter, while making plans for job hunting.

page 122.

     Psychology is difficult to account for.  Donn had the most sanguine hopes of landing the job as news anchorman.  He still hadn’t figured out that anonymity and a TV personality don’t go together.  In order to be successful in his job hunt he believed, quite rightly of course, that he would have to make a good appearance.  Maintaining the appearance for any length of time would deplete his resources, but counting on landing a job quickly Donn went ahead with style.

     He checked into a good hotel, better than he needed, and bought himself a very nice suit, also better than he needed, shirts, shoes and ties.  He made appointments for interviews.  These were all delayed a couple days to give the stations time to check up on him.  The flag came up.

     The manager of the first station, who was only a member of the Old Boy network, figured he had enough troubles of his own without adding Donn’s so he declined politely sending Donn on his way.  The manager of the second station was a member of both the Jewish and Homosexual networks but not the Old Boy.  Maggie got in touch with him.  He arranged to be in the studio when Donn was there.

     This interview went very smoothly.   Wesley Cohn expressed great interest in Donn.  He asked him to come back in two days for a screen test.  Informed that there would be an opening and he was a very good possibility Donn was delighted.  He bounced out of the studio muttering Eureka! under his breath.

page 123.

     Maggie who knew how much Donn had withdrawn from the bank intended to string him along till it was gone.  If Maggie hadn’t had contacts at UNB he had his own hacker who could penetrate any system.  Imagine passing laws against such things.  One might as well pass laws against the sun setting in the West.

     Donn showed up for the test.  He was actually very good.  He had the looks, he projected a confident, affable, knowledgeable image.  The studio workers were very impressed.  Donn, watching anxiously, was sure they were sincere.  He was told to call back in a couple days.  Then he was invited to dinner with the manager, the news director and his assistant.  They went to the best restaurant in St. Louis.  After a friendly, jovial dinner full of many yaks it came time for the bill.

     Cohn slapped his pockets a couple times saying:  ‘Donn, you know what?  I left my wallet at home.  Say, Donn, you couldn’t…’

     Everyone watched with suppressed mirth as Donn gulped and his face fell. But they were surprised.  Donn waxed indignant:  ‘You don’t have have an account here?  Why at the Daily Assassin, he said giving himself away somewhat, ‘we had accounts at all the best restaurants.  We just had to sign for it.  That’s the way it’s done in professional circles.  That’s how any company that knows does it.  Mingo wouldn’t have any problem.’

     Mirth fled their faces as they shook their heads and uttered low ‘ummms.’

     ‘Right.  Of course I can sign.  I forgot about that.’  Cohn replied.

page124.

     Out on the street he said:  ‘That was a test too, Donn, you’re doing fine.  Call you in a couple days.’

     Donn’s funds were running low.  He could no longer afford to wait.  He called the next day to be informed that although he was perfect they were bringing in a Black woman from Detroit.  They thought she would give the station the proper social balance.

    Well…now Donn was both down and out.

IV.

Off  The Track

 

How is it that I have come up to here

And I’m still fallin’

-The Byrds

I deplore brutality he said.  It’s not efficient.  On the other hand prolonged mistreatment, short of physical violence, gives rise, when skillfully applied, to anxiety and a feeling of special guilt.

-William S. Burroughs

     Donn now didn’t know which way to turn.  He could call his dad down in Waco but that would be truly a last resort, admitting defeat.  Besides maybe even his dad would stiff him after the manner in which he had left.  Donn was at a loss.  He didn’t know why but he got out on the highway heading North through Iowa.  Keokuk, Waterloo and up the Mississippi.

page 125.

     Maggie had a man pick him up to learn his plans if possible.  He dropped Donn off halfway to Keokuk using his CB to inform Maggie who was about five miles behind.  When Maggie sighted Donn he edged to the side of the road forcing Donn to step back.  He averted his face as he passed laughing a vengeful laugh.

     Donn couldn’t be sure, of course, but there had been no mistaking that gold hair.  Donn still hadn’t analyzed the implications of that computer that had sat on his desk.  If he had he would have realized that there is no such thing as paranoia in the modern world.  It’s all true.  Stalking is a way of life.

     Hitching a ride in suit clothes and fine shoes is the toughest kind of hitching of all.  After all why would a guy who could afford good clothes hitchhike unless he was just godawful cheap?  The only reason to hitch is if you’re down and out or in the Service.  Donn had a terrible time getting rides.  When he did the drivers were all disrespectful.  Hence he found himself in Keokuk way out on Johnson St. Road miles from downtown.  Everything is always funny when it happens to someone else.  Donn had always found stories such as this amusing but now that it was happening to him he lamented the fact that others would have the laugh.  Other people elsewhere were having a good chuckle.  So life goes on.

     Donn oriented himself tothe East and began walking toward the Mississippi.  The evening was sultry and warm.  Great billowy clouds, white on the edges passing through symphonies of greys sailed proudly across the bright blue sky.  The trees and grass shown green.  Natural beauties abounded.  Donn’s gloomy frame of mind turned all brown and seer.

page 126.

     But a bit of good fortune fell on him.  As he trudged up the road he approached the house of Phineas Elonginus Pillbender.  Phineas had suffered a terrible childhood.  He had been in foster homes and an orphanage.  Although life had kicked him about much more severely than he or anyone else deserves he had never given way to self-destructive impulses.

      Against all odds he had constructed the type of life he most admired.  His spirit was epitomized in the almost surrealistic beauty of his house and grounds.  He had an acre and a half, his house standing on a little rise in the middle of the lot.  It was painted the strangest color blue, the numerous shutters white.  The house sparkled, as he washed it frequently.  A white picket fence enclosed his yard.  The edges of the pickets were also painted blue.  The fence too shone splendidly.  The impossibly well kept lawn with the medium sized apple tree caused many a passerby to stop and stare.

     A red brick walkway curved up to the house from the mailbox which was painted blue with a little border of flowers across the bottom and Phineas Elonginus Pillbender inscribed in quaint lettering, having a Land of Oz effect.

     The driveway leading to the garage was carefully constructed to look natural.  The concrete slab was sunk three inches below the surface being carefully graveled and cindered to look rural.  Pillbender raked it three times weekly.

page 127.

     He was too perfect for his neighbors.  A big gash invariably disfigured his driveway while one or two pickets were always hanging loose.  Pillbender left them after having learned he must make at least this concession to his neighbor’s envy.  They had no intention of maintaining their property so carefully nor were they about to be made to look sloppy by their own fastidious neighbor.

     Farmer Pillbender stood, corncob pipe in the mouth of a face surrounded by an Abe Lincoln beard, in the red brick walkway leading to his front door.  His thumbs were stuck in the straps of his overalls.  He wasn’t really a farmer, it was a pose he affected.  He actually worked as a tool and die maker in town.

     He saw Donn Contrales in his fine pants carrying his jacket under his arm coming down the road.  Rather than having been embittered by his life experiences Farmer Pillbender was a kindly if brittle man.  His workmates called him ‘prickly.’  Like many who had borne a heavier cross than his back could support he passed his burden on to Jesus.  He was a serious and good Christian.  He often hummed:  What a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and sins to bear, as he went about his chores.

      He mistakenly sized Donn up as a good man who’d gotten a tough break.  Pillbender hailed Donn at his gate.  After a few minutes palaver he invited Donn in for supper and a bed for the night.

page 128.

     As the outside of Pillbender’s house shone so was the inside glorious.  The hardwood floors were radiant.  The colonial style early American furniture was immaculately kept.  The fire place floor was freshly scrubbed.   The grate had been sanded and painted.

   As one’s eyes moved up the fireplace front to the mantle a large sign, six feet long, eighteen inches high proclaimed in red, white and blue bunted letters:

F U C K  C O M M U N I S M

     Above it was a large plain white cross.  One knew where Farmer Pillbender stood.

     Donn arose the next morning which as hot as an oven, humid as hell, grateful for at least a chance to rinse off and shave.  He thanked Farmer Pillbender and took his leave.  As the neighbors had seen him enter the house the night before they now stood at their windows or in their yards to look him over.  A number of childred stood in the street.

    Among them was Billy Treska.  Billy was eight.  He had been violated by a big neighbor kid a week before.  The seduction had been rude, verging on rape, while the subsequent rejection had made him feel contemptible.  He was in the throes of emotional distress unable to adjust to his emasculation.  The sight of Donn, forlorn and forsaken, awoke feelings of kinship in his tortured mind.  As Donn walked by Billy slipped his hand in Donn’s in a love gesture.

     Billy didn’t know what he was doing or why.  His act was unconscious while his motives were unknown to him.  In the way of homosexuality he was seeking affirmation of his worth by seeking a surrogate of the lover who had seduced and rejected him.  Donn looked down in shock as he recognized the meaning of the gesture.  While Donn had never had an inclination for little boys, now, conscious of his own identity and the eyes of the neighbors about him, he jerked his hand rudely away whereas at another thime he might have been more sympathetic.

page 129.

     Billy, unable to understand his own motives or Donn’s rejections took the move as a further indication of his worthlessness.   He was completely shattered and crushed.  He ran from Donn howling and crying, causing dismay in the spectators.  In later life Billy would end up a curbstone cutie in San Francisco with silicon breasts.

     As the boy turned sobbing and ran away the whole scene was misinterpreted by Mrs. Elizabeth Anderson.  She believed and would swear that Donn had made an attempt to abduct the boy, possibly for ransom.  That Donn was a bum, albeit a well dressed bum with really nice shoes, was proof sufficient.

     As Donn walked downtown slowly in the heat Mrs. Anderson tracked him at a distance.  As he stood at the corner of Seventh and Main aimlessly plotting his next move, perhaps even getting a job somewhere in town to gather his senses and accumulate a few dollars, Mrs. Anderson with a policeman by the arm pointed him out to the cop saying:  ‘That’s him.’

     Fearful of being picked up on the charges he thought were pending in Oregon Donn blanched a whiter shade of pale acting extremely guilty.  The officer who had nothing on Donn except Mrs. Anderson’s confused story hesitated.  As he did so an officious self-righteous townsman announced in a stentorian voice:  You better move on.

page 130.

     The police officer and the crowd automatically acquiesced in the sentiment of the speaker.   They stepped back to make room for Donn to move on.

     Donn’s motor responses were affected by the repetitious humiliations that are impossible to bear with equanimity no matter how cool the victim may appear.  Donn moved off not smartly but with a shambling gait.  The pavement seemed so uneven that Donn couldn’t raise his feet high enough to keep from scraping over the pavement.  As he reached the other side of the street he tripped over the curb and turned to look back at the faces sternly set against him.  Unconciously he hunched over, back curved, and with one hand clumsily hitched up his pants, confessing to his feeling of emasculation.  He had fallen far but he was still far from the bottom.

     As he hitched up the road to Waterloo he realized for the first time that he was penniless.  He hadn’t the means to buy a meal; he had no place to sleep but in the jungles with other bums, under overpasses, wherever those off the track congregated.  That was pain that Donn couldn’t face.  Even though with the proper attitude and his boxing skills he could easily have dominated any such crowd.  He could have been King of the Jungles.

     Thus Donn avoided those places although he soon learned where they would be.

page 131.

     Maggie had fixed his location.  There was a transmitter in the heel of Donn’s spiffy shoes.  Thus even as Donn entered a town he was surprised to find that it seemed as though he was expected.  It seemed as though everyone knew him already.  The police seemed to be waiting for him, members of the various networks were on the forces.  Donn was arrested.  He was, of course, anxious that the Portland charges would be brought against him.  Of course they never were which Donn attributed to good luck.  Donn was held overnight and released the next afternoon with the advice that he’d better move on; he’d better keep going.

     Thus Donn’s psyche was further impaired as he became familiar with jail cells and the rough jail crowd.  He began to wonder what he had done to deserve such cruel treatment.  By so doing he made a wrong turn.  He should rather have asked who is doing this and why.  It should have been obvious to him that he actually was recognized and that someone was stalking him.  Instead he took the blame on himself.  The notion began to flicker through his mind that perhaps he actually had wronged Maggie by not admitting him on that night.

     While his mind toyed with the notion his former life became distant and unrecognizable to him but the memory of which he cherished.  As he wandered hungry and friendless he remembered the lesson that Sandy Tyler had taught him.  He began scrounging the dumpsters for discarded food.  As this was a necessity he didn’t consciously take it seriously but subliminally his whole being revolted at the practice.

    Thus one night in Waterloo he was scrounging a Kroger dumpster when an extraordinary thing happened.  As he leant over into the dumpster to seize some half rotten bananas it seemed as though his cherished old existence, the real Disco Donn Contrales, slid over his back, down his arms off into the garbage.  Donn was astonished, realized he was losing his former self and lunged after it as it disappeared into the bottom of the dumptser.

page 132.

     He upended himself, his torso in the dumpster half immersed in the garbage while his feet threshed the air.  The door beside the dumpster opened to reveal the grocery manager.

     ‘Hey, what you doing there?’  The manager yelled, laughingly attempting to stuff Donn further into the dumpster.

     Donn was horrified to be caught scrounging in the dumpster.  Claxons went off in his mind at the humiliation.  He kicked free scrambling from the dumpster, lettuce and produce spilling off him, his hands clutching the squashed bananas oozing through his fingers.

     As he ran it seemed as though his body crusted and cracked apart leaving a smaller replica of Donn running through the night.  Then it happened again and yet once more.  Thus when Donn stopped running two or three miles down the road while his stature was the same as before, psychologically Donn was a much smaller man.  He felt only two feet tall while remaining five-eight.  The effect was invisible to all but the discerning eye.

     There Donn stood amidst the faint smell of decaying vegetable matter, bits of garbage clinging to his hair and clothes, his hand oozing banana slime.  Humiliation and shame engulfed his being.  His shame would not allow him to use a service station toilet to clean up; he might have to ask for the key.  He cleaned his hands as best he could on some leaves.  Then he set out to find some stream in which to clean up.

page 133.

     He was so ashamed, so in shock, that he would no longer walk the highways for fear that someone might offer to pick him up.  Instead he sought the railway tracks.  Following them he came to a trestle over a small creek.  He scrambled down the embankment in hopes of washing the corruption from him.

     As chance would have it this was the spot chosen by the Mankato Kid for his resting place for the evening.  Just as Donn was about to begin his ablutions a snarling voice cursed at him.

     ‘Hey, son-of-a-bitch, what do you think you’re doing using my creek.  Get the hell out of my face.  This my place, my place.  Get out!’

     Donn turned toward the voice to see a spectral form lurking on the far side of a small fire.  The image matched the voice.  The form was turned sideways, stooped, its head tossed and bowed like a beaten cur who still had the spirit of resistance in him but had been cruelly taught the futility of expressing it.

     Donn was still in the thrall of his experience at the dumpster.  His mind was paralyzed.  He had not yet begun his rebound from the experience of having lost his former self and feeling so small, perhaps two feet high.  He knew that this was no man to intimidate him yet his confidence was gone.  Nevertheless he answered bravely, if shakily:  ‘This is a free country, buddy, I’ve got just as much right to be here as you.’

page 134.

     ‘Free country?  Free country is it?’ the Kid roared, or attempted to roar in his snarling defensive manner.  ‘Well, you’re full of shit, Jack.  Free country is it?  I’ll tellyou how free it is.  No freer than Nazi Germany.  No freer than Communist Russia.  We’re just niggers working on the Man’s plantation here.  If you’re not born to it they won’t let you have it.  Take your ‘free’ country and shove it up your ass.

     The only difference between the Nazis and the Commies and us is the style.  We just do it different.  Here they make you think you’re free but it’s all on credit from the company store.  You’re free to work for the company so you can make money for them.  Then you have to give all your earnings back to the company store to pay off your credit.  Then without money you go into debt with more credit from the company store.  That song sure was right:  You load sixteen tons and what do you get?  Another day older and deeper in debt.

     If you’re man enough to protest they kill you.  They shot down the hardrock boys of the WFM (Western Federation of Miners) in Colorado just because they didn’t want to be in debt to the company store.  Shot ’em down.  Open warfare.  Never was nothing like in Germany or Russia.  Then just because the Wobblies tried to organize the Stiffs they got really mean.  Drove us out of our houses at Holly Grove then turned machine guns on us while we slept in our tents.  Burned our wives and children live at Ludlow.  And laughed about it, the dirty bastards.  Dumped hundreds of miners out in the desert without water at Bigby (Bisbee, Arizona) and told ’em to keep movin’ on, the heartless bastards.  All because we wanted a living wage.  Free country!  Look at what happened to me…

page 135.

     As though reminding himself of what they had done to him the Mankato Kid appeared to see a vision.  Anger flooded his heart obscuring his vision.  He began punching the air in a violent shadow boxing match.  His snarling roar boomed and bleated out:  Leave me alone you bastards.  Get out of here, go on, get out of here.’

     Even if Donn had been himself there would have been no reason to stay but diminished as he felt, reacting to the horrors of the past several weeks more than through fear of the Kid Donn turned and fled.  He skipped over the shallow creek on the stepping stones placed there by the bums, or homeless as they are now known.

     The Mankato Kid punched away at the air for a few moments before his crazed mind resettled allowing him to sit.  There he continued to grumble his compaints into the fire.  Unlike so many bums who had never had the stature to make a serious attempt at life the Kid had been seriously wronged.

     He actually came from Mankato which is in Minnesota.  He was now in his fifties.  He had been driven out of Mankato just as he was turning thirty.  He had spent all those years circling Mankato, the city of his dreams.  He never went further and he never came closer.  he never got saner and he never got crazier.  He was just shadow boxing his life away.

page 136.

     His parents had been Polish immigrants who had drifted out to Mankato.  His father had been a square little man of five-five.  His mother had been a big buxom, very good looking woman with peasant manners.  They had given birth to the Kid and an older child, a daughter, Mary.  As Poles they differed in religion, speech and manners from the Swedish population.  In those days Northern immigrants considered the Eastern and Southern European immigrants as Untermenschen.  No, that’s not too strong.  the attitude was quite similar to the Nazi attitude toward non-Germans.  Immigrants were reviled, beaten and chased from pillar to post.  They were subject to massive displays of contempt.

     When the Kid was twelve his father was bullied into a fight in a bar and killed.  Murdered might not be too strong a word although  technically he was given the opportunity to defend himself in a fight.  Still, he was impeded by the jeering circle of spectators while his Anglo adversary was assisted.  His death was termed accidental.  No one ever stood trial.  Nor was the knife wound in his kidney ever explained or even acknowledged.  He was just Polack dirt.

     Ballard Quincy, one of the big men in town, sought to solace the Kid’s mother in her distress.  She advanced on Quincy with a frying pan, able only to deliver a glancing blow off his retreating shoulder.

    Ballard Quincy did not take rejection kindly.  Like many of his kind rather than attack her he sought revenge on her children.  They became the targets of  ‘polite’ society.  Mary who was more attractive even than her mother was easily seduced by the boys from the right side of the tracks.  She became the school whore.

     Efforts were made to train the Kid to think ill of himself.  He was offered a dollar a customer to steer them into a house of which Quincy had a rake off in the red light district of Mankato.  There he was allowed shots of whiskey.  He, as a boy of character,  quickly perceived that he had been misled.  he abondoned the ‘job’ with a fit of indignation.

     The damage had been done.  He had been associated with that ‘element.’  He had defamed himself.  He fought gallantly to remove the taint, but the best families led by Quincy had irrevocable set their faces against him.  He was denied and interfered with all through high school, which he completed.  His sister’s reputation was constantly thrown in his face.

     But he believed in the myth of America, of Horation Alger, of luck and pluck.  He had been taught that life was what you made it and if you didn’t make it you had no one to blame but yourself, if things didn’t go your way it was your own fault.  So he kept his chin up, braved the ridicule heaped on him and kept hoping for the main chance such as it was in Mankato.  And then it happened.  In the post-war years TV came onto the scene.  As with any new item business peopled looked at it, decided it wouldn’t last and left the field open to outsiders.

     As Henry Kaiser’s cement trucks rolling down the East Bay proudly proclaimed: Find a need and fill it.  The Kid saw the need and rushed to fill it.  He opened a TV sales and repair shop.  He did well.  He could see his rise in society.  He proceeded to develop an open and generous character.  But at the first glimmer of prosperity the better people sprang into action against him.  He was slandered, sabotaged and not allowed to prosper.  He fought on.  Driven out of TV he tried a couple other lines but he was boycotted.  No one in that small town would buy from him.  Driven half mad by the abuse and injustice he had experienced he took to the road which is where Donn encountered him.

page 138.

     Donn had scrambled up the bank fleeing across country.  In his terror he crashed through the brush and across fields.  Then tearing wildly through a wood his foot slipped.  He tumbled over falling down a slope into a sort of pit or sinkhole.  He slid and tumbled down about twenty feet coming to an abrupt stop.

     ‘Well, good evening.’ Said a mellow voice.  ‘Nice of you to drop in.’

     In his agitated state of mind the sudden fall into the hole, or rather, head of a ravine, he was completely disoriented.  He stumbled about dizzily for some several moments attempting to determine up from down.  Finally getting his behind on the ground his eyes peered out in the sky above the narrow rim of the ravine.  As he accommodated his senses to his situation all across the universe the stars roared and popped.  Had one been able to hear and see the incredible noise and heat of the incandescent firestorms sweeping their surfaces one would have been astounded.  As the huge balls of fire hurled incandescent streamers far out into space to be retracted by their gravity with a report sharper than the sharpest report of a whip magnified thousands of times.  The released light went spreading through the black oblivion on an endless chase through space.  Losing its heat through the eons of space travel, the light from far distant stars now seemed to twinkle merrily as the laughing stars played with Magic Sam’s laughing dice.

page 139

     The light sped past the bright marigold of the full moon reflecting the light of this system’s solar furnace past the man made debris circling the earth, down past the great mainliners escorting smiling people across the skies eight miles high.  The light passed the light planes and birds to penetrate dimly into the hole that Donn and the Roving Gambler were in.

     ‘Allow me to introduce myself,’ the voice said with exquisite manners and a BBC English accent, ‘I am the Roving Gambler, at your service.’

     Donn, still dazed, grunted something that could be taken for a greeting.

     ‘And you are Donn Contrales.’  The Gambler continued laughingly.

     Donn gave a start at the novelty of being recognized by a man he had never seen in a hole he’d never been in before.  Involuntarily he began to rise to flee.

     ‘Oh, no no.  No!  My goodness.  Sit down Donn and let me explain.  You are talking to, or rather, listening to a very extraordinary man.  You are surprised that I recognize you, yet your picture appeared daily in the Oregon Assassin.  I spend much time in libraries pursuing my various studies.  While there I leaf through the papers of the whole country plus foreign nations.  I have a very good memory for names and faces plus I have fabulous, I might say, total recall.  I recognized you immediately even before you ceased that infernal tumbling.’

page 140.

     Donn, mouth open, tongue out stared at the Gambler stupidly.  His mind was only beginning to stop swirling.  What he saw was the slender (imperially slim, as the Gambler would say) tall figure of a man lounging against a rock before a small fire reading, or at least holding, a newspaper in front of him.  He was dressed in cream colored pants, cream colored buccaneer cut shirt with a red and blue paisley ascot.  His long rectangular face was surmounted by a wavy shock of blond hair which fell to his shoulders.  His high expanse of forehead would have excited envy in those who take such things as indication of nobility.  A blond mustache was placed between his fine aquiline nose and lips neither too thin, too thick, too wide or too narrow.  In short the Roving Gambler was a strikingly handsome man.  As he put it he was one of nature’s noblemen, too good for this world.

     The Gambler’s vanity was the source of his discomfort with the world.  He came from Virginia where his ancestry could be traced back to the Cavaliers of 1660 in an unbroken line on both father’s and mother’s sides.  He had been an outstanding student at the University of Virginia.  Thus one might say he had had everything propitious for a great start in life- looks, family, training.  Unfortunately for the Gambler he thought because of these assets that he was entitled to a place at the top.  Refused the job of bank or corporate presidency fresh out of school he was indignant that if would be required of him to work his way up, albeit from a reasonably good starting point.  Consequently, rather than be a ‘peon’ he took to the road immediately after graduation where he had been ever since.  He was now fifty-three.

page 141.

     The Gambler was extremely vainglorious and boastful.  He delighted in the incongruous.  The creation of the juxtaposition of extremes was his joy.

     ‘Here my boy, would you like a taste of my champagne?’  He said, handing Donn the bottle.  ‘Some pate, perhaps? and some caviar?’ He flipped Donn a can of tinned pate, then handed him a ‘biscuit’ covered in caviar.  Donn who was quite hungry wolfed everything down.

    ‘Oh, ha ha, you thought perhaps I was an ordinary bum.  No, no, no.  Au contraire, mon petit.  I am quite an extraordinary bum.  You will never see my like again.  Once in a million years, my boy, once in a million years.  I greet you by name, hmm?

     Yes, I solved the riddle of life long ago.  You may think you’re talking to a penniless bum.  Well, you’re not.  I happen to be a very pennied bum.  I have thousands- modestly forbids I meantion how many thousands- of dollars in dozens of banks throughout the country.  I have a portfolio of stocks and bonds that would excite the envy of many a speculator.

     Ah, you stare in disbelief.  Well, I’m used to it.   All of these bindlestiffs think the same.  They have no imagination, no skills, no art.  I am gifted.  When out of Virginia they refused my due I knew I would be as rich as they and much more free, unbeholden to anyone, as it were, as it is.

page 142.

     My solution was just to demand they give me the money, and so they did.  I merely approach and say:  Give me money.  And they do.  I’m extraordinarily successful.  You may be sure it’s true when I tell you that in one three day stretch in Chicago I once took in over two thousand dollars.  Two thousand, ninety-eight dollars to be exact, forget the small change.  I put it all in the bank, of course.  One hundred to three hundred dollars a day is normal to me.

     I studied the career of Death Valley Scotty and discovered his secret.  Hmm?  Oh, Scotty was a legend in LA between the wars.  He was absent for long stretches then would show up to buy everyone drinks and distribute his largesse.  He said he had a secret gold mine in Death Valley that he worked for a stretch then brought his diggings to town.  He didn’t worry about money because he said he could always dig up some more.

     They tried to follow him to his mine but he always gave them the slip.  I reasoned therefore that there was no mine but that Scotty was either a thief or a master panhandler.  Rather than being absent in Death Valley, I reasoned, he was off panhandling in some distant city.  Probably shaved his beard so no one would recognize him.

     Well, between Scotty and The Man With The Twisted Lip I put my act together.  I, however, have no interest in distributing largesse.  I am not only handsome, as you can see, but I have a genius IQ.  When the weather gets cold I haunt all the finest libraries in America.  The Houghton, Universities of Michigan and Illinois, Stanford, U.C., Berkeley, occasionally down to Santa Cruz because I like the weather, I don’t want to bore you with a list, suffice it to say that I have pursued my studies in the finest institutions, North, East, South and West.

page 143.

     As you can see I am quite distinguished looking.  I have suits of clothes in several cities.  With my appearance I can get in…’  While everything the Gambler said was true he perceived a look of bored disbelief on Donn’s face.  Actually Donn was still half stunned.  the Gambler’s words were just washing over him but the drone of his voice was comforting to him.  ‘…anywhere without any difficulty.

     I have written  the tentative results of my studies down.  I have hidden them in unfrequented nooks and crannies.  Thus it may be said that my work is in all the best libraries.’

     The Gambler was quite serious.  He had an inexhaustible line of chatter.  He could go on for hours at a stretch whenever he had a chance.  But he liked full attention.  He now chose a different topic.  As Donn was a music reviewer he chose a topic that wowed the homeless in the jungles but was ill suited for the more discriminating intelligence of Donn.

     Donn had finished his tin of pate which he flipped into the fire.  The Gambler tossed him another.

     ‘Elvis is not dead, you know.’

     Donn burped.

    ‘I had a long conversation with him myself.  I can’t tell you where he lives because he obviously wishes to remain incognito.  But we had a long chat.  He said the pressure was just too great for him.  He had to excape.  He told me some interesting details you won’t hear anywhere else, Donn.  Of course in the beginning he was only interested in getting girls.  But then when he began to get famous he enjoyed that.  When the money began to really flow in he was ecstatic.  But his success was too far beyond his ability to cope, perhaps anyone’s.  He became the first great postwar folk hero.  Something like the movie stars of the first decade of the talkies.  Genuine stars, not hyped into prominence.  But, you see, he hadn’t been vetted.  He didn’t perform in a manner acceptable to the arbiters of culture.  He was raw.  He dressed atrociously by their standards.  He was, in fact, no better than a White nigger.

page 144.

     As such he wasn’t supposed to have money.  But he got quite a lot, actually.  More than most of them.  As a cultural icon he stood far above the actual power brokers of the world both straight and criminal.  They couldn’t stand that.  They tried to to kill his career by putting him in the Army.  Regardless of their denials it was a political move.  The resulting publicity campaign by RCA in order to preserve its investment against their machinations made him Elvis Presley, the singer, into the pop icon, Elvis.  We’ll probably never know exactly how Colonel Parker fit in there, Elvis doesn’t.  He became not only bigger than life but bigger than fantasy.

     He said he was in constant fear of his life.  He couldn’t go anywhere, certainly not without bodyguards.  He became it was as though, he told me, that he was under house arrest.  The fruits of his talent and success turned to ashes in his mouth.’

page 145.

     The Gambler, who had been speaking from behind his paper now lowered it for a dramatic effect as he came to his most thrilling revelation of what ‘Elvis said.’  Donn, at about this time began to regain his mental composure so that he actually heard what the Gambler was saying.

    ‘But this wasn’t enough for them, Elvis told me.  They wanted more.  They wanted to humiliate him completely, to emasculate him, to render him sterile, neutered.  What did they do?  They offered him, or at least Colonel Parker, large sums to perform in Las Vegas.  On their home turf they could get away with anything.

     Up to that time Elvis had been disciplined and under self-control.  He was relatively blithe, youthful and slim.  After that his personality disintegrated.

    He told me that he was invited to the master suite.  As he was Elvis, commanding a large sum to make them even larger sums, he assumed that they only wanted to meet him.  That was fine with him.  As a boy from humble origins he was proud to meet them as equals, nay, even as a superior.

     He said that when he entered he was greeted by the cold derogatory stares of five angry men.  Three were big time criminals, one was a famous show biz personality, singer, and one was a very well known conservative politician.  I can’t tell you his name because if word got out my life wouldn’t be worth a blind man’s view of Mt. Rushmore.

page 146.

     Elvis was taken aback immediately when the toughest customer behind his dark sunglasses greeted him with a venomous:  Hello. Big Shot.

     Well, as Elvis said, he was quite taken back by the hostile reception.  As he looked from face to face the expressions were hard, harder and hardest.  Now, Elvis came from the humblest circumstances.  Having been denied power as a youth he sought to conquer by love rather than force.  He thought since he, as he expressed it, was going to make these men lots and lots of money they would value him accordingly.  He was shocked to find that they viewed themselves as masters and himself as a plantation slave; someone to toil for them and be abused.

     “So you think you’re really something, hey?”  The criminal continued.  “Well, I got news for you, sonny boy.  You ain’t nothin’ to us.  There’s dozens more where you came from.  We can manufacture a dozen a day.  There’s dozens more where you came from.  There’ll be dozens more after you’re gone.  You’re the dogshit I scrape from my shoes.  What have you ever done but shake your pelvis?  Nothin’.  You ain’t never built a magnificent club like this.  You never had to meet a payroll in your life.  You never had to knife or be knifed.  You’re nothin’ but a puke assed kid in diapers.  We give you money you couldn’t earn any other way.  We earn it.  We did the work.  Without this club you wouldn’t have anyplace to shake your ass.  We, all of us, are men who fought and clawed to get where we are.  You’re a pansy.  All you’ve ever done is get up on stage show ’em your blue suede shoes and shake your skinny ass.  Elvis the Pelvis!  Is that any name for a man to be known by?  Hell, no.  You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog.  Well boy, we’re goin’ to separate the boys from the girls right here and now.”

page 147.

    At this point in his story Elvis began to choke and sob as the horrible memory overwhelmed him but he felt compelled to tell me the story.  He needed to relieve himself to someone.  I felt honored to be the one.

     He said that they all unzipped and flipped their dick out.  He was told to get down on his knees and suck each one off in series.

     He was indignant.  He told them to kiss off.  But they all produced weapons, waving them under his nose.  The criminal said:  “Don’t think you’re so big that we can’t off you and get away with it.  Bigger fish than you have been thrown into Ma Bates’ pond.  All that’ll happen is we’ll claim some deranged fan waited in your room and shot you.  We got guys who are dying to be famous.   The man who shot Elvis Presley!  They’ll take credit.  Then what?  We dose some crazy broad with drugs give her a gun and make it easy for her to kill your killer.  We clap her in solitary confinement for the remaining months of her life.  She dies.  The secret goes to the grave with her.  Now you know how it’s done pussy boy.’

     At this point Elvis said the guy actually shoved the barrel of his gun in his mouth.

     “On your knees pussy boy, and let’s see some action.”

     Well…Elvis said the criminal actually worked the barrel back and forth in his mouth a couple times cocking the hammer as he did so.

     Elvis was shaking uncontrollably as he told me this.  He couldn’t articulate the next bit by by signs and simulations he indicated that he sank to his knees and did them all.  He had to go on just a few hours later.  You can imagine his mental condition.  The set was actually taped by the vicious bastards.  They show it on TV every now and again.  About halfway through Elvis can’t deal with it.  He leans forward half kneeling in that stance of his and simulates fellation on the microphone saying:  Suckee, suckee.  Then he shrugs his shoulders as if to say:  No big thing.  Later in the show he rushes from the stage into the audience seeking affirmation.  Then at the cameras filming as he leaves backstage he flips a thumbs up sign as if to say:  Fuck You.

page 148.

     But the thing took its toll.  Up to then Elvis had been thin and under self-control.  Now he started to gain weight.  He started doing bizarre things like shooting out TV screens in his room when he played Vegas.  His costume became more outre as he sought to recover his manhood.  He started wearing that stupid little Captain Marvel cape.  His whole outfit became patterned after that of Captain Marvel.

     To spite them and reaffirm himself he tried to be bigger than even the fantasy giant he was.  He did the spectacular satellite Live from Hawaii beamed simultaneously all over the world.  Now that was bigger even than Las Vegas.  It showed them how big he was and how small time they were.

     But, it wasn’t enough.  His ego, always fragile because of his cracker origins, was crushed.  He just couldn’t go on.  He staged his death on the shitter because they had turned his life to shit.  Then he just disappeared to where I met him.  No, don’t ask.  I’m honor bound not to tell.

page 149.

     I will say this though.  Elvis never had any idea of what he got himself into when he got into show biz.  Of course, how could he know that he would come to represent the transition from the prewar immigrant culture to the post -war more or less synthetic culture, the union not only of the European nationalities but also the Negro culture.

      As a symbol of the synthesis the Anglo rear guard would hold him responsible for the change.  A race traitor if you will.  Then again he represented the the democratic upwelling of the under classes as a result of the post-war prosperity.  He didn’t adopt the cultural norms of the overclass.  Not because he rejected them as they thought but just because he didn’t know any better.

     And the, and this is most important, the phenomenal reverence and awe paid him was so far in excess of their own masculinity and manhood that they felt Elvis had emasculated them.  Chirst, their wives were throwing their panties at him.  They felt diminished so that in order to reassert their manhood they had to diminish Elvis below themselves.

     Now, Man is homosexual by nature.  He must either be a man and dominate or be a girl and be dominated.  Hence the innate viciousness of the male.  Obviously he who dominates every other male is King.  Elvis was styled the King hence it was incumbent on him to dominate every other male.  But, until his own emasculation at the hands of those jerks he was just a big friendly goof.  He learned too late, but he did learn.  Watch how he treats the musicians in the Live from Hawaii special.  You’ll see it.’

page 150.

End of clip II-3.  Go to continuation at clip II-4.

Disco Donn Demands Deliverance

by

R.E. Prindle

Part II-2

     You take your life in your hands when out there in the great beyond on the highway.  It’s a place beyond the reach of the law.  Lawless people drive the highways looking for excitement and adventure.  Lawless people put their thumbs out for the same reason.  The driver never knows who’s getting in the car; the hitchhiker never knows who’s driving.

     Al, who had introduced himself, looked all right but that could change pretty quickly.  Hitchhikers disappear all the time.  Donn, hesitated, reluctant to put his fate in the old man’s hands.

     ‘It’s all right, son.  You’ve got nothing to worry about.  I’m not queer.’

     ‘Sure.’ D0nn said with an ironic smile, accepting both out of trust and weariness.  ‘I’d be grateful.’

     They wheeled into Richland crossing the great Columbia River then down to Pasco and across the snake at the confluence of the two rivers, then east toward Eureka in the orchards and farmlands.

     ‘You know, son, religion can be a cover for real moral anarchy.  A lot of people forget that morality is the whole reason for religion not politics.  If you can’t do a kindness for your fellow man then your religion don’t mean a thing.  Love is the law and I don’t mean mere sex.  It’s a simple answer, it’s a trite answer, it’s an ignored and overlooked answer.  The answer runs at cross purposes to most men’s inclination.  It’s an answer that has to be told over and over from generation to generation.  It’s an answer that should be in every book ever written.  If you ever write a book promise me you’ll put it in yours, Donn.’

page 51.

     ‘Sure.  If I ever write a book, I will.’  Donn glibly answered.  What else could he do.  What an odd request.

     ‘Love,’ the old boy went on, somewhat tediously, ‘By love I mean charity.  Not alms giving, but goodwill toward your neighbor.  Charity in the old fashioned sense of the word.  It is true what Jesus said:  A man must have faith, hope and charity.  The greatest of these is charity.  For if a man hath not charity his voice will be as the sounding brass.  It’s true.  Without kindness your words merely rasp and buzz.  No one will listen to you.  So, love your neighbor, son.’

     ‘I’ve done that before.’  Donn said with a smirk, turning to look out the window.

     By now Donn was hoping the lecture was over.  He saw the validity of the lecture but he could find no application in his past, present or future.  He smiled at the old geezer and shook his head.  At least this guy was better than Zadok and Amirah.

     Al pulled off the highway a couple miles past Eureka to drive about five miles toward the Snake.  There was the neatest, prettiest little farmstead Donn had ever seen.  The square, frame house stood on a little rise surrounded by small trees and bushes.  The house reflected the kind gentility of Al Martin.  As within, so without.

     Within the hour Donn had washed, shaved and was between clean sheets drifting off into oblivion.

page 52.

     Donn was too exhausted to sleep soundly,  He woke two or three times during the night, his mind too numbed to rouse himself from bed, his thoughts too crowded to separate into strands he could analyze.  Morning found him seated at the breakfast table dazed, listless and despondent.

     Al Martin studied him intently from across the kichen.  He said:  ‘You know Donn, keeping this place up isn’t easy for a man my age.  I got a whole bunch of chores needs doin’.  If you help me out you can stay for a week or so till everything gets done.  Can’t offer you more than room and board, but…’

     Donn shook his head yes:  ‘Yeah, Al, that would be great.  I can do that.  What needs to be done?’

     Donn pitched in with good will.  Over the week he worked on his problems while he worked, rather than whistled, for Al.  As he had his last breakfast with Al the worst of the numbness was gone.  He had toughened a little but the future still dismayed him casting a dark pall over his mind.  He had identified Maggie as the culprit.  A growing powerless hatred began to envelope him.

     Al drove him back to the highway, thanked him and dropped him off as the morning heat began to build.

     Al Martin had been a solitary ray of sunshine piercing through the great black storm clouds over Donn.  The respite Al had given Donn served him well; his nerves were strengthened and he had time to make some necessary adjustments to his psyche from his fall from grace.  Grimmer events were now to occur.  The hammer blows of his destiny would not allow him to rise but his descent to beyond the depths of despair would be slower.

page 53.

     Donn had been out there for a couple hours.  The morning sun had turned to an afternoon bake, god almighty hot.  Blistering.  The blacktop wasn’t bubbling but it looked like it was about to boil any minute.  The stuff actually moved beneath Donn’s heel.  Donn still wearing his Disco clothes was drenched.

     ‘Hey, Cowboy, need a ride?’

     It wasn’t a beautiful woman in a Cadillac, it was four Mexican braceros in a beatup old ’61 Chevy.  The question had a sinister tone to it.

     ‘I’m looking for a ride to St. Louis.’ Donn said ludicrously, declining the ride.

    His response was met by raucous laughter.

    ‘Hey, there aint’ no St. Louis around here, man.’

     One of the men, they were all eighteen to twenty-three, got out of the back and motioned Donn to sit in the middle.  In the middle surrounded on both sides and vulnerable from the front.  Not a good hitchhiking situation.

     ‘No, man, no.  Thanks, but I mean St. Louis, Missouri.’  In hitchhiking terms this was a virtual insult.

     ‘Hey, you muchachos hear of this place, St. Louis, Missouri?’

     The query was answered by a chorus of noes and ‘there ain’t no such place as St. Louis, Missouri, man.  There ain’t no such place as Missouri.’  More raucus laughter.

page 54.

     ‘Get in, man.  We give you ride.’  The guy holding the door open smiled, the other three doors cracked open as if the occupants were going to get out.

     Donn got in.  This was not the worst thing he could have done.  Had he not they might have made short work of him with tire irons, knives and whatnot, conversely he might have outsprinted them across the burning desert.  When you’re way out there without hope or friends in alien territory you just naturally have to make difficult decisions.  Donn’s hope was not unjustified.  Nor did he behave abjectly to deal with this difficulty.

     Once in the car the Mexicans became verbally abusive of him.  They called him blondie, ridiculed his mustache and insulted his sexual prowess.

     Then the passenger in the front seat, Juan Perez, who was somewhat vain of his pysique flexed his biceps saying: ‘Hey, man.  See that arm?  I can knock you out with one punch, man.’

     As Juan said so, the driver, Pedro Martinez, swang onto a dirt road leading into the hills.  Donn felt a chill in the un-air-conditioned car but didn’t flinch.  He’d gotten his opening.

     ‘Yeah, man?  Maybe, but you’d never get to land a punch.  I was scientific (he threw the word in for effect) boxing champion at SMU.’

     ‘SMU?  What’s that?’  Juan said, overawed by something he didn’t know.

page 55.

     ‘Scientific Mangling University.  You want to go a round or two with me, stop and car and I’ll show you some real science.’

     Juan was frightened by unfamiliar terms like science and SMU and became apprehensive.  He didn’t want to go a couple rounds but he wanted Donn to show him some of his moves.

     The driver pulled over; they all got out.  Donn and Juan squared away.  As Donn had predicted Juan couldn’t come close to landing a punch.  The Mexicans were duly impressed.  After Donn had shown them a few moves Juan said:  ‘Hey man, for a gringo you’re alright.  Then they piled back into the Chevy amidst more raucus laughter leaving Donn standing among the heatwaves in the field.

     In that heat it was an hour and a half walk back to the highway.  Donn caught a number of short rides.  As the sun was setting he was dropped off just past Tucannon a couple miles from Fort Kwakiutl.  He decided to walk into town.  Fort Kwakiutl was a small town, barely on the map, but it did host a Starlight Motel, a restaurant, a bar and a couple gas stations.  Spoiled by his stay at Al Martin’s Donn decided to stay at the Starlight.

    He checked in, cleaned up and went to the restaurant to eat.  He was relatively relaxed and hungry.  He had a lot of money so he ate heartily.  Ed Quigley sat at the bar watching him.  ‘That hobo’s got some money.’  Ed thought darkly.  ‘I bet nobody knows where he’s at or why.’

     Quigly was a big beefy man.  Though much out of shape, big paunchy belly, he thought he could handle a little guy like Donn.  He moseyed over inviting himself to Donn’s table.  He plunked his beer down on the table.

page 56.

     ‘Howdy, podna.’

     ‘Uh, howdy.’

     ‘Saw ya walkin’ inta town.  You a ‘knight of the road.’

     Donn laughed amiably.  ‘Let’s just say I’m passing through.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Must be hitchhiking?’

     ‘Yes, I am.’  Donn replied.

     ‘Say, listen, buddy, I gotta proposition for ya.  I’m goin’ inta Boise tomorrow.  If you got twenty for gas I’ll take ya along.’

     Donn thought a minute.  He was weary of the road.  He’d been at it for a couple weeks and he still wasn’t out of the state of Washington.  By now he felt a little more confident.  He was anxious now to get to St. Louis.  He didn’t dare say he was broke because Quigly could see the remains of his dinner.

     ‘I’ve blown just about everything I have here tonight.  Bummed it along the way.  It’s a good chance though.  Could you take ten?  He didn’t want to give the idea that he could afford more.  A few more miles down the road of life and Donn would understand how transparent he had been.

     Quigly looked at him, seemed doubtful, then said:  ‘Yeah, sure, OK.  Ten’s better than nothin’.’

     ‘It’s a deal.’  Donn smiled.

     ‘One thing,’  Quigly said.  ‘I’m leaving early, four in the morning.’

     ‘OK.’  From Donn.  ‘Where are you going to be?’

     ‘There’s a big oak tree two miles outta town.  It’s the only tree that size out there.  Can’t miss it.  Meet me there.  In any case I’ll drive slow so I won’t miss you.’

page 57.

     Donn was up trudging through the night to his four o’ clock rendezvous.  Quigly was waiting for him.

     Injuring our fellow man is quite akin to sexual intercourse.  You work yourself up in pretty much the same way.  As they sped up Hwy. 12 through Delancy Donn had intuited from Ed’s rutting manner what was up.  There was no surprise when Quigly swung into a side road moving between two hills by an arroyo.

     Ed left the motor running.  ‘Alright, Cowboy, now I know ya got money.  Ya don’t eat like that and stay at the Starlight if ya don’t.  Ya can give it to me peacefully or I can beat it out of ya.  It’s up to you; it’s your choice, you call it, what’s it gonna be?’

     Donn opened his door and jumped out.

     Still leaving the engine of his beater running Quigly got out huffily, ‘Alright, son-of-a-bitch, if that’s the way you want it.’

     Quigley’s confidence caused him to over expend his energies too quickly.  Donn played him like a trout on a line util  Quigly, breathless, held up a hand for Donn to wait while he caught his breath.  Donn had a different role for himself than in Quigly’s fantasy.  He moved in giving Quigly everything he had.  Quigly unprepared for the response, caught between gasps, rolled onto the ground.

    As he did something snapped in Donn.  He wanted vengeance for everything; his rape, football, boxing, Maggie’s treatment, everything.  As Quigly fell Donn leaped on him picking up a big rock and bringing it down repeatedly on Quigly’s head until the corpse was nearly headless.

page 58.

     As Donn came to himself there was no remorse.  He was both sickened and relieved.  He was no killer but the release had been very satisfying.  In any case he had no cause for self-recrimination as he had killed Quigly in self-defense.  His conscience was clear, but as a drifter, the preponderance of proof was his, he didn’t have any.

     Acting quickly he dragged Quigly’s nearly headless body over to the arroyo and threw it in.  Fate was on his side as the body rolled under a ledge and wedged in out of sight.  Quigley’s precaution of leaving early lest he be seen with Donn worked to Donn’s advantage.  No one had seen them.

     Quigly’s old beater was still running.  Donn got in behind the wheel, turned the old buggy around and got out on the highway to Boise and beyond to Salt Lake City.

     Mentally Donn tried to sweep the killing of Quigly into the dust bin of his memory as he had his reprehensible sexual relations that he detested.

     He wanted to believe that he had only witnessed the killing but his conciousness rejected the falsehood.  Forced to deal with reality he came to the right conclusion- he had killed in self-defence.  Quigly’s unlucky day.  But justly or not he knew that as a drifter and with the suit back in Portland and assigned to a public defender he was lost.

     It then dawned on him also that in the eyes of the law he was driving a stolen car.  And what a car!  The big beast was a favorite of urban desperadoes; a huge old carcass of a ’63 Olds.  The immense rusty hood stretched out before him to eternity.  The vinyl top was ragged and torn.  The giant trunk lid was held down by a wire.  The worn tires made 100% constact with the road; the tread was gone.  Quigly was no mechanic.  The engine roared around faint rattles coming from diverse places.

page 59

     The interior was trashed, the glove compartment hanging open; seats and roof lining torn, butts all over the floor and even on the seats.  Quigly had customized it to reflect his inner malaise.  As within, so without.  Gradually Donn realized what he was driving.  These were no cosmic wheels; this was no astral vehicle.

     The realization drove all other thoughts from his mind.  His brow knitted; he put the first two fingers of his right hand to his lips and gazed about in dismay.  He sat back and tried to look cool.  Revulsion overcame him.  He realizied how low he had sunk.

     ‘There must be some way out of here.’  He thought.

     He made Boise the next morning.  Disgusted with himself and his situation; embarrassed now by the Disco Donn facet of his personality he bought a levi jacket, jeans and a couple sweaters to adapt to his new situation.  Tennis shoes for walking.  In fact Donn shed all the facets of his multi-faceted personality but one.  His multi-facets could only be supported by prosperity.  He reverted back to the Texas gold old boy personality he had when he entered Portland.

page 60.

     Don began to be really apprehensive about driving the big beast but he wanted to make Salt Lake before he aband0ned it.  To make matters worse a patch on the radiator gave way about Brigham City.  He began to make frequent stops at gas stations to fill up the radiator in hopes of cooling the engine well enough to make Salt Lake City.  He steamed through Odgen and into the suburbs of Salt Lake as a blistering heat wave through the fire wall roasted his feet and legs.

     He wheeled into a side street.

 

Guilty Of the Shame

 

We know there’s a dark side

To the moon that we see;

But what’s a little darkness

To the likes of you and me.

-Jesse Winchester

     Donn stepped out of the steaming heap looking at it in vengeful disgust to turn his steps back to the highway.  As he did a pair of blue eyes watched him approach.  The eyes, all the luster having departed, belonged to Sandy Tyler.  Sandy, now well into her thirties, was a refugee from the dolorous broken dreams of the sixties.  Trapped in a state of arrested adolescence, her mind inundated by drugs, she was arrayed in the symbols of the mock poverty of the late sixties. 

     She had once been a very beautiful young woman.  While she sought desperately to retain the vestiges of that beauty against the ravages of drugs and despair only mere glimmers of her former freshness remained.  Superb bone structure prevented her face from dissolving into sheer ugliness.  Beneath her T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of some indiotic post-1975 heavy metal band her once firm high breasts sagged braless down to her belt loops.  Her jeans had the obligatory tears across each knee.  There was a tear beneath each cheek of her derriere which exposed white skin no longer firm or translucent.  Her jeans were tucked into brown suede boots, calf high, turned down.  A certain pride of former glory still clung to her presence.

page 61.

     One might well blame Sandy for a wasted life but the shame was not hers; it belonged to American society.  She had been dragged down completely innocent and against her will with no menfolks to defend her degradation.  In circumstances which you in your comfort would dismiss with a comment like:  Oh well, life’s not fair.

     Sandy had come from Cincinatti, Ohio.  She had come from well-to-do parents who had raised her to be the model of decorum.  She had breeding.  She had been blond and pert with a beautiful figure.  Psychologically she had been as well balanced as one of twenty can be.  Her expectations were those that one would associate with her background.

     She had married Bert Tyler who she had met and fallen in love with at the University Of Ohio.  Upon graduation Bert had taken a job with Standard of California and moved to San Francisco.  This was in 1964 when the subterranean rumbles of massive change could be heard and experienced if not understood.  The times were changing at incredible speed as they usually are when you’re in the middle of them.  Intelligence and precaution were not enough to save you; you had to play dodgeball with the juggernaut and win.  Luck was of the greatest importance.  Luck was not with Sandy Tyler.

page 62.

     Sandy’s husband was something of a rake.  Unresolved wildness lived in his soul.  He wasn’t ready to settle down to middle class respectability.  He suggested that he and Sandy take up residence in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco,  that wicked, wicked city of transients.  Tourists ooh and aah over Baghdad By The Bay.  But beneath the charming exterior of the Bay and cable cars of the City all is sour and corrupt.  The spirit of Tom Mooney and Harry Bridges hovers over the City.  There is a seething hatred and class envy which negates the charms of the location.  All San Francisco is a suberb of Chinatown.  It is no accident that Beatniks and Hippies flourished there.

     The Sixties seethed and boiled with unremitting vigor.  Contrasted to the glitter of the scientific accomplishments of the times, cities decayed into ruin before your eyes.  The Maelstrom whirled all around you.  One had to learn to navigate its currents to survive.  It was wise to avoid the use of drugs in a city of drug proliferation.  Heroin was the least of your worries.  Only junkies used heroin and they are a class unto themselves.  One can look at a junkie and realize immediately that junkieism  is a trap to be avoided.  Cocaine, which has a long history of societal use beginning with its first pusher, Sigmund Freud, was nowhere prevalent at the time.  Cocaine didn’t become common until the seventies.  Marijuana was not yet everywhere but was indispensable to the Underground.  Exotica such as peyote and mescaline and mushrooms were still of a semi-legendary character.

page 63.

     The man made drugs were prevalent.  Amphetamines, barbiturates and LSD were everywhere.  Stanford University advertised in the papers for ‘psychological’ subjects.  As it turned out the subjects were wanted for drug experimentation.  They were given massive doses of LSD.  This gave a certain legitimacy to their use.  After all, the high priest of acid was a defrocked professor from Harvard, Timothy Leary.

     The world of drug use was being popularized and glamorized by the evangel of the generation- the phonograph record.  The psyche of the era cannot be understood without a thorough knowledge of the recorded music and comedy of the era, comedy may have been as important as the music.  The phonograph record was the single most important factor in the lives of the generation except for, perhaps, the psychologically inert.  The generation was raised on records.

     To understand the music, which is to say songs, you have to start with the incoherent  shouting and strumming of a black blues shouter by the name of Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbettor and follow the chain through the various white blues singers until you end at the Kingston Trio.  From thence Ledbettor’s songs and stylings entered the main stream.  Thus the mind of the sixities generation was conditioned by an outsider’s slave and prison mentality.  Let that Midnight Special shine its ever loving light on me.

     At the same time a group of men were setting about to create the ‘rucksack revolution.’

page 64.

     Here comes a no-no in American letters.  We’re going to discuss imigration in a realistic rather than romantic fashion.  This group of men who sought to influence and undermine American civilization were, with one exception, the sons of immigrants who were reacting to the inconveniences of being foreign elements integrating into an existing social structure.  Jack Kerrouac was a Catholic French Canadian, Allen Ginsberg was a Jew from the Pale, William S. Burroughs was the descendent of the inventor of the calculator who apparently rejected logical thinking in favor of anarchy,  Gregory Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti were Italians.

     An Anglo view of the group can be found in John Clellon Holmes autobiographical novel ‘Go.’  They all grew to maturity between the wars when the conflict between Anglo-American society and immigrant society was most intense.  The Anglo-American demand that the immigrants shed their ethnic beliefs and characters created an intense reaction.  Carl Witte epitomized the struggle in his early forties book:  We Built America.

     As the immigrant population equaled or exceeded that of the Anglo-Americans it was perhaps inevitable that they should triumph.  In any event they did.  By 1950 all the trappings of Anglo culture were being torn down to be replaced by symbols that either asserted other ethnic origins or pointedly and often violently rejected Anglo symbols.

     Where formerly immigrants had been rejected and reviled by the Anglos the immigrants now quickly turned the tables.  While the sons and daughters of the Anglos had been brought up to believe in the incredible homogeneity of American society the sons and daughters of the immigrants sought to bring the Anglos down.  The humiliation of Sandy Tyler was the result of those feelings.

page 65.

     The Beat writers, as these men have been called, represented the grossest materialism.  They were all drunks, perverts and drug addicts.  They sought to impose those values on America.  The onslaught was led by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerrouac.  Both had done time in the bughouse or insane asylum.  Oddly enough the whole group was exposed for what they were long before they became effective by John Clellon Holmes.  Holmes’ premonitory warning was not understood.  Why should anyone worry about a bunch of bums.

     Kerrouac glorified the subculture in ‘On The Road’, ‘The Dharma Bums’, ‘The Subterraneans’ and other novels.  Ginsberg contributed an insane chant called ‘Howl.’  Through their success from 1956 to 1959 they were able to get Burroughs’ scream of hatred ‘Naked Lunch’ published.  He followed this by the influential ‘Soft Machine’ and ‘Nova Express.’

     The Beat writers were well received by the Underground.  Evidences of their cultural impact were obvious in San Francisco and the Bay Area in the early sixties.  They were not so obvious and understandable to the larger society which had heard little of the Beat writers.  As Bob Dylan expressed it: ‘…there’s something happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you…?’

     Dylan himself, who as a recording artist, was a major influence on the sixties, appears to have drawn so much inspiration for his middle period from Kerrouac and Burroughs that he can be described as a post-Beat writer.

page 66.

     The Beat writers originally tried to oerganize the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco but the Beatniks themselves, who came from an earlier period uninfluenced by Beat writers chose North Beach as their headquarters. 

     While the Beatniks dominated North Beach the Hippie culture was being formed in the Haight-Ashbury at the same time.  This culture found expression in the music of the San Francisco Sound.  Marty Balin, no one knows which two swords he carried, and the Jefferson Airplane musical group were establishing the Matrix nightclub while the rock clubs would supplant the jazz clubs of the Beatniks and transfer the focal point of the scene from North Beach back to the Haight-Ashbury.

     In addition to the Anglo-Immigrant conflict the old struggle between the Black Folk and the White Folk was assuming new dimensions.  The Blacks were demanding social equality- whatever that is.  One doesn’t want to generalize excessively where the Blacks are concerned because theirs is also a society of many diverging opinions and attitudes, nevertheless in a sizable majority of Blacks ‘social equality’ involved what is known as ‘the Payback.’  Blacks feel that they are owed something for the indignities placed on them by White Society.  This opinion is shared by a not unsizable group of Whites, so long as some other Whites pay the bill.

     Racial memories are not obliterated in a moment, a generation or even several generations.  Whites seem to have the inexplicable notion that the memory of unjust deeds can be removed by an apology, or checks drawn on someone else’s account.  Whites seem to think that things are thereby cured and resentments will disappear.  Blacks who have suffered grievous injuries with marvelous equanimity don’t believe so.

page 67.

     One of the most humiliating indignities Black women had to endure during the slave era was to be at the beck and call of any White man.  Literally, a White male could take any Black woman by the arm and lead her off to minister to his sexual needs at any time.  If she were the wife of a Black man there was absolutely nothing he could do about it but endure the shame.  So, the Payback involves White women.  Black men demand the same privilege with White women that White men had with Black women.  Everything in life gets down to a sexual offence.

     As there was no social apparatus to suport their hopes and ambitions as their had been for White men, Black men had to enforce their desires surreptitiously. 

     Thus, of a foggy overcast midday, nearly all days are foggy and overcast in San Francisco, Sandy Tyler was walking down Grant St. in North Beach on the way to the laundromat.  She was the epitome of a what a young White woman should be.  She was beautiful.  All eyes turned.  She was innocent.  She walked the streets of North Beach as though they were the streets of her upper class neighborhood in Cincinatti.

     Among the Beats and degenerates, the Blacks and Italians of this very Italian neighborhood her very Anglo dress and style stood out like Jane in Tarzan’s Africa.  Deep racial instincts stirred at the sight of her.  She had been trained to believe that assimilation in America had been complete.  All people were kind.  It is still a myth that most adhere to.

page 68.

     Sheldon Washington, a drug dealer and a huge Black man stood talking on the corner before the The Gate Of Wine Coffee House.  The Gate was a quintessential Beatnik Coffee House of the era.  Despite its name, which came from the Gilgamesh, no liquor was served.  Each night local poets, writers, thinkers and simple complainers held forth from the podium to the assembled multitude.  Unlike the Hippies, the Beatniks were well educated and much intelligent discourse could be heard at the Gate.

     Unfortunately complainers like the said Seldon Washington also inflicted themselves on the audience.  Sheldon had bent the ears of the audience for fifty-three minutes twenty-two seconds the night previous complaining about how a Spade Cat couldn’t walk down the street with a Honky chick without drawing stares.  His argot was so new that half the audience picked up Spade Cat as spayed cat and had no idea what a Honky Chick was.  Perhaps a spayed cat and an honky chick should be stared at.

     But at this moment that Sandy chose to walk by, the Man was being being waited on by his Honky heroin addict.  The addict, thin and unkempt, stood holding his money in his hand eagerly pressing it on Sheldon who was in no hurry to hand him his balloon.  In fact he didn’t have one on him.  the junkie would have to wait a little longer.

      Sheldon stood drawing out the wasted junkie’s agony when Sandy entered the intersection drawing his attention.  Now, Sheldon was one of those Black giants at six-four, two-eighty whose muscalature was concealed beneath the immense smooth expanse of his biceps and chest.  If he just raised his arm and let if fall on your back he could knock you down.  He was wearing a black Italian undershirt over his dark brown body.

page 69.

     Sheldon was so enchanted that he let out an involuntary long low whistle.  A girl of White breeding, Sandy ignored it as she properly should.  Breeding was unknown in North Beach where other standards applied.  Indignant at what he considered arrogance, Sheldon bellowed:  ‘Say mama, that was a compliment to your beautiful booty.’

     Well, Sandy seldom answered to ‘mama’, never acknowledged strange men on the street, let alone Black men, and had she known that ‘booty’ referred to her ass she would have been indignant.  But then, that was Cincinatti, this was North Beach.  Sandy responded by sticking her nose in the air pointedly ignoring Sheldon.

     Washington’s attitude changed abruptly.  Washington belonged to the Black Brotherhood and associated with the Junkie Brotherhood.  In both the individual identity is submerged in the collective identity.  One is immediately on familiar terms with every other member of the Brotherhood.  There are no interfaces.  Thus had Sandy been a Black woman she would have smiled, perhaps shook her booty as a token of appreciation and returned some compliment as to the probable size of Sheldon’s ‘thing.’  That she didn’t angered Sheldon.  He had a very big voice which he now raised to its loudest putting the threat of direct physical violence into it.

page 70.

     ‘Say Woman,’ he bellowed,  ‘where you manners?  When a brown eyed handsome man compliments a pretty woman that woman better appreciate it or she gonna have big troubles in this man’s neighborhood.  You dig?’

     Sandy stopped dead in her tracks, terrified, as she had every reason to be.  At the sound of Sheldon’s voice the Junkie had nearly fallen to his knees groveling before the Big Black.  Other White boys along the street stared lasciviously at the beautiful girl hoping to get some of whatever Sheldon left.  Their eyes silently encouraged her to acquiesce.  Alone and small, never before confronted with such brutal customs, the White girl turned to face Sheldon’s wrath with wide staring eyes.

     ‘I sayed you got a beautiful ass, mama.’  Sheldon bellowed louded than a bass drum.

     ‘T-thank-you.’  Sandy stuttered, terrified, embarrassed and not knowing how to respond to retain her dignity as a married woman.

     That’s better, mama.’  Sheldon said attempting to console and command at the same time.  ‘Now you run along and don’t ever pull that haughty shit again, hear?’

     The White boys on the street snickered confident that Sheldon, the Spade Cat, would take what he wanted and leave the rest of the Honky Chick to them.

     ‘That’s tasty,’ each thought, ‘I’m really going to enjoy fucking that bitch.’

     The promise of America was no promise at all, it was a perverted curse.

      A week later Sandy was walking down Grant on the way to the laundry.  She didn’t know how to preserve her own boogie in The Land Of The Thousand Dances.  She walked close to the buildings rather than curbside.  The Grant St. Grocery lay on her line of march.  The grocery was one of those shallow stores with no back room; rather a section running from front to rear was walled off as a storage room.  Some ten feet or so from the store entrance was an unobtrusive door through which deliveries were made.

page 71.

     As Sandy was passing this door a hand shot out grasping her by the throat and pulling her in.  Taken completely by surprise she was not consciously aware of anything till she lay gasping and sobbing against the shelves where Sheldon Washington had discarded her.

     The scene would haunt her dreams, transformed  into symbolism she could not understand, but which would shield her from some of the shame although the terror had hypnotized her into a different person.  Sheldon, who was a very big man, wanted to teach the Honky Chick a less in humility.  Blue eyes would not secure her immunity; on Grant Street brown eyes ruled.  His method was direct action, straight terror; his intellect was of the crudest but no less effective on that account.  He had merely grabbed Sandy off the street.  Picking her up, she was only 5’3″, 110 pounds, he had shoved his pelvis forward and dropped Sandy on his penis, jiggling her up and down until he climaxed.  He had then just thrown her against the shelves where she fell in a heap. 

     The street which had been empty in anticipation of the deed silently filled as the White boys stepped from doorways, alleys and from behind telephone poles where they had been inconspicuous.  Faces came to windows, eyes staring fixedly on the side door of the grocery.

page 72.

     ‘Now let that be a lesson to you, bitch.  When some brown eyed handsome man give you compliments you give him his reward and don’t give me none of that cheap assed marriage shit neither.  You learn to treat a man right and he’ll treat you right.’

     After this lecture in ethics Seldon’s mind turned to business, for after all a man has to eat, and Sheldon’s other business was pimping.

     ‘Say, bitch, you know you got a tight little ass.  You should put that cute money maker to work for me.  I show you how to live right and tight.  You be wearing diamonds and minks; you dump that Honky cat and come with me.  I show you how to shake that money maker; you don’t be walkin’ so stiff assed down the street no mo’, walk like a righteous woman.’

     Anyone looking for a good time of any kind could always get what they wanted from Sheldon.

     Sandy let out a few incoherent howls through clenched lips as she cautiously rose to her feet not sure of what was yet in store for her.  Her mute rejection was enough for Sheldon.  He turned to the clerk who had been watching through the beaded curtain and gave him a farewell acknowledgment with the shake of a finger.  Then proudly puffing out his chest for the street people he stepped out into the dim damp gloom of Grant St. and sauntered away humming ‘White Port and Lemon Juice.’

     Sandy stumbled out on shaky legs turning back toward Telegraph Court leaning on the wall for support.  Although she could not see them, the White boys slipped unobtrusively back into their holes while the faces in the windows slid back into the shadows.

page 73.

     Sandy’s life irrelevant of subsequent events was shattered.  Her sense of purity and personal integrity was gone to be replaced by a sense of defilement and consuming guilt as though she had been the perpetrator rather than the victim.  A knowledgeable psychiatrist might have been able to help her if she had gone immediately, but probably not for she would have been unable even to tell him the sequence of events.  She couldn’t remember what happened even though she knew what had happened.

     Angelo Toretti spoke quietly to Bert Tyler from behind a cracked open door as Tyler walked from the bus stop on Columbus to his apartment.

     ‘You better watch that little filly of yours, man.  she’s got eyes for that dark meat.’

     ‘What?’  Tyler said, turning in the direction of the voice.

     ‘Ask her who Sheldon Washington is.’  Toretti said with a low chuckle pushing the door shut.

     Tyler was possessed of honky cool.  He had no idea of what the threatening words of Toretti meant.  He was mildly apprehensive.  He gripped his brief case more tightly but he continued on at his normal pace.

     He fund Sandy lying on her back, skirt above her waist, with tears streaming down her cheeks.

     ‘What did you do?’  He began oblivious to the implied condemnation in his words.

page 74.

     Sandy’s response was to  increase her sobs and sense of humiliation to the point where her slender body was so wracked by shaking and pain that it is a wonder she survived.

    Tyler was twenty-two, born in ’42.  He had grown up in the bosom of a prosperous family.  He had been taught that the world was his oyster.  Raised in his upper class neighborhood, he had been advantaged from the cradle to the present.  At six feet, sandy haired and handsome he had received favored treatment through high school and the U.ofO.  While his manners were too fine for his present neighborhood they were much appreciated at the office. 

     His marriage to Sandy had seemed a perfect blending of family, looks and brilliant future.  But beneath the handsom exterior Tyler had a rotten core.  He was self-centered to the point that he was contemptuous of others.  This included Sandy.  She was desirable to him as a showpiece that demonstrated to the world his impeccable good taste and good fortune.  He was not prepared to drag damaged goods around with him.

     He should have known that North Beach was no place for a respectable woman.  But because of his favored youth he thought himself and his possessions beyond the reach of the arrows of fortune.  In college he had used marijuana, LSD and barbituates along with the ever present examination companion, amphetamines.  As he thought himself beyond, or rather, above the dangers that drugs posed, so many of his class did, he had been fearless in their use.

page 75.

     It is probable that Sandy would never have taken drugs on her own but as Tyler was the guardian of her virtue she had followed his lead trustingly.  She still considered the drugs naughty and dangerous but she was already familiar with pot, LSD and downers.  Living dangerously, out on the edge, had been the attraction of North Beach to Tyler.

     Now that he had reaped the fruit of his daring he stood staring down at Sandy.  He was unfeeling and obtuse.  He sensed that his position had been violated, he believed he had been humiliated.  He wasn’t far wrong.

     Remembering Toretti’s words his narrow vision could only conceive that he had almost walked in on Sandy and Sheldon and that whe was sobbing because she had almost been caught.

     ‘Who is Sheldon Washington?’  He asked.

     The question was greeted by additional shaking and sobbing.  Tyler had to make an effort to calm his wife.  It was not easy.  Several hours later, well into the morning Tyler had gleaned the notion that Sheldon Washington had had his wife.  His first thought as a red blooded American boy was to go looking for Sheldon Washington.  He did so the following day having called in to work sick.

     His queries after Sheldon alerted the Spade Cat that the Honky Cat was looking for him.  He arranged to be found.  He ensconced himself in an alley on Montague Street.  There with some white junkies for effect, a couple of Black hepcats around him, he sat on a garbage can waiting.

     Tyler was directed to Sheldon’s throne room.  He marched resolutely into the alley.  As he entered Sheldon rose, hitched up his pants and flexed both arms as though he were stretching.  Both his Black confederates cleaned their nails with switchblades.  The White boys stood around snuffling and grinning.

page 76.

     ‘I hear you lookin’ for me, boy.  Whachoo want?’   

     This was urban warfare for which Tyler was unprepared.  This was not a man to man confrontation which, given the size of Washington he would not have undertaken anyway, but was rather a confrontation of the big battalions against his puny one.  A quick vision of himself lying face-up beaten, cut and bleeding among the garbage cans flashed before his eyes.  He opted out.  He turned and walked away amidst chuckles, laughter and catcalls.

     Nor should he be blamed.  The rules had been changed.  Tyler had not been informed.  His only recourse would have been to stalk Washington and blow his brains out.  This was not feasible to Tyler in his present state of mind. While Washington’s position in North Beach society protected him from identification, there would be no witness come forward to identify him in the event of a complaint, Tyler would be quickly identified.  A jail cell was waiting for him if he tried.

     Unable to endure the humiliation to his wife and his own subsequent humiliation Tyler transferred the blame to Sandy.  Then by shedding her he was able in his mind to shed the double humiliation.  At least he thought he had.

     ‘Did that nigger actually put his dick in you?’  He brutally asked Sandy.

page 78.

     While White boys profess a complete lack of prejudice toward Black Folk, this is only in the social sense.  In 1964 Tyler couldn’t endure the idea that his wife had been penetrated by a Black man qua Black man.

     ‘I didn’t do it, honey.’  Sandy protested weakly.

     ‘All I want to know is wether he put that black dick up you?’

     ‘I- I think so.’  Sandy replied, her mind reeling beneath the horror of the thought of her rape.

    ‘I think so!  I think so!  God, you must know that.  I think so!  Well, that’s good enough for me.  He did.  Well, I can’t stay with a woman who’s been defiled by a nigger.  I’m leaving.  The rent’s paid till the end of the month then you’re on your own.  My lawyer will send the papers by.  I think so!’

     Thus life pitilessly took away Sandy Tyler’s hopes and joys.  She became the victim of social forces of which she was  not even aware of in their true form.  She had been lied to by society.  The American Dream!  What a pack of lies.  Shamed beyond psychological recognition she didn’t inform her parents.  A stranger in San Francisco she drifted into the drugs and demi-monde of North Beach.

     She avoided heroin and actual prostitution but she was heavy into barbiturates and marijuana.  The leering immigrant descendants gleefully passed the Anglo girl from man to man; gleefully taking out the frustrations of sixty years of humiliation at the hands of Anglos on Sandy’s body.

      The Scene shifted from North Beach to the Haight-Ashbury; from the Beatniks to the Hippies; from Cal Tjader to the Grateful Dead; from junk to junk.

page 78.

     The Hippie Movement was the realization of the materialism that Kerrouac and Ginsberg had been pushing.  History may to a very accurate extent be characterized as the war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.  The ascendance to spiritual perfection being the direction of the Sons of Light while the Sons of Darkness seek a return to the pure materialism of the untutored savage, the feral nature of man.  Materialism is as much a religion as spirituality but over the course of time all visible churches became of the spiritual kind.

     Because of Jewish opposition to the presence of Christianity in public schools the doctrine of the separation of church and state has been interpreted to mean that no spiritual beliefs can be taught in public schools.  This means in practice that no positive ethics can be taught.

     Thus while all eyes are trained on Catholics and Protestants for violations of the doctrine the Jews under the guise of preaching tolerance push their program through the schools.  At the same time the materialists have a free hand preaching materialism as no one understands its nature as the religion of the Sons of Darkness.

     Under the guise of helping the young student understand his sexual nature, courses, which are religious in intent, on ‘Human Sexuality’, undermine spiritualist precepts.  Spiritualists reject the indiscriminate indulgence of the senses while materialists embrace it.

page 79.

     Thus one has the concept of ‘the varieties of sexual experience.’  These include everything from homosexuality to child molestation.  All forms  of sexual expression are considered legitimate expressions of ‘human needs.’

     So, while those who preach self-control in order to create a better world are silenced in the name of ‘freedom’, the classrooms are turned over to materialists who seek to make life hell on earth.  Women are prostituted and men perverted in the name of ‘sexual freedom.’

     The media, movies and TV in particular  have been taken over by the materialists who exclude spiritualists from employment in those industries.  Black list.  On Big Screen and Small Screen they preach total self-indulgence at the expense of all other people.

     As a consequence crime and illiteracy increase geometrically.  The poor befuddled citizenry talk of ‘wars on crime’ which will never succeed as long as materialism is the dominant religion.  Take the religion of materialism  out of the schools and replace it with a spiritualist doctrine seeking the curbing of self-indulgence.  Then crime will diminish.  The war is not a war on crime but a war of moral attitudes.  The war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.

     Needless to say, crime will never disappear.  Crime and criminals have existed since the dawn of time.  Even then the war of the Sons of Light and Darkness commenced.  Anglo-Americans were governed by the Chivalric notion of Shame.  Not that they didn’t commit crimes but the sense of shame forced them to repent or move out of society.  During the great period of European immigration Jews opposed the notion of Shame with that of Chutzpah.  Chutzpah can be defined as simply the shameless attempt to achieve one’s desires against the will of others by surprising them with extravagant audacity.  If bold enough you may overwhelm their opposition, if not, oh well, you can always ‘apologize.’

page 80

     Leaving Kerrouac aside for the moment, William S. Burroughs lived in New York City.  NYC has been described as ‘that great factory of criminals.’  The description has been given with good reason.  For the city was invaded by the post-Great Revolution society of criminals organized around the philosophy of the Marquis de Sade.  Crime has a philosophical basis in the modern world.  ‘Ending poverty’ would have no effect on crime.  It is not just a matter of illegal activity to satisfy one’s needs.  Burroughs combined this criminal philosophy with the docrines of anarchy which were also prevalent in the Big Apple.  Burroughs’ doctrine leads to complete oblivion.  In form he continues the Jewish Chutzpah by which he was definitely influenced, as NYC is, or was, a Jewish city, into the equation of:  Wouldn’t you?

     I mean, he asks, wouldn’t you kill a little old lady and take her purse if you needed money for a heroin habit.  Wouldn’t you?  Who wouldn’t?  Of course you would if you were a heroin addict, as Burroughs was, needing a fix.  Thus Burroughs in ‘Naked Lunch’ brought the definition of morality down to what the individual needs at any given moment.  If you felt the need the for sex wouldn’t you rape an eight year old girl.  Who wouldn’t?  It was inconceivable to Burroughs that anyone wouldn’t.  If one said one wouldn’t then the logic is that your need wasn’t great enough or you would.  Who wouldn’t?  Thus Burroughs propounded a very destructive version of the materialistic religion of the Sons of Darkness.

page 81.

     Like syphilis the first outburst of the disease was evident in the Hippie movement on Haight-Ashbury.  The sores have disappeared but Burroughs’ philosophy has been spread throughout the social system.  The deteriorization of mankind was very noticeable by the late seventies to the artistic temperament.  At that time a rock band by the name of Devo made the point perfectly clear.  They asked the musical question:  Are we not men? and answered it:  No!  We are Devo.  The point being that mankind had stopped evolving and was retrogressing into devolution.  Devo hit the nail on the head.  Materialism was rapidly destroying the fabric of society.  We  were, in fact, returning to our savage origins.  J.G. Frazer’s ‘civilized veneer’ was wearing off.  Or as W.B. Yeats put it:  And what rough beast, its hour come at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?  The hippies embraced Wouldn’t You wholeheartedly.  They took to drugs like an alcoholic to drink.  Drugs are the antithesis of morality.  Lying and stealing become one’s nature.  A druggie’s word isn’t worth a broken syringe.

     Sandy drifted into this environment as she moved over to the Haight-Ashbury.  Now, she came from a strong Episcopalian background.  She had an affluent past.  The Hippies bubbled up from the urban depths.  They had no strong anything except for the desire to get, to exploit.  As drug addicts they had no chance of succeeding at anything but total failure.  They succeeded at that.  The worst weren’t even human.

page 82.

     Sandy moved from crash pad to crash pad as soon as the toilets filled up and wouldn’t flush anymore.  Filthy rooms filled with filthy mattresses and filthy people.  Toilets stopped up  overflowing with excrement.  As there were no sexual barriers or restraints she was used by any derelict passing through.  She deadened her sensitivities by pretending to revel in the ‘new freedom.’  Drugs and music were exhilarating accessories.  They could turn night to day, black to white.

     But the Hippie scene with no other ethic than sex and drugs and Rock and Roll continued to deteriorate.  Unbridled sex with anyone and anything was the norm.  There were no limits.  Homosexuality forced itself into the breach as legitimate.  Then as the Disco music of the homosexuals came to dominate in 1977-78, Rock music died on the vine.  Without the impetus of music Sandy looked around to find nothing but barrenness.

     Somehow, through the years of degradation she had clung to the ghost of the vision of her past.  No matter what clothes she wore she wore them with a certain stylishness that betokened a nearly forgotten pride.  She had never abandoned her bourgeois dreams.  Now looking over the wreck of Haight-Ashbury her thoughts turned to rehabilitating herself.  As this was impossible in San Francisco she thought to find a refuge in some other part of the country.  Her rape by Sheldon Washington was never out of her mind.  She had had other unpleasant experiences with Black men so she looked for a place where she thought there wouldn’t be any.  For this reason she selected the Mormon capitol because of their alleged aversion to Blacks.  So she had moved to Salt Lake City in the late seventies.  The Mormons are an exclusive people, they don’t take kindly to non-Mormons in their midst.  Sandy once again found herself an outsider.  Rather than kicking drugs as had been her intent she continued to find solace in them.

     During all this time Sheldon Washington prospered.  He had prospered with a clear conscience.  He even considered himself a benevolent figure in the community, which, compared to some others in his line, he was.  Sheldon considered that he as a Black man was only getting back the Black Folk’s own.  ‘As ye sow so shall ye reap.’  he was fond of saying, referring to White Folks.  True.  You must be careful of the seeds you sow.  Whether Sheldon was merely reclaiming his own is left to subtler minds than mine.  Sheldon was strewing his own field with the seeds of hatred no matter how justified he felt.  His victims were not the White Folk that may have oppressed his ancestors they were living people.

     Shortly after Sandy left town a junky with sandy hair and very dark glasses began showing up in North Beach.  At least he had the appearance of a junkie.  He quickly made the connection with Sheldon Washington for his heroin.

     Over a few weeks Sheldon accepted him as just another junkie who had been around forever.  He abused him as he did all his junkies.  On this particular occasion Sheldon made appointments with this junkie failing to keep each.  Someone at each assignation point directed the junkie on to the next.  The junkie resignedly went from place to place.  He was finally directed to go the alley off Montague.  The junkie took longer to get there than he might have for he stopped off at his pad first.

page 84.

     As he turned into the alley Sheldon sat alone on a garbage can.  The Black confederates were gone.  The White junkies were out of sight.  As the junkie approached, Sheldon observed that his walk was rather stiff but as he was a junkie, what was new?  The reason the junkie’s walk was stiff was because a crowbar was suspended from his belt down his left pants leg.  A revolver was stuck in his belt beneath his moth eaten sweater.  His eyes glowed hatred beneath his very dark glasses.  He was not really a junkie; he was an impostor.

     Like a junkie he had his money ready in his hand.  He thrust it at Sheldon holding out his other hand for the baloon. 

     ‘Not so fast, my man, not so fast.’  Sheldon said.  ‘I mean, man, like man, money ain’t everything.  I mean, I am the most important man in your life.  I want you to acknowledge that.’

     The junkie shrugged indicating:  What?

     Sheldon unzipped his fly flopping his member out.  He looked at the junkie emitting only a low chuckle.  The junkie understood.  He began to go down on one knee.  His right hand moved beneath his sweater.  Sheldon had just time to focus on the hole in the blue-black barrel before his brains flew out to mingle with the rest of the garbage.

     The junkie unbuckled Sheldon’s pants and pulled them down rolling the huge inert form unto its stomach as he did so.  Removing the crowbar from his pants he rammed it far up Sheldon’s ass until the tip rested just below Sheldon’s heart.  Throwing the shades aside and discarding the moth eaten sweater he walked out of the alley and was never seen in North Beach again.

page 85.

     The police were baffled but unconcerned.  After all Sheldon hadn’t really been murdered.  He was dead but he was only a casualty in the urban warfare.  Only another soldier who had given his life for the cause.  A casualty in that urban warfare that raged beyond police jurisdiction and control.  A warfare that was beyond the law; one that operated on laws of its own.  All that can be said is that he who lives by the rod dies by the rod. 

     All across the universe the stars stayed the clacking dice of Magic Sam in his hand to look down on such insanity and say:  They ain’t nothing but a heartache and you know they’ll never get over it.  Then, with a shrug, they returned to their games.  Roll the dice with a sound like thunder.

     The junkie, his own heart broken beyond repair blew a kiss from San Francisco to Salt Lake City.  Just another boogie in The Land Of A Thousand Dances.

     Sandy watched Donn as he came up the street.  She recognized someone, who like her, had lost his place in the world.  A hope sprang up in her breast, she was beyond being able to think, that perhaps he and she might find comfort in each other reclaiming in some small degree their place in the world.

page 86.

     ‘Hi there.  What are you doing?’

     Donn paused to appraise her.  He recognized that about her that spoke of a declassee.  As he had no interest in women he attempted to dismiss her.

     ‘I’m going to get something to eat.’  He said brusquely.

     Undaunted Sandy said:  ‘Oh, I know all the good places.  I’ll take you there.’  She said clasping his hand impusively, leading him away.

    Donn could no longer go to the type of restaurant he favored.  He thought that perhaps Sandy knew of some hippie hangouts where the food would be filling and maybe passable.  He allowed himself to be led away.

     They walked for several blocks.  Sandy babbled on along the way hoping to win Donn over.  A strip mall hove in sight.  There was an Albertson’s grocery store at one end.  Donn spotted a restaurant in the middle of the mall.  When they reached the corner of the Albertson’s Donn began to continue down the front but Sandy pulled him along the side and toward the back.  Donn was confused but thought Sandy was aware of another entrance. 

     When they reached the back Sandy pointed proudly at the dumpster and said:  See.

     Donn looked at the huge garbage can puzzled.

     ‘See what?’  He asked Sandy who was still holding his hand.

     ‘Well, see,’  She said giving his hand an affectionate squeeze.  ‘Nobody ever has to go hungry in America.  They throw away tons of good food just because it’s a day or two old.  See.’  she said, grabbing at some limp brownish lettuce, ‘This lettuce is perfectly good to eat.  It’s just a little old.  And it’s free, it doesn’t cost anything.’

page 87.

     ‘All kinds of places are this stupid.  If you want I’ll take to Cheesy Burgers later.  At midnight they throw out all the burgers they’ve prepared but haven’t sold.  Wrapped and everything.  We’ll have to get there early though because everyone wants those.’

     Donn listened incredulously, rudely pulling back his hand.  He wasn’t familiar with underground ‘survival’ techniques.  He wasn’t aware that Abbie Hoffmen had published a whole book full of ideas and scams, all as good as this one.  But he was not yet so low that he would search through garbage cans for food.

     ‘God, that’s absolutely disgusting.’  He said.

     ‘No, it’s not.  Everybody does it.’  Sandy replied speaking for her crowd.

     ‘Well, I don’t eat out of garbage cans and I think anyone who does is absolutely disgusting.’  Donn replied angrily.  ‘You! Get away from me, you filthy slut.  No, don’t touch me.’  He said brushing away Sandy’s imporing hands which sought to hold his again.  ‘Get away.’  He said angrily, turning on his heel.

     Sandy’s rejection by Donn was the last thing that it took to bury her poor heart completely out of sight.  As she stood in the moonlight she sank beneath the burden of accumulated woes of nearly twenty years.  All the crimes perpetrated against her rose up to engulf her sense of decency.  Her last shred of worthiness disappeared.  The world’s guilt entered her soul as her own.  She considered herself evil.  She went through life as an empty shell.  But she was not Guilty of the Shame.  Oh no!  It was society’s shame.  It was our shame.  Repeat aloud:  I (insert your name) am Guilty of the Shame.

page 88.

     Donn found his way to the highway East.  He found a spot to doze a few hours.  Daylight found him alongside US 40.  ‘Denver, here I come.’  He whistled, praying for the best.  This was not Donn’s moment for the best.  He was over a day getting to Fruitland, an interminable number of short rides and long delays.  His spirits sank again.  He had his thumb out just outside of Fruitland when a fifty-eight Chevy pulled over.

     ‘Hi! I’m Kirk Douglas Strachan.’  The driver said extending a soft flabby hand.  He was wearing a black cowboy hat, had a soft pudgy face with black horn rimmed glasses, black cowboy shirt with white piping and black Can’t Bust ‘Ems over black cowboy boots.

     ‘Uh, yeah,’  Donn replied,  ‘I’m Phil Brown.’

    ‘Nice to meet you Phil.’  Strachan said eyeing him like a side of beef.

     This was about ten o’ clock at night.  Strachan was a practiced hand.  He got right to the point.

     ‘Now, Phil, I’m going to tell you how it is,’ he began with the authoritative tone of a movie tough guy,  ‘I like men.  I’m really a tough guy.  Did you get my name, Kirk Douglas Strachan?  Kirk Douglas was a movie tough guy.’ he said, overlooking the fact that Kirk Douglas was still alive.  ‘My mother wanted me to be tough so she named me after him.  I am tough.  Now, it’s your choice, you can either live or die.  Your second choice is obvious, we don’t have to discuss that.  Now, if you want to live you’re coming home with me and you’ll be my sex slave for a week or two.  Now, if you’re good at that I’ll reward you by driving you up to Vernal.  If you’re not you’ll join the rest of my boyfriends.  Got it!  Well, get it, my man!’

page 89.

     Donn was staring at him incredulously, his mouth agape.  Donn looked at this soft flabby creep wondering where he got the notion he was tough except from his mom.  Kirk Douglas Strachan mistook  incredulity as a sign of fear.  Strachan was a murderous fiend.  The ‘boyfriends’ he sarcastically referred to were all buried out in his garden patch beneath the turnips.  There were fifteen in all.  Some he had just blown away with a shotgun others had died lingering deaths.

     Strachan’s mother had named him after Kirk Douglas.  Strachan had studied all the actor’s films.  Except that he was short, pudgy and effeminate Strachan had his Kirk Douglas act down.  He had the same buzzsaw whine that came from the back of his head.  He had even had a cleft surgically made in his chin.  Needless to say it looked ridiculous with his moon faced pudgy head.

     Emboldened by Donn’s open mouthed wonder Strachan continued:  ‘Terrific.  You’ll have a great time too.  Now, I need a down payment right now.  See that knoll just up there.  I’m going to pull behind it.  You’re going to give me a great blow job, then I’ll take you to the ranch.’

     ‘I was boxing champ three years running at SMU.’  Donn said quietly in the Texas manner brushing imaginary lint from his fly.

page 90.

     Oh, a John Wayne type, huh?  Well I’m going to make you get out right here.’  He said skidding to a stop.  He pressed a button, the door flew open and Donn sneeringly got out.  Strachan copped a U and raced back toward Fruitland.  John Wayne trumps Kirk Douglas every time.

     Donn dropped his bag, placing his hands on his hips while he looked up and down the dark road.

     ‘Over here.  Hey, buddy, over here.’  A loud booming voice cried from the wilderness. 

     ‘Over here, buddy, I’m over here.’

     Donn peered out into the darkness.  He could see nothing.

     ‘Come on.  I’ll guide you in.’  The voice cried.

     Donn started walking into the darkness.  As he stumbled along it seemed to him like he walked on an on.

     ‘Man, that guy must have a voice like a foghorn.’  He thought.

     Then he perceived the glow of a fire.

     ‘Keep coming.  I’m right over here.’  The voice coaxed.  ‘All right, all right.  If I hadn’t been out taking a leak I would have missed you.’

     A hand came out of the darkness grabbed Donn’s hand and shook it.

     ‘Hi!  I’m Dharma Bum.’  Bum said proudly.

     ‘You can call me Jack.’  Donn said, taken back by Dharma Bum’s strange name.

page 91.

     Bum led him back behind a small rise where a fire burned in the darkness.

     ‘Dharma Bum?’  Donn asked.  ‘Did I hear you right.’

     ‘Dharma Bum, that’s right.’  Bum replied.  ‘I’m out here seeking enlightenment.’

     Dharma Bum was quite an apparition in the barren mountain night.  He was about six-four high.  Thin but not slender.  He wore a pair of knee high boots, medium platforms with two and a half inch heels, laced all the way up to his knees fitting over form fitting jeans that gave Bum the appearance almost of walking on stilts.  The jeans buttoned with the buttons showing on the outside.  A pink, or dusty plum, flowered vest covered a lavender flowered shirt with enormous billowing sleeves.  It was an outfit modeled after John Hall of Hall and Oates.

     Bum’s face was fleshy, all the features being large.  He wasn’t handsome, plain verging on homely, but carried himself with real leading man verve.  He was topped by a mane of black hair streaked now with silver combed straight back, en brosse, falling to his shoulders.

    He was a child of TV, records and movies.  He invariably saw himself as Batman and others as his Robins.  He had developed the authoritative way of talking which in the movies leaves the bit actors gasping in astonishment at the sagacity and sheer manliness of the lead.  In the same manner Bum tried to impose himself on reality.  Reality not being the movies, Bum had been, as it were, rejected by life.  He was undaunted; New Day, New Script.  As Jim Morrison of the Doors replied when being urged to hurry lest he be too late to catch his flight:  ‘You can never be too late for your own movie.’  Whatever happens is in the script.

page 92.

     Besides money wasn’t a real problem for Bum.  He just wired home to Dad to pay the card.  He was covered for medical and dental care.  Unlike most bums, or homeless, he was in excellent health and his teeth were good.  He was actually cooking baked beans in the can held over the fire with a forked stick, just like in the movies.

     ‘I’d offer you some but I wasn’t expecting company.’  He said with an authoritative chuckle indicating that he knew Donn would understand as he reacted to gasps of astonishment from Donn in the theatre of his mind.  Bum always played to an SRO audience.  Each movement, each word was done and spoken in a stagy manner.  Often there was no necessity for a reply.  Bum merely waited the appropriate time  for the reply in his mental script then continued his next lines.  Not infrequently he overrode the speaker or completely ignored, in fact, didn’t hear, the reply.

     ‘Jack, huh?  Jack?’  Bum said with a wink.

     ‘What?’ Donn said uncertain whether to be apprehensive or puzzled.

     Bum had taken his name from Jack Kerrouac’s novel ‘The Dharma Bums.’  He thought Donn was making a sly joke on Bum’s self-introduction.

     ‘Yeah.  Ya know Jack understood me real well.  Yeah.  Ha, ha.  He wrote my life before I even began to live it.’

page 93.

     ‘Jack?  Jack who?  Me?’

     ‘Jack Kerouac!’  Bum cried incredulously.

     ‘Jack Kerouac?  You mean the guy who wrote ‘On The Road?’  Donn said fishing for the sense as his head swam trying to understand Bum.

     ‘Oh, ho.  You do know Jack then?’  Bum beamed.

     ‘I read ‘On The Road.” Donn said.

     He had read it out of curiosity in college where it had been a life style manual for a certain crowd.  He had detested the book.  It represented everything he despised.  Donn, then as now, wanted the good life, the high life.  He didn’t think hanging around with petty grifters and small time thieves in sleazy bars equated the good life.  Even if you camouflaged your sleaziness with intellectual pretense.

     ‘Great book, isn’t it?  I read ’em all.  That, the Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels, terrific stuff.  I just don’t know how he anticipated my life though.  Eerie, don’t you think?’

     ‘Is that how you got the name Dharma Bum?’

    ‘No.  I am Dharma Bum.  Jack wrote the book about me.

     ‘Didn’t Kerouac write it before you hit the road?’ Donn said unpolitically.

     ‘What the hell you talking about?’  Bum said glaring across the fire suspiciously at Donn.  ‘Didn’t I just say Jack wrote my life?’

     ‘My mistake.’  Donn said wryly, realizing that Bum had only just been beamed down from the saucer.

page 94.

     ‘Damn right it is, fella.’  Bum said in his best John Wayne style.  Then his face formed a reverie as he began talking.  The speech was one he had prepared for the inevitable Time or TV interviewer.  He thought they would catch up to him sooner or later to get his story.

     ‘Yes.’  He began in f0nd reminiscence.  ‘I must have crossed this great big beautiful land a hundred times or more.  God bless this crazy topsy-turvy unbelievable US of A.  Yes, from that fabled Golden Gate of old San Fran to the New York Island, from the tropical shores, actually sub-tropical, he,he, of Key West to the Mesabi iron range up on Lake Superior, I’ve loved it all.  My feet have led me to the tops of the highest mountains, and I mean literally, the tops, I’ve been above Cripple Creek, and down into the depths of amazing valleys, my feet have washed in gorge of the Grand Canyon.  In one day I’ve been to the top of Mt. Wilson and to the depths of Death Valley, the highest and lowest places in the lower Forty-Eight in one day.  I’ve stood with my feet in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  Now, what do you think of that?’

     He stopped with a big quizzical Will Rogers smile seemingly looking into Donn’s eyes but actually nearly oblivious of his existence.  Donn was fearful that this night might go on forever.  He cleared his throat loudly speaking piercingly to blow his way into Bum’s consciousness.

     ‘Why did you start doing this?  Why are you out here?’

     This was almost the question Bum had scripted for the Time Magazine interviewer.  He heard and shifted into second gear.

     ‘What am I doing out here?’  Bum said with a rueful shake of his head accompanied by several musing snarls.  ‘Well, I’ll tell you why I’m out here.  I’m a victim of capitalist oppression.’

page 95.

     ‘How’s that?’

     ‘How’s that?  Well, let me tell you how the system really works.  Or, doesn’t work.  Ya know, a guy goes to work for some jerk in good faith, promised that if things work out he’ll be taken care of.  He gives the best he’s got, which in my case was pretty damn good, puts in the best period of his life.  Then he makes the business big and successful for this jerk.  The more money you make for this jerk the more he starts reneging on the deal.  Then when he figures he’s got it made and doesn’t need you anymore- Bingo! you’re gone.  Oh yeah, I know all about capitalism.  Tell that to your readers.

     What a jerk the guy is.  If you ever run into him dump on him.  His name is Dewey Trueman.  I’m a Jew you know.’  Bum added with a significant arch to his eyebrows.

     A the mention of readers Donn thought that Bum somehow knew who he was, or had been, a music reviewer.  The mention of Dewey Trueman threw him off his heels.  He was totally mystified.

     ‘Dewey Trueman?’  Donn said.  ‘Where abouts in this great land of ours did this take place?’

     ‘Out on the coast.  Eugene, Oregon.’

     ‘What does your being a Jew have to do with it?’

     ‘Huh!  Anti-Semitism of course.  It’s always the Jew gets it in the neck.  Always been that way.  Need a scapegoat, get a Jew.  I should have known, I suppose.’

     ‘You say this guy Trueman promised you part of the business?’  Donn asked, his curiosity really aroused.

     ‘Yeah.  That’s right.’  Bum said ruefully.

    ‘So.  What?  You worked for him for five or six years then?’  Donn was familiar with Trueman and to some extent his store.

     ‘Well, it wasn’t quite that long.’

     ‘How long then?’

     ‘Well, let’s see.’  Bum began manipulating his fingers and drawing in the dirt.  ‘Maybe five or six months.’

     ‘Months?’  Donn said incredulously.

     And well he should have for Bum had created a verstion of the events that completely rewrote the facts.

     Bum’s real name was Norm Barsky.  He was from St. Louis.  he had been brought into Eugene to take possession of the business Dewey Trueman had built up.  A record store in Eugene that was very successful.  For the size of the city tremendously successful.  In a small pond the record store had been a big splash.  Trueman was a Hippie.  He therefore succeeded against the wishes of the town fathers.  A couple attempts had been made to assassinate him.  When the last attempt to kill him on the highway by bogus Hell’s Angels had failed the town fathers were at a loss of what to do.  At the same time they, or at least Harry Grabstein, realized that the store was a valuable money maker.  It should be preserved but put into righteous hands.  Grabstein undertook to resolve the matter.  He would appropriate or, in other words, steal the business.    

     So as to evade the appearance of being himself involved he called an acquaintance in St. Louis, Art Barsky.  Art’s son Norm, had just finished school at the University of Chicago, was married, new baby, and could use a good income.  Norm, wife and child were sent to Eugene to receive his inheritance.

page 97.

     It was not to be expected that Trueman would just hand over his business to Norm so a certain deception and ruse had to be practiced.  Norm was schooled by his father while refresher points would be supplied by Harry Grabstein.  The method was quite simple and well tried.  The only obstacle in the way could be the victim’s character.  That was the only variable that couldn’t be controlled.  As Grabstein thought Trueman a despicable Hippie with no character he perceived no problem in bringing him down.

     One may ask why these Jews thought themselves entitled to another man’s property.  The problem was not in the capitalist economic system as Bum sincerely thought but in the Jewish religious system and culture which he would have denied.  A quick survey of the three great crucial periods in Jewish history should provide the intellectual justification.

     Jewish history is a closed field, permitted only to those who have been properly vetted.  As the editor of the Cambridge History of Judaism puts it:  But as the study of Judaism is peculiarly open to emotive interests and unconscious influences which make it highly susceptible to hurtful misinterpretations, no effort to get rid of the blinkers of traditions and prejudices may be deemed superfluous.

    In other words if you don’t see it their way you have no right to be heard.  Nevertheless the truth must be pursued.  The objectivity of historical facts cannot be allowed to be skewed to the advantage of one party to the hurt of another.  Neither valid history or sociology can be approached in such a manner to obtain preconceived results.  Any conclusions are always subject to discussion.  Just as the Constitution of the United States decrees the separation of church and state it also decrees absolute freedom of expression  whether a subject is peculiarly open to emotive interests or unconscious influences or not.

page 98.

     Messianism is the backbone of the Jewish belief system.  The belief is that the natural order of things was overturned when Cain slew Abel.  All of history since then has been the promise of God to bring the Jews into their rightful place as arbiters of the nations thereby reversing the decision of history or, reality.  The redemption of Israel is the purpose of all ‘History.’  There have been three great periods of redemptive or messianic expectations.  On these pivots the Jewish character was formed.

     The first great period was from c. 188 BC to 135 AD.  The second centered around the messiahship of a man called Sabbatai Zevi in the years around 1640-1700 AD.  The third with the Revolution of the Messiah around the years 1913-28.  In all three the Jews were brutally disappointed.

     As the smaller and weaker portion of the greater society the Jews have always felt abused and suppressed, especially as they believe they are the bearers of the true god.  Thus when Israel is redeemed and the roles are reversed all the wealth of the world will belong to the Jews; and the gentiles will be their slaves.

     The initial confrontation was  begun between the Hellenes and Jews expanding into a war between the entire Greco-Roman world and the Jews.  Initially the Jews were successful against the Hellenes.  the Roman world proved too much for them.  In a series of tremendous wars from 66-70 AD when the Temple was destroyed through the amazing uprising in 116-18 to the final destruction of the Jewish state in the Bar Kochba rebellion in 135 AD, the Jews were all but exterminated.  In the hopes of ending the confrontation and destroying the locus of what, by then was the center of perpetual disturbances, Jerusalem was leveled while Jews were forbidden to enter the city. 

page 99.

     Thus in the wars which the Jews characterize as anti-Semitic persecution but which were actually a contest for the dominion of the Roman world, redemption for the Jews was postponed, while Rome was prostated.

     For approximately 1500 years the Jews longed for the appearance of the true Messiah, both Jesus and Bar Kochba having failed them.  After fifteen hundred years of various disasters culminating in the expulsion from Spain and the Cossack rebellion against Poland in 1648 a new Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi appeared in the Asia Minor governed by the Turks.  Sabbatai is the pivot of Jewish history.  Israel quivered in the expectation of deliverance.  As in the 116-18 uprising of the Roman period Europeans from the Pale to England were to be slaughtered.  True, the means were lacking but the will was there.  Once again the wealth of the world was to accrue to the Jews.

page 100.

    End of II-2.  Proceed to II-3 for the continuation.

     At this point the story consists of Part One:  Disco Donn Does Deep Elum and Part II, clips 1 and 2.

   

 

 

 

  

 

Disco Donn Demands Deliverance

by

R.E. Prindle

 

The Stars Play With Magic Sam’s Laughing Dice.

J. Hendrix

 

Roll the dice

And it sounds like thunder.

Roll the dice,

Hit the bottom

And you feel no pain.

Roll the dice

And it sounds like thunder,

Ain’t it the truth,

It’s a fool’s game.

-Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel

 

     Donn Contrales was at the apex of his success.  He was only a hair away from the beginning of his nadir.  Donn had just about everything he wanted within his grasp.  Since the accession of his computer he felt himself a free man for the first time.  In his role as pop and classical record reviewer for the Daily Assassin Donn no longer went into the office, he sent his reviews over the phone lines.

     By so doing Donn had fallen into the trap set for him by Jose Wellspring who sold him the computer at a very advantageous price.  Wellspring hadn’t really done Donn a favor, the computer was used, it had been repossessed.  Both Jose Wellspring and Donn Contrales were homosexuals.  Donn had offended Jose by not inviting him to a record party for the pianist, Clement Coxe.  Coxe was himself a homosexual.  Jose had thought of a plan to punish Donn.  He knew of Donn’s desire to be ‘free’, of his aversion to going to the office.  Jose understood that failure to do so would subject Donn to competitive pressures whereby he might lose one or the other or perhaps both his posts.  He very slyly planted the thought in Donn’s mind that the computer would free him of the necessity of reporting the office on a daily basis.

     Donn had taken the bait.  Now, in February 1980 he had made only brief appearances at the Assassin since November of  the previous year.  He arrived at his apartment in a bustle to get dressed for a speaking engagement with the Women’s Westside Auxlliary.  He breezed through his door casting a glance over at his computer noticing that he had an email.  It was from Mingo Miybriy, the editor of the Assassin informing him that he had been relieved of his pop music duties.  Those reviews, the communique read, had been transferred to a younger man who was, presumably more in touch with contemporary youth.

page 2.

     This news made Donn angry, he was insulted, nobody was more in touch with contemporary youth than he.  But he failed to give this premonition of disaster the consideration he should have.  Donn was much too confident of his fate, of his own importance in the web of destiny.

     ‘I’ll have to send an email telling Mingo to get rid of the guy.  That’s my territory.  There’s no one more in touch with youth than me.’  Donn thought, ‘But first I have to go shine on these society bitches.’

     Donn, was a cocaine habitue, he would have rejected the term addict, as the stuff was recreational rather than compulsory; he was living his life in a euphoric haze.  He had become entirely divorced from reality.  In his vision of himself as an all powerful deity he had alienated many people.  Some were too inconsequential  to hurt him in his prosperity.  Some, one in particular, he should have taken care not to offend.  That one was a man by the name of Maggie Spingold.

page 3.

     Maggie was a very powerful man, not only in Portland, Oregon which is where this story begins, but on the entire West Coast.  He was even influential in certain national circles.

     Like Donn he was a homosexual.  He was one of the five or ten most powerful individuals in the Gramercy Club.  The Gramercy was composed of two hundred of the most successful men in Portland.  This was still 1980 and women had not yet forced entry into these men’s preserves.

     Maggie’s real name was Edward G. Spingold.  He was descended from immigrants from the Jewish Pale who had emigrated in the 1890s.  Spingold was not the original family name but his family of Uroffskys were assimilatively inclined, they wanted a name that was more American sounding than Uroffsky.  When the Jews of the era took ‘American’ sounding names they invariably chose names that implied success or high standing.  Thus the many Golds, Goldbergs, Goldwaters, Goldschmidts, Goldens, Silvers and Silvermasters.  Goldberg actually incorporaes two success images- Gold and Mountain- or perhaps Mountain of Gold or God, or a high peak of inestimable value and purity.

     Spingold to the Uroffskys implied the ultimate of success, the ability to make gold.  The oddity of the name to ‘Americans’ was never obvious to them.  When their baby boy was born in 1920 they named him Edward for the line of kings of England, Edward VII having just died, and G for a seemingly superfluous Gold.  Although Gold in this instance was to imply the purity and magnificence of God, Gold being the color of the sun, the emblem of God.  Thus Maggie’s real name was Edward Gold Spingold.  If ever a name was prophetic it was for the Spingolds in general and Maggie in particular.  They and he were adepts at acquiring lucre.

page 4.

     The ‘Maggie’ by which Maggie was known, behind his back, was not a diminutive of Margaret but rather a familiarization of the ‘Magus.’  Maggie had fostered the reputation that he was an adept in the Jewish Kabbalah.  this was somewhat of an exaggeration  as there were any number of mystical adepts in town, both goyish Theosophists and Jewish Kabbalahists who could run circles round him.  But wealth and chutzpah can befuddle many minds; Maggie had sufficient quantities of both.  He had the reputation of being a Magus.

     Maggie belonged to all three of the great networks.  He was important in the Old Boy Network and paramount in both the Jewish and the Homosexual Networks.  He was a silent founder of the Homosexual Anti-Defamation League and a power in both the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Committee.  In his capacities in the Homosexual and Jewish groups Maggie had a direct interest in censoring and controlling how and what the Daily Assassin reported on both groups.

     Thus he passed an occasional hour at the Daily Assassin updating Mingo Miybriy on any changes on how the Jews wanted to be represented and deploring the terrible homophobia which marred American society.  He had seen Donn’s reviews in the paper which had done nothing for him but the sight of Donn had electrified him.

     Donn was blond and just this short of being really handsome while actually epitomizing the macho man.  His black brush of a mustache contrasted dramatically with his blond hair.  His air of oblivious self-confidence made him doubly attractive to Maggie.  The little gold earring in Donn’s left ear conveyed the necessary information to Maggie.

page 5.

     He shoulder jousted Donn in the hallway giving him the excuse to apologize and strike off an acquaintance.  Donn, who knew a love bump when he received one was extremely flattered by the attention of such an important man.  Maggie took Donn’s effusiveness as a declaration of love, not that that mattered.

     Maggie found Donn’s address and subsequently showed up at Donn’s door at three o’ clock in the morning ready for sex.

     Maggie had chosen a Saturday night, or rather, Sunday morning.  Between Donn’s drug (or perhaps substance abuse, he also used alcohol) use and sexual exertions on the previous evening he was thoroughly exhausted.  Besides he had just arrived home and virtually collapsed on his cot.  This evening though Maggie had quietly said through the door:  ‘It’s me, Eddie.  Ed Spingold.’  The name hadn’t registered in Donn’s disorderly mind.  Even if it had he would have arrogantly dismissed him.  As it was he testily said: ‘I don’t a give a f- who you are.  It’s three o’ clock in the morning.  Get the f- out of here.’

     Maggie thought that Donn owed him at least to open the door, admit him and then courteously explain his incapacity.  Donn, on his part, knew that once in it was impossible to get one out.  Maggie had taken the slight badly.  He had begun to plot  revenge as he turned from the door.  He was a powerful man; his resources were many.  Donn would find a surprise in his emails on his return from the Westside Ladies, while his response from the women would be out of synch with his previous experiences.

page 6.

     But for now he entered his apartment in breezy spirits to hurriedly don his Classical Donn attire.  He quickly grabbed a black gabardine suit and threw it on the cot.  He plopped his patent leather pumps on the floor while seizing a pair of hose to replace his socks.  The hose were a most elegant sheer black nylon that rose over his calf to rest just below the knee.  He quickly rolled the tops down, washed his face, splashing it with Royall Spice after shave to please the ladies.  He changed into a white shirt draping a red paisley tie around his neck as he suited up.  His Windsor knot was fine but not impeccable as he closed the door behind him.

     Unbeknownst to Donn Maggie Spingold had placed him on the blacklist.  Naturally any society denies the existence of a blacklist but only a fool takes such denials at face value.  Previously all doors had been open and all welcomes for Donn had been warm if not hot.  Now the ponderous machinery of society was being activated to exclude him.  Donn found fewer Westside Ladies in attendance than he expected.  Many of the leading lights were missing leaving him to address secondaries and fillers.

     Donn knew next to nothing about classical music and even less of its history.  Today his address contained banalities about the aging of the old guard soloists and the lack of emerging new performers.  Usually he was met by rapt attention as his good looks, fine presence and prepossessing form solicited, but today two of the ladies coughed continuously while one in the back row, where those in front couldn’t see her, stifled yawn after yawn repeatedly.  In their way they were breaking up the lecture, a little more politely than the Communists used to do to the Fascists and vice versa.

page 7.

     Donn was puzzled but he finished his lecture and opened the discussion.  After a rude comment from the yawner, Peggy Belton had, not so much a question but a point.

     If Donn knew little about Classical music, with a couple exceptions, his auditors knew even less.  Classical music is less a group of afficionados than a cultural club.  The classics represent a social ideal to them of cultural superiority rather than musical appreciation.  Most have never heard of, say, Buxtehude, Fux or Hummel and for that reason would never buy a record of their compositions.  The average classicist has heard of little but the three Bs.

     Most of them think that Chamber music is a form like a fugue or a sonata; nor can they be educated except by an authority figure.  Peggy Belton was at the bottom of this class.

     She began:  ‘Donn.  Donn.  Tell me, what can you do about this horrible man, Dewey Trueman?’

     As the question was so inappropriate Donn had to stifle a laugh.

     ‘Dewey Trueman? Dewey Trueman?  Do you mean that fellow who runs that record store downtown, Peggy?  That Dewey Trueman?’

     ‘Yes!  That’s him.  The very one.  What are you going to do about him?’

page 8.

     ‘Well, but, Peggy, what does he have to do with the old guard or emerging talent?’

     ‘That’s just it.  I bought a record in there two weeks ago by the classical composer, Ludwig Beethoven.  Have you heard of him?  He’s a wonderful composer.  I hope he writes lots more.  And I bought his Seventh Symphony.  It was a faulty recording.  I still have it because that man wouldn’t give me my money back.’

     ‘Beethoven wouldn’t give you your money back, Peggy?’

     ‘No, not Beethoven.  Stop your giggling girls.  Dewey Trueman wouldn’t give me my money back.  He told me that’s how it’s supposed to be.’

     ‘How’s that, Peggy?’

     ‘Well, first off the music is terribly noisy like Mr. Beethoven would never have composed it.  Then, you know what?  It starts off really quietly than builds up until it’s just terribly deafening then all of a sudden it gets real quiet again.  One can’t even listen to it.  Do you know what that man said when I took it back to him?  He said that those were crescendoes and dimuendoes and that was the way Mr. Beethoven intended it.  He must have thought I’m totally ignorant because he was smiling all the time.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  I want my money back and I want to know what you’re going to do about this Trueman fellow?’

     Most of the women were giggling in their handkerchiefs.  Some covered up their mirth by saying:  ‘That terrible man.  That terrible man.’  Donn hadn’t actually listened to the Seventh as it is one of Beethoven’s least popular symphonies so he had little idea what Peggy was talking about.  Taking his cue from the others he pretended to stifle his mirth.

page 9.

     As the question really called for no discussion of the Seventh he attacked this fellow Trueman, who was littled loved by the Daily Assassin as he didn’t advertise in it.  Donn had previously written an article deploring Trueman’s classical selection as being too large to examine while extolling the other store for having ‘manageable’ selections.

     ‘Well, there’s little we can do directly to that fellow you mentioned Peggy, but I can assure you that everything is being done indirectly that can be.  All I can advise you to do is not to purchase from him again and maybe he’ll go back to wherever he came from, if any will actually claim him.  Hopefully that place is not on this planet.’

     ‘Yes, but Donn, he’s got the best selection of classical music in town.’

     ‘Yes, Peggy, but its very virtue is its defect.  Its size is just too unmanageable for the average intellect.  So that’s my advice, shop elsewhere.’

     As there were no further questions and someone had forgotten refreshments the meeting dispersed.  It was mid-afternoon when Donn returned to his apartment to find a new message on his computer.  Having lost his pop music position he was now suspended as classical reviewer.  He was ordered to report to Mingo Miybriy immediately.

     ‘Tomorrow will be soon enough.’  Donn said to himself as he flopped down on his cot to mull over the significance of the message.

page 10.

     II.

     …all of them, like children of the night,

everywhere wild, everywhere lost,

everywhere loveless, faithless, homeless.

All with some terrible flaw

Against which even nature rebelled.

-John Clellon Holmes, ‘Go.’

     Maggie Spingold was a powerful man.  He was a vindictive man.  He avenged anything that he considered a slight.  He was open to affronts, encouraged them, invented them when they weren’t there.  He never acknowledged an alleged affront or slight or openly complained.  He never openly avenged an alleged affront, imitating his god he worked in mysterious ways.

     When Donn refused him admittance at three in the morning this was what he considered not only a slight or an affront but a violation of homosexual law, of which it was the last.  For him to offer his love was, in his mind, a gift of incomparable, not value, but worth.  Its refusal was incomprehensible and subject to stern judgment with no remission of mercy.  Donn was to get the back of Maggie’s left hand.

     Donn’s dismissal from his duties as pop critic was merely the first of a series of steps of increasing severity.  All events are foreshadowed.  Had Donn perceived his reception by the Westside Ladies correctly he might just as well have left town then.

page 11.

     As it was he got up the following morning.  Ten o’ clock sharp found him climbing the third floor stairs to Mingo’s corner office looking out at the University.  Normally there was little delay in his getting access to Mingo.  Today at eleven-thirty he was just getting up to leave when Mingo breezed into the ante-room in that pert assertive manner that ‘strong’ women then used as though she were just getting into the office.

     ‘Hi, Mingo.  You wanted to see me?’

     ‘Donn.  Donn Contrales.’ Mingo said as though he had returned after a long absence which was not far from the truth.

     ‘How long have you been waiting?’

     ‘Oh, hour and a half, Mingo.’

      ‘Gary,’ Mingo said to her Black male secretary, ‘why did you leave Donn sitting there like that.  You knew I would’t be in till now.’

     Gary smiled and shrugged his shoulders.  All three knew that Mingo was prevaricating.  When Gary had flashed her that Donn was about to leave she had slipped out the other door of her office to enter the anteroom.

     ‘No harm done, Mingo.  What was it?  Just that I’m fired?’

     ‘Step into my office Donn, it’s more serious than that.’

     Donn was intent on Mingo as they spoke, he didn’t notice that her other door was ajar.  Behind the door, listening gleefully was Maggie Spingold.  He wanted the fruits of this stage of his revenge.

     Mingo reached into her lap drawer, picked up a little folded packet and flipped it across the desk at Donn.

page 12.

     ‘What’s this, Donn?’

     Donn was mystified.  He’d never seen it before, he was canny enough not to pick it up.  But he did recognize what it was.

     ‘I don’t know, Mingo.  What is it?’

     ‘By the way Donn, don’t be so familiar.  Call me Ms. Miybriy.’

     ‘Am I fired?’  Donn asked.

     ‘Yes.’  Mingo sniffed.

     ‘Then, Mingo, I’ll call you what I please.’  Donn said asserting his independence.

     ‘Open it up, Donn.’

     ‘Mr. Contrales to you Mingo, and no, I’ve never seen it before.  I don’t know what it is.  What is it?’

     ‘For someone who’s never seen it before, it came out of your desk.’

     ‘Whether it did or didn’t, my desk is in the newsroom.  It’s accessible to anyone.’

     ‘That happens to be a packet of cocaine, Donn.  It came out of your desk.  We know you use it and sell it.  We believe you left it in your desk by mistake.’

     Donn saw through the set-up.  They weren’t going to get him on this one.

     ‘You can believe what you want Mingo, but I didn’t put that packet in my desk and you can’t prove I did.  Besides since you just handled it it’s got your fingerprints on it.’

     Mingo blinked realizing her error but continued on doggedly:  ‘The circumstantial evidence is strong against you Donn.’

page 13.

     ‘You may have circumstantial evidence but not against me, Mingo.  I saw you take that packet out of your drawer, not mine.  That’s all the circumstantial evidence I see.  I have no reason to believe that was ever in any drawer but yours.  You have no evidence against me.’

     Maggie coughed on the other side of the door as a signal for Mingo to give it up.  Donn leaped to his feet to pull open the door.  As he grabbed the knob he heard the outer door in the room slam.  By the time he got that door open the hallway was clear.  When he tried to reenter Mingo’s office he found the door locked.

     He stormed around to the anteroom only to find that door locked with Gary staring through the glass door at him placidly.  There was nothing for it but to make a fool of himself or leave quietly so he left quietly.  He passed two police officers on the way down the steps who had been called in anticipation of the arrest.

     The fact of the matter was that the seventies were over.  The eighties had begun.  AIDS had put a scare into the hard partying orgiastic homosexual community.  The large orgies were being discontinued, the bathhouses were closing down.  Consequently consumption had fallen.  The wide open drug dealing of the seventies had suddenly become conspicuous.  The loading dock station of the Daily Assassin had been discontinued.  Maggie had had shares in the traffic.  The station had received some notoriety.  The thought was to give the police some credibility by breaking up that ring.  Donn was to have been the scapegoat.  There would have been no end of ‘witnesses’ and plenty of ‘evidence.’

page 14.

     Maggie had been disappointed by Donn’s unexpected presence of mind but he was a resourceful man.  He knew more tricks than Houdini.  Before he played his next card however he gave Donn three or four months to suffer.  Needless to say there was no job in Portland for Donn save menial tasks.  Actually there was nothing comparable in Donn’s mind for  what he had lost.  The only suitable job in his mind was as a TV news anchorman.  He probably would have made a good one too.  He had the looks, he had the style.  Obviously he couldn’t get in.

     Cocaine dealing was off limits to him now and not knowing what else to do he began living off his savings.  Pride kept him from the unemployment line.  As always a capable wheeler dealer he was able to score a couple of deals.  But as the slander machine got into high gear he found those opportunities dry up.

     Doors closed all over town.  Having lost his status he lost his immunity.  He began to have flat tires on that wonderful Porsche.  His windshield was cracked.  Ordinarily he would have had it replaced immediately, now he was compelled to drive around advertising his shame.

     Other homosexuals who remembered him from his high flying days spat at his feet continually.  He was slammed into from behind only to turn and find no one there.  Guys shoulder jousted him on the street trying to pick a fight.  No more love bumps.  Donn wasn’t used to it.  He didn’t know what it meant to be an outlaw.  His confidence began to disintegrate.  He took to walking defensively.  With these evidences of malaise Maggie chose to strike his killer blow.

page 15.

      All events cast a shadow before them if one can only recognize it.  At three o’ clock in the morning Maggie knocked on Donn’s door.  Donn who hadn’t been sleeping well lately was lying on his cot, head deep in his pillow scowling at the ceiling.  At the sound of the first rap he raised his head to scowl at the door wondering who in the heck that could be. 

     ‘Who is it?’ He said through the door.

     ‘It’s I.’  Maggie said expecting Donn to recognize his voice from their last encounter months before.

     ‘Who the hell is I?’  Donn said irritably.

     ‘Me.  Ed.’ Maggie said pointedly, in his mind, dropping the diminuitive to indicate to Donn that they were no longer on intimate terms.

     ‘Ed, who?’  Donn demanded crossly.

     ‘Ed.  Ed Spingold.’  Maggie said indignantly.

     This time Donn thought he had better open the door.  They had never actually met except for the love bump, but by now Donn understood who Maggie Spingold was.  He was sorry he hadn’t let Maggie in the last time.

     Maggie stepped into the apartment like a Captain stepping aboard ship, with a deprecatory nod at Donn.  Donn flicked on the light to reveal Maggie in all his splendor.  Maggie was prissy edging toward precious in his appearance and mannerisms.  He was sixty years old at this time.  His golden hair had thinned uniformly so that standing close one could see through the sparse follicles but from a few feet away his hair looked more full.  While Maggie was thin his face had the sallow soft pudginess of the aging homosexual.  It would be wrong to say he had jowls yet there was a perceptible sag to his cheeks.  His nose was straight and moderately fleshy.  His pursy mouth had a pronounced red-black color.  His face was powdered slightly, no lipstick.

page 16.

      A vain man, Maggie   had a wardrobe two or three times as extensive as Donn’s huge collection of clothes.  Maggie shopped all the clothiers from Rome to Beverly Hills.  Today he was wearing an outfit from a now defunct clothier in Beverly Hills by the name of Eric Ross.  His personal salesman, Bonford, had put him in a fitted jacket with brass buttons.  Bonford had described the color of the jacket as ‘aubergine.’  Aubergine is an eggplant but the color was not so purple, more of a medium burgundy.  He had a light grey shirt with a cream colored tie.  Tan gabardine pants.  His shoes were a peculiar combination of styles, loafers with tassels with a wing tip.  Maggie must have wished to project a hard and soft image at the same time.

     As he didn’t wish to disfigure his appearance with unsightly bulges he carried his personal effects in a little leather pouch.  He bent his little finger through the strap loop, holding the bag in his right hand just below his heart.

     Maggie coldly appraised the room.  This was not the first time he had been in it.  In fact he was intimately familiar with it.  He had a key.  While Donn was out he had often come to lounge around the apartment lovingly touching each thing.  He had even put on Donn’s underwear so that a part of his essence would be next to Donn’s private parts.  He knew the computer, the records, the video on Donn’s TVs.  He had even discovered a dark secret beneath Donn’s pile of undershorts.  His love had compelled him to even make excuses for that even though he had misunderstood its meaning.

page 17.

     They stood eyeing each other; Donn with a cold hostility at being disturbed at three by a man who Donn’s sixth sense told him boded him no good;  Maggie with the hot indignation and hatred of a scorned lover whose sense of majesty had been offended.  Maggie could never forgive Donn for having turned him away.  Turned him away not only against the rules of homosexual mores but he, Edward G. Spingold, the self-proclaimed  Magus, a scion of the House of Judah and a power in the Old Boy Network.  In a word, the prize queen of his the subculture.

     He carried a book under his arm as a gift for Donn.  He presented it.

     ‘What’s this?’  Donn asked.

     ‘That’s a copy of a book you should be acquainted with.  It’s by a Frenchman.  Jean Genet.’

     ‘Our Lady Of The Flowers?’  Donn read the title uncomprehendingly.

     ‘Yes.’ Maggie went on.  ‘It’s about his prison adventures.  You may be able to put it to good use.’  He finished with a sly wink.

     ‘What’s that to me?’  Donn replied blinking uncomprehendingly.

     ‘Oh well, it’s about his gay adventures too.’

page 18.

     There was something in Maggie’s manner that irritated Donn.  Without making a move his posture gave the impression that he was about to slug Maggie.  Acting solely on intuition Maggie stiffened, standing erect, chin out to receive the blow like a true masochistic martyr.

     Had Donn punched him it would have changed the course of events for punching is a surrogate for intercourse.  Maggie would have forced a spat but their relationship would have been cemented.  Maggie would have thought Donn cared and further that he was a real man.  But Donn knew who Maggie was.  Fear of his power made Donn hold his punch.  The initiative passed to Maggie.

     He chose a pompous, almost irrelevant lecture as a response.  America is a lawless society.  The only law is satisfying one’s desires at any cost.  Yet in some zany way the law is revered.  Maggie had interpreted Donn’s desire to hit him as the resort of the lawless.  This set him off on a lecture in which he made a lengthy quote from the autobiography of Ralph Chaplin.  Why he would have bothered to memorize it is anybody’s guess.  He said to Donn:  ‘You know Donn, the law is a valuable thing as well as a sacred thing.  We Jews know that only by curbing our instincts that a better society can be created.  Thus we hedge all our actions by the 613 prescriptions of the Law.  Even your people have belatedly realized this.  Let me quote to you from the autobiography of Ralph Chaplin:  ‘Remember the old days, when we talked so much about freedom?’  Bugs asked me.  ‘Well we had freedom on that Godforsaken Metacombe- freedom from everything but our own cussedness.  It added up to something that we didn’t like and couldn’t take.  This is how it happened.  We received our regular checks from the government and, having nothing to buy with our dough, we gambled.  There was no law, no church, no jail.  We even refused to build our own latrines.  We were free men- rebels, by God!  Soon menial work was beneath our dignity.  We got into the habit of fighting after dice and card games, first with our fists, afterwards with clubs or knives.  Killing became common.  No one’s life or money was safe.  Prostitutes from the islands, greedy for our dough, swarmed in upon us.  After that we fought over women.  There were more killings.

     When the hurricane reached us, some were glad; others didn’t give a damn.  They were too far gone with rotgut booze and syphilis.  Maybe it’s better to live under the laws of God and man, after all- what do you think?’

     ‘Well, what do you think, Donn?’

     ‘What?  What’s all that supposed to mean, Ed?  I don’t even know who the hell this Ralph somebody is.’

     ‘You don’t get it?  Well, show me around then.’  He commanded.  Maggie’s brain was filled with a vision of a perfect world governed by the laws which he himself was incapable of observing.

     ‘Well, look left and right, it’s a small place, Ed.’  Donn said standing in his T-shirt and shorts.

     This was no answer to Maggie who had on previous occasions spent more than an hour over each item let alone making a tour of the apartment.

     ‘No, Donn.  Show me around.’

page 19.

     ‘W-well, Ed.  This is it.’  Donn stammered mystified.

     ‘No.  Start with the computer and show me around.’

     Donn moved hesitantly to the computer.  Looking at Maggie intently and uncertainly he said:  ‘This is my computer.’

    ‘Do you like it?’

     ‘Oh yes, very fine.’  Donn said moving to the stereo and records in response to Maggie’s indication.

     ‘Uh, Ed.  This is my stereo and records.’

     ‘Do you have any favorite songs?’  Maggie asked severely, aware of the answer.

     ‘Yes.  Several.’  Donn replied moving toward the bathroom door.

     ‘No.  I mean what is your favorite song.  Don’t you like something called Interstellar Overdrive by Pink someone?

      ‘Y-yes, I do.’ Donn said surprised that Maggie would know.

     ‘Play it for me.’  Maggie commanded.

     Watching Maggie intently Donn selected the record and moved the needle over to the last cut.

     Maggie nodded approvingly.

     ‘What kind of video do you have on your TV set?’  Maggie asked coyly.

     ‘Oh, nothing really.’  Donn evaded.

     ‘Turn them on.’  Maggie commanded.

     Donn snapped the living room TVs on.

      ‘All of them.’  Maggie said forgetting himself as he moved into the bedroom while his eyes filled with tears and a pout took possession of his face.

page 20.

     He thought forlornly about things that could no longer ever be.

     Donn was very surprised that Maggie knew he had four TVs but it was possible that he had seen them as he looked around the apartment.  While Donn was flipping on the TVs Maggie walked over and  fingered the support of the cot that hid Donn’s stash.

     ‘Hmm.  Looks a little worn here.’ He said musingly, concealing a threat.

     Donn looked around sharply, alarmed.  Then as he looked at the cot the support did look a little worn.

     ‘Um, yeah, the cot fell apart a couple times.  I’ve been meaning to get a new one.’

     Donn paused a moment looking at Maggie, then he shrugged:  ‘Well, Ed, what do you want?’  Donn meant what kind of sex.

     ‘Do I want?’  Maggie replied.  ‘I want nothing.  What do you want?’

     ‘Well, Ed, when somebody comes by at three in the morning…’

     ‘It’s not the first time I’ve been here at three in the morning.  Do you have time for me today?  You didn’t before.  Do you think I’m some tramp, or whore who show’s up at men’s doors begging for sex?’

     ‘Oh, no.  Of course not, Ed.  I never thought that.  It’s just that I’d just got home.  I was out all night.  I was hung over and exhausted.  I wouldn’t have been any good anyway.’

     ‘You should let me be the judge of that.’  Maggie said, his voice quivering, his cheeks shaking and tears beginning to run down his nose.

page 22.

     Donn reached out to draw him to himself but Maggie petulantly twisted away like a sixteen year old girl.

    ‘No.  It’s too late now you bastard.  When I wanted you you didn’t even have the time of day for me.  I wanted to be in your arms and listen to the night.  I thought you had certain charms and I thought the time was right but you couldn’t spare me a little, not even a little bit of your love.  Maggie sobbed, closely following the the lines of a song he had heard only once and with divided attention.  Remarkable.  ‘Now, you’re going to be sorry for it.  You’ll come to me on bended knees before it’s all over and beg my forgiveness.’

     Then with all four TVs silently simulating fellation on their screens to the sounds of Interstellar Overdrive Maggie marched out slamming the door behind him.

     Donn was astounded.  Now thoroughly awake he knocked the cot apart to get his cocaine.  He sniffed a couple lines spending the rest of the night sitting before his computer staring out the window for the rising sun wondering what it was all about.  The next day would be the first day of the rest of his life.

     Half dazed and uncertain of what he was doing Donn finally got out of his apartment at ten.  As his head was still swimming from the visit of Maggie he decided to walk over to the University Station for his mail.  Donn kept a box as he didn’t want anyone to know his address.

     Donn wouldn’t have noticed them anyway but in his condition he was totally oblivious to everything.  But if had been aware he would have noticed the plain clothes police in the lobby.  As usual they stood out like sore thumbs wearing their clothes like disguises peering out from their skulls as through bushes.

page 23.

     Donn grabbed his mail.  As he did so the clerk said:  ‘Oh, Donn, we’ve got a package for you.’

     Donn went to the counter absent mindedly taking the plain manila envelope with no return address tucking it under his arm.

     ‘You’re under arrest.’  One of the cops said taking him by the arm.

     ‘Under arrest?’  Donn said.  ‘For what?’

     ‘For this.’  The officer said tearing open the envelope to show Donn a child pornography video and a child snuff film.

      Donn’s being sank to his shoes.  He actually did turn a whiter shade of pale.

     ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I didn’t order those.’

     ‘Tell it to the judge, my boy.  Come on, we’re going downtown.’

     Once again Maggie was placed advantageously to watch Donn booked and jailed.

     ‘The ignominy is yours, you bastard.’  He thought, thinking how he had transferred his shame at being refused back onto Donn.

     Donn spent the night in jail.  He was released the next day on his own recognizance to find a lawyer.

     Dazed and wearied by the preceding events Donn forewent climbing the stairs two at a time as was his wont standing disconsolately in the elevator instead.  As he emerged from the elevator he was stunned to see his apartment door standing open.  Already dazed, his mind reeled as with churning stomach he entered his apartment.  The police would blame it on ‘vandals.’  All of Donn’s possessions had been destroyed.  His TV screens had been broken out.  His computer looked as though it had been hit with a sledge.  His records had been overturned spreading across the room.  The Pink Floyd record was on the turntable but neat little crosses had been ingrained with a chalky substance at precise intervals which made the cut unplayable.

     As he entered the bedroom he noticed a scorched band across his wardrobes.  Perversely it was all wearable but with the equivalent of a black armband on the exposed sleeve indicating that he was a dead man.  His shoes had been broken.  His cot too had been smashed.  The end stood loose, the cap of this stash projected.  But when Donn withdrew it it was empty.

     Then Donn saw the secret that had been hidden under his undershorts.  It was a picture of Adolf Hitler.  It was lying on the floor with a knife driven through the nose at precisely the place Donns penis would have been as he lay on the cot.

     Donn was mystified.  It seemed like a strange thing to do.  Maggie who had desecrated what had formerly been a shrine to him had completely misunderstood the significance of the picture.  He, of course, attributed the possession of the photograph to anti-Semitism.  Like all Jews he exaggerated the thought gvien to Jews by the goyim.  Actually Donn never thought of Jews.  He was unaware even that Maggie was a Jew.  While Hitler stood as the symbol of the anti-Semite to Maggie, to Donn he was the symbol of the god of destruction representing the turmoil in Donn’s own soul.  Hitler represented to him the ability to destroy the world that had destroyed him.  So Donn in the nether reaches of his mind wished destruction on those who had made him what he was.  There was no vengeance for that too awful.

page 25.

     Donn’s rape by his uncle had completely destroyed his self-respect.  It had meant the destruction of his world forever.  It stood as comparable in his mind to the saturation bombing of Hamburg or Dresden.  After his rape his soul resembled to him the shattered and twisted rubble of Europe after the Nazi defeat.  Donn’s soul thrilled at the notion that Hitler had had Paris wired to be blown to bits.  He was glad the order hadn’t been carried out but in his mind’s eye he could see Paris in ashes.  It was this about Hitler that thrilled him.  The man had almost done it his way.  He had almost overturned the evil that the world had placed on him.  And he was doing it in a constructive way by ridding the world of Communism.  Failing that he had wreaked havoc on those who had wreaked havoc on him.  It would have been so easy for them to go along with his plans in the East. How perverse France, England and the US must have seemed to him.  It was that in Hitler that Donn appreciated, revered, adored.  That he kept Hitler’s picture under his undershorts was no coincidence.  No more a coincidence than that Maggie should find the picture as he chose a pair of Donn’s shorts to put next to his weenie.  The connection between the penis and the brain is a mysterious one.

 page 26.

     Thus Maggie, to whom the rest of mankind was inconsequential, saw in Hitler only the instigator of Jewish destruction.  Even though Maggie shared Donn’s innate fear and loathing, he was able to turn the destruction of his people to a sort of positive use while Donn suffered only its negative effects.

     Dumbly, acting instinctively he released the picture from its pinion to destroy it before the police arrived.  The police had only shrugged when they arrived, for what could they do as they said.  Under the best of circumstances they stood little chance of locating the culprits; now to do so would be inconsequential. 

     Closing the door behind them, Donn stretched wearily on the canvas of his army cot on the floor, pushing the stuffing back into the slashes on his pillow, he flipped it over and lay down his weary head.

     God, he thought, what did I do wrong?

     Donn’s life had been completely shattered.  His mind reeled beneath the blows coming from whence he knew not.  For the nonce he couldn’t imagine who had set him up with the child pornography.  He could understand how the goods may have been sent in his name by anyone but he couldn’t understand the knowing leer on the face of the clerk or the presence of the police.

     He would have lain around in his despair for weeks but the pressing need to find a lawyer to keep himself out of jail drove him from the apartment.  The days were reaching their apex in length as he went forth.  He knew Jerry Lang of Lang, Ingalls, Adams, Rank and Smith.  Lang’s was one of the most prestigious firms in the city.  Donn knew the importance of image, he had no desire to go to some unafilliated ‘nice guy.’

page 27

     The receptionist’s smile turned to a frown as the reply came back from Jerry Lang.  She coldly motioned Donn to a seat saying the Mr. Lang would be out shortly.  Donn wasn’t used to the freeze out.  Within five minutes he was on his feet.

     ‘Which one is Jerry’s office, I’ll just pop in.’

     ‘When Mr. Lang is ready he will come for you.’  The receptionist said coldly, aw heck, icily.  ‘Please remain in your seat.’

     ‘Oh, Jerry and I are friend…’ He began.

     The receptionist pointed coldly to the chair.

     Time passed slowly.  Rebuffed again after fifteen minutes Donn thought to storm out but then the numbing realization of his predicament robbed him of volition.  He sat and sat.  After a full hour Lang strode into the waiting room with that solicitous, overly sympathetic manner of the put-on artist.  He was a consummate lawyer.

     ‘Sorry to keep you waiting Donn buddy, but I…well, you know?  What can I do for you Donn?’  He said with the air of one who already knows the situation as he slid behind his desk.

     As was usual in knowledgeable attorney’s offices he had one chair beside him behind the desk and another chair in front of his desk.  Normally he would offer his client the choice of either.  If the client took the confidential chair beside him then the interview would be conducted in a more sympathetic manner; if the client took the confrontational chair opposite him the interview would be more businesslike.

     Donn didn’t know the protocol but it didn’t matter, Lang motioned him into the confrontational seat.  Donn’s problem, which was news in Lang’s circle, was already a hot topic with him.  Maggie had spread stories of Donn’s TVs so that Lang was predisposed by these rumors.  Donn wasn’t aware of how the Networks actually operated even though he had been a peripheral of them.

page 28.

     ‘I’ve got a serious problem.’  Donn began.  ‘I was arrested two days ago.  I was charged with receiving child pornography through the mail.’

     ‘Really?  What kind of pornography?’

     Donn frowned and winced, ‘Child snuff films.’

     ‘You mean the kind where they actually kill children before the cameras?’

     Donn nodded yes.  He shouldn’t have.  He didn’t know what was on those videos.  He had never seen them.  He hadn’t even seen the titles or cover pictures as the envelope had been confiscated before he had had a chance to open it.  But as he knew what snuff films were he only assumed that that is what they were.  He’d temporarily forgotten Terry Roberts had gone to jail for ten years for buying baking soda.

     ‘Oooh, that’s very bad, Donn.’

     ‘Oh, hey, I didn’t do it.  You don’t think I’d do something like that?’

     ‘Well, it was mailed to you?’

     ‘Yeah, but anyone could do that.’

     ‘Yes, I know, but when we checked- nothing personal, but we’d have to investigate this thoroughly Donn- when we checked the manufacturer the next thing you know we’d have your credit card number and the order in your handwriting.’

page 29.

     ‘That’s impossible…’  Donn flustered.

     ‘Well, we’d have to see, Donn.  You know, this is not the kindof case I really like to handle, but I’d do it for you, Donn.  You know, they’ll want to make an example of you to stop this sort of thing.  They’re going to throw everything at you.  This is going to be very expensive.  I’d guess forty or fifty thousand dollars maybe more.  Possibly lots more.  Do you have that kind of money, Donn?  Can you give me a twenty thousand dollar retainer?’

     Donn very nearly went into shock.  His face drained of color as his jaw went slack.  He breathed stertorously as his head slowly wobbled back and forth in indicate, no.  The indication wasn’t even meant for Lang.  It was more like a silent scream for help.

     ‘Well then, Donn, I can’t help you.  I’d like to but I can’t.  I don’t work for nothing.’

     Lang held his open palm to the door showing Donn the way out.

     What the hell are friends for?  Donn thought as he stumbled out into the unseasonable ninety-eight degree heat.  He was about to learn the meaning of friendship.

     He had to control the feeling of convulsions as he the full nature of his predicament hit him.  Tens of thousands of dollars for something he hadn’t done?  Donn’s nervous agitation plus the heat soaked his clothes through.

     His body drained of strength.  His reflexes disappeared as he drove back to his apartment.  His ankles shook uncontrollably as he walked across the garage.  Unable to do the stairs even one at a time he rode the elevator.

page 30.

     His mail for the last couple days lay on his smashed computer unopened.  To allay his despair he picked them up.  The top piece was his Visa bill.  He remembered what Lang had said.  With bated breath he tore open the envelope.  And there…there before his eyes was the charge slip from Ace High Publications.  Someone had charged the videos to his account.  An involuntary sob broke from Donn’s chest as he reached for the phone book.

     He knew Don Barger who worked for Carter, Harley, Exner, Agatson, Turner and Snyder.  The firm didn’t have quite the same cachet as Lang’s and Barger wasn’t a partner but he was good.  Donn made an appointment.

     A microphone had already been concealed in the mouthpiece of Donn’s phone by Maggie.  It transmitted to a voice activated tape recorder in Maggie’s possession.  It not only recorded Donn’s phone conversations but picked up any conversation in the room or even any monologues Donn might have with himself.

     As in keeping with custom the receptionist took his name and number and advised that they would call him back.  The firm then checked around to find Donn’s status before they called him back.

     Thus that evening when Barger dined out with his family at the Multnomah County Country Club he happened to run into Maggie.  While it was common but unspoken knowledge that Maggie was a homosexual, Don Barger, in the obtuse socially acceptable manner was ignorant of the fact.  Barger was privately opposed to homosexuality.   As it was not politic to avow such an opinion he discreetly kept his silence.  He was also the father of a twelve year old girl and an eight year old boy.  He was frantic to protect them from baleful influences.  He was a sworn enemy of drug users and sex abusers.

page 31.

     In the course of their brief converstation Donn’s scandalous arrest was mentioned.  Maggie, who was aware of Don Barger’s opinions let out that Donn was a homosexual and the nature of the videos.  Barger’s smoldering reaction let Maggie know he had hit his mark.  Maggie bid him a pleasant goodnight.

     Donn never knew what hit him.  He was ushered right in but Barger had his arm up finger pointed toward the door before Donn had said a word, nor was he even offered the confrontational chair.

     ‘I’ve seen the arrest report.  I’ll need a retainer of fifty thousand dollars to handle the case.  You don’t have it?’  He said without pausing for an answer.  ‘Then I’m afraid I’ll have to bid you a good day.’

     Donn was dumbfounded.  Frozen in his tracks, his mind reeled.  He intuited the impossibility of finding decent representation even if he did have the money.

     He gasped:  ‘But I have to have representation.  How will I get it?’

     ‘I’d check our Charlie Pooter.’  Barger said.  ‘He may be able to do something for you.  Once again, good day.’  All the time with his finger pointing to the door.

page 32.

     Donn stumbled out of the office, down the hall and out before the elevators.  ‘Charlie Pooter?’ He thought.  Charlie Pooter?  That guy doesn’t even defend people, he just negotiates for the lowest possible sentence.’

     Indeed, Pooter for years had been taking the petty drug cases, guys busted for a joint or two or a gram or less.  It was agreed between he and the court that he wouldn’t defend his clients but settle for whatever sentence the judge wished to impose.  Now Donn was being shunted to him for sentencing.  Donn could see clearly which way the railroad ran.

     The elevator deaccelerated to stop with thump which was how Donn felt.  He’d hit bottom.  He stepped out of the elevator to cross the lobby.  As he approached the doors, as if by chance, Warren Mogulson accosted him.  Mogulson worked for the Assassin.  He was a nasty little man.  His brow was perpetually knitted in advance recognition of the little indignities the world would inflict upon him.  He carped at everything.  He began the next day’s griping in his dreams.  Sunny or wet, the day’s weather was a matter of grief to him.  His shorts were either too tight or too loose.  Living in a food paradise in which fresh strawberries were available six months of the year, frozen ones year round, Warren complained that there wasn’t an adequate choice of food.  He had a choice between range fed, corn fed, or chemically fed beef but he still beefed on endlessly.  Gripe, gripe, gripe, grind, grind, grind,gnash, gnash, gnash, endlessly, endlessly, endlessly.

page 32.

     His mind was tied in knots, none of his thoughts could proceed in a straight line.  He lived to inflict his grief on others.  Any little sneaky injury he could do, he did.  He did it for pleasure.  It was he that Maggie has used to place the cocaine in Donn’s desk.

     Maggie liked him.  They had somewhat the same conception of self.  They both had a prissy conception of being well dressed.  Warren wore high waisted pants with those belts of a matching fabric with the little brass grommets.  They both tried to wash their psychological dirt by being overscrubbed.  Warren usually made a good first impression.

     Today Maggie sent him to gather Donn’s reactions and intentions.

     ‘Oh, Donn, imagine meeting you here.  What are you doing these days…now that you’re no longer with the Paper.’  He couldn’t resist the dig.

     ‘I, oh, I, had to see someone.’  Donn said evasively trying to brush Mogulson off.  Donn had no use for him; being of a euphoric temperament himself Mogulson only brought him down.

     ‘I’ll bet I know.’  Warren burbled on.  ‘You were seeing a lawyer about that little trouble you had.’

     ‘Well, yeah, I…’ Donn began in a sickly troubled manner.

     ‘Come on, Donn baby, let’s go have a cup of coffee and get some of this off your chest.’  Warren always had more than enough time to glory in other people’s troubles.

     Donn wanted to split but unaccustomed to the pressure, he needed  to talk to someone.

page 34.

     ‘I didn’t do it.’  Donn said weakly as they walked up to the nearest national burger chain, which also passed for a restaurant.

     ‘Of course you didn’t, Donn.  At least you didn’t do anything wrong, at least I don’t think you did.  After all, it’s all genetics.  We’re only realizing our destiny.  Why shouldn’t it be filmed?  Don’t you just hate those homophobic bigots?  What right do they have to interfere in another man’s pleasures?  God knows those nasty heterosexuals have their faults.  They’re not perfect either.

     Don’t they know what damage they do to themselves when they repress genetic needs?  The fuss they make about eight year old boys realizing their destiny.  Don’t they know nature’s bounty?  There’s a million  more in the womb at any given time.  God!

     Warren was talking loudly so others could hear.

     He was trying to give Donn the character of a child abuser.  Those who heard would transfer his expressed sentiment to Donn.  Warren was talking sincerely for himself at the same time however.  As a pederast he favored young virgin boys.

     ‘I mean, after all, our third sex is genetic.  One is born a homsexual whether one realizes it or not.  A man’s real nature is imprisoned by a lot of blathering social expectations.  It’s part of the the heterosexual plot against us to keep us from realizing our true nature, from enjoying life as only we know how.

     After all, all we are doing is freeing the true child when we accept their love.  After all , isn’t freedom what America’s all about?  Freedom from that Medieval moral claptrap?  I liken it to sculpting.  I mean, how would anyone have even known those four presidents were concealed in Mt. Rushmore if they hadn’t been blasted out?  It’s like that marvelous sculpture of the Christ by Da Vinci in which the Christ in the stone is only half released.  The real man has to be full sculpted.  Why shouldn’t boys be affirmed in their true nature and be educated as one of their own sex.  The third sex.

page 35.

     I mean…’  Warren was capable of going on for hours in this manner but Donn interrupted him:  ‘Enough, Mogulson, enough.  Stop.  I don’t want to hear it.  Everybody is listening.’  Donn got up to leave, Warren pulled him back down.

     ‘Alright.  Don’t be rude.  So what are you going to do?

     Grief at his predicament overwhelmed Donn.  In a moment of anguish he made up his mind and blurted out his intention.

    ‘I don’t know.  I guess I have to leave town.  They’re going to put me in jail.’

     ‘When will you leave?’  Mogulson asked eagerly overjoyed at this success.

     ‘Right away.’  Donn said, wiping a tear away.  ‘I’ll leave tomorrow.’

     ‘Where are you going?’  Mogulson persisted.

     ‘Oh god, I don’t know.  Leave me alone, Mogulson, get away from me with your obscene chatter.’

     Warren scurried away with a hateful backward sneer at Donn.  He had partially succeeded, he could report back to Maggie that Donn was going to jump.  He smiled a smile of satisfaction at Donn’s discomfiture.

page 36.

     Dismissing Mogulson from his mind Donn raged over his legal predicament.  He was innocent of this charge but unable to defend himself for lack of cash.  Even then why should he have been required to spend cash, enormous sums, to clear himself.  Disco Donn Contrales who had never worried about fairness before lamented that it wasn’t fair.

     Well he had to leave, that was clear.  Perhaps if he were to be caught in another state, he thought, the evidence against him wouldn’t be so compelling; perhaps he could exonerate himself that way without the enormous expense.  But he didn’t want to be caught.  Too chancy, besides he knew these guys all hung together.

     With fair presence of mind he had withdrawn his savings of several thousand dollars issued in travelers checks.  He threw his credit cards away so his movements couldn’t be traced from them.  Then he went back to his apartment to pack his few undamaged belongings and rest.

     As the morning sun streamed through the window Donn had made up his mind to head North to Seattle to plan his further course.  In addition to his cash he still had his cosmic wheels, the Porsche, which he thought he would be able to sell for a good price if he ran out of money.  Such thoughts as renewing his expensive insurance in the future hadn’t occurred to him.

     Donn’s spirits lifted somewhat as he sat behind the wheel of his magnificent car that expressed less than the real Disco Donn Contrales as a specious imitation of him.  He threaded his way across town to take 205 at the Everett access.  His apprehension was acute as he joined I5 and inched along in the morning traffic toward the Interstate Bridge.  He scanned the highway for police constantly.  He felt a sense of relief as he touched down in Vancouver on the Washington side of the bridge.  The Vancouver traffic thinned out as he forced his way through North.  Then after Mill Plain he was able to open the throttle some until the open highway to Seattle beckoned.

page 37

III.

On The Road

 

Get your motor running,

Get out on the highway,

Born to be wild,

            Born to be wild.

Mars Bonfire

The highway is for gamblers.

-Bob Dylan

 

     The French homosexual, Marcel Proust, spent several thousand pages in an attempt to prove the superiority of homosexual lust over heterosexual love.  His thesis was that heterosexuals surrender their personalities to a lifelong bondage in exchange for doubtful sexual privileges while homosexuals retain full autocracy while satisfying their lust in brief encounters in back alleys or wherever convenient.

page 38.

     Proust was a great student of ritual.  He described with great clarity of detail the means and methods of homosexual encounters but he lacked psychological depth nor was he ever able to explain the origins of homosexuality.  In his eyes homosexuals lived carefree unfettered lives.  I’m sure homosexual marriage would have been incomprehensible to him.

     Disco Donn was now learning what the denial of one of those casual carefree encounters could mean.  Because of his denial of one such demand he was being pursued and driven to the depths of despair by a disappointed applicant.  Donn had known the law of the lawless brotherhood; open the door and assume the position.  He hadn’t the power to refuse while Maggie Spingold had the power to make him repent his arrogance.

     Now, behind the wheel of his  cosmic vehicle, his astral wheels, as he imagined, safe out of Oregon, Donn relaxed behind the wheel snuggling into his seat, lulled into a euphoric state by the exhilaration of his purring engine and the open road.  He didn’t notice the bear in the air keeping pace with his progress down the highway.  Washington at that time kept at least one helicopter patrolling I5.  One of these now followed Donn up the highway.  It was aided by the transmitter placed on the bumper by Maggie’s hitman.  A car trailed Donn about five miles back.  The car had a shortwave.  Its code name was Next Year.

     Donn’s agitation was slowly subsiding when a large blotch of crankcase oil spewed out behind the speeding Porsche.  With earsplitting noise the pistons cracked and shot out the block.  Donn’s astral wheels rolled to a stop right here on Earth.  They would never wheel him down the Betelgeuse Bridge no more.

page 39.

     The Bear transmitted the news to Next Year who pulled to a stop to receive further instructions.  Donn understood his situation immediately.  He had been sabotaged.  He no longer had transportation and his cash reserve was thereby destroyed.  He would have to leave many thousands of dollars on the apron of the highway.

     Men don’t cry and Donn didn’t, at least not externally.  Inwardly he spent five minutes in total grief before he got control of himself and disgustedly grabbed his bag to get out on the highway with his thumb out.  As luck would have it the car had coasted to as stop at the Mossyrock exit, US 12.

     Donn, who was faced with a quick decision abandoned his notion of going to Seattle preferring to get off the main highway.  He walked the offramp up to Twelve to stand in glum expectation of a ride.  Twelve isn’t the best hitchhiking road in America.  It leads across the Cascades between Mts. Ranier and St. Helens into the deserts of central Washington.  There was only one good highway across the state to Spokane and Idaho.  The only other good road led back to Oregon.   Donn didn’t know and he wouldn’t have cared if he had known.  His only thought at the moment was to avoid being picked up by the police.

     He thought he was being pursued.  In fact the charges would be quietly shelved.  Maggie’s objective had been attained.  A trial might possibly have exposed the frame which might lead to who knows where.  The police would not pursue Donn but his disappointed lover would.

page 40.

     There he stood in his grey silver toed boots, grey pants, waiter cut grey jacket, shades and grey flat hat.  Out of his element he cut a ludicrous comic figure by the side of the road.  He was oblivious of the fact.  Donn’s heart nearly stopped when a black Porsche identical to his own came off Interstate 5 to stop in front of him.   Maggie was truly vicious.  The door accommodatingly flew open.

     ‘Hop in.’  Said a smiling voice.

     ‘Yeah, thanks.’  Donn said.

     The shining Porsche splashed out on Twelve.  The driver smiled over at Donn.

     ‘You ever driven one of these?  Great car.  You’d love it.  Just point it in the direction you want to go and it’ll go there.  Incredible suspension.’

     ‘Yuh, I’ve ridden in one.’  Donn said ruefully.

     ‘I’m taking this little buggy to New York.  How far are you going?;

     Donn should have given an evasive or false answer but his hammered state of mind and joy at his luck prevented his seeing the obvious ruse.  He hadn’t known where he was going but with the prospect of a through ride things clarified themselves.

    ‘St. Louis.’  Donn said.

     ‘St. Louis?  No kidding?  How lucky can you get?:  Why St. Louis?  What are you going to do there?’

     ‘TV anchorman.’  Donn replied matter-of-factly not realzing how ludicrous that sounded coming from a hitchhiker in what now could be seen only as very eccentric garb.

     Donn, not yet used to his status of knight of the road, leaned back unaware of his preposterousness.  In any other driver it would have raised a smile but his host, the same as had been following him, Next Year, took it all in seriously as he was acquiring the information he had been sent to obtain.  It no longer made any difference what Donn did on his way to St. Louis, his reception would be prepared when he got there.  Nor is it likely that had there been an opening for a TV news announcer in St. Louis Donn would have been refused; he was good looking, confident and personable.  Personable to the extreme when he turned it on.

     The driver having now obtained the information he needed became amiable.  He and Donn got along famously.  The car climbed into the mountains, Ranier on the left, the stump of St. Helens on the right.

     The lake at Mossyrock slipped by as the afternoon warmth was negated by the air conditioning.  A few miles beyond Packwood the driver suddenly realized that he had failed to turn off the sprinkler.

     ‘Oh, damn, I’m going to have to go back to do that.’  The driver smiled ruefully at Donn.  ‘Sorry, buddy, you’ll have to get out.  Sorry ’bout that, old pal.’

     The car made a U leaving Donn by the side of the road away out there.  You don’t know how far out that is until you’re standing beside an inhospitable road with your thumb out.  The afternoon heat still shown on the mountain crests.  The scenery was stunning there in the woods, but Donn didn’t notice it.  He stared glumly up and down the road.  There isn’t that much traffic on Twelve and what there is is mainly short hops.

     The sun went down on Donn as he stood away out there, solitary, silent and glum.  When one wonders how alone you can get; Donn’s situation was a fair approximation.  No matter how hot the day it gets pretty cold up there at night.  The sparse traffic ceased completely.  Cold and disconsolate he shouldered his bag and started walking just to keep warm.

page 42.

     Donn’s boots weren’t made for walking.  It didn’t take long for his feet and legs to start howling.  In despair Donn threw down his bag, sat on it, put his head in his arms and roared and bellowed.

     He sat in the pitch black night for hours oblivious of time.  He heard the roar of an engine in the distance laboring uphill.  It sounded like a big eighteen wheeler, an old one.

     Even though the truck had been some distance away when he first heard it he had just gotten to his feet when its headlights penetrated the darkness of the uphill slope on which he stood.  Donn edged out into the roadway the better to be seen.  As luck would have it the driver was lonely and pulled to a stop.

     It was an old, old rig.  Not a cab over, its long snout protruded before the windshield.  It might have been a White or Mack but any identifying insignia had disappeared long ago.  The color was either rust or brown.  The driver was pulling two empty gravel bottoms.

     Donn gratefully leaped in.  Putting the truck through its innumerable gears the driver regained momentum.  The truck roared so loudly you couldn’t hear yourself think.  The driver wanted to talk.  Donn was obligated to do so.  Groggy from lack of sleep, exhausted by anxiety he tried to shout over the engine.  Unable to be heard he had to scream.

page 43.

     As the driver came down the mountain he let the big rig roll.  It was the most terrifying ride of Donn’s life.  The sides of the bottoms flapped and banged behind him.  The truck careened down the highway at breakneck speed seemingly pushed by the bottoms beyond anything but the driver’s ability to steer it.

     ‘How do you stop this thing if you have to?’  Donn screamed at the driver.

     ‘Don’t know.  Never had to.”  The driver shouted back with a complacent smile enjoying some kind of trucker humor.

     ‘Jesus.  Can’t.’  Thought Donn.

     Donn heaved a sigh of relief as the driver pulled over just after leaving the Douglas Wilderness Area to let him out.

     Beat and tired he stood by the side of the road trying to collect his thoughts.  Then he grimly realized where he was.  He was standing in this burning desert with the sun rising.  July in the desert is no picnic.  This was where the Wobblies had been packed into sealed rail cars in July to be transported hundreds of roasting miles across the central desert of Washington and Oregon.  They hadn’t had any water then; Donn hadn’t had anything to drink since noon the previous day.

     Hands on hips Donn stood looking up and down the highway kicking dust all over his beautiful grey boots with the silver plates.  Suddenly he realized how quickly one got seedy away out there.  His boots were dusty, his clothes rumpled.  By the end of the day he would be smelly, if he lived.  For the first time he realized how ridiculous his outfit was.  He wished he had regular clothes.  He looked around for some sign of running water but found nothing but scorched desert.

page 44.

     At ten he began to get uneasy.  At eleven, as the heat began to build he got desperate.  Just at that moment a car appeared in the shimmer to pull over.  It wasn’t a mirage.  The back door flipped open.  The car was an old jalop.  Some big huge sedan dating back to the thirties, possibly a Ford V8.  The car was enormously roomy.  Donn could stretch his legs all the way out without touching the front seat.  There was just enough room on the seat for him.  The other side was piled high with junk.

     Donn pushed his bag into it staring at the assortment of articles with wonder.  He had been engaged in this for two or three minutes when, mouth open, he turned his eyes forward.  His eyes were met by a ragged leering countenance.

     ‘Hi!  I’m Zadok, this here’s Amirah.  We’re Cristins.’  Zadok said from deep in his throat.  ‘How about you?’

     ‘I’m dying of thirst.  You wouldn’t happen to have a drink of water, would you?’  Donn croaked, holding out his hand in anticipation.

     ‘Water?  You need ‘living’ water.  All I gots still water.’  Zadok said meaning that he couldn’t give Donn the spiritual ‘living’ water of Jesus.  Donn thought he meant that he didn’t have carbonated Perrier.

     ‘That’s alright.  It’ll do.’  He said, motioning for the water.

page 45.

     ‘Hand me the water.  I’m dying of thirst.’

     Zadok paused then passed back a full half gallon jug.

     ‘Ya always gotta have this kinda water out here, especially further out, ya never know when ya might break down.’

     Donn gulped a couple slugs, skull aching from being up all night.  His feet were killing him.

     ‘Well?’  Zadok pressed.

     ‘Uh, oh yeah, excellent water.  Thanks.’  Donn nodded.

     ‘Well, ya gonna answer or not?’

     ‘Answer what?’  Donn said, having forgotten the question.

     ‘Well, you Christin’ or not?’

     Donn wobbled.  He hadn’t felt the need of the grace of god since perhaps he was twelve; on the other hand he had never formally rejected the notion of god in his mind.  He really didn’t know for sure in the circumstances.

    ‘Not a very devout one.’  He replied equivocally and prudently.

     ‘Well, ya better git devout.’  Zadok said thrusting his jaw at him.  ‘And right away.  Do ya know what’s gonna happen?’

     Donn will be excused for taking the sally as some kind of threat.  Actually Zadok was just a blunt speaker.  He and Amirah were pretty crude guys.  His speech concealed reams of suppositions and explanations left unspoken.  Donn not understanding the notions behind the question sat erect, compressed his lips and shook his head ‘no’ ready for anything.

     ‘He’s comin’ back real soon.  You’re gonna get left behind if ya don’t shape up.’

page 46.

     ‘Oh yeah, when?’  Donn said comprehending and disgusted at his momentary apprehension.

     ‘Real quick.’  Zadok said vaguely.  ‘Me’n Amirah here is real Bible students, we got it all figured out.  We got ourselfs a commune of like believers.  We live out in the Rattlesnake Hills where it is His comin’ back spot.  Wanna join our commune?’

     Both Amirah and Zakok were rough, mean, ignorant boys who kept moving from the center of society to the fringes.  Partially by inclination, partially because they were forced out.  They had had a fair chance, coming from the bottom half, but they wouldn’t take the chances offered them and they rejected the discipline necessary to take advantage of them.  Somehow they, or Amirah at least, had learned to read well enough to puzzle through passages of the Bible.  Apparently only a minimum reading skill is necessary.

     As they were unable to function in the complexities of society they had gradually found their way out into the desert when no one else wanted to be.  Each was convinced that he was destined to make a mark on the world.  Through movies and TV they projected themselves on all the leading tough guys and men of action.  Their lives were lived through a haze of movie euphoria.

     Along the way they had picked up several women by whom each had had a passel of children.  These plus a couple male hangers on formed their ‘commune.’

     These guys were rought tough men given over entirely to the gratification of their vices.  Interpreting the Bible in such a way that they personally had dominion over the beasts of the field and the birds of the air.  As the anointed of god all men, women and children were subject to their use and abuse.  Consequently they indulged their sexual fantasies with any of the women, children and men of the commune.  Zadok and Amirah were pretty vile guys.  But… Holy.

page 47.

     Donn had all the trappings of culture.  These guys revolted him.  He wasn’t afraid but he should have been more wary.  He decided to play with them.

     ‘Hey, Zadok, you know that you use ‘ain’t’ improperly?’

     ‘So!  I ain’t no snob.  So what?’

     ‘No. No.  I don’t mean you shouldn’t use ain’t; I mean you use ain’t improperly.’

     ‘What the hell you talkin’ about?  Ain’t’s aint.’

     ‘No, it ain’t.’  Donn sparred on.  ‘Ain’t is a contraction of am not.  Therefore it can properly be used in I ain’t but it is improper to say you, he, we or they ain’t.  Just a small point.  I thought you’d like to know.’

     Zadok and Amirah had no idea what Donn was talking about but any display of learning they didn’t have was a put down to them.

    ‘I told you so…’  Amirah whistled under his breath.

     Zadok nodded.  ‘Yeah?’  He said to Donn.  ‘Well argue with this son-of-a-bitch.’  Zadok snarled flopping a big .45 pistol over the seat back, cocking the hammer as he did so.

     Donn was from Texas.  He didn’t flinch.  This fact made a big impression on Zadok.

page 48.

     ‘Hey, put that thing down, man.  I was just trying to help.  It was just small talk.  Relax man.’

     ‘I’ll relax when a anti-Christ like you is outta my car.’

     ‘I heard that.’ Amirah said as he found a dirt road leading to god knows where.

     They had already gone through Yakima and were out on the Rattlesnake Hills road when they turned off.  They dropped off several miles out into the desert hills and left him.  Fortunately for Donn he held onto the water jug.  The sun was blazing down.  Donn decided to wait for nightfall to walk out.  He got down into the shade of an embankment and waited.

     By nightfall Donn, who had been dozing on and off was too weary to move.  He was too weary to make a decision so he sat there cold and miserable throughout the night.  It wasn’t sleep but it was rest.  He was alerted to the coming of day as the advance glow from the sun’s rays mingled with inspissated gloom of night.  The light particles increased in force lifting and driving away the darkness like fog being absorbed by the air as it warmed.

     Dispirited but thankful to be alive Donn finished off his still water, pushed himself to his feet and began the trudge back to the Rattlesnake Hills road;  fortunately he hadn’t encountered any rattlesnakes.

     Those boots troubled him mightily.  By the time he reached the road his feet pained him greatly.  Luck was with him this morning.  He had barely put his thumb out when a clean obviously well maintained but old car pulled over to offer him a ride.

page 49.

     ‘Terrible place to hitchhike son.  Whatever possessed you to take this road.  There ain’t nothing on it for fifty mile or more.  You could die out here easy.  This heat’n all, no water.’

     Donn sat there trying to come up with a plausible answer.

     ‘I don’t know.  I had a ride and this is just the place they dropped me off.’

     ‘Not very Christian folk were they?’  The driver, Al Martin, commented.

     ‘Well, they said they were, but I guess not.’  Donn smiled ironically.

     ‘You just goin’ up to the Tri-Cities?’  Al asked.

     ‘No. Further.’

     ‘Hmmm. You know why I stopped to pick you up, son?’

     ‘Christian charity, I suppose.’

     ‘That’s no joke, son, and that’s part of it.  No, there was just something about you that said you were a fine boy who’d had a streak of bad luck.  Am I right?’

     ‘I’m hardly a boy, sir.’  Donn responded somewhat testily.

     ‘Well, son,  I’m seventy-six years old and I hope you’ll allow me some of my fantasies I’ve entertained since I was a boy.  I always wanted to be kind and fatherly.’

     ‘Oh yeah, sure.’

     ‘You look pretty beat.  You look like you could use a break today.  I got a place up here in Eureka, that’s on the other side of the junction with the Snake.  You can stay for the night, clean up, get some rest if you like.’

page 50.

    Go to continuation at Part II-2, Disco Donn Demands Deliverance.

    

 

This is the story of Disco Donn.  The story take place in the late seventies.  Today is 5/17.  I put up ten pages a day so the story will take about 25 days to put up.  Read along or wait.

Two Episodes In The Life Of Disco Donn

by

R.E. Prindle

Table of Contents

1.  Disco Donn Does Deep Elum.  20 pages.

2.  Disco Donn Demands Deliverance 200 pages.

I.

Disco Donn Does Deep Elum

Interstellar Overdrive

Pink Floyd

Ain’t it the truth,

It’s a fool’s game.

Steve Harley

     Come see.  The night was dark; the city was not.  The night was also stormy, but it was the mild off again, on again drizzle that descends in a gentle fine mist from the solid overcast skies of Portland, Oregon.

     The lights of the city pitched up against the low hanging clouds reflecting back again in a red infernal like haze.  The moon was yellow but it was above the clouds where no one could see but the passengers on the big jetliners cruising along at eight miles high.

     Contributing to the light storm of Portland was the giant light frieze of Disco Deep Elum deep in Goose Hollow.  A score of phantom dancers depicted in tens of thousands of colored light ball gyrated back and forth in simulated ecstasy, their electric spirits undampened by the laughing rain.

page 1

     Beneath them on the glittering pavement live partyers flowed toward this great sybaritic church dedicated to sexual gratification.  In imitation of Hollywood, Sid Epstein, the impressarion had pressed his hands, feet and nose into the concrete.  The DJs had done the same, some substituting lips and suggestive drawings for Sid’s use of her nose with the two little lines next to it.  So far none of the citizenry  had been coaxed to leave an indelible record of their existence on Planet Earth as Sid and the others hoped.

     Goose Hollow had at one time been one of the loveliest areas of Portland but 26 had sliced it in two with its six lanes of asphalt elevated above the Hollow’s floor.  What was left was a ruin in which on the West side up against the reservoir sat Disco Deep Elum.  If one had been sitting on the dam of the reservoir looking down into the service area behind Deep Elum one would have seen how some of the other half passed their leisure time.

     For there lounging among the garbage cans were some eight or nine young men; hommies, just thoroughly beaten up hommies, guys who got their kicks through fatal crashes, mass murders and the like.  There among the dented cans, the fetid smells, the little puddles that might at one time have been water, probably something else now, they stood idly far from each other, jealously incommunicative, sullenly waiting, waiting…hating and despising themselves and all that pertained to them.  Would the redeemer ever come?

page 2.

     Come see.  Donn Contrales was busy putting on the finishing touches of his toilette.  Donn lived at 3211 W. Park not too far from the art museum in one of the most charming streets in Portland.  The Park Blocks extended from the University on the South end for several blocks to the Gramercy Club at the North end.  The Gramercy was where the Old Boy Network headquartered to determine the shape of things to come.

     Donn Contrales lived on the fifth and top floor front of the Short Arms Apartments.  The Apartments, brick faced, austere, yet somehow relaxed in a state of excitement, as the Oregon Tourist ad once ran, in architectural styling.  He looked out his window into the tops of the lofty elms filling the block wide strand separating Ease and West Park.  Down through the trees the greensward below shown up.

     Donn’s apartment which was a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bath was furnished in a peculiar spartan manner.  The floors were of a fine old hardwood uncovered except by two small Persian style rugs in the living room one beside his army cot in the bedroom.

     The furniture of the living room consisted of a small wooden bench not unlike a church pew, a fairly large flat oak desk which held Donn’s new computer, and a matching oak chair.  As Donn was both the classical and pop music reviewer for the Oregon Daily Assassin, the States leading paper, there was a set of shelves four high and about six feet long flanked by MacIntosh speakers with the amp and turntable to the left side.  A TV and VCR stood before the kitchen door while another guarded the bedroom door.

page 3.

     The light pink painted walls were decorated with pictures of Donn in various sizes and poses in various states of deshabille,as well as reproductions of his signature.  The bedroom walls were decorated in the same manner with a couple of nudes of himself.  A collapsible army cot was placed against the middle wall beneath a four by six full length reclining nuce of Donn that he called the Naked Mojo.  As the apartment had only a small closet there were several rolling department store clothes racks against the walls that contained a wardrobe for each facet of Donn Contrales multi-faceted personality.

     There was a lot of out there and Donn didn’t want to miss any of it.  These were the late seventies.  America’s years of prosperity, TV, Movie and Recorded Musical fantasies and endless yammering about some mirage that no one ever saw called the American Dream had produced the psychological type named Donn Contrales.  As can be seen he even spelled Donn with two enns to express his individuality and superiority to the scene he both loved and professed to despise.

      Reality to Donn was the movie screen.  Society had passed from the notion that all the world’s a stage to all the world’s a movie.  Real life had lost hits consequence, or so it seemed to Donn.  People acted out destructive fantasies as though they were only characters in a movie that could be set aside after the show while the actors resumed their former status.  There were people who actually went to prison only to discover to their chagrin that their movie was real life and that they could not resume their former existence.

page 4.

     Donn could separate his roles from such dire consequences, but he did want it all.  All was of course what Donn could see and feel and he could not see far or very clearly or feel much.  Unlike most of his contemporaries who went around roaring that cliche Donn was capable of getting most of ‘it’, as he perceived it, if not all.  He was capable of adopting a convincing and appropreate persona for each of the many facets of his many faceted personality.  Hence his extensive collection of wardrobes.

     He had some good Harris tweeds for his appearances at the Daily Assassin which gave him a very solid yet sporty appearance.  He had some nice black suits with patent leather pumps for his classical music persona.  And of course some wild stuff for the disco.  Donn himself was a pretty good looking guy.  It was peroxided of course but his tousled shock of blond hair couple with a black mustache, full from nose to lip and from just beyond the corners of his mouth gave him a aresponsible but devil-may-care facade.  His face was symetrically square, nice smile and his eyes twinkled blue.  He was slightly long in the body and thick in the thighs but he knew how to dress around these defects.  At five-nine it may be fairly said that when Donn stood up before the ladies’ auxiliaries todiscuss the glories of classical music that a very satisfied body of women sat before him.

     The feeling was not mutual.  Donn’s desires ran in other channels.  Donn was a militant homosexual.  He wasn’t in the closet but he was discreet.  He saw the utility of appearing straight but not narrow.  He was an ardent advocate of tolerance, which is to say that he thought homosexuals should be deferred to.  He had seen too much of the results of bigotry here in the twentieth century he was fond of saying not to deplore homophobia.

page 5.

     Yet he employed the means of bigotry he professed to deplore.  He thought it necessary to censor adverse opinion and exterminate the opposition.  The Daily Assassin thrugh its editor, Mingo Miyriy, who was herself a closet lesbian and several high ranking editors and employees were in the forefront of this homoseuxal revolution.  They were determined that it should triumph in Portland and throughout Oregon.

     Donn was currently employed in the Assassin’s attempt to destroy a heterosexual County Commissioner by the name of E. (Earl) L. Shaddai.  Earl had been elected by an Eastside constituency that was fearful of homosexuality, or as Donn would say, didn’t know its asshole from a hole in the ground.  Earl had pledged his voters that he would do the best he could to contain it.

     The homosexual community was up in arms at his election.  They would tolerate no oppostion to their goals, although nominally tolerant.  They wanted E.L. Shaddai removed from office.  One might say there was nothing they could do about it, Earl was in office and it appeared that he would have no difficulty in being re-elected.  There was nothing fair and square or legal that could be done about Shaddai but as Hitler observed:  Everyone forgives a successful crime.

      Donn had been used, was being used in setting Shaddai up for the fall.  While modern political man professes to despise Hitler they love his methods.  Donn had befriended Earl in his facet as daytime pop music editor which was much less formal than his classical facet and more sporty than his office facet but less outre than his night time disco facet.  He had betrayed the friendship by asking Earl out to dinner.  The Community was establishing a character for Shaddai.  Oddly enough they were going to destroy him by making it appear that he was one of them but a hypocrite.  Consequently Donn take Earl to the Great Gotham Hotel.

page 6.

     The Hotel was a homosexual bath house.  The place was run very discreetly so as not to risk interference by religious groups or the police.  Not all homosexuals were allowed in on it and, if any, virtually no heterosexuals knew what went on behind its doors.  The dining room was along the West wall facing the public rooms.  The public rooms were the showers, pissoirs and stools.  Donn disappeared just after entering leaving Earl and an attractive young guy in a bath towel who showed up to cross the public rooms together giving the appearance that Earl was taking his date to dinner.

     Earl was stunned at the sight of naked men lounging around while one guy who was urinating flashed him a big smile over his shoulder.  Earl turned in disgust to rush from the place only to find himself stranded as Donn who had insisted on driving was gone.  Laughter, jeers and catcalls followed him down Stark as he headed for the city’s premier hostelry, The Oregon Trail, and its cab stands.

page 6.

     Nevertheless Earl could not honestly deny that he had to the Great Gotham.  Any explanation could be denied by Donn and several witnesses.  A step had been taken to establish his character as a homosexual. 

page 7.

     For this night Donn’s facet was Disco Donn Contrales.  For this one he had a terrific macho cowboy outfit, for Donn portrayed the macho man.  For this one Donn didn’t put his pants on like an ordinary guy, one let at a time.  The pants were very tight, very form fitting.  To get the leg proportions right the thighs had to be cut very snug; thus Donn sat on his army cot putting both legs in at the same time.  He had to work his pants over the thighs very carefully.  Standing up he forced his fly shut turning to look at this reflection in the full lenght mirror.  ‘You’ve got your mojo working tonight, you hunk.’ Donn exulted to himself.  Actually his fanny was a little too flat but he blinked twice and it fleshed out.

     Satisfied, he felt the need for a coke break.  Donn was a very aware guy.  Working for the Assassin he knew exactly how the police powers were used.  Consequently he left nothing lying around his apartment.  He reached won and knocked the ends of his cot apart, shook a vial of cocaine out of the hollowed out frame strut, tapped out a couple lines, then carefully replaced the vial, reassembling the cot before he imbibed.  Disco Donn shook his head in glowing anticipation.  He was about to mount his cosmic wheels and roll around heaven for a bit.  He was about to make his vision of himself a visionary reality.  The cosmic power shot up his nose penetrating his brain like the divine arrow of God, suffusing his brain with a flow of intense omnipotence.  His mental vision of himself seemed perfect.  He was the God/Man.  He before whom all should fall.  He saw all, knew all and understood all.  It was all his, others used what they had at his sufferance.  He would brook no contradiction.  For these few blessed moments his life shone.  Everything he had ever done seemed right.

page 8.

     He flicked on all four VCRs.  Instantaneously the same four videos appeared on the screens.  Endless non-stop performances of fellation lubricated the screens.  The recond was already on the turntable. ( This was pre-CD)  He flipped it on moving the needle over to the last cut, Interstellar Overdrive by Pink Floyd.  His song.  The powerful rumble of the strident notes and chords reverberated through his soul.

     He sat down on the his cot to pull on his boots.  Thoughts crowded through his brain, not in any order or sequence.  Disco Donn could obviously not support his life style on his income from the Daily Assassin.  He glowed with satisfaction at the thought that with his new computer he could transmit his articles direct to the Assassin; there would no longer be any need, he tought, to go into work.  This invention would leave him more time to augment his salary by other means.  This included selling cocaine.

     Donn was a key figure in a network that included a couple cells at the Assassin.  It was run off the loading dock.  Get it?  That was an in joke.  The Loading Dock.  It was right next to the Loading Zone. (Wink, wink) Mingo Miybriy was not involved, nor could it be said that the Assassin Corp. was involved, but it could also be said that Mingo and management were totally oblivious to the fact.  It was just expedient to not notice or make embarrassing equiries.  Many companies had cells that were either unknown or ignored.  Or, possibly used.,

page 9.

     Donn had a box of demo records to take down and sell, too.  He recieved thousands of records a year.  It was impossible to listen to them all, he chose what looked most promising or what he had been directed to, often with gifts of cocaine from the record companies, and sold the rest.  Then around the corner of his mind he glanced up at one the screens, he remembered a memory that gave him grim satisfaction.

     There had been a rock and roll singer in town by the name of Terry Roberts.  He wasn’t either a good singer or a good rock n’ roller but Donn had developed a crush on him.  He had pursued him relentlessly but Terry, who had girlish good looks was adamantly hetero.  He wouldn’t have anything to do with Donn.  In fact he made several churlish remarks about ‘fags’ that Donn took expecial offense at.  Well, Donn thought, if you won’t go down on me you’ll go down nevertheless and you’re not going to like it at all.

     Terry did like his cocaine.  Donn could and had supplied him.  Rock n’ rollers aroused the antipathy of a lot of people.  A large part of the population wanted to see rock n’ rollers behind bars.  Donn agreed to sell Terry a couple grams.  Donn didn’t show with the coke but a nark did.  Terry was busted and given ten years for buying two grams of coke.  The joke was that it wasn’t cocaine but baking soda.  Terry’s attorney didn’t ‘think’ to check so Terry went up for buying baking soda.  As Donn thought Terry was having a very bad time in jail.  He’d lost his front teeth on the first day.  Within six months he would be found hanging behind the prison furnace to the intense satisfaction of all concerned.  More than one way to skin a cat.

page 10.

     The images danced on the screen, Interstellar Overdrive penetrated the walls.  Donn stood up.  His grey snake skin boots with the tuck and roll on the instep, silver plate in front, silver plate behind were resplendent.  The sheen on his grey gabardine pants was perfect.  His white cowboy shirt was immaculate, his string tie perfection.  Donn put on his belt with the huge silver buckle that covered his midriff.  the buckle depicted a cowboy astride a bucking bronco.  I’m the cowboy that ain’t never been throwed, Disco Donn exulted.

      He slipped into his grey cowboy jacket that looked somewhat like a waiter’s jacket, then he stepped over to the mirror to fluff up the back of his hair.  That done he picked up his mirrored sun glasses that the reflected the world back n itself while allowing him to see it.  He squared his round brimmed flat topped grey hat on his head fluffing the hair out behind again.  He paused for a moment to collect himself on his cosmic wheels, then made sure to turn off his videos.  The stereo had already shut off automatically.

     Donn went back to snort another couple lines, washing the residue down the drain to as to leave no trace.  He stood up, took a deep breath, as he seemed to elongate into the stratospher.  He was eight miles high.  He thought he could see the big yellow moon behind the clouds just like the folks on that big mainliner up there that goes from sea to sea.

page 11.

     Come see.  Disco Donn stepped out of the elevator into the parking garage beneath the Short Arms Apts.  He paused striking a heroic pose as he glanced left and right calmly adjusting his mirrored sun glasses.  Between his dark, glasses, the protruding brim of his hat that nearly rested on his glasses and the gloom of the parking lot it was amazing that he didn’t trip over his own feet, but he walked with the steady purpose of a movie cowboy coming up the street at High Noon over to his shiny black Porsche.

     It was amazing, he thought, that the auto manufacturers of this world should design a car that so perfectly matched his character.  It was more, he thought, than a coincidence.  With a certain awe for their prescience, he sincerely believed  they must have known that he was there.

     He opened the door, then standing with one hand on his door top the other atop the vehicle, one foot on the rocker panel he gave one more significant glance around the garage before ducking into his vehicle- his Solar Chariot, his Astral Wheels.

     The firing of the engine, the roar of power, somehow meshed with the cocaine running round his brain to boost him to yet a higher plateau.  His being was filled with euphoric exultation.  As he waited for the gate to rise wahich seemed to rise in icrements of millimeters, retrace its increments and rise again, Donn waxed philosophic.  He exulted in his power and the control of his world that he felt.  It was all in knowing how to use what you got, he thought.  It was uncanny how without any training or forethought he just knew what to do.  It was just his destiny to be great.

page 12.

     Cocaine and sex- take just two examples for instance.  He could use either to create or destroy, he thought.  If he liked you, which meant that you went along with his desires, you could share blessed exalted moments with him.  If he didn’t like you, well, Terry knew about that as well as two or three girls who had not treated him with the respect he deserved.  Now, their pride gone, they begged for cocaine for which they had to give him more than money.  Could it be said that Donn was running a string?  Boy, that’s harsh, hey, maybe he just needed a favor for a friend from time to time.

     So with sex.  That homophobe E.L. Shaddai was going to be destroyed on the accusation of homosexuality, yet he, Disco Donn Contrales could practice it with immunity.  It was almost weird, thought Donn, shaking his head in wonder.

     Disco Donn was no longer of this world as the cocaine lifted his mind beyond awareness of mundane affairs.  The gate banged up as Disco Donn leaned back his head in a manic grin of unvoiced laughter.  He roared out into the street unaware of possible pedestrians or traffic.  Fortunately the street was clear.  But then as yet he was not moving fast.  His world was slowed down so that at 25 miles per hour he seemed to sailing through it.  Indeed, all else seemed to be frozen in time but himself.  The wet pavement glistened black and silver beneath his headlights.  Rays of light bounced from the buildings, ricocheting into the pavement against opposite walls and back again or else escaped into the stratosphere.

page 13.

     Disco Donn was no longer of this earth.  He had even left his Solar Chariot behind as he mounted his Astral Wheels to climb aboard the Betelguese Bridge far out into the light year starshine of the great and limitless void.

     Elated he recalled the lines of a Donovan song which made him tilt back his head and roar with laughter:

If shitting is your problem

When you’re out among the stars,

The intergallactic laxative

Will get you from to Mars.

     Mars?  Mars hell, he thought, I’m on the cosmic transmission belt taking the riches of Earth to Betelgeuse at faster than the speed of light.  Faster than the speed of light?  Oh, oh he thought, if this is an expanding universe maybe the bridge will separate from Betelgeuse before I get there.  What a cosmic leap that would have to be.  Warp five burst from his mind.

     He had been insensibly speeding up as his fantasy dominated his mind.  He had flown through a red light at Jefferson and Fifteenth totally unawares.  Now as he was about to plunge the pedal to the metal for War Five the lights of Disco Deep Elum loomed before him.  Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator his mind plunged from his Astral Wheels and entered his terrestrial vehicle.  Reflexively his foot moved from the gas pedal and slammed on the brake.

page 14.

     Disco Donn was somewhat short of Warp Five but he was definitely over the speed limit.  Fortunately a Porsche can corner on a dime so Donn was capable of making a right turn, at right angles that is, into the parking lot of Disco Deep Elum.  Why was there an empty parking space directly ahead of Donn in the crowded parking lot?  Why, because he was Captain Disco Donn Contrales of the Space Patrol of course.

     Donn, somewhat breathless from his midnight ride into the far reaches of outer space found it necessary to sit for severral minutes while his brain caught him and he could remember where he was and what he had come for.

     Donn Contrales was from down in Texas, a state I dearly love.  Given his temperament his youth had been difficult; not hard, but challenges of which the less than successful handling had been costly to his psyche.

     The central fact of his existence was of course the rape which had set the terms and conditions of his homosexuality and subsequent life, of which, more in a moment.  Secondary was the fact that while Bob Wills may still be king in Texas, football is the foundation of the universe.  Donn didn’t have the temperament for football.  But he had been of good size for his age and it had been demanded that he play.  Donn thought he had better things to do with body than be speared under the ribs with a helmet with forty-two gold stars on it.  But he had played and the memory of that spearing lived with him every day.  His ribs hurt just to think about it.

     At SMU Donn, thank his lucky stars, couldn’t make the team, or maybe he didn’t try that hard.  He did take up boxing for reasons that weren’t too clear to him, but had to do with his rape.  He’d been OK.  He had been the intramural middleweight champ.  He wasn’t in the same class with anyone named Suger but he could handle himself.

     The hits he had taken in boxing rankled him too.  He liked to hit but he didn’t like to be hit.  So, his rape, which was a suppressed memory, the football, the boxing was a hammering that conditioned his attitude toward sex.

 

     Come see.  Now, look over there.  Around the corner, down the long backside of Deep Elum to the service area where among the garbage cans they’re still waiting, waiting…patiently waiting, hoping for a deliverer.

     These are the ones who have abandoned hope.  they have lost all aspects of dignity and self-respect.  They have chosen the garbage cans as their assignation place because they feel like human garbage.  They have made garbage their symbol.  While some old shields used to have a lion rampant?  These guys would have had an old dented garbage can rampant.   They had been beaten, stripped, pushed down not only the straight world but by their fellow homosexuals, until now their only shred of human dignity is to conceal their hopes of dignity behind a shield of compusive lying.  Their only hope of obtaining parity is to conceal everything behind a shield of lies where prying eyes cannot deride them further.  They won’t even tell you their names.  They are know by innumerable aliases.  One may injure their bodies but without their correct name one can’t reach their true selves.

page 16.

     Nello Nitti leans against the wall with Brando leathers, aloof and disdaining his fellows, as the ‘Man.’  Chancy Flegenheimer, who has been dancing nervously back and forth for hours is known as Frisco tonight.

     Over picking through the garbage cans, tearing open plastic bags, looking for a choice morse. or two is Soupy Feensteen.  Soupy retains his own name because he has attained the somewhat specious dignity of being the founder of the Jewish Queers Against Fascism.  O, look, he moved aside some lettuce and has found a whole drumstick, not even a bit out of it.  His eyes light up as he lovingly brings this delicacy to his lips.  God has been especially good to him.

     Bullet Bob studies the water streaks on the wall.  Some fresh, some surviving from the weeks of constant rain, some terminated in long deltas of mold.  Stands of putrid water interlace with the higher levels of the asphalt.  Bullet Bob looks down to see his reflection in a little puddle of fetid water when an electric thrill goes through the assembled ‘girls.’  It was as though they split in two and came together again at his appearance.

     Down the long backside of Disco Deep Elum the grey eminence of Disco Donn Contrales could be seen, fire seeming to flach from mirrored sun glasses as though from his eyes.  Insterstellar Overdrive still rumbled in is ears.  But Disco Donn could easily carry two tunes at one time in his multi-faceted brain.  As he slowly paced off the disatance between the them in measured steps at a measured pace with all the drama of John Wayne walking into town with his saddle at this side he sang a verse of the old Slim Whitman song, Rose Marie, in a sardonic fashion.

page 17.

     Oh Rose Marie, I love you,

I’m always thinking of you.

Of all the ‘Queens’ who ever lived

I’d choose you

 To rule me,

My Rose Marie.

page 17.

     He chuckled and sang at the same time in anticipation of his confrontation with the ‘girls,’ for Disco Donn believed he was one supremely clever guy.

      They watched his slow approach with bated breath, half joyfully, half apprehensively, swallowing hard for one never knew what ‘he’ might do.  What ‘he’ would do or who ‘he’ would choose.  Frisco stopped dancing, the Man remained leaning contemptuously against the wall.  The others with the exception of Soupy Feensteen stood tensely waiting.  Soupy was too proud to nitice the stranger; he contined his search for delectables.

     Then He stood before them silent, unsmiling, commanding, overpowering them with His superior presence.  They felt small.  They felt insignficant.  They felt dirty.  They stood trembling in anticiption, waiting for Him to speak, make a gesture.  He said nothing, he did nothing, he stood there immobile relecting them back on themselves from his silver eyes.  A faint smile flickering on his lips compelled them to speak first allowing Him to keep the upper hand.

page 18.

     Frisco was in awe of the Presence.  The grey was beautiful against the lowering skies and under the floodlights.  The glasses made Donn seem mysterious.  Frisco knew the game, he swallowed what passed for his pride.

     ‘What do you want?’ Frisco muttered, looking down and away.

     His question was met by a deep chuckle.  ‘No.  I think the question is what do you want?’ Disco Donn said sententiously pushing his glasses up with his middle finger.  His leer gave Frisco hope.

     Frisco jammed his hands into his pockets rendering him defenseless, looked down and glanced over at his buddy, the Man, against the wall.

     ‘Do you want it?’  Disco Donn demanded.

     The lump in Frisco’s throat was too big to speak around.  He nodded dumbly.

     ‘Well, it’s there.  All you gotta do is reach out and take it.  You do know where it’s at, don’t you?’  Disco Donn forced out in guttural as the rut overtook him.  ‘Well, don’t you?’

     Frisco shook his head yes in open mouthed wonder as his glance went around the garbage cans from eye to eye.  With a kind of wondering awe he put out his had to lift the immense belt buckly to unzip Donn’s fly.  Anticipation dominated his mind,  his breath was coming heavily when he heard and then felt the fist smash into his cheekbone and the musty wter on the pavement seep through his dirty jeans.

page 19.

     Disco Donn was reenacting what he couldn’t remember:  his rape.  In that long ago time he had helt the fist of his uncle come out of the blue for no reason he could understand.  His innocence had been ripped from him and cruelly thrown back in his face.  His uncle saying:  ‘I’m going to do to you just what was done to me.’ had beaten him so that his eyes were black and blue, then grabbing his ears his uncle had manipulated his head in fellatio.  Then throwing Donn back down he said:  ‘You better tell everyone that you got those black eyes from tripping and the stairs and sliding down them on your nose.’ that Donn would do.  Than as he turned to walk away he said:  ‘God, you queers disgust me.’  By ‘queers’ of course he meant himself as well.  He, like Donn, was capable, sincerely, of denying the act as soon as it was done.

     With his uncle’s words reverberating hin his ears, Disco Donn pounded Frisco around the eyes until they were black and blue.  Then  as though repeating an oath behind his uncle’s dictation he intoned as he hd many times before and would many times again:  “I’ve done to you just what was done to me.  You better tell everyone that you got those black eyes by tripping on the stairs and sliding down them on your nose.’

     Frisco lay choking and sobbing as Disco Donn pulled and pushed his head back and forth by the ears.  Donn who was squatting lost his balance several times wetting the knees of his pants.

page 20.

     Having finished he threw Frisco’s head away from him and stood up, zipping his pants.

     ‘You queers disgust me.’ He repeated after his uncle.

     Frisco lay sobbing as Shaky Jake stepped our from among the garbage cans.  Shaky Jake looked like he souldn’t be alive.  He was five-two and so emaciated from personal neglect that he didn’t break a hundred pounds; maybe he couldn’t even hit ninety.  His body was wracked by the perpetual rounds of gonorrhea and antibiotics.  He had no resistance to diseases.  He sniffed and coughed uncontrollably from a cold that had begun six months before.  He wore a pair of black jeans with zippers everywhere.  the cuffs were zipped tight around his ankles; he had zippers on the knees, his thighs, pockets, across both cheeks, it was hard to tell where the zippers ended and the pants began.  He even had zippers on the sides of his shoes.  The top button of his pants was open and the fly half unzipped, no underwear.  He wore a leather jacket that was also covered with zippers.  He wore it open, no shirt.  Various chains hung from his shoulders down his legs, crisscrossing his body and anywhere that they didn’t  make any sense.  Shaky Jake didn’t care about this or that.  There was nothing in his mind but chagrin and remorse for his seduction.  shaky’s seduction had been gentle and loving creating a wonderful feeling in him, but his subsequent rejection had been cruel and brutal destroying whatever masculinity Shakey might otherwise have salvaged.  Around his neck he wore a sign that read:  Red is a mean, mean color.  Nobody had ever been able to figure it out and Shakey Jake wasn’t capable of telling them its meaning.

page 21.

     Now, standing well out of Donn’s reach Shakey sternly admonished:  ‘Heh ma’.  Whas wrong witchoo.  You can’t come back here in our domain and do that.’

     ‘Can’t I?’ Disco Donn asked in his most quiet and commanding tone.

  ‘No!’  Shakey Jake expleted.

     ‘Why not?  Are you going to stop me?  Do you want some of the same?’  Disco Donn laughed motioning Shakey Jake forward.

     Shakey Jake took a brave stance shaking his finger at Donn:  ‘Don’t think I couldn’t.  Your just lucky the law won’t allow me.’

     Donn laughed contemptuously:  ‘The law won’t allow you?  How’s that?’

     ‘I’m Black Belt.’  Shakey Jake said.  ‘My hand’s are dangerous weapons and they’re registered with the police.  If I were to kill you, which I surely would, I would be charged with first degree murder rather than self-defense.  So you can consider yourself one lucky hombre.’

page 22.

     Donn laughed again but the was stymied.  He couldn’t reach Shakey Jake and he wasn’t going to demean himself by chasing Shakey around.  In frustration he made a feint against the Man against the wall.  Nitti in his hurry to escape tripped over his own feet tumbling onto the putred wet pavement ruining his leathers.  Donn laughed again turning to leave.

     But as he turned the sight of Shakey’s sign:  Red is a mean, mean color, triggered a series of synapses in his mind.  visions passed through his brain with violence and speed as though he were standing on the ties as big ten wheeler blew past.  The roar of the engine, the force of the wind from the drivers and giant wheels blew him back.  He saw all but remembered nothing distinctly.  The vision was one of himself with a sign saying:  Red is a mean, mean color around his neck while he thought he saw his uncle with Donn’s goands on a chain around his neck.  The red blood from from the testicles dripped down his uncle’s shirt.  For a brief instant he understood what Red is a mean, mean color meant.

     Then a miracle occurred.  The memory of his rape had been suppressed with minutes after it had happened and been converted into a fixation with symbols Donn could not understand.  Now the corridlor of his memory which contained the incident opened and for a very brief moment allowed Donn to witness the scene of his rape being reenacted.  If Donn had been able to retrieve the memory and retain it he might have freed himself from his curse.  But as he turned to enter the corridor in his mind to see better the entrance oozed shut.  As Donn tried to push his way through the soft tissue a voice seemed to say:  No. You cannot enter here, the drug has blocked your way.

page 23.

     Overwhelmed by his emotions and the cocaine, Donn’s head swirled, he staggered a step and then regained control of himself.  As he walked, somewhat unsteadily down the long backside of Disco Deep Elum the words of an old Hank Snow song came into his mind which expressed his fears and his hopes:

No use to deny

I wanted to die

The day you said we were through.

But now that I find

You’re out of my mind

I can’t believe that it’s true,

I don’t hurt anymore.

     But if his relief was real it was only temporary.  the next tune that would come to Disco Donn’s mind as he opened the door of his Porsche would be:  ‘It just keeps right on a hurtin’ every minute of every day.’  No, Donn’s relief was not just a motion away.  It couldn’t come from powders, pills or bottles.  For just a fleet moment it was there before you but the drugs kept if from you.  Now, if undertaken, it would require years of analysis.

 

     Come See Donn Home.  As the door of Donn’s identity swung open Interstellar Overdrive ricocheted out of his mind.  The cocaine’s expenditure from his system dropped Donn down to Earth hard on his silver plated heels.  The soft persistent drizzle again began placing little stinging cold droplets on Donn’s hot hand.  His euphoria could no longer support this facet of Disco Donn’s many faceted personality. 

page 24.

     He flipped his mirrored sunglasses onto the passenger’s seat.  The memory of what he had just done came back to him as a vision of something which he had just seen.  He believed he had witness the brutal act but he wasn’t aware that he had done it.  It filled his heart with sadness that such criminal homophobia could exist in such a beautiful world.  It made him angry.  Donn thought he should do something about it.  He eased out of the lot as an ambulance pulled from the curb in front of him.

     Frisco/Chancy Flegenheimer reported the incident to the police as though a man had leaped from a car and assaulted him as he stood taking to friends.  The police report was picked up the Daily Assassin and published as fact.  As is usual in these situation there was no attempt to corroborate the story.  It was assumed to be the natural act of a ‘homophobe’ and reported as true.

     Donn expiated his guilt by incorporating a denunciation of homophobia into a review of a new version of Beethoven’s Ninth.

     Donn was emotionally and physically exhausted.  As he sank further he took off that strange grey hat and lay it on the seat over his sunglasses.  She shook his blond hair and ran his fingers through it to fluff it out.  As he did so he caught his reflection in the rear view mirror.  He smiled at himself and his spirits revived.  The satisfaction he had felt earlier reasserted itself overriding his sense of remorse and sadness.

     Donn threw back his head and emitted a short barking laugh.

     ‘Live is just too damned beautiful to wear a long face.’  He smiled out loud.

     Of course that depends on which end of the stick you’re on.

End of Part One.

Go to Part Two:  Donn Demands Deliverance

and meet Maggie Spingold.

 

The Angeline Constellation

A Story Of Young Love

A Novelette

by

 R.E. Prindle

After the wars were over,

And I was coming home to you;

I saw a Rainbow at Midnight,

Out on the ocean blue;

I saw your face in that Rainbow…

Sung by the Texas Troubador, Ernest Tubb

     I was not invited to many parties.  I  didn’t know why I was invited to this one.  I was not a popular boy.  I had never done well at parties.  As I watched myself compared to others I saw that I lacked the party spirit.  This may sound odd, but there is a party attitude that was quite beyond me.  Perhaps she had already fallen in love with me and requested the hostess to invite me so that she might meet me.

     I was fifteen, she was thirteen.  The party was a hayride held on Thanksgiving.  I had heard of hayrides. They were a very popular diversion in the Valley.  I found their idea pleasing and romantic.  I was looking forward to this one.  It was my first and only.

     I, perhaps, trying to overcome a sense of inferiority tried too hard to impress the others, I was perhaps too boisterous.  Or perhaps I was only there at her request and the others preferred that I not be there.  I was introduced to her but she failed to make an impression on me.  I might have thought her too young.  All the rest of the kids were my age, she was the youngest there.

page 1.

    In those days my desire to be liked was so strong that I was willing to force myself on others.  As we got in the wagon I tried to be gay and jovial.  I thought that was what was wanted.  It was, but not in the manner I employed.  My efforts were rebuffed.  As we rode along I tried romancing the girl next to me but was given a reception as cold as that November night in Michigan.

     She had gotten as close to me as she could which was on the other side of the girl I was trying to romance.  She only had eyes for me.  She was chatting with me, demanding my attention over the girl between us.  My anguish at my lack of acceptance was extreme.  She was grasping for my hand across the girl between us.  We began holding hands over her.  The girl wouldn’t move or let me past her.  She neither wanted my company nor would she scoot out of the way.  I scarcely knew what I was doing but desperation made me accept the advances of this thirteen year old girl.  In a few months to a year perhaps she would not have been able to be so forward.

     We spent the ride holding hands.  I was not sincere, only desperate for acceptance.  The ride ended.  We returned to the house and continued the party in the basement.  I now was obligated to talk to this slip of a girl.  She seemed to adore me.  I was mystified but continued to talk to her with no idea of romance. 

     At the time the comedian George Goebel was approaching the apex of his early career.  I identified with the sad sack comedians.  I imagined to myself that I had anticipated Goebel’s delivery on my own.  My mind was so perfectly attuned to sad humor that I had no trouble convincing myself that I had anticipated them all.  Perhaps I had.

page 2.

     We talked but I made no attempt to be as friendly as the hayride might have given her occasion to expect.  I was a very lonely not very confident boy.

     She said to me:  “Do you know that you talk just like the comedian George Goebel?”

     I fatuously replied that:  “No. I talked like this before I ever saw George Goebel on TV.”

     “I like it,” she replied, anxious to believe me.  “It’s quite a coincidence though.”

     “Well, I said knowingly, “There’s only so many ways you can talk.  I guess it’s actually fairly common.”

     I didn’t believe myself, I felt like falling through the floor.

     By then the party was breaking up.  She and I were almost the only ones left in the basement.  A few apples still bobbed in the tub of water.  I was about to say goodbye when some girl walked by and said to my back:  “Ask her out!”  So I guess that she had asked to have me invited.

     Oh, I was so afraid.  I was desperate and lonely. So desperate and lonely that I almost preferred to be alone.  Still I wanted a girl friend.  Someone to call my own.  More as a reflex to the command, anonymous suggestion, rather than desire, I asked to see her again.  Even with more encouragement than any boy had a right to expect, I still put it in the most awkward insensitive way possible.

page 3.

     “Would you like to see me again?”  I said.  “I mean would you like to go out on a date with me?”

     “Oh yes, I’d love to.”  She eagerly responded.

     “Well,” I said, casting about for an occasion, “There’s a dance at Melville- that’s where I go school- (“Yes, I know.”  She quickly interjected.) Would you go to  the dance with me?”

     “Oh, I’d love to,” she said.  “But my grandmother won’t let me go unless she meets you first.”  She said anxiously, shifting from foot to foot, fearful of having made too great a condition.

     “Why your grandmother?”  I replied startled by the thought of a grandparent rather than a parent.

     “My parents are dead and I live with my grandmother.  The rest of my family lives in Waterloo.”

     Waterloo?  Waterloo, Iowa?  They had a terrific hillbilly station that broadcasted out of Waterloo.  Suddenly I was interested in this girl.  Ange was her name.

     “Hmm.  I guess I could come by next Friday and call on you to meet her.  Would that be all right?”

     The tension fell away from her, her relief was visible.  “Oh sure, that would be fine.”

     I was to call on her the next Friday at seven.  I left her there to be taken home and began the walk back to Caterina where I lived.

     I was terrified.  I realized that she liked me, but I couldn’t understand why.  My childhood had been terrible.  I tried to exude confidence but I walked around quaking inside.  My mother had divorced when I was four.  At five I was placed in a foster home.  At six I was moved to another.  At seven I was placed in the Municpal Orphanage by my mother.  At ten, when she was remarried, she retrieved me.  My stepfather and I didn’t get along.  Sometime in the Children’s Home I had antagonized the regular kids- those from homes with parents- at school for not being submissive as an orphan should be.  They had punished me for being uppity then.  They had never forgiven me and continued to punish me.  I was considerably psychologically battered.

page 4.

     I didn’t know how much it showed.  I mean I was not aware that it showed so much.  Talking like George Goebel should have been a giveaway to me.  On top of my battering my face had broken out in the seventh grade.  It continued to be a mass of pimples untill I was twenty-two.  Then the pimples began to diminish only gradually.  Most terrifying to me was that as I left the ninth grade at an even five feet tall I had feared that I would be short.  Given my pimples, my battering and my height, it was more than I could bear.

     Then between ninth and tenth grades a miracle happened.  Sometime in the summer I began growing.  I grew nearly two inches a month for three months.  When I met Ange I was five-six and a half but I still acted and thought five feet tall.  I was amazed to learn that she was five-one and a half as I towered, or so it felt, above her while I felt shorter.

     I had experienced more rejection than acceptance.  I wondered all week long what she could see in me.

page 5.

     On Friday night I put on my best clothes.  My mother and stepfather seemed to have wanted to punish me by making me wear stupid clothes.  During the summer I had grown so much I hd humiliated myself for money by caddying at the Valley Country Club.  Actually if you worked hard the pay was pretty good.  I worked hard.  I was there at six every morning to get an early number so I would have a chance of going out twice.  Perhaps carrying double each time.  I had made several hundred dollars working seven days a week.

     My mother and stepfather had insisted I put every dime in the bank.  Every dime! I had never had any spending money in my life.  Not a dime!  I began to report less than I made and hid my money in different places.  The Country Club deducted a certain sum of money from each outing to be placed in a fund to be given to us at the end of the season.  The notion was that then we wouldn’t have spent all our money foolishly.  I had refused to give that money up.

     I had grown six inches.  You may guess at how my pants fit.  My mother refused to buy either me or my brother new fall clothes.  She and my stepfather forbade me to spend my own earnings on new clothes.  I asked her in the most responsible manner for new clothes for my brother and me.  She refused.  I had to go to school looking like a fool.  Then one day she came home with a full length fur coat.  She modeled it for me and had the audacity to ask how I liked it.  I was incensed, outraged.  Permission or not I resolved to buy me new clothes.

page 6.

     I went out and got me charcoal grey flannels and  a pink dress shirt which were the rage at Melville as well as a grey V-neck sweater.  My parents had an unerring instinct for geek clothes.  They insisted that I had spent too much.  I absolutely refused to take my clothes back as they demanded.  No! No!  A thousand times No!

     As If left for Ange’s I at least was dressed presentably, although there was nothing I could do about my pimples.  They ravaged my face and my mind.  Ange lived South of me on Melmoth Avenue.  She lived in a grey rectangle on a corner.  The porch was no more than a stoop attached to the front of the house.

     When she opened the door she was shy.  “I wasn’t sure you were coming.”  She said clasping her hands behind her back.

     “Sure, I said I would.”  I replied.  “I wouldn’t ever stand you up.”

      This remark seemed to please her as she beamed a golden smile at me.

     She was more beautiful than I remembered.  Not necessarily in a Miss America sense, nevertheless I found her appearance very pleasing.  She had a lovely face, longer than round with a funny little pug nose that came close to disfiguring her but having failed enhanced her appearance.

     She was very slender.  I remember her as being taller than she was.  She was dressed all in grey.  A grey wool straight skirt that fell just to the bottom of her calf and a grey cashmere sweater. I noted the cashmere with pleasure as it bespoke the quality I so desired.

page 7.

     We both said:  “You look nice.”  at the same time.  Laughing together  she took me into the living room to meet her grandmother.  Now that I had seen her again I was afraid I would not be agreeable to her grandmother.  Ange was still thirteen.  I could have done nothing but understand if her grandmother had refused me.

     Her grandmother acted as though I were a statue talking only to Ange.  She eyed me up and down and from side to side.  I could tell she didn’t approve of me.  She looked at Ange and said in what I considered a chilly manner:  “You’re sure that this is what you want?”

     Ange nodded yes.

     Her grandmother looked at me quizzically and said:  “Well, you should know best what you want.”

     “All right then, Grandmother, please go up to your room now as you promised.”  Ange rather artlessly said.

     Still ignoring me Ange’s grandmother gave her a questioning look and then mounted the stairs to the second floor.

     Ange raced to the foot of the stairs and exclaimed after her:  “Now you stay up there like you promised.  Don’t come peeking at us.”

    A muffled “I won’t.”  came down the stairs.

    Ange’s grandmother never spoke to me again.  When I next came to visit she was already upstairs and never came down.

     Ange put her hand on my arm and smiled betwitchingly at me.

page 8.

     “Let’s sit down.”  she said, sitting in the middle of the couch.  I was awkward.  I was terrified.  I sat in an arm chair so afraid I was almost trembling.  I had no idea what to do.  This was the first time I had been alone with a girl in my life.

     “No, on the couch beside me, Dewey.”

     I was shy, I was very shy.  She liked me, obviously.  But why?

     I slid over next to her.  Slowly, ever so slowly we leaned into each other until the warmth of our bodies mingled.  My mind was all consternation.  Two years older and I was the child.  She looked at me petulantly.  Then swinging her legs under her on the couch she took my arm and put it around her.

      Her scent, her warmth, her beauty was overwhelming.  I was petrified.  We sat and talked in that pose until eleven o’ clock.  Then I thought I had better leave.  I loved her.  I put her on a pedestal.  She seemed to love me.  I could have, I think I could have, kissed her goodnight, but to tell the truth I had never kissed a girl in a romantic way and I didn’t know how.  Coupled with my terror, I was too paralyzed to even think of trying.

     I left more mystified than ever.  Why did she like me?  Like Me! I thought.  She positively thought I was Prince Charming.  She seemed so much more mature than I.  Whatever she saw in me, whatever it was I couldn’t see it.  She had told her grandmother she wanted me.  She meant to have me.  It was a love I had longed for but now forebodings arose in me as I searched for what made her love me.  Anxiety welled up within me, trepidation seized my soul.  Yet she was much more lovely than I remembered her.  I loved the way she dressed.  She was actually perfect.  I loved her, I knew I loved her.  I thought of the klutz I had been; sitting in the arm chair!  She was so mature.  I wondered if she would forgive me.  I was serious.  I trembled.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  I feared losing her before I had obtained her.

page 9.

     I was solely concerned with my own emotions.  the bludgeoning life had given me precluded any thought of others.  With better balance I would have seen the obvious- that she was head over heels in love with me.  As a mad egoist I would have scented opportunity.  But then mad egoism is another side of this life that I am thankful I was spared.  I walked home in a euphoric haze.

II.

     Strangely I made no attempt to telephone her over the next week as I waited impatiently for the dance at school.  As I think now, this must have caused her some anxiety.  Perhaps she picked up the phone a hundred times to call me but put the receiver down each time afraid to offend me by being overeager.  Perhaps her anxiety was overwhelming too.

      I knocked on her door Friday trying to be as radiant as a face full of pimples could be.  She threw open the door and greeted me with a radiance that dazzled me off my feet.  She was even more beautiful than I had remembered doubled yet again.  I struggled to control my elation as I entered the door.  She was ready to leave and called goodby to her grandmother.

page 10

     I had the use of no car.  My parents evil- did I say evil?- how else can I explain their behavior as they denied my every happiness until they drove me from their house-evil to the core- would never allow me to drive all through high school.  They not only refused the use of their car but wouldn’t even allow me to take Driver’s Ed.  We had to walk.  Of course Ange didn’t mind.  It was actually closer to Melville from Ange’s house than it was from mine.  It was a short walk up Melmoth to the Star and then a mile up Mackinac St. to Melville.

     As we came up to the Star we passed Buddy’s Super Market.  Buddy, if there was such a person, had opened the first modern super market in the Valley.  What was at that time considered a giant of 20,000 square feet.  People wondered if such a giant store could make it.  Stupid question.  I had been gazing at Ange marveling at her good taste.  She had on a grey overcoat of a design that I have never ceased to love.

     I was gazing at her as we talked.  Approaching the Star intersection I looked up.  Much to my surprise I saw Buzz Gronski carrying groceries out of Buddy’s, that is, he had a job as carryout.  He was a very unpleasant reminder of my summer as a caddy.  Buzz had adopted the mannerisms of the gangster.  He must have seen a lot of old Cagney movies.  He had posed as a tough guy at the Country Club with a little gang of caddies he had developed.  When I started the summer I was only five feet tall and less than a hundred pounds.  It’s all right to be scrappy at that size but it’s tough losing all your fights.  I didn’t like getting beat up.  I thought I was circumspect, the bigger boys thought I was chicken.

page 11.

     As the summer started I thought I would be five feet tall forever.  I just wanted to earn money.  Many caddies arrived late, Buzz and his friends among them.  They then tried to terrorize the early birds into giving up their priority to them.  Buzz, who was short himself, never actually came after me.  His friend, Charley Horse, who was much bigger than me, did.  Charley got me up against the wall.  Grabbing me by the throat he forced me to my knees and demanded my place.  I should have punched him back but I didn’t.  I was damned if I was going to get up early to be first and then give my place to him.  He could hit but I wouldn’t give up my place.  Naturally he was afraid of reprisals from the caddy shack and didn’t hit me.  While retaining my place I still lost a certain amount of dignity.

     Under pressure from these jerks I did something that nearly destroyed my self-respect.  I began to tell lies to keep up with them.  I don’t mean fibs; I mean tall stories.  I invented events meant to aggrandize myself.  Fortunately I was caught out almost immediately.  I returned to my correct moral standards but the memory of my lapse haunted me.  My self-respect required complete honesty.

page 12.

      As I saw Buzz now my immediate reaction was one of apprehension.  But then I had grown and he hadn’t.  I now ‘towered’ over him.  With the respect for tall men that short men cannot conceal he now deferred to me.  He was also ashamed to be seen as a bagboy.  Eyeing Ange he also placed himself in a class below me.  As he hurried to place his bags in the customer’s trunk he didn’t answer my greeting.

     Ange, of course, asked:  “Who is he?”

     I was not only ashamed at having caddied, but my lack of resistance to the hazing I had taken and my lapse of integrity had left me with a feeling of guilt.  I struggled to find an answer that would be the truth without revealing my summer employment.  I thought if if Ange had known I caddied  she would leave me on the corner and go home.  I couldn’t think of anything, I didn’t want to.  I told her the unvarnished truth.

     “I caddied at the Country Club last summer before I met you, Ange.  He was just some guy that caddied there.”

    “Oh,” she said, not seeming to disapprove.

     I wanted to discredit Buzz in her eyes.

     “He and some of his friends were real crooks.  They used to steal cases of pop off the truck while the driver was filling the machine.”

     “You didn’t help, did you?”

     ‘Oh, gosh no, Ange.  I wouldn’t even drink a bottle which they tried to force me to do.  That’s why this guy wouldn’t speak to me.  It was kind of a reproach.  I wasn’t one them.”

     She turned an admiring glance on me, secure in her judgment of me.

page 13.

     As I walked along beside this pure flame I felt a sense of inadequacy.  My summer haunted me.  I wished I had hit Charley.  I wished I hadn’t needed the money that I got from the Country Club members.  I felt defiled.  I looked at her again wondering what she could see in me.  I was uneasy.

     The dance was uneventful.  The school band played its two best tunes- Night Train and Blue Moon- with some trash in between.  I knew Al, the leader of the band and got him to play the two tunes again.  I liked them both.

     We began to walk back to her house.  The weather in the two weeks since Thanksgiving had turned cold.  This night it was already fifteen, headed for ten, maybe eight, above.  The evening had only increased my respect and love for Ange.  I had placed her on a pedestal before, but now I was virtually worshipping her.  My anxiety had my stomach muscles, always taut, tight.  I had a lump in my throat and difficulty breathing.  Combined with the weather I was very conscious of my body.  Ange seemed relaxed.  How could she be so young and still be so confident?

     She had taken the glove off her left hand and walked with it exposed to the cold by her side.  Even a simpleton could have known enough to take her hand in his.  But block after block I agonized over whether I should risk it.  I looked at her and through my haze of fear I thought I sensed that she felt rejected because I hadn’t taken her hand.  I thought that for a moment she considered giving up and putting on her glove.  I thought that she despaired of my loving her.  Finally I decided that her hand would freeze if I didn’t take it.  I timidly asked:  “Is it all right if I hold your hand?”

page 14

     “Oh,” she said with obvious relief, “I thought you’d never ask.”  As cold as her hand was, I believed it.

    We now walked hand in hand.  It was a beautiful hand she had.  I couldn’t cease trembling at my good fortune.  It was a cold night.  Both are hands were cold.  I suggested putting them both into my jacket pocket to warm them up.  She consented.  I will remember the contented, perhaps even euphoric, way she walked beside me overjoyed at the close contact we immersed ourselves in.

     As we walked through the freezing cold, the cold was driven back by the warmth of our love.  Rather than two cold children walking down the street I felt as though we had turned into little suns floating through the ether, aglow ourselves, if unable to dispel the cold pressing in around us.  Rising above my insecurities I was happy.

     Suddenly we were before her house.  The little stoop of her house was no place to spoon.  We were on display.  I was confronted with a terrifying decision.  Should I try to kiss her or not?  Protocol required me to attempt it as this was our second date.  Yes, of course, I knew the answer was obvious.  Still I said goodbye without kissing her.  She grabbed my jacket and pulled me back:  “Wait!”  She commanded.  She looked up at me expectantly her lips poised to receive mine.  I knew I had to, I knew I wanted to kiss them.  Anxiety still shrouded my mind.  I didn’t know how.  Oh yes, simple enough, but now I was terrified that I would disappoint her.  In indecision I stepped backward.  She misunderstood me and pulled me back again whispering:  “Not yet.  Don’t leave me yet.”

page 15.

     I had to act.  I wanted to do it right, to show her I could be very romantic.  Suddenly every big movie kiss I had ever seen flashed through my mind.  Pouncing like a tiger I threw my arms around her.  Bending her down backwards, as I thought I remembered in the movies, I lowered her to a level where her body was at right angles with her knees.  Startled by my rapid move and thrown off balance her arms reflexively tightened around my neck.  We were in a close embrace.  I can only guess how clumsy my kiss was.  Movie scenes flashed through my mind while I tried to determine how long I should hold it.  As the seconds ticked away I decided that it was time.  With the same suddeness I had seized her I now staightened her up and put her on her feet.

     I knew I had failed.  How could I fail?  She loved me.  “I hope that was alright.”  I stammered.  “I never kissed a girl before and just did it like I’ve seen in the movies.”

     She was aglow.  “Oh no, it was perfect.  You’ve never kissed a girl before?”  She giggled and broke into a merry little laugh.

     “Well, on the cheek, my cousins, but not like that.”

     She threw her arms around my neck and kissed me again.  Her lips were soft and perfect.  The sky was filled with stars that had descended to earth and revolved around my head.  She laughed again, took my cheeks in her hands and looked with merry joy into my eyes.  She opened her door, looked back at me with a complete ecstasy and disappeared within.  The stars retreated into the heavens.  The cold surrounded me and clutched at my heart.

page 16.

     I turned to make the long walk home alone.  It was no longer a friendly universe.  The warm glowing light had disappeared.  The stars had fled my brow and returned into the cold dark sky.  It was just another dark cold night.  The windows of Buddy’s Super Market had long since been dark when I walked past.  Then a discomforting thought entered my head.  I didn’t know how I was going to get back into the house.  My mother and stepfather refused to let me have a key.  They had caused a row before I left.  They hadn’t forbidden me to date but they had belittled Ange as not good enough for me, whatever that meant.  I was asked how I was going to get back in the house at midnight.  In my simplicity I said through the door like always.  I was told the door would be locked, they would be asleep and I wasn’t to disturb them.  If I did they wouldn’t get up to let me in.

     I couldn’t understand why they obstructed my chances for happiness.  It was bad enough facing a hostile world without being harassed from behind by your own family.  Mrs. Otto, two houses down Monroe, had observed our relationship.  She had observed me and made an unfavorable evaluation.  She and her husband were having their own problems.  Shortly after she threw him out she told me what she thought of my step-father.  I was too young to understand much of what she said.  The only thing that really stuck was:  “I’ll never forgive him for what he’s doing to you.”  She was coldly analytical.  But since she was the kind of feminist who blamed men for cloudy days, I only listened.  Actually my mother was as bad or worse than my step-father but Mrs. Otto would never have believed that.  Nor was it clear what she thought he was doing to me.  Now I know he was trying to belittle me into an impotence which he himself felt.  My problem now was to be potent enough to get into the house.  It was close to eight above.  I knew that if I woke them they would only shout through the door:  “You were warned, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.”  They were like that, that’s what they always said.  I had been almost treated better in the orphanage.

page 17.

     I cast about for some friend who might be coming home late from a date but that was chancy and another long cold walk too.  I had no choice but to wake my brother up.  We fought constantly; if he was in a snit he wouldn’t do it either.   He was my best chance.  I wove my way up the side streets from Court past the library turning at each corner until I reached Bond St., a block to the south of Monroe.

     We lived on the corner in a square little house with a bizarre porch.  The porch itself was conventional enough but it was reached by a semi-circular concrete staircase with rounded edges to the steps.  Whoever designed such a stairway must have been from Dixie.  When the ice and snow packed on the steps it was almost impossible to get a footing.  I decided to try the side window first.  I crashed through the frozen bushes in the dark.  We still had a coal furnace.  The fires were banked every night which left a very cold house.  To avoid possible asphyxiation each storm window, which was placed over the regular windows to form insulation, had three holes drilled in the bottom to let in fresh air.  I could make my brother hear by speaking through these.  I called to him softly.  I called several times keeping my voice low.  I know he pretended not to hear me.  I tapped on the window with frozen fingers; still no response.  Finally I decided to try the window facing the front porch.  Rather than crash through the bushes again I went completely around the house.  The steps were so slippery I couldn’t keep my footing so I had to crawl up the steps.  Darn cold work and I was risking tearing the knees out of my grey flannels.  I could hear my parents chuckling in my imagination if I did.

page 18.

     Worse still, I was conscious that the night had a thousand eyes.  I knew my neighbors; I knew that I was being observed by at least someone.  I knew they would gossip on the morrow.  One of my favorite songs had always been “Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone.”  I hated to be discussed whether by friends, neutrals or enemies.  My voice was directed now at my brother rather than past him across the room.  The door was only slightly ajar so I didn’t think my parents would hear.  Of course they had lain awake waiting for my return, but I didn’t know that.

     Calling and tapping I finally got a response from Rip Van Winkle.  “What do you want?” was his asinine answer.  “Get up and open the door and let me in.  I’m freezing.”

     “If I get up I’ll freeze too.”

     This was no joke; I knew I was asking for a favor.  The temperature in the room was probably fifteen.  Winter nights were so cold that once the spot beneath your body in bed was warm, to move even an inch was to encounter painfully cold sheets.  I always found a comfortable position and then didn’t twitch a muscle all night.  We had a hardwood floor too.  My parents wouldn’t give us a throw rug.  When your feet hit that frozen floor it was almost worse than a blistering beach on a hot summer day.

page 19.

     “I’d do it for you.”  I hissed at him.  I honestly thought I would have too.

     After much imploring he said:  “Go around to the back.”

     “No, Louie, open the front door.  I’m right here.”

     “Oh, alright.”  He grudged.

     I had the decency to thank him.

     This ending was rather an imperfect one for a perfect date.

III.

     In the excitement of my first kiss I had forgotten to make another date.  I had to call her.  There were no more dances so I hadn’t known what to suggest.  Taking a girl to some vulgar movie house was never my idea of a date.  Ange said just come on over.  She said that I could come over anytime, I didn’t need dates.  I countered that I didn’t want to antagonize her grandmother.  She said not to worry about her grandmother, she would take care of her.

     Apparently Ange’s womanhood was superior to her grandmother’s.  I verily believed that she was a sliver from the fountainhead of womanhood.  I marveled at here seeming mature awareness.  I marveled at Ange.

page 20.

     That week my brother and I had a discussion about opening the door for me.  In a tradeoff of responsibilites it was agreed that he would get up and let me in.

     On Friday I put on my jacket and began the walk to Ange’s.  What a jacket.  It was unbearably stupid and old fashioned.  A girl would have to be deeply in love to be seen with anyone wearing that jacket.  My mother’s fur coat had it all over the jacket.  When my mother bought me the jacket she asked which of the jackets on sale I preferred.  I chose something someone might want to wear.  Having determined what I did not want she insisted on buying it.  The ugliest jacket in the whole store.  I had to take it.  Not so with my graduation suit.  She wanted me to buy some godawful piece of junk, using my own money no less.  At eighteen I went without rather than humiliate myself wearing trash.  This jacket was incomprehensively bad.  That a manufacturer could have thought that he might make money on a run of them was inconceivable.  The designer must have been out of the asylum on a weekend pass.  That a cutter had cut the pattern showed how little he cared for his craft.  He should have rejected the pattern outright.  That a wholesaler bought hundreds and sold them to retailers was the con job of the century.  the Brinks hold up robbers could have learned from him.  He didn’t even have to worry about going to jail.  That a retailer thought that a customer existed who wouled buy it shows both how savvy and savage retailers can be.  This guy knew and was mean enough to exploit it, that a mother who hated her child would buy it.  Well, money is money.  He’s probably leaning against the wall of this shop cackling still.  I wasn’t laughing.  There’s a place for him in the seventh hole in hell where his reward is waiting for him.  I had to wear the ugly thing.

page 21.

     But I was on the way to wear the stars that had settled on my brow.  The memory of her warm lips on the cold night dispelled gloomy thoughts from my mind.  I wanted to feel my best, look my best and be my best for Ange.

     The kiss had altered our relationship.  The intimacy had raised a slight barrier for me that had to be overcome.  I was shy, even embarrassed, when she opened the door for me with her eyes shining.  God, what a lovely girl.

     How could I ever have thought her an insignificant slip of a girl only a few weeks ago, now to be drawn completely under her spell.  I threw off the jacket as quickly as I could.  I threw it behind the couch out of sight. 

     “Oh, here, let me hang it up.”  Ange said putting her hand out to get it.

     Forgetting myself, I seized her hand meaning to say: “No, forget it.”

     Perhaps she interpreted the suddeness of my movement as ardent affection, perhaps it was.  It did break the discomfort of shyness.  She clasped my hand lovingly in both hers and raised it to her lips almost as in ecstasy.  My heart melted, my joints turned to butter, my legs almost gave out beneath me.  Perhaps I swooned against her.  I can’t remember.  I just remember next having her in my arms on the couch.  She was no weight at all.  I pressed her close imbibing the perfume of her youthful innocent devotion.  The twin dynamos of her small breasts pulsed warm waves of love through my trembling frame.

page 22.

     As only young lovers can we sat holding each other for an eternity of bliss.  Perhaps an hour.  The balm of her love on my troubled and tormented mind obliterated all thoughts of sorrow or misery.  My past disappointments vanished as a vapor before the healing rays of the sun.  My present angers and humiliations were wafted away as before a light summer breeze.  But a dark foreboding rose like a lazy bubble through viscous oil.

     Did she know my travails?  I was an unhappy boy.  My two anthems were songs by the western singer, Hank Snow: ‘I’ve Got A Troubled Mind’ and ‘I Don’t Hurt Anymore.’  The titles are self explanatory.  Hillbilly songs don’t fool around.  I sang the latter as a prayer and the former as a lament.  I had the insiders understanding of sad sack comedians- there will never be another Jackie Vernon- and I knew the whole catalog of sad songs.  For a joke I sang along with ‘I’ve got tears in my ears from laying on my back on my pillow crying over you.’

     I didn’t know if she knew that I carried this load of sorrow around with me.  Oh, I had a sense of humor.  I could make Ange laugh and be merry.  I tried not to let my sorrow show but it is the unconscious mannerisms and conversational traits that give one away.  The walk, the gestures, the choice of words and phrases, it is even found in the way we wear out clothes, let alone the choice of clothes and colors.  I knew I was unhappy.  Even though I would always be kind and gentle to her, I wanted her to know the sorrow that possessed my mind.

page 23.

     Not knowing what else to do I took her face in my hands.  Holding her eyes level with mine I tried to penetrate the barrior of vision that separated us.  I tried to dissolve the distance which exists between two, not to become one, but to show her everything that was happening in my mind.  At first a pleasant smile played abut her lips as our eyes met and we saw each other, perhaps for the first time.  Then I was successful and our lenses stopped resisting each other.  The plane of existence disappeared and we saw into each other’s souls.  Our divine essence flowed back and forth on the waves of union, the bridge of adoration through our eyes.  I was intent that she see what I wanted her to see so I kept the inner vision open praying not to break the spell.  But her lips quivered and opened with a slight gasp.  She lost contact as her eyelids fluttered and half lowered.  Her hand involuntarily rose and clasped mine in a warm embrace.  Now, in my turn, I tenderly kissed her hands as she swooned forward placing her lips gently against mine.

     We dissolved back against and into the couch, where a tangle of melted flesh we half sat and lay wholly in a blissful daze.  The effect was overpowering.  It was as though our warmth had coalesced to form one sun emiting its rays out into our own universe.  It was the gods’ gift to we two for one brief moment.  The moment was at once lost, the sweetness lives on a faint echo of a memory never to be recovered.

     I knew that I had failed in my intent to show myself to her, or if I hadn’t she must have been to young to know and understand.

page 24.

     Than a moment of distress came over me.  I hadn’t planned carefully enough.  No, not what you think.  I had a horror of bodily functions.  I had always taken care when I was with Ange that I didn’t have to go to the bathroom.  But now my bladder was exploding.  I didn’t want her to know that I had to go to the bathroom.  I was terrified that she think that I was inconsiderate.

     Perhaps she had seen something in my mind that I hadn’t been aware of, for as my brow furrowed and I searched for words to form the question, she said gently:  “It’s over there Dewey.  Go through the dining room, it’s on your right.”  I was in acute misery because of my lack of planning.  I felt like I was defiling her as I got to my feet and found my way to the bathroom.  Thank God I had carefully zipped my pants before I opened the door because when I did she was standing outside waiting for me.  She clasped my hand and leaning against me led me back to the couch.

    “Oh, Ange, listen, I’m awfully sorry…”  I said almost sobbing the most intense embarrassment I was ever to know.

     “Sorry about what, Dewey?”  She said a little shiver of alarm rippling through her body.  She feared she had displeased me somehow.

     “T- t- that I had to…that I didn’t plan better.  That I embarrassed you so.”

     “You mean because you had to go to the bathroom?”  She said incredulously.  “Don’t worry about that, Dewey, we all have to.”

page 25.

     “Yeh, I know, but I didn’t want to embarrass you, Ange.”

     “I’m not embarrassed Dewey.  I was beginning to think you weren’t human.”

     She said it in such a naive manner that her meaning that she really thought I was more than human was apparent.  I uttered a nervous laugh of pleasure at the sincere flattery, ransacking my stuttering mind for an equal compliment.  She saved me by throwing her arms around my neck and giving me a kiss with pouting lips.  Now that we had exchanged vows, she seemed to be much more free with me than I with her.

     “It’s getting late Darling, I don’t want you to, but you’d better go.”

     I started for my jacket when I was arrested by her gasp.

     “Oh, Dewey, I almost forgot to tell you, I hope you’ll forgive me.”

     I picked up my stupid jacket and put it on to get it warmed up before I went outside.  “Tell me what, Ange.”

     “You know I have family in Waterloo?”

     “Yes.  You said.”

     “Well, schools out Wednesday and I have to go back to Waterloo for Christmas.”

     We were in front of the door now, both hands held.  My mind reeled.  I hadn’t thought about it but I assumed we would spend Christmas day together.  I stood there looking left to right my mouth opening and closing.  Finally I said:  “Will you be back for New Years?”

page 26.

     She groaned a heartfelt “No.”

     “You can’t go for both Ange.”  I was not forbidding it, I was just protesting against a great injustice.

     “I know, I don’t want to,” she stroked my cheek, “but I have to.”

     Her grandmother shouted down the stairs:  “Ange, has that boy left yet?”

     “No. He’s going now, Grandmother.”

     “It’s late and I’m responsible for you.  He can’t stay this late.”

     “You’ll have to go, Dewey.”

     “Well, can I see you Monday or Tuesday before you go?”

     “Oh, no, Dewey,”  she moaned, “I won’t be able to see you before I get back.”

     I drew her to me and kissed her goodbye.  I was very disappointed but there was nothing I could do.

     Before she had closed the door behind me the cold and darkness had descended on me and embraced me.  I was robbed immediately of the euphoric warmth of her embrace.  I felt betrayed because she was going to be gone so long at such an important time.

IV.

     I hadn’t wanted her to go.  She was thirteen and I was fifteen, what could we do?  In the great void it left in my memory disquieting thoughts entered.  A man struck by a lightening bolt tends to organize his life into before and after.  My before was clear, my present surrounded me, my future lay shrouded in the mists of a fearful obscurity.  My past had been all pain, without knowing it I was merely now gliding through the eye of the storm.  I didn’t know it; I feared it.

page 27

     I wandered about during school vacation hoping for her return and attempting to worry things out.  The air remained crisp and cold.  The Valley never received a heavy snow.  The heavy snows fell down South or up North.  There were perhaps drifts  of a foot, bare ground and a layer of three to six inches.  It was old snow.  It had fallen in two or three falls during the past two weeks.  The sun had played on its surface melting it into a crust of ice.  A couple years earlier if I had stepped carefully it would have borne my weight, now I broke through with no resistance.

     For the last couple days the skies had become solid overcast.  The great stream of clouds stretched West and North across the continent stretching out into the tropical seas beyond British Columbia into the Pacific.  They would last a while.  I have always loved clouds.  I have loved their infinite variety.  There is nothing like the awe inspired by the great thunderheads of summer rising in great boiling columns forty thousand feet into the air, moving with the majesty of the gods across the sky until the Rider On The Storm of the towering mass of vapor slides overhead and discharges a volley of lightening bolts in a scattering and awesome display of sexual prowess.

     I loved the little puffy white clouds that speckled the sky.  I loved the great galleons that threw their shadows before as they sailed on into oblivion.  I have read writers who have described the sky overhead now as ‘clouds like a tin sheet,’ ‘a leaden sky,’ or ‘lowering slate sky.’  No man who knew clouds could write like that about them.  No man who had ever shared a Young Girl’s heart could ever describe a downy grey sky in those terms.  My eyes perceived an infinite variety of greys.  Each one an exact shade of Ange’s raiment.  A grey for her skirt, a grey for her sweater, a grey for her coat and a grey for her lovely eyes.  I gazed up at that sky in deep admiration.  As snowflakes appeared from nowhere and rather than falling seemed suspended in the air I stood on tiptoes and stretched up to kiss the lovely grey sky.  I wondered if the air would be redolent of Ange.  Of course I was foolish and realized it immediately.  I put my heels back on the ground and walked with my head bowed.

page 28.

     Where had she come from and why?  Why had she chosen me to bless with her existence that I had captured and stored in my heart.  I was so selfish.  I was so afraid.  My hope was artificial, sheer bravado.  What had I to offer her?

V.

     In time the sky cleared and she returned.  It was different now.  Not so that it could be seen or felt.  Uncertainty had entered my being.  I now saw her two or three times a week.  That was as much as her grandmother would allow, wisely so.  Schoolwork had to be done.

page 29.

     Ange had a role in a church play.  She invited me to see her in the role.  I don’t remember what the play was about; I didn’t care.  Ange had asked me and that was enough.

     In the seclusion of her house we had been able to keep the world at bay.  In the bliss of our love we floated above the housetops, above the trees, in a universe of our own.  We were one with the light fluffy clouds high above the earth, removed from the dross of earthly impure elements.

     But as we moved about in the mundane world of men and women we had, or rather I had- Ange didn’t seem to notice- to take into account the buffeting of hostile intentions.  I thought now that everyone had to like me as Ange loved me or Ange would stop loving me.  I sat in the theatre while Ange stood back stage.  She fixed adoring eyes on me from the wings while she waited for her part.  She was oblivious to all else I could hear the murmurs of others in the audience.  Perhaps their comments were normal badinage with which they discussed all swains.  Probably the difference in our ages caused comment.  Though in love, I was certainly conscious of her youth.  But my face was covered with pimples, my jacket was ugly and it didn’t represent the real me; the orphanage was part of my past and I came from a broken home.  I knew they all knew.  Perhaps when one said:  “What does she see in him?”  they were merely being curious.  Perhaps they wanted to know.  Maybe as we had never been intruduced they wondered what I was like.  Maybe.  I took their comments, I don’t think I’m far off, as rejection, as detestation for me.  I thought Ange might discover whatever they didn’t like in me.  My past had given my demeanor and actions a caste that seemed to replicate the attitude wherever I went.  I was acutely conscious of their critical evaluation.  I may have been hypersensitive.  But I sat in the middle, as it were, of what I interpreted to be a species of revulsion and the silent adoration of Ange gazing steadfastly at me from the wings as though I were the angel sent down from heaven to please her.  Who was right?  I was too inexperienced to dismiss them and accept unqualifiedly the love that was offered to me by my sweet Ange.  Self doubt plagued me.  I wished that Ange would temper her obvious devotions.  Jealousy probably drove the other auditors to despair as they redoubled their whispered comments.

page 30.

     I prayed that Ange might diminish her attention to me.  In my embarrassment I looked away.  But then, knowing that I couldn’t refuse her adoration and not wanting to give her the least doubt of my own affection, I returned her gaze.

     Then her turn to perform came.  Ange scandalized the crowd.  As she spoke her lines she turned toward the audience and spoke her lines in such sublime innocence to me alone.  Oh, Ange, how I loved you, how you flattered a heart that wished to steal you from a hard hearted world and hide you away in my heart, but how I wished you hadn’t done that.  I was emotionally unequipped to withstand the storm of indignation that swept the the auditorium of that most Christian of churches.  Still, it was such a lovely gesture that I haven’t recovered my senses yet.

     One woman ignoring my presence stated indignantly:  “I don’t care how fascinated she is with that pimple faced boy- at her age it’s only fascination, what could she know of love- but that doesn’t give her the right to ruin this play for everyone else.

page 31.

     I could let “pimple faced boy” go by but I had to defend my Love.  “Ange didn’t ruin the play.”  I said, next offering a correct, but in the circumstance irrelevant, evaluation of the play.  “It wasn’t a very good play, she enhanced it merely by being in it, it was impossible for her to ruin it.”

     “Impossible to ruin it!  Young man my daughter wrote that play.”

     “Well, the first one’s always the toughest, if she’s got talent the next one will be better.”  I volunteered, quoting some forgotten critic I had read.

     Ange had joined me in the midst of the exchanges.  The woman flashed indignation all over me, thinking me a very impertinent boy.  Perhaps I was but she could have kept her comments about Ange to herself.  At least she, an old woman, should have had the sense not to utter her absurdities in my presence.  If you throw a stone into a pond you shouldn’t be surprised if you get splashed.

     Outside the church when we were alone and our universe had returned to its rightful form, Ange shyly took my hand and lovingly admonished me for having given Mrs. What-was-her-name the why for.  She was pleased that I had defended her.  It irradiated her being.  Alone with her once again in an adoration I could endure I didn’t mention my discomfort under her gaze in the church.  I thought I would but I couldn’t find words that I thought wouldn’t hurt her.  I couldn’t stand to see the love dimmed in her eyes for an instant.  I sighed and just assumed that the opportunity wouldn’t happen again.

page 33.

VI

     We couldn’t spend all our time together talking, kissing and spooning on her couch.  We did have to go on dates.  As our romance went on I found to my discomfort that I was being drawn into the circle of her family and acquaintances.  She had other family in the Valley than her grandmother.  She also had other friends.  Some were boys, but it never crossed my mind that she would look at them.  She didn’t.  But my paradise was with Ange alone and her grandmother who I never saw.  My vision was of Ange.  Had she been a picture in a museum I would have been oblivious to all the others.  I didn’t need them.  I didn’t want them.  Ange so excelled all others that they seemed shabby in comparison.

     My social station was not too high.  I, as well as Ange’s grandmother lived nevertheless in decent neighborhoods, if not the plushest.  Our neighbors reflected, in varying degrees, certain cultural standards.  I considered myself to be of a certain cultural class.  I considered Ange to be above class, to walk on air, to discourse with other angels.

     In my personal psychology I thought myself a victim of circumstances.  A frog prince, captured in an ugly body awaiting only liberation.  The beautiful Ange validated that opinion of myself.  I knew I could only be released from my prison by leaving the Valley behind and exhibiting my true worth in some glittering capitol that left a burg like the Valley in its true perspective.  Ange saved me from being myself.

 page 34;

     But her friends, her relatives, the people I had to meet and with whom I was expected to ingratiate myself lived out in the north neighborhoods of town.  They not only lived there but they belonged there.  They had no culture or intellectual pretensions.  I don’t want to go to lengths exapatiating on the quality of my manners, but if I was gauche from time to time, Ange’s people were unfamiliar with the word.  They thought manners were putting on airs.

     Ange had manners.  Her grandmother lived on South Melmoth.  I had no idea what her people in Waterloo were like but I just assumed that they lived in a nicer house than either I or her grandmother did.  Through Ange I was compelled to mingle with these people and I didn’t like it.  There was a vast distance between our cloud castle and those people.  I didn’t want my dreams dashed by crudity.  Forgive me, Ange.

     I couldn’t make them go away, they encroached on my vision of happiness.  They didn’t know what true love was.  They were becoming a problem as were the other kids at school.  Alone Ange and I could stroll hand in hand through the Garden of the Gods; at social functions I had to work hard to keep the real world at bay.  My failure would become accumulatively apparent.

page 35.

     I nevertheless felt obligated to show my Darling Angeline the worldly pleasures at my disposal.  My own soul revolted at basketball and football spectacles.  I didn’t attend many games, especially basketball games, but I invited Ange to go to one.

     Our basketball court served as both the boys and girls gyms.  The court was divided in two by an immense folding door.  The bleachers were contained in huge cabinets.  When in use the cabinet doors slid back and the bleachers were rolled out to serve their purpose.

    We arrived at the game and found seats about seven or eight rows up along the long wall near the end of the bleachers in the boys side of the gym.  We had no sooner been seated than an older woman with a couple of boys in tow climbed the bleachers to take a seat behind us.  As they began the ascent Ange recognized the woman as her aunt.  The boys were cousins.  Thus I began to be introduced to her family. I didn’t even like my own family.  I saw no reason to be drawn into hers.

     It was only natural that Ange’s people would show interest in the boy she was dating.  The boy she raved about as a paragon among boys.  It was more than dating, we were deeply involved, although, in my own self-centered way that excluded the rest of the world, I didn’t understand the depth of our involvement.  Ange was mine and mine alone.  I didn’t have to share her anymore than I had to share my baseball glove.  The glove fit my hand.  It was mine.  Ange and I suited each other.  Ange was mine.

     At the time I was unaware that Ange was telling her family about us.  I just didn’t think about it.  I told no one about her, neither family nor friends.  I just assumed she did the same.  She was in love, she expressed her love differently than I.  It’s also true that my parents took no interest in my affairs, while Ange as a young girl would solicit the attention of her relatives.  She, with her joy in me, had told them of her perfect love, had even been effusive.  In her rapture she had even told them we would marry.  If not in those words at least in a manner that indicated that we thought we had or, indeed, had found life mates.  The idea occupied Ange’s mind; in my own it rumbled along in the long wave lengths below the audible range.

page 36.

     Her aunt and family naturally were interested in whether I was sincere or taking advantage of a young girl’s heart.  Our ages were a difficult point with them and with me.  I was open to the charge of cradle robbing.  It made no difference that Ange had found me and not I her, I was older and a boy.  I was responsible; I accepted the responsibility.  I was still sensitive to the charge; I had no intention of dishonoring my Angeline.  She was my beauty; a lovely thing has to be kept lovely by loving care.  They don’t stay that way on their own.  It must have the attention lavished on it to maintain its lustre.  I had resented comments made by people who knew us as we had entered the gymn, this woman, her aunt, annoyed me.

     Ange’s cousins intruded in my fantasies of who we were.  We had always been on our best, our very best, behavior with each other.  We had never had a cross word.  Whe had never even had a disagreement.  I was elevated above the ruck of common life in her presence.  She made my life shine.  I imagined us as I hoped we would be throughout life.  Her cousins and her aunt reflected a side of life that cast shadows on my mirror.  Ange wouldn’t understand, they were her people.

page 37.

     The game progressed as basketball games do.  Up one end of the floor and back to the other.  We were playing Lake Harbor.  They had an all Black team.  We were all white.  They had this one terrific player who could win the game for his team.  He was winning it for them.  We were not, as they say, prejudiced but we didn’t want to lose to a bunch of Black guys.  The gym was definitely hostile to Lake Harbor.  Our hope was that their good guy would foul out, then we knew we would win.  As he was half the team he tried too hard and got a couple quick fouls.  When he got his third one the whole gym erupted into a great howl of delight.  The attitude of the crowd was slightly on the ugly side.

     Ange looked over at me and said:  “Gee, Dewey, basketball games are sure thirsty work.”  My first reaction was a thick headed “Yea, sure are.”  Then a shaft of light penetrated and I realized that her statement must have been some conventional witticism she had heard and that she wanted something to drink.  I thought a second and said:  “But, Honey, if you have something to drink you may have to go to the bathroom.”  Ange flushed at my use of Honey and cast a look back at her aunt, who was leaning over our shoulders to catch every word, to see whether she had heard it.  “That’s alright Dewey, they have restrooms here.”  She missed the point, I didn’t want to be reminded that she was human.  “OK.  I’ll be right back.”

page 37.

     I heaved a sigh and looked out over the gym.  The refreshment stand was at the other end by the entrance to the girl’s gym.  I usually had to fight my way from one end to the other.  There was always someone to try to trip me or whatever.  I knew Ange would be watching me every foot of the way.  I wanted to look good.  It occurred to me that I could go around the corridor from the boys gym to the girls gym and back without walking the length and breadth of the gym.  Gracik was taking tickets.  He was infuriated because I was with a girl and he wasn’t.  He’d given me a surly “Who’d go out with you.” as Ange and I had entered.  Once I got out he might give me a hard time getting back in.  I resolved to walk the length of the court.

     I was only fifteen but I knew enough to know no one would interfere with me when I was empty handed.  Lake Harbor’s  guy hadn’t made anymore fouls, we were falling behind, the crowd was restless.  I made it to the refreshment stand OK and got Ange her drink.  I knew the person guarding the girl’s gym door pretty well.  I could at least get back in if I tried the corridor.  I decided to chance Gracik at the other end.  Even with my stub in my hand he made it too difficult to get back in.  I could have tried to force it but he would have caused me embarrassment, probably spilling the drink.  I went back to the girl’s gym entrance and started back around.

     The players, big guys, were thundering up and down the floor.  Drinks in those days were open topped, they didn’t use lids so I had to balance the drink carefully.  I could have topped it off a little but then if I drank I might have to go to the bathroom and embarrass myself in front of Ange.

page 39.

     I had walked the breadth of the court.  I spotted Louis Schreiver as I turned the corner.  Schreiver was always in my hair.  Fortunately he wasn’t overly bright.  He always telegraphed his intentions.  One could explain it to him and he still couldn’t understand.  I intuited his plan this time before it was clear in his own mind.  He was going to wait until just before I passed, then pretend he heard someone above him call his name, then jump up and back into me while waving up above.  Shee, get a new new one, Louis.  I was close to the boundary line watching Schreiver when this big guy came rolling down the court on the line.  He was six-eight, two hundred forty.  A very imposing guy.  It was sort of like having a big eight wheeler bear down on you at a crossing.

     I saw Schreiver make his move.  In order to make it look like a Law and Order accident he stopped looking at me at all.  He had a mental image of the situation, sort of like a turn around jump shot with your back to the basket.  But this big guy was coming down one side of the line, I was on the other.  I saw Louis start to stagger backwards.  Istopped and stepped away from the line.  Schreiver had been watching only me, not paying attention to the game.  Now ignoring me as he staggered backward he was counting on bumping into me to stop him.  You could see the look of anticipation on his face.  I wasn’t behind him.  Louis staggered right across the line into the way of the big steamroller.  Louis’ friends’ smiles of anticipation shifted from alarm at Louis’ fate to angry scowls at me because I had avoided my projected part in their little drama.  They thought I had caused Schreiver’s embarrassment.  The school’s mood had been so ugly that Lake Harbor accused us of having gotten into their guy’s way intentionally to put him out of the game.  The Ref to defuse the situation actually gave Lake Harbor the benefit of a technical foul.

page 40.

     All the way down the gym I had to answer “What happened?”  “I don’t know, a guy stepped out in front of the Train.”

    I was quite a hero to Ange as I had seen the collision close up.  I didn’t try to explain what really happened.  I got the drink to her without a mishap.

     Her aunt was saying something about calling on them as we left.  I nodded my head but my thinking was that it would be a long time from now.

     Sure enough Ange had to go the bathroom.  Angels don’t pee.  Angel have no impurities.  I had accommodated myself to the fact that Ange was human.  I always knew it if I had tried to avoid the fact.  She had excused herself a few times before which I had accepted.  Now she was going to use a public restroom!  There was nothing I could do about it.  I would never be cross with her but I had told her so.

VI.

     During the succeeding weeks I was drawn further into the acquaintance of Ange’s relatives.  I recognized the inevitability of it but I resented it deeply.  Ange and I, I and my Angeline, had a refuge from an ugly and threatening world.  We still whiled away our evening hours in each other’s arms on her couch.  The bliss of her warmth and her sweet aroma still transported me to pleasant worlds distand from this struggle for existence.  The one made the other bearable.

page 42.

     In her arms the frog prince realized for a moment a potential he had difficulty attempting to realize in his parents’ house, on the streets of the Valley and the halls of Melville.  I was nevertheless able to sustain a more elevated opinion of myself elsewhere than among her relatives.

     I am a democrat, but still a snob.  I found her relatives’ appreciation of the meaning of life distinctly inferior to me.  They had an earthy quality.  It was enough for them to eat, rut  and sleep.  My own parents, far from intellectuals, still subscribed to a couple magazines.  I myself had a good sized library for a fifteen year old.  Relatively passive in my demands otherwise, I insisted, demanded, on receiving at least as many books at Christmas as socks and underwear.  My eyes were on the stars not in the furrows.

     Ange’s relatives had neither books nor magazines.  They were strictly functional in the decor of their houses.  They had none of the accoutrements of civilized life about them.

     Ange herself was oblivious.  I imagine she was lost in the wonders of love.  She lived to please me.  I saw no reason to be critical of her anyway.  She was happy.  I guarded her jealously.  Her relatives were of the animal spirits.  They accepted sexual relations in barnyard terms.  I don’t believe that they would have objected to our having sexual relations but they also wanted to know about it.  I didn’t even let on that Ange and I had ever kissed.  I suppose her grandmother had told Ange’s relatives that all we did was sit on the couch and kiss but still I thought that was no one’s business but our own.

page 47.

     Her aunt would make prying comments like:  “Pretty hard to control your self when you’re going hot and heavey, eh?”  The she would arch her eyebrows and give an inquiring knowing smile like she thought I was goint to offer details of what she imagined.  I felt like I was being dragged down.  None of Ange’s people associated with anyone I knew.  There was a world of difference between Ange’s grandmother’s house on the corner of S. Melmoth and this North side neighborhood.

     We were supposed to go visit a cousin of hers one Saturday.  I called to pick her up.  She greeted me at the door in jeans.  Old jeans.  I didn’t even know she had any.  She, in that wonderful light way that had entered into my existence so completely, said:  “You don’t have to dress up to go see my cousins, Dewey.”

     I didn’t know how to express my disappointment.  I couldn’t be angry with her.  I couldn’t chastise or criticize her, still I was near the edge of tears.  “It’s just Ange, you look so beautiful in your skirts.  Besides I’m not dressed up to visit your cousins, I’m dressed up to see you.  I’ve never seen you in…’ I almost said pants, but then I selected a more negative word, “trousers before.”

page 44.

     “These aren’t trousers, Dewey, these are jeans.”  She said spinning around to show me.  Throwing her arms around my neck giving me a loving little kiss on the lips she said:  “Don’t I look beautiful in jeans too, Dewey?”

     Well, of course, what could I say?  “Oh, Ange, you’d look beautiful in anything.”  But she missed the point.

     It was a long walk to the North side.  When we arrived her aunt and uncle were gone and her cousin Adele was there with her boy friend.  I was a year older than the other two who were both fourteen.  I had met Adele and was meeting her boyfriend for the first time.  I had always thought Adele OK, I was always less critical of girls, but hr boy friend struck me as crude and vulgar.  He was.  He and Adele were not in love as I considered Ange and I to be.  My impression was that they were just dating each other.

     After introductions and some light banter things began to drag a bit.  I was rather glum under the circumstances.  The he kind of roped Adele around the neck with his arm.  They began rolling and tumbling on the floor.  Ange displaying some elation looked first at them and then at me suppressing a little giggle.  I knew what was going on.  I didn’t like it.  I was certainly not going to get down on the floor with Ange and tumble around with them.  There was no reason for him to put his glove on my girl.  I knew that sometime soon I would have to increase my attentions to Angeline.  I suspected that she wanted me to.  We had discussed such things after her aunt’s rude comments.  Ange had left me with the sighing impression that that was what lovers do.  I knew, I had hpes of sex but not now with the girl I loved and respected.  I was struggling.

page 45.    

     Adele’s boyfriend seeing that we were not going to join in tried a different tack.  “Hey, want to see a game we play?  I pretend I’m the driver and Adele’s the car.”  He put her left arm out like it was a gear shift.  “See, here we shift into second.”  He said, moving her extended arm down.  “Oh,oh, look out, there’s a pedestrian,” he said, giving her left breast a couple quick squeezes.  “Beep, beep.”

     Ange emitted a delighted little laugh, pleased at the humor of the joke.  I didn’t laugh.  I didn’t think it was funny.  He looked over at me to see my response.  I gave him a stony stare, Adele became embarrassed and turned red.  I didn’t want to see anymore.  I excused myself to go get a drink of water.

     “You don’t have to excuse yourself, Bud, just do it.”  Adele’s boy friend said with a smirk.  Yeah.  Ange and I were in the wrong place.  My brow furrowed and my lips compressed as I stood before the sink staring into the glass of water.  I felt we have been besmirched.  I thought it was time to go.

     I made some excuse about a long walk, took Ange by the hand and we left.  I was deep in thought.  Wondering, wondering.  Ange in her innocence looked upat me shyly from time to time.  Then she giggled and said- she had a way of breathing out her words-  “What did you think of their game, Dewey?”

page 46.

     As she spoke a quiver rippled her palm which was in my hand.  Mine involuntarity closed a little tighter on hers.  A little shiver convulsed her but I didn’t want to dim the angel lights from her eyes.  Our relationship had progressed rapidly from love to the deepest emotional attachment.  Apart from consummation there was no further room for development.  Maturation perhaps, but not development.  That meant to both of us, I think, that we were married in all but fact.  She certainly acted the part of a contented wife.  I did not object.  I did not find it an imposition.  What else could she think?  We lived and breathed each other.  But she was thirteen, I was fifteen.  When I was eighteen she would be sixteen.

     Apart from Angeline I was unhappy with my life in the Valley.  Events seemed to be conspiring to deny me the opportunity to develop my talents.  My parents were not going to send me to college.  I was not emotionally prepared to succeed there anyway.  I would barely make it out of high school.

     My step-father’s mother had told me stories about her brother Louie who they had driven from the family.  They appeared to have no good reason for it, just some type of familial spite that repeated itself agains a member of each generation.  Some irrational psychological tradition required them to do it.  In his generation it had been Louie.  He had fled the family and gone to Australia.  I thought  that they had picked me for the Louie of my generation.

page 47.

     I couldn’t stay.  I was marking time to leave.  As I know looked at my Angeline I saw impossibilities.  I knew she was deeply in love with me and would do anything I asked.  If, when I had graduated I had asked her to quit school and follow me I know she would have done it.

     I knew I had a troubled mind filled with tangled emotions.  I knew that it would take me years to sort out those tangled emotion and reintegrate my personality in a productive direction.  Had Ange been my age, as two graduates I could have chanced taking her with me.  I had it in mind to go as far away as possible.  Unlike Louie I didn’t intend to leave the country, I intended to go to the West Coast.  I had even picked out the town and state- Eugene, Oregon.  I had selected Eugene for no more sound reason than that Eugene was my  middle name and it was an unusual name for a town. 

     Eugene was a lumber town and the home of the University of Oregon.  I thought I could get a job in the mills and go to college in my spare time.  But I couldn’t see me showing up as an eighteen year old boy with a sixteen year old wife.  It wouldn’t be fair to Ange.  Oh, I intuited that she would be glad to work to put me through college.  But then what could a sixteen year old girl do but be a waitress?  I could subject my Angeline to verbal abuse from a bunch of crude loggers.

     I felt Ange tug my hand down trembling in anticipation of my answer.  “Hmm, Dewey?”

     In her insistence we had stopped walking.  She was pressing up against me giving me an intent hopeful look.  In her anxiety she forget herself and pulled my hand down against her delta.  Fortunately we were close enough together so no one could see.  Her warmth and perfume were overwhelming.  It was as though two suns hurtling through space had been caught in each other’s orbit.  Rotating around each other they hurtled on caught in each other’s solar embrace.  They were so close together that the long solar flares of fire shot from their surfaces, were drawn into each other’s gravitational pull.  The flames shot from sun to sun embathing each in turn in the other’s flaming essence.

page 48.

     There was no higher heaven.  Immersed in this lovely girl’s glow I was yet struggling to identify my state of mind.  I was not yet ready to speak.  I gave her a look meant to indicate that I was lost for words.  Seeking to gain time I let out an “Hmmm,” gesturing with my free hand.

     I loved her.  She was unspotted.  Yet here was an opportunity for a situation that I had seen that others had.  I longed for such a situation myself.  But now that it presented itself a dichotomy arose in my mind.

     Several couples beginning in Jr. High had formed just such a relationship, perhaps beginning in the eighth grade.  Ange was now in the eighth grade.  I was dimly aware that Ange thought she was “wedded” for life.  It slowly dawned on me that these other girls had made the same committement to their boy friends.  Howie Holland and Allie Simpson were one such couple I knew.  I was in awe of Howie’s luck.  Allie was a beautiful girl.  It was their example that had created hopes in my breast.  Now those hopes could be realized.

page 49.

     But now, I realized that everyone knew that Howie was getting it from Allie.  We knew that Allie was doing it.  Howie had the strut of a stud who knew his woman.  He was proud of it.  He couldn’t help showing it.  He must show it.  They couldn’t conceal it.  Allie had sacrificed her honor for Howie.  But everyone knew she did it.  The vultures were constantly circling ready to descend and get some if Howie and Allie broke up.

     The same was true of many couples.  I also became dimly aware that thes were marriages of convenience for the boys.  They would probably be voided when the time came.  Their use over the girls who had given their all would be discarded.  They wanted to marry their childhood sweethearts and first loves.  They had been committed loving wives.  As I had suspected all along, everyone of them was thrown over at graduation.  Their hearts were crushed.

     I could have Angeline on the same basis for the next two and a half years.  I looked down at her tenderly.  My tenderness melted her heart.  Yet, I knew some of my weaknesses.  As fiercely as I now protected her I fearted that after consummation my need for recognition might force me to act the boor, to advertise our relationship.  I had seen how the other boys walked.  They were less than discreet.  I didn’t see how I could be any different, I feared I might be worse.  I had seen the strain placed on the girls too.  Everyone knew.  They couldn’t conceal it.  I knew that I had acted toward them differently because I knew.  They knew I acted differently.  I thought Allie, for instance was a good girl, but I secretly believed that she was less good than some others.  I didn’t want to cause Ange any grief.  I didn’t know what to do.

page 5o.

     Angie tugged my hand again and gave me an inquiring smile.  I laughed lightly and kissed her cheek tenderly but thoughtfully.  Then too, there was always the chance that she would get pregnant.  This was a fearsome thought.  I would have married her but our lives would probably have been ruined.  Especially if I was only the eleventh grade and she the ninth.

     Just as if I married her and took her with me when I left town.  A child or two and we could probably be stuck in a mill job for life.  Besides, I, selfishly, did not want her pregnant, ever.  She was everything to me.  I didn’t want children, I didn’t need them.  I loved her and her alone.  I didn’t want to have to spread that love and I didn’t want her to distribute it to even our children.  I felt another tremblor pass from her palm to my heart.  I had to say something.

     “I didn’t like their game Ange.  I thought it was crude and vulgar.  When I make love to you, Ange…”  What was I saying?  It just came out, an expression of what I had been thinking.  “When I make love to you I want it to be pure and unblemished.  I want a memory we can both cherish forever.”  My God,  I couldn’t stop my mouth.  I was making comitments I didn’t know yet I wanted to keep.

page 51.

     Ange’s mouth opened with incredulous joy at my words.  I was promising her everything she wanted from me.  I wanted to change my words, to say what I had said differently but I didn’t know how.

     Ange’s mind couldn’t contain the good news.  Her ecstasy flooded out in all directions.  Almost beside herself her perspiring little palm clutched my hand with a desperate clasp of complete satisfaction.

     ‘Oh yes, Dewey.  Oh yes.  I feel exactly the same way.  That is exactly the way I feel.  I couldn’t express it any better.  You said exactly what I feel.  When we do, that’s exactly the way I want it, when we do.”

     We walked in silence, each of us lost in our own thoughts and reveries.  Two clasped hands pulsed out messages of love, but I was afraid.

     I got her to her door.  We were forbidden to spend the evening together as we had had the whole day to ourselves.  Ange’s mind was still busily sifting and reexamining what I had said.  She was still at a loss for words.  Right there in the daylight on her stoop she threw her arms around my neck goodbye that promised her whole existence when I should take it.  What was I to do?

VII.

     The turmoil in my mind reached an extraordinary pitch.  All the treasure the gods could bestow on a man had been bestowed on me but at such a time as I was incapable of using it properly.  As in the old fable of the gold fish that so beautiful in the water but was only a dead fish when landed my dilemma was the same, or so it appeared to me.  No matter how I turned the matter over in my mind it came up disaster.

page 52.

     I was inarticulate.  I could not express my dilemma in words.  Thought, if they may be called thoughts, flashed through my mind in pictures and symbols.  I loved Ange.  I respected her.  I didn not want to damage that wonderful trust and sympathy she showed me.  I knew that sooner or later we would have a fight, that her whole hearted unabated affection would be clouded over but I wanted to postpone that day as long as possible.  I cherished my image of her.  I wanted her to be able to cherish her image of me.  Circumstances were crowding down on me forcing that image from my grasp.  I simply didn’t know what to know her family.  I feared that Ange would be trapped in their plebian view of society.  I thought I could handle the pressures from my classmates.  They were, after all, part of life and couldn’t be avoided.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to deal with the sex well.  I was just a dumb kid.  A heavy responsibility would be placed on me, not so much to protect Ange from others, but to protect her from myself.  I didn’t know to the extent of my own shortcomings but I was apprehensive about them.  Besides the day after we did it I knew that her grandmother and family would know.  If I didn’t telegraphy it, Ange, in her pride of being the complete little woman, without even being aware of it, wouldn’t be able to conceal it.  For her it would be the seal of our relationship, for me it would be the beginning of insatiable lust.

page 53.

     No matter how I looked at it I saw my lovely Angeline besmirched.  It began to appear to be a clear choice between tarnishing my Angel or allowing her to remain in pristine beauty.  Sometimes one can love too much.

     Ange had received my words as holy affirmation of our desires.  A sort of peace enveloped her as she waited patiently for the sacred moment to arrive.  There was a beautiful placid air of expectation surrounding her.  If possible, she was even more tender and loving to me than before.  I reciprocted fearing myself.  Why, oh why, had Ange chose me?

     My emotions had reached a bursting point.  I had no idea which way I would go.  Then fate tilted the balance.  I was walking her home from some social function, I have no idea what it was, we were approaching the Star.  We were holding hands, I more thoughtful than usual, she as admiring and trustful as ever.  Then our dream crumbled to dust in my mind.  A little musical note emitted from her bottom as she passed gas.  I turned to stare.  She compressed her lovely little cheeks in embarrassment hoping to stop any further emissions.  As flatulence goes her emission was almost pretty.  It had a well rounded pear shaped tone.  I can hear it yet.  She squeezed my hand and laughed merrily as did I  but her pedestal had crumble beneath her.  What a silly boy I was.  Even can come out of good.  Good and evil merely exist together.  It takes a truly virtuous mind to be able to maintain them in their seprate spheres.  I did not have that kind of virtue.

page 54.

     As we had walked, a huge full moon had risen before us in golden splendor.  It now sat dazzlingly among the branches of the trees.  To someone behind us we would have appeared as shadows on the moon.  As I looked at this dazzling golden disc it began to slowly dissove into shades of blue.  How could the golden moon turn blue?  I wanted to verify the sight with Ange.  I pointed and began to explain but she said unfeelingly:  “Yes, I see.  Isn’t that a beautiful golden moon?”  I wanted to say no it isn’t golden, Ange, didn’t you see it turn blue?  But in that moment a gulf between our minds had opened.  Something had changed in me.  I had somehow come to a decision.

     We kissed goodbye.  I started walking down S. Melmoth.  By the time I had reached the Star tears were streaming down my face.  I was vaguely aware of the decision I had reached.  My only justification was one and it was futile.  Angels don’t fart.

VIII.

     Immaturity might be an explanation but not an adequate one.  Insensitivity offers no explanation at all.  Fear of losing the obtained but unrealizable hope of my life is the only explanation I can offer.  She was mine but I knew that I couldn’t have her.  The fear had been on me from the beginning.  Even as I entered her mind to show her mine I knew that I was secretly purloining her soul.  I took it from her and stored it in my heart.  She had been only too happy to let me have it.  Now with Angeline safely in my heart, my mind, my will was paralyzed.

     With what must have seemed a perverse cruelty I did the most incomprehensible thing I have ever done in my life.  I simply dropped Ange.  She could have had no indication of her fate.  As I kissed her goodbye there was no indication that I would never call on her again.  There had been no argument, there had been no fight.  There had been in indication I was displeased with her.  I wasn’t displeased with her.  I loved her.

page 55.

    She was the mountain of my pride.  She never called me on the phone to see what the matter.  But a young girl’s heart cannot be crushed without some protest.  I got home from high school before she left Junior High.  She lived only a few blocks from South but for some reason she went to Lindsay.  She walked up Bond past Monroe on her way home.  One day on her way home she looked up Monroe anxiously hoping to see me and have me call to her.  I was in the yard.  I saw her.  Numbly and dumbly I let her walk on by.  I saw her recoil within herself when I made no response.  The heavens fell shrieking about both our heads.

     Her family was desperate.  Her aunt sought me out somewhere and confronted me.  With apparent inner franticness, hoping, I think, that I would recant, she said simply:  “Why did you do it?”  I had to answer. I wanted to answer.  I answered with characteristic clumsiness:  “We went too far, too fast.”

     “I thought so!”  She said, shaking her head grimly in a knowing way.

     It suddenly dawned on me that she thought I meant I had bedded Ange.  “No! No!”  I exclaimed.  “I didn’t mean that.  I meant that we had fallen too deeply in love too quickly.”

page 56.

     I meant that I had had no time to adjust to paradise.  I had been caught in something I couldn’t understand.  But she began walking away quickly.  “You disgust me!”  was tossed over her shoulder.  She wouldn’t have, no one could have understood anyway.  Besides I was in the wrong.

     I can only guess, but Ange was dreiven nearly to distraction.  The sweet trusting girl whose love had been betrayed so dastardly humbled herself before her pride which fell into the dust, a sacrifice to her great love.  She had been wronged and that sense of having been wronged prevented her from making a direct appeal to my sense of justice.  After had aunt had reported her conversation with me perhaps Ange dimly realized my perplexity.  Perhaps she was only desperate.

     Instead of walking up Bond on her way home she now took to making a lonely walk without friends up Caterina which brought her directly to my parents’ door.  I tremble with fear of the humilation she must have felt as her aching heart compelled her dragging feet to perform their reluctant duty.  I saw her walk by on more than one occasion.  With eyes that spotted every movement no matter how shadowy she knew that I saw her.  Whatever the misunderstanding, whatever my problem, it would have been a simple matter to open the door and greet her. I didn’t.

     Her pain was great, her love was greater.  She couldn’t sacrifice her pride by imploring me for reasons.  I had begun the silence; it was up to me to break the silence.  I couldn’t.  I wouldn’t.  My fear of losing Angeline was too great.

page 57.

     Ange conceived one last desperate hope.  I guess, but perhaps she left school early and patiently spied my return from school from a distance.  I don’t know whether she knew but it was my habit to get the mail just arter I returned to the house.  When she had seen me enter the house, my parents rule was that my brother and I use the back door, she took up a position before my front porch directly in front of the door.  When I opened the door to get the mail I wouldn’t be able to miss her.  I would have to break the silence.  I would have to accept or reject her.  If she only wanted to assuage her pain she could reject me.

    Oh Ange, I wish your plan had succeeded.  Rather than make a futile trip to the mail box, as was my custom, I went to the bay window from which I could see the mailbox to percieve whether there was any mail in the slot provided for that purpose.  There on the sidewalk head bowed in silent supplication stood Ange.  Her books were clutched to her breast in the manner girls carried them.  I loved her, I wanted her, but my cruel fate had placed what had been in my arms beyond my reach.  I didn’t fully understand myself, I couldn’t begin to explain to Ange.  Had I been able to explain, my reasoning would have been beyond anyone’s understanding, let alone that of the beautiful Ange.

     it was not fear, it was not indecision, it was with calm if numb resovle that I took up a position opposite Ange on my side of that terrible door.  The pure flame of Angeline burned in my heart.  I had taken her from Ange.  The goodness, the purity, the transcendent beauty of her had been placed where she was safe, where no one could take her from me.  Without ever having thought about it I had devised a means of obtaining the beautiful goldfish without removing it from its pond.  Angeline floated up to become my Anima at that time.

     The gods loved her.  In a quick council they resoved to spare her, to unite the flame of her essence with my existence, in deference to my youth they sent flights of angels with caressing and soothing song to move my heart.  They sang:  Go to her!  She is yours!  We make a free gift of all a man can desire in your world.  Take her, press her to your heart and receive the peace of a perfect love.

     The angels were used to prompt obedience.  But I knew things of which they were not aware.  They knew celestial perfection; I knew of the corruption of the furrow.  I held my ground.  I began to erect barricades around my heart to protect the image of my love.  Dismayed but tolerant of my youth the gods sent a further flight of angels to move my heart.  Their song was sweeter than that of the flight that had preceeded them.  The raptures they promised were a temptation beyond mortal man’s will to resist.  I resisted.  I strengtened the barriers of my heart.  Even gods lie.

     The gods believed me insolent.  They meant for the Girl Ange to have her desire.  Great streams of harpies and furies rose up from their subterranean dwellings, they streamed from their dark caves.  Wheeling high in the obliterated skies they descended on me to drive me forth; to break the plance of the door separating Ange from her desire.  Their mere appearance was terrifying.  The pain they inflicted was excruciation.  The wheeled past my body in the black birdlike forms tearing little pieces of my flesh away.  I was stripped of flesh to the bone.  But my heart had been surrounded by solid oad within which burned the purest flame of the sweet virginal love of the Girl Angeline.

page 58.

     In their form of great black birds with more than imposing beaks the harpies and furies tore at my mind while great tidal waves of sound crashed over my brain.  It would have been easier to go to Ange but still I stood firm.  Out of the corner of my eye through the bay window I saw the broken hearted girl, Ange, abandon her vigil trodding her hopes into the dust as she left my door forever.

     In anger and disgust the gods commanded the harpies and furies to fill my brain with their droppings as they returned to their dismal haunts.  The gods now decreed that I was to be given no surcease, no rest.  The defiance of omnipotence cannot be done with impunity.  I cared not; for the pure virginal flame of Angeline’s love burned with a warm glow in my heart.  Through it all I kept her.  I had won out.  She, Angeline, was mine.  Only mine.

     Her love was worth a great price, I paid the price over again with interest.  But, with no regrets.  Je ne regret rien.

     The birds returned every night to haunt my dreams and prevent me from sleeping through the night.  All the nightmares took different forms, but they all had the same meaning and they all left me sitting bolt upright between sweated sheets.  I was too young at the time to know what I had done.  to understand any of this.  I did not understand the nightmares nor did I know why they began that very night.  The most persistent nightmare, in symbolism that should have been so easy to interpret, was of this very house.  My very brain.  I was in the house.  Some force, whether malevolent or not I could never determine, was trying to force entry.  Figures stood about observing my distress.  Cold and without pity.  I now recognize that one of them was Ange, evjoying her revenge.  I was unable to lock the doors.  The locks wouldn’t turn.  I ran back and forth between the front and back doors trying to keep the force without.  I even had to defend those little ventilation holes in the storm windows.  Of course I was always able to keep that force out.

page 59.

     Now I realize that force was Ange’s love.  I had cruelly driven her away in real life, howcould I fail in my nightmares to do the same.

IX

     I don’t think Ange ever ceased loving me.  How could she, I had placed her essence in my heart.  She was mine now, she didn’t belong to herself.  It had been Spring when I had driven her away.  I can only guess what a long lonely summer she must have had.  A summer during which she had possibly conjured up long warm days of bliss.  I had promised her that I would make her mine.  Perhaps she had visions of love as we spent long hours in each other’s arms.  Did she still pray that I would come back?

page 60.

     I went about my affairs as though nothing had happened, as though Ange had never existed.  I probably hadn’t forgotten her, but I didn’t think about her; at least not consciously.  As must be obvious I never actually stopped thinking of her.  She was never off my mind.  But I could bear Ange on my mind with Angeline in my heart.  Of course my heart was unavailable for anyone else’s love, which I did not comprehend.  I did not rush out to find another girl friend although I was now available.  The consequence of my selfish and fearful desire to hide my love from the world in my heart was that no other girl could compare to that virginal flame steadily burning in my heart.  The flame came from the untarnished virtue of the first love of a young girl.  It is the pearl of great price.  It is only there once in any girl’s life and only at that time of her life.  With each passing year, even month or day, she becomes bemirched with the foulness of the world.  Without ever realizing it her innocence is chipped aeay.  She becomes knowledgeable.  Her love, perhaps quite against her will, becomes more worldly.  Angeline’s virginal flame could never become worldly.

      But, what had I dont to Ange?  In attempting to spare her a hurt that seemed inevitable to me at the time I soiled her life worse than if I had proceeded in a blindly self-serving way.  Even had I taken her love and used it only to discard her, as others did to their girls, she would at least have had a pleasant girlhood.  She would have had pleasant memories to solace her heart.  She would know others in the same situation.  Her fate would have been comprehensible to her.

page 61.

     Looking back, I could have prepared her for the fact that I would leave town at graduation.  I could have explained that I wanter to finish school.  In two years the worst excesses of the mental ravages of my childhood would have dissipated.  They did dissipate. With that maturity gainedI could have come back to her if she still wanted me.  In any event she would have been spared the degradation she endured.  Her young girl’s heart would have been kept pure that much longer.  Those alternatives did not present themselves to me at the time.  I do not attempt to exonerate myself, only to understand what I did.  It seems so cruel and heartless.  The reverse was my intent.

     Ange must have brooded during the summer and the fall.  That next winter I went down to Reuchlin Park.  Reuchlin Park was a large natural hollow, slough, that was flooded every winter to create a huge outdoor skating rink.  When there was snow the slopes of the basin were used for sledding.  I don’t know how Ange knew I was there that night.  I hadn’t known I was going, I had told no one.

     Perhaps in her anguish she and her friends and relatives were spying out all my movements.  Maybe her cousins spotted me and telephoned her.  It seems farfetched that she would still be so preoccupied with my memory.  I guess I failed to understand the extent of the injury I caused her.  But on that night, as it happens, I struck up an acquaintance, or rather they struck up one with me, with a couple guys.  They suggested playing in the snow at the South end of the park.  I demurred; there was never anyone on those slopes; I saw no reason to be there.  They invented reasons and I went along.

page 62.

     They adopted, as what seemed to me a rather sinister attitude as we reached the South slopes.  We threw a few desultory snowballs.  I was about to bid them farewell when I looked up and there in her grey coat silhouetted in the white floodlights against the black sky was Ange.  I was taken by surprise.  Why I expected that I would never see her again I don’t know, but I did.  Now, suddenly as a spectre, here she was before me. 

     “Hello, Dewey.”  She intoned as though her voice came from beyond the grave.

     I stuttered out an Hello Ange.  For the first time my cruelty and heartlessness became apparent to me.  I hadn’t stopped loving her.  But how silly would my explanation sound if I were foolish enough to attempt it of the pure flame of Angeline in my heart.  Foolish enough to attempt it?  I wasn’t even aware of it myself.  But, before I could say anything to her, she turned on her heel and walked away.  What pain she must be enduring.

     Just as I had walked out her life without a word, without an explanation, she now thought to pay me back in kind.  But she would not be able to do so.  I had left her but she had not left me.  Had she been wise, had she known on that night when our essences mingled, she would have taken my soul from me, then I could not have left her.  Better yet she should have sent me away.  I still loved her.

page 63.

     X.

     That was the winter her grandmother passed away.  I don’t which was the most disastrous for Ange:  Her love for me or her grandmother’s death.  The pain I caused her was immediate and apparent; the injury done her by her removal to the North edge of town was slow and invisible.  Of course, her aunt, with whom she went to live, loved her and wanted the best for her.  Within their means and understanding I’m sure they provided it.  But there were no books or magazines in her aunt’s house.  All the unapparent but significant apparatus that elevates the intellect and forces one’s aspirations to the astral level were missing.  The electric satan- the television set- ran continuously from dawn to retiring but the evil it spewed forth in the guise of entertainment would no nothing to raise her level of consciousness.

     Even had she been going with me, still my struggle to prevent her aunt’s family from unduly influencing her mind and character would have been misinterpreted.  I would have had to keep with with me except in the dark hours of the day.  She would had had to live with me during her waking hours.  Had my parents allowed it, who know, she might have been a civilizing influence on them.  Perhaps I would have unintentionally given my mother the daughter she had always wanted.

page 64.

     It was far better for Ange that Angeline was safe in my heart where Ange’s true image couldn’t be tarnished.

     I next saw her in the summer between the eleventh and twelfth grades during the Fourth Of July fireworks display at Reuchlin Park.  She was sitting on a blanket high on the slope of the central section tending to the North end of the park.  As I remember it there was a great deal of difference in character between the South end, the central section and the North end of the park.  In the North end the lower ground was a swampy morass.  Through the trees, across the railroad tracks, that were no longer in use, one could see the old cemetery.

     She beckoned to me to sit with her.  Strangely, I thrilled to her voice.  I was now seventeen.  I had a greater understanding of the world.  With approaching maturity I had a better, if vague and undefined, understanding of what I had done to her.  Her injury was obvious.  I was willing to do what I could to relieve her hurt.

     I would have seen her and allowed her to take her spite out on me.  Especially during the late winter and early spring I had witnessed how mean people can be to each other.  I had been down to the bus station while my mother saw her sister off on a visit to Detroit.  There were a bunch of guys at the station on their way to the US Naval Receiving Station in Philadelphia.

     I didn’t really know this guy who started talking to me, although we were aware of each other’s existence.  He was twenty-one.  I was only sixteen and a half.  He was under extreme stress, he had to talk to someone.  I seemed sage to him.  Because he recognized me he began talking to me as though he knew me well.  To me he appeared the epitome of what I would like to have been.  Tall, well dressed in the conventional way, confident and in charge of himself.  Apparently, as he spoke, I learned that he made himself over from something like what I was.  Beneath her surface swagger lingered fear and insecurity.  He had just got his life working for him.  He had what he considered a good job.  He had been recently promoted.  On the basis of that promotion he and his sweetheart, with whom he was deeply in love had been married.

page 65.

     He had enemies, powerful enemies.  He said he knew who they were but he didn’t name them, they remained shadowy.  Had he told me who they were I might have secretly avenged him.  I was an attentive listener.  He went on.  When he had returned from his honeymoon he had found his draft notice waiting for him.  I believed then that he had powerful enemies.  Men were clamoring to get into the service, there was a waiting list, there was no need to draft anyone.  It became apparent to me then that the draft could be used as a political weapon.

     So here he was, his job gone, with a lovely young wife form whom he would be separated right after marriage for two years.  How cruel on his enemies’ part.  How vicious.  His worst fear was that he would lose his wife.  I could sympathize with his fear.  Most of our State recruits were assigned to the East Coast.  He said he intended to hitchhike home every time he could get a seventy-two hour pass.  I was impressed.  The East Coast was so far away in my imagination that it might as well have been on another planet.  The risks of being AWOL several hours or a day were great.  To be AWOL was to be brought before a Captain’s Mast and your Navy reputation was in jeopardy.  No small matter.

page 66.

     I listened to him and watched him with intense interest.  His bus arrived.  He waved goodbye to me as, shaking with trepidation and anguish, he boarded the bus.

     I wondered if people were out to get him.  I seached out this address and walked by it several times.  I saw his young wife who was a very lovely young woman.  She worked downtown.  She took the bus home every night at five-thirty.  I contrived to become acquainted with her and even walked her to her house on occasion to learn how she and her huband’s situation was developing.

     He did manage to hitchhike home on two occasion over the next three months.  Then his squadron was sent on a Mediterranean cruise.  By the time he returned his home had been rifled and taken from him.  I was never able to learn why his enemies hated him so.  Perhaps it was a simple matter that in having raised himself from an inferior social status he had aspired to and won the love a girl considered above him.  Perhaps he had won her over the hopes of someone who considered himself a social better.  I don’t know but the denouement may give some indication.  He enemies had the power to crush his heart, to defile his love, to emasculate his manhood.

     His wife had been a good girl; thus a direct approach would have failed.  Girl friends of a higher social station appeared who discovered her good qualities and befriended her.  She was flattered by their attention and accepted their friendship.  then there were gatherings where her friends had dates and she was a spare wheel.  Then a boy was provided, a very charming boy, handsome and well connected, just as a sort of escort so she wouldn’t feel left out.  Thus she was gradually weaned from the notion of fidelity and compromised.  Then, without her realizing it, she began to be passed around to other men in the circle.  Gradually the quality of the men was reduced until she was seeing men of the station the sailor’s enemies considered his.  The sailor could hear their laughter redounding around the world.

page 67.

     Thus his enemies by using the draft as a weapon to separate him from his wife and involving his wife in a whirl of parties and social affairs deftly robbed him of his happiness.  He was still overseas not yet fully aware that his love had been defiled, that his marriage was a thing of the past, that the cup of life had been lined with a bitter rim.  His wine, no matter how good, would always have to pass the bitter rim of his glass.

     Angeline was safe in my heart.  Who knew what my enemies might have attempted when I left home.  Fut this sailor’s circumstances had increased my compassion for Ange.  She, I and Angeline would not have to worry.  Ange could never be defiled.

     The change in her from when she had lived with her grandmother was obvious.  Her manner had lost some of its refinement.  This was occurring at the very critical stage of passing from late girlhood into young womanhood.  My interest in her was clinical as well as personal.  Even though I had shattered her self-esteem and confidence I hoped to be able to restore her self-respect.

page 68.

     I had come over and sat by her.  She was pleased that I had but her hurt and anger were such that having sat by her she now ignored my presence.  She wanted me to suffer.  She had interpreted her standing before my door as crawling to me.  She now wanted me to crawl to her.  I probably vaguely understood.  I was uncertain what the consequences would be.  We were not to be married.  Should the result have been a rejection of me I would have assented but if the consequence had been a reunion as plighted lovers that was impossible.  The sailor’s example had shown me perils I had not imagined.  I knew know in a sense that transcended the notion of fate that my future was not mine to control.  There were both impersonal  and personal forces capable of wreaking havoc with my life.

     I was anxious to explain myself but if she wouldn’t speak to me I would leave.  “No, wait.  Stay by me.”  She said as I began to rise.  There may have been some more words I could have said, some move I could have made to dissolve her resistance.  If  so, it was beyond me.  She still refused to speak, gazing out over the crowd.  I excused myself again.  She let me leave.

page 69.

XI.

     After graduation I prepared myself psychologically to leave the Valley forever.  I had no intention of returning.  I was taking one last walk with my brother.  A drive-up hamburger joint had sprung up on a point of the intersection of Bay and Court.  As with all this type of hamburger stand it had attracted a band of toughs who held court there.  My brother and I put on our meanest mien and walked up to buy an ice cream cone.  As we did so a girl dashed up and slapped me on the arm, crying:  “Hey you, Dewey.”  Then dashed away, turned and stared at me in a most distracted manner.  Her face was unwashed, smudged with dirt.  Her clothes, an old pair of jeans and what appeared to be be a boys, shirt, unwashed. I stared in astonishment and then I recognized my own Ange.  The change was astonishing.  It was worse than I had feared it would be.  So this was the result of her aunt’s tutelage.  Deep anger welled within me.  Ange had been, was a beautiful girl, by which I do not mean only that she had attractive features.  She had been, she was, pure of heart.  Glimmers of this future had danced across my mind long ago when I was too young to do anything about it.  Which was crueler, fate of people?

     The little woman who had put me in awe of herself was gone.  To be sure her destruction was also my fault but the deteriortion in her expectation had been her family’s doing.  My little Queen of Heaven had been cast to earth.  I wanted to do something, to say something but she wouldn’t let me.  I implored her:  “Ange…”  but she shouted things at me and danced away.  She was a tough among toughs.  The order of the planets in the heavens would have been beyond my capacity to alter.

page 70.

     I tried to tell her that I was leaving town.  I tried to make her see that she must talk to me now or it would be too late.  She wanted me to humiliate myself as I had humiliated her.  I would have if it would have made her feel better, I wanted to, I owed it to her.  But to do it it would have been necessary to penetrate the psychological barrier caused by my apparent rejection of her.  I didn’t know how to  crawl to her as she had crawled to me.  I would have if I had known how.  It would only have been to help her because it couldn’t hurt me.  I had Angeline where no one could take her from me.  Ange wouldn’t have understod; perhaps she would have been enraged if she had.

     I was desperate to make her understand that this was her last chance to save herself.  I was in tears as I implored her:  “Ange…Ange…”

     She misunderstood.  “Cry!  Cry! and you’ll cry alone, just as I did.  It won’t do you any good.  Hard hearted son-of-bitch.  I’m hard hearted too.  Just the way you made me.”

     She didn’t understand.  I understood only too well.

     The sun set in the West, my extended thumb silhouetted against it.

page 71.

    

XII.

     The worst of the abuse, shame and embarrassment was lifted from my consciousness after a couple years on my own away from parents, town and my past.  The rest of the damage of eighteen years was not discarded so easily.  The psychological overburden was deep and complex.  My actions were not my own.  I was directed by deep subconscious fixations inflicted on me by others.  I knew how if not why.  While I tried to live my life I fought every day every minute to free my psyche.  I studied, I read.  Freud, de Sade, history, biography, literature.  I made a study of popular music.  I worked at the common symbols of psychological doctrines delineated in all those modes of expression.  My fixations were stubborn.  They didn’t want to reveal themselves.  Fear of the unknown prevented discovery for long periods of time.  None of these memories when revealed appeared that fearsome.  Decades passed.  My work went on.

     I once read an article about this pirate chief.  He had finally captured the treasure he had bee seeking all his life.  Once in his possession he didn’t know what to do with it.  Cruising the storm ridden coasts of Newfoundland he determined to bury it where it could never be retrieved.  He had his pirate crew dig a deep pit.  Into the pit he laid the treasure at the bottom.  Then he built a devilish contraption of logs with traps and dangers.  It was so contrived that like the Gordian Knot it could not be unraveled by the mind of man.  His treasure at the bottom, his contraption of great thickness over it, he then killed his crew, threw them in on top of the contraption and shoveled a thick layer of dirt on top.  The grass grew and waved in the breeze like a flag over it all.

page 72.

     So my life had been.  But I was more clever than the builders.  I disassembled the enigmatic psychological structure.  As I resolved each psychological dilemma my character did change and it did change for the better.  Instead of acting compulsively I assumed the direction of my own acts.  As I resolved so I accomplished.  A day came when I had cleared this pit of remembrance but to my dismay no great relief came.  A feeling of oppression remained with me.  I sifted and sifted the memories looking for either another one or key I had overlooked in the detritus arranged in piles before me.  I was at the bottom of the pit of my psychology.  The overburden had been removed.  The structure had been disassembled.  I sat on the edge of the pit staring down into the murky darkness.  Where was my treasure?  Where was the relief I had been working for?  I could now deal in a free manner with the people about me.  My vision was assuming truer perspectives but I still had no relief.

     I sat staring into the bare bottom of the pit.  Then the skies cleared a little bit; the warm healing sun illumined the dark earth.  As I watched a vapor formed and rose.  It coalisced, gained density and form.  As it rose before my eyes I saw the smiling fact of the young girl Ange.  She was my treasure that I had ruthlessly, perhaps desperately might be a better word, placed at the bottom of my memories.  The wrongs that had been done to me had been placed over the great wrong I had done to Ange.

page 73.

     My other fears, my other traumas had disappeared when brought to light.  After a short period of discomfort they had dissipated into a manageable memory.  Less than that.  They had vanished as an oppressive force.  They had all been wrongs done to myself such as what had happened to that sailor.  Now Ange rose up before me.  I could not dismiss her.  I had wronged Ange.  My worst memory was my best memory.  At first I tried to laugh it off.  Well, life is tough, we all have to make our own way.

     It wasn’t my fault, life, circumstances, youth- I dreamed up a myriad of excuses for my behavior.  None were valid in my mind.  Ange’s memory haunted me day and night.  I compared her memory with the image of Angeline in my heart; they were identical.  I walked with my eyes very nearly tearing every minute of the day.  A huge lump was constantly in my throat.  I had wronged an angel.  I was a victim of love.

XIII

     Some girls will kiss and run away.  Some girls thing love is just sport and play.  Some girls thing love is just for a day.  But some girls hope that love is there to stay.  Ange had been one of the last.  I had failed her.  Some boys just don’t care.  Some boys take delight in hurting and just run away.  Some boys take it and leave.  Some other boys throw away the most precious gift the gods can bestow on man.  I was one of those last boys.  I ruminated on what I had done to Ange, that sweet innocent slip of a girl.  I loathed the double blow of fate that had taken her grandmother and setn Ange to the degradation of her uncultivated people.

page 74.

     I feared what her development might have been but I resolved to attempt, at least, to explain myself.  I wanted to ease the pain, if I could, that had been so apparent at our last meeting.  I didn’t know whether she had married.  I interpreted our last meeting to mean that she had pined for her lost love and had never married.

     I had fled the Valley thirty years before.  I had kept my vow and never returned.  Now I felt I must break the vow.  I had never spoken to my family for all those years.  I didn’t know if my brother, Louis, still lived there but I was given a number by the operator.

     Louis still lived in the Valley.  He was very surprised to find me on the other end of the line.  We worked around our mutual hostility and exchanged information about what we had been doing.  Then Louis asked for what reason I had called, certainly not for small talk as he put it.

     “Well, Louis,”  I said, “I do have an ulterior motive.”  I emitted a short nervous laugh.  “Do you remember that girl I used to date in the tenth grade?”

     “You mean that girl we saw at the drive-up just before you left?”

     “Yes, Ange.”

     “You mean you don’t know?”

page 75.

     “No, of course not, how could I know, I haven’t even seen anyone from the Valley for thirty years.  Why, who did she marry?”

     “Why she didn’t marry anyone, Dewey.  She came by the house a couple times after you left.  She thought maybe there would be a letter for her, maybe you didn’t know her address so you sent it our house.”

     “Hmm.  That’s strange. Well, then, what did she do, go to New York or someplace?”

     “No, Dewey, she stayed right here.”

     “OK. Can you get her address and phone number.  I’d like to get in touch with her.”

     “She doesn’t have an address or phone number.”

     “Oh for Christ’s sake Louis, you always we…Stop being mysterious.  Tell me where she is.”

     Louis paused a while before anwering.

     “Dewey, she committed suicide around Thanksgiving of the year you left.”

     “Committed suicide?  Why would she do that?”

    “Yes, Dewey, she committed suicide.  She left a note.  She didn’t mention your name but we knew you were responsible.”

     “I was responsible?”  I cried, denial and anguish rending my soul.  “I was responsible?  What did the note say.”

     “It was just one word, Dewey.”

     “Oh come on, Louie,”  I demanded in anger and frustration,  “What was the word?”

     “Forsaken.”

     “Forsaken?”

     “Forsaken!”

End of the Angeline Constellation.  I will next put up the story of Disco Donn.  It’s a good story, you might like it.

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Children’s Story by Jeannie Prindle

     One day a shiny new kitten arrived at my home and I named him Jimi.  Now Jimi was by birth an elegant and regal Himalayan Persian, specifically a Blue Point.  This was one impressive kitty and should have been very proud of his heritage.  His Dad after all was a Grand Champion and much admired by his peers.

     Now Jimi was a happy little kitten, until one day I found him sitting looking sadly out the living room window.  When I looked to see what he was looking at, I saw a beautiful large male cat, full chested and regal with a magnificent  coat and an imposing mantle of fur aound his neck which almost touched the ground.  Jimi was feeling very much inferior because he had no such distinguished ruff, and maybe he was not a pure bred Persian kitty as he had been told.

     This sad little kitten that had only yesterday been so happy and joyfull, now just sat in the house all day and stared soulfully out the window.  He did not want to be seen by anyone for fear that they would discover his fault and laugh at him.

     As Jimi got older he grew more and more depressed, but somthing was happening to Jimi that he was not aware of.  I tried everything I could think of to get him happy again.  I tried to play our old games and cooked him special treats, but it all was to no avail.

     Now as I said, something wonderful was about to happen to Jimi, but it would come as a great surprise.

     One sunny morning before I awoke, Jimi stretched himself and took a stroll into the living room.  There in front of the window he stopped.  He stood at that window for the longest time just staring.  Now what Jimi was staring at was a beautiful fluffy male cat with a magnficent regal ruff.  Now a funny thing began to happen, when Jim moved, the cat in the window moved in exactly the same manner and when Jimi sat, the cat in the window sat.  This shadow dance went on for a few minutes until Jimi let out a yowl, jumped around and finally came to the realization that the cat in the window was none other than a reflection of himself now a mature glorious male cat in all his splendor.  He ran to my room, jumped on the bed and curled up beside me and purred himself to sleep.

     The next morning first thing he had to go outside to show all his friends and neighbors and he was proud

The Sonderman Constellation

by

R.E. Prindle

Chapter IV-2

Continued from Chap. IV-1

     Sonderman, who now had the most authority in our club began to undermine my authority as soon as he was selected.  Ever the dupe he followed Hirsh’s directions.  Sonderman was a nothing himself.  Trapped in his father’s box he didn’t have and never could have initiative.  He was a neuter.

     I had started, built up and maintained the club.  Sonderman wore the shirt I had selected one day a week.  He wore it proudly too.  The shirt gave him status and prestige he could never have attained on his own.  Sonderman was and is actually in debt to me for the best times of his youth.  In what form did he show his gratitude?

     Once in the club he began slandering and belittling me constantly on the old ‘bore from within’ principle.  Whereas before we had always had friendly dinners I now became the butt of ridicule.  Everything I said and did was belittled.  I became the victim of practical jokes.

     Sonderman and Hirsh’s first intent was to drive me out but failing that to lower me in the estimation of my fellows to a walking joke, a subhuman who had come to the defense of the Negroes.  Probably Sonderman’s own thinking was that with me out of the way he could claim he had originated the club reducing me to the role of jealous imitator; perhaps he could have represented me as someone who wanted into his club but couldn’t make it.

page 1.

     He demanded the first dinner after he became a member which was in January just before they moved.  The dinner was a studied insult to me.  I was denied a place at the table while the abominable little was seated at it.  He shouldn’t even have been allowed to be there.  I was given a plate and told to sit in the living room by myself.  So, as you see Law and Order has nothing to do with right or wrong or justice; it is a question of police power.

     I stared bemusedly at the torn up rug which Mrs. Sonderman had seen fit to leave on the floor.  What strange people.  Did they walk over it every day picking their feet way up to get over the bumps while cursing me?  What queer notions prompted them to leave that threadbare rug on the floor?

     I would have walked out but I knew what the gig was.  I had to keep the club together till the end of the year.  I couldn’t let the Hirshes humiliate me in that manner.

     It became less and less possible to enjoy myself during the February and March dinners.  Even that dolt, Denny Demwitter, who owed me everything, turned against me.  Now that I think about it maybe my attitude toward Ed Phlatoe had something to do with that.

     Unable to garner the votes to have me ejected Hirsh had his tool Dirk Klutz, who was to host the April dinner, cancel the dinner.  As May coincided with graduation Sonderman determined to void the dinner for that month.

     That was alright with me, an honorable way out.  Given another couple months and they would have defeated me but in their eyes I had been already.  The club disintegrated after the aborted April dinner.  We began to look to the future beyond high school.  Sonderman had already been accepted as a cadet at West Point which accounted for a lot of his prestige in the club at the end.  Some of the others were destined for colleges while half of us including me had less distinguished prospects.  Time would tell who had risen and who had fallen but the future couldn’t be seen by our high school eyes.

page 2.

     Klutz did not escape criticism for reneging on his obligation.  In their single minded pursuit to hurt me they didn’t think of the others they were injuring.  The social status of every member of the club depended on its continuance.  In order to deflect justified condemnation Klutz gave a graduation party to which all the club members but me were invited.  So, in a way Hirsh would have gotten me expelled from the club but giving in to complaints from some other members Klutz said that I could come if I really wanted to.  Well, it was a difficult choice but the end result if I hadn’t gone would have been that I was booted out of my own club so I swallowed my pride and went. 

     As it turned out Klutz, it seemed to me at the time that if not a member of the Hirshes, was in with them because they were all there, the whole bunch.  Symbolically they subsumed our club to them by transferring the dinner meeting to this party under their auspices allowing them to still feel superior.  To heighten their triumph my club members were all shuttled into a game room off the front door while they were escorted past us into the living room and main party.

     When I saw Consuelo and Meggy Malone and Michael Hirsh enter casting disdainful glances in my direction I knew I had been had.  Well, it was a push; I had been invited to the same party they had. Still left a sour taste in my mouth.

page 3.

     If I had been had, strangely so, as I learned later, was David Hirsh.  Hirsh had given egregious offence to his wife’s family who were not the forgiving kind.  They had been nursing this grudge for three years.  On this night they collected the debt.  Michael Hirsh had knock out drops placed in his bourbon and coke.  Then before the drops took effect he was challenged to a drag race.  The drugs hit him just at peak acceleration.  He veered off the road into the ditch hitting a concrete culvert at the intersection.  He didn’t feel a thing. 

     So the querolous Hirsh even though he had defeated me suffered a defeat from which he would never recover.  Ain’t life funny that way?

3.

     Michael Hirsh’s death on graduation night created shock waves in the community.  However as life is for the living and the dead are soon forgotten Michael Hirsh being no longer with the living was no longer of any consequence.

I was still there.

     Judaeo-Christian mores say that the penalty must fit the crime.  Although I had committed no crime I think that surely the imagined insult to the dignity of David Hirsh should have been satisfied long before this.  However graduation was not the end but only the end of the beginning.  A second phase began that lasted for at least another ten years with ramifications that are still going on.

    Not content with having ruined my life through the school years, Hirsh began a program to extend into the future.  As usual he enstooged Sonderman.

page 4.

     I can only guess at the terrible repercussion to Sonderman’s psychology from his failed attempts to injure me and the actual murder of Shardel Wilson.  As people do in such situations he blamed me for his own actions.  I ‘made’ him do it.

     Probably he was brought low in his own estimation by his crimes.  It was necessary for him then to reduce me to a level beneath his opinion of himself.  As he had emotionally emasculated himself he sought to physically emasculate me.  Thus he bent all his efforts toward sodomizing me.

     Hirsh wanted to isolate me, to cast me on the dung heap of society.  He had messed up my club at the end; stung by his son’s death he now wanted to destroy my friendship with Denny Demwitter, to isolate me completely.

     Although a member of our club Sonderman had made no effort to befriend the members.  If he had he would have expected them to visit him; he never visited anyone else.  The summer of ’56, the greatest summer in the history of the world, there is no feeling like being eighteen, was a time of deep recession in the Valley.  Cars weren’t selling so there just weren’t any jobs; we all had time on our hands.  I began the summer spending most of my time at Demwitter’s.

     Sonderman had never voluntarily left his porch in my memory.  Now, violating all his lifelong habits he began to call on Denny.  Demwitter had been putty in my hands but I wasn’t going to  spend all my life trying to shape him.  Sonderman’s influence became more effective than mine after the Blockbusters won the championship.  Demwitter now deferred to Sonderman’s influence.

page 5.

     Except for the football groping under the influence of Sonderman Denny and I had always had a chaste relationship.  We had always respected each other’s person; no punching, wrestling or grabass of any kind.  We had never even discussed girls or sex.

     Now, with Sonderman present the two of them started pushing and shoving, groping in the most obvious fashion; not just a pat on the ass which would have been offensive enough, but grabbing a whole cheek in the hand.  They started goosing, not just lightly, but trying to hook a thumb or finger into the rectum.  Real queer stuff.  Makes me wonder about Ed Phaltoe and Demwitter now.

     Sonderman, who had never left his porch, now began to show up at Demwitter’s shortly after I did.  Obviously someone was watching me and reporting my movements.  Sonderman no longer lived across from me so he couldn’t have seen me leave my house from his perch on the porch.  Sonderman’s style at his house had been to hold court in his bedroom.  I never appreciated that aspect of his behavior as bedrooms were always private with me.  I preferred living room or porches.  Denny and I had always used his living room in winter and his porch in summer.  With Sonderman there everything was moved upstairs to Denny’s bedroom.  Sonderman insisted that all the shades be drawn so we were practically sitting in the dark.

     Now that I think about it  Old S was such a devotee of his hero Roosevelt that it is quite probable that Old S thaught his son to hold court in his bedroom a la FDR.  Sonderman always used to sit on the bed while I stood talking to him.  Roosevelt while president used to hold court in bed in his silk pajamas.  As Dean Acheson said the only thing he could compare it to was the court of Louis XIV.  King’s men aftershave and emulating Louis XIV, it’s not hard to see what Roosevelt was up to.

page 6.

     So the Old Sod was probably training his heir and successor to the manner of command and royalty.

     At Demwitter’s the conversation got more smutty and faggy as time passed.  I read the handwriting on the wall trying to discourage Sonderman’s visits.  Sonderman was intent on his purpose.

     One day I was visiting Demwitter.  He was slouched against the wall sitting on the floor as we talked.  Sitting on the floor was another of Sonderman’s innovations.  Probably because he couldn’t command Demwitter’s bed himself he didn’t want anyone to use it and be in command.  Especially me.

     I was lying belly down on the bed with my chin resting of the footboard.  As Sonderman always showed up twenty minutes after I did it must be true that someone watching me phoned him.  He bounded up the stairway, entered the room and seeing me lying prone on the bed he jumped on my back.  Grabbing me around the neck as he had at the Y he began dry humping me.  I threw him off with great indignation but neither he nor Demwitter seemed to take any notice.

     It was clear that I would have to abandon my visits or become a ‘consenting’ adult.  This direction was made clear shortly thereafter when I went to visit Demwitter.  Some guy I had never seen before was there and then Sonderman came traipsing in.  We sat around talking until Sonderman had a bright idea.  He suggested we turn out the light and masturbate together.  I was still completely innocent sexually.  Even if I hadn’t been, for me sex was something between a boy and his girl not to be discussed with anyone else.

page 7.

     I don’t know whether I had heard the trick discussed or whether I knew enough of Hirsh’s style to divine the trick.  It really wasn’t hard to figure out.  I knew then that this would be the last time I visited Demwitter.  Sonderman and the Hirshes had won the round.  I was isolated.  Demwitter betrayed the best friend he would ever have.

     Sonderman flicked off the lights.  They were so stupid.  Even with the shades drawn there was enough light so that I could see.  Apparently they couldn’t.  I went along with the joke to a point.  I huffed and puffed and slapped the bedspread in rhythm.  Sonderman leaped up to turn on the light expecting me to be the only one masturbating.  I sat looking at him with my most sardonic smile.

     I wouldn’t put up with anymore.  That terminated my friendship with Demwitter.  Once I was gone Sonderman stopped calling on the boob too.  I suppose Sonderman’s version was that Denny was his old friend and I tried to horn in.

     Denny owed me everything.  That he had attained prominence in high shool was due solely to me.  I introduced him to a higher quality of friends.  The other guys he knew were thugs or slugs.  If it hadn’t been for Sonderman’s hope for vengeance on me there wouldn’t have been any Blockbusters for Demwitter to quarterback.

page 8.

     That he should have sacrificed our longstanding honorable friendship for a temporary alliance with Sonderman was incredible to me.  Denny never was smart.  Now that he had betrayed our friendship he was no longer of any use to me and I have never given him a second thought.

4.

     I had been taking a psychological battering all my life.  One personality lay dead on the second grade playing field.  I had never been able to build a viable alternate personality or even persona.  I lacked all male force which is to say my Animus was completely beaten down.  In Freudian terms I had a weak Ego.  Now that the support of the camaraderie of school was gone the prop it had given to my deteriorating mental state was removed.  I collapsed into an inert pile.

     Everyone had their plans.  Some had seemingly glittering prospects at college; some were even lucky enough to find jobs.  I had nothing.  My mother had signed me up to go into the Navy.  She apparently thought that the Navy would be my last foster home.

     My mother! There was a source of information for the Hirshes I never even considered.  She babbled things to anyone who would listen.  Who knows who she talked to, but she had been telling unknown hordes that I was going to make the Navy my career.  She told others but not me that I was going to be a Chief Petty Officer and be back in twenty years.  She never talked to me about it but the story came back to me from some girl I hardly knew and didn’t like.  When I said I wasn’t going to make a career of the Navy the girl grew angry with me saying I was wrong because my mother said I would, just like my mother would know more about it than I would.

page 9.

     The fault lies within?  In the sense that conditioning determines conduct but once the die is cast it is all preordained, only the variables can be manipulated.

     My mind at this point turned to stone.  I was capable of only the slightest exertion as I inertly waited to be called up.  The only friend who stood by me was Larry Dubcek.  He had also enlisted and was waiting to be called up.  As for Sonderman the last two stars in the Constellation were placed just before he left for West Point.

     Our relationship ended on a tragi-comic note.  Although I had sworn I would never speak to Sonderman again after the the incident in Demwitter’s room it chanced that I met this really swinging girl.  She wasn’t my type but she was a total knockout.  I just couldn’t resist her.  She was one of those hot little numbers that you want to meet because you think you know what to do with them but then find out they know a heck of a lot more than you do.

     For a while we were really flaming.  I was even introduced into her family circle as a sort of suitor.  Her hotness was in reaction to a very traumatic experience.  I don’t really understand what I represented to her because I wasn’t her type either.  Her father owned a wholesale janitorial supply business.  I was shown the premises.  Mr. Fotheringay had had the misfortune to call the attention of the Outfit to himself.  The Outfit was the Chicago Mob.

page 10.

     He sold to hotels and restaurants so it was natural that the Mafia should annex his business.  Strangely he was quite open about it with me.  When I, in my ignorance of social realities, reproached him for being involved with the Mafia he gave me a painful snarl and a look that showed both his impotence against the Outfit and his disdain for such a dolt as myself.  He had already suffered unbearable ignominy at their hands and he was to suffer more.

     Terrorism in the United States is treated as a recent importation from the Moslem countries but terrorism has been practiced by the Mafiosi since the turn of the last century.  The Mafia had terrorized Jack Fotheringay in a particularly effective way.

     Briony or Brie Fotheringay when I met her was entering her Senior year.  She was just seventeen.  She was more flashy than beautiful but then it’s a fine line between flash and beauty, I suppose.  At any rate a couple days before her birthday, which was two days before mine, she caught the eye of her father’s Mafia handler, Two Ton Tony Lardo.

     Two Ton Tony was an underboss from the Chicago Outfit assigned several areas in the State including our county the county to the South of us and the county to the North.  He was your typical Mafioso- ignorant and uncouth.  He was six-five and three hundred twenty-five pounds.  Foul mouthed, vulgar and intrinsically obscene.  All he had to do was show up to fill a place with obscenity.  He announced to Jack Fotheringay that his daughter was a good looking piece.  Fotheringay had only been annexed for a few months so he told Lardo that she was none of his business.

page 11.

     The details are unimportant; you can devise them anyway.  Jack personally delivered Brie to Rocco’s Pizzeria down on Thelema then was told to wait in the car.  They had a basement storage room into which this uncouth behemoth carried the terrified Brie by one arm.

     She was about five-four, a mere slip of a girl.  This Mafioso sewer rat literally tore her clothes off.  Without any preliminaries he just rammed it home standing up as she lay back across a chopping block with her head hanging over the edge backward.  Then he grabbed both her ears pulling her up of the table onto her knees and pulled her mouth over his dick.

     Finished with her he gave her a kick in the ass to help her up the stairs as she ran half naked out the back door into the parking lot where her totally devastated father waited for her.  Two Ton Tony followed her out lighting an enormous cigar with one hand while with the other he slowly zipped his pants in Fotheringay’s face.

     Then with a knowing sneer he took his cigar and tapped a picture drawn on the wall by the door.  The picture was of the man with the big nose hanging over a fence with the legend ‘Kilroy Was Here.’  It is hard to tell which hurt Fotheringay the most, but he knew he was powerless, thoroughly emasculated, to resist.  He was a mere cipher.  There was no need to go to the cops; no need to tell you where the cops got that extra little augmentation to the pay envelope.

      As everyone at the time knew, the picture and legend ‘Kilroy Was Here’ was a symbol plastered all over Europe by the troops of the Arsenal Of Democracy as they rolled up those nasty Nazi armies.  Lardo and Fatheringay had talked about the matter previously.  While Fotheringay had been terrorized by the thundering ‘Arsenal Of Freedom’ fighting in the ranks at the Battle Of The Bulge Lardo had been sitting pretty back home with plenty of forged gas rations, stolen food rations, hijacked new tires for his late ’41 Roadster, he was important enough to get one of the few ’42s, and plenty of money in his pocket to spend on the bevy of women without men and fewer morals.

page 12.

     He got so much nooky he laughed to Fotheringay that for all he knew Brie was his own daughter conceived while Fotheringay was stupid enough to be off fighting people he didn’t even know in Europe.

     Fotheringay watched Lardo tap Kilroy with rueful eyes.  Had he fought a war to make the world safe for criminals?  Had he defeated Hitler just so he could become enslaved to a despicable Mafioso?  It seems so.  It was true.  The Fotheringays of the world had the power to defeat the Nazis but not the power to rule out and out criminals in their own homeland.  Zeus is one tricky fellow.

     It was one of those moments from which you never recover.  Never did a man feel more helpless and ashamed as his lovely sweet sixteen Brie shivered and cried beside him.  What could he do about it?

     The Mafia was very nearly protected by the Law.  Even though we had watched breathlessly in 1951 when Senator Kefauver confirmed and revealed the existence and influence of the Mafia the top cop in the country, J. Edgar Hoover of the fabled Federal Bureau Of Investigation, denied their existence.  He refused to move against them.

page 13.

     Hoover was the guy who stood gloating over the dead body of the folk hero John Dillinger while ignoring the activities of Al Capone who led the Outfit in Chicago.  Hoover let those creeps dominate the business activity of the Central States and the West.  At this very moment he was abetting a psychopath like Sam Giancana in terrorizing my hometown.

     Even when I was ten years old I knew organized crime existed.  I read comic books.  I went to the movies.  I knew that Hoover had murdered John Dillenger while he allowed Valentines Day Massacres to go uninvestigated and unpunished; he couldn’t even find the guys who did it, nearly a century later the killers are still unproven.

     I am unable to describe my reaction when I saw criminals defy the Kefauver Committee with impunity.  My faith in the masculinity of the government was shattered when I watched Frank Costello get up and walk out of the courtroom saying he didn’t feel like answering any more questions.  Goddamn the cops.

     If any Anglo, if I, had done the same the police would have grabbed us and thrown us back in his seat but the police, the same cops that told me that I, and only I had to walk my bike through intersections, watched as Frank Costello ambled out of the courtroom.

     I saw plenty of Mafia activity in town while decent citizens suffered helplessly with no recourse, slaves to this vile criminal group.

page 14.

     It reached into my family circle.  While not directly involved with the Mafia my uncle Sammy was a goon for the Mob.  Uncle Sammy was a truck driver.  You don’t think of these things at the time but I guess Sammy thought the ends justified the means.  He thought Jimmy Hoffa was a great man.  Hoffa was another fearsome persona from my youth.  Hoffa aligned himself with the Mob, both New York and Chicago.   You know, he had a foot in both camps.  He adopted the terroristic tactics of the Mafia.

     In the early and mid-fifties these guys bombed and killed in a wild frenzy.  My Uncle Sammy was one of the bombers and hit men.  I don’t know who all knew.  I’m sure he didn’t think I did although I took him to task about Hoffa once.  Sammy was a real labor type so he defended Hoffa vigorously.

     Uncle Sammy was real nervous the day after the simultaneous bombing of the Trans-Central States terminal and the killing of its owner.  I stood looking at him accusingly.  He shoved me away angrily saying something about the bastards wouldn’t listen to reason.  He and my Aunt Jo moved across town shortly thereafter.  He never came around to visit, I never saw him again.

     So this was the environment in which Fotheringay suffered and had somehow to endure with no chance of extricating himself.  The cops and judges were under the thumb of the Outfit.  The FBI would have no time for him.  He had gone to fight in the Big One for this.  Was Hitler a bigger villain than Sam Giancana? 

     These illiterate criminal Sicilians owned America. How had the Greatest Generation allowed this to come to pass?

page 15.

     My youth was the transition from the hopes of the ‘Melting Pot’ to what we at the beginning of the twenty-first century call ‘celebrating our multi-cultural diversity.’  This is no longer the beginning of  the twentieth century when these national groups were new requiring ‘tolerance.’  If we are to celebrate our diversity then we are not only free to do so but must analyze what those differences are if the country is to succeed as a political entity.

     Psychologically the Sicilian mentality can be typed.  Their characteristic way of viewing society can be easily described.  There is no mystery.  All you have to do is celebrate this particular diversity.

      Prior to 1950 movie makers felt compelled to celebrate the Anglo Saxon origins of the country.  After 1950 the emphasis changed.  People with ‘foreign’ sounding names had formerly changed them to ‘American’ or Anglo Saxon names. As Monsieur Arouet who became a gentleman by the name of Voltaire said:  The name’s the thing.  So I don’t quarrel with any actor who wishes to change his name to something that may lead to greater success.  John Saxon whole Italian name I forget was the last person who changed his name for immigrant reasons along about 1957-58 or so.  His putdown of the process probably cost him his career as the Anglo-Saxons resented his sardonic use of Saxon.

     Also the emphasis shifted from doing mainstream movies to presenting ethnic movies that celebrated a particular diversity while denigrating the Anglo-Saxons.  Reacting against the sense of inferiority caused by immigrating these always placed the dominant culture in a bad light.  In the manner of immigrant cultures they especially belittled the virtues of the dominant culture.

page 16.

     As we have seen the movies are a powerful medium for conditioning the thought and actions of viewers.  Anglo-Saxon women are always depicted as nymphomaniac bimbos while all other women are depicted as women of high virtue.

     It was thus that Lardo took great pleasure in violating Brie Fotheringay.  He wasn’t really interested in sex per se but he wanted to violate the image the smartass Anglos had of themselves.  They would do nothing to stop him.  He committed his crimes with impunity.  The rules that governed their lives had no restraints for a ‘wise guy.’  If a non-Mafioso had violated Brie in that manner you may be sure he wouldn’t escape the vengeance of Fotheringay and the Law.  Two Ton Tony had a good laugh at America as he sucked on his big Cuban cigar tapping the image of Kilroy.

     The Sicilian ethos was, I must use the word, brilliantly portrayed in the Godfather trilogy of 1972-74 and ’90.  As the movie was co-written by Mario Puzo and Francis Coppola, two Sicilians, it is to be presumed that they knew whereof they spoke.  While the Sicilian psychosis is brilliantly portrayed the analysis limps along behind it but it is there.

     The saga was lovingly executed in epic fashion covering an incredible nine hours.  All of the villainy is done under the cover of sacred ceremonies.  It is necessary for the Mafia to violate everything anyone else respects.  Platoons of wise guys are murdered while the Godfather is attending weddings, baptisms or symbolically in Part III the crucifixion of Christ on stage.  This attitude may hark back to the Sicilian Vespers when the Norman conquerors were locked in churches and burnt, apparently a fixative event.

page 17.

     The basic Sicilian Mafia premise is that they are entitled to all the most prestigious things in life because they entitle themselves to take them.  There is no pretense of earning anything.  They are parasites; they create nothing.

     You get guns and an organization and you terrorize everyone out of what you want.  There is no need to waste effort on education or social niceties.  You merely get ‘respect’ by terrorizing others into submission.  ‘Respect’ means that anyone who shows independence is blown away.  ‘Respect’ means that everyone is servile in your presence.  ‘Honor’ means that if you say you’ll kill a man, you do it.

     As parasites the Mafia makes no contribution to society, they merely consume what others make.

     Just as their transportation in 586 BC destroyed Jewish self-confidence and gave them an apocalyptic vision of history so did Sicilian history fixated the Sicilian mind.  The theme of the Godfather movies seems to be that the winner is the last guy standing when the carnage is over.  That is also what the Mafioso Santos Trafficante of Miami, once said.

page 18.

     The denouement of Part III in a dream sequence stunningly portrays this vision.  The Mafiosi involved themselves with the Vatican in the most intermingling way.  This part was apparently true. The Papacy thinks it is in control but as usual the Mafia uses violence to dominate the Papacy.  The Pope himself is involved in their sewer machinations.  The criminal Mafia has captured the citadel of the Sacred.  Evil rules.

     As the hero Michael Corleone’s son wants to be an opera singer he is placed on the stage.  To a Mafioso to want is to have.  There can be no denial.  Obstacles such as training and talent are not allowed to get in the way.

     The opera is Cavalleria Rusticana which concerns the crucifixiion of Christ.  There, as Christ is being crucified, the murder machine goes into full operation.  In dream like fashion an apocalyse of bodies is falling everywhere.  One in an evocation of the fall of Lucifer descends from the crown of the cupola.  The poisoned Pope dies in bed with a smile on his face.  Corleone’s enemies are falling in carloads as he stands untouched in their midst while tremendous operatic music is being performed.  He’s the man with the most ‘respect.’

     The assassin designated to dispose of Corleone fires off a couple rounds point blank but he somehow misses Corleone and hits his daughter instead.  Sicilian girls count, Anglo girls like Brie don’t.

     The final scene shows an aged Michael Corleone (translated the name means Lion or Stouthearted) sitting alone in a cemetary like a sole surviving anti-Christ where he stares mournfully at the tombstone of the only thing he ever loved in his life, his beloved daughter.  He’s won the battle but the only price is sorrow.  Nice view of life.

page 19.

     Well, if he wasn’t an ignorant moron who caused his own troubles one might feel for him.  As to his daughter what made her more valuable than Briony Fotheringay and all the Anglo women abused by stouthearted Mafiosi?

     Hoover might not have acknowledged the problem but the TV movie ‘The Borgia Stick’ of the early sixties did.  A variation on Jack Fotheringay’s predicament was accurately portrayed in the movie.  In the movie an Anglo is coopted into serving the Mafia where his life becomes a living hell.  He himself is a virtual slave while he is compelled to give his wife as a prostitute.  You might not believe it could happen but believe me it does.  Briony is only one example.

     When I met her she was just emerging from her shock or depression or whatever you wish to call it.  Perhaps she was attracted to me because my name represented a secure English past.  If so she was to be disappointed in me as she was in her father.  It never came to that exactly but our date at Hillbilly Heaven convinced her I wasn’t the man.

     Wherever she was to turn she could find no man who could stand up to the Mob.  Disappointed by her own men, in later life she was attracted to the apparent male superiority of the Mafia.  She became one of their party dolls and prostitutes.

     But all I knew at the time was that she was one hot number ready to go.  I had to make some kind of splash as a spry young fellow.  If you noticed you have never seen me behind the wheel.  That’s because Tuistad and my mother were adamant in not allowing me to drive.  They were terrified I might have a good time or become a normal young man.  So I had this hot little number who was ready to go and no way to get her there.

page 20.

    My only choice was to double date.  I sure couldn’t ask Tuistad to drive.  Graduation had completely disrupted my social patterns so I knew no one but Dubcek, Demwitter and Sonderman to ask.  I was completely disgusted with Demwitter, Dubcek was out of town courting his girl and that left only Sonderman.  So I asked him.

     After the scene at Demwitter’s he thought he was rid of me.  I saw the haughty sneer on his face as he prepared to crush me by refusal but showing some strategical sense for the first time he asked me where I wanted to go.  My heart sank.

     I was a fan of Country and Western music.  This guy named Freddie Hart had a record out that I liked entitled:  Drink Up And Go Home.  It went something like this:

You sit there a cryin’,

Right in your beer.

You think you got troubles?

My friend listen here:

Now, there stands a blind man-

A man who can’t see-

He’s not complainin’

Why should you or me?

Don’t tell me your troubles,

I got enough of my own.

Be thankful you’re livin’

Drink up and go home.

 page 21.

     I was sailing on a sea of troubles that I knew no one wanted to hear or would sympathize with me if they did listen so Freddie’s advice was pretty timely for me.  I took his sentiment to heart.  I have never complained since but just soldiered on.  I thought I would like to hear Freddie sing his song.

     The guy wasn’t appearing in town.  There was a hillbilly bar over by the time line in the central part of the state called Hillbilly Heaven.  It was about fifty miles away.  I had never been there but I knew from the radio announcer that the building was divided into two halves by a floor to ceiling chain link fence.  You could drink on one side while the other side was for underage kids.

     Freddie Hart was playing that weekend.

     Most people despised C&W; Sonderman was no exception which was why I quailed at asking him.  I could see his lip curl in contempt as he prepared his rejection but then a light went off in his head while his lip uncurled and he broke into a wide grin.  I was giving him a better chance than the railroad trestle.  He asked for two bucks for gas and said he’d pick me up.

     I didn’t like the idea of paying two bucks for gas especially as it only cost fifteen cents a gallon and we wouldn’t use more than three or four gallons but I considered myself lucky to get a driver.

page 22.

     I had never seen Sonderman with a girl before so when he picked me up he had a very ordinary looking girl by his side.  She had that cousiny kind of look.  I could never figure out my group; none of them ever dated girls I’d seen before.  They always came from somewhere else as was the case with Sonderman’s date.

     Brie came from a fairly affluent family.  Not rich, but Jack bought one of those new houses in a development; a pretty nice house.  It was three times my house and double the Sonderman’s new bungalow.  You could see the anxiety on Sonderman’s face when we drove up.

     When I escorted Brie back to the car you could see that she knocked Sonderman’s socks off.  I don’t remember Brie as being actually that beautiful but she had this blonde, sophisticated Audrey Hepburn movie star quality that just thrilled you into instant excitement.  It was that quality that Two Ton Tony Lardo wanted to sully.

     We set out for mid-state with Sonderman in a flush.  Hillbilly Heaven was just across the line that divided Eastern Standard from Central Standard.  At the time the dividing line ran through the middle of the State so we left at eight and got there at eight.  I impressed Brie with that one.

     Brie had had some sexual experience before Two Ton banged her.  Now recovering from the trauma she was fixated fast and loose.  She was hot on making out.  She didn’t care whether the sun was up or not.  She threw herself across my lap, flung her arms around my neck and got down to it.  Lardo had taught her that niceties didn’t count so rather than wait for me to get up the courage she guided my hand straight to her breast.  I could have made her right there but I was a little too backward.  Sonderman was stunned at what seemed to be my sexual virtuosity; he spent as much time watching the rear view mirror as he did the road.  There wasn’t that much traffic back in those days.

page 23.

     If you’ve never been to a hillbilly bar it’s quite a shock.  They’re a pretty rowdy bunch.  They let loose like a bunch of Holy Rollers in a frenzy.  Each one is trying to out have a good time the others.  One talks loud the other talks louder, one acts proud the other acts prouder.  Men and women alike.  Man, they call that setting the woods on fire.  The place was packed on both sides.

     Freddie, still a young guy, bounced on stage to do his thing.  They had the stage behind mesh wire fencing too.  On a good night they used to shower the band with beer bottles whether the drummer was on time or not so they put up this fencing so band members wouldn’t have to pluck beer bottles from between their bleeding gums.

     The crowd wasn’t that rowdy this particular night but I was the only one listening to Freddie Hart, or trying to, as everyone was into a noisy something else.  Sonderman got up.  While I watched he went to speak to some long tall raw looking cowboy type.  The guy was six-five and lean as a rail but he still weighed in at two-forty.

     When Sonderman came back he stood over me and pointed down so the cowboy couldn’t make a mistake.  The thirty year old cowboy type came over by us on the other side of the fence where he began making  provocative comments to me.

page 24.

     Sonderman sat smugly so I guess it’s clear why the light went off in his head.  His dad and Hirsh took care of the details.  Hirsh was nearly in a state of shock because of his son’s death.  He considered my survival a gross miscarriage of justice so now he gave up any pretext of Law and Order.  The cowboy was hired strictly on the basis of Mafia Criminality.

     Freddie sang his song.  Since that was what I mentioned I wanted to hear, after the song was over, Sonderman curtly said we were leaving.  He had to try to look powerful in front of Brie, who he hadn’t been able to take his eyes off, by cutting the evening short.  It was his car and I had an hours worth of smoldering makeout time with Briony so I didn’t put up too much of an objection which wouldn’t have done me any good anyway.

     I saw Sonderman motion to the cowboy so he was waiting for me outside the door in the parking lot with a couple other guys.  Those rowdy bars don’t like to have the police come around because sober citizens are always trying to shut the places down so I don’t know whether the bartender put these guys on Cowboy to slow him down or not but they were trying hard to dissuade him.

     The guy was obviously a hired slugger, as I look back on it now, because he raised his great big ham fist not like he wanted to punch me but like he was trying to knock my eye out and fracture my skull.  I could see this guy was a brawler with plenty of experience; I was only eighteen with no fights to my credit but I felt like a virtual midget in front of this towering behemoth.  I mean, I had to tilt my head up to look at that huge fist hovering over me.  There was no doubt in my young mind that he would stomp me to dust.  Something smaller than that if possible.

page 25.

     Boy, I sure didn’t want to fight this guy but I didn’t want to look bad in front of Brie either.  I thought the Cowboy was jealous because I had this hot looking chick.  Fortunately Sonderman got anxious to leave me to my fate.  I guess this was a reenactment of the State game when they tried to drive off without me.  Laughing with satisfaction he grabbed both girls making a run for the car.

     The Cowboy’s friends or bartender’s agents who looked like dogs jumping at an elephant were trying to pull him back telling him to leave the kid alone which cleared the way for me.  I knew Sonderman intended to drive away without me. With bowels quaking I scooted after him grabbing the door as he backed out of the space.  Brie threw it open.  I tried not to look like I was loading my pants.

     Yeah, well, he had humiliated me in front of my hot number.  My manhood was really shaken.  It took me weeks to rationalize the affair and even at that I wasn’t too successful.  It was almost like Brie and Two Ton Tony although hers was much worse than mine.  She seemed to understand, wanting to get back into it hot and heavy, but I was so shaken I was less than satisfactory.

     Sonderman wasn’t finished.  Even though he and Hirsh had failed to have my eye knocked out and my head broken into pieces the effect of Brie on Sonderman was incredible.  He was in love.  His date had been totally outclassed by mine, if his wasn’t his cousin.  Sonderman felt inferior to me which was something he couldn’t tolerate.

page 26.

     When I got out of the car to escort Brie to the door Sonderman put the pedal to the metal peeling rubber for half a block in his haste to leave me cold.  I made some comment to Brie about how jealous he was, kissed her goodnight, then began the long walk home.

     I had plenty of time to think about Hillbilly Heaven as I walked along.  The Cowboy seemed fishy but I was shaken to my socks by him.  I felt that I had really failed a test of manhood but at the time I didn’t see why I should have hung around to get pulverized.  I could have had a readier repartee in avoiding him but I was certainly under no obligation to fight a guy twice my age and three times my size.  Good rationalizing but it didn’t change my feeling of failure.

     Just as today I eat my food standing up as a result of Sonderman so decades later I wore a lot of suits with the pinch waisted Western jacket.  Just like the outfit the Cowboy wore although I have always detested cowboy boots.

     Sonderman had been thrown a loop by Brie.  Even her name, Briony Fotheringay, had an exotic but soundly English tone.  Aristocratic.  In the early fifties English names still carried a lot of weight.  The name itself was a reason for Two Ton Tony to want to dishonor her and through her the detested Anglo-Saxon culture.

     Briony was so much more than Sonderman had ever imagined for himself, let alone me, that he was thrown into a terrified jealousy.  He had to  find a woman to outdo me.  He had to do it quick, too; he only had a couple weeks before he left for West Point.  The pressure was on.

p. 27.

     He suddenly appeared with a girl named Donna on his arm.  She was a real knockout too in a conventional sort of way.   She didn’t have the flair that Brie had but she had a terrific full figure with a really impressive bust line.  That was one thing Brie lacked.  Big ones.

     He and she stood at a distance while he glared at me as though to say:  Check this out.  He didn’t greet me; he just stood there with an arrogant look on his face.  I signed to him.

     That’s one thing about Law and Order guys, they don’t care who they hurt to get what they want.  Once he located her he must have really come on to her.  He had obviously diddled her as he believed I had gotten it from Brie.  Donna stood there clutching his right hand with both of hers like she thought she was betrothed.  Sonderman must really have deceived her in the hope of shafting me.

     He must have talked to her about me a lot because she seemed eager to meet me.  Sonderman pulled her away with a shrug saying I wasn’t worth the bother.

     Sonderman may have thought that he won Donna with his own manly attributes but Donna had been attracted to him by the prospect of being an officer’s wife.  Some women are attracted by the uniform, taking the symbol for the man.  Their desire for the male draws them to the outer symbol as young girls are drawn to horses.  When the true man separates from the symbol they are often disappointed, turning in chagrin to drink or other men or both.

page 28.

     Sonderman cruelly disabused Donna of the notion of being an officer’s wife.  He cut her dead a few days later when he left for the Point.  She had served his purpose when he tried to put me down.  Now useless, she could be discarded without a thought.  Makes me wonder why I was so concerned about Ange when I cut her dead in the same manner.  It must be some shortcoming in my ‘breeding.’

     Sonderman west East to West Point.  I just went West in the Navy.  We parted company forever.  I had no idea that he was the most important male figure of my life.  He had become my Animus.  I judged all men through that lens.  It wasn’t pretty.

     Sonderman did not leave town with the healthiest of minds.  The past weighed as heavily on him as it did on me.  He was able to function better than I but you’ve seen the psychosis he acquired in his childhood and youth.

     The last get together with him at Hillbilly Heaven had left an indelible impression on my mind.  The Cowboy slugger had entered my subconscious attached to a cluster of memories that formed a dream element that persisted for decades which I call the Brown Spot.

     The dream was a simple image of a pulstating brown spot like a round bog in the middle of an open field.  The sight of it roused tremendous terror in my mind.  This was a very tough image to crack especially as it conflated disparate and widely spaced incidents in my life.  I’m still not sure how they are parallel.

page 29.

     I had always been able to remember all these incidents clearly but their combined significance was suppressed and incomprehensible.  In  the strange way that the mind works the trail led backwards from the Cowboy slugger.  Stranger still is that it was not until I understood why Sonderman showed Donna to me that the whole thing cleared up.  I am not clear how Donna and Brie lead back to the initial incident of the Brown Spot.

     However the path from the Slugger led back to an incident between the fourth and fifth grades when for some reason I decided to visit the Junior High I would be attending from the orphanage, but two full years later.

     The fourth grade had just ended.  I thought school would be empty.  I entered the building to look around.  The school was empty except for eight Black boys who were lurking around.  These fourteen year olds spotted a ten year old White boy they could terrorize and they did.  They chased me back and forth through the halls saying all the horrible things they were going to do to me when they caught me.

     They had no intention of catching me but I was so terrified that I ran past the entrance doors several times without seeing them.  That’s how my mother’s breast fixation worked.  Finally I identified the doors and ran out into the sunshine.

     Now, I had risked life, limb and mental health in the kindergarten to defend some Black kids.  I took the harassment of these kids as a betrayal of that deed.  I wouldn’t say I hated Negroes after that but I thought them undependable and untrustworthy.  I would not rely on them for any purpose.

page 30.

     In my liberating or explanatory dream of this incident as I ran through the halls the walls collapsed covering me with brown horse dung.  Evidently I found my conduct with the Black boys as cowardly as I found myself before the Cowboy slugger.

     When nearly buried a path led down to the bottom of the pit to the initial incident when I was in kindergarten.  This memory was the source of the terror associated with the Brown Spot.  This occurred after the Black kids left me to hang out to dry  which leads back to the Black boys at the Junior High.

     When my mother filed for divorce she began to revile my father to me, terrifying me of him and turning me against him.  Thus when my father came to visit me the last time I was too terrified to go to him as he begged me to do.  He accused my mother of turning me against him which she denied with a straight faced lie.  Don’t think I didn’t notice.

     My father left me this really neat dark green corduroy outfit with a spiffy traffic light aplique on the front pocket then he walked out head hung low crying softly and never came back.  I never saw him again, however for a period of years in my thirties I wore nothing but corduroy pants and jackets including a spiffy dark green one.

     Thus the theme of cowardice connected all three shaming incidents creating a brown spot like a big bruise on an apple.  Psychologically the reference to the bruise on an apple has a reference also.

page 31.

     During the war, about 1942, the country was terrified that the Nazis were capable of bombing the whole Midwest to pieces all the way from Berlin; or so Roosevelt let on.  We were said to be a prime target with our auto, now defense, plants.  Even as a little child of four I found this notion ridiculous but my elders had set up a system of air raid drills for our protection.

     My mother and I were on a bus going down Main downtown one night when the sirens went off.  We were all herded out of the bus to stand in storefronts for protection from the bombs.  Even then, as I stood in front of those plate glass windows, I thought we would be cut to shreds if they shattered all over us.

     For some reason I can’t imagine now I was terrified and set up a wail equal to those of the air raid sirens.  As may be imagined this annoyed the other bus riders considerably.  In an act of desperation which I sensed and didn’t appreciate and reacted to a woman reached into her grocery bag and pulled out a nice large apple and handed it to me.

     I examined the apple carefully noting that it had a large bruise or brown spot.  I handed the apple back to her cooly saying:  ‘It’s bruised.’

     She dropped it back in the bag in a huff but she still had her apple and stopped me from crying.

     The relationship between my mother, Brie and Donna is not clear to me although my mother and Brie were both hard women.  I don’t know the meaning of Donna unless it was that she was well built like my mother thus creating an association or, perhaps I associated Sonderman’s treatment of her with my mother’s treatment of my father.  All incidents in personal psychology are related.

page 32.

     The result of all the images was that my father was buried deep in my subconcious under a heap of horse pucky.

5.

…O Zeus and Athena and Apollo

If only death would take every Trojan

And all the Achaeans except us two,

So we alone might win that Sacred City.

–Homer

     Hirsh had succeeded in degrading me but I had avoided his desire that I debase myself.  However as a result of the persecution I had been put into a certain mind set which stigmatized me until I integrated my personality.  You know, psychology is so much more complex than Freud imagined.  He thought that his Oedipus Complex solved everything whereas in fact it is practically meaningless.  If such a complex exists in the universal psyche, which it doesn’t, it would only be a minor and passing part of a man’s psychology.

     Freud had a pretty shallow understanding of Greek mythology.  He wasn’t very well read in it at all.  He seized upon the Oedipus story in an unwarranted manner completely ignoring the reaction of Oedipus when he discovered that he had married his mother.  With a deeper understanding of Greek mythology he might have noticed the myth of Io, the Holy Cow.  Rather than having a desire to copulate with his mother which is beyond a young boy’s ability to imagine it is more likely that he views this woman who has not only fed him from her own body like a cow but has tended to his every need willingly, lovingly and with self-abnegation as his personal milk cow.  At a certain point when the child perceives that this woman is dividing her concern between himself and his father he may fear losing the economic privilege he enjoys.  Thus he may believe temporarily that he is in competition with his dad.  If so, the feeling passes within a couple years as he realizes the true situation.

page 33.

      I can say that I never had a desire for an old used woman from whose womb I had emerged when there were plenty of fresh young heifers around who could do me more economic good in the future than my mother.

     But then Freud was a pioneer and not a developer.

     There are only so many visions of reality that a human can hold.  The uniqueness of the individual is mainly illusory.  Or at least that uniqueness exists only as an individual is representative of a mind set.  I had my own Responses in dealing with the Challenges from the Field but the Field remains paramount in my own and everyone else’s personal psychology.  Then as I began to understand to which psychic fraternity I belonged I recognized some of my fellows.  Over the years I came to realize that I was akin to others in the same mind set.  We all pursued the same goal and our objectives and methods were not all that different.

     Certainly Tim Leary and I were psychic brothers as well as Dr. Petiot, Moses, Richard Speck, Charlie Whitman, Sonderman and the most prominent member of our septum, Adolf Hitler, not to mention Brave Achilles.

page 34.

     The stimuli for each of us was undoubtedly somewhat different but our Responses were also somewhat of the same character if not the same degree.  If we’d all been as capable of Hitler you may be sure we would have acted the same as he did although our personal objectives may have been different.  We wished mass destruction on all our tormentors.  We had our eyes on the gates of that Sacred City and it mattered little who died so long as we passed through those pearly gates, preferably alone.  We sat and sulked in our tents waiting to be called to save humanity.  When that didn’t happen, like Nero we wished that they all had one neck so we could strangle them all at the same time.

     Of the group I am the only one to break on through to the other side and freedom.  The rest remained trapped in their pasts.

     It is not to be assumed from the cast of characters that our mind set among the others is particularly vile.  After all Mao Tse Tung, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Charlie Starkweather, Ted Bundy, Lord Strafford, Hirsh and host of great destroyers belong to other mind sets.  Your is one of them.  Saints and Sinners abound in any of the mind sets.

     But I know my brothers.

     Each of my brothers here mentioned responded to his Challenges from the Field in different ways.  Each chose to resolve his dilemma in his own individual way as his circumstances dictated.

page 35.

     The most conscious or willed Responses were by Dr. Tim of the Ozone Space Patrol and myself.  We both are or were psychologists.  Tim of course was certified by society and I am not.  However I succeeded where Leary failed.  Tim left behind him a fairly extensive body of writing, the most finished of which is of a very high literary quality.  His autobiography ‘Flashbacks’ is very innovative in the first half while his most literary production ‘High Priest’ is, shall we say, unique in format and style.  Very avant garde.  Timmy had it, but he blew it.

     The problem with Tim is that when he realized that the key would be hard to find he gave up; he turned to drugs, no stamina.  The guy really needed instant gratification.

     Tim’s central problem which he inexplicably failed to recognize was his abandonment by his father.  His father’s leaving muddied his waters for all time.  As a psychologist his fixation was staring him in the face but in the peculiar way of fixations it remained invisible to him.  Such is the fear that one is prevented from seeing what is before one’s eyes.

     Like many befuddled people he became a psychologist in the hopes of discovering his problem.  Instead he found that psychologists were impotent before their own and their patients’ illness.  With or without help a third got better, one third got worse and one third stayed the same.  Tim was of the group that slowly got worse.  He accordingly gave up on psychology.  No staying power.  Tim was a sad case.

     Before he gave up he made a fateful contribution to psychological literature while employed at Kaiser.  Interestingly he never mentions Kaiser in his autobiography.  Slides right over it.  He realized he had been manipulated into his psychological disorder.  As Judaeo-Christian thought decrees that the punishment fit the crime he set about to divise the tools for the psychological manipulation of the whole world.  He want everybody else to get screwed up too.  He did this at Kaiser when he devised the personality tests that are still in wide use.

page 36.

    Once the tests were devised Tim had no sense of direction.  The pernicious use of his personality researches remained fallow for the time being except that as Tim sank over the deep end he turned to psychedelic drugs.

     When his LSD researches began he drew into his circle the most pernicious of post-war movements, that of the Beats, the stage was set for his merry pranks.  The so-called Beats, can be summed up by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs with Ginsberg as the most important member.  Actually the roster of important Beat writers can be rounded out with Leary himself, Bob Dylan and Ken Kesey although the last three are sort of an after Beat.

     Their novo literary plans were lauched and were being propagated by Ginsberg’s ‘poem’: Howl.  Once through the publishing door Ginsberg helped bring out Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ and Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch.’  The three works were slim fare to get and keep their ‘rucksack’ revolution rolling, but boy, did they have an effect.  Thus Ginsberg, who knew the main chance when he saw it, searched out Tim Leary as soon as his psychedelic researches reached his ears.

page 37.

     Ever ingratiating and insinuating Ginsberg’s seed fell on Leary’s fertile mind.  The two men had the same goal but for different reasons.  Leary in effect became the fourth Beat and its Pied Piper.

     Tim had no intellectual content beyond some vague notion of some ‘politics of ecstasy’ but he became a master showman and clown.  When the mind of a generation was blasted apart by LSD which has absolutely no content but opens the mind to immediate reconditioning Ginsberg and the Beats provided the intellectual attitude grafting it onto the blown minds of the generation by using the substance of Leary’s brilliantly manipulative personality theories.

     It must be noted that Leary himself seemed unable to penetrate to anyone’s ulterior motives.  He calls it naivete but such simplicity is almost impossible to believe in one so intelligent.

     Ginsberg’s trained agents infiltrated every Beatnik or Hippie group to graft his value system unto their blown and receptive minds.  This was the brainwashing technique that Leary believed the CIA was probing him for although Doctor Timmy blithely claimed to know nothing of any such technique.  It should be noted that Leary was quite as capable as the CIA of lieing to protect his own.  As an instance, in his autobiography he spectacularly shifts attention away from the crimes of Charles Manson who he defends to direct attention to a similar crime for which the ‘establishment’ Army officer Jeffrey MacDonald  was convicted.  Although the crimes were quite dissimilar in some way he thought the latter crime somehow absolved the drug culture.  Tim was not an honest man.

page 38.

     So as Ginsberg appropriated Tim’s research to further Semitist and homosexual goals, Leary in his frustration contributed to the befuddlement of society just as he had been befuddled by his own central childhood fixation.  As he was naive he considered himself innocent.

     Freud believed that morality was of no consequence.  His belief has been embraced by psychologists subsequently.  Psychology has no concern with morality.  Freud believed that anyone who knew certain ‘truths’ about themselves was incapable of committing an immoral act.  Tim Leary disproves his theory.

     If anyone cares to apply my psychological approach my only fear is that they will liberate themselves without having good morality.  Thus, if criminals, they will only be more effective criminals.  A clear mind and vile methods can never create good.

     So Tim and I differ in methods and goals.  I want to correct and eliminate the evils practiced on me while Tim merely wanted to pass his monkey on.

     Nevertheless his researches are valuable and useful for understanding who you are.  At the very least such an understanding will prevent your being easily manipulated by pernicious people.

     Tim gave vent to his fixation in his way as I have in mine.

page 39,

     Tim never mentions a fear of the law.  In point of fact at the time he was arrested in Laredo he had broken no laws.  Psychedelic drugs had been legal to that time.  So the man was actually railroaded into prison merely because he had made himself unpopular with certain governmental officials.  Still, he must known he was barefoot on a barbed high wire so he should have taken extreme precautions.

     I too have never done anything illegal but I learned very early that laws for me were different than the laws for my enemies.  You’ll remember the cop who said only I had to walk my bike through intersections, so, you see, you don’t have to do anything to end up on the wrong side of the law.  I have always known that innocence is no defense so my ‘paranoia’ has kept me vigilant and alert.  I have never wanted to gratify the hopes of my enemies by spending my life in prison.  Nor did I ever have any intention of killing myself.

     Dick Speck and Charlie Whitman were not of my mind.  Dick was not reflective enough to know what he was doing.  He and Charlie committed their outrages within a couple months of each other in 1966 at a time when I was passing the crisis in my own mental development.  Becoming a serial killer was no longer possible for me but I immediately recognized my kinship to both men.  I too had considered both crimes although Dick Speck’s was not one that would gratify my own malaise.  Speck’s crime was directed against his mother who formed his Anima, thus in his own way he was murdering his Anima which had betrayed him, while mine like Charlie’s was directed against males and, indeed, the whole of society as was Addie Hitler’s and that of Achilles.

page 40.

     Dick Speck, as I imagine is still well known, actually murered six nurses in Chicago one hot summer night.  That his conflict centered on his mother is attested by the fact that he killed young women, so-called Angels Of Mercy.  In attempting to exorcise his central childhood fixation he delivered himself into his enemies hands spending the rest of his life in prison in conditions too horrible to discuss at this time.  Suffice it to say he became his mother.  Society didn’t have the decency to execute him.

     Charlie Whitman took a different approach.  He was the man who barricaded himself in the tower at the University Of Texas.  From there he took pot shots at anyone who fell within his sights.  It was a most futile attempt at exorcising his fixation  with no chance of escape, a mere act of desperate frustration.  At best he killed or wounded a few people but he at least had the self-respect to kill himself when the authorities broke through his barricade.

     I knew that my enemies wanted me to commit some such act which would discredit me while confirming their opinion of me to the world.  By graduation they had formed me and placed  me at the crossroads.  I was programmed for just such crimes; it was up to me to avoid the destiny prepared for me. 

     I had no interest in killing women because I cherished Ange who was my Anima but Dick’s crime thrilled me to the core as I recognized a fraternal brother who had attempted to purify himself of his fixation.  Speck’s act should not be seen as an act of senselessness or revenge but purification.  It failed as I knew that it must.  Purification comes from within rather than without.  No drug, no crime can purify the mind.

page 41.

     A couple years before Charlie climbed the tower I had considered barricading myself at Stanford University, a symbol of social acceptance and my rightful place in society to me.  In my waking fantasy or daydream I commanded a small army to take on the world.  When asked to surrender it was my intent to offer my brain as a scientific specimen to study the working of the mind of the mass or serial killer much as Ted Bundy was to do in an attempt to escape the electric chair.

     Among the reasons I didn’t perform this absurdity was that I didn’t know of a small army that would accept my leadership.  I didn’t even have any friends.  Also I suspected that there was nothing so abnormal about the serial killer’s mind except his exaggerated Response to a Challange that most people would find normal and not remarkable.

     Interestingly enough, in my most desperate moments I thought up an act of desperation that had been considered by the top strategists of the Nazis.  At this time I was living in the Bay Area.  The water supply of the Bay Area is impounded behind a number of massive dams that ring the San Joaquin Valley.  The mighty Shasta Dam had also just been completed which impounded a small ocean.

     During the war the Nazis had formed a plan to bomb the dams surrounding the Bay so that the waters rushed down at the same time would inundate the low areas and disrupt shipping.  The idea occurred to me too.  With the addition of Shasta the effect would have been terrific.  In my plan the waters reached the Bay as the highest tide of the year was coming in.  The enormous flood would have reached into Merced and inundated Sacramento.  The resulting malarial swamp would have got millions.  I probably wouldn’t have entered that Sacred City alone but the devastation would have been a balm to my wounded soul.  But remember, your immoral society had created me.  Responsibility begins at home.

page 42.

     The problem with that one was getting enough plastique and knowing how to use it.  Always something.  I just didn’t have the necessary determination.  Wisely I decided not to try.

     Shortly thereafter I began to organize my baggage better.

     The baggage is important.  For, like Dr. Petiot we all take our baggage with us.  That’s why Tim’s notion of changing consciousness with drugs is so impossible; the baggage remains the same.  The question is do we let it overwhelm us or do we learn to arrange it into manageable units?  Like Tim Leary said only a third learn to do so.  A third just sit on the baggage and a third like Dr. Petiot sink beneath the weight.

     When our attitude is combined with great political skill and determination it becomes most dangerous.  Of the politicians I recognize as being of the same mind set Moses holds the least sympathy for me.  There is a great resemblance between Mighty Mo’ and the most famous representative of our mind set, Addie Hitler.  Both believed that they represented an elect group of people; both were willing to exterminate all other people for the benefit of the elect.  Both ruthlessly eliminated groups of dissidents within their parties.  Both suffered devastating defeats of their programs.

page 43.

     As I say I have scant sympathy for Mo’ but I also find similarities between Hitler and Sonderman.  You may laugh or object to the audacity of comparing myself and Sonderman to important figures like Leary and Hitler and Moses but this is not an exercise in comparing apples and oranges but oranges and oranges.  No matter how influential or inconsequential  the exemplars, these are comparisons within one mind set.  For instance to compare Hitler with Napoleon which has been done is to compare an apple to an orange.  They come from two entirely different mind sets with entirely different motives.  Although they may be similar politically we are dealing with psychology.

     Sonderman and Hitler are examples of Law and Order aspects of our mind set.  Myself, Tim, Mo’, Dick and Charlie are not Law and Order types.  We despise the Law and Order mentality.  Addie Hitler was a foremost example of the Law and Order approach which he combined in the end with our more characteristic chaotic approach.  Contrary to popular opinion he did nothing outside the laws of Germany even if he had the power to write them himself.  He was a Law and Order sort of guy.

     Everything he did was legal.  He resisted the temptation to seize power illegally which he could easily have done.  Once legally in power he legally assumed dictatorial powers and passed laws to suit his purposes but then he was legally empowered to do so acting no differently than other mind sets in the same situation.  That is Law and Order to a fault.

page 44.

     Nor was Addie a particularly innovative man.  He just brought political and historical trends to their logical conclusions.  Totalitarianism was the the order of the day; he perfected it.  In the thousand year war between the Slavs and Germans he merely extended the policty of the Teutonic Knights from piecemeal annexations of Slavic lands to a massive one time takeover effort.

     In the two thousand year old war between the Jews and Europeans Addie merely repeated the Roman solution in its war with the Jews that kicked off the Piscean Age.

     There was no break or discontinuity in historical tradition; Hitler merely brought the trends of the previous two thousand years to their logical conclusions.  Addie was quite conscious that he was creating a New Order.  As he said the Old Order ended with his death.  Unfortunately he committed suicide before he could see the spectacular introduction of the New Order over Hiroshima but, then, those are the breaks.  The guy knew what was happening whether you like him or not.

     Now, the means and methods he chose to end the Old Order were the result of the mind set he had been given as a youth.  He had a Brown Spot the size of a pumpkin.   I don’t know how the cluster was composed but he discusses the last element in his reminiscences or table talk while on the Eastern Front.  He had just graduated from high school.  He undoubtedly was not a popular person with his schoolmates because they got him roaringly drunk to humiliate him.  In an effort to amuse them he wiped his rear with his diploma.  In some manner the schoolmaster learned of this.  No longer drunk Addie was thoroughly ashamed of himself as he should have been.  Not for using his diploma as toilet paper but for allowing others to abuse his good will.

page 45.

     At any rate the incident affected him more than the Cowboy slugger affected me.  Enraged at his youthful treatment in the last and earlier elements of the Brown Spot and capable of killing any enemy he chose with impunity he tried to bundle their necks together and stangle them all ignoring all consequences so long as he might take that Sacred City of the soul just like Brave Achilles.  They both failed.  Hitler was not abnormal.  Far from it.

     Addie’s Animus had been severely blunted while his Anima while not exactly healthy was whole.  He transferred all the energies of his Animus to the Anima and became Matriarchal in intellect no doubt as a tribute to his mother.  A characteristic of the Matriarchal intellect is the belief in the fertility of nature; thus life becomes expendable and replaceable which, in fact, it is.  Compare Hitler with Mao Tse Tung for the Matriarchal effect.

     As a symbol of the attitude let look again to Greek mythology.  These myths are puzzling so I don’t hope to convince you of my interpretations but they are plausible.  In the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, after Hades had abducted Persephone Demeter turns the world into a wasteland in grieving over the loss of her daughter.  In her wanderings she comes to Eleusis where she sits down on a rock to mourn.

page 46.

     There she is approached by a comic toothless old crone by the name of Baubo.  Baubo tries to cheer Demeter up but the goddess remains inconsolable.  Then with a toothless laugh Baubo who is squatting in the birth position lifts her skirts to reveal a baby emerging from the womb.  Demeter laughs and begins to recover.

    Why did Demeter laugh?  To quote the great Calypsonian and the Kingston Trio:  Back to back, belly to belly, I don’t give a damn because I’ve got another ready.  So Baubo’s lesson is what does it matter that you lost one child when you have the means to make many more.  Baubo exemplified the Matriarchal principle.  No matter how many die many times that number are still in the womb.  The individual life is unimportant.

     Hitler’s response to his fixation was to embrace the Matriarchal intellect.  He applied it exactly.  Not only was he indiscriminate in destroying human life, who he killed is irrelevant, but in his frustrated rage at losing the war he was willing to destroy his entire civilization just like Brave Achilles.  Cracow was leveled to the ground.  He gave orders to explode the former jewel of civilization, Paris, in its totality.  It is a miracle that Paris was not leveled like Cracow.  Thank God, Addie, didn’t have the means to reach Chicago.  It is a miracle that Paris was not leveled like Cracow.  Of course, the Allies flattened Berlin and the rest of Germany, so I guess he had some reason to be sore.

page 47.

     When his world had been completely destroyed Hitler put a bullet through his own brain next to Eva Braun who may possibly have been an exemplar of his Anima while ordering his body to be completely destroyed.  My friends, that is complete self-negation.  Thus as I say, Hitler was the perfect exemplar of our mind set.  We’ll never see his like again.

     Speaking of embracing an opportunity, Tim Leary’s death provides an interesting variation.  When he died he had his body put into orbit around the earth.  At some future time when the orbit degrades the missile will enter the atmosphere as a shooting star disappearing in a blaze of glory.

     But wait, that’s not all.  I don’t know if it happened but Leary wanted to have his head removed and frozen with the expectation that at some time science will be able to transplant his brain onto another’s body.  Thus it is possible that he may come back to life in time for his brain to see his body plummet into the sea.  That then would be a headless comet, the first of its kind.  Leary may have been crazy but he didn’t lack imagination.

     Sonderman completly lacked the chutzpah to either sink to the depts of Hitler or rise to the heights of Leary.  In the turmoil of his mind he completed his studies at West Point.  From which institution Tim Leary was expelled, by the way, and then went to his duty station to await his call from home.  When it came he buried his hopes as completely as Hitler or Leary to heed his father’s call.  What biological clock he was responding to I cannot tell.

     Trained by Law and Order he returned home.  Now, interpreted rightly Sonderman was already a serial killer before he left Junior High.  He had offed Wilson while trying repeatedly to kill me.  Unlike Dick Speck with his lawless murders Sonderman was a Law and Order type guy.

page 48.

     I don’t know if having assumed his role in the social structure of the Valley he participated in other murders but as the Valley is known as the murder capitol of the State I wouldn’t be surprised if he has.

     As I sat talking to him during the Reunion I was closing in on my own delivery from the psychology.  The integration of my personality was not far away.  Had I not turned to psychology for deliverance it is not impossible that in an orgy of self-pity I might have gone on a murderous rampage and killed as many of my classmates as I could.  Not of the Law and Order mentality, I would have been chaotic ending my days in prison as a ‘monster.’  To my shame I wouldn’t have had the integrity to kill myself afterwards.

     As that was what my ‘monster’ enemies wanted I was determined not to give it to them.

     I know that most people think their personality is innate and immutable.  Most people think that they are what they are and that they could never have been any other way.  The fact is that our personalities are shaped and not created.  We become what we are by a system of Challenge and Response from the Field.  What has been done can not be undone but one can escape from its onerous burden.  One can use one’s intelligence.

     As far as morality goes the Challenge of Correct Behavior is given us.  Contrary to Freud morality is more important than psychoanalysis.

page 49.

     The psyche breaks on the rock of morality.  Even a Mafioso like the fictional Michael Corleone broke on the rock of morality.  He felt guilt.  While people applaud the notion of morality most people are incapable of embracing the whole system.  They think they can pick and choose which elements are useful to them disregarding the rest.  People have a public morality as they give lip service to Correct Behavior and a private morality in which they indulge all their whims and hatreds.

     My morality both public and private was purer than that of either Sonderman or Hirsh yet both had better reputations than I did.  Whereas they exuded a certain confidence and unwarranted self-esteem I had been robbed of nearly all my self-respect.  I lacked confidence and assurance.  I was tentative and uncertain which translated into a species of guilt and effeminacy.  I was incapable of projecting the person I felt I was inside.

     While trying so hard to injure me my enemies had done injury to their own psyches.  Remarkably, they were to deteriorate as years passed while I would be able finally to cast off the personality they had imposed on my while returning myself to myself.  I have often wondered who the little Grey One that ensheathed me in my dream might be.  Quite possibly she was the personality killed on the playing field in the second grade.  If so she had been residing in the House of Death.  Perhaps she had been released to reclaim me from my psychic prison.

     Now, here, twenty-five years later, unaware of my true relationship with Sonderman I was sitting across from him.  The old resentment still glowed in his eyes; if I was unaware of our true relationship he wasn’t.  Still thinking we had been friends I was hopeful to reconnect with him so I could join my present, my fractured past and my hopeful future into a whole.

page 50.

     If Sonderman had been initially glad to see me it must have been that he had been waiting twenty-five years to tell me he had always disliked me because I copied him.  Once done I presume that he no longer had any use for my presence.

     The ancient traumas had locked him into a state of arrested adolescence.  It was as though he had never left ninth grade.  Except for the addition of the miles he looked just as he had way back then.  He was still slender and square.  He had the same elfin head.  He still had all his hair combed in exactly the same way.  His style of dressing hadn’t even changed from Junior High.  He wore the same Wrangler jeans, although now that his wife had a washing machine they were clean.  He never had and still didn’t have the cool to wear Levi’s.

     It was appropriate, I think, that the jeans were called Wranglers, obviously chosen to fill some deep psychological need.  His shirt might have come out of his teenage closet.  His shirts had always been cut square across the bottom and worn outside his pants.  He was still in the box in which his father had placed him except now he was running the chemical plant.  He hadn’t busted the block.

     Sonderman wouldn’t know and I can only speculate about the subliminal influence of his mother.  I found it of interest that his first and only child was a girl.  It might be thought that having pleased his mother with a grand daughter he didn’t want to run the risk of antagonizing her by having a son.  What did Sonderman know subliminally?

page 51.

     In contrast, my wife and I had no children.

     His role in the destruction of my eating club was uppermost in his mind.  He looked me square in the eyes in an intended insult to say that he had never once in twenty-five years ever seen a member of the club except for a chance meeting with one whose name he couldn’t recall in an airport.

     If he meant to hurt me, he did.  It also brought to mind a chance encounter with me that he had in the Chicago Greyhound station in the summer of ’57 when I was coming back on leave while he was returning to West Point.

     He fled my presence thinking I hadn’t seen him.  Ever vengeful and mean  he went into the reading room to tell the bartender that I was a Communist.  Then he had someone direct me into the room.  Lest I not order a coke I was directed to the bar.  There out of the blue the bartender told me they didn’t serve people like me in there.  Well, you know, I was pretty darn high class for a Greyhound station.

     When I asked why he told me to just keep my political opinions to myself.  When asked what that meant he told me to look at my shirt.  I was wearing a pink shirt.  I guess he meant that I was a Pinko.

     As Sonderman had been in his cadet uniform he commanded a great deal of respect so everyone was glad to do it for him.

     I was lost in a reverie for a moment.  When I came around Sonderman was staring at me with a hopeful smile on his face.  I guess he was saying that he thought he had taken my club from merely as a lark; neither it nor its members had any relevance for him.

page 52.

     He was clearly in a state of arrested emotional development.  I came to the conclusion that he was daily haunted by myself and the memory of those years.  His mind must have been obsessed with the attempts on my life and his murder of Shardel Wilson.

     The vehemence and finality with which he said I copied his every move must have concealed the guilt he felt but couldn’t acknowledge.  He was the result of the training of his people.  I have no doubt that he had absorbed all the rules of Law and Order.  I have no doubt he was capable of cooperating with his fellow trainees to eliminate anyone he or they wanted either physically or socially.  He was paying the price of that immorality.  Breeding will out.

     His wife was a woman named Donna.  She puzzled me because if this was the same Donna I had seen back then her physical attributes had shrunken considerably.  In fact she looked more like Brie than that earlier Donna.  I could find no discreet way to ask so I was forced to assume that after having been cashiered from the Army Sonderman came home took over the reins of his dad’s business then began to look for a wife.  Apparently fixated by me he didn’t go looking for the full figured Donna but a replica of Brie.  It may be coincidence that his Brie lookalike had the name of Donna but then maybe that had been the attraction.  He had gotten the best of both of them in one woman.  Needless to say all those years later they were still together.

page 53.

     I quickly sensed that Sonderman was extremely distraught, sunk within himself.  His voice came as though from the depths of some tank, with each succeeding drink it became moreso.

     Once the novelty of my appearance wore off he seemed to increasingly resent my presence until he blurted out in searing pain that I had stayed long enough; it was time for me to go.

     I was shaken by the outburst but saw no reason to plead to stay.  It was clear he had achieved his purpose when he said I copied him.  The car I had been loaned had been reclaimed so I was without wheels.  I had to ask him to drive me to my cousin’s house.  He was gracious enough to comply.

     On the way I was surprised to learn that he and Wink Costello were still friends and golfing buddies.  I also learned that Wink was a year younger than us which explained some things.   I sensed his dissociation from reality when he showed surprise that I had known Costello.  I knew why he seemed to be unaware of my relationship to himself, Costello and Little.  It was clear that he had converted the killing of Wilson into something else.  He had somehow conflated my copying him with Wilson’s death, probably thinking that he generously concealed the secret of my murder of Wilson to protect me.

     My family had programmed me to get as far away from the family as possible.  They always did that to one member.  They actually intended me to flee to Australia as Uncle Louie had done.  I just wanted to flee.

     Mr. Sonderman had apparently programmed Little to move away also, probably so as not to interfere with Sonderman’s management of the company.  Little had graduated from the University as a nuclear physicist.  I can tell you I was bowled over, I respected nothing more than nuclear physics.  Then I had the pins kicked out from under me when I was told he was abandoning nuclear physics to become a psychiatrist.

     I very nearly laughed out loud.  What a psychological load of baggage both Sonderman and Little were carrying.  It would take more than psychoanalysis to purge them.  Both Sondermans had a great deal of penance to do.

     Sonderman thought he had slipped when he told me that Little was living on the West Coast fairly close to me.  I could see him make a mental note to call Little to tell him that I might try to contact him.  Before his psychoanalytic training Little was already a more astute psychologist than his brother.  He told him that there was no chance I would contact him.  He was right.  Just the thought of Little makes my skin crawl; he really was an evil guy.

     So my wife and I got out of his car.  Sonderman gave her a last lookover with a wistful eye.  I think he thought that I had topped him again but I’d give it a draw with a shade on my side.  I’m a very generous guy.

      I was unaware I was closing the door on my Animus.  This guy was the image of manhood through which all other males were filtered.  In psychological terms he was the image of the Terrible Father.  My Animus was not clothed with a counter balancing image of the Good Father.  All men were insane as far as I was concerned.

page 54.

     I evaluated all men in comparison to this despicable model.  As I perceived Sonderman he was a homosexual, liar, sneak, cheat and thief.  Now, by his own admission he was a willful failure.

     My public persona had been formed in reaction to him and through him the Hirshes.  While I projected Sonderman’s image on all men I also subconsciously  presented an abject figure to them with which I telegraphed my past.  Thus a cycle of mutual repulsion was perpetuated.  The moving finger had written; the stars were in control.

     I was vaguely aware of projecting the abject image but not knowing where it came from I was powerless to change it.  In order to change my image of myself It would be necessary to change the image of the Sonderman Constellation.

     My life was effectively over.  Regardless of whether I could change myself and the Constellation the baggage as Dr. Petiot realized was still in my hands.  The moving finger had writ.  My education was complete.  Nothing could change that.  Even if the men I knew should show me a new countenance I knew the truth behind any seeming fairness.  I knew who they really were.  And having written the finger moves on.

     Nor, even if I changed, would that change be noticeable to those who already knew me.  They would continue to react to me as they always had.  They might not get the same response but their education as regards me was complete too.

     Like Sonderman’s when he met me their minds were made up so that I would be able to present this new persona to new acquaintances who would be apprised of my old persona by my old acquaintances.  A vicious circle.  I was doomed to be a loner.  It was written in the stars.  The Field dominated.  The Challenges had been made; the Responses had been offered.

page 55.

     The question was: Could I realign the Sonderman Constellation from the brooding theatening image reflected on my face or convert it into one which would be more constructive for myself.  The truth seems to be that like Medusa’s sisters the Anima and Animus are immortal.

     I was given a glimpse behind the Constellation.  It was worse than I imagined.  I had a dream of a house.  I was both inside and outside, above it looking down on it.  The house was being assaulted by myriads of bugs trying to break in.  I fought this image for several days until I came to the conclusion that the house represented my mind and the bugs millions of memories that were trying to destroy my mind.

     I retreated back a bit to the other side of the Constellation but then I realized that as I was both inside and outside the house I was in control of my own mind.  I was the proud possessor of my own mind.  I was one of Leary’s third that healed.

     As I looked up the Sonderman Constellation had begun to change form.  The past after all, while not a jot of it can be washed away, is the past.  It can’t pysically hurt you nor can it reach out for you.  The baggage can be repacked so that it can be carried comfortably.

     All the stations of Sonderman’s stars realigned themselves while I watched apprehensively.  Then I broke out into a laugh.  I was engulfed by merriment.  In place of the threatening aspect the stars formed a portrait of Sonderman’s silly Alfred E. Neuman face grinning idiotically down at me.  There was no reason to fear that Animus.

     So in the end Sonderman assumed his true form.  If I wasn’t free from him at least he was always there for a good laugh.

    What, me worry?

The End Of The Sonderman Constellation,